Monday, February 28, 2011

Marijuana lighting and you

     Without light,  the plants cannot grow.  In the countries in  which marijuana grows best,  the sun is the source of light.  The
amount  of  light and the length of the growing season  in  these  countries  results in huge tree-like plants.   In most  parts  of
North America,  however,  the sun is not generally intense enough  for  long  enough periods of time to produce the  same  size  and  quality of plants that grow with ease in Latin America and  other  tropical  countries.   The answer to the problem of lack of  sun,  especially in the winter months, shortness of the growing season,  and other problems is to grow indoor under simulated  conditions.   The rule of thumb seems to be the more light, the better.  In one  experiment we know of, eight eight-foot VHO Gro-Lux fixtures were  used over eight plants.   The plants grew at an astonishing rate.   The lights had to be raised every day.   There are many types  of  artificial  light  and all of them do different  things  to  your  plants.   The  common incandescent light bulb emits some  of  the  frequencies of light the plant can use,  but it also emits a high  percentage  of far red and infra-red light which cause the  plant  to concentrate its growth on the stem.  This results in the plant  stretching  toward  the light bulb until it becomes so  tall  and  spindly  that  it just weakly topples over.   There  are  several  brands  of bulb type.   One is the incandescent plant spot  light  which emits higher amounts of red and blue light than the  common  light bulb.   It is an improvement,  but has it drawbacks.  it is  hot,  for  example,  and  cannot be placed close to  the  plants.   Consequently,  the  plant has to stretch upwards again and is  in  danger of becoming elongated and falling over.   The red bands of  light  seem  to encourage stem growth which is not  desirable  in  growing marijuana.   the idea is to encourage foliage growth  for  obvious  reasons.   Gro-Lux lights are probably the  most  common  flourescent plant lights.  In our experience with them, they have
proven themselves to be extremely effective.   They range in size  from one to eight feet in length so you can set up a growing room  in  a  closet or a warehouse.   There are two  types  of  Gro-Lux  lights:  The standard and the wide spectrum.  They can be used in  conjunction with on another, but the wide spectrum lights are not  sufficient on their own.   The wide spectrum lights were designed  as a supplementary light source and are cheaper than the standard  lights.  Wide spectrum lights emit the same bands of light as the  standard  but the standard emit higher concentrations of red  and  blue  bands  that the plants need to  grow.   The  wide  spectrum  lights also emit infra-red, the effect of which on stem growth we  have already discussed.   If you are planning to grow on a  large  scale,   you  might  be  interested  to  know  that  the  regular  flourescent  lamps  and  fixtures,  the type  that  are  used  in  commercial lighting, work well when used along with standard Gro- Lux lights.   These commercial lights are called cool whites, and  are  the  cheapest of the flourescent lights we  have  mentioned.   They  emit  as much blue light as the Gro-Lux standards  and  the  blue light is what the plants use in foliage growth.
     Now we come to the question of intensity.  Both the standard  and  wide  spectrum lamps come  in  three  intensities:   regular  output,  high output,  and very high output.  You can grow a nice  crop  of  plants under the regular output lamps and  probably  be  quite satisfied with our results.  The difference in using the HO  or  VHO lamps is the time it takes to grow a crop.   Under a  VHO  lamp,  the  plants grow at a rate that is about three  times  the  rate  at which they grow under the standard lamps.   People  have  been  known to get a plant that is four feet tall in  two  months  under one of these lights.  Under the VHO lights, one may have to  raise the lights every day which means a growth rate of ate least  two  inches a day.   The only drawback is the expense of the  VHO  lamps and fixtures.   The VHO lamps and fixtures are almost twice  the price of the standard.  If you are interested in our opinion,  they are well worth it.   Now that you have your lights  up,  you  might be curious about the amount of light to give you plants per  day.  The maturation date of your plants is dependent on how much  light they receive per day.   The longer the dark period per day,  the sooner the plant will bloom.   Generally speaking,  the  less  dark  per  day  the better during the first  six  months  of  the  plant's life.   The older the plant is before it blooms and  goes  to  seed,  the  better the grass will be.   After  the  plant  is  allowed  to  bloom,  its  metabolic rate is slowed  so  that  the  plant's  quality does not increase with the age at the same  rate  it did before it bloomed.   The idea,  then,  is to let the plant  get  as old as possible before allowing it to mature so that  the  potency will be a high as possible at the time of  harvest.   One  relatively  sure way to keep your plants from blooming until  you  are  ready  for  them is to leave the lights  on  all  the  time.   Occasionally  a plant will go ahead and bloom anyway,  but it  is  the  exception rather than the rule.   If your plants receive  12  hours  of  light per day they will probably mature in  2  to  2.5  months.  If they get 16 hours of light per day they will probably  be blooming in 3.5 to 4 months.   With 18 hours of light per day,  they will flower in 4.5 to 5 months.  Its a good idea to put your  lights  on  a timer to ensure that the amount of  light  received  each day remains constant.   A "vacation" timer, normally used to  make it look like you are home while you are away,  works  nicely  and can be found at most hardware or discount stores.   
           Energy Emissions In Arbitrary Color Bands
                    40 Watt Flourescent Lamps
             In Watts and Percent of Total Emissions
                                                   Daylight          Cool White         Gro-Lux        GroLux WS
Light Type               Band           Watts   %            Watt   %          Watt   %          Watt   %
~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~~~~
Ultra-Violet             -380        0.186  2.15        0.16  1.68         0.10  1.42         0.27  3.16
Violet                   380-430     0.832  9.60        0.72  7.57         0.70  9.67         1.07 12.48
Blue                     430-490     2.418 27.91       1.98 20.78        1.96 27.07        1.22 14.29
Green                  490-560     2.372 27.38        2.35 24.67        1.02 14.02        1.24 14.49
Yellow                560-590      1.259 14.53        1.74 18.27        0.10  1.42         0.83  9.77
Orange               590-630      1.144 13.21       1.69 17.75         0.44  6.05          1.36 15.93
Red                    630-700      0.452  6.22        0.81  8.47          2.86 39.55         1.86 21.78
Far Red              700-780      0.130  1.53        0.07  0.81          0.06  0.80           0.69  8.10
==================== ===========  ==========  ==========  ==========
Total                                      8.890 100.0          9.52 100.0        7.24 100.0        8.54 100.0

The plain and simple guide to growing marijuana

     Growing  marijuana  indoors  is fast  becoming  an  American Pastime.   The reasons are varied.   With the increased interest and experimentation in house plant cultivation, it was inevitable that people would apply their knowledge of plant care to growing  marijuana.   Many  of those who occasionally like to light up a joint may find it difficult to locate a source or are hesitant to deal with a perhaps unsavory element of  society  in  procuring their grass.   There is, of course, the criminal aspect of buying or  selling  grass;   Growing  marijuana is just  as  illegal  as buying,  selling, or smoking it, but growing is something you can do  in the privacy of your own home without having to  deal  with someone  you don't know or trust.   The best reason  for  growing your own is the enjoyment you will get out of watching those tiny little  seeds you picked out of you stash sprout and become  some of the most lovely and lush of all house plants.
Anyone Can Do It
     Even  if  you haven't had any prior experience  with  growing plants in you home, you can have a successful crop of marijuana by  following the simple directions in this pamphlet.  If you have had  problems in the past with marijuana cultivation,  you may find the solutions  in the following chapters.   Growing a marijuana  plant involves four basic steps:
1.   Get the seeds.   If you don't already have some, you can ask your friends to save you seeds out of any good grass they may come across.  You'll find that lots of people already have a seed collection of some sort and are willing to part with  a few  prime  seeds  in  exchange for  some  of  the  finished product.
2.   Germinate the seeds.   You can simply drop a seed into moist soil,  but  by germinating the seeds first you can  be  sure that  the seed will indeed produce a  plant.   To  germinate seeds,  place a group of them between about six moist  paper towels, or in the pores of a moist sponge.  Leave the towels or  sponge  moist  but not soaking  wet.   Some  seeds  will germinate in 24 hours while others may take several days  or even a week.
3.   Plant the sprouts.  As soon as a seed cracks open and begins to sprout, place it on some moist soil and sprinkle a little soil over the top of it.
4.   Supply  the plants with light.   Flourescent lights are  the  best.  Hang the lights with two inches of the soil and after the  plants appear above the ground,  continue to  keep  the  lights  with  two inches of the plants.   It is as  easy  as  that.   If  you  follow  those four steps you  will  grow  a  marijuana  plant.   To ensure prime quality and the  highest yield in the shortest time period,  however,  a few  details are necessary.
  Your prime concern,  after choosing high quality  seeds,  is the soil.   Use the best soil you can get.  Scrimping on the soil doesn't  pay off in the long run.   If you use unsterilized  soil you will almost certainly find parasites in it, probably after it
is too late to transplant your marijuana.  You can find excellent soil for sale at your local plant shop or  nursery,  K-Mart,  Wal Mart, and even some grocery stores.  The soil you use should have these properties for the best possible results:
1.   It should drain well.   That is, it should have some sand in it and also some sponge rock or pearlite.
2.   The  ph should be between 6.5 and 7.5 since  marijuana  does not do well in acidic soil.  High acidity in soil encourages the plant to be predominantly male, an undesirable trait.
3.   The  soil should also contain humus for  retaining  moisture and nutrients.
     If you want to make your own soil mixture,  you can use this recipe:   Mix  two  parts moss with one part sand  and  one part  pearlite or sponge rock to each four gallons of soil.   Test your soil  for  ph  with  litmus paper or  with  a  soil  testing  kit
available at most plant stores.  To raise the ph of the soil, add 1/2 lb.  lime to 1 cubic foot of soil to raise the ph one  point.
If  you  absolutely  insist on using dirt you dug  up  from  your driveway,  you  must sterilize it by baking it in your  oven  for about an hour at 250 degrees.   Be sure to moisten it  thoroughly first  and also prepare yourself for a rapid evacuation  of  your
kitchen because that hot soil is going to stink.   Now add to the mixture  about one tablespoon of fertilizer (like Rapid-Gro)  per gallon  gallon of soil and blend it in thoroughly.   Better  yet, just  skip  the whole process and spend a couple  bucks  on  some soil.
   After you have prepared your soil,  you will have to come up with some kind of container to plant in.  The container should be sterilized as well,  especially if they have been used previously for growing other plants.   The size of the container has a great
deal to do with the rate of growth and overall size of the plant.  You  should  plan on transplanting your plant not more  than  one  time,  since  the process of transplanting can be a shock to  the  plant  and  it will have to undergo a recovery  period  in  which  growth  is slowed or even stopped for a short while.   The  first container you use should be no larger than six inches in diameter and  can  be made of clay  or  plastic.   To  transplant,  simply prepare the larger pot by filling it with soil and scooping out a little  hole about the size of the smaller pot that the plant  is in.   Turn the plant upside down, pot and all, and tap the rim of the pot sharply on a counter or the edge of the sink.   The  soil and  root ball should come out of the pot cleanly with  the  soil  retaining  the shape of the pot and with no disturbances  to  the root  ball.   Another  method that can bypass  the  transplanting
problem is using a Jiffy-Pot.   Jiffy pots are made of compressed peat  moss  and can be planted right into moist soil  where  they decompose and allow the passage of the root system through  their walls.   The  second container should have a volume of  at  least three gallons.  Marijuana doesn't like to have its roots bound or cramped for space,  so always be sure that the container you  use will  be deep enough for your plant's root system.   It  is  very  difficult  to  transplant a five-foot  marijuana  tree,  so  plan  ahead.   It is going to get bigger.   The small plants should  be  ready  to  transplant  into their permanent homes  in  about  two  weeks.  Keep a close watch on them after the first week or so and  avoid root binding at all costs since the plants never seem to do  as  well  once they have been stunted by the  cramping  of  their  roots.
     Marijuana likes lots of food,  but you can do damage to  the  plants if you are too zealous.  Some fertilizers can burn a plant
and  damage its roots if used in to high a  concentration.   Most  commercial  soil will have enough nutrients in it to sustain  the
plant for about three weeks of growth so you don't need to  worry  about  feeding your plant until the end of the third  week.   The  most  important thing to remember is to introduce the  fertilizer  concentration  to  the  plant gradually.   Start  with  a  fairly  diluted  fertilizer solution and gradually increase  the  dosage.   There  are several good marijuana fertilizers on  the  commercial  market,  two of which are Rapid-Gro and Eco-Grow.   Rapid-Gro has  had  widespread use in marijuana cultivation and is available  in  most  parts of the United States.   Eco-Grow is  also  especially  good for marijuana since it contains an ingredient that keeps the  soil from becoming acid.   Most fertilizers cause a ph change  in  the soil.  Adding fertilizer to the soil almost always results in  a more acidic ph.
     As  time  goes  on,  the amount of  salts  produced  by  the  breakdown  of fertilizers in the soil causes the soil  to  become
increasingly  acidic  and eventually the concentration  of  these  salts in the soil will stunt the plant and cause browning out  of
the foliage.  Also, as the plant gets older its roots become less  effective  in  bringing  food  to  the  leaves.    To  avoid  the
accumulation of these salts in your soil and to ensure that  your  plant  is  getting all of the food it needs you  can  begin  leaf
feeding your plant at the age of about 1.5 months.   Dissolve the  fertilizer in worm water and spray the mixture directly onto  the  foliage.   The leaves absorb the fertilizer into their veins.  If  you  want to continue to put fertilizer into the soil as well  as
leaf feeding, be sure not to overdose your plants.
     Remember to increase the amount of food your plant  receives  gradually.  Marijuana seems to be able to take as much fertilizer  as you want to give it as long as it is introduced over a  period  of  time.   During the first three months or so,  fertilize  your  plants every few days.   As the rate of foliage growth slows down  in the plant's preparation for blooming and seed production,  the  fertilizer  intake  of the plant should be slowed down  as  well.   Never fertilize the plant just before you are going to harvest it  since  the fertilizer will encourage foliage production and  slow  down  resin production.   A word here about the most  organic  of  fertilizers:   worm castings.   As you may know, worms are raised  commercially for sale to gardeners.   The breeders put the  worms  in  organic compost mixtures and while the worms are  reproducing  they eat the organic matter and expel some of the best  marijuana  food around.   After the worms have eaten all the organic  matter  in  the compost,  they are removed and sold and the  remains  are  then sold as worm castings.   These castings are so rich that you  can grow marijuana in straight worm castings.   This isn't really  necessary  however,  and  it  is somewhat  impractical  since  the  castings  are  very expensive.   If you can afford them  you  can,  however,  blend  them in with your soil and they will make a  very
good organic fertilizer.