Cheat Sheet for Growers
Here is a breakdown of every step of growing marijuana. These are the notes I took over one year as I studied growing. It was a great expereince, but came with much heartache and expense. The small-batch hybrid I made was fantastic, but was it worth all that time? The quality was outstanding, but that could be because I knew all the effort that went into making the finished product.
If you give this a try, be very careful with the lights. They are very powerful and produce a dangerous amaount of energy.
‘Mother’ plants are the key to product supply. They are the strongest plants from initial seed cultivation. Once these plants have matured for two (2) months, cuttings or ‘clones’ (3-6mm) are taken off the strongest branches and grown themselves as a genetic replica of the original ‘mother’ plant. This process can be repeated for the lifespan of the plant (up to 1 year), a resulting clone may be grown to become another ‘mother’ plant to retire the original.
Thousands of flowering plants will be derived from the Mother plants for the cost of the initialseeds. The Mother Room is the same environment (temperature and humidity) as well as the same lighting schedule as the Vegetative (Veg) growth room- eighteen (18) hours on/ six (6) hours dark. Temperature ranges between 22C- 28C, humidity between 40%- 50%. Lighting will be from a Metal Halide bulb -bluer in spectrum to mimic Spring sunlight intensity.
Clones are very small (6” tall) and do not require intense light or heat, only increased humidity. A fully enclosed grow tent will house trays of clones under twenty-four (24) hour florescent tube lighting. Temperature ranges between 22C- 28C, humidity between 75%-85%. One 4’ x 8’ grow tent will be enough room to maintain up to 800 clones.
The latter stage of a plants life cycle is when the flowers, or ‘buds’, begin to develop. The plants can grow to 5’ tall and occupy 1 sq./ft. of growing space. An industry recognized standard approximation of dried yield is 1lbs./ 16’ of grow space (Cervantes, Ch. 5, harvest). A 1000W High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulb on a light mover will power the each 16’ of growing area. There will be four (4) 25’ x 35’ Flower rooms. Each room will have 875 sq./ft. of growing area. Deduct 20% for walkways and fans, and there is 700 sq./ft. dedicated to flowering marijuana plants. The maximum yield expected from 700 sq./ft. of growing space is expressed in lbs. by applying the standard unit of measure to the total area (minus space for walkways and equipment)- 700/ 16 = 43.75lbs.
There will be a ‘perpetual yield’ cycle in place to accommodate more frequent harvests, as well as optimize total growing area. Clones will be taken from mother plants continuously, allowing for ample plants in each stage of growth. A plant stays as a clone for two (2) - three (3) weeks, then into the vegetative growth stage for four (4) weeks and finally into flowering for eight (8) weeks.
Based on the perpetual cycle and the four (4) Flower rooms, Western Grass will harvest one room every two (2) weeks for an approximate total of 88.5lbs/month. Each flower room will accommodate 400 plants (9 plants/16’) (9*43.75). At peak capacity there will be 1600 flowering plants. To support that figure there will need to be 800 plants in the Veg room with another 800 clones. To support the supply, a min of 40 mother plants must be maintained. The building specifications will accommodate these figures.
- Neem Oil
- Horticultural oil
- Sulfur burning
- Biodegradable soap
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- *Green Planet is the house brand of a local hydroponic supply chain Pacific Northwest Gardening. They offer a 10-part ‘Ultimate Grow Formula’ that has exact levels all clearly marked.
- *Superthrive is an additive that will be used in every watering. This solution is for daily use. Every day this nutrient solution is applied to the plants. There are different levels of minerals for different parts of the life cycle of the plant and their instructions make feeding dramatically easier and productive.
- *The pH of the solution is very important. Keeping the solution around 6.0 is crucial and must be checked daily. Nutrient solution should be 5.8-6.2 which allows for max nutrient uptake by the plant. If the solution is too acidic or basic, certain nutrients are blocked from being absorbed by roots.
- *There are 2 flushing agents in the ultimate grow that are used 4 weeks before harvest. During the final week of flowering the plants will only receive water and flushing agents. This ensures nutrients are not in the harvested buds. If left in the plant, unacceptable levels of contaminants will be in the harvested bud and our product will be unsellable. This point should be stressed- it is important to closely monitor what we feed and how we maintain our plants.
- *Poor production procedures lead way to adulterated plants, a common mistake is to feed the plants within the final week of their life cycle; for foliar sprays, it is best not to spray within 2 weeks of harvest.
- *Always use new soil! Soil is a good hiding spot for bugs, new soil prevents contamination.
- *Our soil is actually a soilless mix. Regular soil is made of organic matter which is the source of the plant’s food. Soilless mix holds the plant in place and holds water/nutrient solution around the root ball. This distinction is the central idea of ‘hydroponic’ gardening- it simply means that fertilizers are added to water to provide essential minerals for plant growth.
- *This mix provides aerated distribution for nut solution over a longer time span than conventional soil: 60% coco coir, 20% hydroton, 20% perlite. Coco is a neural, sterile medium that has excellent water retention properties. Hydroton is an expanded clay pellet and creates air pockets that are good for aeration. Perlite is a synthetic medium that absorbs water to keep in soil for longer.
- *We move the plant to bigger containers as they grow.
- *Clones are put in Rockwool cubes, then transplanted to 1 Gallon pots
- *Flowering plants will suffice in 3G pots. 5G pots are possible but not necessary. The root structure does not have time to grow past 3G
- *Have plenty of soil premixed. Clean all tools before starting.
- *Clean pots and area before introducing the plants to new environment
- *Sit plant base 2” below top of pot. This prevents soil from falling out during watering...keeps floors clean. Soil on the ground is a constant hassle, this keeps more soil near the plant.
- *Be very careful with the root ball. Hold plant by the base and gently remove from smaller pot at sideways angle. Damaging the root system will kill the plant, just discard plant.
- *We account for this planting 5% more plants into Veg than we anticipate moving to flowering.
- *Press soil firmly between the root ball and pot. You will place the ball in the pot and back-fill around it. Soil should be compressed but not tightly packed.
- *Take cuttings from lower braches, more rooting hormones are located in lower branches of plant. Take clones 3mm-6mm in stem diameter with 3-4 nodes above the cut.
- *Use Clonex Rooting Hormone. Immediately dip clone in gel for 5-10 seconds.
- *Place clone in Rockwool cube and water lightly but constantly
- *Place tray of clones on top of heat mat and under florescent lighting for 24 hours/day
- *Keep humidity high (95%)
- *Feed only water for first week then mild nutrient solution (Green Planet instructions)
- Well rooted clones enter the ‘Veg room’ and stay there for 4 weeks
- 18 hours light/ 6 hours darkness
- Plants trained and pruned
- Plant grows to 18” (strain specific) before moving rooms
- Transplant to 3 gallon pots in last 2 weeks
- Transplant to 5 gallon pots
- 12 hours light/12 hours darkness
- No nutrients for final week before harvest
- No pesticide sprays for last 2 weeks
- Plants grow from 18” up to 60” (strain specific)
- Flowers carefully and constantly monitored for problems
- Buds trimmed of leaf and stem material
- Use sterilized trimmers (with isopropyl alcohol)
- Buds dry for 5-7 days in dark, cool environment
- Trimming table to be glass top and clear of any contaminants
- Once dry, buds are placed in large vacuum sealed bags
- Bags opened 3-4 times daily for 7 days
- Once cured, buds stay stored in sealed bags until packaged for registered clients