THIS IS INTENDED AS A GUIDE FOR LOCATIONS WHERE CANNABIS CULTIVATION IS LEGAL
As the weather heats up, so do most weed smokers. There is something about the spring and summer season that highlights the toker in all people. And, often, it draws out our green thumbs, too!
For the more passionate marijuana fan, their interest frequently turns from rolling joints to another element of the plant-- growing. Around this time every year we get flooded with questions from the home enthusiast inquiring about growing "just one little pot plant" in their own home.
How to Start
Initially, let's eliminate any worry you might have that this is going to be hard. It is not.
We call it "weed" for one simple factor-- it grows quickly and anywhere, like a weed. That being said, there is one central element to growing a pot plant that everyone has to understand, which is that cannabis is a blooming plant, meaning that in nature it bears its flowers within a year, during the fall season when the daytime hours grow shorter.
This is important for the home indoor grower since the light period, or photoperiod, of the plant needs to be controlled. What this merely implies is that a pot plant need to be positioned in 12+ hours of light every day in order to keep the plant from blooming.
You might ask, "Why not just let the plant flower instantly and harvest some nice buds and get to the cigarette smoking?"
Well, in truth, you might do that. However if an immature plant flowers too early, there won't be much harvest to be had. Preferably, a pot plant need to grow, or "vegetate," for a minimum of a few weeks prior to blooming. Otherwise, the harvesting of it's flowers will be incredibly frustrating.
In order to keep a plant alive and to garner a healthy, well-developed specimen, a young seedling should be grown for 4 to 6 weeks before blooming is induced. Throughout this time, the plant must get a minimum of 16 hours of light, but 18-20 hours is a safer bet. To do this inside your home-- even near a window with great sunshine-- a lamp will can be used to guarantee the correct length of its photoperiod.
Your lamp is going to be the most expensive part of the procedure, however there are reasonably inexpensive lamps offered that will do the job. Professional growers utilize more specialized and pricey lamps, but to grow simply one plant at home, numerous lights will work. A 250-watt HID (high-intensity discharge) bulb-- either an HPS (high-pressure sodium) or MH (metal halide)-- can be found in hardware stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot for as little as $25. Nevertheless, these bulbs do need a specialized HID component and/or ballast, as they do not screw into any standard home fixture safely. (These components might run as much as $200.). There are also great LED lights available on the market now which run with less heat and at a reduced cost.
Alternatively, if you do have a window with great light and the power of the sun for a good portion of the day, you can likewise use fluorescent bulbs to supplement the sunlight after sunset. Fluorescent bulbs such as T5's, T8's and even CFL's can supply enough light to keep your plant in a vegetative state.
Nevertheless, bear in mind that the less intense the light, the less the plant will establish. The option of fluorescent bulbs must just be used as supplemental light for plants that receive strong sunlight throughout the day. If the light provided throughout the day is too weak, a plant will extend wildly and not develop well enough for a harvest. If this is the case, consider using the 250-watt HID option for the full 12-hour photoperiod during blooming, far from a window in it's own enclosed place.
Activating the Flowering Cycle.
When your plant has established enough and reached a point that she can produce enough flowers for a decent harvest, it is time to bring her light cycle to an even 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark each day. This does not mean that you will no longer require your lamp though. During the 12-hour photoperiod of flowering, the plant will require the greatest light possible to give her energy for her flowers.
If your plant might be in direct sunlight for these 12 hours, you would not need strong extra lighting. Nevertheless, even outdoors this is typically not possible. Your finest alternative for flowering is to move your plant into an enclosed location such as a closet or cabinet where you can hang your lamp overhead and manage the light cycle precisely as needed. To do this, utilize a standard outlet timer and set it to a 12-hour cycle.
During the dark cycle, it is very important that no light goes into the plant area. Any light leaks can interrupt the plant's blooming and trigger tension or confusion and even hermaphroditism in the plant. When a Plant hermaphrodites it creates seeded flowers this seriously deteriorates yield and quality.
Other Tips & Tricks.
Aside from your light and the possible requirement for an enclosed area, other considerations for your plant include container types, mediums and nutrients. Because this discussion pertains to a single plant, there are numerous practical options for these elements of cultivation.
The very best alternatives for plant containers are those that provide breathability, such as material pots. Other considerations for plant pots include drainage holes and dishes to catch run-off. Remember not to let your plants sit in stagnant water for long periods of time as the pH will alter and eventually be redrawn by the medium and the plant. Siting water likewise draws in bugs and molds.
In terms of medium, a little bag of natural potting soil usually will suffice simply fine. Peat-, coco-, or sphagnum-based mediums are also outstanding options. Remember to choose an airy medium that will permit air to penetrate the root zone. Roots breath in oxygen, while the plant above ground takes in CO2.
Some mediums, specifically organic soils, might have mild natural nutrients such as guano or sea kelp already mixed in. This will reduce the amount of nutrients you will have to provide your plant and may not need any feedings at all until you start flowering. Recommendations for nutrients also tend towards the natural side whenever possible. Steer clear of salt-heavy synthetics such as Wonder Gro and other synthetic nutrients, as they will trigger more problems than they are worth.
Aside from those points, remember that growing a pot plant-- or any plant for that matter-- is a workout that links you with nature. The goal is to take pleasure in the process, to learn and to have fun!
Thanks for reading everyone and keep in mind: Grow ... And assist the world grow, too!
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