Growing Together: From Seed To Stoned’s Guide to Growing Weed Indoors
Training, Transplanting and Feeding Techniques Explained
Tune in for the second episode of From Seed To Stoned’s indoor Peyote Wifi grow. In this article we cover how to start training your plants for bigger yields, how to transplant, and feeding techniques to maintain healthy plants from start to finish.
How hard can growing cannabis be? One can simply plant a seed outside into some decent soil, and with a consistent watering schedule take a plant from start to finish. However, after many years growers have refined the process in such a way, that we can take our average grow, and push it to new limits in terms of quality, and quantity of yields. This guide will provide a nice base for a beginner to grasp the ropes on growing, and will also show you free and easy ways that you can push your garden to the next level. At the end of the day, you don’t want to just “grow weed”, you want to grow “really good weed.”
Training and Topping
One of the easiest ways to achieve higher yields is to properly train your plants to maximize their canopies overall spread, while removing growth that will ultimately drains the plants energy and produce small undesirable popcorn nugs come harvest time. The 4 plants grown here need to completely fill the entire 5×5 tent.
To do this, you need to keep the plants close to the soil and spread them out before you let them grow upwards. The easiest way to do this is by topping the plant. Topping helps redistribute a plants growth hormone from the main stalk and pushes it towards new offshoots further down the plant. It essentially forces the plant to grow outwards instead of upwards. Once the plants have started working on their 4 th and 5 th node site, you can proceed with topping.
The process itself is very straight forward. First, you take a pruning snip and disinfect the blades with rubbing alcohol. Even though infections are rare, in my opinion it is better to be safe than sorry.
Next, you remove the upper most, newer growth of the plant. This can be found right above the newest established node site. See those 2 little leaves starting to grow up? Remove those directly at the base of their stems.
Over the next few days, the plant will begin to grow 2 new main tops, instead of one. Keep a close eye on them, watering when needed, and refilling your humidifier when it gets close to empty. You can switch from the gallon bags to the humidity domes shown here. They both work the same, however these domes are considerably larger which allows the plants to remain covered for a bit longer. It can be good to use these up until a few days after transplant.
Why does it benefit your plants to start with a smaller pot, then move up in size as it matures?
Firstly, whether you pre-germinate, or place the seed directly into the soil, larger pots hold a lot more moisture than a tiny seedling can use. Smaller pots means less of a chance of overwatering, something that can easily kill a start. This makes it easier to successfully propagate. It is also a lot easier to maintain a uniform soil moisture in a small pot.
Secondly, transplanting causes the plant to produce feeder roots. Feeder roots are smaller shoots that uptake water and nutrients from the soil. Starting in a smaller pot, and then moving to a larger one creates a healthier, sturdier, root ball from the get-go.
Growing auto flowers can be an exception to this rule, because transplant shock can occur if not transferred delicately. You can transplant autos if you have experience, and are careful, but it can be easier to start your autos in the pots you plan to finish in.
However, these Peyote Wifi’s are photo periods, so if transplant shock does occur, there is not the same time pressure, and you can give the plants the proper time to recover.
Using an Inoculant
Grab an empty starter pot and create a 1:1 hole in your finishing pots. Next, take some DynoMyco, which is a Mycorrhizal Inoculant, and sprinkle it into the newly created holes. Using an inoculant will increase the chances of transplant success and will also cause the roots to grow much faster.
Next, carefully take your starts, and gently press around the edges of the pot to loosen the root ball. Once loose, flip the plant over and with a little nudge, the root ball should slide out.
Once the plant is free, you can apply more DynoMyco to the root ball directly, and then gently place the plant into its finishing pot. It is important to note that because of the high humidity levels during propagation you can get bits of algae on the top of your soil. This isn’t something to be too concerned with as the problem won’t persist once you remove the humidity domes.
If you are careful, and have inoculated the soil, the plants should bounce back fairly quickly. It is normal for the plants to be a little droopy directly after transplant, just be patient and let them adjust. After 24 hrs, the plants should have perked right back up and look happy again. To be on the safe side give them a few days rest before applying your first feed.
Feeding Your Plants
Depending on what medium you use, the time for feeding can vary. Some pre-amended soils can last about a month, where some will last about 1-2 weeks, and if you’re in a medium like coco-coir, I’d suggest feeding within the first week of life.
Having experimented with a ton of different nutrient brands previously, for this run, Earth Juice Sugar Peak lineup was used. One of the great things about Sugar Peak is it’s a one-part liquid nutrient system. This means that technically you don’t need to mix any other nutrients together to take a grow from start to finish. You use Sugar Peak Vegetative during veg, Transition for transition, and so on. This makes the process a lot easier than having to mix 5-7 different solutions for a single feed. Although this is a one-part system, 2 extra solutions were added to the feed: Oilycan, which is a Calcium-Magnesium supplement that has no nitrogen meaning you can run it later into flower and Xataylst, which is a blend of molasses, kelp, bran, and yeast. These aren’t strictly necessary to run with the sugar peak lineup, however, it certainly can benefit your grow, if you don’t mind adding 1 or 2 extra solutions to your feed.
Using a 5-gallon mixing bucket, add one gallon of water. You can use tap water, but only if the PPM is low. The tap water used here comes out a 50 PPM, which is considered pretty low. It is definitely recommended to test your tap water with a PPM meter and look up your cities water quality table. Because although this tap water is okay to use, some cities water can be considered hard, and unusable.
Next, it’s time to add the nutrients. For veg feeds, Sugar Peak Vegetative, Xataylst, and Oilycan were used. Because this lineup has no Silica, or Micro, it doesn’t matter what order you mix the nutrients in. So you don’t have to worry about a potential lockout due to mixing incorrectly. Here is the rough schedule used for these plants.
The most common mistake people make when following a schedule is to go by weeks, rather than what stage the plant is in. Remember, schedules are just rough guides to feeding. It’s up to you, the grower, to determine what stage the of life the plant is in, and feed, as necessary.
Once the nutrients are added, mix them all together using a large plastic spoon. It is important to mix well to ensure everything has evenly dissolved.
There are many soil growers who don’t PH their feed, but we recommend to be aiming for a PH of around 6.1 to 6.3. If the PH is too high, just add in some PH down, which is essentially just citric acid.
If feeding just plain water, you don’t need to worry about getting some water droplets on the leaves, but when feeding, you really need to try your hardest to keep the plant itself dry at all times. I’ve noticed some nutrients can burn leaves if left on top. If you do get any droplets, carefully dry the leaves off with a paper towel.
Now that the plants have moved passed the seedling stage, the light is currently hanging at 30 inches at about 40% power. As the plants continue to age and mature, both the light and intensity will be raised as needed. Judging by their tight internodal stacking, and vigorous growth, this lighting seems to have dialled in nicely.
So far, you can see two distinct phenotypes. One is growing very compact, boasts a great healthy look, and seems to expand the fastest. The other, is certainly lankier. Stacking is not as tight, and tends to stretch a bit more. Training these two classes of phenos is going to prove interesting in the coming weeks as we want the canopy to be perfectly even by the time they go into flower.
How to Maximise Yield for Cannabis Plants: Part 4- Finishing
So you’ve spent a few months growing marijuana plants, watching them flower, and giving them the right amount of nutrients and water that they need. You’re done, right? Well, almost. After the growth period, growers are just about done with their marijuana plants – but not quite yet.
In part 4 of the series How to Maximise Yield for Cannabis Plants we will show you all about finishing. This post is a follow on from:
HOW TO MAXIMISE YIELD FOR CANNABIS PLANTS – PART 3 – THE GROW
HOW TO MAXIMISE YIELD FOR CANNABIS PLANTS – PART 2 – PREPARATION
HOW TO MAXIMISE YIELD FOR CANNABIS PLANTS – PART 1 GENETICS
The next and final step is to properly dry and cure the buds so that the smoke is what you and your friends are after – clean, smooth buds perfect for smoking.
Why is flushing cannabis plants important?
Before you harvest your cannabis plants, it is crucial to flush them. Flushing is simply a matter of providing your plants with water, and only water, during the last two to three weeks before harvest. This step is important because will improve the taste and smoothness of the buds.
The process of flushing, and specifically why growers flush, is similar to the act of dieting on
humans, although it has exactly the opposite effect. When humans diet, it’s so that their bodies will use up the excessive fat resources and get rid of them altogether. In the end, they are slimmer and trimmer.
It’s much the same with marijuana plants. Flushing cannabis is the diet, which gets rid of excessive nutrients in the plants. Like the body is forced to use excessive fat cells on a diet, marijuana plants use up the extra nutrients both in the plant and in the soil when they are flushed.
However, while flushing cannabis is relatively easy, getting the timing of it right can be a bit more difficult. If the flushing happens too quickly, it can reduce the yield of the crop. But even more so, neglecting to flush the plants can cause that chemical taste to come through in the smoke, causing the taste to be off and the smoke to be excessively harsh.
Some growers choose not to flush because they believe they can fix any problems during the curing process. While this is somewhat true, in the sense that flushing problems can be corrected during curing, it’s not recommended to skip the flushing step altogether.
Generally speaking, marijuana plants should be flushed about two weeks before they’re harvested. However, depending on the strain and the grow set-up, flushing could be required sooner or later. The best way to know when cannabis plants are ready to be flushed can be seen through their trichomes.
When the trichomes of a plant are milky and white, this is the perfect time for flushing, but still too early for harvest. Those who are growing in amended soil, such as Super Soil, should not flush, while those grown in soil will need the typical one to two weeks for flushing. Growers using coco coir should start flushing a week before harvest, while those growing hydroponically only need to flush for a few days before harvest.
When keeping cannabis plants healthy during their vegetative stage, flushing them can also be a necessary step. When leaves start to dry and turn brown, it might be an indication that there are too many nutrients in the soil. To correct this problem, some growers flush during this stage too, just to get the plants back to good health.
Best way to trim a cannabis plant
Once the plants have been grown, flushed and harvested, it’s then time to trim them. Trimming cannabis can be done either when the marijuana is still wet, or when it’s already dry. However,
most growers agree, it’s much easier to do when it’s wet. This is because trimming weed can be very difficult when it’s dry. The leaves curl inwards and almost bind to the bud, which can make it arduous to individually pick them apart and pull them off the bud.
Before you actually start trimming cannabis, there are a few things to take into consideration. The first is that you’ll need time. Of course how much time will depend on the size of your crop, but even just one plant can take quite a bit of time to trim. Also make sure you have a clean and clear table and that you do it over a non-carpeted floor, if possible. Leaves and trimmings can get everywhere, even when you’re very, very careful, so having a floor that’s easy to sweep can help.
You’ll also need some scissors, preferably the pruning kind, as well as some rubber gloves. These are important because as trimming cannabis tends to cake your hands in resin, and there’s very little that will get it off. Having rubber gloves that can simply be thrown out is very helpful.
Beginner growers should start by cutting just one branch down to determine how long it will take them, and how much they can handle within one sitting. Trimming weed can take a very long time! If you decide that it’s too much to handle and you need to take a break, the plant will be fine for another day or two until it’s cut down. Once you cut it down however, the plant can begin to dry on its own, making it difficult to trim.
Also, in addition to how many branches you cut down at once, also consider the size of the branches you’ll be cutting down. You want to make sure it’s only as much as you can handle at once, so typically a foot or two of plant is more than enough for beginners.
Now it’s time to start trimming your weed! Start by pulling all the fan leaves off with your hand. These are the full leaves with long stems that can easily be pulled off with your fingers. Once the fan leaves have been removed, you’ll have tighter and cleaner colas. But they still need to be trimmed a little further.
Next, you’ll need to focus on the sugar leaves. These are the leaves that stick out of the buds, but their stems are typically hidden from sight. These don’t absolutely need to be trimmed, but the portion that can be seen should be removed with scissors. Some growers choose to keep the sugar leaves on when they have a significant amount of trichomes on them, but this can cause a harsher smoke.
When trimming, be careful not to cut the actual buds off the branches. By leaving them on, the buds will dry out slower, which is ideal. Then, just repeat the process again with all the other branches, and once done, you’re done trimming!
Minimising the risk of mould
Unfortunately, mould is a risk to cannabis plants not only during the growth phase, but also during the drying phase. The good news is that it’s easy to prevent mould on drying plants.
The key is to make sure that they have enough air around each plant, meaning that there’s plenty of room between plants. Fans should be set up in the drying room, which will help move the air around and dry the plants. Lowering the humidity, or the amount of moisture, in the room will also help stave off mould on plants. This can be done very easily using a dehumidifier.
If mould is ever found on cannabis plants while they’re drying, it is essential to remove it right away. Mould spores can spread quickly and if not dealt with properly, can ruin an entire plant.
Drying marijuana buds
Many people think that drying and curing their buds are different processes. However, that’s not true. Curing actually begins to happen the moment marijuana plants are cut down, or harvested.
While some growers like to speed the drying process along after this, so they’ll have beautiful buds to smoke later, this isn’t recommended as the growers will miss out on the many benefits that come with curing bud. Also, using really fast methods of drying weed, such as a microwave oven, will result in buds that taste and smoke terrible.
Most growers agree that the best way to dry weed is to simply cut the plant down at its base and hang it upside down. However, when growers are short on space, or there’s a lot of humidity in the area, they may also sometimes use a drying rack.
This is simply a mesh rack with many different levels that will hold marijuana on each level. When using these racks, marijuana can dry much quicker because it’s cut from the main stalk, unlike hanging them up to dry. And because that thick stem contains a lot of water, without them the weed will dry much quicker.
Other growers resort to much cheaper methods, such as drying their cannabis out on cardboard or in a paper bag. These aren’t the best methods generally speaking, simply because the buds can leave wet spots on the cardboard or paper, which will make it more difficult for them to dry.
When buds are drying, they can become particularly susceptible to mould. Because of this, it’s important that they’re in a place that’s easily accessible so that they can be checked every day. This is especially important with the first few harvests in a new place, until the drying conditions and humidity levels are known.
So how long to dry your buds? It usually takes about three to seven days, but of course this will depend on the size of the buds, the amount of buds being dried, and the conditions of the drying room. You’ll know buds are as dry as they should be when they feel dry to the touch and smaller stems snap off instead of simply bending. When they do snap off, they also should not leave a stringy trail.
So now you know everything there is to grow the best bud with the very best yields – from setting up a grow room to drying your buds. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few crops to get all the steps down perfectly. The truth is that even if each step isn’t followed through exactly perfectly, the chances are good that you’ll be able to correct it and still get a great harvest. And it will be a good lesson for the next time around. But the truth is, weed is called weed for a reason. Even for new growers, it’s fairly easy to grow, and there’s little you can do to ruin an entire crop.