Hydroponics BC

Marijuana
Medical Marijuana

I'm not going to go over all the medical uses of marijuana as that is well documented elsewhere other than to say if it hadn't been proven to help with many medical conditions there would be no such thing as medical marijuana. Many States and Provinces have approved marijuana for medical reasons and it looks like this will only increase. This has opened up a gray area for people with permits to grow marijuana or to have designated growers that are limited to a certain number of plants (this varies region to region so before you set up a grow-op make sure you have the license and you are aware of the amount of plants you are limited to grow). Unfortunately some people are being caught growing vastly more than they are supposed to and this could cause problems for everyone down the road if we are not careful. It is just the reason opponents use to ban people from having legitimate grow-ops in their areas. So you have your license or permit whats next? I will go over the basics needed to help you get started. Actually what we are seeing more and more of lately is mini grow-ops, sort of all in one solutions for a small amount of plants, an excellent way to get started or if you are going to grow a small amount of plants. Anyway here we go.

1. Buy Seeds.

There are a variety of places you can go to get seeds. A couple of online sources are the Medical Seed Bank and Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds you can pick what you like and have it sent to your door.

Good places to keep up on what is happening with Pot / Marijuana is at Potent Pot.org lots of news on the subject of medical marijuana and other issues surrounding marijuana.

2. Germinate the seeds.

Simply drop a seed into most soil or a grow medium.  To get them going you can germinate the 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.

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 or go directly to the grow medium like Grodan Rockwool, they are highly respected in the industry see the Grodan website for more info. The first container you use should be no larger than 6 inches in diameter. Or if you are going to use soil you can use Jiffy-Pot, they are made of compressed peat moss and can be transplanted right into soil. Depending on lighting and nutrients the small plants should be read to transplant into their permanent homes in about two weeks. We also have some tips on propagation and cloning of plants. See below for Hydroponic Systems.

Growing. Here we can still go two ways, into soil or a grow medium for hydroponics.
We also have an article on potting soils and starting the plants and rooting and cutting.

3. Grow medium nutrients.

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. You can see the Rapid Gro websites for more information if you are going the hydroponics route then you need to choose the various nutrients you will use in your system and also see our Feeding page for more specific info.

4. Lights:

It is hard to have to many lights, besides nutrients lights will be your other major factor in how fast and large your plants grow. For most of use in the northern latitudes we never get enough light to really grow marijuana to its full potential so we use lights that mimic the sun as much as possible. Incandescent lights don't have enough power or if they did they could burn the plants, also they emit a lot of red light which is great for stems but not flowers and flowers is what we are after. One very popular light are the Gro Lux lights, you can get them all over. 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 big issue is 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 your 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.
The whole point of this exercise 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 it is always a good idea to use a timer. For more

5. Temperature.

The ideal temperature for the light hours is 68 - 78 degrees (20 - 25.6 celsius) the dark hours should be a 15 degree (10 degree celsius) and the room should be relatively dry. When the point is to get the resinous coating on the leaves you need to convince the plant it needs to protect itself from drying out.

6. Ventilation.

Plants breathe through their leaves, the more plants the more important good ventilation becomes. If not well ventilated the pores of the leaves will become clogged and leaves will die. With a good movement of air the poisons can evaporate off the leaves and remain healthy. If you are doing the small closet route then just opening and closing the door will be enough but if you can a small fan and opening the door at least once a day to air it out would be a better way to go. Also don't forget about keeping the humidity down, remember the dry atmosphere makes it easier for the plant to breath. For more info see our section on ventilation

7. Watering.

First don't use chlorinated water on your plants, we can handle it but they can't, even just letting the water stand for 24 hours in an open container will get rid of the chlorine and it brings it up to room temperature. You can water a plant in a three gallon container with as much as 3 quarts of water (roughly a liter). If you are using soil the point is to get the soil moist evenly all the way to the bottom of the pot. If you use a little water, even if you do it often, it seeps just a short way down into the soil and any roots below the moist soil will start to turn upwards toward the water. The second most important thing about watering is to see to it that the pot has good drainage. There should be some holes in the bottom so that any excess water will run out. To discover when to water, feel the soil with your finger. if you feel moisture in the soil, you can wait a day or two to water. If you are doing this hydroponically this is a whole different method. With hydroponics you are usually running a drip system with a pump so it really depends on the size of the pump and the size of your medium and the size of your drippers but 4 times a day for 10 minutes works for a lot of setups. Also if you are doing this the hydroponic way it is good to keep track of the pH and TDS, you can see here for more info on that.

 
8. Pests.

Spider mites, Western Flower Thrips, Glasshouse Whitefly, Aphis gossypii and Aphidoletes aphidimyza are some of the pests than can really cause you a lot of problems, there are natural ways to keep them in check besides pesticides, we have an extensive article for the natural way of pest control. You really have to keep an eye on your plants or by the time you get to them it could be to late.

 
9. Harvesting and curing.

Once your marijuana is ready you will want to cure it right away so that it smokes clean and won't bite. You can avoid that "homegrown" taste of chlorophyll by first, pulling the plant up roots and all and hang it upside down for 24 hours. Then put each plant in a paper grocery bag with the top open for three or four days or until the leaves feel dry to the touch. Now strip the leaves off the stem and put them in a glass jar with a lid. Don't pack the leaves in tightly, you want air to reach all the leaves.

The main danger in the curing process is mold. If the leaves are too damp when you put them into the jar, they will mold and since the mold will destroy the resins, mold will ruin your marijuana. you should check the jars every day by smelling them and if you smell an acrid aroma, take the weed out of the jar and spread it out on newspaper so that it can dry quickly. Another method is to uproot the plants and hang them upside down.

You get some burlap bags damp and slip them up over the plants. Keep the bags damp and leave them in the sun for at least a week. Now put the plants in a paper bag for a few days until the weed is dry enough to smoke. Like many fine things in life, marijuana mellows out with age. The aging process tends to remove the chlorophyll taste.

Hydroponic Systems.
Eco Grower

As we went over above there are two ways to grow your medicinal marijuana, with soil and without soil. Without soil is the hydroponic way. There are small systems and large systems all with various ways to customize them. Also we have many articles on the main page to help you get going growing your plants. The one on the left is called the Eco Grower. This has been just a begineers guide to get your started, there are other issues like CO2 enrichment and Pest Control to consider.

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Gardening For Beginners Growth Chart Feeding and Watering