PH (potential of hydrogen) is a numerical way of defining the level of acidity or alkalinity of the nutrient solution we're providing our cannabis plants with. It plays a major role in the absorption and metabolism of nutrients, which directly affects the development and the health of our plants. Since it's responsible for the optimal distribution of nutrients, we could say that it directly affects the plants' well-being, giving rise to hardy, vigorous plants that are less likely to suffer from pests and diseases.
EC or electrical conductivity is one of the main things to consider when growing marijuana. This parameter expresses the concentration of mineral salts of the nutrient solution and is closely linked to the nutrition of our plants. Complementary to pH (potential of hydrogen), EC is an essential value that allows us to measure the concentration of the nutrients necessary for our plants' development at every stage of growing, directly affecting health and vigour.
How do I have to prune my cannabis plants?
Thanks to pruning, our marijuana plants will grow happier and produce better results. This technique allows us to control the growth of our plants, whether we want to make them grow sideways and develop more branches or make the most out of the available light. There are several methods, such as the 'super-cropping', 'FIMing' or 'topping', but to name just a few. They are all perfect for indoors and outdoors. However, some are only suited to the vegetative stage (growth stage) while others can be used in any phase, even during the flowering.
How do I have to dry and cure my marijuana buds?
The secret of a successful drying of cannabis buds is in the selection of a good place to store them during the 15-30 days the process lasts. Buds have to be kept in a dark but well-ventilated place with a temperature not exceeding 27ºC and low humidity levels, to avoid the development of mould and fungi. We recommend cutting off the branches and hanging them upside down, exactly as if it were your laundry, and keeping a watchful eye on the buds so as to make sure fungi don't grow in them. If you can easily break the stem with your fingers, this is normally an indicator that the process is over. Then, it'll be time to cut off the buds with scissors and to start the curing process.
Proper curing, which generally takes some 4-8 weeks, enhances the flavour and aroma of the buds. We recommend storing the buds in airtight glass jars. Don't overstuff the jar because the buds need some air to breath. Place the jar in a cool and dark place, and open it once a day to check for mould growth.
How will I know the time to harvest my cannabis plants has arrived?
The best way to know whether your marijuana plants are ready for harvest is by observing the development of the trichomes on the buds. Trichomes are small semi-transparent lollipop-shaped sticks that appear all over the flowers. In other words, the so-called resin is formed by trichomes and it's there that the plant's cannabinoids are. When 30 % of them turn amber, it means your buds are ready to be harvested. Other telltale signs that could also help you are these:
The resin production has reached its peak
The buds have stopped growing
The secondary leaves have started to discolour and most main leaves have fallen
My plant is not flowering, why is this?
The sole reason for cannabis plants not to flower is that they might be photoperiod plants and the light cycle may not have been properly changed or changed at all. When growing indoors, remember that marijuana plants are to be exposed to a light cycle of 18 hours of light / 6 hours of darkness during the vegetative phase, that is, during the growth phase. That cycle must be switched to 12/12 once we decide the time to flower has come. Unless you change the light cycle, the plant will not flower and will remain in a vegetative stage ad eternum.
Outdoors, the flowering phase begins when days start to become shorter, by the end of summer-early autumn. If your plant hasn't flowered by the time that moment arrives, it might be due to the light pollution of the night sky caused maybe by a nearby lamppost. In that case, we recommend covering the plant at night, with a dark mesh or plastic –always letting the plant breathe- that prevents direct sunlight from reaching her.
What’s the flowering phase?
The flowering phase of a cannabis plant is when the so-long-awaited buds appear and fully develop. With photoperiod plants, the stage kicks off when the light cycle is switched and the number of hours of darkness is raised. If you're growing outdoors, it generally coincides with the end of summer-beginning of autumn. Indoors, it is the grower who can decide when to switch from 18/6 to 12/12, for example. The blooming stage of photoperiod plants consists of various phases and lasts some 8 weeks, according to the strain. Indica-dominant plants tend to grow more quickly while Sativa genetics need more time.
This doesn't work for autoflowering marijuana plants because, as their name suggests, they flower automatically, regardless of the light cycle they're exposed to.
What’s the vegetative phase?
The vegetative phase of a cannabis plant is also known as the growth phase. It starts as soon as the plant stops being a seedling and its length will vary if we're growing indoors or outdoors. In the open air, the vegetative phase often coincides with the spring-summer months, right when the sunlight is more intense. During this stage, the plant will grow and develop a strong stem and vigorous branches for the forthcoming flowering phase that will start when the days shorten and the hours of sunlight lessen.
If you're growing indoors instead, you control the length of the vegetative phase. For example, you can keep your plant into a vegetative stage as much as you wish by using an 18/6 light cycle until she's big enough. Once you switch it to a 12/12 cycle, the plant will think the time to flower has finally come. Some people actually keep their plants into a vegetative state for years in order to get cuttings out of them. These are called mother plants. This is only possible with photoperiod marijuana plants. Autoflowering genetics, as the name suggests, don't depend on the light cycle but flowers automatically once they're mature enough.
How to tell if a plant is male or female?
Unlike most plants, cannabis is a dioecious plant, that is to say, it features specimens of separate sexes (female and male). Female plants are best for producing buds while males are in charge of pollination. Unless you're a highly experienced grower capable of recognizing growth patterns during the vegetative phase, it isn't until the flowering that you'll be able to discern your plant's sex.
Female plants develop a small pear-shaped bag from which protrude two hair-like stigmata, usually white in colour. Later on, these little bags will start to form resin-coated clusters that will grow and turn into buds.
Male plants also feature a tiny sack, but without any protruding stigmata. You can even see that the flower is made up of five sepals, which are an essential part of the formation of the flower's calyx, sustaining the petals. Afterwards, male plants begin to display sacs of pollen, forming a cluster that hangs down. When they develop enough, about one or two centimetres, they will open up and drop the small granules of pollen.
How can I germinate my cannabis seeds?
In spite of the many seed germinating methods available, we recommend using two most popular method:
WET KITCHEN TOWEL METHOD
The kitchen towel method comes in several iterations. Some growers use cotton wool pads or absorbent pieces of paper. For this guide, we will be using a kitchen towel as it is readily available and holds moisture relatively well.
Place one sheet of damp kitchen towel on a flat surface. Space your seeds a few centimetres apart before placing the second piece of kitchen towel over the top. You need to ensure both pieces are damp, not wet.
After 1-3 days, the seeds will start to open, and you should see tiny white tips appear. Once these roots reach 2–3mm in length, use extreme care to transfer them from the water to pre-prepared soil pots. We recommend using jiffy pellets:
Dampen the jiffy pellet
Place the seed in it at a depth of 0.5 cm, making sure the roots are looking down.
Place the jiffy pellets on a tray under the lights on an 18/6 cycle if the seeds are subject to the photoperiod and on a 20/4 light cycle if they're autoflowering. Keep a steady temperature of 25 ºC and a relative humidity of 70-80 %.
In a couple of days, the first sprouts will appear. That's when you'll have to transplant the jiffy into a pot.
GLASS OF WATER APPROACH
Incredibly simple to facilitate, beginner growers may opt to germinate their seeds in a glass of water. Half-fill a glass or bowl with water that is approximately 22°C (71°F).
Once again, when the white root tips reach 2–3mm, move the seeds (carefully) to jiffy pellets. Use the same guidance found above for planting techniques.
What do I need to grow cannabis indoors?
Growing cannabis indoors consists in recreating the optimal natural conditions for your cannabis plants' development. The basic elements you'll need are the following:
An adequate growing space: it could be a grow tent or a grow room. It's very important for it to be discreet, easy to ventilate and big enough for the plants to grow comfortably. Installing a good lighting system is also paramount.
A lighting system to recreate the most suitable lighting conditions for your cannabis plants. For this, you'll need lamps, ballasts and reflectors.
A good ventilation system that will allow you to keep a steady temperature in the grow room.
Top-quality filters and odour control systems that guarantee your crop's discretion.
When is the best time to germinate my cannabis seeds outdoors?
The best time to germinate your cannabis seeds outdoors will vary depending on the region you live in. Broadly speaking, you should do it when there's no risk of frosts, and winter has long ended. Having said this, we could give you some approximate dates depending on your region:
Temperate climates with long summers: the temperatures are milder and, in general, the germination period goes from 1 April to 30 May, though the best moment is usually in early May.
Colder and more humid climates with short summers: in these types of climates, germination can take place, in general, from 1 May to 30 June. The most recommended moment is usually early June.
Temperate climates with long summers: the temperatures are milder and, in general, the germination period goes from 1 September to 30 October, though the best moment is usually in early October.
Colder and more humid climates with short summers: in these types of climates, germination can take place, in general, from 1 November to 30 December. The most recommended moment is usually early December.