One of the key things about managing a cannabis farm is that you have to be very keen on the changes that your plants go through in order to stay in the know. This way, you will be able to tell of any changes immediately they occur. You will also be in a position to know what’s best for your plants, making it easy to get the best yields from your crop. One of the common things that you are likely to come across when inspecting your cannabis crops is the presence of stretching in the plants.
Cannabis plants will stretch for a myriad of reasons, but the first and foremost point to put into consideration is the aspect of genetics and the influence that this has over the plants. Some plants, naturally will undergo stretching at one point or the other for the simple reason that this is wired in the genetics of the plant. To put this in perspective, some plants are genetically wired to grow tall, so you should anticipate changes in this regard. Some sativa varieties will grow very tall both in outdoor and indoor garden setups. Apart from genetic factors, there are also other techniques that farmers could use to make sure that they reduce the length of the stem between the leaves. Let us look at some of the causes of stretching in cannabis plants and how this can be corrected.
i) When the air in circulation is strong, it results in the movement of the stem and the leaves. The effect of this is that the stem becomes stronger and wider, therefore decreasing the rate of vertical growth. In some cases, the stems bend to a point where there are tears within the tissues of the cannabis plant. The plant’s solution to this is exhibit the growth of new tissue.
ii) This factor can be used to the advantage of the plant’s proper growth since it encourages growth of new tissue. Farmers who would like to use this to their benefit will often brush along the surface of the stem to recreate the scenario. The end result is the same: the stem becomes wider and stronger.
iii) It has also been discovered that the use of lighting could, to a large extent, be used to determine the heights that the plant will grow to. In this regard, blue light has been shown to advance the growth of shorter and stronger plants, while red light has the opposite effect: it leads to the creation of taller and leaner cannabis plants. It is interesting to learn that metal halide lights, if used when the cannabis plant is in the vegetative phase will often result in plants with a short stem, high pressure sodium lamps on the other hand, cause plants to have significantly long stems.
Infrared lighting is another option that one can use. While this cannot be seen with the naked human eye, its use has a significant role on flowering plants, and as such, should only be used in this stage.
Medicinal cannabis is used to treat many illnesses in the nation. It can be grown in soil and hydroponically using other media instead of soil.
This is cannabis that is artificially grown instead of growing in soil. This cannabis is fed and aerated artificially. This way of growing medical cannabis, although not difficult, requires some effort to succeed. There are many methods that have been created to grow hydroponic cannabis, some simple and others complex. The secret is choosing a growth system that suits you. Whether you are growing medical cannabis in soil or hydroponically, there are a few tips to help you grow healthy plants.
Watering the Plants
When growing medicinal cannabis, you need to water the plants properly and make sure that they are not under or over watered. Simple dummy-proof containers will help you to effectively do this. When the cannabis is grown in soil, irrigation can be used. Capillary action is the method that plants like to use to take in water. There are also many cheap watering containers that can be used to water medical cannabis plants.
Medicinal cannabis plants require key nutrients to grow healthy just like other plants. A mix of nutrients from the soil and nutrients bought in shops is used to provide a balance. Some of the nutrients bought in shops are made up of powder or liquid nutrients which are added to the soil. When growing medicinal cannabis, you can use soil that already has nutrients or you can use soil that does not have nutrients and add nutrients from shops. Avoid over fertilization of the soil as this will burn the plants.
Good Oxygen Concentration
Hydroponic cannabis requires the correct concentration of oxygen to grow healthy. Unlike plants that grow outside in soil that get their oxygen from the air, those growing hydroponic cannabis need to ensure the plants get enough oxygen by adding it to water before the plant is watered.
For medicinal cannabis to grow healthy, there has to be sufficient light. Depending on where you are growing the plants, ensure light sufficiency by using the re-circulating hydroponic system if more light is needed. More light is needed in winter to provide the required warmth to the plant to easily process the nutrients. The plant environment needs to be kept cooler in summer as we have a lot of heat. An optimum temperature of at least 15 degrees centigrade is required by the plant to provide adequate nutrients. Hydroponic Horticultural lighting that is easy to control is the best for hydroponic cannabis. In case the temperatures drop below 15 degrees centigrade, allow the nutrients to be heated everyday for at least four hours. Ensure that temperatures do not exceed 30 degrees centigrade and the nutrient solution’s PH level is between 6 and 6.5. Clean water should also be used as much as possible.
Follow these tips in growing hydroponic cannabis and you will easily reap a good harvest.
Scales are insects that have a remarkably severe effect on cannabis plants. An infestation will result in the plant showing stunted growth, and consequently very poor yields. Yellowing of the leaves is among the first signs of scale infestation. In very extreme and severe infestations, the plants wilt and eventually die off. Another symptom that the infected cannabis plants will show is the presence of a sticky substance known as honeydew. This substance creates the optimal conditions for the development of a fungal species known as sooty mould which only serves to worsen the damaged condition of the plant, this is because the fungus causes the leaf to exhibit dark spots on its surface, thus significantly reducing the surface area for photosynthesis to occur.
When this mould affects the cannabis buds, the buds cease to be marketable as the quality decreases exponentially. The scale infestation also causes the cannabis crop to lose its natural look especially since the fungus is extremely hard to get rid off. The affected cannabis plant parts will also release an offensive odor that makes it difficult to harvest even upon maturation. Evidently, there are a number of concerns for farmers who have experienced this type of pest infestation. More importantly is the issue of control – how does a cannabis farmer control or manage the infestation of this species of insects? Below are some of the time-tested and effective ways in which one can deal with scales.
- Since adult scales have a protective covering made of wax on their outside, pesticides will not work when used on them. If a cannabis farmer has to use pesticides to get rid of the scales, the pesticides must be directed at the immature scales as this lack the waxy covering.
- There is the option of using spot treatments on the cannabis plants if the scales are present. This involves the use of insecticidal soap to kill the insects. The insecticidal soap works by sealing off the breathing pores on the scales so that they undergo dehydration and die. Horticultural oil will work just as well. It is important for farmers taking up this option to note that at the very least; three treatments that are spaced out are required to effectively get rid of the scales. This will repeated every seven days until all the scales have been removed.
- Since the scales do not fall off automatically, it is important for farmers to check that the insects have been eliminated successfully. When removed, the scales should be dry if they have died.
- A farmer can also make use of organic options by decreasing the supply of Nitrogen. Nitrogen works by making the plants thrive so that they are full of sap. It is this sap that the scales feed on.
- Wash the plants using warm soapy water and cotton wool, taking time to rub off the scales.
- Lastly, if you are looking to introduce new cannabis plants to your garden, make sure that they are not infected.
If you are new to the field of cannabis cultivation, or are wondering how to make the best of your outdoor garden, then this article is ideal for you because it contains tips to help you do so successfully. Read through the tips to establish what should work for you as far as outdoor gardening of the green herb is concerned.
i) You can always plant the cannabis towards the end of spring. The recommended period for planting is between March and July. When you carry out planting far much earlier than this you are likely to end up with bigger plants. The disadvantage of planting Cannabis much later is that it poses the risk of preventing the plants from entering the flowering phase when the plants are still tiny.
ii) In the outdoor gardens, you could always use soil for cannabis cultivation. There are farmers who opt to plant the crop directly into the earth while some prefer to use containers to plant the cannabis crop. Note that for the latter, one must use large containers so that the plants are in a position to produce bigger buds.
iii) Carry out pruning in your outdoor cannabis garden. The purpose for this is to ensure that the plants remain in a manageable size. The result is that the plant becomes bushy and therefore channels its energy from growing taller to growing wider. Generally speaking, when the main stem is pruned, it produces far much greater yield.
iv) Add fertilizer that is made from vegetable mix. Alternatively, use vegetative formula that is specially designed for a hydroponic setup. This has the advantage of maximizing yields. It is crucial that you follow all the instructions as indicated on the packaging. Failure to do so will result in chemical imbalances which are certainly not good for the plant.
v) The increase in dark hours during late summer play a critical role in the development of the cannabis plants since it ensures that the plant is introduced to flowering. A number of strains will stop showing vegetative growth almost immediately while others not only continue growing, they also increase in size. The outdoor cannabis plant will typically take anywhere between 50 and 70 days for [bud maturation to occur once the plants have entered the flowering phase.
vi) Once flowering has began, make changes in the use of the fertilizer to make sure that the cannabis plants are getting the right nutrients for the development of large buds.
vii) Take note that there are two varieties of cannabis plants: those that are triggered by a brief dark period and which are aptly referred to as early season varieties. There are also those which are triggered by extended periods of darkness, and which are referred to as late season varieties. Knowing what category your cannabis plants belong to will go a long way in helping you avail the optimal conditions.
viii) About 6 weeks into the flowering phase, the buds will start producing an odor in readiness for harvesting.
1) Use granite dust to control the levels of potassium as this dust slowly releases the mineral. It also contains other microelements which help with the stabilization] of alkalinity in the soil. Farmers are advised to mix the granite dust with compost in the ratio of 1:1. The soil is then tilled in order to prepare the cannabis bed. When this mixture is introduced in the soil the granite dust triggers the growth of organic material which provides nutrients for the required microbes. The mixture also has the advantage of holding the soil particles together thus helping with the proper use of water.
2) Get chelated minerals to help the cannabis plants with the function of transport of oxygen and nutrients which are required for the proper development of the plants. By definition, chelated minerals are those which have been bound by the use of organic compounds. These minerals come in handy in altering deficiencies arising from poor supply of various minerals. These minerals are commonly used for sorting out deficiencies arising from a shortage of manganese, copper, iron and zinc minerals. In fact, a number of hydroponic growth mediums contain chelated minerals.
3) Gypsum is yet another option that cannabis farmers have when dealing with mineral deficiencies. It is ideal for altering the levels of sodium minerals in the soil. It also comes in handy since it is a rich source of both calcium and sulphur. It also has the advantage of decreasing excessive aluminum which often leads up to toxicity in the cannabis plant. Gypsum has numerous advantages since it also prevents formation of crusts in gardens where the soil is predisposed to such events. This makes it ideal to add to clay soil prior to the planting of the cannabis.
4) Lime is readily available in different stores, and is a compound that is commonly used to ensure proper adjustment of pH (leading to an increase in the pH value). It can also be used to correct calcium deficiency and manganese deficiency in cannabis plants owing to its increased alkalinity. You should, however, steer clear of adding lime and fertilizer simultaneously as this will create zero effect and also causes harm to the soil.
There are different types of lime, each with its own set of traits. Some of the most common examples include: hydrated lime which is also referred to as slaked lime, dolomite lime as well as lime in liquid form.
5) Urea is also used in the correction of mineral deficiencies. A derivative of urine, this is a substance that is rich in Nitrogen and is therefore appropriate for the correction of nitrogen deficiencies. It is important to note that when urea is mixed with soil, it undergoes various chemical reactions that cause the release of ammonia gas. When produced in excessive amounts, it leads to burning of the seedlings. For this sole reason, it is very critical that the cannabis farmer follows the instructions on the packaging to the letter.
The use of soil as a medium of growth plays an integral role in the proper development of the cannabis plants. This also has an immense effect on the kind of yield that a farmer will get once the plants mature. For this reason, it is important for a cannabis farmer to know what the basic requirements for the use of soil are. When looking at the physical characteristics of the soil that you would like to use, it helps to choose soil samples that have a fluffy texture as this is the kind that permits proper and easy drainage. What’s more, such soils tend to have more nutrients when compared to conventional types of soils.
In case you would prefer to plant your cannabis crop in a set of large containers, then you may find it helpful to use fertilizer to make sure that your plants have a rich foundation. If you opt to use a more natural setup as is the case with outdoor cannabis gardens, then you may want to settle for ]proper preparation prior to choosing any given soil type. This is key because it will allow you to choose something that is ideal for the kind of strain that you would like to grow.
Whichever type of growth medium one would like to use, there are key similarities between all of them, and this includes the provision of adequate nutrients, proper lighting as well as sufficient amounts of water. Take note that even for cannabis plants that are grown in the outdoors in natural soil, the three elemental nutrients that must be availed include Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous, abbreviated N,K and P respectively. You may have taken note of the fact that these are the very same elements present in different brands of plant fertilizer.
When choosing fertilizer to apply on the cannabis plants, you want to settle for a brand that clearly indicates the percentages of each type of element present. This should be found on the packaging of the fertilizer. Another important thing to note is that these elements are always indicated in the following order: N-P-K. For your plants to grow healthily in soil, these three elements must be made available in the proper ratios. The challenge for many cannabis farmers who opt for an outdoor soil garden is to create a balance between the nutrients provided throughout the growth cycle of the cannabis plant.
To make this easy when using soil as growth medium, farmers are better placed if they use fertilizers that come with instructions on how to balance the pH. It is interesting that even in such cases, some plants may still exhibit a number of deficiencies that result when the plant does not use up the nutrients effectively. This can be resolved by providing the required nutrients, either through watering or adding the supplemental nutrients directly to the soil. The use of soil works perfectly well when the right conditions of growth are provided.
Birds are majestic creatures, and it is little wonder that they play a significant role in the farming of cannabis. Birds are available in a wide range of sizes, colors and ability to fly. These birds can also fly high, especially if they have just passed by your cannabis garden (puns intended). Birds will normally feed on caterpillars, insects, worms and creepy crawlies that have a tendency to destroy cannabis plants. This is certainly good news, but do you know what else these birds feed on? They also feed on the cannabis seeds found in the garden. It is interesting to know that there are even species whose specialty seems to be cannabis seeds! A number of these species will belong to birds found in the wild.
Here is a list of bird species that seem to show a preference for cannabis seeds:
- The bobwhite quail
- The hemp linnet
- The magpie
- The starling bird
- The tree sparrow
- The turtledove
- The woodpecker (specifically the one that has less spotting)
- The nuthatch bird
- The morning dove
- The passenger pigeon
This is not an exhaustive list of all the birds that affect cannabis plants, but certainly represents a good number of some of the bird species that affect these plants. The good news is that there are a number of tips that you could make use of to ensure that the birds do not affect the plants. Below is a list of handy actions:
- Make use of scarecrows. Scarecrows need not be expensive as you can make such from locally available materials. The only thing about the use of scarecrows is that they need to be well spread across the garden. The number of scarecrows you use will be dependent on the size of the garden.
- To make the scarecrows effective, how about attaching tin cans to the scarecrow. The tins will make noise in the wind and scare the birds away. Aluminum plates can also be used in place of the tin cans as they serve the same purpose.
- You could even attach a set of old CDs to a string so that the CDs swing in the wind. For this option, it is important to spread the CDs across the garden. Use the string to hang the CDs on sticks. The CDs will create numerous reflections…and birds do not like reflective materials.
- Another way to keep the birds away is to place a net over the plants so that the birds do not get any access to your Mary Jane kitchen.
- One of the best and time-tested ways to keep birds away is to make use of a bird feeder. This will distract the birds from feeding on your cannabis plants when you provide food and grains for them to feed on.