As is the case with many cannabis farmers, we all want to know how to improve the yields of the crop as well as get the most from the garden. This article will enlighten you on some of the options that you have and effective ways in which you can improve your crops.
i) Use the screen of green method of cultivation for your cannabis plants. Abbreviated ScrOG, this is a method of cultivation that directs the buds of the plant on the lower branches upwards by utilizing light optimally. This is because a screen is used to force the cannabis plants to become dense on the lower branches so that a canopy of sorts is created at the level of the screen. This is where the term screen of green was coined from. The use of the screen is ideal for indoor gardens, and provides great yields for the farmer.
ii) The first step to get the best of this form of cultivation is to properly screen the plants, preferably 25” above the plants. The screen must be strong enough so that it does not collapse under the weight of the plants. The screen must also have open squares which is where the plant will pass through. The point of doing so is to control how tall the plant grows while facilitating for the formation of cannabis buds.
iii) To get the most out of your cannabis crops in an indoor garden, wait until the plant is about 10’’ tall before getting rid of the colas located at the very top of the plant. This encourages the development of branches within the stem.
iv) When the emerging branches start to stick out through the holes, work to make sure that the branches are directed away from the main stem. This has the effect of encouraging horizontal growth so that the plant develops quite densely in a lateral manner across the screen.
v) Pruning is not the preserve of outdoor gardens, so make sure that before the plants get to the top of the screen, you get to chop off the branches on the lower part of the plant. This way, the cannabis plant is able to channel its efforts to the development of the buds, which is the important aspect of cannabis cultivation.
vi) Forceful flowering in cannabis plants is another step of cultivation of cannabis plants using the screen of green. To do this effectively, you will need to place them on a light schedule that means 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness so that the plant focuses its energy on bud production. This stage takes anywhere between 8 and 11 weeks, and this really depends on the cannabis strain of choice.
vii) Lastly, you must ensure that you tie the branches securely to the screen. While this needs to be firm, you also need to make sure that you do it gently so that you do not destroy the delicate flowering parts.
The use of ScrOG is perfect for cannabis growth indoors particularly if space is a limiting factor. A simple method that is easy to implement and which provides great yields, the ScrOG is a method that cannabis farmers ought to think about.
One of the most interesting facets of outdoor cannabis cultivation is that you have to allow the plants to grow alongside the natural elements of the weather. The good news, however, is that if well cared for, one can get great yields from outdoor cultivation of this great plant. To do so effectively, it becomes important to learn the proper watering techniques to make sure that the plants get adequate water and thrive in the setup. There are a number of factor that affect the watering techniques to be used, and they include:
- The location of the outdoor garden
- The traits of the land on which the garden is located, that is, does it slope? What about the characteristics of the soil?
- The genetics of the particular cannabis strain.
- The stage of development in which the cannabis plants are in
If you have a fair share of cannabis plants, then manual hand watering techniques should suffice. Some cannabis farmers choose to transport the water from the source to the garden. This is very taxing, so when scouting for a cannabis garden location, it becomes important to settle for a garden that is preferably close to the water source. If you have just a few plants, you may want to consider transporting the water to and fro. For a large outdoor garden, the ideal method of transporting the water would be to use pumps that are either solar-powered or gas-powered. Granted, this is a less manual method, but which has its own drawbacks. The disadvantage of this is that the setup tends to be rather loud, and may draw unwanted attention.
Another method of watering that one can use to water the cannabis plants is drip irrigation. This need not cost an arm and a leg as you can improvise your own apparatus for this form of irrigation. Simply create holes at the bottom of a plastic container and fill it with water so that water is continuously and steadily released to the base of the cannabis plants. One of the most distinct advantages of this system of irrigation is that once it is in place, all that you will need to do is to refill the containers. Using this watering technique, in case the plants are not getting sufficient water, you will simply add more watering containers. Alternatively, enlarge the sizes of the holes so that more water seeps through. In this case, you will also need to refill the containers more frequently.
If you happen to have a kitchen garden for your cannabis plants, then a water hose pipe will suffice as there are not too many plants to attend to. The bottom line as far as watering cannabis plants is to make sure that there is enough water, as well as to ensure that the correct composition of the soil is present. For your cannabis plants to grow well, watering is integral during cultivation.
Many cannabis farmers think that the plants are only affected by pests, but cannabis plant diseases are just as serious. There are many diseases and fungi that can affect your cannabis plant, and it is therefore important to know what these diseases are and find apt methods to contain the same in order to prevent the spread to plants that are unaffected. If left untouched, there is great possibility that the disease will spread to the rest of the crop, and may even be carried by an pests present, easily causing chaos in your cannabis farm.
Speaking of disease-carrying pests, it is imperative to note that these pests can easily reduce your efforts to nought regardless of the stage of plant development. There are many factors that lead to such, including:
- The specific stage of growth
- The carrier pest
- How vulnerable the plant is at the stage of growth. This is further amplified by the fact that some pests choose to settle for a young plant in its initial stages of development while others opt for a more established host.
There are two broad categories of diseases in cannabis plants: there are fungal diseases and bacterial diseases. Regardless of the type of disease that affects the plants, it is very important to prevent the spread of the disease. Prevention, they say, is better than curing, and this couldn’t be more apt than in the cannabis plants. Even with proper care of the plants, it is still possible that there could be subtle disease attacks.
What causes fungal diseases in cannabis plants?
Fungal diseases will often be the result of increased humidity in the grow room. It may also be triggered by extremely soggy growth, mediums that are sometimes accompanied by imbalanced acidic levels. Depending on the cannabis strain that you are growing, as well as the method of cultivation, it is possible that light could be a distinct factor among the causative agents of fungal diseases. In the hydroponics mode of cultivation for instance, the reflection of light predisposes the plant to fungal attacks.
It is also important to note that fungal spots may be transported to the indoor garden by currents of air, and for this reason, installing n air filtration system will go a long way in ensuring that the spores are caught before they can access your plants. It is preferable to use an air filter which is high level because the greater the value of this, the greater the chances that the fungal spores will be netted. One can also make use of a germicidal bulb that is situated within the filtration apparatus so as to protect the indoor gardens. This bulb works by emitting a light that destroys disease-causing micro organisms. This therefore, works to complement your efforts in prevention of disease.
Bacterial diseases on the other hand, are likely to occur in cannabis plants with low oxygen concentration. In sharp contrast with viruses, bacteria can survive with temperature extremities and may be carried by unsterilized gardening tool. Since they have stages of dormancy, it is imperative to prevent bacterial infestation.
Snails and slugs are not only very slimy and gross, they can also be a nuisance if you are trying to manage your cannabis farm well. This is because they will easily feed on the plants, much to the loss of the farmer. Even before we delve into ways to manage the situation, how does one differentiate between the two? Slugs are slimy creatures, and measure just about an inch, with their characteristic long antennas. Snails are simply slugs that walk with their homes on top of them in the form of shells that are shaped spirally. When the snail feels threatened, it can very easily retract to its shell.
You will notice if there is a snail or slug problem when you realize glistening trails of mucus on the plants or on surrounding foliage. This is because the two, belonging to a group of mollusks are nocturnal and will only manifest during the night, probably when you are away. Slugs and snails are well known for causing damage to cannabis seedlings and creating holes in the older plants. Below are some of the handy tips that you can put to action to prevent your crop from this damage.
1) One of the most effective and time-tested ways involves taking a biological approach. Introduce predators that will feed on the mollusks. House frogs are a good place to start, especially if you provide a mulch layer to deal with the problem at hand.
2) You would be amazed to learn that snails and slugs actually love beer. Place several beer cans on the farm. You could also feel containers with the same, and since the idea is to eliminate the pesky slimy creatures, do not use your favorite brand of beer. The molluscs will be attracted to the beer, and in an attempt to take as much as possible, will swell and die. Death by beer, you could say! Only make sure that you empty the contents of the containers the moment they are full. This will also avoid creating a messy spillover.
3) Some farmers have traditionally used salt to get rid of the snails and this works just as well. The snails and slugs are attracted to the salt, and when they eat it, they simply roll into a ball of sorts and die from their indulgence. What is the biological explanation behind this? It is rather simple, the salt causes the snails and slugs to undergo severe dehydration, so that their functionality is distorted and they eventually die. Place jars that contain the salt in accessible places and make sure to get rid of all the dead snails and slugs in the garden. Death by salt, you could say!!
Owing to the relatively common occurrence of snails and slugs in different places across the world, it is important for the farmer to know how to get rid of them.
Stretching is a fundamental facet of growth in cannabis plants, and as such, must be approached with caution in an endeavor to make sure that the plants are getting optimal care. Granted, there are farmers who opt for plants with shorter stems while a good number would prefer to have plants with longer stems. At the end of the day, the use of techniques to create the difference in the lengths of the stems presents a matter of individual preference. For this reason, I have put together a list of the factors that affect the length of a cannabis plant. Here are some of them in greater detail to aid the farmer and allow for comprehension of the same.
i) The amount of heat present in a cannabis garden has profound effects on the growth of the plant’s stems. With an increase in the temperature, the cannabis plants tend to grow longer. Interestingly, at about 15 degrees Celsius, the plant ceases to increase in growth and at this point, the stems increase in girth. At 27 degrees Celsius, a keen cannabis farmer will take note of the fact that the buds and stems start to increase in size.
ii) For cannabis buds that stretch too close to the source of light, the result is an airy bud that is not of the best quality. Some farmers attribute this to a condition known as ‘light burn’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. What happens is that the heat emanating from the lighting creates an extremely hot surrounding so that the bud starts to expand in a bid to dissipate some of the heat.
How can one solve this situation? One of the most effective solutions is to make use of a lamp that can be cooled using air. Another amazing option at hand is the use of water cooled lamps. Both types of lamps have the advantage of preventing the bud bulkiness that is characterized when the buds are too close to the lamp.
iii) The methods described above work best for small-scale cannabis farmers, but what happens if one has cultivated cannabis on a large scale? The ideal technique is the use of temperature inversion, a technique where temperatures are elevated during the dark schedule and decreased during the light schedule. The result is that the plant will improve vertically yet the yields remain unaffected.
iv) When there is not too much light, the cannabis plants tend to undergo stem elongation with the intention of growing taller in a bid to access more light. To prevent this form of stretching, farmers will typically make sure that there is sufficient lighting. There are two ways to go about this: either increase the intensity of the light present or shift the seedlings closer to the light, but not too close that the seedlings burn. If the seedlings have already undergone a significant amount of stretching, try to use skewers to provide much needed support for the plants. For older plants, moving the source of light should work just well since they will typically stretch in that direction if light deprivation is the course of stretching.
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.