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Old 10-08-2014, 03:41 AM
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Default Ten Tips for Beginning Indoor Gardners

Thanks to NW Leaf for the following:

Top 10 tips every gardener needs to know

August 09, 2013 | DR. SCANDERSON FOR NORTHWEST LEAF

The tips I've included are those that I feel would have saved me the greatest amount of time, money and frustration and provided more happiness and fulfillment had I only choose to follow them. no longer new, in fact itís legal! The green wave of enlightenment has blessed the Pacific Northwest with vigor, creating widespread relief, happiness and leading the way towards a new social paradigm. The widespread availability of information has allowed people to seek alternatives to conventional western medicine and enjoy cannabis as part of normative healthy living. As with many familiar behaviors, after the novelty wears off, consumers often become more critical and agreeable to create greater conveniences and freedoms surrounding their normative behaviors. The area most westerners looks is to value. If Iím getting my meds at one recommended donation per gram, can I get medication I enjoy equally for a lower recommended donation? Go down the rabbit hole far enough and you may even find yourself exploring the possibilities of growing your own cannabis. After all, with more access points than Starbucks, how hard can cultivating this plant be? For most patients is a simple matter of finding a breeder or two that put out a solid line and growing your own resulting in your most favorite flowers for about $2 a gram.

While many patients appreciate the convenience, selection and from time to time, elite quality that many collectives offer, for some allocating a small amount of time to setting up a personal grow space and cultivating a small number of plants can be a relaxing, exciting and rewarding hobby that offers spoils to the victor of the most gratifying varieties. If youíve ever considered starting a garden or perhaps recently started cultivating your own medication you may be at the beginning of one of lifeís great endeavors. In this monthís grow tech I will share with you what I hope are 10 of the most valuable tips and tricks Iíve been blessed with through working with some of the most accomplished cannabis farmers in business and my own trials and tribulations. You may have heard of some of these tips before. Perhaps you acknowledged the tip, and if youíre anything like me, quickly abandoned following it in favor of something ďbetter.Ē If you find one or two on the list that fit this category, I humbly request you reconsider abandoning it. The tips Iíve included are those that I feel would have saved me the greatest amount of time, money and frustration and provided more happiness and fulfillment had I only choose to follow them.

1-K.I.S.S.-The acronym stands for ďkeep it simple stoner.Ē

Jorge Cervantes coined this term and the longer I have been at it, the more pervasive this philosophy coincides with exceptional results. Like everything in Ďmurica, we are dominated by a capitalistic economic system that almost exclusively rewards selfish intentions and greed. Cannabis growing is a market like any other and it too is dominated by products, services and systems, many of which are unnecessary, most are over priced and all marketed as a ďcanít live withoutĒ reasons to acquire.
All this hot air seems to add to the idea that growing cannabis MUST be a highly scientific, complex and difficult to understand process. Companies come up with new products and mediums, ideas and spectrums, actions and activities all of which the cannabis farmer can take on, in an attempt to improve their results.
The effects that most new growers experience by adding in all these products or growing in specialized systems are usually poor.

Researching the tip top growers, producing the highest quality strains and learning about their system is great for overall knowledge. Thinking that mimicking their system and programs in order to achieve the same results is a mistake. Many if not most of the products and supplements out there are completely useless and generally tend to impact the garden negatively if all other aspects of the grow are not dialed in. If for instance your environment is not dialed in to manage heat exchange into your garden or maintain consistent humidity levels itís a complete waste of resources to begin adding in extra supplements and amendments in an attempt to improve the outcome of your crop because the simple basics have not been adequately mastered. Thinking about trying an obscure and esoteric lighting cycle or other growing technique in one of your first three rounds? Donít. How about using a super secret nutrient formula mix combining several different brands of supplements and nutrients, mixed according to an old ancient recipe that knocks the socks off of every other nutrient program at first? NOPE!
If you are interested in learning to grow, KEEP IT SIMPLE! Get a light, get a container, have some medium, choose one feeding program, use the base only, get a simple low watt light that doesnít generate a huge amount of heat and a fan. Remember if youíve never done this before, you might not like it. You can avoid being one of the hundreds of sellers on craigslist offering high priced equipment at a huge discount Ďcause they didnít keep it simple, went out and got everything only to find out farming wasnít for them.
Remember first and foremost in indoor gardening we are trying to emulate the plantsí natural environment. Most importantly is getting light and Co2 on the leaf surface, oxygen to the root zone and with the proper and consistent environment. AFTER, and only after some firm understandings exist surrounding what it takes to mimic an outdoor environment, given the limitation present in indoor gardens do I feel it can be helpful to try and improve the system for better results. Turns out mother nature had it right the first time. Much like adding in nutrient supplements, I recommend adding in one idea at a time and start out grounding to bring more mother nature to your garden before bringing in a new bottled nutrient if you want actual overnight results.

2-Use containers with pre-fed TLO soil that only requires adding water.

Springboarding off of the KISS idea is my recomendation for a precise style and medium I believe every new grower should use. The KISS method is SOOOOOO important to achieving super high quality results in the lowest period of time that I recommend taking it one step further by removing choices surrounding medium and nutrients. By choosing a True Living Organics medium in a container you have just eliminated all choices surrounding two of the very most difficult and important aspects of growing to master. This in turn allows you to focus on some of the somewhat simpler aspects of the garden, i.e. environment (temps, humidity, air flow, light penetration, stages of growth, finishing etc.). Additionally you are supplying the plant with the same environment and soil ecosystem that the plant evolved to grow and thrive in naturally.
By providing an ideal balance of nutrients in the properly layered medium you are all but guaranteed to get the plant exactly what it needs, in the amounts and compounds (forms) it needs it in and at precisely the correct times. Not only that but itís considerably less expensive than most bottled nutrients and allows you to focus on the aspects that usually take less time to get the hang of.
Properly mixed and cooked TLO soil requires only water from beginning to end. Opportunities to augment the mix with beneficial teaís, spikes and layers also exist after the basics are handled so you can still feel a little bit like a mad scientist EVEN with TLO growing.
Super soil by TGA is an excellent soil that checks the TLO box and unlike most states is widely available in Washington. The bags are rather expensive as they are completely and precisely mixed in the proprietary formula, cooked for the appropriate amount of time and is ready to use right out of the bag; so in other words you are paying for the time, testing and convenience. For the budget minded growers there are a couple more options. TGA makes a charge pack that you can purchase and add to organic soil to cook and create your own TGA Super Soil at a fraction of the cost. You get the same formula, but have to mix and cook the soil yourself.
As an alternative to Super Soil there is another person who is generally given credit for coining the term ďTLO growingĒ. This gardner writes for Skunk Magazine and goes by The Rev. He has one the very best TLO formulas available. His book ďTrue Living Organics; the ultimate guide to growing all-natural marijuana indoors (green candy press)Ē gives precise step by step instructions on how to create, charge and cook the exact TLO recipe he uses including the spikes, layers and beneficial teaís he recommends using and when . For True Living Organics, I have yet to find anything more cost effective, simple to understand and apply and consistently produces exceptional results than The Revís methods for True Living Organics.

3-DONíT use 1000 watt lamps

Some of you may remember comedian Tim Allen and his show ďtool time.Ē While the comedy was bad enough to make your ears bleed one of his catchphrases ďmore powerĒ highlights probably the most notorious mistakes I see new growers in this country make. Most of my secondary mentors are growers in the Europe. Coming from my Ďmurican knowledge base, I was surprised to find how unique to this country applying 1000 watt lamps for indoor gardening is. I had used them, in fact Iíd never NOT used them. Unlike most things in this country, in gardening, if some is good, more is seldom better.
Nothing could be more true especially for newer gardeners than wattage. Most problematic gardens I am called to consult for are overlighting their gardens. Itís certainly not the case that the plant canít use 1000 watts of power in ideal circumstance, itís that itís about 4 times as difficult in most circumstance to create an ideal environment for. One in which the plant can maximize the additional watts for photosynthesis to gain a benefit. In general, the heat exchange is not properly being dealt with and as a result, environmental conditions increase stress on the plants. Stressed plants do not function at maximum potential so they utilize and absorb less nutrients, light etc. 600 watt lamps are almost twice as efficient electrically when examining PAR light output compared to electrical draw and adding in the additional equipment needed to manage the heat exchange that 1000 watt lamps can create.
Those who are unfamiliar with balancing an environment for temperature, humidity and airflow for a garden environment that is constantly shifting as plants transpiration rates fluctuate, bio mass develops and changes as plants grow and flower often end up selling their equipment including their 1000 watt lamps on craigslist. JUST when you think you got it all dialed in and the plants begin to thrive, another problem arises (too much or too little humidity for instance) due to the changes in the environment that the now thriving plants are creating. In indoor applications with ceilings at or under 8 feet, I have NEVER been able to pull higher grams per watt (or lower gallons per gram for that matter) with 1000 watt lamps compared to 600 watt lamps.

4-Use HID lighting

Keeping in mind that this article is designed for beginning growers I strictly recommend avoiding ANY lighting application outside of high intensity discharge lighting. LEDís are constantly improving, plasma, convection and other newer technologies are all also emerging and developing. The reason that the HUGE majority of full time gardeners use HID lighting is that it works most effectively in the greatest number of applications. There are some outstanding gardens that use supplemental LED lighting panels, but when examining the cost to purchase one of the higher wattage panels, the consistency with results and availability of information it becomes clear that HID is the best place to start. If LED or plasma lighting were as efficient, easy to use or produced the consistent results just about EVERY LED manufacturer advertises, wouldnít EVERYONE be using them? They certainly have been around long enough....could there be another reason?
Remember that in a capitalistic society greed is rewarded. I find it interesting that someone with some very basic understanding of electrical engineering can assemble a completely customized, dimmable, spectrum controlled LED lighting panel by ordering parts from overseas manufacturers for about $400-$500 and yet most any LED lighting systems of comparable function (if they exist at all) that are indeed manufactured overseas cost three to four times that amount. Curious, isnít it?
Over the next 3-5 years I suspect much more powerful, finely dialed spectrums of LED panel will become available around $300-$500 as the technology already exists and is available at very low costs if you donít need it assembled, packaged, marketed and shipped.

5-Improve, augment, and automate

Your first grow may be your most informative. Take careful notes of what gardening activities you are engaged in, your environmental conditions, and your personal observations of your garden. This gives you the framework to review your past efforts and see if you can link negative or positive observations with a particular garden activity that you can improve or augment. For instance if you are watering every three days and switch to every other day once you get deeper into your plants maturity and notice your plants look happier, healthier and are growing faster, go back and see when you changed to every other day. Maybe on the next round you switch to an every other day method earlier and see the results of that and adjust.
Again, make it easy on yourself. Plants thrive on consistency. When starting a new garden it can be difficult to create new habits with 100% consistency. If you are following the advice contained within and choose a TLO medium, you only need to add water. Setting up an automated watering system that can apply a specified amount of water to a small number of plants at particular intervals is low cost, reasonably simple and an easy way to compensate for any lack of consistency your life may create. Automation also adds to the enjoyment factor by saving you time, caring for your plants when you are not able to and ensuring consistency.
Itís also extremely important to actually think about and write down some best practices. If you are entering your growing environment you should be aware that any interaction between your immediate grow environment and the outside (including you) creates the opportunity for parasitic infestation. By always doing simple things like washing your hands, using hand sanitizers, having one set of clothes you wear when in the garden, removing your shoes, couple of light regular cleaning details you are creating best practices and highly limiting your risk of infestation.

6-Donít grow from clones

Just donít. Why? Why are you growing from clone in the first place? You want a particular pheno of cannabis? Think you are getting a head start on seeds by using a rooted clone? Let me explain why it may only LOOK like acquiring clones maybe the fastest way to achieve this.
You should know that simply because one gardener ran a strain and got a particular result at one point that you may not achieve the same result with that clone. The garden style, medium, methods, lighting and all other variables are not likely to match yours exactly. Even if all the data points match there is an interaction between the plants and gardener that invariably is expressed through differences in the end product.
Thatís all assuming that epigenetic variation hasnít affected the original mother plant. People often like to debate about genetic drift amongst clones. A clone is an exact genetic copy of the mother plant so it should produce the exact same medication over and over and over again right? ONLY in theory. Ask any gardener who has kept the exact same mom for a few years and very consistently you will find that the strain used to be different according to them. Many possible reasons exist for this.

First off, we are trying to imitate nature. Cannabis is an annual so keeping it in itís vegetative state for a prolonged period of time (mothering the plant so itís purpose is to only give off clones), is NOT what it does in nature. Eventually, in my experience most plants begin to show signs that they are not meant to stay in a perpetual vegetative state year in and year out.
Of all the theories I heard or read about, from the location on the plant where you take the clones, to the length of time a plant stays in vegetative state; far and away the most compelling data I have found that is supported by some in the scientific community has to do with epigenetic drift. While many in the scientific community are hesitant to explore this field due to the potential of upsetting the largely accepted Darwinian idea that ONLY full genetic mutation causes evolution, epigenetic variance refers to changes in gene activity without an alteration of the DNA coding of the plant but rather the style of itís structure, i.e. how tightly the chromatin is condensed and packed.
Barbara Hohn, a scientist in Basel Switzerland, is generally given credit as the first scientist to document how epigenetic variation can create ďmemoriesĒ in plants that permanently affect the plant, any clones, seeds and in fact changes the plantís genomes resulting in new combinations of DNA in the plants.

Thatís the GOOD news. Thereís bad news too. Not only are you not likely to get the same finished product but letís suppose for a moment you donít subscribe to that whole scientific community, DNA mumbo jumbo. This may hit home. Letís assume for a moment that somehow, no matter what, you WILL get the EXACTLY same finished product as you hope if everything was ideal. Thatís ONLY assuming the clone is clean and STAYS clean during transport.
Pathogens are clever little entities. Often they canít be seen with a visual inspection and can often thrive in healthy environments. Compare your desire to get a particular strain to the stress and havoc that you will be exposed to by bringing in parasites and pathogens and there is NO question. With the widespread increase in cannabis cultivation, there has been stark increase in parasites that are considerably more difficult, bordering on impossible to eradicate. They can be devastating and can often only be treated using difficult to find, questionably safe products. Nightmares like TMV (a virus with no known cure), Phylloxera (root aphids) and now Broad or Cyclamen mites are destroying gardens and limiting the desire to try daily. If everyone stopped trading and acquiring dirty clones, the advancement and saturation of cannabis born parasites would decrease; letís do that.

In stark comparison to the number of new and terrifying parasites is the vast number of new and impassioned breeders who have been working for years and years before you even considered growing your own at isolating a particular genetic line or trait into a seed. With the exception of TMV, any of the problems that can affect clones CAN NOT BE TRANSFERRED to the seed. I recommend finding the cloned strain in question in seed form. You not only will gain the marvelous experience of creating a beautiful plant from just a Ďlil bean but you will be assuring yourself at a much higher level that any problems you are experiencing are less likely a result of an infestation or infection and more likely a result of aspects you are in expectation of adjusting and monitoring. Also it seems that there is more room to put your personal spin on the plant because there will be variance amongst your phenotypes. Maybe, there is an EVEN BETTER version of the plant you love, you end up finding it in a pack of seeds and mother that plant. I know several breeders will be a bit miffed when I say this but many, many, many of the most elite ďcutsĒ are large scale pheno selections and or happy accidents (i.e. golden ticket, UK Cheese, Eastcoast Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookie, Katsu Bubba Kush etc.). So why not create your own elite version of your favorite strain by cultivating it over and over again until you deeply understand itís character and spot those unique traits you find most desirable to you?

7-Choose easy strains to grow

Some of my very favorite strains are also the most difficult to grow. I didnít choose to start with easy strains. My first round was a throw away round as a result. So was my second and third mostly because I didnít choose an easy strain initially. I wish I had. Many breeders make it their job to take very desirable genetics and cross them to stable easy to grow genetic lines with the goal of creating an ďeasier to growĒ version of a strain that posses the most desirable characteristics from the original strain with a lower level of skill required to produce a favorable result.
I would MUCH rather have my medicine be of a slightly less desirable strain but grown to actualize a higher percentage of itís genetic potential than the ideal plant with only 60% of itís genetic potential being actualized. Once you know when a plant is maximizing its genetic potential you automatically also receive feedback on when itís not. Frame of reference in gardening is ever so important and getting the highest most elite results to compare your future grows to will invariably spark the inspiration to pursue it.

8-Air- go big or go home, always have flutter. Flutter flutter flutter

Okay so hereís where you can let any western tendencies run rampid. When it comes to ventilation, more is almost ALWAYS better. Until you are adding in massive wattage or a large number of plants you are seldom going to over ventilate your garden. If you are using an an open system to create ventilation you will never be making a bad choice to go with a bigger duct size and fan. Larger usually means greater efficiency. Sure, a 4 inch fan may work to keep the environment at ideal levels, but if thatís the case so will a 6 inch and the six wonít have to work as hard, will likely last longer and minimize heat transfer from the fan motor itself.
Aerating your reservoir? Same idea only to a higher extent. More aeration increases saturated oxygen levels in your water and decreases temperature which also increases the potential amount of O2 your water can hold. I recommend placing your air pump outside your immediate growing environment to manage heat and ensure the air is more o2 rich than Co2.
How much air movement do you need inside your garden? Simple, all leaves should be mildly shaking at almost all times. Not being blown around like a hurricane, but fluttering. Creating enough air movement so that all the leaves on your plant are almost always shaking a little bit allows for your plant to function at MUCH higher levels of efficiency. By increasing Co2 and o2 exchange at the leaf surface, decreasing moisture build up and improving the structural integrity strength of your plants are all benefits from applying adequate air movement. A properly dialed upward convection current is ideal.

9-Prioritise supplementing with C02

One of the most popular misconceptions I run into in gardening is that the nutrients you purchase (or hopefully infuse into your soil TLO growers) feed your plants. They donít. Your plants are fed from light and Co2. Many growers have the idea that adding in Co2 is a highly advanced step, is expensive and only is really needed when youíve been at it for a while. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my opinion growing WITHOUT Co2 is like starting the race missing a leg.
Adding in Co2, super charges your results, finishing times, plant health and natural resistance to pathogens and is INEXPENSIVE. You can make a very effective Co2 generator that in my one open room keeps levels around 700-800 ppm (almost twice what I am at ambient) for next to nothing in cost. By simply combining water, sugar and bakers yeast into a closed plastic water jug, fitted with a ľ inch air tube attached to a fan you can add in enough Co2 to produce a visual change in about 48 hours for under $10. For detail instructions on how to do this simply search for home made Co2 generators for cannabis gardens on youtube and youíll find a plethora of detailed tutorials and methods of assembly to suite your particular application from one plant on up.

10-Plan adequate time and location to properly dry and cure your medication

So maybe youíve taken the plunge, a started your own garden. You got some seeds, you did the germination thing, you selected for females if needed, ran your round, got see the oozing dripping flowers coated in rich resins and now, FINALLY itís time to harvest. We all know what comes after harvest, we get to enjoy our just rewards and will enjoying our newly cultivated medication for the very first time. So letís get to it, right? WRONG!

If I had one gripe about the majority of the medication I run across itís that there seems to be an idea that harvest marks the end of the effort. It never has for me. Harvest marks the beginning of the last stage of producing medical grade cannabis, drying and curing. Northwest Leafís most recent Harvest issue has many of my ideas and recommendation regarding the exact how toís Iíve discovered regarding drying and curing most of which are beyond the scope of this article. The one thing Iíd like to impress upon the new grower is to expect about 5-6 weeks AFTER harvest is complete to elapse before your medication has fully reached itís matured state. The plantís biological functions DO NOT stop simply because you cut it down. Just ask someone who has cut down a round and come back the next day to find the floor has puddles all over it. The plant is still driving massive amounts of water up through itís roots into itís branches that are now essentially an open ended straw having been chopped so all that fluid just drips out the branch and below. Similarly biological functions are happening in your newly harvested flowers that are moving the blooms into a fully matured, ripened state that contains the highest levels of medicine in it.
It makes so little sense to spend month in and month out cultivating your flowers and then cutting out the last 2-4 weeks so that the flowers are ready earlier, knowing they will be inferior.

(Summary)

Cultivating your own medication is an incredibly rewarding, exciting and intellectually stimulating endeavor that can draw on a myriad renaissance skills. While itís not for everyone, I feel that most patients benefit in several ways from trying to grow their own during at least one point in their life. While some of us have found an entire life inside the cultivation of this plant and enjoy various applications and methods, most are more than fulfilled by simply having a small garden that is simple to create, easy to maintain and cost effective. Following the tips and resources contained within is a great place to start and who knows, you may just find your whole life inside a plant as well.
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:02 AM
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Hi All,
An important 11th addition to this would be:

11. Keep it clean clean clean -"...in my experience the number one cause BY FAR of ongoing infestation has little to do with the type of products you are choosing, and most likely has everything to do with the room you are growing in and/or your practices of entry exit and cleanliness standards."

Be Good, P77
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:31 AM
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nice thread prof77, it is a good read, good for new and experienced growers alike, some for learning and some for reminders
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:40 AM
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G`day Prof

Yep +1 .
Good info , well written .
__________________
OK elmer your right and I'm wrong. Fems/autos aint genetically modified crap.

Happy now elmer?
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Old 10-08-2014, 07:41 PM
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12. Don't be afraid or intimidated, the plants grow themselves, anybody can do it.

13. Don't get your info from the internet but from experienced growers.
There is an awfull lot of nonsense out there (not here).
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:50 AM
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Good topic. I'd like to add one.

#13. When in doubt, grow them out! Don't become impatient and harvest your plants to early. When in doubt, let them go a little longer. Don't go by the breeder recommendation on flowering times, go by what your plants are telling you. Breeder recommendations are best case scenario under optimal conditions by master growers. Remember, patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait!
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:19 AM
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"People often like to debate about genetic drift amongst clones. A clone is an exact genetic copy of the mother plant so it should produce the exact same medication over and over and over again right? ONLY in theory. Ask any gardener who has kept the exact same mom for a few years and very consistently you will find that the strain used to be different according to them. Many possible reasons exist for this. "


I thought much of the article was great. However, the above is nonsense. The vast majority of growers who have grown clones for generations year over year will tell you that "genetic drift", if it happens at all, is as rare as a four leaf clover. I've run many individual pheno's over 3+ years and some over 8+ .... pshaw of the clone degradation boogey man. It's a fig newton of non-cloner's imagination. Technially may be possibly, in practice, something to safely ignore.

best,
rabbit

Last edited by badrabbit; 10-16-2014 at 01:22 PM.
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