Marijuana Growing

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"May 12-13-S owed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.

August 7-began to separate the Male from the Female hemp at Do-rather too late.*

-Diary of George Washington, 1765

Personal marijuana cultivation bypasses the American consumer cycle. Marijuana, the mind-expander, called a sacrament by some, is merely a recreational drug to others. Whatever it is to you, growing marijuana for personal use is not unlike the home-brewing of beer or' wine, or the venerable American tradition of "moonshining." Growing marijuana increases your self-sufficiency. And when you grow marijuana, you are joining a worldwide company of culti vators, one that stretches back to the dawn of human history.

Marijuana growers tend to become intensely involved with the course and development of their plants. Often acting like proud parents, growers both nurture their plants and boast of their achievements. Marijuana house and garden plants give giowers all the joy other plants do, along with some additional benefits.

Marijuana is a relatively easy plant to grow. With a sensitivity, to the plant and an intelligent approach, high-value grass can be grown anywhere in the United States. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is a fast-growing, herbaceous annual plant that easily adapts to different environments. It thrives in open areas with strong sunlight, rich, well-draining soil and plenty of water. In dry areas with poor soil,, marijuana may grow a tap root half the length of the stem in search of water and nutrients. In many areas of the United Stales, it grows in stands, dropping its seeds within the spread of its branches.

Most native wild cannabis is descended from cultivated hemp and has a highly variable, but usually low, potency. Marijuana potency is, in part, genetically. 1 determined, so choose seeds from the grass you like the mosL. But plants with similar genetic: make-up still .vary considerably in growth and yield, depending on the environment. „ Because one grower lives in the mountains of Colombia and another in Maine is not necessarily why one harvests top-quality, plants and another a few scraggly weeds. The quality is very much dependent on the growing conditions that llie farmer provides.

Reflective covering et ¡dosing the system

THE INDOOR GARDEN Indoor gardens are simple to build. AH the materials you need are available at nurseries, garden shops and hardware or lighting stores.

Marijuana adapts well to indoor conditions. You ean grow it in sunny rooms or in artificial light.. The determining factor in indoor growth is often the amount of light, since it is less of a problem to supply the plants with water, nutrients and air. Window light is the easiest, and cheapest, source of light,.

Marijuana grows into a, fully formed bush when it receives a minimum of five hours of sunlight a day. However, it is possible to grow top-quality plants wi tli as little as two hours of unobstructed sunlight each day. Windows facing south usually get the most light, followed by windows facing east and west.. Never use north wiiidows-they don't get direct sun. The corner of a room or an alcove with windows facing in two or three directions is often the brightest. . A greenhouse, sun porch, particularly sunny room or skylight can support larger plants than most artificial lighting systems can. A sunny porch enclosed in sheet plastic, forming a greenhouse, is simple and inexpensive.

In cities where soot and grime ex>ilect daily, you can increase the amount of light the plants receive by cleaning the windows. Painting window sllli and sides white or covering them with aluminum foil also increases light.. Place young plants on shelves, blocks or tables to bring them up to the light.. During warm weather, position plants as close to the window as possible. When the weather is colder, protect them from drafts by stapling or tacking clear sheets of polyethylene film to the window.

Using natural light, the best time to plant is, in March or April. »At thai time of year, both the sun's intensity and the number of hours of daylight are increasing. However, if you are going to use artificial light, you can plant any time of the year*..

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT Under artificial light, marijuana grows fast, averaging three to six feet in three months. It is important to adjust the height of the lights as the plants grow. Hang the fixtures by a rope or chain from the walls or ceiling, or from the top of a frame at lea si six feet high and constructed of a two-by-two-inch wood stud. To minimize light loss, use industrial fixtures with built-in reflectors. If your fixtures are not equipped with reflectors, mount them on a: sheet of plywood (painted white) or make reflectors with white posterboard. As you raise the fixtures, attach aluminum foil to their sides so that no light is lost..

The most effective and efficient artificial light for plant growth is fluorescent light.. The white light you see emitted by a fluorescent tube consists of all the colors of the light spectrum. The designation-Tiay light, Warm White, Cm-Lux, Optima, etc,-corresponds to a particular combination of light generated in each of the color bands. Plants respond primarily to red and blue

Reflective covering et ¡dosing the system plants. Combining fluorescent wilh incandescent light can work well. However, il is better to use the Natural White fluoreseents as the red spec Hum source. The electrical costs will be five to ten dollars a month for a two-by-eight-foot, 300-watt. system.

Increasing the amount of light will increase the growth rale. Ten watts per Square foot of growing area ¡s adequate for healthy growth, but for a fasi-growing, lush crop, use at least 20 watts per square foot.. The dimensions of the garden should correspond to the light system, so if the garden is one-by-four, feet, use two four-foot tubes (80 watts). Marijuana can absorb up to 60 watts per square foot..

Surround the garden with reflective surfaces to increase the efficiency of the lighting significantly and distribute il evenly throughout the garden.

Marijuana grows well in a dry climate, bul healed or air-conditioned homes are often too dry. The reflectors contain the moisture evaporated from the soil as well as the water iranspired by the plants, ihus ensuring a healthy degree of humidity.

POTS AND CONTAINERS Start plants in flowerpots, milk crates, instiiutix>nal-size cans, plastic jugs, bushel baskeis or practically any container thai is al least four, inches wide and can withstand repealed waterings. Punch holes in the bottom of all containers to assure adequale drainage. A single large box or trough allows room for roots and requires fewer waterings, but demands more soil and makes rotating or moving ihe planis impractical. .

light.. For healthy growth, a combination colors must be provided.

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Fluorescein tubes specifically manufactured plant growth-the Slandard Gro-Lux, Wide-spectrum Gro-Lux and Planl-Gro-are probably the besi ones lo use for healthy development. . Sizes suitable for growing marijuana are four and eight feet long with about 10 waits for each fool (or 72 to 75 watts for an eight-fool tube). "Daylight" or "Cool While" lubes can be used in combination wilh either "Natural White" or the standard incandescent (screw-in) bulb. Incandescents and Natural White both provide a strong, red spectrum, while the others lend more towards the blue. Use ihem in a one-to-one ratio, evenly distributing ihe red and blue sources. The incandescent bulb is about one-ihird as efficient as ihe fluorescent lube, has a much shorter life and can creale problems because of concentrated heat, which can burn ihe seeds 1/4"

Preparation of pots for planting.

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The purpose of ihe growing medium is lo provide adequate waier and nutrients and lo anchor ihe roots. With strict attention to proper watering and fertilizing techniques, a six-foot plant can be grown in a four-inch poL However, in that situation, constant care is required to meet the plantls water and nutrient needs. Most growers prefer to use three- lo five-gaUon containers.

Before potting any marijuana plants, be sure to wash all cans, containers or used pots thoroughly lo remove any contaminants.

SOIL PREPARATION Marijuana grows best in well-drained, sandy soil or a loam, which is high in nitrogen and potash, medium in phosphorous and low in clay. A simple and inexpensive soil-testing kit, available al most garden shops, will reveal both pH and nutrient contents of your soil.

Soil consistency is important for healthy root development, drainage and uniform water dispersion. The medium should nol cake when dry and should remain spongy or loose when wei. To test consistency, lightly moisten the soil. and compact it in your fist.. The baU. should crumble easily when touched. Soil consistency can be adjusted by adding perlite, vermiculiie or sand.

Most growers start with commercial soiL Avoid brands with "peal" in their names, ll is unlikely that a commercial soil will be loo alkaline for heallhy growth, but it may be loo acidic. You can tesi for acidity with blue litmus paper (available at any drugstore) or with your soil-testing kit-

For each 50 pounds of soil mix 10 pounds of cow manure or 3 pounds of chicken manure. The fertilizer does not have to be added if you plan to use soluble fertilizer when watering. By volume,

mix three parts soil with one part of an adjuster (peilite, sand or vermiculite)

To pot any of the mixtures, cover the drainage holes of the container with a square of newspaper or window screen to prevent soil, from running out. Place a layer of sand, peulite, vermiculite or kilty litter about one inch deep in the bottom of the container to ensure good drainage. Fill the pol to within three-quarters of an inch from the top with the soil mixture. Water until the soil is evenly moist and allow the pot to stand for a day or two. In this way, bacteria necessary for the nutrient uptake can begin to grow and the fertilizei-s can start to dissolve.

during germination

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