Welcome back to our series targeted at teaching aspiring horticulturists what they need to know to get started growing medicinal cannabis. So far, we’ve covered strain selection, deciding where to grow, and an outline of how to build a growing area. We also talked about how to use/install grow lights and ventilation equipment successfully.
It’s time to start growing high-quality marijuana now that the infrastructure is in place. Keep in mind that you may wish to repeat this process on a frequent basis to ensure that you have enough medicine. After a few months in conventional storage settings, cannabis can start to lose its potency. Fortunately, a number of storage firms, like as Boveda and Humidicorp, have successfully addressed this issue.
New Cannabis Plant Propagation
As a medicinal marijuana planter, knowing how to replicate known genetics and how to create fresh beginnings for experimentation are both vital skills.
“You can start new plants every 10 days and harvest the same number of mature plants just as often in a perpetual harvest system…”
While you should stick to your authorized plant counts, it’s a good idea to keep a small nursery area running at all times. You can change plants as needed or keep them on a regular rotation this way. In a perpetual harvest system, for example, you can start new plants every 10 days and harvest the same number of mature plants every 10 days by rotating an equal number of plants through propagation, veg, and bloom.
It doesn’t require much space, time, or electricity to keep one healthy mother plant alive at all times, especially if it’s done in a hydroponics system. The key advantage of this method is that cuttings may be taken to grow out as new plants as needed, and these new plants will have genetics and growing features that are relatively well-known.
You may easily dedicate a small area, using identical lighting and ventilation equipment, to grow new crops from seed. When growing from seed, you avoid pests from the start, and feminized seeds provide the added benefit of known growth patterns and qualities in the eventual plants. You might still have a good crop if you start with ordinary seeds. That said, you’ll want to keep an eye out for males and potential “keeper” traits to serve as mother plants in the future.
Seed Germination Techniques That Have Been Proven To Work
Start growing your seeds in a sterile medium for the greatest outcomes. Seedling rots and fungus gnats are common problems when there is too much organic material in a warm, damp, and dimly lighted environment. If you use a peat moss or coconut coir-based soil-less media, plastic cups or similar pots are ideal.
Rockwool and Oasis, especially the larger sizes with more depth, are also excellent media. Cannabis cultivated from seed produces a tap root, whereas clone plants do not. When growing from seed, though, deeper is better.
The bottom of the seeding depth should drain readily, while the top should be hard. It should also keep the seed moist and in excellent contact with it.
“Soaking seeds in good quality water for a few hours before planting to a depth of 1/4 inch in your germination media frequently yields powerful and consistent results.”
Seeds do not require fertilizer; they only require warmth and moisture. The temperature should be at 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit; a humidity dome can help achieve warm, moist conditions. However, as seeds sprout from your grow media, remove the dome as quickly as possible, or your new plants will become soft and stretchy.
During the early seedling stage, gentle fluorescent, induction, or plasma full-spectrum lighting is preferred. A “daylight” spectrum of around 1200 lumens is ideal for keeping the seedling environment warm and preventing straining. About one or two T-5 lamps a foot or so away from the top of your propagation dome will suffice. Because fragile tips might dry out quickly when they emerge, the air flow should be very light.
Feeding seedlings with a modest B-Vitamin/Fulvic/Humate plant fertilizer supplement tonic or Root Tonic/Microbial addition after they have emerged can be beneficial. After the initial “seed leaves,” when the first “real” leaves appear, you can start thinking about fertilizer — we’ll get to that later in this series.
For the time being, the most important thing is to have good quality water; ideally, the water should have the same pH values as your grow media. Keep the medium moist without overwatering it or allowing it to dry out. Some inexperienced gardeners recommend germinating in paper towels, but I would not recommend it.
Soaking seeds for a few hours in good quality water before planting to a depth of 1/4′′ in your germination media often yields robust and consistent results. The majority of cannabis seeds should have emerged from the medium by the 14th day, however it may take longer in some cases. Even so, the average is 5 days. Don’t keep poking and prodding the seedling for a sprout. Just be patient and pay attention to your medium’s dampness and warmth.
Rooting Cannabis Cuttings in a Consistent and Reliable Way
Cuttings are easier to start with some cannabis strains than others. This approach takes an average of seven to 10 days to root. While not the fastest (aeroponic clone generation is frequently faster), this approach is a dependable, successful, and economical way to grow healthy new plants with no prior experience.
Once you’ve cut the donor material from the mother plant, keeping your work environment sanitary and working quickly is critical to cloning success. Before collecting cuttings for future crops, make sure the mother plant is healthy and free of any diseases. B-Vitamins and helpful microbials (such as mychorhizae) applied to mother plants a day or two before cuttings are taken generally results in better, faster rooting clones.
Before you begin, clean the trays, scissors, blade, cutting board, and prop dome with a mild bleach solution. Rinse well. Use a disposable scalpel or a new razor blade with the protective oil wiped off. These are frequently available at your local hydroponics store.
When utilizing a snug fitting dome to cover your tray of cuttings, you don’t need to sprinkle cuttings with water if you work rapidly after turning off the vent system, which you should. To keep propagation plugs like organic polymers, rockwool, oasis, or peat pellets from drying out, there’s enough of moisture in them.
“Good hygiene, consistent mild temperatures, and soft full spectrum lighting yield high success rates time after time.”
Jiffy 7’s peat pellets aren’t the fastest at rooting, but they’re quite forgiving if you use this procedure. They’re also inexpensive and plentiful. If you do it correctly, you will only need to water them once until they have roots.
Cut a 6 inch segment of plant stem from the mother plant with a grow tip and a number of nodes below. Prepare your rooting stimulant (powder, liquid, or gel) so you can dip the cut end in quickly. Make sure your propagation plugs or pellets are wet with a pH-balanced water solution or a light fertilizer.
Now, rapidly and carefully pull away extra foliage until you’re left with a two-inch-wide crown of top leaves. To remove another little piece of stem, place the clone on your sterile cutting board and cut on a lower node at around a 45° angle. QUICKLY insert the cut end into the root stimulator, wait 5 seconds, and then QUICKLY insert the cut and treated end into the rooted plug or pellet — be gentle yet hard here.
It’s critical that the chopped stem fits snugly. Cuttings that do not “stick” and take in enough moisture to root will wilt and perish. Sometimes you’ll have to drill a hole approximately 12 inches deep yourself, and other times it’ll be done for you.
If there’s a breeze, use a clean mister bottle to keep the cuttings’ foliage moist; otherwise, it’s not necessary. Diseases like leaf molds and rots thrive in wet foliage over long periods of time.
In terms of light and temperature, the optimal condition is similar to that for starting seeds; however, no breeze is recommended. Lift the lid once a day to allow the clones to breathe, and wipe away any excess condensation with a fresh towel or towelette. Hands that haven’t been cleaned clean should not be used to handle cuttings. It’s even better if you don’t touch them at all.
Jiffy 7’s normally don’t need watering again until roots appear, but others may want a spritz of clean, pH-adjusted water or a light B-Vitamin solution every now and then. Look for molds or mildews, and make sure any sick cuttings are removed without rubbing against others.
You should have no trouble roots your plants if you were attentive. Good hygiene, continuous mild temperatures, and soft full spectrum lighting will ensure high success rates.