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Cannabis Growing Tips

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Cannabis Growing Tips straight from our Clone Grower, Tyler

Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media

A beginner's guide to Growing Cannabis

Spring is here and it’s time to start getting your garden spaces ready! We got together with Paragon Farms (who starts our clones) to compile a list of tips to ensure a healthy plant and successful harvest!

OVERVIEW

Everyone thinks they know the best way to grow cannabis when the truth is, there are a lot of right answers. Types of soil, nutrients, light, and care can all result in incredibly different plants, but at the end of the day- it is called weed for a reason. It is easy to grow, but can be difficult to grow well. Here are a few tips and tricks from Tyler of Paragon Farms to get you started in the right direction.

The fine folks over at Bloom Garden Center in Portland, Oregon are also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cannabis plants. If you are looking for any extra tips or advice, we recommend a visit to grab your nutrients and ask some questions!

Below we have added links to two of our favorite Cannabis Growing Bibles by Jorge Cervantes, and by Ed Rosenthal: icons in the cannabis industry. When you are ready to take your cultivation to the next level, these books will be an excellent resource!

Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media

Growing from Seed?

Green Source Gardens has some excellent resources available to start and care for your seeds. Check it out!

Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media
When to transplant clones
Clones at Home Grown Apothecary!
Cannabinoid and Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary Photo by Space Face Media
Clones from Home Grown Apothecary and Paragon Farms

TRANSPLANTING

  • Water the Day Before

    I try and water my clones the day before I transplant and not the day of. Then, I will water the day after I transplant. I believe this small step helps the root system stretch/surge in the new medium searching for water (I only do this when I mix my transplant soil with some water and food in it).

  • Make sure your New Soil is Moist

    Try to add water to your new soil/medium and mix well. My general rule here is if I clench a fistful of soil and let go it should hold that form for a few seconds. This lets me know there’s enough water in the soil, but not too much. If I do the “clench test” and feel the water leaching out of the soil and into my hand, then the medium is over-saturated. Overwatering will slow physical growth drastically.

  • pH your Water

    If you can, always pH your water. Especially since city water is always off and tends to burn plants. Best pH for soil is 6.0-6.7. Coco or fiber mix is 5.5-5.8.
  • When can I put my Plants Outside?

    Watch the night time low temperatures, not the daytime highs. Although humidity can play a factor here, the night time lows will drastically slow down the vigor of your plants. I shoot for night time temps at 45° F. Once I see there aren’t any more “cold snaps”- we’re good to go. This will help them spend less energy on combating conditions and more energy on their health and growth (roots and immune system). I see people plant too early every year then spend half of their summer nursing them back to health. Better to plant late than early, that’s for sure.

  • Minimize Transplanting

    Try to minimize the amount of times you transplant your plants. Three times is usually enough to get them to their flower size pot or hole.

  • Choose your Soil Medium

    Choosing your soil medium is a very personal decision. The choices are endless but there are a few tried and true favorites. Our favorite is Live or Living Soil, but you could also choose Cocoa Fibers, Hydroponics, Aeroponics, or some combination of these.

  • Choosing your Nutrients

    Each strain requires different nutrients. You can research what other growers have said about the demands of the strain you are growing, or you can keep an eye on the leaves and add nutrients accordingly as the plant shows you what it needs. The folks over at Bloom can be helpful here to help find the right nutrient regiment. They were the first garden store to specialize in cannabis growing in Portland. There are also some great resources online to help you deduce what your plant is trying to tell you. Your plant will speak to you with its leaves.

GENERAL CARE

  • Supporting your Plants

    When training/supporting it’s always best to get those stakes, t-posts, or trellis netting (whatever you’re using) in place early on and let them grow into it. This is significantly easier than trying to work them in around an oversized plant.

  • Top your Plants

    Pinching off the top growth on our plant will encourage lower growth, as well as increase budding sites and yields.

  • Strip your Lower Foliage

    Strip all lower foliage late in veg and again at early signs of flower. This will help with air flow through the plant and help it focus its energy on flower production. Remember you’re trying to grow weed not leaves!

  • Less is More- Troubleshooting

    Always remember less is more. If there are issues with your plants and you can’t seem to figure it out, then strip everything back and start with the basics regarding feeding and treatment. This means watering with plain ph’d water, no additives or other food, then slowly adding your base NPK’s and working your way up from there. Same goes for foliar sprays and brewing teas. Each time you step up it will be much easier to pinpoint your issue or mistake.

  • Garden Pests

    There really is no way around it, some unwanted insect friends are bound to find their way into your haven. While some of these bugs can be beneficial in keeping harmful pests away, there are some mites and beetles that are best kept out of the garden. How do we do this organically and safely? Some tried and true methods include adding beneficial insects like Ladybugs and Praying Mantis, or misting with Organic Neem Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Peppermint Oil, and/or Rosemary Oil. All of these have been used individually by different growers to combat pests, but do not spray them on an actual flower- these remedies are for the leaves, stalks, and soil. Remember to never mist your plants when they will be receiving direct sunlight while still wet as this can burn the leaves. We recommend evening as the best time.

JUICING

Juicing cannabis is one of the best ways to take advantage of the natural subcannabinoids that the plant produces, like CBG, as well as take advantage of the benefits of THC with little-to-no-high. Since you will be removing large fan leaves in order to increase flower production, this is a great time to experiment with the benefits of fresh leaf juicing! We recommend adding to your smoothie. You won’t need much- the leaf can be bitter so go easy on it to start. The more resinous the leaf, the more cannabinoids it will carry.

Clones from Home Grown Apothecary and Paragon Farms

Just because you have the same genetics as someone else doesn’t mean your going to have the same results!

Every element to every environment will be different to some degree. And let’s face it, some people grow better weed than others for any number of reasons. Don’t expect your flower to look, smoke, or smell the same as someone else’s does.

Approximate Timeline

 

  • Plants are put in the ground in Mid-April in the Portland Area, weather depending.

  • Mid-August marks the time when we expect to start seeing our first calyx and buds appear.

  • Buds begin to grow, remember to keep that leafy foliage trimmed back.

  • Croptober, or October is normally when we start looking into harvesting our flowers.

Harvesting

Growth times can vary by strain and by geography, however, generally indica strains will flower in 50-60 days and sativa strains will flower in 60-70 days. Because each strain is unique these are generalities and not rules, some sativas can finish more quickly and some indicas can take longer to grow.

Harvesting cannabis at just the right moment helps to maximize the terpene and resin potential of the plant. If you harvest too early and you sacrifice some of that production. Similarly, if you harvest too late, the THC crystals can degrade into CBN (the cannabinoid that puts the plant to sleep), reducing the potential of psycho-activity in the plant.

  • Curing

    When harvesting, try and have a space designated for your branches to hang and dry. The cleaner and darker the space the better.
  • Remove Large Leaves

    I try and remove about 80% of the fan leaves as I’m harvesting so they stay in the field and not in the cure room. Remember we are growing weed, not leaves! Some leaves are important in the cure process as they caccoon the buds and help protect them from things in the air but the majority of the yellowed crispy leaves can head straight to compost.

  • Save Your Trim

    Once you get to the trimming process we recommend keeping it tight, but not to the point of sacrificing trichomes. Remember to save that trim as it can be used to make edibles, RSO, hash, dabs…pretty much anything!

When you are ready to Harvest your Plant,

Check out our post with Cannabis Harvesting Tips & Tricks!

In Summary

pH your water, and keep well hydrated but not soaked.

Minimize the number of times you transplant your cannabis plant as it stresses out the plant.

Top Your Plants, to encourage lower, bushier growth. Removing large and excess leaves, as well as all lower leaves can also encourage larger buds. We’re growing weed not leaves.

Less is more-  if you run into any issues, return to just water for a short time and then slowly reintroduce your NPKs.

There are many organic pest control methods to try, but never spray on plants while in direct sunlight.

Cannabis Harvesting Tips

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Happy Croptober! Let’s dig into some Cannabis Harvesting Tips:

Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media

A beginner's guide to Harvesting Cannabis

It’s, October and it’s time to start deciding when to take down your cannabis plants. Many of you who purchased clones from us were first time growers, so we wanted to share a few tips with you to boost terpene production, ensure you harvest at the “golden moment”, and how to dry and cure!

HARVESTING CANNABIS

Growth times can vary by strain and by geography, however generally indica strains will flower in 50-60 days and sativa strains will flower in 60-70 days. Because each strain is unique these are generalities and not rules, some sativas can finish more quickly and some indicas can take longer to grow.

Harvesting cannabis at just the right moment helps to maximize the terpene and resin potential of the plant. If you harvest too early you sacrifice some of that production. Similarly if you harvest too late, the THC crystals can degrade into CBN (the cannabinoid that puts the plant to sleep), reducing the potential of psycho-activity in the plant. Due to the fact that we are in Oregon, we are sometimes forced to harvest cannabis in mid-October due to oncoming rains and mold prevention- but we do what we gotta do.

With so many variables that equate to a proper harvest time there are a few tricks to finding what we in the cannabis industry refer to as the “Golden Moment”. Every strain will represent its maturity differently and at different times so treat each strain you grow uniquely. Now let’s get out your magnifying glasses and let’s take a peak at some helpful hints:

Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media
Cannabinoid and Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary Photo by Space Face Media
Cannabis & Terpene Education at Home Grown Apothecary. Photo by Space Face Media

GOLDEN MOMENT

  • Monitor Your Trichomes

    Also known as Pistols, they will begin clear and slowly change to a milky white and then to a shade of amber. The amber is not always present and is highly strain dependent so do not rely on this aspect solely. If you do not see the amber, continue to check using the following methods before deciding to wait for harvest.

  • Monitor Your Stigma

    These are the hair like features on the flower. While the plant is growing they will be white and as the plant comes closer to maturity, they turn to a darker and darker shade of orange/red (or sometimes purple depending on the strain!)

  • Keep One Eye on the Gland Heads

    These can be found at the top of the Trichome or Pistol. Within this magical ball can be found your terpenes and cannabinoids. As the plant matures, the glands will swell. We tend to keep an eye on them in the final few weeks. Once we see the first one or two pop we know the rest are also at their maximum potential and do our harvest.

  • Keep Your Other Eye on the Skies

    And on the weather forecast. If you are growing outdoors, make sure to harvest your plants before any large rainfall soaks your flowers or get them under cover. These are prime conditions for mold once you get to the drying and curing process and are best avoided.

WET TRIM VS DRY TRIM

Now is the time to decide if you are going to trim your cannabis wet or dry if you haven’t already. Trimming wet not only allows the flowers to cure more quickly, but the added air circulation also minimizes the risk of mold occurring during the drying process. Wet trimming is the go-to method for most people in the industry because having the leaves being alert and horizontal makes the trimming process much quicker.

The reason someone may choose to dry their harvest prior to trimming is to preserve cannabinoid and terpene exactness. A true cannabis connoisseur will choose the slower method of waiting for the flower to dry before harvest and taking the extra time to trim. Some studies have shown that up to 30% of terpenes can evaporate in the first week of drying!

DRYING

Hang your branches in a well ventilated and dry area and monitor closely. Some people have hung rope or twine lines in their homes or garage, others use hangers. Make sure there is enough spacing between branches for air to flow freely.

It does not take too long for cannabis to dry out, maybe 3-14 days depending on humidity, temperature and how you trimmed. Over-drying your cannabis will cause resin glands to shrink up and burst, losing potency or cannabinoids and terpenes as well as making for a harsher smoke on the throat. Making sure to pull your buds down and put it in a air-tight jar with some preservation packs is going to be important. Be sure to check your flower more frequently as time passes to make sure you do not over dry it.

Your plant will be done drying when the branch is no longer rubbery but doesn’t quite break when you bend it.

CURING

This is a rather simple step. Place your trimmed and dried flower into your storage container (reference below). Curing is accomplished by “burping” or opening the jar for short periods of time every few days over the period of about 7-10 days.

STORAGE

GLASS.

GLASS. GLASS. GLASS.

Anything airtight will do the job but there is a risk of plastics absorbing your terpenes and cannabinoids and are okay for temporary storage but for long term storage nothing competes with a classic mason jar.

Also we couldn’t recommend Boveda Moisure Control Packs more highly. The Moisture % we would recommend for cannabis is 62%. They are available online.

TRIMMING TRICKS

 

  • The resin on your fingers and scissors is considered like gold in some places- Ball it up and top your pipe with it!

  • Sticky Residue Removal: A little coconut oil will take that right off!

  • Remove as few crystals and hairs as possible, that is where all the good stuff is.

  • Wash your scissors frequently. We keep a small tub of isopropyl 99% nearby and have two sets of scissors and alternate between them, keeping one constantly at the ready. Remember to save that hash first!

  • Wear old clothes that you don’t care if get dirty.

In summary

Harvesting Cannabis at its “Golden Moment” will increase cannabinoid and terpene yields.

Wet trimming can be faster and easier while Dry trimming preserves more cannabinoids and terpenes.

When curing, make sure your plants have sufficient room for airflow.

Store you cannabis in glass whenever possible.

Sourcing

Leafly’s “When to Harvest Marijuana Plants”,
Cannabis Business Times’ “10 Cannabis Harvesting & Post-Harvest Tips”,
High Times “Pro Guide to Cannabis Harvesting”
High Times’ “Key Points to Harvest Time”,
High Times’ “The Connoisseurs Guide to Harvesting Weed Plants”,
Weedmaps’ “When to Harvest Cannabis: Tips”
Weedmaps’ “How to Harvest, Trim, Dry, & Cure your Weed.”

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