When I first started growing it was because I just couldn’t consistently purchase high quality weed where I lived. I had already traveled to Amsterdam many times in the 80’s and 90’s and been exposed to at least a hundred different strains of good bud. Once I started growing and I was able to consistently produce weed that was better than what I had been buying, the mission focus shifted and became more about finding the best of the best.
This week I was fortunate enough to attend a day of the Dark Horse event during MJBizCon and sampled at least 20-30 different strains from top pros and amateurs. It struck me (through the fog) that the purpose of the competition (and others like it) was very similar to my own obsession to find the very best weed available.
The day after the event I had a bunch of left-over samples and I decided to go through them and give them the “Katsu Squish Test”. I am of the opinion that the easiest way to test the strength and flavor of your bud is to squish it and dab it, so that’s what I did with the samples. I randomly picked out about a half dozen of the entries, squished a small bud of each, and dabbed them (all day long). At the end of the day, I took some of the samples to a friends house (small personal grower) for him to try. While I was there, he squished a bud of one of his own strains (bag seed) and I did a dab of that.
What I realized after doing a dab from his stash was that HIS strain that HE grew tasted better and got me higher than all 6 of the strains I had tried from the event earlier in the day. I’m not trying to say that I thought my friend would have won the event, but that his shit was top shelf and that it wasn’t a fancy strain name and it didn’t come from a professional grower. This leads me to believe that the best weed in the world probably isn’t at any event, and may not even be grown commercially, but is in all likelihood just sitting in some head’s garden, like you or me.
I guess the moral is that you shouldn’t get too wrapped up in the hype and the bullshit. Pop a bunch of beans from different strains, maybe try some clones from friends, and I can almost guarantee that all of you can have weed that rivals the best of the best, with flavors and highs that are just PERFECT FOR YOU.
Stay green, stay high, and be chill this holiday season.
Unofficial Glossary for New Growers
by NiteTiger from ICMag
A/C Hood – Air cooled hood. Air is drawn through an enclosed reflector around a high intensity bulb to remove the heat generated by the bulb.
Aero also Aeroponics – A method of growing that utilizes a hydroponic solution vaporized into an aresol solution with misters. This nutrient fog envelopes the root system of the plant, allowing for maximum of absorption of both oxygen and nutrients. As the vapor condenses, it is channeled back to a central reservoir and revaporized.
BHO – Butane Honey Oil. A method of extracting the trichomes from plant matter. Butane gas strips the trichomes from the plant matter, and collects on a dish. The butane is evaporated away, leaving a very high potency oil.
The Borg aka spider mites – Horrid little beasties that invade plants seemingly over night, and can completely destroy a crop. Referred to as the Borg in reference to the nearly unstoppable Borg characters on Star Trek, because once they’ve established, they multiply incredibly fast, and are very hard to eliminate.
Bubble also bubble bags – A method of making hash that seperates the trichomes from the plant matter using ice water and gentle agitation. The water is then filtered through bags that contain a fine mesh screen which collects the trichomes.
Calyx – The round outer portion of the plants bud.
Carbon filter – A method of deodorizing air coming from or inside a growroom, by passing the air through a layer of activated carbon that absorbs and eliminates odors.
CFL compact fluorescent light – A fluorescent light about the size of a standard incandescent light bulb that can be used in any standard light socket. Used most often for starting seeds, clones, and in micro grow applications. Note that the wattage to go by is the actual wattage, not the equivalent wattage ie, a 42 watt CFL that says equivalent to 150 watt incandescent would be counted as 42 watts, not 150.
Chem Chemical – Nutrients that are synthetic, developed in lab settings.
Clone also Cutting – a branch or shoot of a plant that has been removed and rooted independently, producing a new plant with the exact physical characteristics of the original plant (aka mother).
Coco also coir, coco-coir – Similar to Soilless, utilizing the hairy bark of coconuts as the growing medium.
Cool tube – Air is drawn through a glass tube that surrounds a high intensity bulb to remove the heat generated by the bulb.
Cotyledons The small, round first leaves of a seedling. These leaves provide the first nutrients for the plant. As a natural course, these leaves will yellow and fall off. When the coyts start yellowing is when you begin feeding with a light nute solution.
Curing- Preparing the buds for long term storage by allowing them to age in an area that equalizes the moisture in the bud.
DWC also RDWC, MDWC – Deep Water Culture. A style of hydroponic growing that utilizes a deep reservoir of nutrient aerated by an airstone. Generally the reservoir is a five gallon bucket. The plant rests in a netpot*, filled with hydroton* or another inert media. The roots grow through the netpot into the nutrients below, allowing for very large root systems. RDWC connects the buckets in a continuous system with a pump and an additional reservoir, known as a recirculating DWC. MDWC refers to either Mediumless or Modified DWC. Mediumless refers to using a collar instead of a medium filled netpot to hold the plant in place over the nutrient solution. Modified means the basic DWC design has been modified, and will likely be explained in the post. Also known as Bubblers, bubbling buckets, and Tubblers (the use of Rubbermaid style storage tubs instead of buckets). Often used with ScrOG
E&F – Ebb and Flow. A hydroponic style of gardening that utilizes tables a shallow pan or table for the plants and medium, and a seperate resevoir of nutrient solution. Using a pump connected to a timer, the nutrient solution is pumped into the table until it fills, then allowed to drain. The “flood” of nutrients soaks the roots and medium, then ‘ebbs’ back into the resevoir, allowing the roots a chance to dry out and breathe. Often used in SoG gardens.
EC Electrical Conductivity – Measurement of the amount of nutrients in a solution. (May be expressed in multiple values (PPM, TDS, EC – consult your meters manual)
Feminized Seeds Seeds that have been created through various methods without the use of male pollen, resulting in seeds with no male DNA, resulting in all female plants. However, feminized seeds are generally seen as more prone to become hermaphrodites.
FIM or fimmed – Stands for ‘****, I missed’. Refers to attempting to cut the growth shoot of a plant so that it grows into multiple branches instead of one. The phrase comes from how easy it is to miss the tiny growth shoot.
Flushing – the process of removing nutrients from your plants. In soil this is achieved by running plain water through the soil (usually double your soil volume). In hydro, it is achieved by removing the nutrient solution and replacing it with plain water.
FMCD Full Melt Clear Dome – A way of judging the purity of a hash or other extract product based on the way it melts and bubbles when lit. Full Melt Clear Dome means the material completely melts into a bubble that is clear when it forms, showing an extremely pure sample.
Foliar Feeding Application of a nutrient solution to the leaves and above ground portions of the plant, as opposed to the roots. Foliar feeding should not be done while the plant is exposed to high intensity light, as the drops can act as magnifying glasses and burn the leaves.
GPH gallons per hour – The rating of a pumps capacity to move water. Check the pump information carefully, as the GPH falls as your distance from the pump increases.
Hermaphrodite also Hermie – A female plant that has produced male flowers, allowing self-pollenization.
HPS – High Pressure Sodium. A type of high intensity lamp used for growing plants indoors. The lamps give off an orange light, often thought to simulate late summer and fall sun. Generally used for flowering plants, but can be used during vegetative growth as well.
Hydroponics also hydro – A method of growing that does not rely on a nutritional substrate such as soil. All the nutrition that a plant would normally obtain from the soil is mixed into water in certain concentrations to allow for maximum growth. The plant gets all of the nutrients it needs to grow from the water solution.
IBL Inbred Line – A genetic line that has been stabilized through inbreeding to consistently produce plants with similar traits.
Indica – A type of cannabis that is usually associated with shorter, squatter plants with shorter flowering periods. Indicas are usually associated with a narcotic body stone.
ISO – Isopropyl alcohol. Used to extract trichomes from plant matter. The Isopopyl alcohol strips the trichomes from the plant matter, and is then evaporated away, leaving a high potency oil.
Kif also keif, keef – The collection of trichomes using a fine mesh screen to separate the trichomes from the plant matter. The buds are either stored on or lightly drawn across fine mesh screen that allows the trichomes to fall through, but not the plant matter.
KFB aka Krusty Freedom Buckets. Named after their creator, Krusty Freedom Buckets are actually an entire atmosphere, rather than just buckets. The system (classically, there have been many variations) uses vertical lighting, and double buckets in a recirculating system. The first bucket was used like a giant netpot, filled with media. Two feed lines ran on each side of the plant, constantly providing a nutrient flow over the roots. The nutes drained into the second bucket where it drained back all but two inches out to the rez. Those two inches of nute solution, where the plants roots eventually ended up, were hyper oxygenated with large air pumps. The lighting was all vertical, with a 1kw in the center, and a 600 on each wall, providing the entire plant with intense light, instead of just the top.
Krusty’s method was known to produce 3 pounds per plant.
Search: KFB, Krusty Freedom Buckets, Tree Grow
Landrace – A genetic line of plants that occurs naturally within a given region, without human influence on their characteristics.
LST Low Stress Training – A method of growing that slowly trains the plant to a specific height or shape. The training usually starts young by tying down the branches and growth shoots.
MH – Metal Halide. A type of high intensity lamp used for growing indoors. The lamps give off a whitish blue light, often though to simulate the spring and early summer sun. Generally used for vegetating plants, but can be used during flowering as well.
Neem Neem oil – A broad spectrum botanical insecticide, miticide and fungicide treatment derived from the seeds of the neem tree.
NFT – Nutrient Film Technique. A hydroponic method growing that allows a thin trickle or ‘film’ of nutrient solution to constantly pass of the roots to provide nourishment, but not so much that the roots cannot breathe.
Node The location on a plant where branches and new growth are produced. The area between nodes is referred to as internodes. Internodal spacing is often used as a cue to determine light distances.
Organic – Nutrients that are developed from naturally occurring substances.
pH – Acidity of a nutrient solution or soil.
Pheno phenotype – Certain unique characteristics of a plant that set it aside from other plants of the same genes. Plants grown from the same seed stock often show unique characteristics like smell, coloring, and flavor.
Pistil – The white hairlike growth on the plants bud.
Pollen – Produced by the male plant to produce seeds in a female. Also used to refer to kif.
PM powdery mildew – A fungus that attacks plants identifiable as a powdery film on the surface.
PPM Parts Per Million – Measurement of the amount of nutrients in a solution. (May be expressed in multiple values (PPM, TDS, EC – consult your meters manual)
Reveg Returning a plant to a vegetative state after it has begun flowering. Normally used in reference to a plant that has completed its flowering cycle and been harvested, but can also refer to a clone that was taken from a flowering mother. Generally used to preserve genetics after harvest.
R/O or RO water – Water that has been filtered of impurities by the Reverse Osmosis method.
RW rockwool – A growing medium that comes in cubes or slabs, easily identifiable by its green color.
Sativa – A type of cannabis that is usually associated with taller plants and longer flowering periods. Sativas are usually associated with an up, energetic head high.
ScrOG – Screen of green. A method that utilizes fewer plants trained to grow along a screen to insure all budsites get equal light. Normally grown plants will generally develop one or two main colas at the top of the plant, smaller buds on the sides, and ‘popcorn*’, or very small buds on the bottom.
Scrubber aka carbon scrubber Used to control odor, carbon is packed in a porous layer between around a central core. Air is either drawn or pushed through the carbon. The micron sized pores in the carbon, combined with a slight charge, trap odor molecules, bacteria, and other particles inside the carbon. the air is literally scrubbed clean by being forced through the carbon.
Slab – one meter of grow medium, usually referencing rockwool or coco coir.
SoG – Sea of Green. A method of growing that uses several small plants as compared to fewer large ones. The plants are kept small, and encouraged to grow only one main cola. This allows more plants to be grown in the same area. The phrase comes from the impression you get from looking at a garden grown this way, ie just a sea of green buds. Also known as the plantlet method.
Soilless – A Hydroponic method that utilizes pots like a standard soil garden, which can be handwatered or utilize a standard soil irrigation system. The pots are filled with inert medium, usually a mixture of perlite and vermiculite that retains water much like soil. However, all nutrients come in the hydroponic solution, there are none stored in the medium, as in soil.
Super-cropping A method of growing where the stem hurd is lightly crushed, forcing the plant to make new pathways that can result in a higher yield.
TDS Total Dissolved Solids – Measurement of the amount of nutrients in a solution. (May be expressed in multiple values (PPM, TDS, EC – consult your meters manual)
Toppped or topping – Pruning the plant by cutting off the top to encourage lateral branching.
Trichome also trich – a structure on the skin of plant that contains the THC and other desirable cannbinoids found in marijuana.
Vermiculite An additive that helps retain water in the medium.
You still awake? Congratulations – I don’t think many made it this far. Until next time.
Soil is arguably one of the top factors that influences plant growth and development. A well chosen or prepared soil, or soilless growing media will alleviate many issues throughout the growing cycle. Soil is composed of: mineral solids (sand, silt, clay), water, air, organic matter and organisms (bacteria, fungi, earthworms, arthropods). Soilless growing media is composed of organic matter (peat, coco, compost) and aeration/drainage (perlite, rice hulls, sand). An ideal soil for plant production would consist of 25% water, 25-50% air, 45% mineral and 5-20% organic matter. A second description of an ideal soil would be about 30% sand, 30% silt, 30% clay and 5-10% organic matter.
The relative proportions of these components describes soil texture, or structure. Loamy soil with a granular structure is generally preferred plant production. The second important factor of soil, or soilless growing media is soil chemistry. Soil pH, indicates the amount of hydrogen ions in the soil, the more hydrogen that a soil contains the more acidic the soil is. Soil pH affects nutrient availability. The ideal pH for cannabis is 5.5 to 6.8. Generally field soils have higher pH’s and soilless growing media tends to be slightly more acidic. If the pH is too low (acidic) or high (alkaline) nutrients become unavailable, or locked out, or overabundant, leading to toxicity. Alkalinity causes some minerals, such as copper, iron and manganese to become less available. Counteract this by adding sulfur, which is converted to sulfuric acid by bacteria, or by adding nitrogenous fertilizers. Acidity inhibits growth of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Counteract this by adding calcium or magnesium compounds (lime). The best way to know both soil texture and chemistry is by submitting a soil sample to a lab for analysis.
The third important component of soil is the organisms living in the soil. Bacteria, fungi, earthworms and arthropods (insects and spiders) are just some of the organisms that are critical to soil health. Many important species are naturally present in soils, or may need to be introduced. Soilless growing media generally has much lower biological activity at the start of the growing cycle due to it being an engineered soil, designed for container growing.
There are many recipes for preparing your own soil, soilless growing media and enriched/super soils. A simple mix contains equal parts of peat (or coco), perlite (or rice hulls), and sand (or bark). A small amount of lime is often needed to raise the pH, but depending on the mix you may need to add sulfur. Recently, I have seen one pre-made growing mix test at 4.4 and another at 8.2, so knowing your pH is very important for ensuring healthy plant growth. Again, many recipes are online so it’s relatively easy to find one to meet your preferences. If you are interested in super soils I suggest checking out
Subcool’s Super Soil Recipe
- 8 large bags of a high-quality organic potting soil with coco fiber and mycorrhizae (i.e., your base soil)
- 25 to 50 lbs of organic worm castings
- 5 lbs steamed bone meal
- 5 lbs Bloom bat guano
- 5 lbs blood meal
- 3 lbs rock phosphate
- ¾ cup Epson salts
- ½ cup sweet lime (dolomite)
- ½ cup azomite (trace elements)
- 2 tbsp powdered humic acid
The type of soil you choose to grow in will depend on how you plan to fertilize the plant. If you want strict control over nutrients at each watering, you will probably choose a simple soil, so that you can add products as needed. If you want to use only water and no additional fertilizers, you should look into enriched or super soils. Build-A-Soil is a great resource for anyone interested in making their own soil.
For many individuals and growing operations preparing your own soil is not a feasible option. There are countless choices of pre-made soils and soilless growing media. Pro-Mix has long been the grower standard for those looking for a simple soil where you want to have control over feeding the plant and is widely available. Soils containing wood fiber, in order to reduce the amount of peat being used, are now available, one example is Berger BM5 Super HP. Fox Farm has a whole line of enriched soils tailored for growing cannabis, Ocean Forest and Bush Doctor Coco Loco are two examples. Roots Organics has a large number of offerings, with Formula 707 and Emerald Mountain being examples of enriched growing media. These are just several examples, with so many growing styles and preferences, there is a mix for everyone!
Here’s what you need:
- A grow space you can make completely dark, uninterrupted for 12 hours/day
- A light for every 25 square feet of space (approximately)
- An exhaust fan
- A filter (if you need to control smell)
- Ventilation fans
- Grow Bags (or whatever)
Grow Space – someplace you can make completely dark for when you flower. I like grow tents. Here’s a perfectly adequate 4×4 for $100 – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071Z67JMT/
Grow Light – I’ve purchased a couple of these Chinese lights that have the same components as the HLG 550V2r. You can get these for about $250 + about $75 shipping – https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Kingbrite-Pre-wired-connected-hlg-550_62029135325.html
Exhaust Fan and filter – This is a combo that includes the fan, the filter, the ducting, AND a speed controller for the fan for $100 –
Grow Bags – Here’s a 3 gallon 10 pack for $20 – https://www.amazon.com/Gardzen-10-Pack-Gallons-Aeration-Handles/dp/B07CTC1ZV4/
That’s really all you need. After purchasing some high quality dirt and whatever nutrients you like, you’ll probably be at about $600 or so – less than half the cost of many of the lights being pushed by the LED companies. All of the links above are merely suggestions of what is possible – I don’t want anyone holding off on starting a grow because they think they need thousands of dollars – you can do it for pretty damn cheap. Everything I’ve linked above is stuff I actually use so I know it will work for you too.