Indoor Marijuana Seeds

Growing Marijuana Indoors Guide

Maintaining the Correct Environment

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4.2 Requirements for Germination

Before the seed fell, almost all of its water was sapped to prepare the seed for winter. With only the tiny drop that it holds, the embryo lives a life so slow as to be outside of time as we know it. Cannabis seeds need only water to germinate or sprout. The marijuana seeds germinate without light and at temperatures low enough to form ice. Higher temperatures hasten germination. Fresh, homegrown Oaxacan cannabis seeds germinated in three days at 70F and in eight days at 33F. Temperatures 70 to 90F are best for germination.

Fresh, mature marijuana seeds have a high rate of germination (about 90 to 100 percent) and sprout quickly. Usually sprouts appear three to seven days after planting. Older cannabis seeds (over a year, depending on storage) have a lower rate of germination and respond slower. They may take up to three weeks to sprout. To get an idea of what to expect from the marijuana seeds follow the procedure in 3.1.

Seeds that do sprout will grow normally, no matter how old they are or how long they take to sprout. From any batch of cannabis seeds, most of the ones that sprout will do so within two or three days of each other. A few will continue to come up as many as six months later, but the garden should consist of plants that are basically the same age and size. This makes the garden easier to care for.

Choosing marijuana seeds

Different varieties grow at different rates and attain different sizes and shapes. Under artificial lights, gardens plants from one batch of grass require the least attention, because the plants sprout and grow uniformly and can all be tended at the same time. When several varieties are grown together, some plants are taller than others; you must adjust the height of the plants to keep the marijuana equally illuminated. You may also have to water and fertilise the plants on an individual basis. Some growers start at different varieties under separate light systems. On the other hand, planting several varieties offers you a comparison in potency and yield, and a source for hybrids if you want to develop seed. The next time you plant you'll know which cannabis seeds gave the best results and what growing methods will work best for you.

There is no strict correlation between the form and height of the plants and seed size, color, or pattern. However, some large-seeded varieties grow too tall, with long spaces between leaves. Under artificial lights they yield more stems than leaves. If you have a choice between two equally potent grasses, and one has particularly large marijuana seeds (3/16 to 1/4 inch), choose the smaller-seeded variety.

Germinating cannabis seeds - the easy and successful procedure

Marijuana seeds require moisture, warmth and darkness during first 48 hours of presoaking for successful germination. Use clean tap or even better destilled water.

For best germination results, put your marijuana seeds on clean soaked paper towel, room temperature water. Cover the cannabis seeds with a layer of soaked paper towel. The seeds should be left to soak in a dark warm place (65 - 80 degrees F or 18.5 C - 26.5 C). Check your cannabis seeds for sprouts about every 12 hours. If the paper towels dries a little spray with water to keep it moist.

Usually within 48 hours marijuana seeds swell and crack their outer seed shell. This is the moment when seeds start to require oxygen so make sure you allow air to reach the cannabis seeds. After the white, initial roots are visible at the crack the seeds are ready to plant in soil. Further soaking of the cracked marijuana seeds can result in root damage.

Plant your freshly germinated cannabis seeds in a clean, pH balanced soil or other medium. The medium should be loose and light with very good drainage. The marijuana seeds should be planted about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in containers at least 4 inches deep to allow the initial tap root to grow straight up, yes that is the right direction for germinated seeds. The container should have drainage holes to prevent drowning the seeding. Keep the planted cannabis seeds in a pot covered with clear plastic to keep the high moisture level. Put them under 100W horticulture lamp and watch for cannabis sprouts comming out the medium. Once the cannabis sprouts have cleared the soil surface remove the plastic moisture cover.

There are some marijuana seeds strains like pure sativas or varieties originating in Africa that will not germinate at room temperature, but will require temperature of 90 degrees, about 20 degrees higher than room temperature to germinate.

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4.3 Light Cycle and Distance of Lights from Plants

The seed doesn't need light to germinate. The sprout does need light as soon as it breaks through the soil. Most growers turn the light on when they sow the cannabis seeds, though, to warm the soil and encourage germination. Lights may also dray the surface of the soil, especially in large pots or with VHO fixtures. If this is a problem during germination, leave the lights off until you see the first sprout breaking through the soil; or hang the lights about 18 inches above the soil, and lower them to six inches as soon as the sprouts appear.

It is important for normal development that the plants receive a regulated day/night cycle. We emphatically recommend that you use an automatic electric timer (about $8). A timer makes gardening much easier, since you don't have to turn the lights on or off each day. The plants won't suffer from irregular hours or your weekend vacations. Set the timer so that the plants get about 16 to 18 hours of light a day, and leave it on this setting until the plants are well grown (three to six months) and you decide to trigger flowering.

During the seedling and vegetative stages of growth, the plants may be subjected to light during their night period. During flowering, however, the night period must be completely dark.

The plants grow more slowly with less than 16 hours of artificial light a day, and they may flowers prematurely. Some growers leave the lights on up to 24 hours. A cycle longer than 18 hours, may increase the growth rate, especially if the plants are not saturated with light. A longer cycle is helpful in small gardens, such as under standard four-foot fixtures.

No matter what the light source, place the lights as close to the tops as possible without burning the plants. Pay no attention to the manufacturer's instructions for the distance of the plants from the lights; these instructions don't apply to a high-energy plant such as Cannabis. With standard-wattage tubes, keep the lights from two to six inches above the plant tops. With VHO tubes, allow four to eight inches. Maintain the lights at these distances throughout the life of the garden. In most cases you will have to raise the lights once or twice a week as the plants grow.

Standard fluorescents don't get hot enough to burn the plants unless they are in direct contact with leaves for several hours. VHO tubes will burn leaves before they touch them. But you do want to keep the lights as close to the plants as possible. This encourages stocky, robust growth. Incandescents and floodlights get very hot; place them at a greater distance from the plants. Test the distance by feeling for heat with your hands. Place the bulb at the distance where you begin to feel its heat. For a 75-watt incandescent lamp, this is about eight inches.

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4.4 Water

Water, the fluid of life, makes up more than 80 percent of the weight of the living plant. Within the cells, life processes take place in a water solution. Water also dissolves nutrients in the soil, and this solution is absorbed by the roots. About 99 percent of the water absorbed passes from the roots into the conduits (xylem) of the stem, where it is distributed to the leaves via the xylem of the leaf veins. Transpiration is the evaporation of water from the leaves. The flow of water from the soil, through the plant to the air, is called the transpiration stream. Less then one percent of the water absorbed is broken down to provide electrons (usually in the form of hydrogen) which, along with carbon dioxide, are used to form carbohydrates during photosynthesis. The rest of the water is transpired to the air.

Watering

Water provides hydrogen for plant growth, and also carries nutrients throughout the plant in the transpiration stream. However, it is not true that the more water given a plant, the faster it will grow. Certainly, if a plant is consistently under-watered, its growth rate slows. However, lack of water does not limit photosynthesis until the soil in the pot is dry and the plant is wilting.

The amount of water, and how often to water, varies with the size of the plants and pots, soil composition, and the temperature, humidity, and circulation of the air, to name a few variables. But watering is pretty much a matter of common sense.

During germination, keep the soil surface moist. But once the seedling are established, let the top layer of soil dry out before watering again. This will eliminate any chance of stem rot. Water around the stems rather than on them. Seedlings are likely to fall over if watered roughly; use a hand sprinkler.

In general, when the soil about two inches deep feels dry, water so that the soil is evenly moist but not so much that water runs out the drainage holes and carries away the soil's nutrients. After a few trials, you will know approximately how much water the pots can hold. Marijuana cannot tolerate a soggy or saturated soil. Plants grown in constantly wet soil are slower-growing, usually less potent, and prone to attack from stem rot.

Over-watering as a common problem; it develops from consistently watering too often. When the plants are small, they transpire much less water. Seedlings in large pots need to be watered much less often than when the plants are large or are in small pots. A large pot that was saturated during germination may hold enough water for the first three weeks of growth. On the other hand, a six-foot plant in a six-inch pot may have to be watered every day. Always water enough to moisten all the soil. Don't just wet the surface layer.

Under-watering is less of a problem, since it is easily recognized. When the soil becomes too dry, the plant wilts. Plant cells are kept rigid by the pressure of their cell contents, which are mostly water. With the water gone, they collapse. First the bottom leaves droop, and the condition quickly works its way up the plant until the top lops over. If this happens, water immediately. Recovery is so fast, you can follow the movement of water up the stem as it fills and brings turgor to the leaves. A plant may survive a wilted condition of several days, but at the very least some leaves will drop.

Don't keep the pots constantly wet, and don't wait until the plant wilts. Let the soil go through a wet and dry cycle, which will aerate the soil and aid nutrient uptake. Most growers find that they need to water about once or twice a week.

When some soils get particularly dry, the water is not absorbed and runs down the sides and out the bottom of the pot. This may be a problem the first time you water the soil, or if you allow the soil to get very dry. To remedy, add a couple of drops of liquid detergent to a gallon of water. Detergent acts as a wetting agent and the water is absorbed more readily. First water each pot with about one cup of the solution. Allow the pots to stand for 15 minutes, then finish watering with the usual amount of pure water.

Use tepid water; it soaks into the soil more easily and will not shock the roots. Try to water during the plant's morning hours. Water from the top of the pot. If you do want to water from the bottom with trays (not recommended), place a layer of pebbles or gravel in the trays to insure drainage. Don't leaves the pots sitting in water until the pot is heavily saturated. The water displaces the soil's oxygen, and the plants grow poorly.

Tap water in some areas highly chlorinated, which does not seem to harm Cannabis; and many fine crops are raised with water straight from the tap. But chlorine could possibly affect the plants indirectly, by killing some beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. Chlorine also makes the water slightly acidic. However, neither effect is likely to be serious. Some growers have asked whether they should use pet-shop preparations that are sold to remove chlorine from water in fish tanks. These preparations generally add sodium, which removes the chlorine by forming sodium chloride (table salt). This solution does not harm the plants, although repeated use may make the soil too saline. Probably the best procedure is to simply allow the water to sit in an open container for a few days. The chlorine is introduced to water as the gas Cl2, which dissipates to the air. The water temperature also reaches a comfortable level for the plants.

Hard (alkaline) water contains a number of minerals (e.g., Ca++, Mg++, K+) which are essentially nutrients to the plants. Water softeners remove these minerals by replacing them with sodium, which forms slightly salty water. It is much better to water with hard water, because artificially softened water may prove harmful after some time. Occasionally, water may be acidic (sulfurous). Counteract this by mixing one teaspoon of hydrated lime per quart water and watering with the solution once a month.

Water and Potency

We've seen no studies that have evaluated potency in relation to water. A few studies have mentioned the fact that plants that received less water were slightly more potent. Water stress has been practiced by several marijuana-growing cultures. In parts of India, watering is kept to a minimum during flowering.

To limit watering, water with the usual amounts but as infrequently as possible. To encourage good growth, yet keep watering to a minimum, wait until the plants are a few months old before you curtail watering. Give the plants their normal water and note the number of days before they begin to wilt. As the plants get larger, the water needs increase, but this generally stabilizes by the time of flowering.

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4.5 Air

The properties of the air seldom present any problems for indoor gardeners. The plants grow well under the ordinary conditions that are found in most homes and can withstand extremes that are rarely found indoors. The plants can survive, in fact thrive, in an atmosphere many house plants can't tolerate. For plant growth, the most important properties of the air are temperature, humidity, and composition.

Temperature and Growth Rate

Temperature control should be no problem. The plants can withstand temperatures from freezing to over 100F. Plant growth is closely related to temperature. Marijuana varieties are, in general adapted to warm if not hot climates. Different varieties will reach their maximum rate of photosynthesis at different temperatures. For almost all marijuana varieties, the rate of photosynthesis will increase sharply with increases in temperatures up to about 70F. Some strains reach their peak rate of growth at about &%F. Others, especially from areas near the equator, such as Colombia, may not reach their peak rate until the temperature is about 90F. However, for all varieties, increases in the growth rate will be slight with increased temperatures over 75F. The average temperature for maximum is about 75 to 80F. In other words, normal household temperatures are fine for growing marijuana and no special temperature control is necessary for most gardens.

Don't set up the garden right next to, or in contact with, a heat source such as a radiator or furnace. If the garden is nearby, the plants should do quite well. The plants are most susceptible to cool temperatures during germination and the first few weeks of growth. In basement gardens, the floor temperature is often lower than the air. It is a good idea to raise the pots off the floor with pallets or boxes. The marijuana seeds will germinate quicker, and the plants will get off to a faster start.

If heating is necessary, propane catalytic heaters work well, are safe and clean, and increase the carbon-dioxide content of the air. Electric and natural gas heaters also work well. Do not use kerosene or gasoline heaters. They do not burn cleanly, and the pollutants they produce may harm the plants. Any heater that burns a fuel must be clean and in good working order. Otherwise, it may release carbon monoxide, which is more dangerous to you than to the plants.

Temperature and Potency

Since marijuana varieties are most often grown in semi-tropical and tropical areas, the idea that high temperatures are necessary for potent marijuana is firmly entrenched in marijuana lore. This myth, like many others, is slowly disappearing as marijuana farmers and researchers accumulate more experience and knowledge. There are only a few published papers on the effects of temperature on potency. The best study we've seen 19 grew four different varieties in a controlled environment under artificial lights on a 15-hour day-length. Two temperature regimes were used: a "warm" regime, with temperatures of about 73F during the day and 61F at night (about average for most homes); and a "hot" regime, set at 90F daytime and 73F at night. In all four varieties, the concentration of THC and of total cannabinoids was higher under the "warm" regime. For instance, a Nepalese strain was 3.4 times higher in concentration of total cannabinoids, and 4.4 times higher in THC, when grown under the "warm" regime than the same strain grown under the "hot" regime. Although we agree with the findings in principle, these figures are higher than our experience tells us.

Interpretation of the data does show one point clearly. In all four varieties, the amount of THC lost as CBN was higher under the "hot" regime (see Table 16 - currently excluded from this guide), even though the concentration of THC was higher under the "warm" regime.

Another research group in France has looked at the relationship of potency to temperature. The most recent paper 79 compared four temperature regimes, given in descending order of potencies found: 75F day, 75F night (highest potency); 72F day, 54F night; 81F day, 81F night; and 90F day, 54F night (lowest concentration of THC). In each, the day period was 16 hours and the night period eight hours.

Interestingly, this same research group in an earlier paper 20 reported that the concentration of THC was higher for male plants grown at 90-72F then for those grown at 72-54F. For the female plants, the differences in THC concentration were small. The variety used was a propyl variety (type IV) containing about half as much THCV as THC. For both the male and female plants, the concentration of THCV were high under the 90-72F regime.

The simplest interpretation of all these results is that mild temperatures seem to be optimum for potency. Temperatures over 90F or below 60F seem to decrease the concentration of THC and total cannabinoids. Also, at higher temperatures, much more THC will be lost as CBN. And last, propyl varieties may produce less THCV under a cool regime. Bear in mind that none of these papers accounted for all of the many variables that could have affected the findings. For instance, the concentration of THC was 18 times higher at 75-75F than at 90-54F. We've never seen differences of this magnitude, and sampling error undoubtedly influenced the findings.

In terms of growth rate and potency, daily temperatures of about 75F, give or take a few degrees, are roughly optimum. Normal household temperatures are in the low 70's during daytime and the low 60's at night. The heat from a light system will raise the garden's temperature a few degrees. In most gardens temperatures will be near 75F during the day. Night-time temperatures drop about 10 to 15 degrees. When night-time temperatures drop into the 50's or below, set the light cycle to turn on during the early morning, when the temperature will be lowest. In a small room, the light system will generate enough heat to warm the garden without any need for a heater. Whenever you wish to raise the temperature by, say, five or 10 degrees, it is better to add more lights than a heater. The plants will benefit from the additional light, as well as from the heat they generate. And an electric heater, watt for watt, doesn't generate much more heat than a lamp and its fixture.

Composition of the Air

Air provides two essential ingredients for the living plant: oxygen and carbon dioxide. The plant uses oxygen for respiration in the same way we do. The oxygen is used to burn carbohydrates (CH2O) and other food, yielding energy (ATP; see section 4) for the organism, and releasing carbon dioxide and water into the environment.

During photosynthesis, CO2 is used to form carbohydrates. As part of photosynthesis, light energy is used to split water molecules, releasing oxygen into the environment. In plants, the net result from respiration and photosynthesis is that much more oxygen is released than consumed, and more carbon dioxide is consumed than released. The oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere is formed by photosynthetic organisms.

The similarity between plant and animal respiration ends at a cellular level. Plants don't have lungs to move the air. The passage of gases, whether oxygen or carbon dioxide, is primarily a passive process. The gases diffuse through microscopic pores called stomata, found in Cannabis on the undersides of the leaves. The plants can open and close their stomata, allowing moderate control of the flow of air. However, for good exchange of gases, the plants require adequate ventilation for air circulation. {Cannabis is a C3 plant}

Cannabis is not particularly susceptible to a stuffy or stagnant atmosphere. A garden in the corner of a room that is open to the house will be adequately ventilated. Ventilation is not a problem unless the garden is large and fills a quarter or more of the space in a room. Gardens in small, confined spaces such as closets, must be opened daily, preferably for the duration of the light period. Plants growing in a closed closet may do quite well for the first month, but they'll need the door opened as the plants begin to fill the space. The larger the plants get, the greater the need for freely circulating air.

When the weather is mild, an open, but screened, window is the best solution for ventilation. In large indoor gardens where there isn't much air circulation, a small fan is helpful. After germination, make spaces in the surrounding reflectors to allow air to circulate freely. Leave the spaces at the bottom, ends, and the tops of the garden. The higher the temperature or the humidity, the more the plants need good ventilation.

CO2

CO2 is a natural, non-poisonous gas present in the atmosphere, which plants absorb and use during photosynthesis to synthesis sugars and organic compounds for energy and growth. Plants can effectively use CO2 up to about .15 percent concentration, about five times the concentration (.03) naturally present in the atmosphere. Increasing the CO2 dramatically increases the growth rate, often up to twice the rate of growth in plants in a natural atmosphere. Supplemental CO2 systems are an inexpensive way serious gardeners dramatically increase a garden's yield. {And decrease fire risk.} {Picture Common emitter systems are safe, inexpensive, easy to setup, and may double the rate of growth in a garden.}

There are two good ways to increase the concentration of CO2. Greenhouse growers use CO2 generators which produce CO2 by burning a clean-burning fuel such as propane or butane. The problems with CO2 generators are that they require a fuel, operate with an open flame, and produce a lot of heat. These are not necessarily problems if the grow room needs to be heated, and if the room is constantly monitored.

For home-growers, the emitter system is more efficient, relatively cheap, safe, and easy to use. Many suppliers who advertise in High Times and Sinsemilla Tips offer complete emitter systems that come with a regulator, solenoid valve, flow-meter, timer, (sometimes distribution tubing), and detailed, yet simple instructions. You must rent compressed CO2 gas tanks from a local compressed gas supplier or beverage company. The setup is not complicated or expensive, and a walk through the Yellow Pages should show several suppliers.

Since the CO2 in the atmosphere is about .03 percent, and the maximum CO2 concentration that your plants use is about .15 to .2 percent, set your emitter system to regulate a concentration of .12 to .17 percent CO2 in the room. Don't worry if you don't understand. All systems are easy to install and come with easily understood instructions.

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4.6 Humidity

Marijuana flourishes through a wide range of relative humidity. It can grow in an atmosphere as dry as a desert or as moist as a jungle. Under ordinary household conditions, the humidity will rarely be too extreme for healthy growth. The effects of the humidity on plant growth are closely tied to temperature, win speed, and the moisture of the soil.

The relative humidity affects the rate of the plant's transpiration. With high humidity, water evaporates from the leaves more slowly; transpiration slows, and growth slows also. With low humidity, water evaporates rapidly; the plant may not be able to absorb water fast enough to maintain an equilibrium and will protect itself from dehydration by closing its stomata. This slows the transpiration rate and growth also slows. There is a noticeable slowing of growth because of humidity only when the humidity stays at an extreme (less then 20 percent or over 90 percent).

Cannabis seems to respond best through a range of 40 to 80 percent relative humidity. You should protect the plants from the direct outflow of a heater or air conditioner, both of which give off very dry air. During the first few weeks of growth, the plants are especially susceptible to a dry atmosphere. If this is a problem, loosely enclose the garden with aluminum foil, white sheet plastic, or other materials. This will trap some of the transpired moisture and raise the humidity in the garden. Once the seedlings are growing well, the drier household atmosphere is preferred.

Where the humidity is consistently over 80 percent, the plants may develop stem rot or grow more slowly. Good air circulation from open windows or a small fan is the best solution.

As long as the air is freely circulating, the plants will grow well at higher humidities. Dehumidifiers are expensive (over $100) and an extravagance.

Humidity and Potency

As far as we know, there has been little work done correlating the relative humidity with potency. In the two related cases we've seen, 85, 117 neither study was intended to examine the effects of relative humidity and potency. However, a lower humidity (50 to 70 percent) produced slightly more potent plants than a higher relative humidity (80 percent and over).

A dry atmosphere seems to produce more potent plants. When the humidity is about 50 percent or less, plant development is more compact, and the leaves have thinner blades. When the atmosphere is humid, growth is taller and the leaves luxuriant with wider blades. The advantage to the plant is that wider blades have more surface and hence can transpire more water. The converse is that thinner blades help conserve water. Higher potency may simply be due to less leaf tissue for a given amount of cannabinoids and resin glands.

The temperature also influences the form and size of the leaves. At higher temperatures, the leaves grow closer together; under a cool regime, the leaves are larger, have wider blades, and are spaced farther apart 77. Possibly, cool temperatures yield slightly lower potency for much the same reason that a moist atmosphere does.

However, differences in potency caused by any of the growth factors (light nutrients, water, temperature, humidity, etc.) are small compared to differences caused by the variety (heredity) and full maturation (expression of heredity). For example, the humidity in Jamaica, Colombia, Thailand, and many other countries associated with fine marijuana is relatively high and averages about 80 percent.

However, try to keep the atmosphere dry. The atmosphere in heated or air-conditioned homes is already dry (usually 15 to 40 percent). For this reason, many growers sow so that the plants mature during the winter if the home is heated or in mid-summer if it is air-conditioned. As we mentioned, there should be no need to use dehumidifiers. Good air circulation and raising the temperature to 75 to 80F are the simplest means of dealing with high humidity.

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