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The best way to grow your own cannabis

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Fact's about the cannabis plant

The cannabis plant is an annual plant that will not start flowering as long as she continues to receive light for more than 12 hours a day. During this time, the plant will only grow. We call this the vegetal or growing phase. As soon as the plant gets less than 12 hours of light a day, she will start flowering. This is what we call the flowering phase.
From the beginning of the flowering period, the plant will flower (depending on the strain) between 7 and 14 weeks before the buds are ready to harvest.

There are two types of cannabis. Indica and Sativa. Indicas do not grow much more once flowering has begun. An Indica may be expected to gain between 50 and 100% of its vegetative height by the end of its flowering period. On the other hand, Sativas usually continue to grow while flowering - they can grow up to 300% or more of their vegetative height before they are ready. For more info about the difference between Indicas and Sativas, check The difference between Indica and sativa

Indicas are suitable for indoor growing because these plants remain generally smaller than Sativas, and Indicas will give more compact buds. Keep in mind that if you're growing indoor and you put only one plant under a lamp, they will need much more growing time to get the same result as when you grow around 5 to 10 plants on the same space.

If you're growing more plants in a small space, don't wait too long before you start with the flowering phase. Otherwise, the plants will repress each other, and a bad harvest will be the consequence.

If you're growing outside and have enough space, put the plant outside as soon as the temperature allows it. The plant will be very large at the moment that nature brings in the flowering time. Large and nice shapely buds will be the result.

Always germ your seeds indoors, and wait until the plant is at least 4 inches high before putting it outside. By the time that the plant is strong enough to survive, pay attention to the temperature, especially during nights. For more information about germinating your seeds, check The best way to germ your seeds.


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Growing your own cannabis

Indoor cannabis cultivation is one of the 3 types of growing.  This is the option preferred by most people, especially in countries where it is illegal to possess, use, or cultivate cannabis. The other types of cannabis cultivation include greenhouse growing and outdoor cultivation.  Of course, these types of cannabis cultivation require you to identify the impositions set forth by the government of your country when it comes to cannabis cultivation, possession, and use.
Aside from these factors to consider before opting to grow outdoors,weather plays a crucial role in the health of your plants.  One important aspect to also consider is the type of cannabis that you will cultivate.  Choose the type of cannabis that best suits your preferences amongst the wide variety of cannabis strains.  Keep in mind that the flowering phases and growth duration of each cannabis variety differs accordingly, so pick the type of cannabis that is perfect for your chosen growing method.
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Preparations

You need to secure your growing room in order to prevent the neighbors from calling the cops and instructing them to arrest you for illegal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis.  Your growing room needs to be smell-proof, water-proof, and light-proof.  These factors primarily depend on the amount of cannabis you want to grow since a large volume of indoor plants would require you to invest on fans and carbon filters in order to keep the air fresh inside your growing room.

In addition, your indoor plants need to be treated with proper lighting since its phases of growth depend on the lighting of your growing room.  Your growing room needs to be light-proof since artificial lighting should be properly done in order for the plant to grow and naturally run through its flowering phase.  Quality black plastic sheeting is frequently used by most growers to secure lighting inside the room since it can be used for a long time as opposed to low quality materials which tend to wear out and obviously produce low quality results.

Cannabis plants love light.  Most indoor growers paint their growing rooms white and use aluminum foil to direct the light towards the plants accordingly.  You should carefully consider your lighting options in order for your plants to properly grow and subsequently produce high quality buds.
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Growing and Flowering

The growth of your cannabis plants, as with any other plant, depends primarily on the amount of light it receives in a particular period of time.  The absence of light also plays an important role in the growth and production of buds by your plants.  This means you should control the amount of light that your cannabis plants receive together with the duration it is constantly exposed to light.

In addition to the amount of light and darkness constantly received by your plants, the temperature of your growing room also informs your cannabis plants about the time of its growth and flowering phases. This means simulating spring temperature and lighting will tell your plants that it is time to grow.  On the other hand, simulating post-summer temperature levels and lighting will make your plants produce phytochrome, which is a hormone  that instructs your cannabis plants to divert its energies towards the production of flowers.  Thisis because post-summar conditions produce longer periods of darkness. These are the aspects that you want to control in your growing room.
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 Lights/Lamps

Cannabis seedlings require longer periods of exposure to light since they are in the growing phase.  Individual fluorescent tubes can be used for your seedlings.  However, a set of 5 400-watt sodium bulbs for every 20 plants are highly advised, and more intense lighting can yield more buds.  With this, you can opt to use 1000-watt bulbs for cannabis plants that are in the flowering phase.

Your growing room needs to be totally white because your plants need all the light they can get.  You also need to prevent daylight from seeping inside your growing room.  You also need to ensure that your outlets and wirings can accommodate your lamps in order to avoid accidental fires.  This is because lamps with high wattage also require large amounts of electricity.  Keep in mind that insurance companies are not obliged to pay for damages resulting from illegal activities, so cannabis cultivation will not be accommodated in countries where it is illegal to possess, cultivate, or use cannabis.

Most indoor growers of cannabis avoid using incandescent bulbs. Flourescent lamps are the best options when it comes to indoor cultivation of cannabis due to its efficiency in producing light needed by your plants.  Moreover, flourescent lamps are cheaper than incandescent bulbs, and it also consumes lower amounts of electricity to function properly.  Keep in mind that an individual 25-watt flourescent lamp can cover  a square foot of plants and thus yield more positive results.

Different shades of lamps are also advised to be present in your growing room.  This is because simulating sunlight in a proper manner can provide you with healthy plants and a larger volume of highly potent buds.  Professional indoor growers of cannabis use metal halide lamps because it produces white light that makes your cannabis plants healthier and larger.

On the other hand, bright yellow/orange lighting are used by most professional cannabis growers during the time their plants are in the mid-growth and flowering phases.  This type of lighting can be produced by Sodium lamps.  Flourescent lamps can be used to allow at least a 2-inch growth for your cannabis seedlings.  Afterwards, you can use a metal halide lamp when your seedlings are in its growing phase, and a sodium lamp will be very effective for plants in the flowering stage.
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Soil or Hydro

Amateur indoor growers find it difficult to use hydro when it comes to growing cannabis plants.  However, a seasoned indoor cannabis grower can maximize the efficiency of using hydro in growing cannabis varieties.  These experts can produce good-tasting buds on hydro.

Indoor cultivation of cannabis plants with the use of soil is more messy and time-consuming than building a hydro setup.  In addition, potted cannabis plants can be moved as opposed to hydro setups since these types of indoor equipment are static.  There are instances where hydro growers have been caught in countries with strict regulations against possession, use, and cultivation of illegal substances.  Most of these instances resulted from the neighbors downstairs reporting cannabis growers because of leaking hydro setups.  Because of the technical or specialized nature of hydro setups when it comes to the indoor cultivation of cannabis, using soil is highly advised for growers.
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Fertilizers and Nutrients

Nitrogen,phosphorous, and potassium make up the initial 3 components of macro nutrients that your cannabis plants need in order to grow healthy.  Large amounts of these 3 nutrients are constantly used by cannabis plants.  Fertilizer packages usually list these 3 nutrients on its packaging in varying percentages of N, P, and K.

Calcium,sulfur, and magnesium among other secondary nutrients make up the micro nutrients that are also necessary for the health and proper growth of your cannabis plants. Such micro nutrients include iron, chlorine, zinc, boron, manganese, copper, cobalt, and molybdenum.  However, most fertilizer manufacturers do not include the percentages of such micro nutrients on the packaging of their products because your cannabis plants only need small quantities of these substances.  In addition, your soil may already have these elements.

Keep in mind that cannabis plants require more volumes of nitrogen at the start of the flowering phase.  Afterwards, your cannabis plants will start using more phosporous when it starts to produce buds.  With this, growing cannabis plants with an NPK combination of 20-10-10 is highly advised, while a 5-20-10 NPK concentration is recommended for plants in the flowering phase.

However, using too much fertilizer will ruin the health of your cannabis plants.  Unhealthy plants can be identified by its leaves. Moreover, avoid chemical-induced fertilizers since you are going to smoke the buds of your cannabis plants.

Avoid special cannabis fertilizer mixtures since these are mainly overpriced tomato fertilizers.  Rather, stick with organic fertilizers such as chicken, rabbit, cow, and horse manure. In addition, other good organic fertilizers include blood, fish emulsion, and urine.  But these organic fertilizers should be used sparingly since it can produce unnatural odors inside your growing room that may be noticed by your neighbors.
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Ph and Ph Meters

Ph meters are important when it comes to growing cannabis plants because these tools allow you to regularly check the chemical balance of your soil and water.  These Ph meters come in a wide variety of designs, but each device generally does the same thing.  However, these PH meters come in two types, namely paper strips and Ph probes/meters.

Paper strips were designed to check the chemical balance of your soil and water once.  On the other hand, Ph probe/meters are tools that provide you with a range of percentages with regards to the chemical balance present in your soil and water.  0% means the acidity of the soil and water is high, while 10 to 14% means your soil and water have high levels of alkalinity.  Keep in mind that 7% is the best Ph percentage of your soil and water.  It is also advised to go with the Ph probes/meters in case you intend to grow a large number of cannabis plants in your growing room.

Placing the meter in the water or soil will provide you with the percentage results you need.  However, high alkalinity levels of water and soil can be corrected by mixing vinegar, sulfuric acid, vitamin C, and nitric acid in the soil or water.  On the other hand, mixing lime, wood ashes, or soda bicarbonate in the soil or water can neutralize the acidity levels of the soil and water.  However, large quantities of such solutions can burn your plants or your skin, so be extra careful when handling those substances.
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Soil

Buy the best soil you can get. The soil should be sterilized. Sterilized soil is quite more expensive than the unsterilized types, but you will almost certainly find parasites in it if you use unsterilized soil. This will result in unhealthy plants. You can find excellent soil for sale at your local plant shop or nursery, K-Mart, Wal Mart, and even some grocery stores. The PH level of the soil should be between 5.5 and 6.5 since this is the best for growing cannabis. There should also be some sand in it in order to let it drain well. You can mix it your self by putting 10% of sand to the soil.

Containers

The bigger the pot is, the bigger your plant will grow. So if you're growing outside and have a lot of space, you should use containers with at least a 30-liter capacity. If you're growing indoor with about 10 plants under a lamp, 10 or 15-liter pots will be enough. There should be some holes in the bottom so that any excess water will run out.

Now fill the container with the soil and move the young plants to its new place. You should do this carefully. Otherwise, the roots will get damaged and the plant will stop growing for a couple of day's.

Watering

If you're using water from the tap (which has a little amount of chlorine mixed with it most of the time), you should let the water stand for 24 hours in an open container. During this time, the chlorine will evaporate and most importantly raise the water temperature to room temperature. cannabis plants really get a big shock if you water them with cold water.
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Temperature

Cannabis plants can be exposed to extreme temperature variations.  However, it is not advisable for cannabis plants to be exposed to such extreme temperature variations since this can cause the chemical processes of the plants to slow down.

Rather, it is recommended for cannabis plants to be exposed to temperature levels of 20C/68F for prolonged periods.  Low temperature levels less than 14C/57F can slow down the growth of its roots.  This means you should avoid placing your potted plants on cold floors.  On the other hand, temperature levels over 24C/75F are conducive for pests to breed.  With this, the suggested temperature levels should always be present in your growing room.

You should also keep in mind that having 1000+-watt lamps can heat up your growing room during summer or any other season.  Thus, a fan will be very helpful in keeping the temperature inside the room at manageable levels.

During winter, you should put the fan off in times when the lights are also turned off.  However, having high-watt lamps can rapidly heat up your growing room even when the lights are off during the winter season, so you need to keep your fan handy.  You also need to install a gas or electric heater that comes bundled with a thermostat in your growing room since this can help you maintain the stability of your growing room's temperature.  In addition, don't let your fan blow directly to your plants.  This is because your plants will use up its energy to come up with thicker stems instead of wider branches in order to withstand the force of the air blown by the fan.
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Humidity

Cannabis plants can also withstand varying levels of humidity.  However, 50% humidity inside your growing room is highly recommended.  Using humidity meters in order to track the humidity of your growing room is highly advised for those who have more than a few plants inside their growing rooms.  This is the volume of plants inside your growing room is directly proportional to the humidity of your room.  This means humidity levels inside a growing room increase as the number of the plants inside the room also increases.  High humidity levels can make your growing room a perfect breeding ground for pests and the like.

Cutting and Splitting

You can cut the first 2 leaves at the top of your plants during the time that it has grown to a few inches tall and has shown its first 3 leaves.  This will split your plants into 2 branches.  You can do this repeatedly, but keep in mind that your plants need time as well as energy to grow and nurse its wounds.  This process, when done properly, can be very beneficial to you when harvest time comes.

Male or Female

If you wanna grow nice buds, you HAVE to remove all male plants!! The spotting of males is one of the most difficult of things to explain to a person that`s never grown since it really takes careful attention to how the tops of male plants look at this stage of development. Even experienced growers will be unsure at times and will have to wait till the next visit to be sure. When a male enters the stage of flower development, the tips of the branches where a bud would develop will start to grow what looks like a little bud (little balls) but it will have no white hairs coming out of it. Females will have no balls and will have small white hairs.

Males are often, but not always, tall with stout stems, sporadic branching, and few leaves. Males are usually harvested except those used for breeding, after their sex has been determined, but before the pollen is shed. When harvesting, especially if close to females, cut the plant off at the base, taking care to shake the male as little as possible. This helps prevent any accidental pollination by an unnoticed, open male flower.

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Flowering

You can set your lamps to give your plants 12 hours of light when the time comes that your plants have grown a few inches tall.  This can cause your plants to produce hormones that are helpful for it during the flowering phase.  Buds with 60-75% brown/red/orange hairs mean harvest time.

Harvest Time

You can easily remove all the leaves of your plants while they are still in their pots.  You should also cut the leaves sticking out of the buds.  This is because these leaves will spoil the taste of your buds.  After removing all the components from your buds that can't be smoked, you should hang it upside down in a dark and well ventilated space.

Be wary of mice and rats having access to your buds since these rodents love buds.  You should also provide your buds with enough time to dry and cure since this will result in heavenly tasting buds.  Moreover, you should avoid using heaters to speed up the drying process of your buds since this will give you flat and sharp tasting buds.  Your buds are ready to smoke whenever its twigs break apart instead of bending.
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Pests and Diseases  

Aphids

The fashionconcious Aphid can mostly be found in stems and under the leaves of your plants.  These aphids come in a wide variety of colors, which include green, yellow, black, brown, and red. 

These aphids are small oval-shaped insects with antennas and wings.  These insects can be found in small clusters, so they can be manually removed from your plants.  However, eploying lacewings is a more effective way of getting rid of these aphids since these lacewings are its predators.

Thrips or Trips

Thrips or trips are mostly found in clusters under the leaves of your plants.  However, these insects are rarely found indoors.

White flies

These are small flying insects that are obviously white in color.  When you shake your plants, you can see these small insects flying in varying directions - often avoiding you.  These insects lay its eggs under the leaves of your plants.  They also feed on the juices of your plants.
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Solutions

You can use organic pesticides.  These products are available in the market.  However, determine the components of these organic pesticides before spraying it on your plants since you wouldn't want to smoke chemically induced buds.

You can also use a washing-up liquid and water solution.  Just remember to put in as little washing-up liquid as possible in the solution.  After spraying your plants with this solution, always make it a point to avoid letting it drip on the soil.  Afterwards, you can let it stand for 15 minutes before spraying your plants with clean water.
 
This together with various manual removal methods can be very helpful to get rid of pests (even those not mentioned here) from your plants.  You can do this every other day, but do make it a point to check your plants for pests as often as possible.

What is the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Scientifically, all cannabis strains are Sativa. There are plenty of different strains in the cannabis spectrum that all have different growth patterns, qualities, and effects after being smoked. We use the names Indica and Sativa to distinguish each end of this cannabis spectrum. However, all cannabis is in the same family.
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Indica:

Indicas are small and stocky plants with compact and heavy buds. They are the fast flowering varieties, which normally have a flowering time between 6 to 9 weeks.

Indica's do not grow much more once flowering has begun. An Indica may be expected to gain between 50 and 100% of its vegetative height by the end of its flowering period. That's why an Indica need some vegetative growing time before you can start flowering it.

Indica varieties grow mainly in the southern part of Asia and the Indian subcontinent (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet, India, Nepal, etc.).

The effect of smoking Indica varieties are generally classified as "stoned". It has a very relaxing effect on the mind and body. It may enhance physical sensations such as taste, touch, and sound.

Sativa

Sativas are much bigger than Indicas. The buds will be taller yet not as compact as Indicas. This means the buds mainly have less weight than the Indica buds when dried. Sativas need a longer flowering period. They usually flower between 9 and 12 weeks before they're ready to harvest.

Because there is not so much difference between daylight time in winter and summer around the equator, this variety is growing and flowering at the same time. Sativa's usually continue growing while flowering - they can grow up to 300% or more of their vegetative height before they are ready. For this reason, Sativas don't need vegetative growing time. With this, the overall time required for Sativas is about the same as for Indicas.

Sativas mainly grow in places around the equatorial region (Thailand, Jamaica, Mexico, Cambodia, etc).

The effect of smoking Sativa varieties are generally classified as "high". Despite their lower weight and potentially longer flowering time, Sativas are valued by many growers for their "high" effect. This "high" may be characterized as cerebral, energetic, creative, giggly or even psychedelic. It is less overpowering than the Indica "stone", and less likely to send the user to sleep.
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