Cannabis growing, what to expect? No, you can’t just pop your seed into the ground and expect to get a premium top class homegrown bud! There is so much more to it, and although it’s not rocket science. There is a science to it, call it art if you will, but growing cannabis is so much more than ensuring your seedling gets plenty of light and water… Personally, after years of cannabis growing, I still have so much to learn.
It took some time but after years of growing cannabis and completely living, breathing, eating everything cannabis, I can fully and wholeheartedly say there is always more to learn and discover about not only the Cannabis anatomy and overall cannabis plant but right down to the very medium in which you are growing your cannabis plant in.
Knowing when to harvest, getting the drying, curing and trimming down to a fine art all takes time and a deeper understanding of the cannabis plant. What causes Cannabis to Hermaphrodite? What Soils should you use? Feed, when and what is required for optimum cannabis growth…
When you take the time and effort to grow your own cannabis plant, the rewards are beyond satisfying. Getting high off your own supply after the many hours of care and love given to your cannabis plant is by for more fulfilling than any other bud.
An average grow could take 3 to 4 weeks, from seed to harvest. Especially for indoors, whilst up to 16 weeks when grown outdoors using the natural light cycle. Although this will vary from strain to strain as well. Some plants take up to 4 months to vegetate and then another 3 months for flowering.
Cannabis plants are dioecious, which means the plant produces male and female plants separately. If the male plant is in a certain radius of the female plant, the female plant will be pollinated, and this produces seeds for reproduction.
Female Cannabis Anatomy
When the plant reaches a growth height of about 4 nodes, you should easily be able to determine the sex. Either by waiting for it to flower or shorten the light for one or two days. Soon you will notice small white hairs protruding from the nodes(stigma).
The female cannabis plant is the sex that produces the dense flower we all love and smoke. When there is no male plant present the female plant will continue to produce resonance bud until it is the time comes to harvest.
Should the male plant pollinate the female plant a seed is produced. Usually not the result we are wanting. This will result in the plant focusing its energy on producing seeds rather than making trichomes and stronger denser buds. You should be able to determine the sex naturally by 6 weeks.
Male Cannabis Anatomy
At the same 4 node stage of growth, you will notice small little pollen sacs that are clearly visible. There are normally more than one and it usually starts firsts on one of the notches. If you want dense strong bud then you will have to remove or destroy the male cannabis plant as soon as.
In some instances, the male plant is purposefully kept pollinating and make new seeds of mixed strains that people would buy and grow. This is how growers would create new strains and take years to find the right award winner. This is not recommended for first-time growers.
Sometimes the cannabis plant will go through stress and try to shorten the life span by producing male and female flowers. This, in turn, produces seeds that lessen the quality and quantity of your final product.
Some growers use this hermaphrodite mutation to produce female seeds. (feminized seeds) There will always be a tiny bit of hermaphrodite DNA in the seeds and plants that will grow from them. A close eye must always be kept on a daily basis when growing cannabis, especially when you have bought feminized seeds from an unreputable supply. (not recommended) There are plenty reputable online seedbanks one can choose from these days.
Growing medium (seed, veg, flowering) PKH
Cannabis, like most plants, needs nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in order to grow strong and healthy. During vegetation, the cannabis plant needs a higher N(nitrogen) ratio, than P and K. When buying a plant fertilizer I tend to look for an NPK ratio of 3:1:1. I find this is perfect for most cannabis strains and can be adjusted accordingly. Always keep a steady level of all the nutrients but keep N high until the flowering stage. Most high-quality cannabis fertilizers contain enough nutrients to last the plant for up to 4 weeks.
The flowering stage is reached after about 6 weeks of vegetation, the cannabis plant continues to grow even during the flowering stage. The best average NPK nutrient ratio is best at 1:3:2 for early to mid- flowering. End the flowering off with a ratio of 0:3:3 and flush your cannabis plant with the only freshwater for the last week of growth before harvest. This will give your joints a much better natural flavor according to strain.
The aim is to slowly tap off N during your growth and gradually pick up P and K during the mid-bloom phase is the main objective. Although giving the plant nutrients is not natural, the nutrients should be eco-friendly, and we can keep it as natural as possible by gradually adding and removing nutrients.
When is it ready to harvest?
Harvesting your cannabis plant at the right time is just as important as the entire grow. Chop your plant too early and you might lose THC potency, chop to late and you will end up yielding what I call couch potato cannabis.
You will need some tools to help you harvest your cannabis at the best time possible. I also use a jewelers loupe or a digital microscope!
An easy and very effective way is by checking the pistols that grow amongst your cannabis plant using a loupe or microscope. If your pistols are still white and fairly straight, this is still too early for harvest. You will notice that these pistols start to curl and darken one at a time. For the highest levels of THC, you should harvest when at least 60-70 percent pistols have curled and turned a dark, sometimes red colour.
For a more calming effect, one should harvest when the hairs are 70 to 90 percent curled and darkened. At this time the THC becomes more CBD which gives more an anti-anxiety feeling.
The telltale signs...
Digital microscopes and loupes are used to zoom into the trichomes formed on your cannabis flower from an arm’s length away it will look like snow or white pollen in and all-around your cannabis flower. they should grow out onto the leaves close to the flower of your cannabis plant. Also now as sugar leaf.
These small mushroom looking pistols grow towards the end of your flowering stage. You will clearly notice them start to form and gather until there are thousands. When the right levels of THC are reached, these little mushrooms will begin to change colour.
At the highest level of THC up to 80 percent of the trichomes have gone cloudy in colour. This is best for pain relief and a feeling of euphoria. When these little mushrooms are still slightly see through the plant is still growing the levels of THC have are still being produced in the growing process.
When the trichomes become an amber to fully cloudy colour then you are leaning more towards a relaxing effect and can help with anxiety. This is also popular for its “couch-lock” effects.
How to effectively dry and cure you bud
Drying and curing your cannabis properly will only give you great tasting, great smoking cannabis. The effects of THC are also released during the drying process, explained in more detail here.
Mould is a huge factor during this process of chopping and drying your cannabis plant. Post drying and curing your flower is essential to preventing mold and other contaminants. Chlorophyll is responsible for the harsh smoke and taste in cannabis buds. When we dry and cure properly this chlorophyll is depleted over time, greatly influencing the quality of your cannabis.
The procedures that are meant to follow will help you get the best out of your bud as well as the longest time (shelf life) of your yield.
Trimming your cannabis is also just as important because when we freshly shop the cannabis plant the resin and the sticky situation are a breeding ground for bacteria. There are two popular ways to trimming which will ensure an easy beautiful bud in the end.
Wet trimming is when one takes trimming scissors or sheers and chops all the fan leaves and access plant matter away from the cannabis flower. This is a lot easier as the leaves are still firm and fresh and easy to handle. This method is easier when one does not have a lot of material to process.
Dry trimming is mainly used when there is too much material to process at once. Branches are cut from the main plant and hung to dry for a few days until the branch break when you try to bend it. The leaves, however, become dry and curl up to the flower which makes it harder to trim away at a later stage.
Growing cannabis for me quickly went from a hobby to a passion. From start to finish it's simply fascinating and so rewarding. That first toke of your new harvest and sweet aromas of my budding cannabis are my two favorite parts. When the aromas hit the mouth begins to water.
Take care at each stage of growth and be sure to spend time with your plants, they have feelings and needs too.
Peace and Love