Home Growing Guide
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THE BEGINNERS'S GUIDE TO HASH-GROWING
This book is the result of a couple of amateur gardeners coming across a
wealth of desktop publishing equipment, while enjoying the fruits of their
labours. It is heavily based on other booklets we have read, some of which
were so badly typed that we just had to do something about it.
Some of the inaccuracies of the old document have been removed,
Americanization (sic.) has been translated, and a few improvements have been
As you will discover, growing your own is not just a cheap way of getting it.
You also ensure you are smoking ONLY pot, and obtain a great deal of
satisfaction from watching your plants grow from a tiny seed to a six-foot
tall monster. It also does wonders for the balance of world trade.
You may have tried to grow hemp plants before, usually just by bunging a few
seeds in a flower pot on the windowsill and crossing your fingers. You
probably got an anaemic thin plant about 2-3 feet tall which probably gave you
a mild buzz. This book tells you how to grow 'em a little bigger than that,
and how to increase the yield of the end result by two to four times.
An indoor garden will produce about 16 ounces of grass every six months. The
gardens are really quite simple to build, the only technical knowledge being
the wiring of a fluorescent tube. Basically, you just hang a fluorescent light
that can be raised and lowered over some pots with a good soil mixture. All
the materials you need are available at nurseries, garden shops and DIY
Homegrown grass is bright green, and tastes pure and clean. Once you have
experienced the pleasure of working with nature and enjoying clean, clear
highs, we doubt that you'll ever want to buy commercial grass again. If you
really want hash oil or resin, you can follow the method in a book called "Dr
Atomic" - soon to be plagarised, but there's nothing wrong with straight
grass. After all, it isn't costing you much.
Marijuana is an especially rewarding plant to cultivate because it is one of
the fastest growing and most responsive plants. The Hemp plant (Cannabis
Satavia) is highly adaptive and grown all round the world. Under optimum
conditions, it may grow up to twenty feet high. If you're growing it outdoors,
make sure you have a very high fence !
Such giants usually grow in tropical and semi-tropical zones, where they
flourish in the strong sunlight. There are male and female plants as well as
hermaphrodites (that's male and female parts on the same plant).
The Indoor Garden
Under artificial light, marijuana grows very fast; about 3-6 feet in three
months. As you want the lights fairly close to the plants, you must arrange
the lights so that their height can be altered. Hang the fixtures by a rope or
chain from the walls or ceiling, or from the top of a frame at least 6 feet
high, constructed of 2" X 2"s. The bar for hanging clothes on in a wardrobe
works quite well if it is high enough. Try to obtain an industrial type light
fixture with a built-in reflector, so that no light is lost. If your fixtures
are not equipped with reflectors, mount them on a sheet of white painted
plywood, make a reflector from white posterboard, or (at a pinch) sheets of
white cartridge paper. Don't use aluminium foil (see later).
Ten watts of tube power for each square foot of growing area is adequate for
healthy growth, but for a fast growing, lush crop, use at least 20 watts per
square foot. The size and shape of your garden should correspond to the light
system, so if the garden is 1 X 4 feet, use 2 four-foot tubes (80 watts). If
the garden is 8 X 2 feet, use 4 eight-foot tubes. One eight -foot tube emits
more light than 2 four-foot tubes, so try to use as few tubes as possible.
Marijuana can absorb up to 80 watts per square foot. Increasing the amount of
light will increase the growth rate, and the quality of your plants.
The garden should be surrounded by reflective surfaces to contain all of the
light. This will increase the efficiency of the lighting significantly and the
light will be nearly uniform throughout out the garden until the fixtures are
more than 2 feet high. A flat white paint is a better reflecting surface that
aluminium foil or glossy white paint. Flat white has about the same reflecting
capacity as aluminium foil, but reflects the light more uniformly. Paint walls
flat white, and hang posterboard, white plastic curtain, thick white paper
etc. on any open sides from the top of the fixture or frame. Sticking white
card over the inside of your wardrobe is fine if you can find the white card
for free. If your reflectors are the only enclosure for your plants, make them
waterproof, and they will insure a healthy humidity by containing moisture
evaporating from the soil and transpired by the plants.
Don't rely on training pets to stay out of the garden. Cats know damn well
what the stuff is, and they may chew the leaves or consume the best parts of
several plants. Dogs aren't much better either. Scratching in soil is in and
animals' nature. After all, look at all that time you spent teaching Tibbles
to use the litter tray. One moment of weakness can destroy months of work (see
"cuttings" in case of dire emergency). If the garden is accessible to pets,
surround it with chicken wire or heavy plastic. Ironmongers sell plastic on
rolls, and inexpensive plastic dropcloths. Cover the floor with plastic too.
It will protect your floor (and, if you're in a flat, your neighbours ceiling)
from possible water damage. The last thing you want is the council sniffing
around for leaks !
The most effective and efficient artificial light for plant growth is
fluorescent light. There now follows a (very) brief physics lesson: The white
light you see emitted by a fluorescent bulb consists of all the colours of the
spectrum. The designation - Daylight, Warm White, Gro-lux, Optima, etc. - give
a heavy clue to what particular combination of bits of the spectrum each bulb
generates. Plants respond primarily to red and blue light, and for healthy
growth, a combination of these two colours must be provided. Blue light
stimulates leaf growth, produces short, stocky stems, and encourages robust
development. Red light is used for stem and root growth, and to promote
The best fluorescent tubes are those that are specifically manufactured to
give out light useful to plants, and have a distinct purple hue. Some of these
are the Standard Gro-lux, Wide Spectrum Gro-lux, and plant Gro.
Sizes suitable for growing marijuana are 4,6, and 8 feet long. Regular
wattages for all of these tubes are about 10 watts for each foot of their
length (80 watts for an eight-foot tube). They also come in higher wattage
sizes. These are Power Twists, High Output (HO) and Very High Output (VHO)
tubes, the largest being a 215 watt, eight-foot tube. These high output tubes
are not always available, and tend to come a little on the expensive side. You
only really need to use them in an exceptionally large garden.
Regular fluorescent tubes can be used if you can't get Gro-tubes. They don't
work quite as well, but they will grow a perfectly healthy crop, and usually
work out more than a little cheaper. Daylight, or Cool White tubes can be used
in conjunction with either Natural White or traditional (plug-in) bulbs.
Normal bulbs and Natural White both provide the red component of light, while
the others tend towards the blue end. Use them in a one to one ratio, evenly
distributing the red and blue sources. Compared to the fluorescent tube, the
traditional lightbulb is about one third as efficient, has a much shorter
life, and can cause problems with it's excess heat. Not only might it scorch
your plants, it could set the whole house up if you haven't supported the
lights properly. But think what a wonderful time the fire-brigade would have
Pots and Containers
Plants can be started in flower pots, milk crates, institutional size tin
cans, polystyrene packaging, plastic jugs, or practically any container that
is waterproof, at least 4" wide, and doesn't mind having a few holes punched
in the bottom of it for drainage. Grow-bags are suitable, but will need holes
punched in the bottom for drainage, and will probably need their pH checked.
A single large box has the advantage of giving more room for the roots to
spread out, but requires a lot more soil and makes moving, lighting and
rotating the plants impractical.
In it's natural state, marijuana sends down a tap root up to half the length
of the plant. Apart from the fact that there aren't many three-foot deep plant
pots about, trying to simulate natural conditions would be impractical in
terms of weight, space, cost and labour.
The purpose of the soil (not necessarily ordinary dirt) is to provide water
and nutrients, and to anchor the plant down. With strict attention to proper
watering and fertilizing techniques, a six-foot plant can be grown in a
four-inch pot. The plant will, however, grow much better in a series of
successively larger pots - six to ten inch pots are a good median size, and
aren't too heavy to move around when necessary.
Use as many pots as you can fit under the lighting system. The pots can always
be thinned out if the plants become too crowded. Choose pots that are at least
as wide at the top as the bottom, so that the soil can breath and dry out more
Wash all cans, crates and pots etc thoroughly to remove any contaminants and/
or insects. Boil clay pots for ten minutes to sterilize them. Some plastic,
and most clay, utensils can be dampened and put in a microwave for ten minutes
Marijuana grows best in a well-drained sandy soil or loam which is high in
nitrogen and potash, at least medium in phosphorous, and which contains little
or no clay. The pH should be between slightly acidic (6.5) and slightly
alkaline (7.5). If the pH is either too low or too high it will interfere with
nutrient uptake. The pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 7.0 assigned as
neutral. pH is a measure of the relative concentrations of hydroxonium ions
(H3O+) to hydroxide ions (OH2-). Several varieties of test kits and meters can
be purchased from garden stores which test the pH and nutrient contents of the
soil. Litmus paper (purple or blue) can be obtained from some chemists. Many
agricultural schools or colleges will test soil pH and nutrient contents for a
Soil pH is raised to an acceptable level by adding slaked (hydrated) lime,
limestone and marl. There is no set formula we can give for raising the pH. At
a low pH it takes less time to raise the level by one point than it does when
the pH is nearer to neutral (7.0). Sandy soils require less lime than clay
soils to raise the pH. In general, if the soil tests acid, add 2 cups of
hydrated lime for each 50 lb bag of soil. On a more modest scale, this works
out at roughly one tablespoon for every 1 1/2 lbs of soil. Wet the soil
thoroughly after mixing. Re-test the soil in about 2 weeks, and repeat the
application until the pH is in an acceptable range. Soil that is too alkaline
is treated in the same way, but with aluminium sulphate at a rate of 1/2 cup
per 50 lbs of soil.
If you are digging up your soil, sift it well to remove stones and root clods.
Bake the soil in a 200 degree centigrade oven for twenty minutes in one-inch
layers, in a pressure cooker at 15 lbs/sq in pressure, or in a microwave on
full for ten minutes (make doubley sure there are no foreign particles in it).
This will destroy any weed seeds, insect eggs and disease organisms in the
It is, much, much, simpler to buy commercially prepared soils. These are
usually sterilised (but if the bag has been opened or holed, sterilize again
anyway) and have a good balance of nutrients. Ask for soil with a neutral pH.
Some nursery-men (and women) will sell you anything, so check the pH anyway
and reject any soil for "lime-hating" plants.
We have had good results from some brands using composted seaweed as an
The consistency and structure of the soil is important for healthy root
development, drainage and uniform water dispersion. The medium should not cake
when dry (this rules out John Innes No. 3) and should remain spongy or loose
when wet. Test the consistency,and adjust it if necessary.
To test the consistency of the soil, lightly moisten some and squeeze it in
your fist. The ball should crumble easily when touched. Soil consistency can
be adjusted by adding perlite, vermiculite, sand or kitty litter.
Perlite and vermiculite are inexpensive commercial products which are much
lighter than sand and are sterile. Vermiculite absorbs and holds water and air
in its fibre. Perlite traps moisture and air on its irregular surface much
like sand. Sphagnum or peat moss is often used to adjust soils, but should not
be used for marijuana as it tends to make the mix acidic. If you have alkaline
soil to start with though, you might get away with it.
Soils found deficient in nutrient content can be enriched by adding humus
(decayed organic matter) or fertilizers such as rose food, liquinure etc.
Humus is acidic and can alter the pH.
Soil-less mixtures are inexpensive and easy to prepare. They work well, are
neutral in pH and light in weight, but have absolutely no nutrient content.
They must be carefully fertilized and are not recommended for an inexperienced
grower. It is all too easy to over- or under-fertilize the plants.
Two tested formulas are:
1) One part perlite or sand to one part vermiculite and 1 tbsp of lime per
quart of mixture.
2) One part perlite or sand to one part Jiffy Mix and 1 tbsp of lime per quart
You can mix three parts of the soil-less mixture to one part cow manure, or
rely solely on soluble fertilizers when watering.
Some of you who are not familiar with gardening may be a little over-whelmed
by all this talk of pH, nitrogen etc... so here is a simple uncomplicated
formula for those of you with no experience with plants:
Buy commercial soil. Avoid brands that have peat in their names, and not just
because peat is an over-exploited resource. It is very unlikely that a
commercial soil will be too alkaline for healthy growth, but it may well be
too acidic. The simplest way to assure yourself your soil is not too acidic,is
to put a piece of damp blue litmus paper (blue litmus is available from some
chemists and garden centres) under the surface of the soil. Wait a few minutes
and then take it out. It will not harm the soil - litmus comes from a lichen.
If the paper turns pink, the soil is acidic and lime must be added. Mix two
cups of slaked (hydrated) lime, from your garden store, to each 50 lbs of
soil. Don't add lime if the paper remains blue. If you find yourself asking
"is this paper pink, purple or just wet ?", then the soil is probably slightly
acidic and within an acceptable range for healthy growth.
Mix 10 lbs of natural, sterilized fertilizer (usually based on cow manure or
chickenshit) to each 50 lbs of soil. If you have some aversion to muck, or
don't like the smell (well rotted manure doesn't smell, by the way) then you
can use a soluble fertilizer when watering. We use a brand called
'phostrogen', which seems to work well. By volume, also mix in one part of
sand, perlite or vermiculite for every three parts of your soil. This helps
maintain the right soil texture for healthy root growth.
After potting and watering, the mixture should be re-tested in about a
fortnight if it tested acidic to begin with.
If it is still acidic, add hydrated lime by mixing one tbsp of lime per quart
of water, the first few times you water. Test your water supply by dipping a
piece of litmus in plain water to determine if it is influencing your tests.
To pot any of the mixtures, cover the drainage holes with a square of
newspaper or window screen to prevent soil from running out. Next, put in a
layer of sand, perlite, vermiculite or kitty litter about one inch deep to
ensure good drainage. Fill the pots to within 3/4 inch from the top of the pot
with the soil mixture. Water the pots until the soil is evenly moist, and
allow the pots to stand for a day or two so that bacteria necessary for
nutrient uptake can begin to grow and the fertilizers can start to dissolve
into the soil.
Seeds and Germination
The potency of marijuana is, in part, hereditary. Choose your seeds from the
best grass available. Different strains grow at different rates. For
uniformity of growth, take all seeds from the same batch of grass. This will
help when it comes to lining them up under lights.
Hemp seeds from angling suppliers are very variable in quality and germination
rate. They are treated, but about one in twenty still manage to sprout. Only
use those that form sprouts over a centimetre long.
Choose seeds for their size and colour. The large plump ones with good colour,
black, brown, grey or mottled - have the best chance of germinating. Seeds
that are old, badly bruised or immature (green or white) are probably not
viable. If they are all you can get, you'll have to plant a lot of them and
hope that some exceptional specimens "take".
Seeds are rarely viable after about three years, and should be stored in an
airtight container. The crisper section in your refrigerator is an ideal
place; dark and cool. You can get some idea of the viability by placing a seed
between your thumb and fore-finger. If the seed does not crumble when pressed
hard, it is probably viable.
Many books recommend that a germination box should be built to start the seeds
in. This is an extra hassle that is not necessary. Transplanting the seedlings
from one medium to another often subjects them to transplant shock, which will
delay growth. With the following procedure you'll not have any problems.
Soak the seeds overnight in a glass of water or in wet towels to give them a
head start in the water absorbtion stakes. Adding about a teaspoon of
"Domestos" (double for thin bleaches) to half a pint of water will prevent
fungus forming on the seeds. It does not harm the seeds in any way, believe
Poke 5 or 6 holes about 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep and evenly spaced in each pot.
Place one seed in each hole and cover lightly with soil. Carefully, so as not
to disturb the seeds, moisten the soil and keep it moist until the seeds have
If you are using a bulk lot of not very viable seeds, put them in a seed tray
with 1 1/4" of seed and cutting compost in the bottom. Moisten with a sprayer
and, as mould from rotting seeds will be a problem, spray with "Benomyl" or
another fungicide if you know of a better one. Scatter many seeds over the
surface, sprinkle compost over the top to only just cover the seeds, and
dampen with water and fungicide. Put an incubator top on, or put it inside a
clear plastic bag. These precautions are not necessary with good seeds, but
then the ones you find in bird-seed aren't particularly renowned for their
The seeds will sprout in three to fourteen days, depending on their variety
and viability. If you have only a few seeds and want to give them the best
chance possible, plant them pointed end up. The seedling will then expend the
least amount of energy breaking through the soil. This is not critical and is
unnecessary if you have plenty of seeds.
Light System and Germination
Some say that you need to light the seeds during germination. We have found
that it makes little difference, and that normal daylight and room
temperatures are fine.
Once the seeds have sprouted, place the light two to six inches above the top
of the plants and maintain this distance for the duration of growth. The short
distance between the light and the plant will encourage the seedling to
develop with a stocky stem rather than a long, fragile one. At some stages the
plants grow a couple of inches a day, so you may have to adjust the lights
several times a week. Usually, seeds will sprout 2-7 days after planting.
Older seeds may take up to 3 weeks.
It is important for the normal development of the plants that they receive a
regulated day/night cycle. We emphatically recommend that you use an automatic
electric timer, so that your plants will not suffer from your irregular hours,
dirty weekends, or forgetfulness. Once the seeds begin to sprout, set the
timer cycle for 18 hours of light a day, and leave it on this setting for the
duration of your garden (see the section on Photoperiod).
It is best to set the timer so that your plants are not disturbed by any light
during their night period. If they are subjected to even a dim light too often
during the night cycle, the plants' growth pattern may be disrupted and they
may develop abnormally. If you use a light in the growing area, use a green
bulb. Plants are not sensitive to the green spectrum.
Plants growing under artificial light have a long photoperiod, and no cloudy
days, so they grow extremely fast; one and a half feet per month is not
unusual. This means that the plants will use a lot of water. Since the space
around your plants is limited, you'll have to water them fairly often. This
does not mean watering them daily, or keeping the pots saturated. Plants grown
in a continuously wet soil are slower growing, and probably less potent than
normal. They often develop stem rot. Allow the pots to go through a wet and
dry cycle. This will add in nutrient uptake, especially on potassium, and
aerate the soil. In general, when the soil one inch deep is dry to touch,
water it enough so that the soil is saturated but not so much that water runs
out of the drainage holes, carrying away the soils valuable nutrients.
Self-watering plant pots are fine for keeping the plants alive while you go
off on holiday, but try not to use them in their intended role of keeping the
soil continuously moist.
If you underwater your plants, they will wilt. Plant cells are kept rigid by
the pressure of the cell contents (mostly water). With the water gone, they
collapse. First the bottom leaves droop, and the condition works itself up the
plant until the top lops over. If a plant wilts, water it immediately, and it
will recover within a few minutes. This happens so fast you can actually
follow the movement of the water as it goes up the plant.
There is no way we can tell you exactly how often to water your garden. Light,
temperature, humidity and the size of the plants and pots are only a few of
many variables that determine the water uptake.
Try to reach a median. Don't keep the pots constantly moist, and don't wait
until the plant dries out and keels over. Use some common sense, we have found
it in some members of the community. A six-foot plant in a four-inch pot will
have to be saturated almost every day. Large containers (10" width or more)
should not be watered to saturation, especially if the plants are small. They
will not dry out quickly enough and will encourage mould. Clay pots are porous
and "breath". They require more water than plastic or metal pots.
Don't disturb the roots when you water. Water around the stems, not on them.
Seedlings are likely to fall over if watered roughly. Use a hand sprinkler
with a fine spray for seedlings. When set on a coarse jet, these sprays are
invaluable for discouraging cats from sniffing the seedlings.
Use tepid water, it soaks into the soil more easily and will not shock the
roots. Try to water during the plants morning hours. Water from the top of the
pot. Refill the watering container then, and leave it ready for next time. Not
only will it all be ready, but the water will be at room temperature, and most
of the chlorine will have evaporated (see later).
Water from the top of the pot. If you insist on watering from the bottom with
trays, place a layer of gravel or pebbles in the trays to ensure drainage.
Don't let the pots sit in the water until the soil becomes super-saturated.
This prevents oxygen uptake and the plants will grow poorly.
The tap water in some areas is acidic (sulphurous) or alkaline (limestone) and
can change the soil pH. If you are in such an area, check the pH every week or
Tap water in some locales is highly chlorinated. The chlorine does not harm
the plants, but it can kill the micro-organisms in the soil that are necessary
to break down nutrients to a form that the plants can use. Allowing
chlorinated water to stand overnight will eliminate most of the chlorine gas
and it can then be used safely.
Depending on the viability of the seeds, you will have a germination rate of
0-100 % and several plants should be growing in each pot. During the second to
fourth week of growth, the plants will begin to crowd each other. Thin your
garden so that one plant is left in each container.
The marijuana leaf consists of 3-11 lanceolate shaped blades. These appear
usually in odd numbers and the number depends on the genetic factors and
growing conditions; principally the amount of light. The number of blades at
the early stage is an indication of over-all leafiness at maturity.
To thin your garden, remove any plants with yellow, white or distorted leaves.
Also remove the less vigorous ones, and those with the sparsest foliage. Leave
the bushiest and those with the highest number of blades per leaf.
If the plants are close together, cut the unwanted plants at their base : the
root system can remain in the pot. Otherwise, make sure you do not disturb the
remaining plants' roots systems when you pull unwanted seedlings. Marijuana is
very sensitive to that sort of thing.
The tops of these harvested plants will be your first taste of your homegrown
grass. They will probably give you a mild buzz. The potency of the crop will
increase considerably as the plants grow older.
If there are any pots without plants, you should transplant a seedlings while
you are thinning.
First, moisten the soil in the pot from which you will take the plant, and let
it sit there for a few minutes. Take a spade or a large spoon, fish slice, wok
scoop or somesuch, and set it between the transplant and the plant that will
be left to grow. Try to leave at least one inch of space from the spoon to the
stem. Lever the spoon towards the side of the pot, so as to take up a good
wedge of soil. Place the transplant in a prepared hole at the same depth that
it was growing at before. Replace the soil in both pots, and moisten slightly
to bond the new soil with the original. If carefully done, a wedge of soil can
be removed intact, so the root system will not be disturbed and the plant will
survive with little or no transplant shock. Do not fertilize a transplant for
two weeks, and do not let them wilt.
To prevent drop-off and wilting from shock, you may want to use Rootone or
Transplantone. These powders, available at garden stores, contain a root
growth hormone and a fungicide. They are quite safe for our purposes.
Plants grown under artificial light will often need support, especially in the
early stages of growth. Unlike sunlight on earth, the intensity of artificial
light diminishes the further the distance from the light source. The plants
respond accordingly, and try to grow up into the light. Hanging the lights
higher up than the recommended six inches will further complicate this
elongation. Too much red light will cause elongation too, so make sure that
you include a strong blue light if you are using traditional lightbulbs. The
blue band will ease elongation somewhat, but the heaviest foliage will still
be on top, and the stem may not be able to support the weight.
Depending on the plant size, pipecleaners, plastic straws, chopsticks or
standard plant stakes can be used. Set them in the soil and tie the stem to it
with string or wire twists like those that come with freezer bags. Do not tie
too tightly around the stem, leave it very loose. Marijuana is a dicot, and
will grow in girth as well as length. Tying the string too tightly can cut off
the flow of water and nutrients as the stem grows larger.
Probably the simplest method of support is to take a rigid piece of wire, form
a 'C' at one end, bend the 'C' at a right angle to the stem, push the straight
end of the wire into the ground and carefully place the stem inside the 'C'.
Wire pipe cleaners are ideal for seedlings. With larger plants, coat hangers
can be straightened out and the same method used on a larger scale.
As the plants grow, they take nutrients from the soil. These nutrients must be
replaced if the plants are to stay healthy and strong, and to maintain a rapid
rate of growth. The main elements are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and
potassium (K). These are the three mystic numbers listed on the sides of
fertilizer packets: for example, 5-10-5. Calcium, magnesium, sulphur and iron
are used in much lesser amounts, as are minute quantities of many other
elements called trace elements or micro-nutrients. Each element affects
different characteristics in the plant and all are necessary for healthy
Nitrogen promotes rapid growth, lush foliage and stocky plants. During the
first few months of growth, marijuana needs a lot of nitrogen. An abundance of
nitrogen during the early stages will induce more female plants to develop.
Obviously, there will be more males if there is a shortage of nitrogen.
Phosphorous promotes root growth, and is necessary for healthy flower and seed
development. When flowering, marijuana uses about twice as much phosphorous as
it does during normal, vegetative growth.
Potassium regulates the utilisation of the nutrients by the plant. It
increases the vigour, strengthens stems, improves resistance to diseases, and
is essential for proper plant metabolism. The plant needs large amounts of
potassium during all stages of growth.
Calcium aids in the absorbtion of nutrients, neutralises soil acids, and
destroys some of the toxic compounds produced by the plant.
Testing the soil periodically is the surest way of maintaining a healthy
growing medium. Soil that tests high in nitrogen and potassium, and medium in
phosphorous will not have to be fertilized for a while. Soils found deficient
in one element can be treated with a singe component fertilizer.
When and how often to fertilize depends on the growing medium you started
with, the size of the pots, the health of the plants, and general growing
conditions. Normally, small pots (4 to 6 inches) should be fertilized about
three weeks after sprouting. Fish emulsion (5-2-5, for those who know the
magic numbers) is a good organic fertilizer. Dilute one teaspoon per gallon of
water and use each time you water for the first two months, and once every two
weeks thereafter. Chemical fertilizers such as Rapid-Gro (23-19-17),
Phostrogen, or Miracle-Gro (15-30-15) can be used in accordance with
instructions listed for houseplants. Don't use fertilizers recommended for
"acid-loving plants", and never add solid fertilizers such as cow manure once
the plants have started. They promote moulds that can do a lot more harm than
Large pots (10 to 18 inches) need not be fertilized at all if the soil was
rich in nutrients to begin with.
Soil-less mixtures must be treated with a trace element mixture. Mix one
tablespoon per gallon of water the first time you water. Every six weeks
later, water with one teaspoon per gallon. Increase the treatment if the
plants show any trace-element deficiencies.
You can use any houseplant fertilizer. These also contain trace elements. An
ideal formulas ratio for producing the most desirable results at each of the
stages of the plant's life (rapid growth and profuse foliage in the beginning,
and good development during middle life, with high resin content during
flowering) is as follows:
N=Nitrogen, P=Phosphorous, K=Potassium
N P K
Start (2nd week) 20:5:15
2 months before flowering 10:5:15
During flowering 5:12:10
It is not necessary to fertilize in these ratios, only that the plants receive
enough of each element.
Use one tablespoon of micro-nutrient mix to each gallon of water during the
first week, and thereafter use once every six weeks.
One week after sprouting, water with fertilizer in dilutions recommended on
packages for large bushes and tomatoes. Repeat this application in the third,
fifth, and eighth weeks. Thereafter, fertilize in dilutions recommended for
houseplants once every two weeks until flowering starts.
Some words of caution: Many people, in an effort to do the best for their
plants, actually do the worst. Over-fertilizing will put excessive amounts of
soluble substances into the soil. They interfere with normal nutritional
processes and will cause poor growth and, in some cases, kill the plant.
For example, too much nitrogen will nitrify the soil and change its osmotic
properties. Instead of moisture being drawn into the plant, it is drawn away
and the plant dehydrates. In the limited area that your plant is occupying, it
is easy to overfertilize. If the plant looks healthy, and is growing well,
don't be anxious to fertilize. It is better that they are underfed rather than
overfed. Underfeeding can be recognised and corrected, but with
overfertilization, you must start another crop and replace or leach the soil
mix. It is better to use a diluted solution more often than to give one large
dose once a month.
Foliar feeding (spraying the leaves with fertilizer) is a good way to assure
the plants their nutrients without building up soluble substances in the soil.
After the first month, foliar feed the plants with fish emulsion or the
chemical fertilizers. Some of the chemical fertilizers are not recommended for
foliar feeding houseplants. Marijuana is not a houseplant. As long as the
fertilizer can be used for foliar feeding, use it on your plant. Use a fine
mist sprayer, they don't cost much and you should have one for watering your
seedlings anyway. Dilute fish emulsion to one teaspoon to a gallon and use
each time you water. Spraying with fish emulsion is a little smelly and may
change the flavour of the grass to a pleasant mint-like flavour. Dilute the
chemical fertilizers according to the directions on the packet, and spray
The nutrients are absorbed through the leaf surface (both sides) and through
"breathing holes" (stomata) in the leaves. Occasionally spray with plain water
to redilute unabsorbed nutrients and to clean the plants.
If any plant has an unhealthy or discoloured appearance, make sure the problem
is not due to insect or disease before assuming a nutrient deficiency. Examine
the plants carefully, especially the undersides of leaves, along the stem and
in the soil.
Nitrogen: plant colour is paler than normal. Yellowing of older leaves on the
main stem followed by yellowing of younger loaves with slow or no growth.
Yellowing of the leaves will occur after the plant is more than two and a half
feet tall since they are shielded by the upper leaves or are too far from the
lights to carry on chlorosynthesis.
Phosphorous: leaves are unnaturally dark green with slow growth. Poor
flowering and root structure.
Potassium: leaves are unnaturally dark green and curl under the edges.
Bronzing or yellowing starting on the edges of the older main stem leaves,
which then turn grey, followed by grey or bronze mottling of the whole leaf.
Stems are often soft and weak. This is the most common deficiency in indoor
The following deficiencies are not common; especially if you are using
fertilizers. If the plants are growing poorly, check the soil pH and drainage.
If the water stays in a pool and takes more than a minute or so to be
absorbed, then the soil is not draining properly. Leaves will brown at the
tips, turn pale or yellow and severely curl.
Calcium: growing tips wither and wilt. Buds may not develop.
Sulphur: young leaves have veins of light green.
Magnesium: older leaves are pale green or yellow, this soon spreads to the
Iron: young leaves are light green or yellow. Veins are darker green than
surrounding tissue giving leaves a varicose vein appearance.
Boron: young leaves are constricted and light green.
Zinc: abnormally small leaves with yellow or wrinkled edges. Sometimes
spotted. Sparse foliage, often having leaves at the top of the plant only.
Manganese: bleached out spots on the leaves.
Chlorine: general yellowing of leaves that turn copper or orange. Roots are
swollen at the ends.
Molybdenum: young leaves are distorted. Sometimes there is a yellowing of
leaves in the middle part of the plant.
It is virtually impossible to recognise the gender of marijuana plants until
they begin to flower. The male plant is usually the taller and matures in
three to five months. Two weeks prior to flowering it will grow very fast
(internodes elongate) then shoots will sprout with clusters of small,
dangling, white, greenish white, yellow or purplish flowers that hang from
tiny branches along the main stem, on branches at the top of the main stem.
When mature, the flowers open and a yellow anther protrudes and wind disperses
The female plant, although shorter, is fuller, with more complex branching and
often twice as many leaves as the male. Her flower consists of a delicate,
downy white stigma raised in a "V" sign, which is attached at the base to an
ovary that looks like a tiny green pod. If fertilized, one seed will develop
in the ovary. When allowed to grow, the flowers develop into clusters or
"cones" which are interspersed with small green leaves known as bracts. The
female is the more desirable plant for marijuana cultivators since it produces
many more leaves, and is considerably more potent than the male.
Normally, male to female ratio in marijuana is about one to one. Genetic and
environmental conditions interact to determine gender. A strong light source,
long photoperiod, abundant nitrogen in early growth and much spacing between
plants stimulate female development. Poor growing conditions in general, such
as weak light, low nutrient availability, short or erratic photoperiod and
crowded conditions will produce more males.
Rotation and Even Growth
The light intensity from artificial light drops dramatically as distance from
the light source increases. If you don't keep the plants at about the same
height, the shorter plants will receive less light and consequently will grow
more slowly than the tall ones. This will compound the problem.
One way to deal with uneven growth is to line the plants up by height and hang
the light system at an angle corresponding to the line of the plant tops.
If a few of your plants are markedly outgrowing the others, cut the growing
tip back to the height of the average plant. You may find this emotionally
difficult, but is all-important to the over-all health of your crop. Cutting
the top will not hurt it, but will force side branches to develop. Conversely,
if a few plants are much shorter, raise them by placing them on milk crates or
bricks. Don't put them on cardboard boxes: They collapse when wet.
Young plants about two weeks old can be cut back. This forces branches to
develop early and will quickly fill all available horizontal space. It is
helpful with large pots where there is much space between young plants.
Growing tips of branches can be cut back to encourage more branching. This
produces a stout bushy plant, and provides an immediate supply of grass. Don't
overdo it. Severe pruning can cause plants to develop into males.
The growing tip of the plant (apical meristem) contains an inhibitor that
prevents the branches (lateral buds) from growing. The further a lateral bud
is from a growing tip, the less the effect of this inhibitor. This is why some
species of plants form in the shape of a cone or christmas tree. Under
artificial light the bottom branches don't receive enough light to grow, even
though they are far enough from the inhibitor. Once the tip is removed, the
next highest growing tip will be the source of the inhibitor.
Some growers hate to cut the growing tip. It becomes the biggest and most
potent cone at harvest time. To save the tip, control height, and force
branching, bend the top of the stem down in an arc and secure it with string
or wire twists. This will neutralise the effects of the inhibitor somewhat and
still maintain a strong growing tip. The string or wire twist should be
removed after a couple of days so that the stem will not break itself by
twisting upward to the light source.
The quality and quantity of light emitted by a fluorescent is not uniform
along the length of the tube. There is more light at the centre than at the
ends. Female plants require more light than males. She is the more potent
plant and should be given the best care. Once the plant's sex shows, move the
males to the ends of the system, leaving the stronger middle light for the
Many plant functions are regulated by the quantity and quality of light, and
the length of the photoperiod (daylength). Marijuana is a short day (long
night) plant. The female produces flowers only when she senses the decrease of
daylength. In the autumn the shortening day is her signal to flower and
produce seeds for the next year's crop before winter sets in. Flowering in the
male does not depend on changes in the photoperiod. It flowers regardless of
daylength in three to five months, depending on the variety.
Although termed 'short day', it is during the night period that the chemical
reactions that control flowering occur if given a long enough and
uninterrupted dark period. The dark period must be constant and at least nine
hours long for the chemical buildup to be completed. By changing the light
period to less than 13 hours a day, the female responds by flowering profusely
in about 2 to 3 weeks. Females grown with a daylength of 16 or more hours may
flower, but will do so sparsely, and will not develop large flower clusters.
The longer the photoperiod the more pronounced this effect.
Before flowering, the leaf growth will be very fast. Once flowering begins,
the plant's energy goes to producing the flowers, and the leaf growth slows.
With this in mind, you can manipulate the photoperiod for either a
continuously growing vegetative state, or for flowering and a harvest crop.
The continuous growth system emphasizes leaf growth and a continuous supply of
gross. You can harvest the first grass, which will give you a buzz or better
in about two months, and have a steady supply of potent grass after about four
months. A one by four foot system will supply several joints a day. The grass
is not quite as potent as the harvest system, but will be of excellent quality
and will compare favourably with most commercial pot. The system is easy to
care for and supplies a large amounts of grass over a period of time.
The harvest method produces a crop every 4 to 9 months. The grass is very
potent and is at least as good as the best commercial pot. Although you may
gather a few leaves now and then, you'll have to wait until the crop is
harvested for a large supply. The system should produce a minimum of one ounce
of pot for each square foot of growing area. Of course, you can always be
enjoying the produce of the last garden while growing the current one.
Continuous Growth System
Use Vita-Lite, Optima, Wide Spectrum Gro-Lux, or combine Plant-Gro or Gro-Lux
in a one to one ratio with daylight tubes. The abundance of blue light will
emphasize leaf growth and not flowering. Do not use traditional lightbulbs.
The photoperiod should be kept constant at 18 hours of light a day for the
duration of the garden.
After two months the plants will be stocky and the area filled with foliage.
At this time the bottom leaves begin to yellow because they are shielded from
light or are too far away from it to carry out photosynthesis. Pick any leaf
as soon as it begins to yellow. Green leaves can also be picked sparingly
along with some of the leaf buds.
Flowers may develop after four months on a few plants and can be picked just
above the growing tip. New flowers will soon develop. Continue picking the
flowers until the plant loses its vitality. Females usually will continue to
grow for more than a year, but may lose their vitality after about 8 or 9
months. When a plant's health begins to decline, it should be uprooted and new
plants started in it's place. Seeds can be started or cuttings takey3 inches
below the growing tip of a healthy plant. Use cuttings only when you have an
especially fast-growing or potent plant. Root the cuttings directly in the
soil, using a transplant hormone such as Rootone, or Transplantone. Expect a
survival rate of 30 to 50 per cent. Do not fertilize cuttings for about two
weeks. The light system at this time will be quite high, so place the pots on
some sort of platform. In this way, your garden will be kept in a continuous
growing state with plants at different stages of growth giving you a constant
supply of potent grass.
If you decide to start over completely, or close the garden down, adjust the
photoperiod accordingly and convert to a harvest crop.
Under natural conditions, the female plant adjusts its flowering to the length
of the growing season. This is generally between 3 and 7 months, depending
upon region and time of planting. Once the plants go to seed, they usually
lose their vitality and soon die. Since you will be controlling the flowering
mechanism, your females can be anywhere between 2 and 9 months old at harvest
time. The potency of grass in general increases with age as long as the plant
stays healthy. We have found a happy medium in terms of potency and yield is
to harvest about every 6 months.
Keep the photoperiod constant at 18 hours of light a day until 6 to 8 weeks
before you plan to harvest. Then cut the day cycle down to about 13 hours of
light. In about 2 weeks, the females will begin to flower. Allow the flower
clusters to grow for another 4 to 6 weeks so that they can develop into the
large clusters which are by far the most potent part of the plant. Flowers can
be harvested 2 or 3 times before uprooting the plant. Pick them just above
their growing tip where they meet the main leaves. New flowers will grow from
this point giving you a higher yield of top quality grass.
Once the flowers have developed, you might try a sunlamp for an hour or two a
day at a distance of three feet to force resin to the flowering parts. The
resin flow is the plants protection against the intense heat and possibly the
ultra-violet rays. The resin contains the cannabinols (THC) that make you
There is some discussion between growers about the effect of ultra-violet
light on resin production. Some insist that it stimulates resin flow, while
others claim little or no effect. Two things are certain: large amounts of
ultra-violet can damage the plants, and you can grow high quality grass with
or without ultra-violet. Another belief is that nitrogen deprivation
stimulates resin production while others say that a dry medium is most
important. Nitrogen uptake is minimal in dry soils it really doesn't matter to
the marijuana grower which is the actual mechanism. Hold watering to a minimum
and keep the atmosphere as dry as possible during the flowering period. Cut
holes in your reflectors, or wedge open your cupboard door so that the humid
air can escape. The dry atmosphere and soil will force more resins onto the
After turning down the light cycle, if there is a space between the plants,
hang traditional bulbs in these gaps. These will stimulate the side branches
to develop, which will fill all the available space. The output of these
lights is mostly in the red part of the spectrum which will cause profuse
flowering. Care should be taken that they are not hung too close to the
plants, where they may cause burning of the leaves. For a 40 watt bulb, a ten
inch gap will be quite safe - larger bulbs require more distance. For a more
even distribution, use several small bulbs rather than one large one. Heat
given off by a fluorescent and by a more traditional bulb is about equal for
equal wattages. Heat radiated by a fluorescent is spread out over the length
of the tube and will not burn the leaves unless left in direct contact for a
number of hours.
You can expect a minimum yield of about one ounce of pot per square foot of
growing area. Large pots give fewer but taller and bushier plant. The total
yield is similar for 6" to 18" pots. 8 to 10 inch pots are a good median size
for high-yield, high potency grass from a moderate amount of soil. Allowing
much more than 1 1/2 feet of growing area per plant will cut down on the yield
of the system.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature control should be no problem. The plant grows well at room
temperature (70 to 80 degrees during light hours, 55 to 65 degrees during
darkness), and will survive in temperatures from 40 to 100 degrees. By the way
temperatures are in fahrenheit. Centigrades ? I treads on 'em.
Plant growth is closely related to temperature. The rate of photosynthesis
increases until the temperature reaches about 75 to 85 degrees depending on
the variety. As the temperature rises above this level, the rate of
photosynthesis slows, and cannabinol resins develop. During flowering, plants
grown in high temperatures (85 to 100 degrees) and low humidity will produce
more resin, while during growth stage plants grow faster at room temperatures
and medium humidity. For this reason it is a good idea to start your crop so
that you'll harvest during winter months when the heat is turned on. Heated
homes have a very dry atmosphere.
Propane catalytic heaters do a very good job of heating, are safe, clean, and
increase the (O2 content of the air. Electric and natural gas heaters also
work well. Do not use paraffin or petrol heaters. They do not burn clean, and
the pollutants may harm the plant.
At high temperatures and humidity, air should be allowed to circulate freely
throughout the garden. Gardens in small confined spaces such as wardrobes must
be opened daily or the atmosphere will become stifling and growth rate will
slow down. Constant air circulation does not seem to be critical with
marijuana as long as the plant obtains its CO2. If you have a large garden and
there is no way for air to circulate, place a small fan in the garden.
Plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2) during
photosynthesis while at night, plant cells respire by taking in O2 and
releasing CO2. The net result is that much more oxygen is produced than is
Carbon dioxide concentration in the air is very low (about 0.3%). Around large
cities it is a little higher. Plants can use much more CO2 than is supplied by
the ordinary atmosphere. In general, the rate of photosynthesis increases in
proportion to the CO2 content of the air up to about 0.5% as long as there are
no limiting factors such as inadequate light or water.
Tanks of CO2 can be used to increase the concentration in the air.
Periodically, disperse the gas above the tops of the plants. CO2 is heavier
than air and will move slowly downwards.
As you become more familiar with the marijuana plant, you may want to develop
your own strain by crossing selected plants. Plant seeds from as many strains
as possible. The growth pattern will vary considerably and you can select one
male to go to flower and fertilize particular females. Factors for selection
might be potency, high yield, rate of growth, number of leaves or just pure
aesthetics. All males except the selected one must be removed before their
flowers open. Place the selected females around the male plant. Periodically
shake the male or fan the air about the male's flowers. The pollen will
disperse in a fine mist over the female flowers. This method should be
adequate to produce enough viable seeds for your next crop. After a few
generations you will have your own strain, well-suited to its environment and
Hermaphroditic plants are not unusual with marijuana. Some are genetically
determined (protogenous) while others are a reaction to a hostile environment
(most likely the photoperiod). An irregular or prolonged photoperiod can cause
this. These plants have only female flowers at first. Male flowers appear
later at the top of the stem and branches. Protogenous hermaphrodites develop
male and female flowers more uniformly with female flowers above male flowers
on the same branch.
Hermaphrodism can be used to develop a male-free crop. All male plants must be
removed before they go to pollen. Collect the male flowers from a
hermaphrodite when they are a good size but have not yet opened. Store the
flowers in sealed vials (a glass covered with cling-film is fine). In a few
days they will open up. Apply the pollen with a fine brush or cotton bud over
the stigmas (a white 'V'-shaped thing) on another female's flowers. Wait a few
weeks until the seeds are full and have good colour before harvesting. The
next generation will be all females or all females and hermaphrodites.
More serious growers can try grafting hops plants to marijuana stalks to
produce a possible legal plant, using growth hormones such as gibberilic acid
or mutating polyploids using colchicine, thio-ethers, or other chemicals.
Methods for these are discussed in the following:
The Cultivator's Hand book of Marijuana by Bill Drake
Super Grass Growers Guide by Mary Jane Superweed (Stone Kingdom)
Bark Leaf- (Summer 1972) - Available from: Church of the Tree of Life, 451
Columbus Ave., San Fransisco, California 94133
Hop seeds can be obtained from various Real Ale and other brewing societies.
Curing Your Grass
All leaves must be thoroughly dried for comfortable smoking and full potency.
The THC in fresh grass is mostly present in the form of non-psychoactive
tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Upon drying, the acid is converted into THC by
Single leaves can be dried by placing them in a pan on a hot radiator or in
the bright summer sun (a little scarce in Britain). A quicker method is to
pre-heat your oven to 150 degrees. Place a single layer of leaves in a pan,
turn off the oven and place them inside. In five to fifteen minutes the leaves
will be dry and will crumble easily between your fingers. If not dry, remove
the grass from the oven and repeat the pre-heating and drying. You can also
put them in single layers, propped up on chopsticks or somesuch, on full for a
Another method is to hang the plants intact, upside down above a radiator, or
in the sun. Some of the resin contained in the stem will ooze onto the leaves.
It will take 3 to 10 days to dry completely, depending on the humidity and
other factors. The potency of the grass varies in different parts of the
plant. Potency increases from the bottom to the top. The small leaves on the
branches are more potent than the large leaves on the main stem, and the
flowering parts are the most potent of all. The female plant is always
considerably more potent than the male. The best part is the flowering top of
a female plant, and the worst (which is really not bad at all) is the large
leaves on the bottom of the stem of the male.
With the price of grass what is is today, some of you may want to undertake
growing on a large scale. To get the highest yield for the smallest investment
requires a conservation of light and soil. During the first few months of
growth the plants need much less soil and garden space than they do when they
are older. You can design a system that will produce large, mature plants to
harvest every month, by having in each system six sub-systems at different
growth stages. For example, 50 plants need a minimum of 50 square feet of
growing room when mature, but during the first month they will fit inside of 2
square feet. During the second month they will need approximately six square
If the plants are started in large pots, the pots themselves take up most of
the room. This wastes light and soil on empty space. By rotating the plants
into bigger gardens and successively larger pots, you can get the highest
yield from a minimum investment. Transplanting to larger pots is easy. The
root systems quickly fill the pots and can be removed intact with all the soil
adhering to the roots. This is best done by turning the pot upside down and
placing the plant stem between the middle and index finger, then tapping
gently on the bottom of the pot with a something you can get a good swing
with. The plant will just pop out of the pot.
For smaller gardens, use industrial type light fixtures. Larger systems should
have single tubes, evenly spaced, and mounted on plywood. Big systems can get
very heavy because of the weight of the transformers. It is more convenient
and cheaper if you don't buy fixtures, but only the end sockets and
Mount the transformers separately and run extension wires to the light system.
With only the sockets and tubes mounted on the plywood, the lights are easily
raised and there is less weight for the walls and ceiling to support.
For larger systems it is better to use very high output tubes. These have a
higher intensity than regular fluorescent tubes, and their effective distance
is so much more that fewer tubes are needed and they can be placed further
apart. The closer the tubes are placed to each other, the less efficient the
lights are. Light from one tube may just hit the neighbouring tube and be
It is well worth it to grow all-female crops either by taking cutting or by
hybridising hermaphrodites when building these systems.
A three garden/two month system is given as an example, but the idea can be
simply extended to a six garden, one month system.
A. The first two months - Plants are started in sixty-five 4" pots within
approximately eight square feet. Using 20 watts of light per square foot (PSF)
you are using 160 watts from two 8 foot tubes (72-80 watts each)
B. The third and fourth months - Transplant to 6-8" pots. The system uses
approximately 32 square feet. Using 20 watts PSF, you are drawing 640 watts
from eight 8 foot tubes or 3 VHO tubes (215 watts each).
C. Fifth and sixth months - Option to transplant to 10-14" pots within
approximately seventy square feet. Using 20 watts PSF you are drawing 1400
watts from seventeen 8 foot tubes or 7 VHO tubes.
Maintenance and Restarting
Periodically you should clean the tubes and reflectors to remove accumulated
dust and grime or else the amount of visible light produced will be cut. Most
fluorescents lose about 30% of their effective power after about a year of
use. They should be replaced when dark rings appear at the tube ends. Replace
traditional bulbs after five hundred light hours.
Don't smoke around the plants. Heavy concentrations of tobacco smoke are
harmful to marijuana, especially to the male plant.
Visiting your garden will be good for both you and your plants. You'll provide
them with CO2, and they'll provide you with oxygen rich air.
To start a new crop, it is best to begin with fresh soil, especially if you
had been using a system with smaller pots and frequent fertilization. A
buildup of toxic salts can harm new plants. To salvage large quantities of
soil, remove the top two-inch layer of soil, which contain most of the harmful
salts. Treat the rest of the soil with a trace element mixture, add fertilizer
and fresh soil. Thoroughly mix and repot in clean sterile pots.
Insects and Diseases
The indoor garden is an ideal habitat for plant pests. There should be little
chance of a problem if you start with sterilized soil and keep the garden
segregated from other plants. Before planting, make sure that none of your
other plants are infested with anything.
Over-watering often causes plants to lose their vitality, develop drooping and
spotted leaves. Sometimes they succumb to fungus or stem rot. Stem rot appears
as a brown or black discolouration at the base of the stem and is soft and
mushy to the touch. To correct this allow the soil to dry more before watering
and be sure to water around the stem, and not on it. Wipe fungus and stem rot
off the plants and treat them with a fungicide.
Spider mites and false spider mites are the most common and destructive pests.
Both species are barely visible to the naked eye, and are usually well
established before you discover them. First indications are chlorotic or
whitish leaves or bronzing of the edges along the veins. Webs form at the
internodes of the stem and along the branches. the cyclamen mites are oval,
tan to black, or semi-transparent. Eggs are white and laid along veins on the
undersides of the leaves. False spider mites are bright red. You can usually
see mites as tiny specks if you look up at the light system from the underside
of the leaves.
Mites are difficult to eliminate. If only a few plants are infested, remove
and destroy them immediately. The other plants must be treated with an
insecticide such as Malathion. Malathion is an organic phosphate which is
effective but very toxic. However, it breaks down chemically and is
metabolised into harmless chemicals after 14 days. Do not harvest before at
least 14 days have gone by from when you spray.
When using Malathion, add one-half teaspoon of mild detergent (not soap) to
each gallon of the solution. The detergent will help spread the insecticide
more thoroughly over the plant. If the plants are large, spray the whole
plant, especially the undersides of leaves and soil surfaces. The spray kills
the adults, but is ineffective against their eggs. Repeat this application
weekly for the next few weeks and you'll catch the young mites after they've
hatched but before they've laid eggs.
Be extremely cautious when using insecticides. You are going to smoke or
ingest the plant, and don't want to poison yourself along with the insects.
There are a number of insecticides such as Diazinon and Malathion on the
market which are safe when used as directed. The label will list the
precautions and give time periods for degrading before consumption. If you
have a pest problem which we haven't described, your local nurseryman or woman
should be able to describe the proper treatment ("Me tomatoes are poorly,
Guv."). Smaller plants should be dunked in a bucket of the solution, which is
the surest way to kill the pests.
If the plants are not heavily infested and you object to Malathion, wash them
is soapy water, one quarter pound of pure soap (such as Ivory Flakes) to one
gallon of tepid water. Mix the soap thoroughly into the water and, without
letting the soil fall out of the pot (cover it with newspaper, foil, or
cling-film) invert the plant and dip it several times. Let it drip dry, then
rinse in clear water. The dunking procedure may have to be used repeatedly
since it is almost impossible to wash all the mites off at once.
Mealy Bugs are larger (about 3/16") and white. They are usually found on the
underside of the leaves or near the stem. The eggs are contained in a white
cotton-like or waxy material at the stem internodes or leaf axils. The
infested plants will need more frequent watering and will have a weakened
Aphids ("little green junkies") are about 1/16" long and are green, red, pink
or black. They have roundish bodies and antennae and long legs. Some species
have wings. They congregate on the underside of leaves, especially young,
juicy, tender leaves. Growth becomes stunted and leaves are curled or
distorted. Mealy bugs and Aphids are not as common a problem as mites, and are
easier to deal with. Remove infested plants from the garden. Dunk them in a
solution of 1/4lb of soap per gallon of tepid water. Use a cloth and go over
the underside of the leaves with a cotton bud to remove the pests. When using
Malathion, one application to the whole crop is usually enough to prevent
these pests from recurring.
Whiteflies are white (obviously) and about 1/16" long. The young appear as
green or yellow scales. Usually you don't see whiteflies until the plants are
moved. Then all the adults take off and it looks like a small snowstorm. Plant
growth is slow and leaves are often sticky with the insects excretions. A
thorough spraying with Malathion will usually get rid of whiteflies.
For winged insects in general, spray-on insecticides using Pyrethium are
convenient. They are not as effective as Malathion, but the toxic effects of
the spray usually wears off after a day or two.
For further information on pest control:
The Natural Way to Pest-Free Gardening by Jack Krammer, New York City -
Charles Scribner's and Sons - 1972
Organic Way to Plant Protection - Emmaus P. A., Rodale Books Inc. 1966
The Outdoor Garden
Marijuana is usually an annual plant. This means that the life expectancy of
the plant is based on the length of the growing season. The longer the growing
season, the better the quality, and the larger the quantity, of your crop.
Marijuana should be planted outdoors two weeks after the last threat of frost,
and should be harvested before the first autumn frost. You can find the
approximate dates for your area by consulting experienced growers, nurserymen
or gardening magazines.
Some fields are warmer than others in the same area, because of the way they
lie and prevailing wind conditions. Northern slopes are the coldest and
receive the least light. Southern slopes receive the most light and are the
warmest. Eastern slopes are shaded in the afternoon, and western slopes are
shaded in the morning. The steeper the slope, the more pronounced is the
Naturally you will want to be careful where you grow your crops. Make sure
that there is no visible access from a road or well-used path. Since marijuana
may grow to twenty feet (depending upon variety, length of growing season,
soil conditions and light) it might be best to intersperse it with other tall
plants such as staked tomatoes, corn and sunflowers. Find out what kind of
fields the growers in your area are using. An area that grows over with tall
weeds will most likely grow good grass if you start the marijuana before the
weeds come up.
An ideal planting area is an open clearing in a woodland not frequented by the
general public. The clearing should be located so that the plants get at least
eight hours a day of direct sunlight. Other possibilities are clearings on
mountains, depressions in fields, or clearings in giant fields not under
Remember that grass cannot be easily moved once it is planted and that it will
probably remain there for at least four months.
There have been a number of incidents of hunters discovering patches of
marijuana and reporting it to the law. Try not to plant on land frequented by
Marijuana likes as much sun as it can get, and a moist but will-drained soil.
It does not do well in swampy and clay soils. The soil should be high in
nitrogen and potassium and medium in phosphorous. The pH should be at least
5.5; it will do better at 6.5 - 7.5.
At least two months before planting you should test and adjust the soil.
Needed nutrients should be added to the soil at least a month before planting
for the best results. This gives the fertilizer time to dissolve.
The pH can be raised by adding ground limestone, dolomite limestone, hydrated
lime, marl or ground sea shells.
Sandy and loamy soil can be conditioned just by adding fertilizer and making
pH adjustments. Nurseries carry several different fertilizer mixes. Select one
closest to your needs as determined by the soil tests. Some Agricultural
Colleges will do these tests for you.
Turn and loosen the soil and break up large clods of earth. Clear all ground
near the spot where you are planting. Add fertilizer and work it into the
ground. If it rains frequently in your area, the fertilizer will soak into the
ground by itself. If no, water the area so that is dissolves.
Clay soils can be adjusted by working in straw, manure, leaves and stalks,
compost, kitty litter or construction sand. These help to keep the soil loose
Swampy areas can be adjusted by building planting mounds about one foot high
and one foot across. The mounds will have better drainage than the surrounding
soil and they will not become waterlogged.
If the soil is very bad and you are only growing a small patch there are other
ways of changing soil conditions:
1. Buy topsoil and place it in holes where you are going to plant. This is
only for small gardens as it can be expensive and laborious.
2. Dig a hole one foot deep and one foot wide. Fill in six inches deep with
manure or compost sprinkled with lime. Fill the remainder of the hole with
3. Use a self-contained planting pot as described in Transplanting.
To get a longer season, you can start seeds indoors and transplant them
outside after the threat of frost has passed. This is especially helpful in
the Northern US, NZ South Island and Sunny Britain, where the growing season
is short. Seeds can be started as much as two months before the season begins.
There are several methods for starting seeds:
1. Planting Pellets. These are one and a half inch pellets which expand when
they come in contact with water. They come in several pH levels. Get either a
6.5 or a 7. These are the easiest units for starting seedlings. Just follow
the directions on the package. They should be used only if you are planning to
plant within a month.
2. Planting Pots. These pots are made of compressed peat moss. They come in
all sizes, but the best is probably 2" X 2". Fill with one of the soil
mixtures described in Indoor Cultivation. Try to prepare from the same soil to
which the plants will be moved later. Plant several seeds in each pot and thin
to one plant per pot. When you are ready to transplant outdoors, just dig a
hole and put the planting pot in it. The pot will disintegrate when the root
system gets big enough.
Tin cans and toilet rolls can be used instead of planting pots. Make sure the
cans have drainage holes in them and that the sides are scored so that the
roots can grow out of them. Do not use aluminium cans. They won't disintegrate
and the plants roots will be trapped.
3. Seed Trays. Seed trays are the most economical way of starting large
numbers of seedlings, but the plant's roots may be damaged when you
transplant. Fill plastic planting trays with one of the mixtures described in
Indoor Cultivation. Sow one seed every inch, but thin to one plant every two
inches when they begin to interfere with each other. When you are ready to
transplant them, slice the soil into squares and plant outdoors. Treat to
4. Self-contained Soil Unit. This method should be used only when the soil is
unsuitable for adjustment. Use large cans. Fill with 3 inches of vermiculite
or perlite mixed with a slow release fertilizer, and then fill it the rest of
the way with a mixture of soil, perlite, vermiculite and sand. A mixture of
soil, manure, humus, and potash can also be used. Holes should be punched in
the bottom of the can for drainage. When you are ready to plant outdoors, put
the can in a hole in the ground.
Use the same methods in cultivating these plants indoors as you would if they
were to remain indoors permanently. If you are planning to keep the plants
indoors for more than a month, they have to be introduced to the sun's
intensity gradually. The plants need at least 40 watts of fluorescent light
per square foot to avoid shock. This will also build up the sugar supply to
help the plant avoid transplant shock. Other ways of avoiding shock are by
putting trays of seedlings outdoors for a few hours a day for a few days in a
partially sunny area before they are transplanted.
If you have indoor plants already growing, you can clip shoots about 3 inches
from the growing tip and put each of them in one of the containers mentioned
previously. They will quickly develop roots and start growing into new plants,
especially if a little hormone rooting powder is used. This is a good method
of obtaining high quality transplant stock.
The night before you transplant, water both the plant and the soil to which
you are going to transplant. Also, to prevent shock, transplants should be
made to and from soils with the same chemical or textural characteristics
(unless you are using the self-contained soil unit method).
Plant on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon. Never plant or transplant on a
bright sunny day. The sun's energy is too much for the plants to take at
Marijuana is very adaptable and can be grown as close together as fifteen
inches between rows with plants every six inches. Plants grown this way will
not be as bushy as ones grown further apart. Spacing rows 24 inches or so
apart with plants about every fifteen inches seems to be the most efficient
method of utilising the area. Plants will be bushy, tall and easy to harvest.
In order to catch as much sun as possible, rows should run north to south,
perpendicular to the course of the sun.
Marijuana cannot grow (or live) in an environment in which it cannot find
water. It sends down a tap root which may grow to be half as long as the plant
itself. Often marijuana can be found near the banks of streams in drier areas.
Cultivated fields supply enough water naturally through irrigation. Some
growers in remote areas use portable water pumps. Digging a hole in which the
pump can be run and stored will muffle the sound and keep the machinery in
better condition. Make sure not to overwater your plants. Keep the ground
moist, but not waterlogged.
Grass is at its most vulnerable stage right after germination. The seedlings
have a tendency to fall over in rain and wind. Usually they can overcome their
crises. If you have started seedlings indoors, you will be over the critical
stage when you come to transplant.
1 1/2 to 2 months after germination you will have to decide wether to clip the
tops to make the plant bush or to let it grow straight and let it bush on its
own. Letting the grass grow straight will allow it to produce more weed, but
bushy plants are harder to detect. If you want the plants to bush, cut the
main stem about three inches from the top when the plant is about 2 to 3 feet
tall. Very long secondary branches should also be cut. The clipped tops can be
dried and smoked, or they can be rooted. This process should be repeated if
the plant starts growing tall again.
If you have prepared the soil properly you will not need to fertilize much (if
at all) during the growing season. It is a good idea to check the plants
periodically. If the plants seem to have any deficiencies, add the proper
nutrients. If the plants are not growing quickly, make sure they do not have
too much competition for sunlight. If the plants are too close together, they
can be trimmed or pulled. If crowding is not the problem, pH probably is. Test
the pH and make the proper adjustments.
Flowering and Harvesting
The plants will begin to flower late august or early september. When total
daylight hours fall below 13-15 hours a day (depending on variety) the plants'
reproductive cycle is triggered.
If you have a long growing season and secure conditions, pick the flower buds
off. The plant will send up new buds. As long as the plant continues to send
them up you can clip them off. Some say this increases the potency, it surely
increases the yield.
Many farmers throughout the world bend the stem of each plant sharply at a
point way down. The plants are left this way for several days after which the
sun-dried tops are harvested. The bend cuts off circulation between the upper
and lower parts of the plant. Cannabinol resins cannot flow back past the
bend. Furthermore the shock of bending apparently drives the resins in the
portion of the stem just above the bend into the flower tops.
Another technique is to bend the tops more or less horizontally so that they
snap, but do not crease. The tops draw some liquids from the base of the
plant, but not enough to stop them wilting within 10 days. People who use this
method claim it increases potency significantly.
In many places, most notably in India and Pakistan, farmers make the practice
of destroying all male plants as soon as their gender becomes determinable.
This is done to prevent their maturation and the pollination of the females.
It has been found that a loss of cannabinol resin often occurs in the female
shortly after pollination.
If your growing season is short (as it tends to be in the UK), let the plants
flower and harvest them before the frost. Some claim that marijuana is at its
potency peak at this time. Others claim that marijuana is at its most potent
state about 2 to 10 days after it starts to flower. Due to the difficulty of
obtaining the necessary licenses from Government departments, very little real
research has been done in this field.
If you wait until the seeds mature and drop off the plant, you may have a crop
next year without planting. It is almost impossible to get rid of marijuana
once it has become indigenous to the area. The American Federal Government in
Iowa and Kansas have gone so far as to suggest that farmers napalm or
herbicide their fields.
Marijuana can be harvested by pulling up the whole plant, including the roots,
by chopping it off about 1/2 way up the stem, or by picking each plant
Depending on cultivation methods and environmental conditions you should
harvest about 1000-5000lbs per acre (43,000 square feet).
Recently, a crop of two acres worth of "the best grass we've ever seen" was
found by the New Zealand police force. Right in the centre of Wellington. Too
bad they got caught ....
Plant Pests Outdoors
Several different kinds of insects like to eat, chew or suck on marijuana.
Several methods can be used to get rid of them. Companion planting of garlic,
onions, chives, savoury, thyme and marigolds keep some insects away.
Inter-crop one of these with your marijuana. (Interesting fact #247: Marijuana
was once planted hash plants around their crops of cabbages as hash scares off
the cabbage white butterfly. This practice has been since discontinued.)
Predatory insects such as the praying mantis, ladybirds, and lacewings eat
insects which attack marijuana. They can be purchased from commercial
hatcheries. Do not spray plants with insecticides of any description when
predators are present. You'll wipe them out too.
Botanical repellents, naturally occurring insecticides which have not been
concentrated, can be used in spray form. They are not persistent, that is,
they do not build up in living tissue, but they are poisons. Pyrethiums and
Rotenone are the ones used most often. Take care if using Rotenone near a
river; people will get suspicious when all the fish drop dead.
Your plants are more likely to be attacked by foraging animals and hippies.
Little can be done about the latter except choosing a better location, but
blood meal placed on the ground near the garden will keep deer away. Chimes,
bells and scarecrows keep foraging animals at bay, but attract the hippies. A
stout fence is the only reliable answer.
One day, the powers that rely on our obedience may legalise cannabis in your
country. Here's to that day.