Cloning 101

Cloning, also known as propagation, is not as hard as some folks make it out to be. With healthy plants, good techniques and environmental controls you can easily create many clones with ease. There are many things that can cause clones not to root and by having a clear checklist you can prevent clone loss and improve your technique for your business success. The information discussed below is not the actual steps to physically cutting a clone but things to think about when completing the task.

First you must start with healthy plant stock. Can I repeat, “You must start with healthy plant stock”! If you have mold or plants infested with pests then you will have a very hard time reproducing healthy roots and clones. If you have good Integrated Pest Management (IPM) protocol then you will see how much easier it is to reproduce healthy strong rooted clones. Dirty mother plants are the reason for perpetual pest problems, if you start with dirty mother plants then you can guarantee dirty infested clones. Stop the madness and don’t repeat the cycle…

Secondly, please be clean as possible. You don’t need to have vacuum hoods or take a physical shower to reduce contamination. What you do need to be cognizant of is using clean tools during the workflow process. Scissors, razor blades, or whatever you use for cutting should always be wiped down to clean the surface and disinfect. This simple task gets overlooked so many times and is usually one of the relevant issues for roots not popping on a clone. Dull scissors and razors are easy to replace also so don’t be cheap and spend the few dollars to guarantee you are working with the proper tools that are sharp.

Lastly, your environmental control settings with proper temperature and humidity needs to be precise when cloning. This is where many who attempt to clone fail. Too much humidity in your clone dome can cause water droplets to fall into the center of your clone and collect water to rot out the meristem. You will see yellowing from the center outward once this happens. In contrast, not enough humidity can reduce your success rate of root development since the plant has no other way of water uptake except through its leaves. Running higher temps in the 80 to 90s is great for root production but be cautious of cooler temps as this will slow down roots from growing.

Other cloning tricks…
-Use a heating pad for higher success rate.
-Turkey basters work great to help water your clones while in clone domes.
-Don’t be afraid to cut the leaf tips to allow for more area for water uptake while roots are forming.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellis Smith is co-founder and Chief Development Officer of American Cannabis Company (ACC). He has more than 20 years of horticulture experience in the specialty cut flower market, operating indoor gardens which helped him understand complex growing systems. As a cannabis grower, he developed an all natural soil medium known as SoHum Living Soil® which is used by hundreds of commercial cannabis operations. As CDO of ACC, Mr. Smith is also responsible for the design and construction of more than 1 million square feet of cannabis grow space in the U.S. and Canada.

Trellising and Staking Cannabis Plants for Support

Cannabis plants can grow very tall and most likely will require you to give them some sort of support to keep from falling over causing irreversible damage to the plant. This support is crucial to ensure the crop can be systematically grown to its’ full potential until your desired harvest date. There are several methods that can be used to ensure the safety of your plants. Depending on the plant’s growth stage will determine the best time to set up a trellis or scrog (acronym for Screen of Green), use stakes, tomato cages or whatever else you have available that can support the plant. I have even seen growers place thumbtacks in the ceiling and tie strings to buds to provide support…so don’t be afraid to get creative with your plant management tactics.

My preferred method of growing requires that I set up trellising during the 2nd week of the flower stage. Due to the size plants, I am growing I will not need to support them until this stage. I usually see extreme growth early in flowering and wait until that growth slows before setting up the trellis/scrog. I personally prefer using trellising versus other methods of support as it is easier to install and work within indoor settings. Trellising provides more flexibility when rearranging the plant canopy, allowing more freedom when spreading out the canopy in ways that other support systems limit you. I also like how easily I can super crop tall stems under the trellis to ensure they hold in place due to the trellis to provide a higher flower count. See Pruning & Training Cannabis Plants for Maximum Production for details on this yield enhancement method.

Stakes are effective and can serve a great role in supporting plants however there are a few drawbacks when using them to scale into large facilities. The first concern is contamination as they must be cleaned and sterilized after each use to prevent any kind of cross-contamination on the next plants that will use them. The second concern in using stakes is a safety issue as stakes can puncture an eye very easily. In smaller grows and home grows I have learned over many times into the canopy only to catch a stake in the cheek or face narrowly missing my eye.

Tomato cages are a great support system as well and can be highly effective when used properly for plants grown outdoors. Once again, your plant’s size will determine when to start supporting. My preferred method for indoor grows start during the flower phase but when growing larger plants outdoors I start using tomato cages earlier in the vegetative stage, so I can support them plant against wind damage.

Supporting plants with trellis, tomato cages, stakes or whatever you use can bring great improvement in yields when applied properly. I have seen yield increases by up to 30% simply by just rearranging the canopy to maximize light exposure to the plant’s grow points. This is one of many methods you can use to increase productivity from your crop. Treat your plants like a bonsai tree and learn what it requires when trellising, staking or caging for maximum production.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellis Smith is co-founder and Chief Development Officer of American Cannabis Company (ACC). He has more than 20 years of horticulture experience in the specialty cut flower market, operating indoor gardens which helped him understand complex growing systems. As a cannabis grower, he developed an all natural soil medium known as SoHum Living Soil® which is used by hundreds of commercial cannabis operations. As CDO of ACC, Mr. Smith is also responsible for the design and construction of more than 1 million square feet of cannabis grow space in the U.S. and Canada.

When to Harvest 101

HARVEST….It’s the time you have been waiting for! In preparation for your big day, you will want to be sure to flush your plants with water only for at least 7 days prior to harvest
to ensure the removal of any salt build up and remaining nutrients from the soil to reduce
the harsh sensation that may be experienced when smoking finished product. Ideally, by
the time of harvest, your plants will be yellowing, further aiding in the reduction of any harsh
flavor. Remember, flower will burn to white ash as an indicator that your plants have been
properly flushed. Please note that if you are using living soil as your selected medium,
you will not experience any salt build-up and therefore will have no need to flush your
plants.

Knowing when to harvest your cannabis does not need to be scary or overwhelming. As
a grower, you have just spent the last 90 to 120 days taking care of clones or seedlings
to create strong roots, vegging your plants to perfection and finally, flowering your plants
for peak performance. So, when is the right time to harvest? There is no definitive answer
as everyone has their own metrics and ideal characteristics for determining the best time
for harvesting plants. The technique that I have developed through years of experience,
is a combination of trial and error and the knowledge that has been bestowed upon me
by masters of the craft.

Please utilize the following information as a basic guideline for monitoring your plant’s
trichomes as you experiment to find what works best for your desired preference of your
end-product. Trichomes (traɪkoʊmz or trɪkoʊmz), from the Greek τρίχωμα (trichōma) meaning “hair”,
are fine outgrowths or appendages on plants, algae, lichens, and certain protists that are
of diverse structure and function. On the cannabis plant, they are the source of the
cannabinoids, the molecular chemical compounds such as THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC
among others. In the final flowering stage trichomes appear clear like a
crystal.

Step 1. Examine the trichomes, using a magnifying glass or scope for an enhanced view,
to observe closely enough to allow you to see the full spectrum of color contained within.

Step 2. Through your magnified observations, trichomes should ideally appear as either
clear, milky or cloudy in color, indicating that the plant is ripe and is ready to harvest. By
contrast, clear color is a sign that trichomes are not yet ripe and are not ready for harvest.
An amber color means the trichrome is naturally converting to CBN, which provides for a
calming relaxing effect.

Step 3. Everyone has a different ideal trichome ratio, however, I look for at least 75%
milky trichomes with roughly 5% to 10% turning amber in color, and the remaining
trichomes being clear. Depending on the desired end effect when consumed, you can let
the trichome ratio go up or down on the amber scale to give you a more relaxed experience with more amber trichomes versus a less relaxed experienced with fewer
amber trichomes.

The white and/or red hairs, known as pistils, on the flowers are another vital indicator to
identify when harvesting. These hairs will appear as white throughout most of the flower
cycle, turning either yellow, orange and then finally red as the plant begins to mature.
Most experienced growers will harvest at the plants’ peak potency when the hairs have
turned 70% to 80% red. For new growers who are not sure when to harvest, wait for at
least 50% of the hairs to turn red before harvesting. This will give you enough
understanding of how to improve your process for the next harvest by adjusting the
ratios for your desired results from the effects, taste, and experience.

Harvesting plants can be the most exciting time for a grower. Ensuring you harvest plants
at their peak potency can be a calculated process with minimal trial and error. Get to know
each strain and the unique characteristics and nuances that make each one unique and
learn when the best time is to harvest for peak yield, cannabinoid profile, terpene
expression, and overall performance.

Stay tuned for “How to Harvest” and “How to Cure”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ellis Smith is co-founder and Chief Development Officer of American Cannabis Company (ACC). He has more than 20 years of horticulture experience in the specialty cut flower market, operating indoor gardens which helped him understand complex growing systems. As a cannabis grower, he developed an all natural soil medium known as SoHum Living Soil® which is used by hundreds of commercial cannabis operations. As CDO of ACC, Mr. Smith is also responsible for the design and construction of more than 1 million square feet of cannabis grow space in the U.S. and Canada.

Growing Cannabis Indoors: The Beginner’s Guide to Success

growing cannabis indoors

Getting Started Growing Cannabis Indoors – What You’ll Need

These are a few necessary items to get the cannabis growing process started:

  • Feminized seeds or female seedlings (clones)
  • A dedicated area to grow your plants
  • Growing containers with adequate drainage
  • Enough SoHum living soil to fill containers
  • Lights-for your first grow, any lights will work. However, you’ll have drastically better results with units specifically designed for indoor growing (HID, LED, T5, or even high-output CFL’s will increase yields and quality)
  • Timers for lighting
  • Watering cans and spray bottles
  • Ventilation – For your first grow, 2-3 fans should be enough to provide adequate air exchange

Optional Supplies

  • Odor control solutions
  • CO2 generator
  • Trimmers or scissors for cropping
  • Screens, stakes, twine, wire or netting for training your plants to grow the way you want them to
  • Pest control as needed depending on what critters (if any) show up for the party
  • Magnifying glass/jewelers loupe/digital microscope/etc. to inspect pistils (more on this later)

You Won’t Need

  • Fertilizer – SoHum Living Soil provides all the nutrients your cannabis plants need throughout its life cycle.
  • pH testers/buffers/adjusters – SoHum Living Soil is naturally pH balanced for optimum nutrient uptake.

 

Step 1: Germinate Your Seeds

Using your preferred method, provide your seeds with a humid, dark environment in which they can sprout for the first time. DO NOT use any fertilizers or chemicals. Clean, de-chlorinated water is sufficient.

If you’re using seedlings, this step isn’t necessary. Just keep your seedlings humid and well-lit while you’re preparing your grow area.

Step 2: Set Up Your Grow Area

While seeds are germinating, you’ve got a few days to get your garden in order. This should be an area that can be kept clean and undisturbed for the duration of the grow. Make sure your “grow room” (tent, closet, basement, quiet corner…etc) is shielded from the sun so you can control lighting precisely.

Clean EVERYTHING that will be in your grow area carefully, including walls, floor, lights, and containers. Set up your lights and timers for the vegetative stage – 18 hours of light is a good standard until you’ve got more experience to experiment.

Step 3: Plant Your Seedlings

Sow your rooted seedlings, along with the medium they were germinated in, at least 2-4 inches into the living soil and gently pat the area until it’s level. Do not overwater at this point. Your soil should naturally be humid enough to attract roots to grow. One to two sprays with a water bottle should be enough to help your babies acclimate to their new home.

Steps 4-6: Water, Watch and Wait

Practice patience while your cannabis plants do their thing. During your first few crops, you’ll want to visit your garden regularly to make sure your super soil is humid, and your plants are showing no signs of pests or disease. Avoid the temptation to poke, prod or play with your plants too often – they may go as long as a week without needing anything and messing with them too often can stunt or stop their growth. Once you’re a more experienced grower, you’ll find ways to automate your garden, so you don’t need to spend much time with your plants at all these first few weeks.

Once your plants have taken root and are growing steadily, you’ll be able to train your plants to grow as you want them to. Here’s where SCROG, SOG, cropping, super cropping will come into play, but for beginners none of this is mandatory. It’s perfectly acceptable just to let nature take its course.

Step 7: Flower When Ready

When your plants reach the recommended age of maturity for their strain (check with your seed/seedling supplier for a guideline,) change the lighting schedule to 12 hours on/12 hours off. Continue to water only when the soil is dry. There is absolutely no need to add nutrients or fertilizer if you’re using SoHum living soil.

Your crop will start to smell pleasant but rather robust at this stage. If the aroma becomes too overwhelming, you can use odor eliminators, carbon filters, etc. at this point to keep it controlled.

Step 8: Time To Harvest!

When your crop produces dense, healthy flower and roughly 60% or more of the pistils have changed from white to dark red/brown, your grow cycle is complete. Cut your plants at the base and immediately hang them upside down in a dark area to begin the curing process. For more info on how to process your cannabis plants after harvest as well as more advanced tips on making your future crops exceptional, read what the experts have to say on our blog.

As you can see, growing cannabis with SoHum Living Soil is almost foolproof! Remember to monitor your plants while they are growing and water them as needed. Control pests, keep the lights on and the air circulating, and you’ll grow excellent cannabis every time. Growing cannabis indoors is made easy, if you just follow these few steps, and be patient.

Stock up SoHum Living Soil today and see just how easy growing your own cannabis indoors can be!

 

Get to Know Super Soil

Super Soil?

What makes super soil “super?” The term “super” is a connotation given to potting soil that maintains and delivers all the necessary amendments to the plant, at exactly the right time during its growth cycle and without the need to manage pH or add extra nutrients. The Term “Super Soil” was coined by an organic farmer known as Subcool to describe a super soil recipe designed to help simplify the growing process while still maintaining quality control. Subcool is a published author and an award winning grower with over 30 years of agricultural and horticulture experience.

Low-Maintenance Organics, really?

Super soil was developed around the theory that a properly balanced, nutrient-rich soil would never have a pH or nutrient imbalance. A Super soil potting mix like SoHum Living Soils™ eliminate the experimentation needed to achieve these proper levels, thereby freeing up time without risk of human error. All you must do is ADD WATER!

Organic Pottin mix Soil

Why should I switch to a Super Soil?

It’s hard to argue with quality, especially when it comes at a lower cost. When using super soils, plant quality remains high while still maintaining consistency. Whether you are gardening peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers, you will see the same fantastic taste and smell across the board.

In terms of cost, consider all the different nutrients you would spend money on to facilitate plant growth at each stage of development. When comparing two plants growing in 5-gallon pots under a 1000W double ended bulb, with one pot containing super soil and the other pot comprised of a soil base and nutrient additives, you are looking at 4x less in cost.

To answer this question, point blank, super soil will save you time and money while highest quality product.

How can I obtain Super Soil?

I’m sure you have already googled recipes at this point to find the best super soil potting mix. SoHum Living Soils™ takes care of the hard part for you and packages it up so you can make your garden grow. This super soil was designed in Southern Humboldt County, California and perfected in Denver, Colorado. We make this super soil potting mix by hand, with premium organic amendments. Stop by our office in person or visit our shop at sohumsoils.com.