Cloning 101

cannabis plants and how to clone

How Do You Clone Plants?

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.

Pruning & Training Cannabis Plants for Maximum Production

Growing cannabis can be an artful process. There are so many ways to grow the plant and so many different pruning techniques that can bring huge benefits when properly executed. I look at the cannabis plant like a bonsai tree in terms of allowing me to create the exact shape for function to produce the most flower. Pruning and training techniques are key when it comes to achieving maximum output.

Topping cannabis is simple and can be done relatively quick when executed properly. I like to start topping plants as soon as there are 5 nodes on the plant, this is usually a few days to a week after a clone has been transplanted/up potted into its new home for vegetative growth. By topping/removing the apical meristem or top node on the plant, you take away the apical dominance of the Christmas tree look and allow the plant to produce 2 branches where originally there was only 1. Once these 2 branches grow out to 4 to 5 nodes on each stem I will top/remove the apical meristem again to allow for more branching. I do this constantly in the vegetative stage when the plant allows at every 4th or 5th node. Seven days before I switch to flowering I will stop topping to allow for the new branches to reach 5 to 7 inches to ensure maximum yield.

My goal in topping is to produce as many tops or flower sites/grow points as possible. I want a busy plant with as many tops to fill in the empty space under its’ light source. During the first few weeks in flowering we see huge spikes/stretch in growth which requires more training to keep the plant canopy under the lighting footprint. From trellising, staking, and even using tomato cages you can begin to harness the plant canopy for your desired space. In order to increase more flowering sites, I like super crop or bend the tops of the plants to a 90 degree angle. This trick not only opens up the canopy to fill in empty spaces in your canopy it also allows for light penetration deeper into the canopy to assist with more production. You will also observe that when super cropping to a 90 degree angle the side nodes will turn upwards toward the light creating more opportunity for more flower production.

Topping, pruning, super cropping, whatever tricks you use and whatever you call them can bring added yields when applied correctly. Experiment and see how different strains respond. Not all strains are created equal so learn how each strain responds and zero in on what works and use it to your advantage. My pruning techniques allowed me to see anywhere from 20% to 30% increase in production. Don’t be afraid to see stress your plants and reap the rewards.

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.

The Challenges of Growing Cannabis Indoors vs. Outdoors

Cannabis cultivation is one of the oldest farming trends in human history. Many states now have laws on the books allowing individuals to cultivate cannabis crops. New growers will have to decide whether indoor or outdoor cannabis growing is the path they wish to pursue. Finding success with initial crop yield becomes easier when there is an understanding of the challenges presented by both methods.

Indoor Cannabis Growing Challenges

Cultivating cannabis crops indoors allows growers to shield their product from the outside world while maintaining full control of the environment. That control makes farmers fully responsible for everything related to their cannabis plants. The grower assumes responsibility for adding needed elements to the environment and making sure nothing harmful intrudes into the indoor space.

Proper Set-Up

The first thing indoor farmers need to think about is how they are going to house their plants. The size of the initial set-up does not matter. New growers may want to think carefully about going too large too fast. Starting with a small plot allows room to experiment with the methods used for cultivation.

Farmers need to make sure that the space they start with has room for equipment like ducts, fans, and other items required to keep the environment optimal for cannabis farming. Many new growers underestimate how large their plants will get and do not leave enough room for everything. They may also fail to do enough to block out light during needed dark periods. That can end up disrupting a cannabis plant’s growth cycle and cause the creation of male flowers.

Battling Root Rot

Many growers use deep water culture as their indoor cannabis growing system. While using this method can promote faster growth, farmers need to be careful about monitoring the roots of their plants. Failing to change out the water in the reservoir regularly can lead to root rot and end up ruining the entire crop. Consider using living soil in your cultivation

Getting Your Soil Mixture Right

Finding the best soil for an indoor growth system is an essential part of establishing a crop. It is an easy process to pick up and is more forgiving of human errors like going too heavy on nutrients.

However, farmers need to be careful not to allow the soil to get overly dry. They may also not realize the importance of doing pH checks on the water fed into the soil. 

Outdoor Cannabis Growing Challenges

Growing cannabis outdoors allows nature to assist in providing cannabis plants with much-needed nutrients in the soil. The trade-off for that is the control given up by farmers who must be prepared to continually adapt to environmental changes.

Soil Preparation

Building up a quality base soil is key to getting a successful outdoor cannabis crop established. Many growers find it tempting to use Miracle Grow or other similar products. Plants end up getting deprived of much-needed nitrogen during vegetation and end up getting too much during the flowering period.

Cannabis growers should also be careful about overwatering their crops. Many make the mistake of failing to check the pH or may cycle in nutrients too frequently or unnecessarily.

Dealing With Pests

Outdoor cannabis plants are more susceptible to infestation from pests like caterpillars, spider mites, and grasshoppers. There is also the threat of fungus flies consuming your root system. Birds can drop in and eat new seeds before they have a chance to become established. Farmers who do end up with a flowering crop must then deal with animals like deer who may want to snack on the plants.

Surviving the Weather

Growing cannabis plants outdoors means placing a crop entirely at the mercy of mother nature. Dry weather, rainstorms, and other conditions can end up wiping out an entire field, costing farmers all the time, money, and effort put in up to that point.

Challenges for Both Methods

While indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation each have unique problems, there are some issues farmers will run into using either method.

Complying With Regulations

Remember, while the laws in a state may make cannabis growing legal, doing so remains illegal per the federal government. Farmers also need to make sure their crop setup complies with local and state laws established around cannabis growing. New growers who fail to do their homework could end up having their entire crop confiscated and face some severe fines depending on where they live.

Controlling Odor

Some strains of cannabis can produce a very pungent odor into the air. That scent may not be something appreciated by everyone living in the area. Farmers can get into trouble if they live in a town or city with strict regulation around controlling the odor from cannabis cultivation. Growers need to have reserves on hand to purchase filtering systems or other devices meant to control the smell.

Establishing Solid Operating Standards

It is essential for growers to set down and follow standards to follow on cannabis crop cultivation. Many new farmers do not bother to schedule and document when they perform specific tasks like watering and nutrient cycling. That causes them to get thrown off-track and do either too much or too little to contribute to the viability of their cannabis crop. 

Get Expert Help With Your Soil

Are you having some trouble finding the right soil for your cannabis farm? SoHum Living Soil® takes a lot of the guesswork out of maintaining soil for indoor and outdoor cannabis growers. Call today at (866) 308-0750 to discuss how we can help you achieve your desired cannabis crop results.

Growing Cannabis: Why Regular Soil Is Not Ideal

cannabis soil

Everyone has heard about people just growing cannabis in their backyard or out in the woods. Yet as with any crop, growing cannabis in regular soil really is not ideal. If you have ever grown fruits or vegetables, you know that different types of plants need different nutritional content. Even growing something as simple as grass requires specific soil acidity levels and fertilizers.

In this article, we will cover why growing cannabis in regular soil is not ideal, what the best type of soil really is, and tips for getting the best grow.

Why Regular Soil Is Not Ideal for Growing Marijuana?

When starting a traditional garden, many gardeners have to spend months enriching their soil. But even enriching soil is not always ideal for growing marijuana. If you have been to a garden center, you may have noticed that there are different blends of soil for things like succulents, flowers, vegetables, and fruits. Different types of plants need different levels of nutrients. Soils tend to differ in five major ways: drainage, nutrients, texture, pH level, and water retention.

What is the Best Soil for Cannabis?

There are dozens upon dozens of different brands of soil. What you will need to look for is soil that has the right blend of attributes for your marijuana plants. Here is what you need to know:

  • Drainage. Some plants will rot readily if their roots are allowed to remain moist. High drainage soils are frequently used for plants such as succulents, in order to make sure that their roots dry out quickly. The addition of things like “perlite” improve drainage. Cannabis does not need high drainage. Moderate to low drainage is fine.
  • Water retention. This controls how long water will be retained in the soil. If you have soil with low water retention, you will need to water your plants more frequently. Cannabis plants like water, which means you want soil with high water retention. Soils that include peat moss are a good choice, as this keeps the soil moist.
  • Nutrients. If you are growing cannabis, it is very likely that you are going to be adding a nutrient base of fertilizer to your soil regardless. That means that in terms of nutrients, you really just want a high quality, general purpose soil. Many prefer organic soils, to ensure that the cannabis that they receive will be organic. Organic soils do not have added chemicals that could be harmful.
  • Texture. The texture of your soil can range from a coarse soil to a very silt-like soil. In reality, this does not matter so much for cannabis: you can choose a soil texture that makes the most sense in your setup. If you are growing in pots, you may want a potting soil that holds together better. If you are planting outside in raised garden beds, you may want a heavier, more clay-filled soil. pH level. This is the acidity or basicness of the soil. Cannabis tends to prefer its environment to be slightly acidic. In general, the best soil for cannabis is going to be between 6 to 6.8 pH.

These are all the attributes of the soil itself. You can alter these attributes through the use of fertilizers. For instance, frequently you may add nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil through a fertilizer. Because of this, getting the right blend for your marijuana plants is actually a bit complex. You may need to fine-tune your soil and fertilizer combination over time, and if there are any issues you see in your plants (such as wilting) they may be directly related to soil, drainage, light, or any other number of factors. Consider taking the guesswork out of having to mix fertilizers or nutrients by utilizing a fully amended living soil, such as SoHum Living Soil®.

Tips for Growing in Higher Quality Soil

Contact us today, and you will be on your way to high-quality marijuana plants.

Why Cannabis Soil Is a Top Choice for the Home Grower

cannabis soil
For large scale dispensary operations and cannabis facility design, the decision to grow with soil or hydroponics is based on many factors. But as cannabis laws and regulations continue to expand ways in which people can legally grow, consume and sell marijuana, home growing operations are becoming more popular than ever. While the average home grower does not need to worry about cannabis licensing and cannabis marketing, they do need to carefully consider what growing medium to use.
 

Three Immediate Advantages to Choosing Soil for the New Grower

 
The choice boils down to hydroponics, aeroponics, and soil. While people tend to picture plants grown in water when they hear hydroponics or aeroponics, that actually refers to plants grown in any medium other than soil, including sand and gravel. So while all operations based in soil growing will have some very marked similarities, there is an extremely wide range of hydroponic systems, each with their own set of factors and concerns.
 
For instance, while all soil growing operations require a grower to take care that their plants are receiving the right amount of water, a grower using a water hydroponic system does not have to worry about watering plants, while someone using a sand hydroponic system must take that into account. And that is one of the big advantages of choosing soil: because soil growing operations are all fundamentally similar, especially when broken down to indoor/outdoor and container and planted in the ground, there are more resources for the soil grower, especially when it comes to initial set-up and troubleshooting, than there are for hydroponics. It is very easy to find a guide for a soil set-up that will meet a home grower’s specific needs and variables, whereas hydroponic systems tend to more unique, as well as expensive.
 
And while the concept of using hydroponics to grow plants is hardly new; it has been going at least as far back as the time of the Aztecs, for the average home grower, it remains a novel concept. For the person who is just getting started growing cannabis, hoping to apply their previous gardening experience to cultivating marijuana, soil is the clear choice because home gardening experience does carry over.
 
A final advantage involving initial set-up is the cost, and almost always, the initial set up cost is less for soil than it is for hydroponics or aeroponics.
 

So in terms of getting started, soil has some very clear advantages:

  • It is easier to find helpful resources to help set up and troubleshoot.
  • Previous home gardening experience carries over.
  • Initial set up costs are lower.
 

The Cons of Choosing Soil

 
With all of these advantages to initially choosing soil, you may wonder why hydroponics remains such a popular choice for marijuana cultivation. For a home grower looking to maximize yield above all else, then hydroponics might be the right choice, but for many home growers, quality is valued much more over quantity, so the ability to cultivate the ‘right’ plant, is more important than having the fastest or largest harvest. Many a soil grower believes that soil-grown cannabis produces a better taste than hydroponics.
 
There are a couple of other important advantages to growing hydroponically. Pests that can damage a crop tend to live in the soil, so removing that also removes the threat of pests. The soil grower, especially the outdoor soil grower, must be vigilant and take measures to prevent any infestation of possible pests. For a container grower, switching the soil between every planting cycle will go a long way towards eliminating the threat of pests, and has the added advantage of being able to guarantee the grower is able to get the precise mix of nutrients and fertilizer that they want, every time.
 
Finally, there are those hydroponic growers who believe that their set-ups are the lowest maintenance operations. The lowest maintenance operation is always the one that each individual grower has perfected and best fits their own needs and goals, and for some, this is a hydroponic set-up, but it takes a large investment of both time and money to create a low-maintenance hydroponic growth operation.
 

So while soil is an excellent choice for the home grower there are some advantages to hydroponics:

  • Hydroponically grown cannabis may grow faster.
  • Hydroponic harvests tend to yield more.
  • Hydroponic plants can be susceptible to pests.
  • Some well-established hydroponic set-ups are very low-maintenance.
 

 

The Long-Term Advantages of Choosing Soil:

 
There are several long-term advantages to choosing soil that has nothing to do with the experience level of the grower. One of the largest is the taste of the harvested plant. And while that is, of course, a subjective metric, many experts believe that the flavor of soil-grown is superior. Another similar characteristic where soil has the advantage is how much easier it is to do completely naturally or officially organic. Many hydroponic systems require chemicals to be added that are neither natural nor organic and whether it is due to the grower’s personal preference, or having an all-natural product is important for cannabis marketing, that can often be a deal breaker.
 
Another big long-term advantage is maintenance. While each hydroponic system will have its own level of maintenance, some of which are fairly complex, all soil systems have a pretty even level of maintenance, where the main components occur during planting and in the watering stages. On the whole, the level of maintenance required by a soil system tends to be simpler, more straightforward and more inexpensive than hydroponics. Overall soil systems tend to be slightly more forgiving to inattention on the part of the grower. While having the wrong PH or nutrient levels in a hydroponic system can spell disaster for an entire crop if not quickly corrected, with a soil system, it’s more likely to be salvageable even if not corrected right away. The flip side of this is that problems can be slower to emerge and treat, but for hobbyist growers, for whom this is not a full-time job, having an operation that allows them to forget checking nutrient levels every so often is a worthwhile trade-off.
 
Whereas the choice to go with hydroponics or soil is an important one to every cannabis grower, when it comes to the home grower, especially the home grower who is just getting started cultivating cannabis, soil has some very marked advantages. Contact us today for more information!

How to Grow Bigger Cannabis Buds Outdoors and Indoors

How-to-Grow-Bigger-Cannabis-Buds-Outdoors-and-Indoors

There is no greater feeling of success for the personal cannabis gardener than finding the perfect big bud on your plant. It is not difficult to get big buds if you know how to properly set-up and maintain your plants. Essentially, successful growth of big buds comes down to manipulating the growth of your plant, getting it some good light, and making sure it has the right nutrients.

Pruning and Training Your Plants

Successful growth of your plants is mainly about controlling where your plant will produce its buds. Buds come from nodes where leaves and branches grow from the main stalk. To get the biggest buds, it is ideal to keep all of your nodes at approximately the same height. Plants do not usually grow all of their nodes at the same height naturally, therefore, this takes some intervention from the gardener. You have two primary ways to do this:

  • Pruning – Cut off the nodes that are lower down on the plant. Some gardeners have a hard time justifying this because it is effectively removing some places where your plant was planning to produce buds. However, the results are worth it. When buds start growing low on the plant, they don’t get enough light, because the top of the plant is shading them. If you leave those nodes on, your plant will waste energy trying to feed the lower buds that don’t have a chance of getting very big. Prune away the lesser nodes to give your remaining flowers the best chance at growing large.
  • Training – Training is the other way to keep all of your buds at the same height to ensure they are getting enough light. Plants naturally grow unevenly, with some stalks and branches not reaching the height of others. To correct this, crop off the top of the plant or use ties to shape it to make all the branches the same height. When the branches are the same height, the plant disperses equal nutrients and helps every bud get the ideal amount of light.

Light for Cannabis Plants

As previously discussed, lighting is a major key. Your plants should be spaced out enough so every part of the plant can get good light. If you are growing indoors, you can have complete control over the lighting, so it’s important that it’s set correctly. Avoid exposing your plants to too much light, this can burn the top of your plants and damage your buds.

Feed Your Plants

If you want your plants to produce big, bountiful buds, they are will need excellent nutrients to keep them healthy. Things like nitrogen and phosphorous can play huge roles in creating massive buds if you use the right amounts at the right time in the process. For example, nitrogen helps the plant grow strong early in the process. If your plant gets off to a healthy start and grows big quickly, it will be able to produce bigger flowers later.

Once the plant starts to produce its buds, it needs less nitrogen. It is at this point that phosphorous will be more useful because they help the buds become big, heavy, and dense. There are composts and other things you can add to the soil throughout the process to help your plants along, but the most important thing is to start with great soil. Explore our FAQs to learn about the best cannabis soil and how you can set your plants up for success.

Where to Buy SoHum Living Soils®

SoHum Living Soils

SoHum Living Soils® has been carefully crafted to help gardeners produce plants with big buds. Our soil is excellent for growing just about anything, but it is especially useful for growing cannabis, giving it a considerable advantage over other commercial soils. It does not require tilling, and it is balanced to give your cannabis plants the best chance at creating big buds. That’s why so many successful growers trust their plants to living organic soils.

Many gardeners are torn when it comes to things like fertilizers. They want their plants to grow big and strong but are wary of the undesired side effects that can occur from using chemicals on your plants. We offer the natural products needed to keep your plants growing and producing a significant yield of large buds. It is not necessarily about working harder– it is about working smarter. You can do precisely that when you let SoHum Living Soils® provide excellent nutrition to your plants throughout the entire lifecycle. Contact us today to learn more about h

Cannabis Cultivation Basics [Infographic]

Cannabis Cultivation Basics

Due to the recent legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in areas of the U.S., it’s becoming more common for people to test out their green thumb and try their hand at growing cannabis. Growing cannabis can be an enriching experience because there is nothing quite comparable to cultivating your own supply. A high-quality soil delivers essential nutrients for optimal growth, which is exactly what cannabis craves. Explore our guide of the basic essentials that you will need to get started on cultivating your own cannabis.

View the Infographic

Location

You should first consider the location where you will cultivate. Many states have specific laws regarding where you can grow cannabis. When growing outdoors, it is important to select a secluded, secure area. When growing indoors, it is recommended to have a separate room dedicated to your cannabis cultivation. Another alternative is using a greenhouse or shed, these are excellent options because you can easily control their environment.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of cannabis cultivation. If you are growing outdoors, the sun will provide the necessary lighting. However, if you are growing indoors, you will need the appropriate artificial lighting to nurture your cannabis. There are many options for indoor lighting including metal-halide for the vegetative phase, high-pressure sodium (HPS) for the flowering stage, and LED lighting. One thing to keep in mind when choosing proper lighting is that HPS and metal-halide lights consume more power than LED. In turn, they also create plenty of heat in your growing space.

Soil

When growing cannabis in soil, there are a few things to take into consideration before you begin growing. These include:

  • Drainage ability
  • Texture
  • Water Retention

Soil that properly drains is incredibly important to cannabis growth because retaining too much water will prevent the plants root from getting enough oxygen. If the plant is unable to receive the oxygen it needs, it will become droopy and lifeless. Alternately, soil that has too light of a texture won’t have good water retention capabilities, resulting in damaged roots that will quickly dry out.

Benefits of Using SoHum Living Soils®

Specially designed with ample organic matter, our soil has built-in pH buffering abilities. It has a balance of readily available plant food, and slow release nutrients throughout the plant’s life. In addition, our soil is designed to maintain it’s spongy, airy structure for a long time, making it less likely to compact and erode, giving your plants optimal growing conditions.

Clones or Seeds

The easiest way to start cultivating your own cannabis is to obtain healthy female clones. When starting with clones from a known and trustworthy source, you can fine tune your setup to the needs of that particular plant. Another way to start is to sprout seeds using germination. This involves developing a female mother plant that is kept from flowering in order to produce clones to then use to grow out and flower.

Vegetative Stage

Once your cannabis has sprouted and developed into actual plants, they will enter the vegetative stage. When growing indoors, this process takes about 18 to 24 hours of continuous light. This stage allows the plants to reveal its sex (if started from seed) as well as allow it to grow to size. Remember, only the female plants are the ones you want to flower.

Flower Stage

The flowering stage requires 12 hours of light (when cultivated indoors) and 12 hours of darkness. Altering between light and darkness triggers the plant to start flowering. The first two weeks of the flowering stage are referred to as the “stretch” because the plants will rapidly grow and almost triple in size. Be sure to keep this in mind during the vegetative stage so you don’t run out of space.

Harvest Time

Over time, white hairs growing on the buds will become noticeable. Once the hairs stop producing and turn orange, harvest is close. For the highest levels of THC, always harvest your plants when 50 to 70 percent of the hairs have gained color. Once unnecessary leaves are cut and trimmed away, the drying and curing process is ready to begin.

Dry and Cure the Buds

To the dismay of many growers, you cannot smoke fresh buds from the plant. Make sure to hang newly harvested buds in a cool, dark place to dry completely. Once the stems snap instead of bend, place the buds loosely into jars for a minimum of two weeks. Once daily, open the jars to check your buds and allow in fresh air. If the buds are wet, leave the jars open longer until the outer parts dry. After a couple of weeks, you can sample your cannabis. The growth time is subjective, as some growers cure for up to 30 days.

Take a look at the cannabis gardening products we offer, and contact us today to find out more about what SoHum Living Soils® can do for your plants.

Cannabis Cultivation Basics

Cannabis Cultivation Basics

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!