Posts Tagged ‘marijuana grow’

Optimize Your Growing Environment

Optimize Your Growing Environment


Story & photos by Erik Biksa

Atmosphere Control

The plants shown being harvested in this garden (courtesy of the Urban Grower) were cultivated in a controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) system that allowed the grower to exercise perfect control over every environmental parameter in the growroom. Daytime and nighttime temperatures are controlled independently and accurately via air-conditioning; excess humidity is removed from the air with industrial dehumidifiers; carbon-dioxide levels are supplemented with a gas-fired CO2 generator; and the air is kept clean and pure with large, activated-charcoal air scrubbers and fans. All of these appliances are connected to precision sensors and monitors that allow the grower to create (and modify) the perfect climate for producing a heavy and sticky harvest of high-quality cannabis.

The level of control in this type of growroom is excellent – but, much like a computer, it’s only as good as what you tell it to do. Most cannabis growers recognize that different strains have different preferences when it comes to the growing environment and nutrients. Experienced farmers recognize that at various times throughout the growth cycle, different strains can be manipulated in different ways to enhance the characteristics and traits desired.

Consider that in natural (i.e., outdoor) settings, cannabis plants receive differing intensities, qualities and durations of light. In addition, nutrient availability changes throughout the growing season. When growing indoors, however, growers have the ability to tightly control these and other growing parameters.

The Vegetative Stage

After the pre-veg phase, in which newly rooted clones or young seedlings are conditioned for more intensive growing conditions, the crop is ready to enter the vegetative-growth stage. Here, the goal is to develop a large root system and enough potential budding sites on each plant to fill the space allotted once the buds start flowering, while avoiding overfilling the space due to excessive plant heights and branching.

It takes research (and occasionally some trial and error) to accurately determine the best planting densities and times for vegetative growth to produce optimal results in any particular strain. It’s important to note that indica-dominant strains may grow very little once flowering is initiated, while sativa-dominant strains may triple or even quadruple in size before finishing. Thus, the length of time spent in the vegetative-growth stage needs to be adjusted accordingly for each plant.

In this particular garden, the plants experienced a five-week vegetative-growth period before the flowering stage was induced. During this time, each of these NYC Sour Diesel plants received plenty of space for both branch and root development. Just to highlight how important a large, healthy root system is for big yields of high-quality buds later on, it should be noted that the plants were grown in approximately 72 liters of peat-based soilless mix apiece.

The soilless mix is maintained with high levels of microbial life and bioactivity to help further stimulate the root systems and fill the large volume of growing medium provided to each plant. Beneficial inoculants are added with the nutrients to populate the growth medium and the root zones with fungi and bacteria such as Trichoderma, Pseudomonas, Azotobacter and mycorrhizae. The root systems are kept elevated off the cold floors, and the containers are placed on wheels so that each of the trashcans filled with soilless mix can be maneuvered easily through the growroom to help maximize light coverage for each plant.

Warm It Up

Slightly warmer temperatures help to increase the metabolic rate of activity in both the soil and plants. During vegetative growth, supplementing CO2 levels to approximately 1,000 ppm (parts per million) and maintaining even temperatures of 85ºF during the daytime and 80ºF at night proves to be optimal. The populations of beneficial microbes supplied via nutrient additives help to keep each plant’s root system healthy while functioning at the higher metabolic rates stimulated by the warmer vegetative-stage temperatures. By keeping the DIF (i.e., the temperature differential between day and night or light and dark) closer at this stage, the plants tend to produce tighter branching patterns, building an efficient framework for supporting large yields of dense, sticky buds.


In the early-veg stage, some growers prefer to keep their humidity levels slightly higher (for example, 65%) to give the plants an opportunity to set down some roots after transplanting. If the air is too dry, tender young plants will have to work hard to keep up with the water loss through their leaves, and this creates stresses that can reduce cropping potential and invite other problems. This is a great time to introduce predator insects like Phytoseiulus persimilis (which eat spider mites), because they tend to do better at higher humidity levels. Also, because the plants are smaller at this point, fewer predator insects can provide more effective coverage faster. The humidity levels are then gradually lowered as the veg stage progresses.


The first one to two weeks of flowering are often referred to as the “transitional growth” phase. During this time, nitrogen levels are decreased slightly while the levels of phosphorous and potassium are increased. Temperatures should be reduced to 80°F when the lights are on and 75°F when they’re off. Notice that the DIF is still narrow here; this helps to create tighter internodes at the onset of flowering, reducing the spaces between individual budding sites and producing more buds for harvest. CO2 levels are typically maintained at 1,000 to 1,200 ppm during this time, with a strain-dependent relative humidity of 40% to 55%.

Flowering Time

At peak flowering (i.e., the middle of the flowering cycle), nutrient strengths and concentrations are at their highest, often averaging 1,500 ppm (approximately 2.0 EC) to stimulate and supply the intense structural development of the buds that occurs now. When using soil or soilless mixes, growers often follow a “feed, feed, water” regimen to help reduce the accumulation of nutrient residues that may occur in their medium. Growers who like to feed heavy will do a light flush of the containers or beds once every one to two weeks during flowering. A flush mix of humic acids and digestive enzymes proves to be ideal for this purpose, since it helps to reduce excess nutrients in the growth medium that can create nutrient imbalances or lockouts.

Humidity and temperature levels are maintained at their set points, with no changes until the late budding/ripening phase of the reproductive cycle. CO2 levels should be further elevated at peak flowering, and carbohydrates help to supply both the plants and beneficial soil life with an abundant source of energy when growth and development are occurring at a higher rate due to the growing environment provided.

For the ripening period – which typically consists of the last two to four weeks before harvest – medicinal growers shift gears with their environment and crop feedings to promote maximum bud swell and resin production as well as a smooth, clean taste in the harvested buds. Environmental manipulation can even bring out the best colorations in certain types of genetics (for example, beautiful purples and reds).

The Big Flush

For the final weeks before harvest, no base nutrients are applied. This helps to flush the plants and growing medium of any excess nutrients that may contribute to poor-tasting, hard-to-burn buds. A variety of rinsing agents can be used to help facilitate this process, although many growers (especially those reusing their medium, whether soil or soilless mix) prefer to flush with humic acids and digestive enzymes. In fact, growers who have doubled up on the rate of digestive enzymes mixed into the reservoir for flushing report marked improvements in both the quality of their crop and the suitability of their growing medium for reuse.

When significantly increasing the DIF between daytime and nighttime temperatures, growers should pay close attention to any rise in humidity levels during the dark cycle. Dehumidifiers help to keep the relative humidity (RH) from rising above 55% when the lights are off, which is necessary because excess humidity encourages bud rot and other plant diseases in the dense, heavy clusters of ripening cannabis.


It’s important that CO2 levels are lowered to ambient levels during the ripening phase (for example, 450 to 650 ppm). If CO2 levels remain higher at this stage, the buds may get bigger, but they’ll lack the density and intense flavors and colors that growers typically desire. This is because carbon dioxide inhibits the plant’s production of ethylene, a naturally occurring hormone that assists in the ripening process.

Light intensity can also be reduced at this time, since growers are more concerned with dissipating their plants’ chlorophyll content rather than building it up to achieve better-quality medicine.


Only after the grower is sure that the plants and growing medium have been adequately flushed of excess nutrients does the decision of when to harvest come into play. Well-flushed plants will usually show yellowing in the older fan leaves, signifying that excess nutrients have been transferred and used up by the ripening colas. With a magnifying glass or handheld microscope, the grower can inspect the swelling resin glands for signs of peak maturity.

A higher percentage of clear-looking glands indicates that the resins have not yet reached their full potency. This is desirable for some patients, since slightly less mature resin glands often have a more “heady” effect (as opposed to either a sedative effect or body stone) because the ratios of THC to CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol) are wider.

When the resin glands have gone from clear to milky white and opaque, the resin is at peak maturity. For most patients, this proves to be the ideal time to harvest, since there’s now a good balance between the THC and CBD/CBN levels, providing a more equal head-to-body effect. On the other hand, those patients looking for a body stone may want to wait until some of the resin glands have turned from milky white to amber: At this point, some of the THC is beginning to degrade and convert back into precursors like CBD and CBN. Growers who wait longer during the ripening phase may have slightly heavier harvests, but they are also much more likely to get a sleepier effect from their medicine.

Finally, some growers have noticed a higher rate of resin production when the plants are kept in total darkness for 24 to 48 hours prior to harvest. Some studies suggest that resin production in the cannabis plant peaks just before the sun comes up (or the lights are turned on), so the extra darkness may promote a final burst of resin secretion.

There are many different strains of cannabis that appear highly suited for treating various ailments, with each strain possessing its own unique resin profile. Growers can use carefully controlled environments and nutrient programs to bring out the best in a chosen strain and, in some instances, even enhance what it has to offer – resulting in cannabis that is potentially more effective for each patient’s unique needs.


San Bruno senior citizens busted on pot-farming charges

It’s pretty common these days for robbers to target homes where marijuana is being grown.

Not so common: When the suspected pot growers are two women past retirement age.

That was what San Bruno police uncovered Friday, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.

It all began when neighbors heard loud banging coming from the women’s home on Valleywood Drive, nestled in between Skyline Boulevard and Interstate 280.

Then they saw two men, later identified as Kitae Chae, 38, and Kenny Kong, 34, breaking down the front door and lingering inside for a few minutes before driving off in a BMW, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

The neighbors called police, and officers who stopped the BMW in South San Francisco found the men with $12,000 in cash, marijuana packaging material and seven ecstasy pills, Wagstaffe said.

When they arrived at the Valleywood Drive home, investigators found a substantial pot-growing operation: more than 800 marijuana plants, $3,000 in cash and a bypass through which electricity was being stolen from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., police said.

In short order, officers arrested the occupants — 72-year-old Aleen Lam and Virginia Chan Pon, 65. It’s not Pon’s first run-in with the law: She is already facing charges in Yolo County for allegedly passing more than $40,000 in bad checks over a three-day period at Cache Creek Casino.

“I have never seen or heard of women in their 60s and 70s running a grow house,” Wagstaffe said. “I certainly hope it is aberrational rather than a trend. I suppose profiteering in illegal enterprises crosses all the generations.”

The two women face a variety of drug charges, and Chae and Kong are accused of drug and burglary counts. All four have pleaded not guilty and are being held at San Mateo County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail each.

Prosecutors have filed a motion requiring that the two women show a legitimate source for any bail they post.

Pon Lam ganja grannies thumb 416x286 San Bruno senior citizens busted on pot farming charges

Miracle-Gro Makes A Play For The Medical Marijuana Market

Miracle-Gro seems to have finally gotten hip to the fact that lots of people use its chemical fertilizer to grow marijuana — and that with a little marketing, that number could get a lot, well, higher.

In an unusual move for the head of such a large company, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company CEO Jim Hagedorn said he is “exploring” targeting medical marijuana cultivators to boost sales at his lawn and garden supply firm, reports Dana Mattioli at The Wall Street Journal.
“I want to target the pot market,” Hagedorn said in an interview. “There’s no good reason we haven’t.”
Sales at Scott’s aren’t exactly suffering. In fact, they rose five percent last year, to $2.9 billion. But the company, based in Marysville, Ohio, relies on sales at three mega-retailers — Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart — for almost two-thirds of its revenue. But with those big-box retailers not building new stores as quickly as they used to, it appears the CEO wants to “diversify.”

hagedorn flip image 1226311x.jpg
Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn:
“I want to target the pot market. There’s no good reason we haven’t.”
Hagedorn is pushing is regional sales presidents to look for smaller pockets of growth — such as, you guessed it, the marijuana market — that together could produce a noticeable boost in sales.
Sixteen states have legalized medical marijuana, and the market will reach $1.7 billion in sales this year, according to a report by See Change Strategy LLC, an information data services company.
While that report focuses on revenue from growers and dispensaries, the market for companies selling ancillary supplies such as hydroponic equipment and nutrients is also thriving, according to Kris Lotlikar, president of See Change.
“We see very good growth for these types of companies as the medical marijuana business grows,” Lotlikar said.
Screen shot 2011-06-14 at 8.53.45 AM.png
Photo: Lowe’s
From preventing weeds to growing them?
​ While Hagedorn’s upfront desire to enter the medical marijuana market may still be a little unusual for a major CEO, he has never been a typical sort of chief executive. A former F-16 fighter pilot, Hagedorn flies his personal Cessna to and from meetings in Port Washington, New York, where he grew up, and the company’s headquarters in Ohio, “much to the chagrin of his board,” the Journal reports.
He also has a propensity for swear words and military references, and reportedly showed up at the office at least one day this month in jeans and sneakers.
Hagedorn took over Miracle-Gro from his father, who co-founded the company. According to the Journal, he would likely buy niche companies that already exist, rather than trying to create Miracle-Gro’s own line of branded marijuana nutrient products.
The transition into a marijuana-friendly company could have some interesting and awkward moments, given the fact that many of Miracle-Gro’s products, such as “Shake ‘n Feed” are designed to prevent “weeds,” rather than nurture them.
Raids on marijuana growing operations have already turned up Miracle-Gro products. Hagedorn said he takes that as a good sign of brand awareness, but he fears some growers could be reluctant to use such a “mainstream” product — and something tells me he’s about to find out how strong the “organic” movement continues to be in cannabis cultivation.
Yes, lots of medical marijuana patients much prefer organically grown weed — and who can blame them? When I use my medicine, I want to taste plants, not chemicals.

Build A Stealth Grow Box For Less Than $150

This post was written by the HMJ Grow Expert ThisBuds4You, Click here to read more by this author

Dresser untouched

Howdy fellow HMJane-ers! Welcome to your FIRST stealth grow installment with ME, ThisBuds4You!!! I will show you how I made a STEALTH chest of drawers (dresser) for less than $150 and YOU CAN TOO. In 3 months you will be puffin’ on your own homegrown for less than the cost of a half ounce of herb. A little know how, a couple tools and a few items from your neighborhood hardware supplier and you’ll be growing in no time! This box should produce 5-6 ounces of A-Quality bud every grow cycle (60 days). This box also uses only 300 watts of power, about the same amount as a standard desktop computer.

Details about this dresser

It took 2 -8 hour days to complete this grow box. This dresser is comprised of 2 growing chambers, 1 for flowering your buds and the other for keeping your mother plant and young clones. The mother plant and clones are kept under 24-18 hours of light and your flowering plants are under 12 hours of light. I used 250 actual watts of power in the flowering chamber. This should give us around 5-6 ounces of bud every grow cycle (60 days) depending on the strain, nutrients, grow medium, etc. I will get into nutrients, caring for your plants, etc in future articles. Alright, enough talk, lets get growing!!!



Here are a few tools you will need:

Tools Needed for the job
Tools Needed for the job

Drill & Drill bits (standard sizes)
2″ hole saw drill bit
Phillips Screwdriver
Rubber mallet or hammer
Staple Gun & Staples
Tape Measure
Sharpie Marker
Carpenter’s Knife
White caulk, NOT CLEAR
Wood Glue (not necessary, but nice to have)

If you don’t have all the tools, BORROW THEM FROM YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY! If they ask you why you need them, make up some bullshit! I didn’t want to spend $20 on a hole saw drill bit so I borrowed it, just ask!

Supplies you will need to complete your box:
Dresser – $30
6’x10′ of Panda film – $10
1 – 4’x2′ 0.25″ MDF or Hardboard (I prefer MDF) – $4.50
9 Ceramic light fixtures – $11.43
About 8 ft of lamp cord – FREE
3 standard plugs (for lamp cord) – FREE
Duct fan (I used a 6″ but a 4″ is also sufficient) – $16.00
3 – 120mm computer fans – $13.50
2 – 80mm (standard) computer fans – FREE
1 standard computer power supply & tester – Power supply FREE, Tester – $12.00
9 CFL bulbs (I used a mix of 42 and 23 watt bulbs) – $35.00
2 Hinges – $2.00
2 Magnetic Closures – $3.00
1 power strip – $2.47
1 piece of plexi glass 3mm thick – FREE

1 thermometer – $10.00

2 timers – $8.00

Misc items (not necessary but nice to have)

8 door/cabinet pulls (not necessary but a very nice touch) – $10

1 carbon scrubber (i got the smallest one CAN FILTER makes) – $39.00 if you are concerned about odor, this is a MUST

Money Saving Tips

1. Re-purpose the wood from inside the dresser! I got an old ass dresser that was probably hand-built by some old pioneer and I was able to reuse a lot of the wood. I only had to purchase 1 new piece of wood (the MDF) for the back door.

2. Get an old junked computer and use the fans and power supply from that, you can probably find one for free, I did.

3. Check the free section of craiglist for dressers, computers, etc. If you can’t find free ones, pretty sure you can find cheap ones. I got my dresser for $30.

4. Don’t pay for lamp cords! Find some old ass lamps in the garbage, free section of craigslist or whatever and use those. Just cut them off from the lamp and wa la!

Disassembling the dresser
Take great care in taking the dresser apart. We took time taking it apart and ended up being able to reuse most of the wood from the dresser. We took apart the drawers and used the bottoms to make the front face that the drawer fronts attached to. We also used the bottom of the drawers for the floors of our new grow box.

Now, I’m not going to get into too much detail from here on out; the pictures are pretty self-explanatory. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to fire away!

The Beginning
Here’s the dresser untouched

Dresser untouched
Dresser untouched

First, we took all the drawers out and began to take those apart with a rubber mallet

Drawer disassembly
Drawer dis-assembly

Drawer disassembly
Drawer dis-assembly

Here’s the dresser completely gutted (except for the top shelf, I left that in so we could mount the exhaust fans and run the power through there)

Dresser Gutted
Dresser gutted

Then we attached one of the drawer bottoms to the front of the dresser, so we would have something to screw the drawer fronts to

Dresser w/ support board
Dresser with support board

Then we attached the drawer fronts with the new drawer handles/pulls

Dresser w/ drawers attached
Dresser with drawers attached

Once that was completed we cut a 6″ hole on the inside top shelf we left in and we also added a partition wall in the middle with a hole cut out for a 120 mm fan. We also cut holes in the top of our flowering chamber for the 2-120mm fans we will mount there. Be sure to run caulk around the edges on the inside of the dresser so we don’t have an issue with light leaks. I also cut 4 pieces of wood the same depth as the dresser and screwed them into the bottom. These are going to support our new floors.

Boards mounted, holes cut
Boards mounted, holes cut

Partition wall w/hole cut
Partition wall with hole cut

Next, make your floors from the scrap drawer bottoms. I drilled holes in them with a 2″ hole saw bit for air flow. Air is your best friend in these small spaces! I lined the floor of the veg room with panda film, I’m making a separate tray to place the plants in the flowering area so I did not line that floor with panda film

Vegetative chamber floor
Vegetative chamber floor

Flowering chamber floor
Flowering chamber floor

Next, line the entire interior of the dresser with panda film and install the floors

Dresser lined w/ Panda film
Dresser lined with Panda film

Now, time for the lights. I daisy-chained all the lights together and mounted them to some scrap 1/2″ board I had laying around. You can use pieces of the dresser drawers for this also.

Ceramic fixtures
Ceramic fixtures

Lamp cord plug
Lamp cord plug

Break time with Sweetwater 420 and Mandala Hashberry

Break Time
Break Time

Now for the fans, I used 3-120 mm fans. I’m using 2 in the ceiling to exhaust hot air out of the flowering chamber (the lights will be sealed off by a piece of plexi glass), and 1 fan will be blowing air from the flowering chamber into the veg chamber. I powered these fans with a PC power supply. I got a power supply tester so the power supply would power the fans.

120mm fans
120mm fans

Power supply w/tester
Power supply with tester

Now, mount the fans and the lights. I mounted 2-80 mm computer fans in the corners of the flowering box, air flow is our best friend in these small spaces!

Lights and fans mounted
Lights and fans mounted

Exhaust fans for lights in flowering chamber

PC fans mounted, exhaust fans for flowering chamber lights
PC fans mounted, exhaust fans for flowering chamber lights

Hinges attached to door

Hinges attached
Hinges attached

Magnetic closures attached
Magnetic closures attached

Vegetative chamber up and running!!!

Vegetative chamber, lights on
Flowering chamber with plexi glass installed
Lights on!

Flowering chamber w/plexi glass installed
Flowering chamber with plexi glass installed

Door installed on back of dresser, still need to get a piece of hardboard to attach across the top of the back…

Back of dresser
Back of dresser

Grow box is done!
Grow box is done!

Front of dresser, DONE!
Front of dresser, DONE!

Any questions, feel free to fire away. Overgrow the world!!!


“Mellow” Alligator Guarded Marijuana Stash in Southern California

Police in Riverside County, California recently made a raid in which they seized 2,300  cannabis plants that were guarded by a “very, very mellow” 50 pound American alligator. The marijuana grow is worth an estimated $1.5 million, and although gators are illegal to own in California, authorities say they are becoming popular pets.

This doesn’t seem like much of a security system, especially a “mellow” gator (maybe he was sampling his owner’s product). But even an aggressive gator can only be so fast and easy to kill for someone who really wanted that weed. More than likely this guy – who was released on $100,000 bail – enjoyed the novelty of having a gator on his property as opposed to a sophisticated security system.

I guess having a four-foot alligator is cool, but if you’re serious about protecting $1.5 million in cannabis, some cameras and locks might be a better investment.

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