These days indoor growers split their time between growing autoflower seeds and traditional indoor feminized photoperiod seeds.
The main difference between the two types is that photoperiod seeds require the grower to cut back indoor light hours from around ¹8 hours per day to.
This forces the plant to start the process of flowering. With it comes the luscious THC-soaked buds which we all love. There are lots of things to look out for and a lifetime of learning when it comes to cannabis cultivation and the following information and tips should help.
Seed selectionYou can buy feminized or regular photoperiod seeds. Dutch Passion still offer over a dozen varieties of regular (non-feminized seeds). But regular seeds account for just 2-3% of overall seed sales. These days, nearly everyone prefers to grow from feminized photoperiod seeds. And many people will have their preferred seed banks and favorite strains.
There are lots of choices when it comes to seeds. Do you prefer indica or sativa seeds? Or maybe a banging hybrid? What about USA genetics? Some fantastic quality genetics have made their way from the USA to the rest of the world recently. Many medical growers prefer a seed variety with a little CBD in it while commercial growers and dealers want a 20%+ THC variety with heavy yields which won’t take 3-4 months to finish bloom. Some growers prefer the security of going with an established seed company. Others will take a punt on something new from a lesser known seed supplier.
Choose wisely. The variety which you select will be in your grow room for the next few months and in your jars for even longer. Seed selection time is one moment in your life when compromise is not required. It is one of the most important decisions in your grow. Even with the best grow skills and equipment in the world, if you start with poor quality genetics you won’t end up with high quality buds.
Preferred Germination Methods And Grow Styles
Many growers have their own preferred germination method. It’s one area where it pays to do your research – the best cannabis seeds don’t come cheap. Practice germinating vegetable/flower seeds if you are completely new to growing, it’s an inexpensive way to hone your germination skills. Few growers like to change their growing method. Often cannabis growers become expert in one particular style such as soil growing, coco growing or hydroponics-style growing.
However,if you prefer to grow, put as much professionalism into it as you can. Ensure your grow room and equipment is kept clean between grows. Ensure your pH and EC meters are clean, calibrated and reading correctly. Have spare devices available just in case, every meter fails eventually. Make sure your plant containers are free of dirt, bugs and their eggs. Wipe down the inside of your tent between grows and make your grow room a temple of organization and optimized efficiency. Keep looking to improve your own skills, techniques and equipment. With some good genetics and an optimized environment, you can expect to hit THC levels of around 20%, more if you are really serious about your growing and equipment.
Keep Abreast Of New Grow Stuff
Reading magazines like Weed World is a good way to keep yourself up to date with the latest grow tech. Many home growers keep up to date with cannabis cultivation developments on the internet. If you have a good local grow
shop with a genuinely knowledgeable owner you can count yourself fortunate. It’s a tricky job separating grower-hype from reality. But it’s important to know about useful grow equipment (e.g. airpots and fabric grow sacks) as well as the latest information on nutrients, grow light technology etc.
Stocking Up On Grow Medium and Nutrients
Before the grow begins, many growers like to visit the internet (or their local grow shop) to stock up on the materials they will need. Usually this includes grow nutrients, grow medium (e.g. soil, or coco fiber), perhaps a spare carbon filter and a spare HPS bulb. Many growers find that budget materials do a good enough job. Others are happy to pay a little bit extra for a higher quality product which may give a better result or a simpler grow.
Over-feeding your plants is one of the most common mistakes which can ruin your grow. Organic growers can use products from companies like BioTabs which simplify life and make it difficult/impossible to over-feed your plants when used correctly. The organically sourced BioTabs materials break down slowly in the soil gradually releasing the nutrients to the roots without burning them in the way mineral nutrients can if dosed in excessive quantities.
If you are growing in soil you may wish to consider buying a tensiometer. These are simple devices which measure soil moisture levels. One of the common mistakes especially from less experienced growers is over watering (and over feeding) of their plants. Some growers lift up their plants containers and assess the need to water from the weight of the container. A more precise method is to use a tensiometer to let you know exactly when your plants need watering.
Most home growers use HPS technology for their home grows. But some have spent a bit extra and bought ceramic or LED lighting to grow their photoperiod indoor plants. Both do a superior job to the ageing HPS technology and will produce higher THC levels with lower levels of heat stress during growth.
LED is the preferred technology and is used by many of the legal growers in Canada and USA. If you can afford it, take a look at ceramic and LED lighting. It’s one of the most expensive upgrades which you can make to your grow room but also one of the most effective ways to reach new quality levels.
Consider adding some UV lights over your photoperiod plants during the last 3 weeks of bloom. UVB lights (used for reptiles) simulate solar UVB and increase THC levels.
A variety with around 20% THC will see THC improved to 23-24% THC with additional UVB added for 3-4 hours a day for the last 3 weeks. It’s a small but desirable increase. Many of the professional North American growers also cultivate with supplemental UVB at the end of a grow to boost THC levels to the max.
Veg grow thMost indoor growers veg their seedlings for around 4-5 weeks using 18-24 hours of daily light. The longer you can give the plant in veg, the larger the final plant in bloom. Not every indoor grower can afford to give their plants too long in veg.
Many, especially commercial growers, feel under pressure to get the plants into bloom as soon as possible. But if you can work with longer veg times you can fill your grow room with fewer plants, especially if you don’t mind working with a SCROG screen.
Re-veg the best plants
Re-vegging plants isn’t often discussed but is a vital way to retain the best plants in your grow room. If you notice that you have a particular plant which is looking frostier, heavier and better than your others then don’t just chop it all down. Leave some green foliage on some of the lower branches.
Leaves and a few buds are fine. After you have chopped most of your buds off the plant, leave some remaining green material and put the plant back under veg conditions, i.e. 18-24 hours of daily light.
Within a couple of weeks, you will see your plant starting to revert back to veg mode. Ignore the weird looking leaves, that’s normal with re-vegging. A few weeks after that your plant will be ready to bloom again. You can repeat the process of re-vegging several times. It’s a great way of giving new life to your favorite plants. If it’s a real keeper then why not take a few cuttings as well and treat your friends.
Compared to growing autoflower seeds, photoperiod seeds are only marginally more complicated. All you need to do to initiate bloom is to cut back daily light hours to 12 per day and wait. Most varieties take 8-9 weeks of bloom. Good sativa/haze varieties can take up to 12-15 weeks, sometimes more. For many growers, nothing beats the quality of a good feminized photoperiod variety growing in an optimized grow room. Choose your genetics carefully and enjoy.
Written and Published By Tony, Dutch Passion In Weed World Magazine Issue 143