We pickup where we left off in our review, with seeds popped, equipment bought, and hopefully a place to plant your plot! Plant management becomes a large part of managing your grow with execution and planning ranging in difficulty. It can be frustrating when merging ideas with reality, but I wanted to go over a few of the basic setups and concepts which are often left unexplained when starting out. The other objective of this month’s #Class207 is how-to care for and begin feeding nutrients to newly started plants. This can range depending on what your nutrient’s of choice are, but getting an idea of how or where to start feeding will be a priority so you can keep those young plants alive. The first few cycles will be trial and error for some, while others develop senses quickly to find success. The deciding factor of success will come down to planning, execution, and follow-up, so let’s get started.
Practical Propagation & Rotation
The first thing I needed to figure out when I started my grow was where and how I would manage my germination and propagation areas. I decided early on to build out a shelf which carried my plants from germination until flowering several times without much planning. This veg/propagation shelf method can be adapted for use inside a tent by simply finding matching measurements for your tent size. I used this method in a small half bathroom raising seedlings into mother plants. The concept is simple as the youngest plants are kept at the bottom with the shelves at the lowest height to provide light just over the top of a dome. This works by attaching simple LED T5 lights like those from @barrina_led which I have been continually impressed with. The shelf above that will be your sprout to veg shelf which should be set at a height you will want to reach before the first top dressing so you may keep heights consistent among your plants. I recommend a few clip fans to provide airflow to your plants which can be easily attached to the vertical shelf supports.
The remaining two shelves will have the space and more height to finish vegging your plants before they flower. The top shelf works great for holding moths as you’re able to raise the lights to the ceiling to allow for further uppottings or growth. This method is a simple but effective way to develop habits on when to transplant and keeping plant sizes consistent. In my case of an open area utilizing the shelf method outlined here, I found a standing rotating fan to be most effective. The fan is able to create airflow to all levels of the shelf including when I had mother plants being kept there. I also illustrate here the use of a clear cup to form a dome of a larger pot to create humidity for any sprouting and developing plants. The conditions of this tent will be kept similar to what I outline for our indoor environment, around 70F degrees with 70% humidity. The space and convenience of having everything in one area makes attention to detail simplified.
Building Indoor Environments
A basic layout for your indoor tent and the gear involved will look something like this. The veg tent or a combination veg/propagation area will look similar to a shelf above but you will have more space to fill out. You will want your pots on risers with the root zones getting airflow as well as not sitting in run off. A simple T5 light could be used or if using this for a flower tent as well, finding a comfortable distance for your lights will be found with fine tuning. A fan is recommended for air flow and can be attached to the tent supports or a small fan can be put on the ground aimed up. The major difference for this tent will be the addition of an exhaust system which will help control the temperature and humidity which in turn will control the risk of mold, pests, or sickness. Using existing ports in your tent, position the exhaust fan and any additional ducting using hangers or along the ground leading to a tent port. You will want to keep this tent in temperatures in the low 70’s and a humidity around 65%. Training your plants, and the use of a trellis is highly recommended to help steer new growth. Finally, always check your tent for any light leaks making sure to close all tent ports that are not in use.
Building Outdoor Environments
Building an outdoor garden will take some planning but it will be possible to cultivate amazing sun-grown buds with ease. The two biggest factors to success outdoors will be the position of your garden relative to the sun and our weather here in Arizona. The Sun is one of our greatest strengths in the southwest, and you can take full advantage of the best light available free of charge. You will want to make sure that you position your garden/plants in a position that gets full sun meaning from sun up to sun down, East to West, light coverage. If you start to see light damage on your plants, the solution will most likely be shade cloth, in whatever percentage you deem necessary, I find 40% to be adequate in black netting. A final protection that would be worth the investment is chicken wire or simple fencing to keep cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, and other rodents out of your garden and away from eating your plants. These are mostly practical and easily added forms of ensuring success but let’s explore building an environment in our desert.
It starts from the ground up, and how you plan to grow your garden, pots or in the ground. I find that either will have advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your space, perhaps you can make a decision or try both. Pots, more specifically fabric pots are a huge advantage when growing outdoors because they allow the root zone to drain and breathe. This can be crucial after a monsoon in the summer when the ground water from rainfall quickly turns to vapor, effectively choking your plants. Pots in full sun are in danger of overheating and drying out, also choking your plants. The ground can be a worthy investment, but you must be willing to put in the work to turn over enough cubic feet deep into the ground, and perhaps amend the soil. You can read about #soilamendments in a previous entry of Class 207 on CannabisCactus.com. Redressing your garden with top soil can provide a huge advantage in maintaining a humidity around the plant while also providing readily available nutrients. A steady drip system or drench forms of watering are great for keeping the soil moist, but beware overwatering. Currently, I am flowering 8 plants in pots during our ’Arizona Winter” which has proven to be ideal.
Early Care and Development
So, you have your space and garden setup, while doing so you also popped some seeds or procured clones. The focus will now be to tune in your environment and also your attention to detail in your plants day to day condition. You don’t need to worry about helicoptering, some benign neglect won’t harm it any but I would say watch for major indicators that something is amiss. This is simple, and usually has some easy fixes when you invest a bit of research, most of which can be found in previous 207 entries. The focus now will be making sure your sprouts are able to mature and grow into their veg phase. This doesn’t take much, usually only water that’s been pH’d a few times a week. If you’re getting lots of stretch in your sprouts, maybe lower your lights. If you see strange colors or symptoms on your leaves, you can look up what it means and how to fix it. When we have our plants past the water-only stage, we start to introduce nutrients slowly. You will want to pay attention to the amount of nutrients you add, start very minimal in the beginning then ramp up. This chart has a general overview of how to start watering and feeding your plants.
We will cover more to start your grow next month with the intention being you have the information you need to get to flowering which we will catch up on with my outdoor garden. We will keep our review going while also covering more education, at-home, and diy cultivation techniques. Be sure to download the Cannabis Cactus app or read the Class 207 articles on our website. Keep growing, and watch for the coming cold in these upcoming months before spring!
See the whole cultivation series to keep reading and learning.
Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.
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