Preparing to Grow Cannabis
The space you choose is the future home and environment of the plants. It should be cleaned of any residue or debris which might house insects, parasites or diseases. If it has been contaminated with plant pests it can be sprayed or wiped down with a 5 % bleach solution which kills most organisms. The room you will grow weed in must be well-ventilated when this operation is going on. The room will be subject to high humidity so any materials such as clothing which might be damaged by moisture are removed. Since the plants will be watered, and water may be spilled, the floors and any other areas that may be water damaged should be covered with linoleum or plastic. High grade 6 or 8 mil polyethylene drop cloths or vinyl tarps protect a floor well. The plastic should be sealed with tape so that no water seeps to the floor. The amount of light delivered to the plant rises dramatically when the space is enclosed by reflective material. Some good reflective materials are flat white paint, aluminum (the dull side so that the light is diffused), white cardboard, plywood painted white, white polyethylene, silvered Mylar, gift wrap, white cloth, or silvered plastic such as Astrolon. Materials can be taped or tacked onto the walls, or hung as curtains. All areas of the space should be covered with reflective material. The walls, ceiling and floors are all capable of reflecting light and should be covered with reflective material such as aluminum foil. It is easiest to run the material vertically rather than horizontally. Experienced growers find it convenient to use the wide, heavy duty aluminum foil or insulating foil (sold in wide rolls) in areas which will not be disturbed and plastic or cloth curtains where the material will be moved. Windows can be covered with opaque material if a bright light emanating from the window would draw suspicion. If the window does not draw suspicion and allows bright light into the room, it should be covered with a translucent material such as rice paper, lace curtains, or aquarium crystal paint. Garages, metal buildings, or attics can be converted to lighthouses by replacing the roof with fiberglass greenhouse material such as Filon. These translucent panels permit almost all the light to pass through but diffuse it so that there is no visible image passing out while there is an even distribution of light coming in. A space with a translucent roof needs no artificial lighting in the summer and only supplemental lighting during the other seasons. Overhead light entering from a skylight or large window is very helpful. Light is utilized best if it is diffused. Concrete and other cold floors should be covered with insulating material such as foam carpet lining, styrofoam sheeting, wood planks or wooden palettes so that the plant containers and the roots are kept from getting cold.
The weed plant regulates its growth and flowering stages by measuring changes in the number of hours of uninterrupted darkness to determine when to flower. When you grow weed the plant produces a hormone (phytochrome) beginning at germination. When this chemical builds up to a critical level,
the plant changes its mode from vegetative growth to flowering. This chemical is destroyed in the presence of even a few moments of light. During the late spring and early summer there are many more hours of light than darkness and the hormone does not build up to a critical
level. However, as the days grow shorter and there are longer periods of uninterrupted darkness, the hormone builds to a critical level. Flowering occurs at different times with different varieties as a result of the adaptation of the varieties to the environment.
Varieties from the 3oth latitude grow in an area with a temperate climate and fairly early fall. These plants usually trigger in July or August and are ready to harvest in September or October. Southern African varieties often flower with as little as 8 or 9 hours of darkness/15 to 16 hours of light. Other 3oth latitude varieties including most indicas flower when the darkness cycle lasts a minimum of 9 to 10 hours. Jamaican and some Southeast Asian varieties will trigger at 11 hours of darkness and ripen during September or October. Equatorial varieties trigger at 12 hours or more of darkness. This means that they will not start flowering before late September or early October and will not mature until late November or early December. Of course, indoors the plants' growth stage can be regulated with the flick of a switch. Nevertheless, the plants respond to the artificial light cycle in the same way that they do to the natural seasonal cycles.
The potency of the weed plant is related to its maturity rather than Chronological age. Genetically identical 3 month and 6 month-old plants which have mature flowers have the same potency. Starting from seed, a six month old plant flowers slightly faster and fills out more than a 3 month old plant. Patience when you grow weed.
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