So who wants to grow a whole load of weed?
With more and more medical growers coming on to the scene, we get lots of requests for advice on growing bigger quantities than before: in fact our piece “What you need to buy to grow a kilo of marijuana” is still one of our most popular posts. Looking to grow a pound of marijuana on a regular basis is no longer the reserve of drug dealers (“florists”) as many growers are producing medicines for themselves, or as care givers. But getting this right (and my, if you’re in this situation you NEED to get it right) doesn’t just depend on getting the right grow equipment.
As a medical grower, you need to run a continuous cycle cannabis grow room.
It takes a little more space – and a deal more organisation than running a single tent setup, but if you follow the following 3 steps, its actually easy enough to do.
1.Choose your mothers carefully, then love them dearly!
In order to get your marijuana production line running smoothly you need to have a consistent and reliable source of cuttings. There are two ways round this:
(a) Buy them.
If you can make the connection, there’s often some enterprising team who specialize solely in selling cuttings. They probably run a multi-mother set-up of the most commercially viable strain for the area, and that’s all they do. Put your order in in plenty of time and wait for pick-up Advantages?
- No need to select and keep a mother
- Not everyone finds it easy to take cannabis clones
- If they’ve got a good disease free, producing mother, then you have great plants
- You’re restricted to what variant of what strain they provide (which may well be what a lot of other growers in your area are also producing)
- Risk of infection from pests and diseases on mother plant.
- If they go out of business for what ever reason, you are suddenly without source plants.
- Its another link in the chain security wise.
(b) Select your own mother plants.
Apart from the logistical complications of finding space and finance for your own mother room, selecting your own mothers has many benefits:
- If you are growing medical marijuana as opposed to recreational cannabis, you get to choose the strains which offer specific aid to you or your patient’s ailments. These are unlikely to be available in clone form. We’d say that with any medical strain (especially high CBD ones) it is especially worth growing out and selecting the best mothers as there is still a deal of variance within these strains from seed.
- Even for a recreational grower, choosing your own strain has the joy of growing something different and the possible serendipity of hitting a variant jackpot – like the original Exodus Cheese!
- You’re in control: if you know you need your clones on a certain date you produce accordingly and don’t need to fit in with someone else’s schedule.
2. Timing is everything.
One of the biggest factors in getting production weights in and available is timing. Budding plants will ALWAYS take in the region -of 7-9 weeks, but to maximise the amount of cannabis produced per year you need to keep those harvests coming in every 8 weeks. Every day your flowering room is not flowering is “dead space” representing negative equity. To avoid this you need to have a separate vegetation area where you take clones, and grow them on ready to go into flower almost immediately that you crop. Take cuttings from your mother plants 3 weeks before you are due to harvest and this way you will have them nicely rooted and ready to go once you harvest.
3. Size matters!
Look, if you want to grow the biggest yield per plant for the record books, buy Medical Seeds 1024 strain, move somewhere real sunny and crop an easy kilo plant. But that’s not what you’re looking for is it? And why spend 9 months producing two pounds when in the same time you can have five indoor crops of several plants making 5 pounds? Its one case where SMALL IS BEST. You can get as little as 15g per plant IF you have enough plants to fill the area (this is known as a SEA OF GREEN grow and is especially suited to hydroponic grows: veg an established cutting for 3 days then put into flower)
How many plants you use – and therefore how short a veg stage you give them – is up to you. Put newly established cuttings (healthy white roots showing out of the rockwool) in to your flower room, let them “take” in the system (which might only be 4 days) and then make the flip to flower. Doing it this way you will end up with plants like the ones above, only 50cm tall and with very little leafy matter. In this circumstance you will probably want around 12-15 per metre square, but of course this will depend on your chosen strain. Others take them with 4 weeks left of flowering and give them an extra week to 10 days in veg and use 9 per metre.
Logistics of a continual cycle cannabis grow:
OK so we admit it, its just a tad more complicated embarking on this kind of enterprise than it is throwing a few seeds in the soil outdoors and hoping for the best. But whether you are thinking of growing to produce cannabis oil for serious illness, to self-provide for a large smoking habit or even (heaven forbid!) for sale, then the cost and effort is well repaid. In order to get your timings right, you need to have not one, but three grow areas:
Big enough for 2 to 3 mothers, this needs to be around 80cm x 80cm. You’ll need extraction and air flow as per standard but she can cope with low level lighting – say a 250W Metal Halide HID grow lamp or a 200W LED grow light (with veg spectrum preferably). This room doesn’t tend to generate enough smell to warrant a carbon filter.
You’re going to want to need 30 successfully rooted clones to fill your flower room with a sea of green grow. Taking cannabis cuttings is actually quite easy, and you want to time it 3 weeks before your flowering room is due to finish.[su_button url=”http://growersguidetocannabis.com/cloning-marijuana-how-to-take-successful-cannabis-cuttings/” background=”#efa52d” wide=”yes” center=”yes” icon=”http://growersguidetocannabis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/icon.jpg”]Here’s how to take successful cannabis clones[/su_button]
The post above lists everything you need to take good cuttings, and your cuttings room won’t need much in the way of light (CFLs are great): use minimal extraction to encourage high humidity (or get a mini-mister machine), consider a carbon filter with extractor ONLY if you double use the space to dry your last crop in before taking the next run of clones.
NOTE: you can combine your mother and cuttings room in the same area.
Be realistic about the size of this room. An experienced grower with all the add-ons and a plant he is familiar with can get half a kilo from a 1.2m x 1.2m tent and a 600w HPS grow light. But to ensure you easily get a pound of weed you really need to think of a 1.5m x 1.5m tent with a 1000w light or 2 x 400w HPS lights. Remember this is your moneymaker and get the best kit you can afford to. Certainly you are going to need a decent carbon filter to cope with all the lovely aromas!
Seriously, consider hydroponics. I know there’s a lot to be said for growing naturally in compost, but you are looking maximise yield, and for this hydro has to be the way to grow. Why? It enables you to give nutrients, oxygen and water direct to the roots, you have a quicker reaction time to issues and its easier to correct mistakes. There are many different types of hydroponic growing available from the simple NFT tray to the almost hands off IWS systems. Read around and choose one that you think you will be able to get along with!
Final tip? You’re moving away from the personal grow, so whether for your own medical use or for sale, security is of utmost importance. Take this enterprise seriously and consider it as a job not a hobby. Invest in a book to be kept in the room (if they’ve got that far well you are kind of scuppered anyway) and make notes of dates, observations, what nutrient schedule you’re using and how it works etc. Trust me you’ll find it useful 2 months, 6 months, 3 years down the line ..