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Growing marijuana is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the drug scene. Not only are you not buying your marijuana from drug dealers but you're learning how to grow plants at the same time! When you grow plants you find a new level of happiness. Once you develop a green thumb you will have it for life. It takes four months, but by the end you will be smoking the best, most potent cured cannabis in the state, and best of all it will be yours.
It's not hard either. Once you get your seeds germinated or your clones rooted, they will grow fast. Cannabis is a very strong and hardy plant and can grow in almost any climate, anywhere. The only thing you have to worry about is whether or not they will be female, or male. Male plants produce pollen, which cause females to produce seeds, lowering the quality of the buds. You want female plants, they're called sinsemilla, they do not have any seeds and produce only buds, and that's what you want. The better the condition your plants were grown in, the higher the probability of a good female to male ratio. Male plants ensure a higher rate of survival so if conditions are bad (you suck at growing weed) the probability you will have more males to females is higher.
There's three different types of marijuana you can grow. Sativa, Indica, or Ruderalis. Sativa is large and skinny and will give you a head high. Indica is a smaller, more dense plant and will make you mellow and relaxed. Ruderalis isn't grown usually because it doesn't produce as much marijuana, and grows all year long and isn't a seasonal plant that matures and dies like indica and sativa do.
To grow marijuana you need light, darkness, a medium to grow your plants in, and fertilizer. The lights are either high pressure sodium, metal halide, fluorescent or natural sunlight. You need darkness for your plant to rest, (24/7 light cycles are unrecommended). The growing medium can be either soil or a hydroponics system. The fertilizer is what feeds your plant. Fertilizers come in different NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) ratios for different seasons and different strains of marijuana. It's recommended you get fertilizer meant especially for growing marijuana because they're made especially for the flowering and vegetative seasons. If all else fails, tomato fertilizer will work. Organic compost fertilizer is by far the best for you, and your plant. Don't fertilize too often, and do not over water. Plants need oxygen in their roots to breathe. Make sure you leave a week before your plant is harvested of no fertilizer and only pure water to remove all the chemicals from your plant. You don't want to smoke fertilizer!
You can get seeds off of magazines or off the internet. Prices range from $9.99 for 10 seeds all the way up to $300.99 for jack herer. Keep your seeds before you use them in an air tight container in the fridge with a couple grains of rice to maintain moisture. To germinate your seeds you have to get a ziplock bag or container, take moist paper towel and lightly soak it and place the seeds between the folded, slightly damp paper towel. Place the paper towel in the container and put it on top of a dark, fairly warm place. Computer monitors use to be the perfect place but since the techno revolution we use flat screens now so you will have to be creative. Your microwave or fridge may work, it has to be fairly warm if you want them to germinate fast. You will see little sproutlings in about 3 days. After about a week take the remaining seeds and soak them in water over night to see if they don't sprout.
You want to grow your seedlings inside of a humidity controlled dome underneath a semi-closed fluorescent light. You don't want the humidity too dense, but if your plants dry out, they will die. It's always good to have a temperature and humidity gauge. When your plants are big enough to be put underneath your super big light (400W+)(even if you're growing out doors it's good to put your plant underneath an indoor light first to strengthen it before you plant it outside) you want to make sure it's not too close or you will burn your plant.
There are two stage and two different lights you will use, each light and light cycle are meant to mimic a season of the year to influence your plant to behave a certain way. You will want to use a metal halide light preferably in the vegetative state because it has a blue spectrum, and a high pressure sodium in the flowering state because it has a red spectrum and will really dense up your buds. The Vegetative state is before the plant matures and shows its gender. This is the spring and summer seasons, and when the sun is usually the highest. This is when your plant wants as much light as possible to grow big and strong. A good time cycle to have is 20/4 or 18/6. When your plant shows its sex it means it's ready to be put underneath the high pressure sodium light for 12/12 light cycles. This means fall is coming or now here and the plant has to produce buds to reproduce. You're going to optimistically want 400W+ at least for both these stages.
You need complete darkness during the dark cycle otherwise it will confuse your plant, especially in the flowering season. If you break your light cycle it will confuse and scare your plant, causing your females to turn into she-males which produce seeds and buds, which is not wanted.
It's important to have good air circulation inside your grow room/box/area because if you do not they will be strangled. Plants need CO2 to live, and the more CO2 they have the faster they will grow. Some setups that have used CO2 machines have produced over twice as much bud, especially if they're grown hydroponically.
If you are hiding your grow operation it's always good to have an air ionizer and a carbon filter to clean your air to remove the smells as well as natural deodorizers such as incense and air-spray (these obviously will not help if you're growing without air filters but they will dampen it).
Growing inside apartments and houses means you have to be extra careful. Large grow boxes are a must have, and can be done without going above 4 feet. You just have to house your high pressure sodium lights on top of your box, so that the ballast and lamp shade are actually connected, but above your box. You won't be able to grow more than 10 plants, but those 10 plants will be low stress trained, possibly SOG'd (sea of green) and trimmed to give you the best buds you can ever imagine.
If you are growing inside it may even be best to grow only one plant as a hobby, and only use fluorescent lights. Especially if this is your first time and you don't have much room or money. Much can be done with only one 40W fluorescent light if you use highly reflective mylar and a good soil medium.
As for soil mediums, you have the choice of either a hydroponic system or soil. Unless you need to grow your weed, fast and big, I wouldn't recommend hydroponics because it's expensive, and could flood your house if you're not very smart; but if you do go hydro, you will see a month faster grow time and almost a 1/3rd more weed. Soil is easy and will do you fine though. Sunshine Mix #4 is a good soil base. Loose, airy, and it retains water and fertilizer very well. It's always good to make your own mix perlite, pete moss, black soil, and what ever else you would like to put in there (bat guano, blood meal, etc.).
When it's time to harvest after your plants have really budded out during the flowering season it's time to get out the old weed-cutting scissors and start to trim. You will want to make sure your plants are manicured professionally because the trim can be made into various types of hash, including bubble hash.
You want to keep your buds in a fairly dry place with absolutely no light to let it cure. The stem should snap easily underneath the strength of your fingers if your bud is dry. Don't let it dry too much though! Hanging them off of close hooks in a closet works fairly well if you have the closet space. You may have to rig up a second line to hang them all. Using the stems as their own hanging hook works great.
After your bud has completely dried you want to cure it. Some lazy dealers skip this stage and immediately sell it, leaving the bud half as good as it could be and tasting like grass from your lawn, it's also more harsh like this. Curing it is the last stage and almost the most important (yet the least) to make the bud as good as possible. It has to be in an air tight jar in a dark place for up to 6 months. It must be dark because light and excessive heat can degrade the potency. Every day you want to open the jar and pull out the buds for 5–15 minutes to let out the moisture until the bud has stopped breathing. This is to reduce the risk of mold. After the bud is cured, the tastes and smells that people favour (more than the green taste of grass) are enhanced and balanced throughout the bud. Moisture is balanced through the bud in curing and the bud should be springy to the touch. It burns slower like this than it would completely dried out and brittle. That means more and less harsh hits.