All posts by HomegrowPro

The Farm – Perpetual cannabis growing at home

If you are growing at home for you personal use, you most likely own a single tent, a light (or two if you swap between veg and flower), some pots, soil etc. A single grow can be seperated into five different stages (0-4), and all of these stages take place inside that single tent. What if you manage to give every stage its own small room? This is called a perpetual grow. You swap tents respective to the stage your plant is currently in. Maximize your space and grow more efficiently.

View of a room with tents
I filled about half a room of my apartment with the tents and equipment.

Stage Zero: Cloning – The Greenhouse

For rooting cuts have a small greenhouse on the side. In this stage plants do not need ungodly amounts of light. I shine a small photolight or a desklight on them, to keep the clones from flowering. The rest of time I wait until I see roots emerging from the side and keep them moist. Not every new plant undergoes this stage, but seedlings can also be kept here if needed. Its also perfectly fine to put the greenhouse into a tent, if it has sufficient size.

indoor greenhouse with cloned plants
Some clones in a VERY DIRTY greenhouse thats really not suitable to show off online. Shame on me.

Stage One: Clones, mothers, early veg – The Living Collection

The real first step into perpertual growing is seperating veg and flower. My clone tent happens to be a 2×2 tent for me with a cheap blurple light to keep things alive. In this tent I let my clones root through their pots and keep mother plants. Not much is happening here. Keeping everything green and vital is hard enough. The lights are on 18 hours a day.

blurple light in a tent with clones and mothers
The collection: This tent is always a bit chaotic. Everything that has to be kept alive is in here.

Stage Two: Vegetative tent – The Gym

Here it gets interesting: This is also a 2×2 tent, but with a much better light. I am using my Lien-Tec Dual Quantum Cube in here to get the plants used to the amount they will receive in the flowering tent. I also repot them into a 20l (5gal) pot, once they filled out their initial pot and let them root through. In this tent most of the plant manipulation takes place. The plants will be in here for about 4-6 weeks until they move on into the flowering tent. They get topped and LSTd, pruned and schwazzed in here, whatever you feel like doing to them.
My personal strategy: Get them to fill out their respective space twice, then cut away all but a single node on top of every branch three days prior to the flowering period and swap over new plants from the Stage-One-Tent.

veg tent with vegging plants
Vegging plants in different stages. While the plants in the back are getting ready for flowering, the ones in the front just got transplanted.

Stage Three: Flowering – The Sunhouse

Where the magic happens: Every plant going in here is fully vegged, trained and ready to go. No timeloss here, everything is running at a 12 hour light cycle forever – no darkness periods or whatsoever. The plants in here most get spread abit with gardening wires or hooks. They also get the day 21 and day 42 defoliation and of course: water. But thats also basically it. Keep the tent clean! You will not have off-periods after a harvest to do that. So once a month, take everything out, get your antibacterials in here and clean your garden.

My current flowering tent runs on 6x CXB 3950 Cree COBs condensed into 2x Pro Emit Sunbars 150-B and 2x HLG QB288 V2. Totalling about 570W this tent is packed with light.

flowering tent with plants, lights and a fan
The beginning of a perpetual grow: Emptyness in the flowering tent. The number of plants will rise with time.

Stage Four: Drying – The Barn

This is more or less a small darkroom where 3-4 plants should fit in, drying. You are used to hang every thing from a tent inside said tent for the initial drying period. This is a huge off-time where your tent is blocked for veg/flowering purposes! My small IKEA-hack (article is pending…) involves a kitchen cabinet with wheels and a big hole on top to connect to one of the tents. This way you get a suction airflow, thats perfect for drying bud initially. The room does not have to be as big, since you only harvest 2-3 plants at once using that method. To dial everything in, you will need about 3-4 month of planning. In the first iteration you can even stat mulitple plants in each of the stages and cumulate them after a while in the flowering tent. This is your last step to perpetual grow: get drying out of the flowering area.

Useful tricks

Plan ahead

So with one single tent you have plenty of time to choose new genetics. In this operation you have to choose genetics about every two weeks, so be prepared! Work out a plan for several month ahead and stick to it. You will learn how the system dials in, and how long each plant can veg etc…

picture of a calendar
You can print out sheets of these calendar-pages to keep track of every plant. You can find them here.

Maintain a journal of everything

Once you gro perpetual, you will handle much more plants in every possible stage at once. They all have different needs. Keep track in what stage every plant is at the moment. Write down things like date of germination, date of switching stages, how many days they were in each stage, etc. Keep track!

Have fun!

With this perpetual grow method you should be able to not only keep more genetics in your operation but also have a steady refill of your stash instead of a massive haul every 3rd to 4th months.

The Pro grows: El Patron by Royal Queen Seeds

El Patrin main bud close up
This is what you get – El Patron main bud by Royal Queen Seeds, grown by Homegrow Pro.

Back to square one – from a Royal Queen Seeds veteran

Growing El Patron felt like I was going back in time. Royal Queen Seeds was the first breeder I bought seeds from – Amnesia Haze Automatics being the first. And also the feeling not really to know what I’m doing wrong was there again.

One year after my last run with RQS Critical – my last RQS run until El Patron – I have now a lot more experience under my belt and equipment in the closet.

Items and Tools that I used for that grow

The Grow Room – Setting up

I had the opportunity to test out Lien-Tecs very own interpretation of a Samsung Lm301b chipboard including the now commonly used photo- as well as far-red LED chips on a passively cooled fixture. The system came with an LCD display with a dimmer attached to set the power as desired. In the 2’x2’ (60 cm x 60 cm) tent area I dimmed the light down to values between 120 W (seedling, veg) and 160 W (early and mid flower).

Lientec LED screen to setup the power of the led and monitor current and voltage
Lien-Tec LED: This model features a very convenient screen and power adjuster!


For air circulation I used one low powered static fan inside the tent and an AC Infinity Cloudline T6 for filtering and air-exchange. I aimed to grow four plants total in 3 gal smart pots filled with my go to soil: BioBizz Light Mix. Not too hard on the seedlings and cool for the first weeks alone, while also (usually) easy to maintain when combined with the BioBizz nutrition line, which I also did.

Seedling and Vegetation Stage

small seedling coming out of the soil
El Patron – cracking the soils surface

El Patron had a rough summer to germinate in. I got my four favorites and started the run, at first separated under two different grow lights, but altogether after a brief time of three weeks.

Right after germination I recognized the first problems: All four plants seem to “forgot” to develop one of the second-set branches, resulting in a weird triangle shape. Cannabis plants usually retain a decent symmetry for a longer time after sprouting – especially under LED lights. Followed by the first signs of nutritional malady they grew okay in veg. Longer internodial distances and a vague signs of nitrogen deficiencies were always visible. “I had it worse…” – I thought and wanted to let them go vital before switching to flower.

small cannabis plant with a weird shape
El Patrons shape is very unique (or weird) in the first weeks of the grow. All four plants showed this feature.

For training I’ve chosen my favourite LST method with the metal hooks you can read about on my website here.

Flowering

flowering cannabis
In the tent: El Patron does not like to stretch a lot, flowering was uniform and easy to manage in terms of stretching and structure.

I switched to flower rising the power usage of the light to 160 W from the wall, while I reduced the hours of light per day to 12 hours. I also raised usage of the nitrogen source in order to get ready for the flowering stretch. Up to three weeks into 12/12 the plant is still creating large amounts of green material such as branches and sun leafs and grows exponentially, raising its height by up to 300%!  In the same time I increased usage of the potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) parts of my nutrition plan and let it buffer up in the soil to be ready to use mid flower, where a plant is the hungriest.

Cannabis mid flowering
El Patron in mid flower: Shes stacking up nicely but always showed a bunch of nutrition problems. Maybe the pH was off….

El Patron is a late stacker. You have to wait to the very end until she abruptly stops pushing out bud volume. I was greeted with medium to medium-high yields of bud. Was the quality worth all the hassle?

cannabis ready to harvest
El Patron short before harvest: The leafs are dry and curled upwards. This picture was taken 18 days after the one above.

The Product – taste, potency, flavor and smell

To answer that question: For me, definetly. I am a taste/personal use grower, so yield is not the first aspect when it comes to growing. I want new tastes, flavors, structures, views and colors. While the colors were nothing special in this run (although I tried – running sub 20°C in the nights) the initial smell is mesmerizing. The first thing I thought was: ”Oh, it’s just like Lemon Haze! “, which is very commonly the first distinct terpene variety you experience as a rookie cannabis consumer. If you squeeze it you get whiffs of cookies and cream as well as parsnips, without being too dominant. Smoking it reminds me of oldschool Amnesia taste, also no surpise due to the AMG lineage.

This strain is covered in trichomes! So frosty – its unreal!

The high drops in hard and head-heavy: I got talky as usual and was in urgent need to eat a lot of food in a short time. I also got pretty much useless doing tasks that involve a lot of different steps at the same time, so I went and did another round of macro shots of the now dried out plant. The buds were exceptionally dense (apart from that one pheno that didn’t) and became rock-hard in the initial drying phase. There will be some remoisturization going on, burping and curing her, but at a first inspection – very grindable and enjoyable material! Should also be very good for extracts like hash or rosin.

If you are a hazelover who needs head-high in the afternoon to clean up the living room (very slowly!) – here you go! El Patron by Royal Queen Seeds – Thanks again for the opportunity to grow a new variety. Its a great experiment to set “new grounds” for a new strain!

Trichome closeup: There is also plant material in this picture – believe it, or not.

The Pro Grows: Blue Gelato by Barneys Farm – The 100l experiment

Why you should grow Blue Gelato 41

Derived from Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and Blueberry the Blue Gelato is another US based import to the European market under the distribution of Barneys Farm. The strain contains that mainly sweet and citric taste that Gelato is known for. Underlying with OG and Blueberry flavors you will get a …

(here I rolled a fatty to experience it another timer)

38°C on my balcony. The wind feels like a desert or caribian breeze. It all started with the selection of the particular flower. I decided to use one of the many top headbuds. The curing process was only three weeks in, the flower was as gluey as it gets and showed an incredible trichome density.

The effect delays into the second or third hit, subtle first but exponentially transforms to a truckload into the back of your head very quickly. The high is longlasting and top heavy. Side effects for me are a dry mouth and a big urge to eat some hot and spicy food.

(here I took another break to rest on the couch with some ice tea)

Items and tools

TL;DR – Blue Gelato 41

  • Strain: Blue Gelato 41 by Barneys Farm
  • From seed to weed: 141 days (veg 84 days, flower 57 days)
  • Wet harvest weight: n.a.
  • Final Dry yield: 244 gr (8.6 oz, single plant)
  • Effect: Strong, head heavy, numb mouth, clouded mind, psychedelic
  • Taste: sweet, OG, pungy

The Grow

Germination and Seedling Stage

When growing from seed you should always germinate more seeds than the actual number of plants you want to grow. Since I wanted to have one single huge plant I germinated two seeds and simply used the first one to show up as the main plant.

cannabis seeds
Blue Gelato 41 seeds

After about 0.5 cm of the initial root showed up, I put the seedling into a 3 gal smartpot with a fresh batch of BioBizz Lightmix. The first two weeks of a grow are always slow and boring: You dont really need to do anything but sit and watch. I kept the soil moist with my sprayer to prevent the seed from tilting from too much water. After the stem was strong enough, I turned to my usual watering schedule. This is also the point where I first give the seedling external nutrition. Lightmix already comes with a good amount of plantfood but for the remainder of the vegetative I gave her 2 ml of Bio Grow and 2 ml of Bio Heaven per liter of water. As usual I lowered the pH of my water dwon from 7.8 to the region bewtween 6.2 and 6.5.

Small cannabis plant in soil
Seedling a week after germination

Vegetative Stage – the long training

As you might know, I count the seedling stage into the veg stage. So the day my seeds get hit with water, I start counting veg days.

After 18 days the plant was ready for the top. I topped her once with intend and a few times by accident. I topped the plant right above the second node, so I ended up with four main branches, that will be trained outwards.

Cannabis plant in vegetative growth
After 18 days this plant was ready for an early top
topped cannabis plant
4 tops are left to be trained outwards
topped cannabis plant with LST applied
After three days the tops are ready for the bend!

Training setup is done! For the rest of veg I just had to train the shoots outwards again and again. four weeks into vegging I transplanted the plant into its final container: A single 100 liter unit! I decided to give her eight weeks to root through this volume.

Transplanted cannabis plant
Blue Gelato 41 after one month since germination in its final pot.

For this particular plant it was necessary to remove several side branches while it got trained further and further. The internodial distance was just to short, and even with this premeasurement the plant ended up being a nasty bush nontheless.

cannabis plant in a big pot
Bushy plant that needs some trainin…. (6 weeks old)
cannabis plant in training
…and after appyling LST (same day)

I wanted to play that out as far as possible and ended up with a structure that looked more like a weird piece of art than a plant.

heavy LST applied to plant
Heavy LST applied to a cannabis plant results in this structure. (8 weeks of veg)

The branches and the stalk are getting fatter by the day after 8 weeks of veg. The plan was to let her grow to the walls of the grow room and then upwards to encourage a bit of stretch once shes sent into flower.

cannabis plant and a ruler
My plant is 15cm tall after 10 weeks of veg.
upskirt shot of a cannabis plant
This shot shows what you have to deal with when doing something like that.

A few words why this method of growing cannabis is actually pretty dumb: So my grow room would be on top when it comes to economical grows. I use very efficient LED lights and do not bother with AC units or anything that impacts my electricity bill alot. I am still growing with under 400W of total power. But having a plant in this environment for that long kind of kills the idea of being economical here. Time is an important factor when it comes to economical growing, and what was done here was the opposite. The grow itself took close to 5 months to finish, while its possible to harvest more in just 3.5 months.

Flowering the beast

After 84 days of veg I pulled the trigger and started flowering. The branches did not really hit the walls of the grow room, but I thought the flowering stretch and a little bit of spreading would take care of that. Note that I defoliate pretty conservativley before flowering, which cant be seen here exactly, but my goal is, that every top gets direct sunlight.

huge plant
Blue Gelato 41 starting to flower.
detail shot of early flowers
Cannabis flowers in the earliest stage of development.

But I was wrong here: the plant had to support about 50 to 70 tops and stretching was not something she wanted to take care of. My assumption is, that the potential to stretch decreases heavily with the amount of top to put energy into to stretch. I got about 5 cm extra height overall, and thats it.

With the development of flowers, the plant now needs different supplements. So I switched from grow to bloom nutrition according to the BioBizz nutrient schedule sheet. I watered the pot with 10 l of water every 3rd or 4th day. Hitting day 21 of flowering I went for another round of defoliation, but I figuered out soon enough that this would not be enough for that lady. She kept putting out leaf material by the day, and I could grab handfuls of leafs far into the flower cycle. Most of the leafs on the back of the plant could not be pruned because I simply could not access that area at all…

cannabis flowers in development overview shot
Blue Gelato 41 in flowering.
macro shot of cannabis plant in early development
Resin production began early and heavily on that pheno.

Whenever you hit week six of flowering theres not much to do but checking trichomes and soil moisture.

maturing cannabis plant
Flowers of Blue Gelato 41 near the finish line

Although I had to deal with leafy colas the resin production on that strain is insane! After only 20 days of flower the colas were packed with trichs and after only 46 days I could already see trichomes turn amber.

trichome shot of cannabis
Day 46 of flower and the trichomes are already turning amber and are mostly milky. This one will be a fast runner!
cannabis plant closeup
Blue Gelato flower

Harvest, Drying and Curing

macro shot of harvestready cannabis
Brown pisitls, milky trichomes, and a good portion of amber ones: this lady is ready for harvest

So after only 57 days, six days before the harvest window given by the breeder, I decided to cut her down. Not only because she was ready, but I had to fight high temps in the grow room, and I did not want to risk any mold since that bush was so dense! pulling out a 100l pot out of that room was a pain.

bushy cannabis plant
The leafy backside of the plant, that I never had the chance to defoliate.

I decided to dry trim this time. So I cut away most of the fan leafs and hang her up branch by branch. After 7 days of this initial drying it was time for manicuring. This is mostly done by removing everything thats not flower material. But since the resin production of that one was so incredible dense I decided to keep a lot of sugarleafs on her. It was a rather experimental run in the end and I would not do it like that again, but a worthwhile experience!

cannabis dried and ready to smoke
Curing Blue Gelato 41

DIY 130 W LED light Feat. The crescience FLUxEngine

Video with build instructions

This article will cover how to build a solderless LED light thats scalable and very easy to set up. Check out why LEDs are superior.

The build shown here is beginner friendly. You dont have to drill into metal and the boards do not need active or passive cooling, since the framing will be sufficient to do that. If youre more into COBs, check out my 310W COB growlight guide!

This article will cover how to build a solderless LED light thats scalable and very easy to set up. Read more about how LEDs are superior.

Disclaimer: This piece of electronic is a potential fire hazard and should only be put together by electricians or persons with similar know-how. Please refrain from putting in self-made electronics into the wallplug. Dont die!

Itemlist

For this build you can either buy the whole kit from the LED builders website, or you look for a bunch of groove profiles from metal dealer thats suitable for you. Mind that I cant give an amazon link for that, since the orders are most likely to be custom made.

Groove Profile – use these, so you dont have to drill into metal!

I used 30 cm and 38 cm long profiles with a 4cmx4cm crosssection, so you can build a square-shape out of it.

You also need a bunch of metal sliders. Make sure, that the sliders fit the profiles.

Metal sliders that are needed as holes for the screws.

Every slider needs a fitting screw aswell. To connect the framepieces You will also need some angles. There has to be one on the side where you will buy the framing that fits the profile. It should look somewhat like that:

Angle connector for the frame.

For this particular build I used 4 FLUXengines to achieve a total power of 130 W for the 2×2 tent its used in. Be aware, that these boards might require screws with a smaller head, so you dont drill onto the LED modules.

FLUXengine with the power connector in the front and the Samsung lm301b chips on board.

The ELG-150-24A driver is the connection between the wallplug and the boards. You will need one of these. The boards are connected in parallel.

The driver!

You will also need about 50 cm to 1 m of single core copper cables to connect every board with the driver. I suggest you buy two different colors: one for plus, and one for minus. The cross-section of the wire should be between 0.14 mm² and 0.5 mm². Mind that once you used 0.5mm² cables on the connectors, you will not be able to switcht to the smaller ones.

Single core copper cables are easy to clamp!

For further connections and cable collection you will also need to buy WAGO clamps. Two 5-way clamps to connect all the boards in parallel to the driver, and three 2-ways to connect the driver to plug cable for the wall.

Wago Clamps for cable connection.

Last but not least its important to hang the lights from the top of the tent. Get four hook screws in order to do that.

Use these to hang your light!

Take some measurements first

Lay down your frames in front of you and put the boards on top in a symmetrical way. After that you estimate the cable lengths and cut them. Strip the isolation and connect the cables color-coded to + and to the boards and guide them throught the aluminum profiles. Its better to take longer cut here, hust to be save.

After that you take your metal sliders and also guide them through the profiles. You can now screw the boards tightly to the to the frames, and the framepieces to each other. Before you screw together the frame pieces, make sure to have all sliders in the back installed aswell. You wont be able to access the shorter parts anymore or you have to unscrew everything…

Connecting the cables

The schematic shows how its done. Collect all minus and plus cables together and put them into a 5-way WAGO clamp each. The voltage delivered by the driver stays constant while the current gets forced to a maximum output of about 6.3 A.

All cables are connected, the light is hanging safely – time to grow!

Testing and mounting

Four Crescience FLUXengine modules haning in the tent

When everything is connected nice and tight, you can now plug it in and look if it runs. Dont look directly into the light.

Done! This light should draw around 130 W at the wall and is able to light up a 60cm x 60cm grow tent (2’x2′).

Scale up!

The four modules can also be connected to a bigger drivers. Each module is able to put out 60W of light, so if you have the ability to hold down temps, you can also use ELG 240-42 running at 5710 mA to reach about 230 W with this setup. Mind that these chips run hotter and less efficient in this configuration, but will still crush any blurple or HPS lights in comparison.

Topping

Topping is an invasive training method. Contrary to Low Stress Training a plant needs a significantly longer recovery time from an amputation, which sounds reasonable.

Timelapse of a topped cannabis plant

As you can see, the plant is developing more than one main branch. This happens due to the amputation.

The right moment to top – mainline or spreading

How to top cannabis plants
The topped plant has already established very noticable side nodes. These will be the new main Branches

The right moment to cut of the head of a young cannabis plant is to choose carefully. What to you want to achieve? If you want to spread out her sideshoots you can wait until two weeks before flowering to cut off the main. The plant will distribute more energy and growth into the sidebranches which will develop much better after that. So you end up with more thicker branches at even height which will also optimize growth overall. Growers who do that, like to top a bit later into the vegstate (after the 5th node) and refrain from low stress training in the way to let the shoots go upwards.

Example of a topped autoflowering plant
Autoflower that got topped without mainline. source

Mainlining your plant has a different approach: Its more of an artform and maintops will be developed in a more symmetrical manner. The topping has to happen much earlier in is my favourite approach to HST or high intensity stress training. It combines HST with LST very early on in the life cycle and gives you the ability to guide the growth of the plant in a more detailed fashion. It also let the plant stay small and bonsaiesque which is favorable for small grow spaces with low heights.

Mainline branches
Plant that got topped and put under LST at least twice. This results in 2^2=4 shoots.

Mainlined plants are split up immediatly with next to no internodial growth. That results in a distinct number of tops: If you cut away the mainshoot n times you will end up with 2^n mains.

triple mainline
A plant that got topped a third time, resulting in 8 main shoots.

Pros and Cons of topping

First of all topping costs time. Flowers need to heal up of that for about two weeks before you can think of switchting them to flower and establish a healthy branch structure again. You will end up with a more even canopy, can bring the light lower and will ultimately get more yield since more buds are in close proximity to the light source. Mainlining takes even more time than just a single top, but you will be able to shape your plant in various ways because all fresh branches are still young and flexible.

My recommendation: Take your time and let her veg for 2-4 weeks longer. You wont be disappointed in the end.

Topping Autoflowers

Yes, topping autoflowers is definetly possible. The best strains to try this in are the ones with a longer life cycle like most sativa dominant strains. The moment of the amputation has to be crucially timed tho. If you think the plant is already about to strech or shows early signs of sex, you should refrain from it. The time window to properly top an auto is pretty thin. Be careful here. But as I said: Its worth it in the end.

A mighty cannabis flower
If done right you will end up with a massive canopy of donkey dicks! (This is not an autoflower.)

The Pro Grows: Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion

Why you should grow Lemon Zkittle

With the on-going legalization in the US and Canada many awesome crosses have emerged from the vast number of varieties developed in that part of the world. Next to OG Kush, Cookies or modern strains like all the Gelatos there is one name to be heard all the time: Zkittlez.

Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion is a derivate from Las Vegas Lemon Skunk and cupwinning Zkittlez relative. Her THC content exceeds the 20% as all modern strains seem to do. The phenotype I have grown shows some differences to the given description by Dutch Passion due to the conditions she was in. I grew her in winter, so at lights-off the ambient temp in the tent could drop somewhat under 20°C which gave her a little purple shade in the end. I also used prefertilized soil by Kanamu Pacha and solid nutrition in the form of the GreenHouse Feeding Bio Line. So no bottled nutes were used this time, only organic material that has to interact with the medium and water.
The resin production of the Strain is outstanding, and you will end up with a carpet of trichomes on the leaves and flowers.

Mature cannabis plant
Lemon Zkittle seven days before harvest showing amazing resin production.

Items and Tools

TL;DR – Lemon Zkittle

  • Strain: Lemon Zkittle by Dutch Passion
  • From seed to weed: 143 days (veg 76 days, flower 67 days)
  • Wet harvest weight (wet trimmed): n.a.
  • Final dry yield: 188 gr (6.6 oz)
  • Effect: extreme strong, head heavy, paranoid, numb/dry mouth, long lasting
  • Taste: Due to some fuckups by me on the hay side, subtly lemony, next to no Zkittles flavor

Grow it…
…if you like US resin coated sugar strains.
…if you like lemon flavours.

Don’t grow it…
…if you like to mainline your plants.

The Grow

Germination and seedling stage

I used my usual method to germinate two seeds in a paper towel. I used pH-regulated water (pH of 5.7 to 6.0) and let it soak in water until saturation.

items for germination
Items im using for germination: Bowl with water, paper towel, seeds (in the middle), a jamglass lid, pH-meter
seeds on a papertowel
Put the seeds on the paper…
wet papertowel in a jar lid
Let the paper soak in water as much as it can, and add some additional water to the lid.

This way, the seeds start with a lot of moisture. Put the ghetto-petri dish in a warm (around 27°C is perfect, but not necessary) and dark place and check it every 24 – 48 hrs. After 3-7 days the seed should be ready to pot when the inital root is between 0.5 cm and 1 cm long. The soil should be at least a bit moist at this point, but not dripping wet. Make the root look for the moisture and stretch to it. Place it about 1.5 cm deep and put some loose soil above it.

cannabis seedling in soil
Lemon Zkittle Seedling looking through the soil.

After a couple of days the seedling should break through the soil. In this stage the seedling is most vulnerable. I recommend to just let it be, and keep the area around the plant moist. I use a water sprayer for that. In this time I wet the soil every day. The stem and roots are not strong enough to keep the plant standing if the soil is too wet, so prevent that. Its not lethal if it happens tho. After some days the stem will be strong enough to use my flood watering method again. Since the roots need time to grow through the soil, you can take 5l of waters for the 30l of soil and you will need to water only once a week for starters.

Vegetative Stage: Training!

14 days after germination the plant was ready for the first top at the forth node. I wanted to achieve a mainline of four branches going in perpendicular direction and keep the secondary branches coming out of them for a massive bush.

topped cannabis plant
Cut of the main top of the plant on day 14 after gemination.

The mainline was done via the metal stakes im using for a while now. The branches keep growing horitontally while second nodes develop more heavy since the plant wants to compensate for the hassle of the main branches. I will never

LST applied on cannabis plant
3 days after the top, the plant was ready for LST.
LST reaction from the plant
Lemon Zkittles reaction to LST

The LST is applied everytime the plant grows back pointing upwards. This can take a lot of time, since i wanted to fill up as much area as possible.

reaction of the plant due to LST
A new round of LST is applied (left). After only three days the plant is ready for the next round.

This method will result in a great amount of nodes and leaves. Its your job to decide which node you keep and which one to cut away. Usually I keep mine for a week or two to determine if the plant is distributing energy to it. This will be adressed later when it comes to lollypopping in flowering.

bonsai cannabis
LST keeps the plant flat in check.
LST and clear bottom of plant
Keep the lower branches clear, to reduce larf/popcorn growth in the flowering stage.
stalk of cannabis plant
The stem will grow to a big stalk the longer you veg, and the more room there is for the roots.

Flowering Stage

When the plant uses up most of the grow area its time to send her to the flowering stage. Note that this is only possible if you are using regular or feminized plants and not autoflowering ones.

cannabis plant in full scale
Lemon Zkittle in early flowering filling up the space.

This plant was in veg-stage for 51 days before flowering. In the first 21 days of flowering I let her stretch out and removed some leaves here and there, but nothing major.

stretching plant
Stretch of the Lemon Zkittle is pretty moderate. The mainlined tops are clearly outstanding in height.

On day 21 I removed a lot of fan leafs and cut away some poorly developed tops. The reason for this is, that I want to have well developed main tops instead of a massive amount of larf. From that point on there will still be a fan leaf found casting a shadow over a bud once in a while. Rule for removing leafs: If a leaf keeps direct light away from a bud, it has to go.

Rule for removing entire tops: If its way below canopy level and poorly developed, it has to go. Disclaimer: I should have cut more on that plant. The plant has about 50-60 tops in the end, and the pot was way too little to distribute energy to every single one of them properly.

cannabis in early flowering
Bud development on the numerous tops I left for flowering.

After day 21 i basically just sit and watch the plant thrive. Keep her fed and watered and watch out for deficiencies. This plant was grown fully organically and i stopped actively giving nutrition around week 5 of 9.

cannabis maturing in flowering
Trichomes are highly reflective and look very frosty in the middle of the grow.
single cola of cannabis plant
Lemon Zkittle cola in flowering. This structure with no space in between buds is a very desireable property.

In the course of the grow the Lemon Zkittle developes an amazing trichome density. This is always a good sign! The trichomes start with clear appearence.

macro shot of cannabis plant
Macroshot in the middle of flowering. The trichome denisty is top notch. The trichomes are mostly clear and the pistils are pointing upwards. Maturity is still far from reached.

After seven weeks, the plant shows visible signs of deficiency. Since the life cycle would be over after week 9 to 10 and im using organic nutrition I refrained to use more of that on her and let her fade.

full scale flowering plant
Late flowering: The leaves turn yellow
macro shot of trichomes
Mature flower: The trichome start to change from cloudy to amber. Its time!

After 8 weeks the trichomes were mostly cloud, while a good portion already started the transition to amber. I had her in the closet for another week and harvested her on point after 63 days of flowering.

Harvest and curing

Harvesting such a large plant is not always easy. She had such a large number of tops that I had to do the whole ordeal in two days. I let her dry off about 10 days as a whole plant before I went to dry trim and curing. I aimed for 300+ gramm but only came out about 60% of that. Thats fine for a single plant, but I think I screwd up the training process and was a bit less patient for the flowering switch to happen. I cured her for about a week with burping and paying close attention to the feel of the product. After that I used the C-Vault and Boveda Packs to further store the goods in a perfect environtment. In the end I would like to encourage you to tryout that strain. The trichome density and frost of the flower is extreme and the effect is equivalent to this.

Cheers.

Quantum Board grow tent: 80 cm x 80 cm

This build is adressed to new growers from the EU with corresponding product links. Start your grow today.

Complete build to grow cannabis at home
Full build of the 80 cm x 80 cm grow tent with 25l pots.

Everything you need to harvest  ~10 oz. of dry material every 3-4 months!
I will list the items that are absolute mandatory to grow first. There is a list with additional items, that I deem useful below. Get started on your first grow tent!

General Assumptions regarding your grow

  • Your grow medium of choice is soil.
  • You grow in a grow tent.
  • You start from seed.
  • You are a grow enthusiast who wants to make the most of a given space.
  • You do not have to run this hobby on a budget. (Options for that below)

List of items

TypeItemQty.PriceLink
grow tent3×3 Grow Tent154,95 €amazon
light*260W HLG QB1319,00 €todogrowled
pots19 l smart pots433,96 €amazon
soil*100 l Light Mix128,70 €amazon
nutrition*Trypack113,68 €amazon
ventilationClip Fans1-230,96 €amazon
filtersystem*
ACF+fan+tube194,90 €growmart
clima controlTemp./Hum. Monitor18,95 €amazon
on/off switchProgammable timer112,85 €amazon


Tot.597,95 €

The light – Quantum Board LEDs

The top notch grow LED technology. The set from HLG comes with every part you need tohook up your light. Check out the build instructions from LED gardener how to do this. 

Parts to build a QB LED light
Driver, cables, wago connectors – everything is prepacked in this DIY kit.

The set is particulary inexpensive for the power you get: 260 W of one of the most efficient lights out there. The board has the famous Samsung LM301b chip on the boards. With the driver running at 100% you can expect up to 2.61 µmol/J and over 170 lm/W. You can even ramp that up with two of the kits running both at 200 W. Read more on LED tech in the theory section.

The kit also comes with predrilles heatsinks to passively cool down the boards. This is possible since there are numerous chips far apart from each other on the board, so heat dissipation is easier. One more advantage: Light is distributed much more evenly across the canopy area. In my opnion (11.2018) Quantum Boards are the single best technology for homegrowers right now and HLG are on top of the game.

Soil and Nutrition

This is an optional choice but I had very good results with the products from BioBizz before. You can also choose an alternative like Kanamu Pacha, Canna or Plagron. Read carefully the nutrition and soil usage instruction. Overfeeding is one of the biggest problems for new growers.

The Filtersystem

Air circulation is key to have optimal temperatures inside your grow tent. Room temperature between 19°C and 22°C are very much optimal for a grow room. The light, no matter if LED or HPS, will create dissipative heat through the process of creating light and of course the photon output. Its necessary to get this air exchanged at least once every five minutes. A good fan will do this easily. Remember that the use of an active carbon filter will reduce the overall power of a fan, so you need to consider that when planning a grow room.

Active coal filter and fan combo
Air gets sucked through the active coal unit out of the tent. 

Do you need active intake? Not necessarily. A powerful fan will create negative pressure inside the the tent and air gets sucked through the gaps of the tent inside. Thats more than enough for a homegrower.

Additional Items

Model builders syringes

It can be hard to get the right amount of nutrients out of the bottles. Use syringes to get it right.

Watering can

I mean, a simple container that can hold 5-10 l of fluid will work, but a normal watering can will ease up the process significantly.

pH test kits

Tap water is oftentimes not suitable for watering cannabis in an optimal fashion. Try to keep track of the tapwateres pH levels and change it accordingly. The pH for soil grows can be buffered through the grow medium itself, but it is helping alot if you can dial it in before putting it in.

pH levels for soil grows should be between 6.0 and 6.5.

Sharp gardening scissors

Keep your stuff clean and only use it for plants. This prevents infections and pests from entering you grow area.

DIY Infused Honey – Cannahoney

Infusing some liquid with THC or CBD rich plant material is a whole new consuming experience. While smoking burnt leafs is not for everyone and very much unhealthy, eating ennobled products can help you out.
If you want to bring some products of highness to a place where smoking a cone would be weird this might be for you!

This recipe is inspired by Bronko the master of cannabis infused food from sens cuisine.

The recipe

You need:

  • 500 gr (about 1 lbs.) of honey. I took the one that is a bit darker and more liquid.
  • 1 tbsp of odorless oil.
  • 2 pots or pans of different sizes, so that the smaller one fits in the bigger one
  • 4 hours of time
  • about 5 – 7 gr (~1/4 oz.) of weed. I suggest you use your top shelf! I used Mephisto Genetics Alien vs. Triangle autoflower. You need way more if you use our trim.
  • fine net drainer

How much weed do I need?!?!

I do not know man. I can just say this: My consumation pattern is pretty light. I smoke in 1-3 days a week and two tablespoons of honey on a toast or in a cup of tea will get me going. I would start with less than more and test things out.

What kind of weed do I need?

I took some really sweet and earthy smelling AvT by Mephisto Genetics. The taste is so unique and sweet that it combines very nice with the greek honey I used. I do not know about the potency. Since this is subjective to everyone it is also not needed for that recipe. Just take whatever you like, f.e. Lemon, fruity and sweet profiles work very well. I would for example not use gassy or diesel profiles for honey.

honey and weed
Honey and weed. How much you need is no science. Just test whats good for you.

Step 1: Grinding and decarboxylation

Grind up your grass and put it in the oven for 60 minutes at 110°C (230 F). This is the environment your fresh weed needs in order to change the non-psychoactive THCA to the famous THC we all want in our food. 
The reason why you will not get high if you just eat fresh or dry weed, without exposing it to a good amount of heat, is exactly that. The process of decarboxylation in the oven with a realtive cool temperature preserves most of the terpenes and and will leave the taste intact.

decarbed weed
Decarboxylized Cannabis on aluminium foil.

Step 2: Infusing

Get the larger pan or pot and fill it up with some water. After that you put in the smaller pan or pot fill it with the honey and let the water simmer. The honey will liquify and you can now mix in some oil with it.
This is important: The honey itself will not be infused with THC, or at least not very effective. The oil is very good at doing so.

Try to keep the temperature for infusing the honey below 100 °C (boiling point of water)

water bath the weed
Honey-oil mixture in the hot water bath. Just add some decarboxylized weed and wait!

Now you sit back and just stir your honey-oil mixture with the decaroxyled weed for four to six hours.

stirring the mixture
Stir it, baby!

Step 3: Draining, storage and use

In the last step you just drain the whole weed/oil/honey mixture through a fine mesh to get rif of the weed pieces. You can also leave them in, because the material is still very potent. Do not eat big amounts of it! The material in the net drainage is very much psychoactive THC and your body will have a hard time get rif of it, if you eat it by the gramm. Be careful! If you want a horrorstory about some THC overdose (yes, this is possible) DM me.

I suggest you use the honey container and label it correctly. Do not let people eat any of the honey without proper labeling. It is a very potent mixture. I needed about two toasts with honey to have a proper effect. You can also put in 1-2 table spoons into your tea as a sweetener. Try to get the correct amount for your needs. Take it slow and wait a little before eating great margins of that honey. Oral use of THC takes several times longer to take effect than a bong rip or a dab. It also will stay for a much longer time, so be prepared for a longlasting effect after consumption. 

Have fun!

“Help my weed looks weird!” – The 5 most common problems while growing cannabis

Since Nebula has a VERY EXTENSIVE guide on every possible problem your plant could potentially have I will just give my two cents on how to fix about 90% of the problems that can occur when you are new to the subject.

1. Discoloration of the leafs. 

This problem makes most first time growers loose their shit very fast. When you never had to take care of any plant at home it seems weird that there is something dying on a plant.

Main reasons leafs are dying:

  • Leafs on the lower part on the plant die first. This is normal and occurs nearly everytime. Do not worry and move on. If you do not lollypop or defoliate it can happen that about 1/5 of lower growth will get dry in the course of the grow. The leafs are just light deprivated and the plant rather uses nutrition on leafs that get hit by more light.
  • Leafs turn yellow at the end of the life cycle. This is very much dependent on your nutrient schedule and genetic. Have you flushed your plants? The plant will try to redistribute nutritions down to the roots. The leafs will turn yellow. Its harvest time, and you are pretty much simulating fall in your tent. Its normal. Some plants do not get yellow in the end. Thats also perfectly fine. Yellow leafs, after stopping nutrient supply is a common reaction.
Flowering cannabis plant
Chocolope really puts on a fall costume in the end. 
  • You are in the middle of a grow, and did everything according to the nutrient schedule as well as the soils instructions about nutrients? You might have a deficiency/toxicity going on. Read more in the next section…

2. pH value

This is actually very important knowledge. Soil is and inert medium. That means it is a living environment and can deal with out-of-order pH-values.
Since I am not a hydro dude, I will just say this: Get your pH straight. Buy some measuring stripes and look closely at the graphic below.

pH value uptake chart
Graphic from howtogrowmarijuana.com

A good example is the tap water where I live. It has a pH value of 7.5 to 8.2. To make it simple: The pH value is responsible for the availabilty of certain nutrients your plant needs. It is similar to humans: If your diet is too one-sided you will get problems! The pH value in an inert medium can be buffered to some degree, meaning that a slight off will be taken care of. 
My water will prevent most of the Copper, Zinc, Phosphorous and Iron to be left out in the feeding schedule and this will show in Leaf discoloration, reduced yield and growth and an overall unhealthy look.
Tip from the pro: Get a pH measurement device and dial that shit in. The optimal way would be the use of pH-up/down as a chemical addition to the feeding plan for every watering. You can also use lemon juice concentrate, especially when working with soil. 

The perfect pH-value when working with soil is between 6 and 7.

3. The right temperature

The origin of cannabis in nature is pretty sunny and warm. A cannabis plant grows best between 20°C and 30°C. The optimal values would be the area between 23°C and 27°C. Since a lot of homegrowers do not use any climate control their only hope is air circulation and decent ambient temperatures. The temperatures of plants in vegetative growth can be slightly higher, according to the seasons: vegetative growth happens in the summer, where the temps are usually a bit higher. A plant can also go out of this range: A higher than 1500 ppm supply of CO2 and a very bright light can help a plants thriving at temps as high as 35°C! But this should not be the case for newcomers.
My tip: Build a setup according to my guides and check out how it dials itself in. If its in range, you are good to go. Do not expect massive outcomes if your room is always over 32°C!
If your room happens to be under your roof, without air circulation thats connected to active heating and temps are constantly below 18°C you will most likely stun the plant and the growth will come to a full stop. This will be lethal and most likely the death of your plants. A funtioning thermometer will work wonders!

4. Nutrition

If you read a few month online about growing you will notice that nearly everyone uses nutrition to some degree. The plant needs food to survive. You want it to create a decent amount of harvestable material in the end. Compare it to tomatoes: A food deprivated tomato will stay small and might not taste good. It needs light and the right diet to thrive and grow right. Its the same with weed.

People tend to overnute their plants at first! They read that they should put 5-10 ml that gooey brown stuff per 10l in their water and think: “Wow, that can’t be enough!”

Two weeks after these people usually message me on instagram.
Deal with nutes according to the instruction. That is also important for your soil! Cannabis grade soil is oftentimes prenuted to some extend and still people put in all types of liquids, solids, fungi, worms and FUCKING MOUNTAIN DEW into their soil even when the plant is only 2 cm tall.

Read the instructions and deal according to it.

Its pretty much fool-proof. And less is more with nutes!

This plant is three week old and very small for that age. It has to fight various deficiencies in its hydroponic environment.

5. The Watering plan

This is another controversial topic. I just leave my way of watering here:
I take up to 1/2 of the pots volume in water and flood the pot the plant is in. I do it gently to prevent the water from just pouring out of the bottom of the pot. This builds up airy channels in the soil and water can not be taken up by the plants as effective as before. 

This will also create a runoff. When about 15% of the water volume are coming out of the pot you are doing it right, and the soil is saturated with water. Only moist soil will be rooted up!
After that procedure I wait between 2 and 7 days. Depending on the root system and the overall environment (Temperature and humidity) the water will get used up more or less fast. When i can put a fingertip into the soil and it feels very dry I repeat the process. This will oxygenate the soil and prevents the plant from “drowning”. I did that in the past four years and it worked very well for me.
Overwatering and underwatering can look very alike by the way!
If you overwater, the leafs will turn droopy but will still try to hold up at the base on the stem, while underwatered plants will just drop the leafs and crumples. Underwatering will be solved by just watering them. The effect will be visible in a few hours after that and the leafs will look healthy again.
Overwatering a plant is also not lethal: just leave the plant alone for a few days and do the finger-tip test. 

over/underwatered cannabis plants

If all that does not help you, scroll up and click on the first link in this post.
🙂

Defoliation – Make way for the light

Buds tent to develop best, when hit by direct light. If a bud is overshadowed by big green fan leafs the bud will develop not as good. Defoliation is the key to make the most of your plant and maximize flower development.
This grow tech requires a bit of experience and knowledge of a Cannabis plants structure. I do not recommend this if this is your first grow. After a full run, without removing leafs you will know exactly what to look out for the next time.

There are growers out there removing nearly every fan leaf that a plant grows after 21 days and after 42 days of flowering. This is called schwazzing and a rather extreme manipulation technique. The other extreme is to remove nothing. My way of defoliation will remove a lot of leafs in the process, but will leave a lot of leafs for the plant. Its kind of a middle way.

The Pros way: Moderate or selective Defoliation

Not every plant needs to be defoliated the same amount. There also no godly plan to defoliation for all the plants.

Defoliation in the vegetative state

If you have a very bushy indica dominant strain or applied a lot of LST to your plant it will potentially grow very bushy. In extreme scenarios only a few leafs on the top of the plant will be necessary to build up a full canopy.
This is not good if you want to encourage branches under there to develop!
Remove the big fan leafs from the top of the plant to make sure that budsites below get direct light aswell.

freshly defoliated plant
Freshly cut plant: Fan leafs from the top of the plant got removed
recovered from defoliation, new growth is visible
New growth after three days: The gaps have been closed by new branches taking the spot.

How to check if a certain fan leaf should be removed:

  • If the fan leaf creating a shadow to budsites below remove it.
  • If the fan leaf is growing “inwards” or growing bigger and bigger, remove it.
  • If the fan leaf grows at the edge from the plant away, it can stay.

This way you will remove the leafs very selectively and keep the plant not as stressed out. Its also not feasable to potentially stun the plant because you removed so much.

Defoliation in the vegetative stage can be tedious since it could be applied about every third day from a certain plant size on.

Defoliation in the flowering process

This is pretty similar to the vegetative state. Since the plant will still grow new green material, remove the leafs that steal light from buds. Just look closely at every bud and check if there is a leaf above. Remove all the leafs. From about week 3-5 the green development of the plant will be reduced because the plant packs more supply into the flowers. Your work is pretty much done then regarding defoliation.

Extreme Defoliation: Schwazzing

Widely in use by certain industrial grow operation schwazzing is the process of removing nearly every fan leaf that grow on a plant at the beginning of the flowering stage, leaving only the top of every budsite intact. This method also involves some kind of lollypopping since every side branch is pretty much removed as well. Just leave the first 2 to 3 nodes from every branch intact.

Timelapse video of schwazzing in an industrial grow setup. These operation have a lot more light power per squaremeter than a common homegrow. The lights can penetrate much deeper! Schwazzing a plant makes sense here.

Chocolope that got alot of nodes removed, leaving up only the top of the plants, sortly before flowering.
The same plant in flowering: Branches full of buds!

Additional notes

I would not recommend schwazzing for every strain out there. There are alot of cannabis varieties that are able to put on serious weight on the side branches where you would harm more than you do good if you remove too much. Branchy indica type plants are very much content with selective defoliation while some other plants like to be cut more heavily. I suggest you.

Lemon Zkittle that got exposed to defoliation: You can see through the branching to the other side of the pot.
Alot of Budsites are directly visible from the topview, since the light now got a free way down there.
Areas that wont get direct light will be cut most.

Defoliation is a pretty harmless tech, since a plant will develop way more fan leafs than needed to survive. A grow tent is also an environment where the plant is enclosed and save enough so that it can deal with this harm without having to fight pests or difficult weather patterns while at it.