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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
Back to square one – from a Royal Queen Seeds veteran
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.
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).
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
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.
For training I’ve chosen my favourite LST method with the metal hooks you can read about on my website here.
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.
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?
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.
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!
Germination is the first step to start a run. If you start from seed I would count the moment you put the seed into moisture to activate it as Day One in the vegetative state (D1V) of the grow. This is important to know, to keep track of your grow. After you have chosen the right genetics for your operation and a working setup its go time!
How to germinate Seeds
It does not seem very important how you do it. Do it the way you are the most comfortable with. Success depends on the age, storage properties and quality of seeds.
The Pros way: Paper towel method
The paper towel method is a good way to keep an eye on your babies while having full control over the properties. The items I am using include:
Paper towels (kitchen paper, toilet paper, handkerchief…)
Depending on you water: carbonized water or lemon concentrate to alter the pH value. Tap water is usually a bit basic. Change that!
The lid of an old jam glass as some kind of petri dish.
Unfold the paper, and place it into the lid. Sprinkle some water in there. place the seeds in the middle and fold back the paper towel. Thats it! Keep the petri dish in a dark and warm (about 25°C – 28°C) environment and wait. The lid is a great way to keep the paper towel moist. Do not wet it too much! The initial root needs some motivation to search for moisture and will grow better that way.
Advantages of the paper towel method
You have full control over the process and you can look at the seedling soaking up moisture and grow every day, and more important you can check seeds that don’t germinate and sort them out from the start. You are also able to use a lot of different grow media with this method. The seedling could be placed into a hydroponics setup aswell as soil-like media.
Disadvantages of the paper towel method
You need to interact more with the seed. Once its sprouted you need to place it into your grow medium and this could potentially be very risky. Im always using a pincette to do that. It is better to not have to interact with the plant at that stage. It is also possible that the small root hairs that grow out of the main root will get stuck in the paper towel fibers. If you remove the paper towel to hasty you could rip apart the whole root. So be careful! You will also have a hard time distinguish strains, if you have only one lid available.
Jiffy pot method
This is also a great way to do it! Jiffy pots are small pellets that get soaked with pH regulated water. Once it reaches it maximum size you can just put in a seed and wait. Keep the pot moist at all times until the seed sproutes. The material of the pot is actually designed for root penetration. Once you see roots coming out of the sides you can put the seeds with the pot into a bigger container.
Advantages of the jiffy pot method
You can actually distinguish different strains by putting name tags into the pots. You also dont have to interact with the seeds after putting them into the pot, that reduces the risk of killing them by transplanting. Its also possible to use the jiffy for different grow media. Hydro and soil alike. Do not use jiffys in high pressure aeriponic setups.
Disadvantages of the jiffy pot method
If you are not sure that the seed is actually germinating you cannot look at that easy. That way you might wait for a seedling to sprout that is not even germinating. This could cause frustration. In high pressure aeroponic setup debris from the pot can fall into the water circulation, clogging your system. Use rockwool instead.
Method 3: Put the seed right away into its final container
Thats also possible. Considering the timeframe from activation to sprout to first green it can take up to 14 days until something is happening. Since you should NEVER EVER look for the seed in your medium this could potentially be a game of luck considering that a cannabis seed is inherently more valuable than a tomato seed if bought from a breeding company. You just keep the medium moist and wait, until you see it sprout. I would suggest you turn the lights on AFTER the seed shows itself.
Advantages of method 3
No interaction with the seed reduces the risk of loosing it to poor handling. Less transplantation means less stress which is good for the plant.
Disadvantages of method 3
As stated before, this is potentially a game of luck: You never know if the seed just took its time to get sprouted. You might even end up with two plants in the same pot if you decide to use another seed in there. It is also more difficult to dial in the right amount of moisture to get everything done. Keep in mind that moist is better than wet in that case…
Cheap Hydroponic start
IKEA offers a 4$ starter kit for seedlings. It works great if you add some air stones to keep the solution oxygenated. Rockwool and hydrostones are also available dirt cheap there. If you want to germinated in rockwool and still want to be able to change the environment of the plant, this could be your choice!
Germination Tips & Tricks
The Cookie Box
Place your seeds in an old cookie box, or something similar thats opaque and can be sealed. It keeps the moisture in there, and you do not need to remoisture it every other day.
Use excess heat
Your PC, TV or is creating a nice amount of heat. Place your seedlings on there to make it nice and warm for them. If you do not seal the seeds in a some kind of enclosure this kind of heat will dry out paper towels. This is why I am using the glass lids: You can create a pool of water in there that will take a lot longer to evaporate!
24 hours in water
This is done by alot of growers: Just submerge the seeds 24 hours in pH corrected water. The seeds will soak very effective in that time. After that you just use one of the methods above and make sure that the environment is more moist than wet.
Rougen up the surface
George Cervantes is one of the godfathers of growing weed. In one of his books he describes his method of preparation: Put the seeds in a match box and shuffle them a bit. The surface will be roughed up and can soak up the moisture better. I never did that tho, but George knows his shit obviously!
When is my seed ready to get potted?
Assuming you used a method, where you just watched the seed germinate you will notice that the initial root coming out of it. Since its possible to place it right away into a grow medium it really does not matter when you put it in.
I WOULD WAIT AT LEAST UNTIL THE ROOT HAS A LENGTH OF 0.5 cm to 1 cm TO GET STARTED!
This way you can maximize the probability of success.
What is so important about the pH, can’t I just use tap water?!
I could and probably will write lenghty articles about the importance of pH values in growing weed. In short: Cannabis loves a slightly acidic root environment. This means 6.0 to 6.5 for soil and 5.5 to 6.0 for hydroponic setups. This is a question of optimazation, and a pH meter plus some additives to regulate it are a meaningful and cheap resource of optimazation. If you do not care pH lockouts of several important nutrient sources are the result. Spend the ten bucks for some pH-down and some pH test stripes and never care anymore.
I did everything you said, but I some seeds just don’t wanna sprout 🙁
Dont worry! There is not a 100% success rate on germination. This can have several reasons. Bigger seeds tend to be more sproutable than smaller ones. If you have problems sprouting seeds a good breeding company will replace your order with new ones. Just write them a nice email, instead of flaming their product in the reviews and you are fine.
I put my seeds into the towel yesterday and nothing happend!
Dude, relax! The first virtue to develop while growing your own weed is PATIENCE. You cannot imagine how often you will get tested on that. It can take up to seven days for a root to show from the seedling. And another seven days from planting the rooted seedling into a medium until you see the sprout! Give it some time and be rewarded later. ITS WORTH IT!
Royal Queen Seeds states on the product page of Critical that it is “the ultimate cash crop”. And only there you will find that expression! On top of that it has decent values on the datasheet and a whooping 600 reviews from other growers.
So as with Justin Bieber – can’t be bad if it has such a great fanbase, eh?
I just built my new light earlier in 2018 and wanted to test the limits of my setup back then. I was not up for taste or bagappeal (two things this strain has great values in nontheless), i wanted a massive yield!
From seed to weed: 97 days (veg 39 days, flower 58 days)
Wet harvest weight (wet trimmed): 1264 gr
Final dry yield: 309 gr
Effect: Strong / Couch / Body
Taste: Oldschool / Pungy / earthyGrow it…
…if you want big buds and an nothing to do for the rest of the day. …if you look for compact plants. …if you like to use LST on your plants. …if you are looking for a good starter strain. Don’t grow it… …if you want fruity flavours. …if you are looking a plant high in size. …if you are a haze advocate
Germination and seedling stage : Week 0-2 veg
Royal Queen Seeds rarely disappoints with the quality of their products. The germination rate was 4/4 (100%) and the plants looked healthy and ready to go from the start. I used my IKEA greenhouse and my 72 W fluorescent lights for the start. My tent was still in use, so the little ones had to start outside of it. They were transplanted very early: about 7 days after first green. In this time of the grow theres not much happening. The Critical didnt like the hot BioBizz all mix very much, but got used to it after a few days in the big pot.
In this stage you just keep watering every other day.
Pro Tip about watering seedlings:Don’t water too much. Seedlings can not hold their own weight very well. So just water the surface of the soil around it to prevent the seedling from falling to the side. Once the stem has established a proper thickness, you can start the Pros Way of watering, i will describe further down.
Vegetative Growth: Week 3-5 veg
After two weeks in the medium the seedling enters its vegetative stage. It is now much stronger and can also hold its own weight after you flood the medium.
Pro Tip about watering in general: Im using a technique called flooding to water my plants. I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the pot volume in water and give it to my plants. Watering has to be gently! If you spill to much into the pot you will create a channel in the soil where the water just will funnel through. Using this tech will give the plants roots more oxygen: Water closes gaps in the soil. If you water too often the plants just drowns from oxygen deprivation, watering less can result in underwatering. Both will give you a stressed plant and a stressed grower. If you use this tech you can expect to water them only every 5-3 days, since the whole pot will be soaked.
So my watering can of 5 l will be enough for two of the plants to get water. So after mixing in the nutrition you can start watering. I usually dont give nutes right away. Most specialized cannabis soil is premixed with nutrition which is more than enough for the start and even further in.
Pro Tip about nutrition: “Water when they need it, nute when they crave for it.” are words to live by. You can treat your plant to get used to nutrition tho. Just follow the nutrition chart of the brand closely. If you use BioBizz soil and nutes you will get a detailed chart that you can follow. Buy a syringe of a cup to measure the amounts of nutes needed for the particular stage and you are fine. If you are new: Don’t give them nutes by good measure! This is one of the most common reasons plants die early – overnuting. Overfeeding a plant is not necesarry lethal, but it takes an uncessary amount of work to help the plants get back on track.
Critical is very nice to spread. It answers exceptional well to techs like LST, which i started about three weeks in. If you can see a good amount of the second node, you can start bending the stems to encourage the side nodes to get more energy. In the end you want to big branches bend down while the smaller ones catch up on them. This process goes by in days and you can soon bend over the newer branches as well. In the end you want even developed budsite all over the plant to have a nice uniform grow. Critical is also not a massive stretcher, so dont expect plants that are high in size. LST really brings out the bonsai structure in Critical.
After week 4 I added defoliation to the training program. This means that i cut away the fanleafs that steal light from lower budsites. I do this very selectively in the vegstate and extensively in flowering. The extreme version of defoliation is called schwazzing. But im not a big fan of this.
Pro Tip – Maximize yield with high potential flowers: In some books or even the BioBizz feeding chart you can read about a vegtime of about “two weeks”. This is totally bullshit if you start from seed in big containers. Theres a technique called Sea Of Green where this is a decent amount of time to get the plants started. But in 3 gal pots or more the roots need much more time to fill up. My tip is: Take a photo from directly above canopy. If you cannot see the ground anymore because its all green with budsites its go time!
Transition to flowering: Week 1-3 flower
To “flip” a plant you just change the timer of the light to 12hrs of light a day. This will initiate flowering and bud production. The end of the branches are called budsites. The transition is a key stage in growing. There is actually happening so much you cant lose track! The stretch and growth are the to main problems to fight with. You will find new big fan leafs everyday to cut away. Defoliation is key in this stage as well as bringing the stretch under control.
Pro Tip: The transition to flowering is technically still connected to vegetative grow. So you can still train your plants, since the stems are still somewhat bendy. Its important to get a hold of some branches that want to grow to high.
If done right you will enter week four with as many buds of the same height as possible.
The race: Week 4-8 flower
The datasheet says she will make the run in 7 to 8 weeks of flowering. This is a good ballpark number, but its almost necessery to go to the upper end of these to make sure shes ripe. In the end i wont go for this measure anyways. The last weeks are really boring. You just watch the plants fatten up and try to keep your patience. Feed her according to the schedule and you will have a great harvest! The anticipation and blindness for change will become really problematic for some new growers. Learn to go through it til the end. you can do it! The Critical never had problems with deficiencies, toxicities or pests. She was a breeze to grow up until day 58 of flower when i took all of them down at once.
Pro Tip about training in flower:Leave her alone. Seriously you did everything you could in preparation. Now its on her. Let her go. If you find single fan leafs over a bud, remove them. But dont bend, break or top anymore. Just leave her in peace and you will earn it later.
Pro Tip about the harvest:This is one of the most asked questions from new growers! “Does she look ready? I think she is ready.” There is a subreddit with a nice meme for that. It says: “two more weeks.” If you think shes ready, just give her two more weeks. It wont hurt, trust me. New growers tend to harvest too early and are rewarded with rough smokes, low THC numbers and the awful haytaste. Let her build up the trichomes, watch them closely and just do not be stupid.
Get some scissors, beers, a friend or two, your camera to make nice budshots for your kids, some stoner movie on Netflix and go. At this time i still did wet trimming. You did not wait 97 days to fuck it up here! At first you remove all fanleafs that have no trichomes on them. You see trichomes? You keep the leaf! Its trim at the least to make extracts like hash or dab from it. Cut down a bud, take your time with it and cut away as much leafs as you can find, to leave only bud behind. The less green matter in the end, the smoother your smoke will be. Critical was okay to harvest. Weed can be a total bitch if it comes to harvesting.
Pro Tip about wet trimming:I do not endorse wet trimming anymore. The difference is definetly there. Wet trim leads to a shorter drying period and you can start curing faster. But this leads also to less taste in the end. My Tip: Drying and curing is a slow process, and leafs on the buds slow it down by a good margin. Hanging the whole plant upside down for 1-2 weeks is a better way to do it. So if you can wait for nicer weed, keep the leafs and trim dry. Dry trimming is also a total bitch, but in all seriousness, more rewarding.
Drying and Curing
After we were done we put the buds on the hanging nets in the dark and just four days later the buds are trimmed a bit further and put into glass jars, with the lid open. The buds felt very crispy on the nets, but will remoist very fast if packed tightly. So you keep the lid open to let go of the moisture. The packing slows down drying and starts the curing process. You want your weed to be fermented before it reaches its final state. After a few days (2-3) the lid can be closed for some hours (6-12). check them regulary. If they still feel very moist when you open the lid, keep it open and shuffle the buds around. Repeat until you can keep the jar closed for 24hrs. After this your plant is pretty much dried and will now ferment. This process open ended. You could smoke the buds as soon as you get them from the drying rack. But they will taste best if smoked right now.
Criticals effect is just strong. I mean RQS tells you the THC content is just about 18% (which is still significantly higher than most streetweed) but not on the level of some more modern stuff. It’s still a strain I can’t really smoke alone. This Indica dominant hybrid hits you like a truck, so be sure you have someone to pass it after you puff it. 😤
Smell and taste is very old school: earthy, skunky. The prototype smell of what’s in your moms head when she tells you that she smells weed.
I can also recommend this strain to new growers: You can’t really overnute her, she is a fast one and yields a ton after all. Perfect microgrow / homegrow strain!
Grow high quality Cannabis at home