When anyone talks about the legalization of medical marijuana in Oklahoma the talk of growing your own is not far behind. I think it’s in an Oklahoma’s agricultural nature to want to be self-reliant when it comes to herb. One of today’s popular movements is ‘Farm To Table’. People want to know what they are eating and where it comes from and also have a hand in its creation. With this months feature, I wanted to explore the same ‘Farm To Table’ style movement in the Oklahoma cannabis culture. I sat down with Sleepy and talked. From “Seed to Spliff” if you will.
Herbage: This month we wanted to talk about the overall home grow from a seed to cultivation. How about we start off with a bit about the lifecycle of a cannabis plant.
Sleepy: There are two main stages of the plant’s life. Vegetative and flower. If we are talking about starting a home-grow from seed is a good place to start. You’re going to put your seed in a cup of water for one day. When you take it out you’re probably going to see it starting to sprout the little tap root. After that, depending on how you are going to grow, you can go straight into the soil, coco, or whatever hydroponics medium. Another option is to put it in a wet paper napkin for about another two or three days to allow that root to really get big and then transplant it after that.
Once you have it in the soil or hydro setup you are going to see it sprout out of the ground in a week Max. At that point you will want to put the plant under 18 hours of light then 6 hours of dark. It’s possible to run light’s-on the full 24 hours on but I think the plants need to sleep and you save money on electricity. This is the Vegetative growth stage. You will want to keep the plants in this stage for around a month depending on how big you want the plants to be.
Once you switch them to flower the plant will double in size. In flower you want 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. The flower stage takes around two months to finish.
Once the flower stage is complete you are looking at about a week to dry. Finally the cure stage will be around two weeks. This is the most important part. You can ruin your whole crop in the dry and cure phase.
Thats a quick rundown of the plants life.
Herbage: So I’m a guy who is ready to start growing my own herb from home. Before I even go buy a seed, seedling, or anything like that do I need to head over to a local shop or online retailer and drop cash on one of these grow kits that are everywhere right now? What do I realistically need to have to be successful at home?
Sleepy: Well, first things first you need to have a room to do it in. You are going to want it to be a room that the plants can be left alone. I would suggest a grow tent instead of actually outfitting a room. You don’t want to have to go drilling holes in your walls and all that. Tents are an easy ‘plug and play’ option for you.
Next, you are going to need a light. For a small home grow I think LED is going to be the most cost-effective option and is easier because you can just plug them in the wall.
Buckets or pots depending on if you are going soil or hydro. Personally, I would tell people that you should probably just go with soil. Its natural, easy, and you are just more likely to be successful starting out. There are just so many things that can go wrong so fast when it comes to growing with hydro.
Fans are important, you want good airflow. The plants should be moving. An LED light may not put off that much heat but if you don’t have good airflow it’s going to get stagnate in there. You want that air moving so the plants are getting that circulation they need. You are simulating it being outside you know? Natural. That’s the basics. You need to pick up some nutrients to feed them and that’s about it. I think maybe about $1000 when you figure in everything including the cost of increased power usage and stuff like that. That’s probably a good estimation. The use of an LED is going to really help keep down the cost.
Herbage: That doesn’t sound so bad at all. Most of that you can just pick up at a local hardware store or plant shop. What kind of nutrients are you talking about when it comes to feeding and keeping a plant healthy?
Sleepy: I always suggest for people to go organic. If you make your soil right it will have all the nutrients you need in it. There’s plenty of options out there now a days that’s pretty simple to use. I always tell people less is more. People try to go to crazy, you know?
Herbage: Yeah, so don’t go dump a big bag of miracle grow on it? Are we talking about something cannabis specific?
Sleepy: No! Do Not Use Miracle Grow. It’s not cannabis specific so much. There are good products out there but an organic grow is an organic grow. If you are growing organic vegetables you are using the same stuff on your cannabis. Anytime you tell someone you are growing cannabis they will charge you more money. So look at what the organic vegetable growers are using and get those products. A tomato farmer isn’t going to waste a bunch of money on nutrients and a cannabis farmer shouldn’t either.
Herbage: That makes sense. So now I have my supplies, I’ve gone through my steps, my seedling has come up through the soil and is chilling out in its grow tent. Where do we go from here?
Sleepy: You need to make sure you are watering correctly. A good rule is 10% of the volume of the container you are growing in. So if you have a five-gallon pot it would be roughly half to three-quarters of a gallon. One of the biggest issues people have is over or under watering. Over and under watering can lead to nutrient lockout and you might think that it’s a deficiency when it’s not. You might do something to fix the deficiencies but that wasn’t the problem in the first place. These plants can be tricky sometimes.
Herbage: How often should you be watering your plant?
Sleepy: Well a lot of it is going to be learning what your plant wants but you should be watering about once every two or three days. So water, dry out, water, dry out, water… You have to be aware that you are doing something on a consistent basis. If you change routines you are going to piss the plant off. It’s a shock to them. Any change can really mess things up. Even if you are doing something wrong, if you are doing it wrong consistently like clockwork a lot of times it will be okay but when you change things up your plant gets into trouble.
The same thing goes for lighting. In nature, there is day and night. So get yourself a timer that is going to have your light go on and off like clockwork.
Herbage: So once we go to the 12 and 12 cycle lighting we are just trucking along as we see buds growing right?
Sleepy: Yeah, when you first go from veg to flower it’s going to double in size. In the veg stage it’s really soft and able to bend. Once you move into flower it’s going to get hard and stocky.
Herbage: Once we get nice and stocky we are almost there right?
Sleepy: Right, probably about 53-65 Then you’re ready to chop it. Literally, cut it, flip off the light in your tent, & hang it upside down. You want to keep that airflow but kill the light source. After about 5-7 days just give it a feel. It’s hard to explain but if it’s squishy there is still moisture in there. You want to be pretty much dry. When you can snap that stem like a stick that’s a good way to know too.
From there you just need to put it in a jar. Something airtight. This is where the smell comes from. This is a major step. You can do everything else right but if you don’t dry it enough and get it in an airtight container you are just wasting your time. It needs to sit in an airtight container for two weeks at a minimum. Just drop it in there and close it up. You can trim it up before if you want but the main thing is getting airtight. Then just pop it open once a day to burp it. After that you’re ready to smoke but keep in mind that it’s like wine in a sense. The longer you let it sit in there the better. Both light and air degrade it so keep your airtight container stored in a dark place.
Sleepy lays it out pretty easy for you here. Step by step instructions for a home-grow. He did note that some of the advantages to growing in the home instead of outdoors were things like the decrease in the change of pests, easier to control the environment and a general ease of mind that no one is going to mess with your grow. He has an amazing wealth of knowledge about what it takes to be successful at growing and is excited to share. If you have questions about growing visit herbagemag.com and submit a question.