There’s a lot to learn when growing and it certainly is best to start with good genetics. Known genetics are different than good genetics although most likely any purchases made through a vendor will be both “Quality & Tested” genetics.
It’s been some time since I have bought seeded tree, knowingly or not. White Widow, Guerilla Glue, Fruit Loops, CA Kush, Green Crack, Sour Diesel, God’s Gift, Blue Dream, Cookies, Cherry Pie and a few others were some of the seeded strains I started with. My first season growing I pollinated every female I could, each plant was topped multiple times, bent and trained before sex was shown so there were many branches and lower nodes to pollinate.
Call it beginner’s luck but I found a great schedule for my plants that allows me to really push each plant before harvest. Always trying to grow more like nature I figured starting seeds early as possible would give me the most time to learn from my plants. Learning to grow is a never ending process, and there are still techniques that would help me better grow I have not tried fully.
Techniques to keep
- Saw Dust, as fresh as possible; Had a huge oak tree cut down in the yard and from a couple handfulls created enough mycorrihza to sustain my soil all year. The spores spread throughout the whole container allowing me to pull up the top inches which was a dried out layer of soil, wood chippings and mycorrihza; this allowed me to further populate my other containers with the mycorrhiza from the oak tree.
- Coca Cola bottles; I prefer Ginger Ale, although Sprite has many divets that may be favorable. Cutting the 1L bottle in half and flipping it to make a container with a tray is really good for storing plants. I prefer these over 1gal bags although I could see some monster plants not being worth the hassle to transplant. If working with smaller ~1-2foot plants then the liter bottle works. At that height the roots should be filling the bottom of the bottle anyway so for the strains that stay small then actually triple/quadrple their size this is a good container for them.
- CFLs; Choose whatever spectrum you like that supports plant growth. All this technology is being put to make full spectrum bulbs and they actually emit in the spectrums as advertised. Smaller plants certainly benefit from them more but every strain is different. I’ve had plants grow faster and healthier under CFLs under the same conditions as T5/LED, it must be something to do with how close the bulbs can be placed.
- Low wattage LED same as with the CFLs seedlings/clones/smaller plants really benefit from as many spectrums as possible. It is possible to outright retard your cannabis if you give it too much light and too varied of spectrums, add in light changes it can be very easy to create cannabis with varied growth. The lower wattage allows for closer proximity to the plant which with LED seems to stunt growth significantly more. Leaf production mirrors the stunt in growth by producing ideal blades and exponential node development.
These beginning methods have saved more than one run and has brought back some of the most necrotic and strung out plants I would allow myself to experiment with.
Something I have not experimented with yet is keeping my plants green and healthy all through harvest. I allow for a long period of time for the plant to cannabalize itself during the flower cycle. Soil may achieve this easier since the nutrients can be accessible to the plant when it wants more freely. Growing in 100% compost manure with a strong mycorrhiza colony I had plants that would create massive amounts of leaves so that later when I starved them their fan leaves sustained the new grow. Growing this way, with a large soak period followed by an excessively long dry period seemed to continually sustain new growth and further flower developmemt. Season permitted some plants seemed to strive best being harvested and allowed for further bud development; additionally so,if parts of the plant can be vigorously topped and spaced well enough to seed out, the unharvested greens left on the plant can revegg at a varied rate than the normal vegetative and flowering cycle.
Allowing the plant to “veg-seed-reveg-flower to harvest” stresses the plant through every biological process it can go through. Revegged plants have a lot more sturdiness to them at the cost of time and space. Beginning as early as possible and supplementing the plant with as much light as possible at the early stages to encourage larger development later in the plants life is a goal of mine.
Starting in December, seeds and the grow room get prepped for the new grow season. I try to create a regimen that will sustain the plant in vegetative growth for the majority of it’s life. The plants that get seeded will be what I flower out later in the season, as well as the seeds/clones those plants produced during the season.
- December: Germinate
- January: Identify Genetics
- February: Top, Transplant
- March: Clone/Sex/Pollinate
- April: Harvest seeds
- May: Begin Reveg/Germinate Seeds
- June: Weather Plants
- July: Full Veg for all plants
- August: Clone/Sex/Pollinate
- September: Flower
- October: Harvest
- December: Repeat
***leave room for error but also be prepared for early development***
At multiple stages of this grow cycle can plants be set to flower. Having access to both an indoor and outdoor garden would be ideal to push the plants fully. Males can be kept away from the females fairly easilly because of the cold weather during the Winter and Spring. A second pollination run is a bit more challenging but pushing the plant to express all of it’s biological process’ results in a stronger plant that produces more.
After the first seeds have been taken the remaining plant has a lot of potential. Allowing for a plant to come out of it’s seeded form and given enough time to reveg properly can result in another turn around of seeds, clones and flower. Creating ‘Mother Plants’ this way allows for a stronger lineage of genetics that will not produce unstable genetics. These unstable genetics are higher in the lineage rather than showing prominently in the new seeds. Breeding a stronger plant means having the genetics for that plant as far back as possible. Backcrossing with P1 and P2 to create and find better phenotypes is a long process that not many people will be able to schedule and control. Pollen is enough to scare plenty of growers away as with a reveg season, but growing out as many genetic possibilites from the line you are working on will only result in better plants.
Stressing plants throughout the entirety of their life cycle does and will produce more. Ideal growth is harder to accomplish when stressing a plant out and so growing with multiple techniqies can be a bane rather than a boon. Hands off stress is just as important as hands on stress, if bending/snapping is too overwhelming, stressing out the roots is another great way to increase potency, bud production and overall growth. Stressing the plant will always be playing with fire, I’d avoid root stress in non soil applications, if it is a goal of yours check the PPM and always have it less than what’s recommend for best growth, too high and there won’t be a plant to work with later. Soil applications work great to stress out the roots, a little root bound plant is okay in soil. If during transplant a root bath can be applied the plants really thrive from those, the roots are freed from the soil and allowed to breath fresh water. Successful root baths can convert a soil plant to a hydro plant, however the plant can change growth patterns so that growing for the same traits becomes challenging from soil – hydro.
I grow for as long a season as possible, pushed through as many conditions as possible, and given the most amount of genetic stress possible to create stable vigorous genetics. I keep my parents, males not as long, this allows for better breeding. Since all genetics have potential to be unstable, when those new strains peak through back crossing with previous generations allows to stablize those qualities. Creating Clone Only Plants as well as Stable Seed Stock is a very rewarding process, both go hand in hand, and I cannot see myself breeding without these goals in mind.