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Supplemental Lighting or Side Lighting for Indoor Cannabis Grow

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When you are operating an indoor cannabis grow room, it is important to understand the differences between supplemental lighting and side lighting. Both types of lighting are used to offset certain grow room limitations and increase cannabis plant yields, cannabinoid content, and terpene levels.

So which is better, supplemental lighting or side lighting for indoor cannabis grow?

Our cannabis grow guide on side and supplemental lighting covers the benefits of these lighting techniques and when to use these types of lighting for greater yields with better flavor, aroma, and potency.

Side Lighting vs Supplemental Lighting

In the world of cannabis growing, side lighting is a form of supplemental lighting, but not all supplemental lighting is considered side lighting.

What is side lighting? Well, this is used when you want to target the sides and lower branches of your marijuana plant with enough light to increase the sizes of the marijuana buds on each side.

Since cannabis plants grow denser and larger buds on top, adding lighting on the sides can increase yield on lower branches.

Supplemental lighting, on the other hand, is when the levels of lighting have to be increased for better results or the light spectrum needs to be changed depending on the stage of growth.

Generally, supplemental light is not given to the marijuana plant from the sides, but from above the plant to get larger yields from the top, where cannabis plants focus on their flower bud growth.

Is Side Lighting Necessary?

In indoor cannabis grow rooms, the lighting hangs from above, far enough to avoid burning the plants, but close enough to provide enough light to stimulate photosynthesis.

In outdoor grow spaces, the sun’s rise and fall provide cannabis plants with natural light from above (especially during its peak at noon) and from the sides during its rise at dawn and drop-off at dusk.

Because of the sun’s natural progression, cannabis plants tend to grow in a Christmas tree shape. Its triangle shape allows the plants to receive the most amount of light from the sun possible throughout the entire daylight hours.

In addition, the plant’s sloped shape has another major benefit when growing outdoors. Its Christmas tree shape increases the chance that its buds become pollinated. Its lower branch buds extend out becoming more exposed to the wind and, hopefully, pollen from male cannabis plants.

For this reason, some indoor cannabis growers choose to add supplemental lighting on the sides to mimic the plant’s natural growth pattern.

The Light Supplement                                                                                     

It is usually in greenhouses that you would use supplemental lighting. If there is a specific spot that gets direct light in your yard for a few hours each day, you would need supplemental lighting for the hours that direct light is not available in the same spot.

If you live in unreliable weather and you have many cloudy days, then you would possibly have to supplement for extra lighting. You would use a grow light while still benefiting from the natural sunlight.

Importance and Reason for Lighting

Another reason that cannabis growers need to supplement the light in the indoor cannabis grow room is to change or increase the color or spectrum of the light. The light spectrum is instrumental in affecting the way that the plant grows.

LED grow lights are also an option used in many cannabis grow rooms. When you use LED grow lights, you get to select the precise spectrum that you need to supplement outdoor lighting or other lighting such as HPS.

HPS and LED Grow Lights

Today, it is usually very common for cannabis growers to utilize light-emitting diode (LED) grow lights and also common to combine high-pressure sodium (HPS) grow lights with LED panels.

This is for the specific reason of yielding better returns and increasing marijuana flower production. Some cannabis growers use both HPS grow lights and LED grow lights to receive more benefits that good lighting provides.

The Side Lighting

In so many situations, supplemental lighting is an excellent choice. However, it is sure not similar to side lighting, which is not as useful to a cannabis grow room much of the time.

When do you use side lighting?

It is generally used with fluorescent grow lights, an example being T5 grow lights and compact fluorescent lights (CFL). These are used on younger marijuana plants that are not yet trained. Why use these lights in conjunction with the side lighting?

It is because they aren’t powerful enough to get far down into the marijuana plant, which is not ideal, if you want the best bud growth.

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Fluorescent lighting is weak enough to only cover a few inches of the plant’s canopy. So, by the time that the marijuana plant is about one foot from this lighting, it is not as useful, but with side lighting, it increases the potential to reach the marijuana buds within a few inches.

Side lighting may also be used by cannabis growers that grow plants in very cramped growing spaces. In these small spaces, the light from above isn’t able to effectively bounce from reflective walls to reach the lower branches of the canopy.

In this case, side lighting may be beneficial to stimulate photosynthesis in the lower part of the plants.

On the flip side, very large grow rooms can have certain areas that don’t receive the right amount of lighting. In these large-scale facilities, plants that don’t receive enough light aren’t able to metabolize the correct amount of nutrients from its heavy feeding schedule.

Side lighting can help plants stimulate growth, absorb nutrients, and prevent nutrient disorders.

If the cannabis plants are trained to grow shorter and flatter, you will be able to increase the yields using the same amount of lighting since all the main marijuana buds can be shifted to the top while receiving full levels of light.

In other words, although, you may have a weak grow light using fluorescent lighting, you will be able to get more yields by growing the marijuana plants that are flatter and wider in comparison to using side lighting.

When the marijuana buds are close to the top, even a T5 grow light can result in better yields since each bud at the top is closer to the light and because the plant has been trained to lay flat along with the screen.

Are There Better Yield-Boosting Techniques?

Side lighting your cannabis plants can certainly improve your crops yields, but is it the best way to get the highest amount of cannabis buds? Ultimately, it depends on your budget, garden set-up, and growing experience.

Investing in high-quality side lighting can add an additional cost to your existing indoor grow room operation. Adding side lighting may only increase the size of your lower branch popcorn buds by about one-fifth. Consider if this return-on-investment is worth it to you.

If you have the budget and have used all other yield-boosting grow techniques, then side lighting can be an additional and efficient way to improve your crop’s yield. It may not be the most important aspect of your plant’s growth, but it can make a difference.

If you’re on a tight budget, there are many additional growing techniques that require no extra costs or very minimal costs to get higher yields. Growing techniques range from low-stress training to Screen of Green to topping and many more!

In short, side lighting can be an exceptional way to optimize your indoor garden when you’ve done everything else to get higher cannabis yields.

Maximizing Cannabis Yields

Before you run out and invest in grow lights for your side lighting, it is important to start by doing a complete audit of your grow room environment. Often, addressing other grow room limits can provide much more benefits than setting up supplemental side lighting.

Consider the following aspects of your grow room  to maximize your yields:

  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Carbon dioxide levels
  • Watering practices
  • Nutrient uptake

One of the best ways to improve your yield is to employ a variety of cannabis plant training techniques. Techniques vary in sophistication, but they all work on the same concept of increasing horizontal growth and splitting the plant’s apical dominance growth.

Common plant training techniques include:

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  • Low-stress training (LST)
  • Sea of green (SOG)
  • Screen of green (SCROG)
  • Lollipopping
  • Topping
  • Fimming
  • Mainlining
  • Supercropping
  • Defoliation

Supplemental Lighting or Side Lighting for Indoor Cannabis Grow Recap

Side lighting is a kind of supplemental lighting but supplemental lighting is not a kind of side lighting. Depending on which lighting you chose for your grow room depends on your specific needs and room set up.

Use side lighting if you want to target the sides and lower parts of the plant. Think of supplemental lighting as needing to supplement your exsiting lighting with extra lighting. It may not always be needed but is there when/if you need it.

Become a Cannabis Growing Expert 

If you want to know more about the use of supplemental lighting and side lighting in your indoor cannabis grow, visit the Cannabis Training University today.

Cannabis Training University is the world’s most renowned and affordable online industry training programs for students of all skill levels.

Whether it’s your first time growing a plant or you’re a seasoned grower looking for new techniques to take your garden to the next level, CTU provides you with the most up-to-date information at an affordable cost.

Become a marijuana growing expert by enrolling in CTU’s marijuana courses online today!

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Cannabis

What Is The Best Way To Grow Weed?

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Soil is the most well-known and recognizable growing medium. Cannabis and other plants have been grown in soil for many years. But there are now a lot of additional soilless growing options available for your cannabis.

A cannabis plant can grow and flower regardless of the medium as long as the roots have room to expand and access fresh oxygen, water, and the right nutrients. However, the majority of growers will have a strong personal preference for a particular medium based on factors like desired yields, ease of use, and growing space. The following is a list of the most typical media utilized by expert growers in the cannabis industry:

growing cannabis
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Growing Cannabis in Soil 

In addition to an outdoor planting area, continuous monitoring, and a basic understanding of soil management, growing weed in soil demands a lot of patience. Although most beginners adopt this strategy, there may be some issues before you can eventually reap the rewards of your labor. You won’t have much trouble following the steps if you’ve ever grown plants indoors or outdoors before.

The potential for the success of outdoor cannabis cultivation is its biggest benefit. The size and height your plants may attain will give you a year’s worth of freshly produced cannabis if you have enough room to plant your seeds. The trick is to create and keep up perfect growing conditions, which don’t just rely on the soil’s nutrients and growing characteristics.

Pros and Cos of Growing Weed in Soil 

Pros:

  • Reduced costs.
  • The process is easy to understand and follow
  • Requires no special equipment
  • Massive cannabis harvest
  • Eco-friendly technology.

Cons:

  • Less control of the result.
  • Local weather and climate can be a problem.
  • Requires continuous supervision.

Growing Cannabis in Rockwool  

A substrate called rockwool is made by spinning molten basaltic rock into fine strands. How does it relate to marijuana cultivation? Rockwool appears to be the ideal substrate for hydroponic growing setups. Rockwool is widely used in commercial cannabis production and is not disregarded by personal hydroponic growers due to its inert qualities, natural capacity to hold water, and ability to give adequate oxygenation to the plant roots.

RELATED: What Is Rockwool And Why Is It A New Buzzword In The Marijuana Industry?

The idea of growing marijuana in rockwool initially strikes you as odd. But with all of the advantages, it’s the best option for those just starting with hydroponic horticulture. No less rigorous than the others, rockwool media is completely devoid of organic materials. Additionally, the surroundings are clean and devoid of harmful metals.

Why bother looking at other growth mediums if rockwool is so perfect for growing cannabis? Rockwool is not an exception to the norm; no media is ideal. Rockwool’s effect on the environment is its main drawback. It cannot be recycled, is not biodegradable, and is typically not produced in a sustainable manner.

rockwool
Photo by Reni Purnama Sari/Getty Images

Pros and Cons of Rockwool Planting 

Pros:

  • It can be used for both hydroponics and soil growing.
  • It is not difficult to set up and maintain.
  • The growing environment is germ-free, free from organic threats and metals.
  • It provides good drainage and easy root penetration.
  • Warmth, moisture, and darkness of rockwool cubes result in great germination.

Cons:

  • It is not an eco-friendly method.
  • Stabilizing water pH can be a serious issue.
  • Rockwool is not sustainable or biodegradable.

Growing Cannabis in Peat Moss 

Cannabis grown with peat moss increases the likelihood of a plentiful harvest and decreases the likelihood of failure. Both growers using soil and those using hydroponics can benefit from the usage of peat moss as a fertilizer. However, don’t squander time if you intend to employ peat moss in your nearby cannabis garden. Weeks are needed to prepare peat moss for gardening.

RELATED: Rookie Errors To Avoid When You Are Just Starting To Grow Weed

The excellent news is that peat moss can be used to achieve the ideal pH for cannabis. An expert grower is aware of the significance of a balanced pH. Peat moss can be used with alkaline soil additions because of its acidic pH level. As a result, successful cultivation and efficient absorption of all necessary nutrients are guaranteed.

Pros and Cons of Using Peat Moss 

Pros:

  • Adds healthy nutrients.
  • Has promising water-holding capacity.
  • Carries an important role in the acidifying process.
  • Has outstanding resistant properties and is contamination free.
  • Enriches the grow environment with beneficial microorganisms.

Cons:

  • Requires much time to prepare.
  • Can lead to soil compression.
  • Raises concerns of sustainability.
growing marijuana
Photo by Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

Growing Cannabis in Coco + Perlite  

Another alternate option that is well-liked by cannabis enthusiasts is growing marijuana in coco coir. Before weed gardeners discovered how to make use of the coconut husk, it was seen as a waste product. Its refined fiber provides an almost ideal environment for marijuana cultivation. This medium, which has an average pH of 6.5-7.0 and is oxygen-rich and superbly water-retentive, is beneficial for both outdoor and indoor plants.

Cannabis grown by flushing in coco is the most environmentally friendly method. This process is completely recyclable and green. To improve your probability of a fruitful and successful harvest, you can choose to add specific cannabis perlite. Both soil and hydroponic farming schools advise using the obsidian supplement perlite. It stimulates root development, boosts oxygen levels, and reduces soil weight when applied to coco coir.

RELATED: Is There Really Any Difference Between Cannabis Grown Indoors Vs. Outdoors?

Although it takes more work and knowledge, growing cannabis on coco coir produces significantly better results than growing it in just soil. Try planting in coco coir as the next upgrade if soil growing is no longer difficult for you.

It is more difficult to choose between peat moss and coconut coir. Go for coco coir without hesitation if you are a committed conservationist or in a time crunch.  Give peat moss a try if you enjoy gardening in general, strive for the finest outcome, and have enough time to prepare the growing medium. Contrasting these mediums’ characteristics is challenging. It is therefore preferable if you can examine peat moss and coco coir in action to evaluate which result best suits your needs.

Pros and Cons of Coco + Perlite  

Pros:

  • The technique is easy.
  • Coco coir is as accessible as soil.
  • It is a totally eco-friendly cultivation process.
  • Has a light structure that is better for root development.

Cons:

  • Needs to be hydrated in order to activate.
  • Requires nutrients, such as cannabis perlite.

Bottom Line

Different cannabis enthusiasts and growers have their preferred method of growing cannabis, with each method having its advantages and drawbacks, some more than others. Using these methods is acceptable, you just have to know the pros and cons and choose what’s best for you.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.



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How to Increase Terpenes in Cannabis Plants

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Terpenes, after cannabinoids, are the best-known compounds found in cannabis. Along with their potential medicinal effects, they’re primarily responsible for different aromas and flavours of can-nabis. What are the different ways growers can increase terpene levels from germination to dry-ing and curing?

If you are new to growing, or cannabis in general, terpenes are compounds that give cannabis its flavour and aroma. They are a combination of carbon and hydrogen classified by the number of isoprene units needed to build the molecule.

Not only are they responsible for the aromas and flavours of your cannabis buds, but they are thought to have numerous medicinal properties and influence the type of high that users experience. Together with cannabinoids and flavonoids, terpenes form what is called an entourage effect.

About 10-30% of cannabis resin comprises various terpenes. Some terpenes are found regularly, while others are rarely found in cannabis. The percentage of certain terpenes and the ratios in which they occur vary depending on the plant variety and environmental conditions.

Plants produce terpenes to attract pollinators, beneficial insects, and repel animals or pests from the plant. Since cannabis plants are wind-pollinated, they produce terpenes mainly to protect themselves from herbivorous animals and pests.

In cannabis plants, terpenes are formed in the resin glands called trichomes. So, in order to produce more terpenes, cannabis plants need to make more trichomes. There are many ways to help your cannabis plants produce more terpenes, and here are the most useful and common ones.

1. Genetics

It all starts with good genetics. Even under the best conditions and with all the techniques mentioned in this article, you cannot turn ditch weed into “top-shelf” connoisseur buds. Due to the prohibition of cannabis, breeders have primarily focused on getting the highest THC content possible.

And during that time, that was a reasonable thing to do. Cannabis research was very limited, and we knew very little about other compounds found in cannabis. The pungent smell of cannabis was actually the opposite of what growers wanted. It attracted unwanted attention and increased the risk of them getting arrested.

With the (re) legalisation of cannabis, the market’s needs began to change. Consumers not only wanted the cannabis to get them high, but they also wanted it to smell and taste good. When we researched the plant more, we discovered that terpenes also have medicinal benefits and effects.

In response to market needs, growers began breeding varieties with higher levels of terpenes. If you are a medicinal user, you want to choose the varieties with the dominant terpenes that are best for your ailments. And if you are a “recreational” smoker, you want to choose the flavours and aromas you prefer. Usually, cannabis dispensaries offer terpene analysis alongside cannabinoids or list the dominant terpenes in their strains.

Throughout the European market, seed banks provide cannabis enthusiasts with the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of strains and cultivate their own world-renowned genetics with impressive terpene profiles. Here are five of our favourite cultivars with an exquisite flavour palate!

Five strains high in terpenes

1. Guava Jelly

This tropical cultivar has a terpene profile heavy in limonene and has an impressive parental linage, made of Wedding Cheesecake, Strawberry Kush, OG Kush, and Durban. Expect sweet notes of exotic fruit with a pungent, skunky undertone. Guava Jelly is available as feminized seeds, and can be purchased here!

2. Skunk #1

Bred from an array of delectable parental strains, including Acapulco Gold, Colombian Gold, and an Afghan indica. Skunk #1, is the strain that influenced all modern-day hybrids. Renowned for its pungent skunky aroma, this classic cultivar is heavy in myrcene with sharp notes of pinene, which helps bring out the iconic musky aroma! The Sensi Seeds catalogue has regular, feminized and automatic versions of Skunk #1 available for all types of cultivators.

3. Girl Scout Cookies

Created from an array of cannabis cup winners, this recent addition to the cannabis scene has a remarkable lineage of Durban, Hindu Kush, and OG Kush. Its exquisite terpene profile includes an abundance of myrcene, pinene, and linalool, which gives way to flavours of sweet sandalwood with earthy notes and a deep citrusy aroma. Girl Scout Cookies seeds are available to purchase as a feminized variety.

4. Silver Haze

This award-winning strain has been rewarding users with its deliciously sweet terpene profile combined with a soothing, uplifting high since the early 90s and has remained a fan favourite ever since. Renowned for its sweet citrus notes with heavy undertones of pine, sandalwood and citrus. Silver Haze, feminized and regular, has a magnificent terpene profile, and shouldn’t be underestimated.

5. Tangie

A staple of the Dutch coffeeshop scene, Tangie was bred from California Orange and Skunk #1. So, as you can imagine, it has an extravagant flavour profile which is heavy in myrcene and limonene. Expect hints of freshly peeled tangerine with lemon rinds and undertones of musk.

2. Soil

Although you can maximise the production of terpenes in any growing system, the soil is the best and most pristine medium when it comes to terpenes. High-quality soil provides the best pH and alkalinity levels, maximises nutrient uptake, and keeps photosynthesis at optimal levels. Growing cannabis in native soil brings out the terroir of the region.

Terroir refers to the specific medium and environment in which plants are grown. It is responsible for some of the unique flavours and aromas of plants. Just as wines produced in specific regions taste different even though they are made from the same grape variety, the same is true for cannabis plants.

Soil building is a science in itself. When it comes to terpene production, you want to increase the sugar content of plants. Since plants do not take up added sugars, your plant nutrient plan should encourage plants to produce sugars independently. We’ll explain how to do this next.

3. Nutrients, additives, and boosters

Sugars or carbohydrates are essential during the flowering phase if you want big, dense buds with higher resin and terpene content. Your cannabis plants will require varying amounts of carbohydrates throughout their life cycle. Carbohydrates have the most significant impact during the bud ripening phase.

Many of the flavour-enhancing nutrients and additives are carbohydrate-based. This means that they add sugars to the root zone to promote microbial populations. In turn, this gives the plants access to more sugar or nutrition.

There are also nutrient supplements that are a little more specific to terpene production than carbohydrate-based supplements. They use naturally occurring plant compounds known as bio-osmotic potentiators that stimulate plants to increase their production of terpenes and essential oils.

Bacteria

Bacteria often get a bad reputation. However, as we now know more about the microbiome and probiotics, we are beginning to appreciate the benefits. When you add Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) to your soil, this special microbe will convert sugars into short-chain fatty acids. Your plant will use these to produce more trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes.

Molasses

Using black grape molasses, whether in the soil or in your watering mix, will encourage microbial life in the root zone. Adding molasses ensures that they can do their best to allow plants’ faster and more efficient uptake of nutrients.

Efficient use of nutrients leads to increased trichome production, higher yields, and overall healthier plants. When using molasses in your irrigation solution, mix two tablespoons into five litres of lukewarm water.

Amino acids

The addition of amino acids such as fulvic acid and humic acid encourages chlorophyll formation and improves nutrient uptake. This, in turn, increases the plant’s ability to synthesise a greater amount of sugars present in its metabolism, enhances the absorption of nutrients, and increases the terpene content in your plants.

Seaweed extracts

Many growers have been successful in increasing terpene content by using seaweed extracts. Marine algae extracts increase the bioavailability of micro-nutrients. They also contain natural growth hormones that stimulate plant cell division. When applied to the plant’s root zone, seaweed extracts trigger the development of heavier and more pronounced roots. More extensive and thicker roots allow the plant to absorb more water and nutrients, increase carbohydrate production, and increase terpene content.

Keep in mind that the plant’s needs change during the life cycle. During the last two weeks, nitrogen should be eliminated, as excess nitrates burn carbohydrates and waste energy. This slows the growth and reduces terpene production. Potassium levels, however, should be increased during the flowering stage as it causes sugar levels in the plant to rise.

4. Stress

Cannabis plants produce trichomes as a defensive response to various attacks and stresses. The natural function of the trichome glands is essentially to protect the plant and its developing seeds from extreme conditions such as UV rays, cold weather, pests, and diseases.

Growers can use this to their advantage. By causing light stress during flowering, they can get the plants to produce more trichomes and, thus, more cannabinoids and terpenes. However, too much stress is too harmful to plants and will bring photosynthesis to a halt. As such, these techniques don’t function well on autoflowering plants, due to their ability to complete the grow cycle in as little as 12 to 13 weeks; any extra stress could be detrimental and lead to a poor harvest.

Temperature

Cold weather, which is a significant stress on the plant, triggers changes in the plant’s metabolism. When this occurs in the final flowering stage, resin production increases in exchange for very little yield loss.

You should gradually lower temperatures by about 5 °C during the last two weeks of flowering. This simulates autumn conditions and signals to the plant that frost and winter are imminent. The plant will respond by putting the remaining energy into producing more resin to protect its progeny.

At this point, the buds are fully grown and just need to mature. This results in much greater and higher quality resin coverage and terpene content. Lowering temperatures in the latter stages of flowering can also speed up the flowering period and allow for a quicker harvest.

Humidity

The optimal humidity for flowering cannabis is 50-60%. Lowering the humidity to 30% will slightly stress the plants, and terpene production will increase. This can be achieved by adding more fans or a dehumidifier to your environment. Lower humidity will also help reduce the risk of mould and mildew.

Less watering

When you water less and less frequently, you are simulating a drought. As with any stress, the plant’s natural response is to protect itself and its seeds. By coating the flowers and seeds with more resin, plants trap moisture and protect them from lack of water.

Letting the growing medium dry out slightly will increase the cannabinoid and terpene content. It also ensures that the roots get more oxygen and boost photosynthesis.

Defoliation

Defoliation is the most common and popular method to boost sugar production and naturally increase terpene and cannabinoid content. Trimming the leaves increases the terpene levels by redirecting energy to the buds.

Simply cut off the young foliage as it grows. Be careful not to overdo it, though, because removing too much foliage will stunt your plants and slow down photosynthesis. Extreme defoliation will also result in lower yields and poorer quality of your buds.

Remember that the leaves are one of the most important factors in sugar production. The top leaves catch the most sunlight. So only remove them if they are blocking most of the developing buds.

There are different opinions among growers when it comes to defoliation. But if done correctly, it can increase the yield, terpenes, and cannabinoid content of your plants.

Lollipopping

Lollipopping” is nothing more than defoliation, just on a larger scale. The goal is to remove the bottom quarter or third of the plant. The lower branches are exposed to less light anyway, and the buds formed there will always be smaller and of lower quality than the upper colas.

Removing them at the beginning of the flowering stage will ensure that the energy produced by the plant goes to the remaining parts of the plant. This will increase not only your yields but also the overall quality of the buds.

Supercropping

Super cropping” is a high-stress cultivation technique. It involves simply pinching and bending the stems and branches. Damaging the inner fibres and leaving the outer sheath intact promotes both more vigorous growth and bud development, as well as increased production of cannabinoids and terpenes.

After the plants have recovered, you will notice an “ankle” forming at this point. A bigger surface of the ankle will help the plant absorb more nutrients and transport them to the buds that are forming.

The best time to Super Crop is during the late vegetative stage and the first two weeks of flowering. If you start Super Cropping a week before flowering, the plants will have plenty of time to recover. Doing this around the second week of flowering will help with the “stretch” and spread the branches more evenly. But it will also help position the branches and buds and expose them to more light.

Flush with ice

Flushing is when the plant is watered with pure water without nutrients, and during the last weeks of harvest, some growers like to perform the final flush with ice.

Not only does this flush away stored nutrients, but it also adds stress to the plant. As a natural reaction to any pressure, the plant produces more trichomes and resin throughout the last days of flowering.

Split the stem

Although some growers like to use this technique in the last days of flowering, this method is not recommended, especially for new growers. Theoretically, splitting the stem will cause a hormonal change in your plants due to extreme stress. The plants will stop producing buds, but the resin production and cannabinoid and terpene levels will increase.

We do not recommend this method as you can cause an infection that can bring various diseases and lead to the loss of the plant. If you are not careful, you can also cut the plant completely, resulting in a premature harvest.

5. Companion planting

Companion planting is common in many agricultural crops and integrated pest management systems. It is a method in which farmers use different plants to support their main crop. By planting certain crops next to each other, they work together to improve the production and quality of their produce.

They usually do this to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, keep pests away, add nutrients to the soil, or draw minerals from the ground. Some plants have been shown to increase the levels of essential oils and sugars in neighbouring plants.

Some plants known to increase essential oil production and improve flavour are nettle, yarrow, basil, chives, and tarragon.

6. Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in the entire growing process. It ensures that your plants develop properly, increases yield, and the overall quality of your buds. Different lighting and light spectrum cause (slightly) different terpenes or even terpene profiles. The same strain grown outdoors under the sun will have a somewhat diverse chemical profile than the one grown indoors under HPS or LED lights.

When it comes to terpenes, two types of light spectrum play a particularly important role. If you eliminate the red spectrum in the last 72 hours of growth, the plant will continue to synthesize terpenes, but they will not be released. This causes the terpenes to accumulate in the maturing buds.

The second important light spectrum is UV-B. As we mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why cannabis plants produce trichomes is to protect the plant from harmful UV rays. However, this can be used to your advantage. If you use a UV-B light in your environment, you can get your plant to produce more trichomes and therefore more terpenes. Adding 10-20W of UV-B light per square metre for the last 2-3 weeks will increase the terpenes in your buds.

HPS bulbs already emit a large infrared peak between 800 nm and 900 nm and do not require an additional UV-B source. If you are growing outdoors, make sure your buds are spaced correctly, so they all get enough light.

7. Reduce the CO2 levels

During photosynthesis, plants take in water and carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert them into oxygen and glucose (sugar). Many growers introduce additional CO2 into their growing environment to speed up and increase this process.

The most suitable time is during the first two to three weeks of flowering. By the end of the flowering period, the plants have formed their buds. The only thing left to do is to let these buds fully mature.

Lowering the CO2 levels in the atmosphere causes plants to produce more ethylene. Ethylene is a hormone that is essential to the ripening process. Increasing ethylene production stimulates the trichomes to put more energy into resin secretion and thus increases the terpene levels.

8. Flushing

As your plants grow, they need nutrients to build up their leaves, stems, branches, and buds. Nutrients are absorbed from the growing medium through the roots and stored in the leaves and buds. When your plants have reached their final stage, you should stop feeding them.

Usually, growers tend to give their plants pure water during the last two weeks. This ensures that all the excess nutrients that the plant does not need or can’t use are flushed out. The leftover nutrients can leave an unpleasant taste and aroma and cause your buds to burn unevenly. Clean, flushed buds leave a pleasant, natural, aromatic end product.

To get the most out of flushing, growers can rinse their soil with 3-5 times the amount of pure water equal to the volume of dirt in the container. So, if your container holds 5 litres, you would use 15-25 litres to flush. Unlike watering your plants with just water for the last two weeks, this will ensure that any remaining nutrients are flushed out of the soil as well. When you do this, let the dry soil well and continue to water your plants with pure water.

9. Harvest at the right time

Knowing when to harvest is especially important, and the same goes for terpenes. As plants mature, their smell becomes more intense and sometimes even changes. As with cannabinoids, the best time to harvest your plants is when the trichomes start to turn amber.

If you harvest too early, your buds will have fewer trichomes and therefore fewer cannabinoids and terpenes. If you harvest too late, the trichomes will break down, and you will start to lose both your terpenes and cannabinoids.

Choosing the right time of day

Plants produce terpenes all the time, but they evaporate under the pressure of (sun)light and rising temperatures. Terpene levels increase during darkness and peak just before sunrise. During the day, terpenes evaporate and fill the surrounding air with odour to warn predators and pests. This means that plants have more terpenes at the end of darkness than after a full day of light, and at dusk, the terpene content is at its lowest.

So, the best time to harvest your plants would be just before sunrise outdoors or just before the light cycle begins indoors. Some growers even like to leave the plants in the dark for 24 or 48 hours before harvesting. This ensures that the terpene content is at its highest.

10. Drying and curing

Proper drying of your buds is a crucial point in any grow and can make the difference between a great crop and an inferior one. Since they are often in a hurry to taste the fruits of their labour, they speed up the process. To dry your cannabis buds properly, you need a dark place, a constant humidity of 45-55% and a temperature between 20-22 °C.

A steady and slow process will ensure that you preserve the terpenes and cannabinoids of your buds. The slower the drying process, the better. A proper drying process usually takes around 2-3 weeks, depending on your drying method.

After you have dried your buds, they need to cure. Curing is just a continuation of the drying process, which takes anywhere from 4-5 weeks to a few months. Some changes, like the conversion of THC to CBN, will take place, but when it comes to terpenes, a longer curing time is better.

In the first few weeks, the levels of cannabinoids and terpenes will decrease. After a few weeks, these levels will start to increase. Usually, around week eight, the terpenes are at their lowest during the curing process.

But after the 8th week, they begin to rise again, even above the levels of the freshly cut plant. Depending on the atmosphere in which the buds are stored, i.e., air, vacuum, N2, argon, or CO2, you may even see an increase of up to 20%. If you speed up the drying and ripening process, there is a good chance that your buds will have the aroma and taste of hay or chlorophyll.

Terpenes, as well as cannabinoids, are produced in the trichomes, or the plant’s resin glands. Cannabis plants produce trichomes in response to stress and environmental conditions. Stressing the plants just enough and providing them with optimal growing conditions will help produce more trichomes and terpenes. Once carefully dried and cured, buds will be fresh, fragrant, and tasty.

If you’ve had any encouraging interactions by increasing terpene levels in your plants, or if you would like to share your own experiences with terepens and cannabis, please let us know in the comments below!

  • Disclaimer:

    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.



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How to Obtain a License to Grow Cannabis in Florida

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Are you interested in growing commercial cannabis in Florida? Although the application period for medical cannabis cultivators is closed, many opportunities are available for growing hemp in Florida. Here’s what you need to know about the state’s cannabis cultivation business laws.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Program

In November 2016, Florida voters passed Amendment 2, legalizing medical cannabis possession, use, and sales. Under the new law, patients could use cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation to treat a qualifying condition.

Further reading: How to Get a Medical Cannabis Card in Florida

At first, businesses could apply for standalone MMTC licenses, such as cultivation or retail business licenses, but lawmakers passed legislation requiring vertical integration, meaning companies had to grow, process, and sell their own cannabis.

Cannabis operators have fought against the unconstitutionality of vertical integration, suing the Florida Department of Health (DOH). The Florida Supreme court has ruled in favor of keeping vertical integration.

Currently, Florida has 22 vertically integrated MMTC licenses, each able to open as many retail, cultivation, and processing facilities as needed. Florida has become the largest medical cannabis market and one of the largest markets in the country.

In September 2022, the state issued 1 MMTC license to a black-owned business, the first permit issued since the first licensing round. The DOH plans to provide an additional 22 MMTC licenses through a second licensing round to qualified applicants. 

The timeline and requirements for the second MMTC application process have yet to be available. The DOH is currently drafting the rules and regulations.

Florida’s hemp program, started in 2020, is another option for aspiring business owners looking to break into The Sunshine State’s green rush. Hemp business licenses are available through the state’s online Hemp Cultivation Licensing Portal.

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Learn How To Grow Cannabis!

Are Medical Cannabis Cultivation Licenses Available?

Florida’s medical cannabis program is vertically integrated, requiring all cannabis businesses to operate every aspect of the supply chain from seed to sale. Currently, the state of Florida is not issuing any new MMTC permits. A timeline for new licenses has not been released.

Cannabis Business License Requirements

Florida’s DOH is drafting new rules for the state’s second licensing round. When the licensing period is open, applicants can apply if they meet the basic business requirements and have paid the initial application fee. 

Although the new requirements have not been released, it can be helpful to understand the requirements for the initial licensing round. For the first round of licenses, applicants must have demonstrated:

  • For the 5 consecutive years before applying, the applicant has been registered to do business in the state.
  • Possession of a valid certificate or registration issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • The technical and technological ability to cultivate and produce cannabis, including, but not limited to, low-THC cannabis.
  • The ability to secure the premises, resources, and personnel necessary to operate as an MMTC.
  • The ability to maintain accountability of all raw materials, finished products, and any byproducts to prevent diversion or unlawful access to or possession of these substances.
  • An infrastructure reasonably located to dispense cannabis to registered qualifying patients statewide or regionally as determined by the DOH.
  • The financial ability to maintain operations for the duration of the 2-year approval cycle, including the provision of certified financial statements to the DOH.
  • All owners, officers, board members, and managers have passed a background screening.
  • The employment of a medical director to supervise the activities of the MMTC.
  • A diversity plan that promotes and ensures the involvement of minority persons and minority business enterprises, or veteran business enterprises, in ownership, management, and employment, An applicant for licensure renewal must show the effectiveness of the diversity plan with their renewal application.

MMTC License Fees

The DOH has not released application fees for cannabis business licenses. However, application fees may be steep. In 2018, the non-refundable application fee for an MMTC license was $60,830 in the form of a money order or cashier’s check made payable to the DOH.

How to Become a Legal Cannabis Grower in Florida

Growing cannabis requires a comprehensive business strategy that complies with the state’s rules and regulations. Business owners must hire the right personnel, create a business plan, get funding, and choose the right location before applying for a license.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

marijuana extraction course
– Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

Further reading: The Best Way to Get Started as a Legal Cannabis Grower

Start Your Cannabis Business with a CTU Online Education

Leap into Florida’s cannabis market by enrolling in Cannabis Training University’s Master of Cannabis Certification Program. Our easy-to-use online learning platform lets you learn anytime, anywhere. Our online cannabis business training is available on demand. Enroll today!



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