Original Post: High Times: Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice
[Canniseur: Always good advice from Danny Danko. And lots of good practices even for budding growers. Growing cannabis isn’t easy. Even though it’s called weed and will grow wild, cultivation takes some attention. Adhere to these practices, even if your ‘growroom’ is just a closet or small cabinet and you’ll grow great cannabis.]
High Times’ cultivation specialist Danny Danko answers all your burning questions about being the best grower you can be. But first, some quick tips from the expert himself:
- Root-bound plants in a coco or soilless mix should be transplanted into larger containers.
- Keep your plant nutrients stored in light- and airtight containers in a cool, dark place instead of under lights in your growroom.
- Change your clothing and shoes before entering your growroom to avoid bringing in pests.
Subject: Plant Labeling
From: Billy the Kidd
I keep my different strains labeled when I’m growing them, but what do you think is the best way to keep track of them while they’re drying? Keep in mind that I grow over a dozen different plants and smoke a ton of cannabis, so I can’t just remember where I hung everything up and in which order.
The best way to keep track is to attach a label to the plant or branch you’re drying. It’s best to move the branches around a bit in your drying space to ensure that everything dries evenly, and attaching a label will help you avoid any confusion later.
Each strain should be cured separately from any others in sealed glass jars. Different strains will require different rates of “burping” or opening the jars to release and replenish the air inside. Denser strains will take longer to cure than wispier ones.
Subject: Burned Tips
From: Jay Farmer
No matter what I do, I always get burned leaf tips! I’m following the instructions on my nutrient bottles (General Hydroponics’ three-part system) to a T, and yet I always have this issue. The buds end up tasting and smoking all right, but I know something is off when I see the tips turning brown and drying up.
You are overfeeding your plants. The recommended amounts listed on the labels of nutrient bottles tend to lean toward the maximum your plants can absorb, sometimes leading to slight overfeeding issues such as yours. Most nutrient companies want you to run out of plant food and return to the grow store to buy more.
My advice is to feed at half the rate recommended on the package or bottle unless you see signs of underfeeding. Better to err on the side of caution than to have to deal with the nightmare of overdoing it. You can always add more nutes, but it’s more difficult to remove them in case they over-accumulate. Also, be sure to water with plain pH-balanced water between feedings to give your plants a break. Follow these two simple rules and you’ll never see those dreaded burned tips again.
Subject: Send in the Clones
From: Curious Bones
I sent in a question a few weeks ago about the best way to sex some regular seeds, and although you haven’t answered it yet, I have come to the conclusion, based on another panel discussion on episode No. 49 of your podcast, that taking a cutting and sexing it is the way to go. I have never taken cuttings, and have always grown directly from seed. How long does it take a cutting to root? How soon will that newly rooted cutting flower?
In proper conditions, cuttings should root 5-10 days from when they were taken from the mother plant. In order for this to happen, you must keep your cloning chamber warm and humid (around 80°F; and 80 percent humidity). I recommend using a tray with a clear plastic dome under a bank of fluorescent lighting. Cut a hole about the size of a quarter in the clear plastic at either end of the tray to allow for some airflow, and you’ll see roots popping out of the bottom of your medium in a week or so.
If you’re flowering the cutting in order to determine the sex of the mother plant, you can begin flowering it as soon as the clone shows roots. You won’t get much to smoke off of it, but you’ll know the sex of the corresponding plant within a couple of weeks. Tiny yellow spikes that look like small bunches of bananas are a sign of male flowers, while white hairs emerging from a bulbous, teardrop-shaped calyx are indicative of females.
Subject: Slow and Low
From: Unhappy Dwarf
I have had a couple of plants turn out short with tiny leaves. One that I planted around December 1 is only about a foot tall. Another is about 18 inches tall with lots of leaves and branches. It should be 4-5 feet tall by now. Am I causing this, or were the seeds bad? Please help! Should I give up on them?
Your plants’ lack of growth could be caused by several factors. First and foremost is light. They must receive enough light to perform photosynthesis and create new cells. If you’re growing outdoors, the plants need full, direct sunlight for at least 14 hours a day. Indoors, you need to ensure they’re getting enough lumens from your grow light, which should also be positioned close to the plants.
Your plants could also be suffering from a lack of food. Plants need nutrients to grow, and they eventually use up whatever might be present in their medium. You must provide them with a nutrient solution that will provide the macro- and micronutrients necessary for healthy growth.
The third factor is genetics. It doesn’t sound like you’re familiar with the strains you planted, and so they could have bunk genes. Seeds pulled out of a baggie of buds don’t tend to perform nearly as satisfactorily as well-bred F1 hybrids with hybrid vigor.
You don’t have to give up on your plants, but you should definitely change their situation by adding light and nutrients. If that doesn’t help, then you’ll know it was the seeds themselves that are to blame and you can move on to better genetics in the future.
Subject: Planting Seeds
From: Thomas G.
Should I germinate my seeds before I plant them? I’ve heard differing opinions, and I’d like to know the best way to get them started for optimal growth.
Some people choose to use the moist-paper-towel method to germinate their seeds, but I recommend just sowing them directly into the medium you plan to grow in. This reduces any stress the seedling might suffer during the transplanting process and secures the young plant firmly into your chosen mix. It’s important not to plant too deeply (a quarter-inch deep is perfect) and to keep the medium moist and warm for the best germination success rate.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using a moist paper towel, though, as long as you’re gentle with the emerging lap root and you don’t let it grow too long before planting. I prefer simply to start the plant in its own medium, which reduces the likelihood of damaging the tender young roots and shoots. Additionally, always keep your grow light close enough to your seedling so that it won’t stretch too much and become long and lanky.
Subject: Vegging Again
I’ve heard some very interesting things about growing that make me wonder. A friend of a friend claims she has clipped buds from her mature plant and returned it to an 18/6-hour day/night light cycle, and it started growing again. Have you ever heard about this? Is it a bunch of fertilizer?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to do this. It’s called re-vegging. After you’ve harvested most of your plant, leave some fan leaves on a few branches and place it under a vegging light cycle, and you’ll see new leaves and branches begin to develop after a week or two. This is a particularly good technique if you are trying to save a certain strain and the plant is your only genetic connection to it. Once enough leaves and branches have formed, take a clone from your re-vegged plant and root it in order to keep that strain in your motherplant library.
I don’t recommend re-vegging in order to re-flower the plant, however. The law of diminishing returns is at play, and while you will get some buds out of the plant, your yield won’t be worth the effort and time spent on accomplishing the task. You’re always better off starting with a fresh seedling or rooted clone than with a re-vegged plant. So consider re-vegging as a last resort to save particular genetic material, and not as a way to get a second harvest from the same plant.
Subject: Curled Leaves
From: Barry F.
Can [you] tell me why my leaves are curling under on my indoor pot plants?
There are several things that might be causing your leaves to curl under, but the most probable is water stress. Most likely, you are overwatering your plants. The other possibilities are over-fertilization, high temperatures or nutrient lockout caused by pH variation. Check your temperature, nutrient and pH levels; if all of them are within the proper parameters, then water stress is the likely culprit. Let your plants’ medium dry out between waterings and the symptoms should go away.
One last thing I should mention is that there are also plant viruses that cause leaves to curl under, but I’d have to see a photo to correctly diagnose that malady.
Subject: Bud Boosters
From: Glen J.
I have a few plants outside. The buds are really small and it’s starting to get cold. Is there any way to boost bud production before I’m forced to cut them due to frost?
While there is no way to get buds to grow any faster than they are genetically disposed to grow, there are a couple of things you can do to still harvest a decent crop. First, you can utilize some sort of greenhouse structure in order to extend your growing season.
A hoop house or small greenhouse can retain heat in cold-weather conditions and keep your plants safe from frost for at least a few weeks before it gets too cold. If the greenhouse is heated or attached to a heated residence, you can continue growing well into the winter.
You should also consider bringing your plants indoors to finish growing under grow lights. If the plants are in the ground, carefully dig them up, trying to avoid damaging the root system, and put them into containers that have drainage holes.
Send your cannabis-cultivation questions to email@example.com.
This feature was published in the May, 2019 issue of High Times magazine. Subscribe right here.
Dear Danko: Expert Grow Advice was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: The Official High Times Magazine STASH Awards of 2018
[Editor’s Note: Learn about the best of the best, for growing the best cannabis. A fabulous listing!]
Growers rejoice! The STASH Awards are officially here
Our yearly roundup of the best grow gear of the year started in 1998 and was dubbed the STASH Awards (for Significant Technological Achievements in Secretive Horticulture). Behold our informed choices for the finest cultivation equipment of 2018.
BC Northern Nights Roommate
Best Grow Box: The BC Northern Lights Roommate
For almost 20 years, BC Northern Lights has created and innovated the highest-quality grow boxes on earth. The state-of-the-art units the company produces are still the only CSA/UL safety-approved boxes available, and the BCNL customer-service team provides round-the-clock support. Aspiring growers interested in growing a few plants for personal use will love the Roommate—a compact, lockable, odor-free and automated box on casters that’s discreetly shipped and ready to plug and play in soil or hydroponic applications.
Best Trimming Machine: The Ultra Trimmer
The biggest knock on industrial trimmers has always been that they destroy the gland heads containing the essential oils we’re after. The units from Ultra Trimmer simulate scissors and avoid manhandling precious flowers while preserving the trichomes. The company’s even been giving live demonstrations with microscopes at our Cannabis Cups for over five years to show how gently the machines work. It’s no secret why Ultra Trimmers are the first products to be federally patented specifically for trimming cannabis.
$4,250, Collective; $8,000, Industrial
Best Dehumidifiers: Quest Dehumidifiers
High relative humidity causes excess moisture and condensation that can ruin a ganja garden quicker than a rabbit gets fucked. Avoid potential issues with mold, mildew, and pests by employing one of the powerful dehumidifiers from Quest, each built to powerfully yet efficiently remove water from the air. At Quest, there’s a unit for every size and application, including portable and overhead versions. So take control of your environment and reap the benefits of a proper grow room climate.
Best Grow Tent: The Stash Box from HighDroGro
If you seek an affordable grow tent that’s easy to assemble and take down, look no further than the Stash Box. This sturdy tent is built with three windows, heavy-duty lightproof zippers, a ducting port for venting and air-purification equipment, and a removable inner flood-prevention insert tray. It’s shipped in a compact and discreet box with everything you need to get growing including T5 fluorescent lights to keep heat at a minimum, carbon filters, humidity and temperature monitors, and quiet but efficient fans.
Wiggle Worm Soil Builder
Best Worm Castings: Wiggle Worm Soil Builder
Nature provides the best plant food, and smart farmers know that earthworms are the workhorse of a productive organic garden. Rich in nutrients and trace minerals, worm poop makes for a perfect mild fertilizer and soil amendment. The odor-free castings in Wiggle Worm Soil Builder come with a money-back guarantee—so give them a try and your plants will be thankful. Mix the castings into your soil and top-dress your plants as needed for the best results.
$9.10, 4.5 lbs.; $15.49, 15 lbs.; $26.89, 30 lbs.
Suite Leaf Finish
Best Flavor Enhancer: Suite Leaf Finish
Proper feeding during the middle to late stages of flowering can make or break a harvest due to the specific nutritional requirements of blooming cannabis plants. Suite Leaf Finish is a vegan formulation designed to naturally enhance essential-oil production during this all-important phase of growth. Perfect for soil or hydroponics, this nutritional supplement greatly improves the flavor and scent of your flowers and will increase the terpene profile significantly. Grow loud and finish strong!
$12.82, 250 ml.; $24.65, qt.; $56.95, gal.
Best Pest Control: Green Cleaner from Central Coast Garden Products
We’re always looking for safe and natural ways to combat pests and powdery mildew in our gardens. Central Coast’s Green Cleaner kills mature bugs and their eggs while discouraging and repelling mold as well. The mixture coats and suffocates spider mites, whiteflies, aphids, broad mites, and russet mites. Spray it as a foliar application as needed, making sure to drench the surface of your medium and the underside of your leaves. Also, try Central Coast’s Root Cleaner to fight pathogens and pests at the soil level.
Mykos from Xtreme Gardening
Best Mycorrhizal Product: Mykos from Xtreme Gardening
Organic growers have learned the benefits of colonizing their living soil medium with a beneficial fungal network. These microbes work in conjunction with plant roots to break down nutrients and also act as an inoculant to protect the plant from pests, pathogens, and disease. OMRI-certified Mykos contains a single species found to help store plant food and water while enhancing root uptake and increasing yields substantially. Available as a granular spread or a wettable powder, this miracle product works wonders.
Under Current Evolution 9XL
Best Hydroponic System: Under Current Evolution 9XL from Current Culture H2O
Explosive hydroponic growth rates result when plant roots have access to highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The patented Sub-Current Culture system in the UCE9XL utilizes premium pumps to recirculate a supercharged fluid rich with dissolved oxygen for previously unattainable levels of absorption. The nine-plant model is perfect for a 10′ x 10′ room or tent under four 600-watt HID lights, and the XL version provides extra room for lateral growth, which greatly increases yields.
Starting at $2,054
Best Wetting Agent: Wet Betty from Advanced Nutrients
The plant scientists at Advanced Nutrients understand that when plant-food solution sits on top of hard soil, roots can’t properly absorb the vital liquid and food. Wet Betty, a non-ionic surfactant, lessens surface tension while softening and enhancing water droplets for better uptake, leading to stronger growth and bigger harvests. Great as a soil drench or foliar feed, Wet Betty helps your nutes permeate more efficiently and effectively to maximize yields.
Best Air Filtration: Can-Filters
Clean air is absolutely crucial to any successful marijuana-growing op large or small. Can-Filters have been at the forefront of ventilation and filtration for nearly three decades, and the company is still innovating with its line of dependable filters, fans, ducting and accessories. The pelletized and activated charcoal in the units acts like a sponge, removing odor particles from the spent air and scrubbing it clean of any telltale scents before being expelled out of the space.
Starting at $142.13
Best Grow Lighting: Solis Tek
Solis Tek has been at the forefront of indoor grow-lighting equipment research and technology for over a decade. Its complete line of products includes the best digital HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting systems including HPS (high-pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide) fixtures as well as cutting-edge efficient CMH (ceramic metal halide) units with both single and double-ended lamps. Solis Tek’s controllers, remote ballasts and reflectors make safely growing cannabis with multiple lighting systems heat-free and simple.
The Official High Times Magazine STASH Awards of 2018 was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: Growing the Advanced Way
For two decades, Advanced Nutrients has led the industry when it comes to cannabis-specific plant foods. Learn the incredible story of how owner Michael “BigMike” Straumietis founded the bud-building brand as well as Advanced Nutrients’ plans for the future of cannabis cultivation, extraction, lab testing, packaging and delivery.
Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients
Advanced Nutrients was founded by Michael “BigMike” Straumietis in 1999 when he saw an opportunity to create plant foods designed especially for marijuana growing. A cannabis cultivator since he was 23 years old, BigMike knew that the products available for feeding pot plants weren’t optimized to their full potential.
As a co-founder of Canadian Soilless Ltd. in 1996, BigMike recognized that the hydroponics industry was stagnating and, as he was soon to find out, terrified of any connection to pot growing. Ever since the DEA’s Operation Green Merchant, an offensive in 1989 that targeted marijuana-growing-equipment suppliers, companies refused to acknowledge that their products were being used to cultivate cannabis, even though they thrived on the business.
“It all happened because of fear and ignorance,” BigMike tells me. “We hired scientists to develop products explicitly for growing cannabis, and all of our competitors got nervous and boycotted us. Some of it is still happening to this day.”
Over time, BigMike revolutionized the hydroponic-nutrient business entirely, building Advanced Nutrients into a hundred-million-dollar-a-year company with current operations throughout North America, Eastern Europe, Germany and Spain, as well as sales in over 100 countries and growing. Advanced Nutrients now has 25 PhDs on staff who design and test cutting-edge marijuana-growing technologies, all backed by an unprecedented 100 percent money-back guarantee. Along with Tikun Olam in Israel and GW Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom, Advanced Nutrients in Bulgaria is one of only three companies in the world with a federally licensed permit for cannabinoid research.
Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients
Now on their seventh generation of nutrient lines, the scientists at Advanced Nutrients continue to create new pot-growing systems for farmers looking for consistently huge yields. As BigMike explains, “We don’t just provide nutrients—our line is a complete cannabis growth-manipulation system. We’re seeing growers achieve up to and over four pounds per 1,000-watt light!”
What separates Advanced Nutrients from its competition? “Science and research,” BigMike tells me. “Our products are made to grow cannabis, so they are tested on cannabis by scientists who specialize in it. None of this ‘tomato’ bullshit you hear from other companies. For example, it’s a complete myth that pot plants need a ton of phosphorus during flowering. We’ve been growing legally for over a decade and have discovered many marijuana-specific nutrient needs and fulfilled them. Our team is on the cutting edge and always looking for new breakthroughs in pot-plant growing technology.”
Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients
The philanthropic work done by BigMike and Advanced Nutrients shows that they truly care about the growers and patients without whom the company couldn’t exist. This isn’t mere lip service but real financial help for those in need. After the recent fires that devastated growers in the northern part of the state, Advanced Nutrients donated $100,000 in cash and $100,000 in nutrients to the California Growers Association. Contrast that with Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn, who reportedly gave $250,000 to the Aviation Hall of Fame the same month and nothing to the growers of NorCal.
Advanced Nutrients also launched the Cannabis Care Program 15 years ago to distribute over a million dollars’ worth of nutrients to needy pot growers. In Bulgaria, and now in Los Angeles, the company’s Holiday Heroes program provides necessities to destitute and homeless people and toys for their children.
Legislative efforts are also an important part of BigMike’s agenda. Through the Cannabis Freedom Fund, Advanced Nutrients is fighting to reduce regulations on consumption at events, and the company champions the social use of cannabis and the release of nonviolent marijuana offenders as well the expungement of their criminal records. Advanced Nutrients is backing Gavin Newsom in California’s gubernatorial race because, as BigMike says, “He’s sincere in supporting our community in a big way!”
By never turning his back on the pot growers that supported him, BigMike built a brand that now does over $100 million a year in sales and is expanding into a variety of ancillary businesses and nonprofits. His newest efforts include a world-class research laboratory the likes of which doesn’t exist anywhere.
Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients
Named for the Roman god of crop protection, Lacturnus Labs, based in Los Angeles, is a $20 million facility designed by PhDs in conjunction with scientists from Harvard and MIT. The lab’s million-dollar Shimadzu Nexera unified-chromatography machine can analyze for particles down to single parts per billion. “You can’t hide anything from us!” BigMike tells me. “Diseases are carried in the vascular bundle of the plant. We can test for these pathogens and viruses in cuttings and let the grower know immediately what they’re dealing with. The biggest names in cannabis research are chomping at the bit to work with our equipment.”
The 50,000-square-foot Lacturnus facility will act as an incubator for top scientists with a shared intellectual-property agreement. Once up and running at capacity, the Lacturnus grow operation will be the largest in the world and will provide distribution, volatile and nonvolatile extraction, tissue-culture cloning, packaging and delivery. The lab will also contain a full commercial kitchen for developing and producing best-in-class edibles with consistent microdosing.
Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients
BigMike believes we’ve only scratched the surface of cannabinoid research. (On a personal note, he finds that cannabigerol (CBG) greatly reduces intraocular pressure. Having gone through three corneal transplants, he uses CBG-rich edibles to provide significant relief for his eyes.)
The goal is to achieve an outcome-based recombinant product, meaning a consistent, precise and standardized medicine that’s nontoxic with no heavy metals present. BigMike sees a big future in microdosing with cannabis. “It’s not just about getting high,” he tells me. “A therapeutic dose for a first-time user should be small enough to bind with their cannabinoid receptors without getting them too blitzed. I don’t like to see someone’s first experience with pot being a huge dab that messes them up and has people laughing at them. That’s how you lose a patient for life instead of gaining one.”
To that end, he’s starting a house brand under the moniker BigMike’s Blends that will provide pre-rolls, vape pens, edibles, tinctures, creams and much more. BigMike is planning an international rollout with distribution to the 2,100 dispensaries in California as well as to Europe, South America and Asia. “We want to partner with strong existing cannabis companies in a joint venture to help them scale their businesses up and take them to the next level,” he says. “We’ll even ‘white label’ products for qualified dispensary partners or other retailers.”
BigMike would also like to see licensed producers in Canada and beyond start using Advanced Nutrients instead of mixing their own salts. “Depending on their order size, we’ll provide them with access to our many services at Lacturnus,” he says. “We can test their young plants’ leaves and let them know the future cannabinoid profile of their genetics. If they have a problem they need solved, I will put one of our expert botanists or entomologists on a private jet today to help them solve it!”
I ask BigMike what it means for him to be on the cover of High Times magazine. “It’s pretty damn cool! I’ve been reading the magazine all my life and consider it the gold standard, so it’s quite a big deal for me,” he says. “Advanced and HT have been working together for years to educate people on growing and using cannabis, so it’s an honor to finally be recognized by the best pot publication on earth!”
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Growing the Advanced Way was posted on High Times.