What Puts the Purple in “Purp” Weed?

What Puts the Purple in “Purp” Weed?

[Canniseur: Want to grow purple cannabis? Here’s how it’s done. And yes, it actually exists in nature.]

Weed porn spreads in magazines usually feature one plant with insanely purple flowers. Chemovars or strains like Purple Pineberry, Grape Ape, Grand Daddy Purp, Mile High Purp, Purple Kush, and KF7 can more closely resemble violets than they do cannabis. How does cannabis get such a wide range of colors? And how can a growers cultivate these hues in their own plants?

Cannabis Chemistry: Anthocyanins

The cannabis plant, like any other plant, contains several classes of chemicals. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD remain the most famous, but terpenoids like pinene and myrcene are gaining popularity as the public learns more about cannabis. Flavonoids and polyphenols are additional compound categories slowly coming to the forefront as researchers continue to crack cannabis’s biochemical profiles.

The purple color found in cannabis comes from another category of molecules called anthocyanins. Technically a blue-purple pigment, anthocynanins are responsible for the full range of cooler colors displayed by cannabis plants, from blue to violet. Other purply plants, such as plums and eggplants, also produce anthocyanins. Additionally, these compounds may confer health benefits, such as antimicrobial or antioxidative properties.

The green in cannabis comes from chlorophyll — the little verdant organelles that generate the plant’s energy from sunlight. Anthocyanins naturally reside in all cannabis plants, but the presence of chlorophyll often buries the purple light that would otherwise reflect from the flowers.

Because of chlorophyll’s purple-masking effects, anthocyanins become most visible after the curing process breaks down some of the buds’ chlorophyll. Growers can also force the coloring by fiddling with temperatures in a grow room.

How to Grow Weed So Purple It’s Practically Black?

Black weed? That’s a real thing. BC Bud Depot in Canada sells a plant called The Black known for its unusually dark, deep violet shade. Although The Black’s lineage is a mystery, it likely doesn’t grow this way on its own.

In fact, it’s possible to cultivate purply cannabis plants in a way that minimizes chlorophyll production. To do this, simply lower the temperature during the 12/12 light cycle to 10°C (50°F) during the dark phase.

By lowering the temperature, the plant behaves as if autumn just started. Like brown and red maple leaves littering the streets in the fall, triggering a false autumn forces cannabis to cease chlorophyll production. If the plant already produced ample amounts of anthocyanin – strains such as Black Widow, Black Mamba, Black Diesel, or The Black – with the green gone, it will eventually appear black due to the anthocyanin concentration.

For growers looking for feeds or nutrients to jack-up anthocyanin production, there aren’t any. Only climate changes and genetics can get Mary Jane looking so regal.

What Puts the Purple in "Purp" Weed? was posted on Merry Jane.

‘Feminist Weed Farmer’ & The Radical Act of Growing Your Own Medicine

‘Feminist Weed Farmer’ & The Radical Act of Growing Your Own Medicine

[Canniseur: A book for the conscious consumer. Learn to grow your own in a way that is sustainable in all ways.]

In a how-to grow guide that covers all the basics of outdoor cannabis cultivation, Madrone Stewart’s “Feminist Weed Farmer” sets itself apart from other grow books by remembering to provide its readers with heartfelt words of encouragement along the way. If you follow the steps Stewart lays out in her book, the author believes that “you, dear reader, can grow the dankest, stickiest, tastiest, loudest, highest-vibration cannabis on the planet.”

Throughout the book, practical tips on everything from starting seeds to processing your harvest are thoughtfully framed by the author’s philosophy of growing and consuming cannabis with integrity.

While the book is helpful for all new growers, Stewart has women, queer folks and people of color in mind when she writes that “growing your own weed in your backyard, just like growing your own veggies, can be a radical act that frees you from the cycle of spending way too much money at your dispensary.”

As a backyard home grower myself, I can attest to the fact that the sense of pride that comes along with a successful harvest is deeply rewarding.

When asked what inspired her to write the book, Stewart said it was “the empowerment of all people, especially when it comes to the access of information that can transform our lives in wholesome ways.”

“This is rooted in my belief that all people have the right to thrive and we cannot thrive without access to the skills to improve our lives, which includes the skillful use and cultivation of plant medicine,” she said.

In the book’s introduction, Stewart lays out more reasons why growing your own cannabis crop can be profoundly liberating: the current industry is male-dominated, market-driven and generally not in line with feminist, environmentalist or social justice values. As a conscious consumer, there isn’t yet a reliable way to know where or how your cannabis was produced.

“What a sad twist that this plant that has the potential to cure cancer and when grown, pumped and sprayed with chemicals, ends up being cancer-causing,” Stewart said, adding that she strongly believes your best chance to know that your weed was produced in a sustainable and ethical way is to grow your own.

Stewart wrote the book after years of working on farms in Humboldt County. “Feminist Weed Farmer” is broken up into five main parts: The Plant Life Cycle, Creating a Good Growing Environment, Protecting Your Plants, Harvesting Your Medicine and Hash Making. Some of the tips offered in the conclusion, “Twenty Ideas for Enriching Your Cannabis Growing Experience,” stem from Stewart’s background in Zen Buddhism, such as “meditate and chant in your garden” and “work mindfully, in silence.” Other tips are gentle reminders not to take the whole thing too seriously: “Relax and have fun. Do not let this project stress you out.”

“I am a big fan of focusing your attention on your experience and that fits with Zen ways of thinking,” Stewart said. “When it comes to farming, I encourage folks to make the experience enjoyable, stimulating and empowering.”

The book also includes ideas for what to do with your flowers after harvest, utilizing a “whole-plant” approach — making hash from your trim, using stems and stalks as kindling when making a fire and making your own coconut oil-based lube.

Ultimately, “Feminist Weed Farmer” is much more than just a how-to grow guide, it is a call to action to decentralize and diversify the industry. Stewart sees the current power shift in the industry from small-business owners to big business as “depressing” and devastating to communities in the Emerald Triangle whose economies depend on cannabis. Her vision is of a “diverse industry where people embrace the principles of compassion, collaboration, sensitivity to diversity and respect for the earth and the medicine that she shares with us would stand as a model for all other industries.” This includes other “psychedelic industries to come.”

She believes that women, queer folks and people of color — those who are most often excluded from the cannabis industry — will lead the way in making this vision into a reality and feels that process is in itself as a feminist act. For Stewart, gender equality in cannabis doesn’t look like more women becoming CEOs of canna-businesses, rather, she imagines a more communal, DIY, self-sufficient approach.

“I want weed, kale, sunflowers and Echinacea cultivated in every backyard, terrace and rooftop,” she said. “I would love for the corporate-controlled cannabis farms to fail and I would love to see women and genderqueer cultivators put them out of business. This will only happen if we all roll up our sleeves and sow our own seeds of insight, freedom, beauty and dignity.”

Stewart envisions a world where this powerful plant medicine is shared amongst friends and used to shift perspectives, expand consciousness, inspire creativity and help us tune into our true selves — a future where cannabis is abundant and accessible to all.

‘Feminist Weed Farmer’ & The Radical Act of Growing Your Own Medicine was posted on Cannabis Now.

Farming On the Edge

Farming On the Edge

[Canniseur: California can lead the way in ensuring smaller legacy farmers stay in the cannabis business. Or, they can make it difficult, allowing large corporate farms with generic weed to flourish. Which will it be California?]

Farmers are worried. We are worried and tired of continually getting slammed with new rules and regulations. And don’t even get me started on taxes. Just when you think things are beginning to settle into some sort of acceptable pattern, they slap you again and you just have to figure out how to deal with it.

The latest was a splash email sent out to all applicants to the California Department of Food and Agriculture cannabis cultivation license program. It was a warning that if you don’t have your Annual Permit in process — and almost completed — by the time your Temporary Permit expires, you are basically screwed. Well, they didn’t exactly use those words, but it felt like they did.

There are now almost 7,000 Temporary Cultivation Licenses issued across the state of California. Each of those represents a hard-working farmer who is determined to become legal. These are a small fraction of cannabis growers who have stuck in the game thus far and do not intend to strike out now. Turns out it’s an expensive and time-consuming sport. Maybe if we’d all known how much so when we started to play, we would have walked away from the field. But here we are, tens of thousands of dollars into it, bound and determined to finish the game.

From my vantage point in the heart of the Emerald Triangle, it’s like watching a fog creep over Mendocino County, obscuring thousands of cannabis farms which will eventually fade into oblivion. There are a handful of clearings where a few survivors tentatively hang on. In the distance are the Big Guys, with large open fields of green, flourishing in the sunlight — the corporate giants itching to be able to put “Grown in Mendocino” on their labels. They want to claim they grow “heritage craft cannabis,” even if they arrived from another state, or country, only a few months ago.

It’s just not the same thing as pioneer cultivators on longtime farms hidden deep in the hills.

“Three years from now there won’t be hardly any growers left in the mountains, you watch,” predicts Tim Blake, founder of The Emerald Cup. “By the time Fish and Wildlife gets done with everyone, fewer than half the people who think they’ll survive now — they simply won’t survive.”

It’s starting to feel like the same old story, just those grumpy farmers complaining again. Even our Board of Supervisors doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. But the anxiety is palpable – the fear level is rising as we approach the Third Extinction Event.

The First Event was Jan 1, 2018 when the new law went in to effect. The Second Event was July 1, 2018, when people were told there would be an extension, but the rules were changed anyway and people were not prepared. The Third Extinction is starting now.

Most farmers have Temporary Permits, which began to expire in February and will continue expiring through July. The reason they are expiring is the absurd time limit set in the state law combined with a logjam of thousands of applications to the CDFA, which has totally overwhelmed them and their new computer program. In 12 months, they have awarded just four Annual Licenses. The procedure for coming into compliance is so complex and time-consuming, the small farmers need to hire expensive professional help. Many applications are incomplete because they are still waiting on clearance from other agencies to complete their submissions.

If the state does not come up with an emergency fix soon, another group of our already vanishing breed of craft cannabis farmers will go bankrupt and lose their farms. No doubt some of these will be “originals” who were literally the first to sow Her seeds in the Emerald Triangle. These are the farmers who have voluntarily come forward to enter the legal market, and they won’t be able to return to the illicit market because now the state knows exactly where they are.

Mist-Rising-On-Meadow-1.jpg

For those farmers who have already applied for their Annual Licenses and are in process of hopefully getting approval by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, chances are good they will receive a “Provisional Permit” and be good to go until their Annual is complete. But if they are among the approximate 4,000 who did not submit their Annual Applications in time, they may have to begin the entire process all over again. At the rate they are progressing, that will take a very long time — long enough to put many farms out of business.

I recognize that opening any kind of business can be a challenge and the government will always do its best to impose as many rules and regulations as possible, especially here in our beloved California. But in the cannabis profession, yet a whole other level of stipulations enters the picture. I envision legislators staying up late at night, drinking alcohol and snorting coke, contemplating how to torture us next. We represent the lazy, good-for-nothing hippies who avoided paying taxes for years, I know it.

The mess we are now facing can only be blamed on the legislators who know nothing about cannabis and so made bad laws, and the unknowing bureaucrats who created such unwieldy, stringent, punitive regulations. Each law change means more work for the staff at the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Department of Public Health, who are already swamped with thousands of permit applications. The ones I really have compassion for are the very helpful staff at CDFA. Somehow, they almost always have a smile in their voices when I call, even though they must be inundated with callers. We may grow cannabis, but they cultivate patience at CDFA.

There is no question that it will still take several months for the various agencies involved to catch up. If a solution is not found to supply Provisional Permits to as many farmers as possible, many people predict that by early summer there will be a shortage of flowers and other products on the shelves of cannabis retail shops across the state. Naturally, the Big Corporate Boys will manage to get some permits, so there will be generic cannabis available, stuff that has been grown indoors or in giant greenhouses. The small farmers will be the ones to suffer the most, along with the small manufacturers, distributors, shops and all their thousands of employees.

The glimmer of hope on the horizon is SB-67, recently introduced to the State Senate by Senator Mark McGuire. This bill would allow Temporary Licenses to be extended so that businesses may carry on until receiving their full Annual Licenses. If it passes in the Senate it goes to the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblymember Wood, so it can take 60 to 90 days before finally reaching Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is expected to sign it into law. Such is the turtle speed of democracy.

As spring approaches, cannabis cultivators begin to consider their cultivars for next season and to prepare the soil and garden for the coming crop. Imagine living in the limbo of not knowing whether or not to start your seeds and prepare your gardens. Will the plants you start today, fully legal by California law, still be legal at the end of the month, if your Temporary Permit expires? And now they know just where to find you? Get the picture? Yes, this is every grower’s worst nightmare.

Prayers that this impending disaster is avoided are now being accepted. Thank you.

Farming On the Edge was posted on Cannabis Now.

How to Scrog Your Cannabis to Maximize Yields

How to Scrog Your Cannabis to Maximize Yields

[Editor’s Note: Here’s another somewhat complex technique for growing to harvest the best and biggest buds. Yesterday we published a pruning technique called schwazzing. Today’s technique is called scrogging.]

Even if you haven’t grown cannabis, you’ve likely seen pictures of cannabis crops, both indoor and outdoor, with bug buds growing up through a nylon screen. This screen is called a scrog, short for “screen of green.”

Scrogging will improve the quality of your cannabis plants and increase yields. There’s an art to putting a set of plants together and stretching out their limbs so they don’t grow on top of each other or shade each other out, but we’ll demystify the process.

Keep in mind that each plant is different and there’s no specific measurement for how close or far apart each plant or branch should be. Scrogging involves reading a plant to see what it needs and usually involves some fine-tuning. But with a little time and patience, your plants will be healthy and lush.

Why Scrog Your Cannabis?

Put on during the flowering stage or right before it, a scrog has a few main functions:

  • It stretches out branches to expose more nodes to direct light, thereby increasing your yield.
  • Stretching branches out increases the airflow through a plant, helping to prevent bud rot.
  • A scrog adds support to branches so they won’t flop over or break as buds get bigger.

All of the branches above the screen will fill out with thick buds and most of the foliage below the screen will get shaded out. You want to prune these bottom branches and dead leaves because they either won’t produce buds or will produce subpar buds. You’ll get the most out of your plant if you can redirect resources from those branches to the quality buds above the screen.

Setting Up

To start, pick a set of plants, ideally of the same height and size. It’s hard to scrog plants of different sizes because the screen needs to be level across the whole canopy in order for light to distribute evenly.

Nylon screens come in different mesh sizes, usually 4-6” square. For a smaller grow, try a 4” mesh.

When Your Plants Don’t Have to Move

Scrogging is easier when your plants stay in one spot throughout their entire life, from vegetative stage to flowering, but depending on your setup, you might have to move them.

In this situation, you can just set the screen (more below) after you’ve done all of your topping and let the plants grow into it. You’ll have to touch up the screen a few times over the coming weeks to make sure branches are spaced out evenly and not too crowded.

When Plants Have to Move Into a Flowering Space

Make sure your plants are in their final place because you won’t be able to move them once under the screen. Plants also need to be transplanted to the appropriate size of pot.

A scrog over an outdoor cannabis crop. (SEASTOCK/iStock)

Plant Placement and Spacing

Plants need to be placed so they aren’t crowded, but not so far away that there are big gaps in the canopy. You do want some space in between plant branches when they are pulled up through the scrog—plants will still grow and fill in a little bit because they have at least eight weeks to go through the flowering cycle.

As a guideline, for a 4’ x 8’ tray, try putting in 18 or 21 plants in 5-gallon pots. That would give you three rows of either six or seven plants and should give you a sense of how many plants will fit together. You can adjust accordingly, based on tray and pot size.

Once all plants are in place, it can help to fold the branches back a little bit to get them ready for the screen. Be careful during this step! It’s easy to snap branches.

Fold branches out and away from the main stem, like a flower opening up or peeling a banana. Also keep in mind that some strains are sturdier than others and can withstand more bending.

Stretching the Screen

You’ll need at least four points of contact to put the screen on. Most growers will use a vertical extension that can withstand some force, like a two-by-four or a T-post, at each edge of the canopy.

There are two ways to put on a screen:

  • Place each corner of the screen on one post at a time, stretching the screen as you go.
  • Put the screen on all four contact points somewhat loosely and tighten it down later.

After the screen is on, shimmy it down until it’s on top of the plants. Ideally, you want the screen about 6-9” above the lowest branching of the plants—this is the first topping you gave the plant and the first point at which the plant starts branching, after the stem comes out of the soil.

Once the screen is set in place, make sure it’s tight, especially the edges. The tighter it is, the more it will be able to hold shape and hold the weight of developing buds. Zip ties come in handy here.

You can grab a part of the screen and pull it back and zip tie it to a post to tighten it up. Each point should be tighten about the same amount, so that the screen doesn’t come out lopsided. Be careful not to pull the screen too tight, as it might snap.

Placing Branches

At the end of the day, the branches in the screen should interlock with the branches of all the other plants around it. Think of spreading out your hands and putting the fingers of one hand in between the fingers of your other hand.

An important question to ask before putting branches into the scrog is: Where does the branch want to go? If a branch doesn’t want to stay where you put it, you might need to place it somewhere else. Don’t force it.

Try to fill each square mesh of the screen with a single branch—avoid putting two branches in one square and try not to leave a square empty. This will ensure that each branch gets enough space and light and that the screen is utilized to its maximum potential. You may not be able to do these depending on how much plant material you have, but they are good guidelines to follow.

Stretch a branch out as far as it can go, pull it up through the screen, and rest it on the screen. If it falls through, pull it back one mesh closer to the main stem of the plant.

A good place to start on the scrog is a corner, at one of the posts. Work your way down one of the edges to the next post, and then do another edge until all edges are filled in, then work on the middle.

Work methodically, putting the branches of one plant into the screen before moving on to the next plant.

If you’re having trouble with a certain branch, one trick is to rotate the entire plant—by grabbing the pot and turning it—so that the branch in question is now facing where you want it to go.

After you’re done, it’s a good idea to look below the screen to make sure you didn’t miss any branches. If so, just pop them back in the screen.

Maintenance

Scrogging can stress a plant out, stretching all of its branches around. You’ll probably notice that your plants look a little wilty, or like they “took a hit” after doing it. But fear not—under some direct light, they’ll bounce back, and putting them through the scrog will be worth it in the long run.

It’s a good idea to water your plants within 24 hours of scrogging them, just to give them a little boost to pass the stress of the procedure.

It’s also a good idea to check the scrog 2-3 days later to touch it up. The plants will have grown into the screen a little bit in those couple of days, and you’ll have a better sense of where each branch wants to go and where all the buds will develop.

Above the screen, a beautiful canopy of buds will develop and fill in. But because the canopy becomes thick with buds, anything underneath the screen will get shaded out and most likely die. It’s important to clean up dead leaves and prune small branches that don’t receive light under the screen.

These branches may start developing buds, but they won’t be worth your time and effort. It’s better to get rid of them and have the plant redirect resources to the buds above the screen, making those better and more vibrant.

Original Post: Leafly: How to Scrog Your Cannabis to Maximize Yields

Extreme Defoliation: High-Risk Ways to Boost Cannabis Yields and Bag Appeal

Extreme Defoliation: High-Risk Ways to Boost Cannabis Yields and Bag Appeal

[Editor’s Note: It’s the beginning of grow season with lots of grow articles on new techniques. This is a pretty advanced article, yet anyone who grows cannabis will find it of interest.]

Pruning, or defoliation, is a technique that keeps your cannabis plants healthy and growing properly. By removing small amounts of foliage during various phases of the life cycle, growers can increase a crop’s yield and potency by allowing light to hit bud-producing nodes more directly.

All growers perform some light pruning, but there is a different and more advanced approach to plant training: extreme defoliation. This practice requires the mass removal of fan leaves and foliage from an entire canopy during key phases in the cultivation cycle.

We’ll talk about two prominent extreme defoliation techniques, schwazzing and back-building, and how they push the boundaries of defoliation. Coming with a high risk yet offering high rewards, these techniques polarize opinion. Neither method is recommended for beginners, and growers experimenting with these practices should do so with caution.

If you are interested in these techniques, try performing them on one plant at a time. Experimentation in the garden is highly encouraged, just be sure to start slow to reduce the odds of losing an entire crop.

Schwazzing

From Joshua Haupt’s 2015 book Three a Light, schwazzing takes the idea of defoliation to the next level. According to the book, this practice removes the entire canopy of fan leaves within the first few days of the flowering cycle and then again at the third week.

Joshua Haupt coined the term “schwazzing” to describe the sound of scissors and snipping that takes place during the process. The book’s title refers to getting three pounds of cannabis per light, or about twice as much yield in a harvest or even more.

By the entire canopy, he really does mean every fan leaf below the top two or three nodes. The caveat to this risky maneuver is that the stripped plants must receive proper after-care through a high concentration of nutrients following both defoliations. This is crucial to the recovery process. By removing the fan leaves on the first day of flowering and again on day 21, the plants will be able to replenish the lost foliage before all of their energy transitions toward bud development. By supplementing with a high-nutrient feeding, the plants should push through any shock they may have undergone.

What’s the Upside to Schwazzing?

According to the book, the successful implementation of this technique can promote a massive uptick in the yield of a plant. But keep in mind, neither the book itself nor any review of schwazzing—also called heavy pruning or heavy defoliation—has given an exact explanation for why the practice is so successful. According to the book, the successful implementation of this technique can promote a massive uptick in the yield of a plant. Some growers suggest that the practice of removing such a large amount of foliage from a plant in this stage of its development may trigger a defense mechanism, tricking the plant into developing more buds as a survival technique. One possible explanation points to the fact that cannabis is a wind-pollinated species, and the removal of a massive amount of fan leaves may trigger growth hormones to swell buds as a last ditch effort to receive incoming pollen from a nearby male stamen. Another possible explanation is that the removal of fan leaves promotes airflow throughout the plant and in turn, more vigorous bud growth. However, these hypotheses have not been backed by any study.

The Downsides of Schwazzing

Despite praise and success stories, there is a high risk of crop failure with this method. When it comes to overall plant health, even the heartiest of cultivars will experience some amount of shock after this process.

Unless the grower has expertly dialed in every other aspect of their growing process—including lights, grow medium, temperature, humidity, airflow, CO2, and more—simply feeding a plant more nutrients won’t suffice. Even if everything is dialed in and plants are properly cared for, there is still a chance that they will die under this extreme stress. Some genetics might never fare well under such circumstances and some may handle the process better than others. The bottom line is that although schwazzing may work under ideal circumstances, it’s not a method of defoliation that should be practiced without proper experience. This is not recommended for novice growers or anybody working with sub-par genetics or below-average equipment.

Back-Building

Whereas schwazzing increases the overall yield of a cannabis harvest, back-building aims to build a more dense structure in buds and to create a more aesthetic final product. Back-building, bud-pinching, and bud-swelling are all terms used to describe the process of clipping the tips off of flowering colas in order to promote growth—this builds out, or causes swelling in the remaining bud. This advanced defoliation technique needs to be performed roughly halfway through the flowering process, around 3-5 weeks in. The idea behind it is to redistribute the plant’s natural growth hormones to the power areas of the cola. With this technique, only the very top few calyxes and pistils are snipped, and it’s important to only do one cola at a time over the span of a week or two, so that the plant isn’t thrown into stress or shock.

The Pros and Cons of Back-Building

This technique isn’t meant to increase yields but rather to create more bag appeal by encouraging the plant to produce a more uniform and attractive final product. The downside is that not all plants will respond appropriately to having their tips clipped off. Some plants may end up fox-tailing, creating stringy and unsightly columns of cola growth that indicate plant stress and have less bag appeal. It can also be a very time-consuming process because plants must be clipped over the course of several weeks, never all at once.

Original Post: Leafly: Extreme Defoliation: High-Risk Ways to Boost Cannabis Yields and Bag Appeal

Straight From the Source: Clean Water Tips for Your Cannabis Homegrow

Straight From the Source: Clean Water Tips for Your Cannabis Homegrow

[Editor’s Note: All water is not the same. Cannabis growers need to know the differences and what works best for cannabis plants.]

Like all plants, cannabis requires water in order to perform its most basic functions. Water delivers nutrients throughout the plant, and without it cannabis can’t survive. But in order to raise healthy, strong cannabis plants, you’ll need to pay close attention to the type of water you’re providing your crop.

There are two common misconceptions when it comes to sourcing water for a cannabis garden:

  • All water is the same.
  • Water deemed safe for consumption will also be adequate for your plants.

Water can contain a number of contaminants, some of which are safe to be used in a garden and some that can have serious consequences for the plant’s health. Every grower should know where to source clean water and how to treat contaminated water to make it suitable for a garden.

Know Your pH and PPM

An important term to understand when talking about water quality and distinguishing between water types is pH, or potential hydrogen, which is used to measure the acidity and alkalinity of a given fluid. pH measurement occurs on a scale of 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline).

Examples of highly acidic fluids include battery acid, lemon juice, and vinegar, while highly basic fluids include household ammonia, milk of magnesia, and bleach. Distilled water is neutral with a pH of 7.

Depending on the grow medium you’re using, cannabis prefers its water to be in the 6-7 range, the optimal pH for nutrient uptake.

Another important term to know is ppm, or parts per million. This measures the presence of dissolved solids in water. Because most water isn’t pure H2O, ppm gives an accurate measurement of the percentage of contaminants in a given water source.

Contaminants found in water sources can include:

  • Chemical: chlorine, chloramine, magnesium, calcium, salts, nitrogen
  • Physical: rocks, sand, sediment, organic material
  • Biological: bacteria, mycotoxins, viruses, parasites
  • Radiological: uranium, cesium

Many water sources naturally have contaminants. Streams, ponds, and lakes can contain a range of biological contaminants like bacteria and parasites.

Other water sources, such as treated municipal water, or tap water, is often treated with some amount of chemicals like chlorine, calcium, and magnesium, in order to get rid of the possibility of biological growth.

Water that contains higher quantities of minerals such as calcium or magnesium is called hard water. This type of water has a higher ppm due to the extra dissolved solids in it. Water with less minerals and a lower ppm is called soft water.

How and Where to Source Water

Cannabis homegrowers have several options available at various price points when sourcing water for a garden, each with its pros and cons.

Factors to keep in mind when looking at water sourcing options include:

  • Total cost upfront vs. cost accrued over time
  • Availability of water
  • Overall water quality
  • How difficult it is to scale or increase the amount of water needed
  • Labor needed to bring in water
  • Environmental impact

The options below represent the most practical water sourcing methods available to the average homegrower, but keep in mind that other methods are available.

Water Collection Systems

You can create a system to collect your rainwater or gray water. These systems work very well under the right circumstances and can be both inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

The Pros: Water collection systems such as rainwater catches are a great way to sustainably source water for a garden. These systems can last for long periods of time with little maintenance and can be scaled for any size of garden. Systems like this are especially useful in climates with dry periods where water saving is encouraged.

Gray water recycling is a great way to reuse unwanted water. Using catching and filtration systems, you can recycle water that has already been used on a property.

The Cons: Unfortunately, many jurisdictions have ordinances that either completely prohibit or set strict limits on the collection of rainwater and the reuse of gray water. Proponents of these restrictions argue that there are health and safety concerns for doing this.

Although setting up a simple water-catching system can be inexpensive, there is still some start-up capital required. Water that has been collected either by rain or by reuse will need to be filtered and stored properly, requiring filter systems and specially graded storage containers built to withstand the elements without risk of contamination or breaking.

Unfiltered Tap Water

Contrary to popular belief, using unfiltered tap water on cannabis is not a death sentence for your plants. This type of water varies greatly depending on the municipality and their water-treatment protocols.

Contrary to popular belief, using unfiltered tap water on cannabis is not a death sentence for your plants.

Some cities use incredibly hard water with high levels of contaminants such as chlorine, calcium, and magnesium. While water with a low ppm concentration of these chemicals won’t necessarily kill a plant, it can have a negative impact on the biological activity in organic soil.

One trick to rid water of chlorine is to let your water sit out for 24-48 hours. Doing so will allow ample time for the chemical to evaporate, making tap water usable for growing.

The Pros: Tap water is inexpensive, meaning it’s easy to scale and you can increase the amount needed if you have a high plant count. Also, there’s little labor involved in using tap water after the ppm and pH are adjusted.

The Cons: This option may not be available for growers living in cities with heavily treated water systems. Organic growers will also find that the chemicals in treated water may have a negative impact on the biological life in their soils.

Bottled Water

This water is a great pure, uncontaminated source that’s relatively inexpensive for a small-scale garden. Most grocery stores and shopping centers have bottled distilled water and many companies offer water delivery services at reasonable prices.

The Pros: This water is affordable in low quantities and easy to source. It’s also safe for plants and doesn’t need any extra filtration.

The Cons: The cost of sourcing bottled water will accrue over time. It’s great for small growers, but large-scale growers will find this expensive. There is also a certain amount of labor involved in retrieving the water itself.

This method also has a big negative impact on the environment, in the resources needed to create containers for the water and resources needed to transport the water, such as fuel. Trash is also a consideration with water containers.

Water Filtration Systems

For large-scale growers with less financial restrictions, water filtration systems are the go-to option for an unlimited supply of clean water. There are several effective filtration systems available, though reverse osmosis (RO) systems seem to be the most popular for cannabis cultivators.

These systems work by pushing water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane, filtering out most contaminates. There are many varieties of RO systems that vary greatly in price.

The Pros: Using an RO system will ensure absolute filtration and decontamination, making it the safest method for cleaning large quantities of water for a grow operation. After initial installation costs, this system will supply a virtually endless supply of clean water for a garden.

The Cons: The initial cost upfront for even the most basic RO system can be expensive, hundreds of dollars, with more advanced systems stretching into the thousands. With such a high barrier-to-entry, small-scale growers may find that this system is a pipe dream.

RO systems are also known to waste quite a bit of water, making them high on the list for negative environmental impact. RO systems continue to draw and filter water for a period of time after use, thus wasting water. By installing a permeate pump, you can reduce the amount of water wasted.

Original Post: Leafly: Straight From the Source: Clean Water Tips for Your Cannabis Homegrow

Feminized and Autoflowering – What Kind of Seeds Are Best for You?

Feminized and Autoflowering – What Kind of Seeds Are Best for You?

[Editor’s Note: There was a time when an ounce of cannabis might have half its weight in seeds. The whole seed thing has become very complex. There are feminized seeds. Autoflowering seeds. All kinds of seeds. Find out what works best for you.]

When it comes to growing cannabis, choosing the right strain is not the only thing you should think of if you want to have a fruitful harvest. Selecting the right kinds of seeds can make all the difference as well. But choosing the right kind of marijuana seeds can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you are new to cannabis growing. Not knowing the type of seeds you are about to deal with can present you with all kinds of problems and make your experience a stressful one.

In this article, we are going to explain more about feminized and autoflowering seeds and which ones are the best to use if you plan on growing your own batch of cannabis.

Knowing the Difference

First, we should familiarize ourselves with the main difference between these two seed types. Just like the name implies, feminized seeds produce all female plants. An all-female crop does away with one of the biggest problems that many growers face, which is having to deal with male plants. No male plants mean your cannabis will not be pollinated and therefore will not produce any seeds during the flowering stage.

Autoflowering seeds have a fixed growth cycle and do not rely on the photoperiod. The flowering times of auto seeds are usually fast and only take an average of 8 to 9 weeks. This is a huge advantage for growers who want to see their plants produce yields as quickly as possible. By the same token, it is also a big advantage for growers who want to be discreet and quick about what they are doing.

Pros and Cons of Autoflowering and Feminized Seeds

Just like with most things in life, both feminized and autoflowering seeds have their fair share of pros and cons. When selecting which type of seed to use, you should take into consideration the good and bad qualities that come with your decision.

For starters, are you the type of grower who wants to harvest plenty of crops in just one growing season? Autoflowers usually take around 60 to 70 days to start producing buds, which means you can grow up to three crops – even if you do it outdoors. Regardless of the light cycle that they get, these seeds will automatically flower. However, autoflower cannabis should not be pruned because they will not have the time needed to fully recover.

Growing autoflowering weed indoors also allows you to control the size of your plant, depending on the size of the pot you use. Larger pots will often produce bigger plants, so this is definitely something that is worth keeping in mind. Autoflower plants also tend to contain lower THC levels, so this could be a bit of a turn-off for growers who prefer their weed to have an extra kick to it. This lower amount of THC in autos can be attributed to their ruderalis genes.

Feminized seeds, on the other hand, grow into plants that rely greatly on photoperiods. This can be used to the grower’s benefit as they can manage and manipulate the lights and prolong the vegetative state for as long as they want. And unlike their autoflowering counterparts, feminized seeds can be pruned without risking damage to your entire crop.

From a purely logistical standpoint, feminized seeds also make the most sense because you won’t have to worry about germinating extra seeds. With female seeds, you can germinate only as much as you need.

What Seeds Should You Go With?

The answer to this question all comes down to personal preference. If you want to grow marijuana that is guaranteed to give you large amounts of buds if done right, then going with feminized seeds would be a great option. Having a plant that doesn’t contain any males will save you plenty of time and stress.

Male seeds will not only take up precious space in your garden, but they can also potentially ruin your entire crop. The crop will end up being a failure if your female plants become littered with male seeds. Remember that the whole cannabis industry is largely predicated on growing sizeable female plants, so growing female seeds will not only provide you with big buds, but it can also give you some profits as well (assuming you live in a state or country that has legalized cannabis).

Remember to only purchase from the best seed bank for feminized seeds so you don’t end up with seeds that are of subpar quality.

Now if you’re interested in growing cannabis plants that can flower quickly, then autoflowering seeds would be your best bet. Just keep in mind that even though they have fast flowering times, their buds will contain more leaf materials. The flavor of autoflowering cannabis is also less intense, which may discourage some growers who want the flavors to be more pronounced.

And before buying any seeds – regardless if they’re feminized or autoflowering – always make sure that you are not violating any of your local laws because there are still areas that consider cannabis to be an illegal substance.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to reflect the views of the publication.

Original Post: Marijuana Times: Feminized and Autoflowering – What Kind of Seeds Are Best for You?

Pick The Finest Flower Every Time With These Three Tips

Pick The Finest Flower Every Time With These Three Tips

[Editor’s Note: Learn how to identify a great bud of weed. Whether you’re growing or buying, you want the best.]

Don’t know how to pick the bad from the good? Consider these wise tips next time you’re looking to get some fine herb to puff.

Growing weed is an earthly joy that everyone across the world should experience. But the ability to legally buy the herb makes things even sweeter. As laws begin to relax across the world and a newfound acceptance towards recreational and medicinal-use and culture continues to grow, it’s crucial to know what to look for and how flower should smell and taste– which, most of the time, is easier said than done. Below are three factors to keep in mind the next time you’re legally buying cannabis.


Courtesy of Spliffseeds

Appearance: The First Impression

They say you only get one chance to make a first good impression, and that certainly rings true when it comes to cannabis flower. At a street level, it can be challenging to acquire consistency as well as variety. That’s why going to an established dispensary, coffee shop (we’re looking at you, Amsterdam!), social club, or smoking lounge is ideal because the rigmarole of filtering out the schwag from the good-good is already done for you. That said, there are a few ways to indicate the quality of a flower’s genetics, how apt the grower was, if the trimmers were experienced, how long the bouquet cured for, and the quality of care a cultivation group put toward their product–and, thus, the customer.

Top quality flower should primarily be bud with almost zero leaf ratio. The color of the flower should not be dark brown or yellow, and the actual biomass will have a dense look to it. Calyx development should be totally swollen and, in some cases, displaying signs of foxtailing. The pistils coating the buds will be a mature brown or maroon, and there certainly should not be any white pistils on the flower or signs of seeds. As far as removing all twigs and sugar leaf, this can reflect whether the growers are considerate of using trim for isolator or making oil.

Not all varieties of dried cannabis flower will share the same appearance and structure; so in most cases, “Kush” and indica-dominant strains will produce smaller, dense nugs that looks like it would yield only a few nugs. On the other hand, sativa varieties such as “Haze” will produce buds slightly elongated. They offer more in terms of shape and calyx size.

Everyone is different and basing your experience on which flower offers more value will drastically reduce how much you learn about the plant. It’ll also stop you from enjoying the full-spectrum of flavor, taste, and effects this wonderful plant has to offer.

Three Things To Consider Before You Consuming Cannabis
Courtesy of Spliffseeds

Aroma – The Overall Body

When it comes to properly grown cannabis, people often think of “loud,” “dank,” or “stinking” weed. But it’s so much more than that. The cannabis plant is an extremely unique flower. It posses terpene groups crafted by nature to entice humans, animals, and insects. Today, the market is dominated by extracts and vape pens (which often lack the plant’s natural terpenes, and thus, smell). But the flower scene is still enormous and will only become more popular as society begins to permit smoking-clubs.

When first assessing a strain, pay attention to the complexity of its smell. Perhaps its aroma falls under fruity, floral, earthy, or gassy. Or, better yet, maybe the buds have an even more layered combination that you cannot easily put your finger on. There’s a huge range of flavors and aromas that are present in well-grown flower. The intensity and longevity of an aroma is a true reflection of how the flower will taste.

A poorly grown and dried flower will have an aroma that’s not pleasant to the nose and will most likely taste like plant matter. Over-dried flower can also have the same smell–many describe it as hay or deadwood. Buds that have been picked too early will have an earthy, chlorophyll-based smell to them and will usually have twigs that are soft or unable to snap. You should avoid buying wet flower especially because you’ll lose out per gram in the long run, and the overall experience will be a waste of time and money– it doesn’t even smoke!

Three Things To Consider Before You Consuming CannabisCourtesy of Spliffseeds

Taste – An Infusion of Terps

This is what it’s all about for a majority of smokers– it’s what makes or breaks an experience. On the basis your flower has an appealing aroma, the flavor will compliment said aroma with a unique cocktail of terpenes that’ll coat the mouth like a fine, smokey glass of wine. Dry-puffing a joint or blunt that hasn’t been lit yet will reveal how intense the flavor profile is going to be.

After lighting up the joint, there will be an immediate lung expanding inhale that resonates in the mouth for a short time. A licking of the lips as you breathe in will also reveal the depth of the bud’s flavor, while exhaling will emphasize the richness of taste in a different way. Flowers that possess serious terpenes will display a full range of flavors that can be fruity, zesty, earthy, musky, fuel, gassy, skunky, floral, etc.– the list goes on and on.

Thanks to complex breeding programs and the rise of poly-hybrid cannabis strains, a flavor palette seems to be a huge focus not only for smokers, but also for marketing and branding. Girl Scout Cookies breathed fresh life into marketing in the Cannabis industry, so expecting a flavor-rich hybrid is easier acquired than ever.

Pick The Finest Flower Every Time With These Three Tips was posted on High Times.

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