Effective posting date: 10 November 1995
Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is Max Budgrowth, and I've been a professional hemp producer in the United States for the past 15 years.
Hemp, that wonderful industrial fiber crop responsible for supplying miles of sails, rope, paper, blue jeans, vegetable oil all over the world for thousands of years. Hemp, that wonderful industrial fiber crop which has been targeted for extinction by the United States government, and when in one's possession constitutes a serious offence against society. That hemp. More commonly called marijuana, pot, grass, herb, reefer, etc....
Yes, I'm one of those people you knew in high school who smoked pot behind the gym. I'm also that guy you knew in college who would rather sit around his apartment smoking dope and giving a sophomoric analysis of the importance of class consciousness in social change than go cheer the football team at the homecoming festival.
You lost track of me after college; I stopped looking for jobs in the corporate sector when I realized they all wanted me to pee in a cup. I'm not so young anymore, but I still hold a certain idealism about individual rights, and I still don't trust the government.
So where is this all leading us...
I grow pot. It's what I do for a living. It's what I've done for a living for the past 15 years. I've never been arressted (although there have been some close calls), and I've managed to live fairly comfortably.
I've had to live underground - I don't have a real driver's license, bank account, anything.
I'm ready to stop living underground. Marijuana must be legalized. Hopefully, this column will constitute my small part in the effort. In this column, to be written on a weekly to monthly basis, I will outline and discuss my plan for re-legalization. Also, I will provide information on home growing and cooking. Finally, this web site will serve as an information center for the re-legalization movement.
O.K. Enough said. Let's get to the pot.
First up today is my personal system for homegrowing. Every pot smoker in America should be growing their own for free rather than paying outrageous prices from some dealer. In my opinion, growing small amounts of pot at home for personal use is where the movement must focus. Reasons: 1. pot would be removed from the black market; 2. more control over who has access to it; 3. busts would be very difficult and would probably decrease. More about those issues later.
What I'm going to present today is a simple home system which will fit in a closet and in one three-month period will produce more pot than you can (well, should) smoke in a year. Also, it's relatively inexpensive to set up, and once set up will provide you with a lifetime of free pot. Also, the chances are slim to none that you would ever be caught by the police.
O.K. If you've spent any time at all reading up on marijuana growing in the last several years, you've probably heard of the "sea of green" growing technique. There's a reason for that. It's the best way to grow pot. Basically, the idea is to grow several small plants for a short time in a small space.
Some background information
Let's start with a few facts. Potency of marijuana is primarily a matter of genetics. So find yourself some seeds from good pot. There are several strains of pot bred specifically for high potency and indoor growing - get your hands on some of these if at all possible. If you can't make it to Amsterdam, then just do the best you can locally. Most any strain can be worked with and satisfactory results achieved.
Next fact. Pot grows in two cycles: the vegetative stage and the flowering stage. During the vegetative stage, plants develop leaves and branches, but don't show their sex. During the flowering stage, male plants develop pollen sacks and females develop flowers, or buds. The sea of green method is designed to maximize bud growth, as this is the most desirable part of the plant (like you didn't already know that!).
When growing indoors, you attempt to make the plant start its flowering stage as soon as possible. This is (this where my personal adaptation of the sea of green comes in) done by using two grow boxes - a vegetative box and a flowering box. The vegative box uses a metal halide lamp which is on 24 hours a day, and the flowering box uses an agro sodium lamp which is on 12 hours and off 12 hours. Metal halide light contains mostly blue/white light, which is the best light for vegetative growth. The 24 hour light produces fast vegetative growth and will ensure a quick flowering when plants are moved to the flowering box. An agro sodium bulb contains some blue/white light, but mostly reddish light which is best for flowering. The 12 hour on/12 off light cycle will cause the plants to enter the flowering stage. Finally, when the plants are moved to the flowering box they must be kept in total darkness during the light off cycle.
During the last week or so of the vegetative stage, cuttings are taken for cloning. On your first crop, when you'll most likely be growing from seed, you'll have to keep track of which plant each cutting came from. Then, once the plants begin to show their sex during the flowering stage, you can get rid of the males and have a continuous crop of sensemilla (which, as I'm sure you know, comes from an unpollinated female plant).
Plants should generally require six weeks plus or minus two in the vegetative box. Some varieties require even less. Generally, when the plant has developed three to four sets of leaves, and is about a foot tall, it can be moved to the flowering box. Flowering periods vary between strains, but are generally no less than six weeks and no more than 12. Most strains I've come across are ready for harvest within eight weeks of being put in the flowering box. On your first crop, the male plants will show their sex no less than several days prior to the females. Don't get overzealous when pulling plants. The males will develop pollen sacks which look sort of like tiny bunches of grapes. The females will begin to develop tiny hairs, usually white in color. Wait until you're sure before you pull the males. You generally have a couple of weeks or more to monitor the plants after the first signs of sex appear. The males are often smokable, but I usually save them for "cooking pot," the use of which I will discuss at length on another occassion.
The best way to go with lights is to buy them from a store that specializes in indoor horticultural products. Most cities have at least one such shop (so check your yellow pages), and at least one company (Worm's Way, for example) has a nice mail-order catalog. This way the lights come in a pre-assembled fixture that you can just hang and plug in. They may seem more expensive, but in the long run you'll be glad you bought them. Believe me. You'll pay less for these lights than you'd pay for a couple of months worth of weed (especially with quality smoke going for $25 a gram in some places!). Don't try to take shortcuts and use flourescents - they just can't beat the power and convenience of agricultural grow lights. Also, high intensity discharge grow lights are highly efficient and will use less electricity than flourescents, which will save you money over the long run. Once again, you'll need two lamps: one 400 watt (give or take a few watts) metal halide and one 400 watt (give or take a few) agro sodium. These lights are just strong enough to give excellent performance in our small growing areas.
A quick note about purchasing supplies: Indoor horticulture shops are NOT in the business of selling marijuana growing supplies. So don't ask a shopkeeper which light is the best for bud development in a sativa-indica cross. They may refuse to do business with you. It's best to know what you want when you go in, and pay in cash. Since you'll only be purchasing a couple of medium-intensity lights, it's not likely that you will draw unwanted attention to yourself. Just be cool and don't act stupid.
These are constructed out of two by two's and quarter inch plywood. Use the 2 x 2's to make a frame, then nail the plywood over the frame. The vegetative box needs to be about two feet wide by two feet deep, and about four feet tall. You want to allow enough room for the plants to get about 24 inches tall with six inches of space between the bottom of the lamp and the top of the plants. By hanging the light at this height, you'll never have to adjust the height of the lamp itself. As long as the tops of the plants are between 6 and 18 inches or so from the lamp, you're fine.
The flowering box needs to be a couple of feet taller than the vegetative box to allow for additional growth during the flowering stage. Again, it is important that this box be lightproof so that the plants are in total darkness during the 12 hours of darkness cycle. Lightproofing can usually be accomplished with the judicious use of aluminum foil, black poster board, and duct tape.
Finally, you must install a couple of small fans in each box to circulate air and remove the heat generated by the grow lights. These lights don't get unreasonably hot, especially when compared to 1000 watt HID lights, and a couple of small, inexpensive, clip-on type fans will work fine when properly positioned. Basically, cut a ventillation hole, about 6 inches in diameter, in one side of each box at the bottom. Cut another hole in the very top of the box above the lamp. Install one fan inside the box so that it pulls air in from the ventillation hole in the bottom, and install another fan underneath the ventillation hole at the top of the box blowing air out. You'll need to construct a lightproof "chimney" on the top of the vegetative box to cover the top ventillation hole, and a similar lightproof air shaft to cover the hole on the side. This is where a couple of sheets of black poster board and a roll of duct tape come in very handy. Make sure that the material close to the lamp does not get hot to the touch.
O.K., so now you've got your grow boxes set up. You're now ready to start growing. Get the following materials:
These items should be readily available at most large nurseries and home supply stores. Make a potting mixture by combining the bags of potting soil, worm castings, and perlite. This makes a rich, light soil which pot plants love. Also, this soil will be rich enough to carry the plants through their vegetative stage with no additional fertilizers. Once the plants are moved to the flowering box, begin fertilizing with the Super Bloom fertilizer according to package directions. The soil mixture we're using here is quite rich, and your plants will in most cases do fine with no additional fertilizer. However, proper use of a Super Bloom type fertilizer during the flowering stage can increase production, so it's generally worth doing. Just don't carried away and burn your plants!
- 18 six-inch plastic nursery pots
- a couple of bags of good quality potting soil
- a container of Super Bloom fertilizer
- a couple of pounds of worm castings
- a bag of perlite
- a few dozen one-inch rockwool cubes
- a bottle of cloning solution or rooting hormone
- a small nursery tray with clear plastic cover (often sold as "mini-greenhouse")
- pump spray bottle
For you first crop, plant three or four seeds in nine of the nursery pots, and place the pots in the vegetative box. Push the seeds down into the soil just a half-inch or less from the surface. Water the pot and keep it moist until the seeds sprout and the plants start to grow. This takes anywhere from two days to over a week. The seeds will grow very fast under that metal halide lamp. Pick the strongest-looking sprout in each pot and pinch off the rest. Don't even think about trying to determine the sex at this stage - it's not possible. Once the plants have at least four sets of leaves above the original two seed leaves, it's time to take cuttings for clones and move the plants into the flowering box. This will probably be about a month after sprouting although this varies greatly between strains - I've seen some two to three foot tall month-old plants as well as nine inch month-old plants.
Proper watering is simple, yet extremely important. The easiest way to water is to thouroughly wet the soil until water drains out of the bottom of the pot, then allow the soil to dry to the touch and repeat the process. Too much water will starve the roots of air, and the plant will die. Not enough water will retard growth and possibly cause the plant to dehydrate and die.
Cloning is easy, once you get the hang of it. Here's what to do. You're going to take a cutting and place it in a rockwool cube. Make a rooting solution with a tiny amount of the SuperBloom fertilizer (about 1/10 of the standard strength). With a sharp knife or sharp pair of scisors, snip off two of the bottom branches of each plant just above the main stalk, dip it in the cloning solution or rooting hormone, and insert it into the punched hole in the rockwool cube. Place the rockwool cubes in the nursery tray with the clear plastic cover, soak the cubes with the Super Bloom fertilizer rooting solution, spray the plants thoroughly with water, then cover the tray with the clear plastic cover. The cuttings need to be in a moist, humid environment, which the plastic cover and the spray bottle create. Lift the cover and spray the plants a couple of times a day. Don't let water stand in the bottom of the tray, just keep the rockwool well-moistened. Place the tray in the vegetative box, and move all the other plants into the flowering box. Taken in this manner, most of the clones will root and become health plants. Oh - don't forget to keep track of which cutting came from which plant!
After a few days, check the bottom of the rockwool cube for roots growing through. Once roots appear, plant the clone, cube and all, in a nursery pot. Within a couple of days it's growth will excelerate rapidly. Now is the time to keep an eye on the plants in the flowering box for signs of sex. Once you can positively identify the males, get rid of the male plants and the clones taken from them. From now on, you've got a perpetual crop of all females plants, and the hardest part is over!
Buds will begin to form, and hopefully become quite large. Stigmas, or hairs, will become quite profuse. When a bud stops growing, and the hairs start to turn color, harvest it! Often, different buds on the same plant mature at different times, so it's usually best to keep an eye on each bud.
As you remove a nursery pot from the flowering box, replace it with a plant from the vegetative box. Usually you must place the nursery pot on a stack of books or something in order to get it into the light. I cut a 2 x 2 into blocks and use these. Each time you take a plant out of the vegetative box, take a couple of cuttings for clones. This way, after you get the hang of it, every few weeks you'll be harvesting more pot than you can smoke before the next harvest. I've got my system down to the point where I could run the grow boxes about four months a year, and have enough pot for my personal use and to share liberally with friends for the entire year. Essentially, this setup will produce all the free pot you could ever want for the rest of your life. No need to ever again buy weed on the black market.
That's it. The internet has a good deal of information on marijuana cultivation and other marijuana-related topics. Here are a couple of links to get you started:
Also, check this out:
That's enough for this posting. Think I'll take a few bong hits, eat a bowl of Count Chocula, and watch the Flintstones.-- Max Budgrowth