Cannabis growing 101

How to Grow Indoors: A guide for Beginners.

So you’re interested in growing your own cannabis plants for the first time? But before you flex those sticky green cannabis thumbs, understand that growing indoors has a unique set of challenges for first-timers, and the sheer volume of information available on the subject can be completely overwhelming. So, without further ado here’s a guide to indoor cannabis growing that should help simplify the process to help you get started.

Step 1: Designate a Grow “Room/or Space”

The first step in setting up your personal grow is too creat a suitable space in which to do it. This space doesn’t need to be the typical grow “room; it can be in a closet, tent, cabinet, spare room, or a corner in an unfinished basement. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your equipment (and plants) to fit the space.

Be humble and Start Small…

When tackling your first grow project, you’ll want to start small for multiple reasons.
The smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up, plus It’s much easier to monitor a few plants than a large number. Your mistakes as a first-time grower will be less costly. Remember, most new growers will experience some setbacks and lose plants to pests or disease. A failed grow of two plants will put a far smaller dent in your wallet than 15 plants.

…But Think Big

When designing your space, you’ll need to take into account not only the amount of room your plants will need, but also your lights, ducting, fans, and other equipment, as well as leaving enough room for you to work. Cannabis plants can double, even tripling in size during the early stages of flowering, so make sure you have plenty of space! If your grow room is a tent, closet, or  plastic trap walls, you can simply open it up and remove the plants to work on them; otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you leave yourself enough elbow room.

Clean, then clean again,

Make sure your space is easily sanitized; cleanliness is important when growing indoors, so surfaces that can be cleaned easily, is a must. Carpeting, drapes, and raw wood are all difficult to clean, avoiding these materials if possible would save a lot of potential headaches in the future.

Keep the Light out,

Another critical part for a grow room is that it be light-tight. Light leaks during dark periods will confuse your plants and can cause them to produce male flowers.

Other Variables When deciding where to grow your cannabis, keep the following variables in mind.

Convenience

You’ll need to monitor your plants carefully. Checking on them every day is important, and beginners will want to check in several times per day until they have everything dialed in. If your room is hard to access, this crucial step will be difficult.

Temperature and Humidity Concerns.

 If your grow space is already warm or very humid, you’ll have issues controlling your grow environment. Choosing a cool, dry area with ready access to fresh air from the outdoors is highly recommended.

Stealth — You’ll most likely want to conceal your grow from nosy neighbors and potential thieves.You wouldn’t want all your hard work to be a waste.

Step 2: Choose Your Cannabis Grow Lights:

The quality of light in your grow room will be the number one factor in the quality and quantity of your plants yield, so it’s a good idea to choose the best lighting setup that’s within your budget. Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular types of grow lights used for indoor growing.

(High intensity discharge), lights are the industry standard, widely used for their combination of output, efficiency. They cost a little more than incandescent or fluorescent, but produce far more light per unit. Conversely, they are not as efficient as LED lighting, but they cost as little as one-tenth as much.

The two main types of HID lamps used for growing:

(Metal halide), which produce light that has a blueish-white and are generally used during vegetative growth.

(High pressure sodium), which produce light that is more on the reddish-orange that are used during the flowering stages.

In addition to bulbs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood reflector for each light. Some ballasts are designed for use with either MH or HPS lamps, while many newer designs will run both.

If you can’t afford both MH and HPS bulbs, start with HPS as they deliver more light per watt. Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts, but run a lot hotter, are less efficient, and harder on your bulbs. Digital ballasts are generally a better option, but are more expensive. Beware of cheap digital ballasts, as they are often not well shielded and can create interference that will affect radio and WiFi signals.

Unless you’re growing in a large, open space with a lot of ventilation, you’ll need air-cooled reflector hoods to mount your lamps in, as HID bulbs produce a lot of heat. This requires ducting and exhaust fans, which will increase your initial cost but make controlling the temperature in your grow room much easier.

Fluorescent Grow Lights,

Fluorescent light fixtures, particularly those using high-output T5 bulbs, are quite popular with small scale hobby The main drawback with fluorescent lights are less efficient, generating about 30% less light per watt of electricity used.

Plus they tend to be cheaper to set up, as reflector, ballast, and bulbs are included in a single package.

They don’t require a cooling system since they don’t generate near the amount of heat that HID setups do

LED Grow Lights,

(Light emitting diode) has been around for a long time, but the main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would. The benefits are that LED last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which give bigger yields and better quality.

Unfortunately, there are many crummy LED lights being marketed towards growers, so do some research and read product reviews before spending your hard-earned cash.

Induction Grow Lights,

Induction lamps, otherwise known as electrodeless fluorescent lamps, are another old technology  that’s suited for the needs of indoor growers. The induction lamp is essentially a more efficient, longer-lasting version of the fluorescent bulb. The main drawback of these fixtures is their price and availability.

Step 3: Give Your Cannabis Plants Air,

Plants need fresh air to thrive, and carbon dioxide is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, easily achieved by means of an exhaust fan placed near the top of the room to remove the warmer air, and a filtered air inlet on the opposite side near the floor.

You’ll need to ensure that temperatures remain within a range for your plants, between 70 degrees F and 85 degrees F when lights are on and between 58 degrees F and 70 degrees F when they are off.  (generally indica strains) prefer the lower side of the range, while others are more tolerant of higher temperatures.

The size of your exhaust fan will depend on the size of your grow space and amount of heat generated by your lighting system. HID systems put out a ton of heat, especially if they aren’t mounted in air-cooled hoods.

It’s a good idea to set up your lights, turn them on for a while, and then determine how much airflow you’ll need to maintain a comfortable temperature for your plants, plus If the odor of cannabis plants in bloom will cause you problems, add a charcoal filter to your exhaust fan.

you can create a artificial environment by using an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and supplemental CO2 system, but this is quite expensive and not recommended for the first-time grower.

Finally, it’s a good idea to have a constant light breeze in your grow room as this strengthens your plants’ stems and creates a less hospitable environment for mold and flying pests. A wall-mounted circulating fan works well for this purpose — just don’t direct it at your plants, that could cause windburn.

Step 4: Monitoring your plants,

Once you have selected your lights and climate control equipment, you’ll want to automate their functions. While there are sophisticated (expensive) units available that control lights, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels, the beginner will generally need a simple 24 hour timer for the light and an adjustable thermostat switch for the exhaust fan.

Timing the light/dark cycle is very important when growing cannabis; generally you’ll want your lights on for 16 hours per 24 hour cycle, while the plants are in vegetative growth, then switch to 12 hours of light per 24 hours when you want them to bloom. You need your lights to turn on and off at the same times every day or you risk stressing your plants out. You can use a timer for your exhaust fan as well.

With the most basic models, you simply set the thermostat on the device to the maximum desired temperature for your space and plug your exhaust fan into it. Once the temperature rises to the level you set, it will turn the fan on until temperatures fall a few degrees below the set threshold. This saves energy and maintains a nice steady temperature.

It’s also a good idea to keep a pH meter or test kit on hand so you can check the pH level of your water, nutrient solution, or soil. Cannabis prefers a pH between 6 and 7 in soil, and between 5.5 and 6.5 in hydroponic media. Letting the pH get out of this range can lead to nutrient lockout, meaning your plants are unable to absorb the nutrients they need, so be sure to test your water and soil regularly.

Step 5: Cannabis Grow Medium,

Growing indoors means you have many different methods to choose from, and whether it’s good old fashioned pots full of soil or a rockwool grow cubes in a hydroponic tray, every medium has its benefits and drawbacks. Here we’ll examine the two most popular methods and the media they employ.

Soil,

Soil is the most traditional medium for growing cannabis indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer (like Miracle Gro), which is a BIG, no no for growing cannabis.

A very good choice for beginners is organic pre-fertilized soil (often referred to as “super-soil”) that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients, if used correctly. This can be made yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and letting it sit for a few weeks, or it can be purchased pre-made.

Soilless ( Hydroponics)

Indoor growers are increasingly turning to soilless, hydroponic media for cultivating cannabis plants. This method requires feeding with concentrated solutions of mineral salt nutrients that are absorbed directly by the roots through the process of osmosis. The technique for quicker nutrient uptake leading to faster growth and bigger yields, but it also requires a higher order of precision as plants are quicker to react to over or underfeeding and are more susceptible to nutrient burn and lockout.

Step 6: What to Grow Your Cannabis In:

What type of container you use will depend on the medium, the system, and the size of your plants. A flood-and-drain, tray-style hydroponic system may use small net pots filled with clay pebbles or just a big slab of rockwool to grow many little plants, while a “super-soil” grow may use 10 gallon nursery pots to grow a few large plants.

Inexpensive options include disposable perforated plastic bags or cloth bags, while some choose to spend more on “smart pots,” containers that are designed to enhance airflow to the plant’s root zone. Many people grow their first cannabis plants in five gallon buckets. Drainage is key, though, as cannabis plants are very sensitive to water-logged conditions, so if you repurpose other containers, be sure to drill holes in the bottoms and set them in trays.

Step 7: Feed Your Cannabis Plants Nutrients:

Growing high-quality cannabis flowers requires more fertilizer, or nutrients, than most common crops. Your plant needs the following primary nutrients (collectively known as macronutrients):

-Nitrogen (N)
-Phosphorus (P)
-Potassium (K)

These micronutrients are needed as well, albeit in much smaller quantities:

-Calcium
-Magnesium
-Iron
-Copper

If you aren’t using a pre-fertilized organic soil mix, you will need to feed your plants at least once a week using an appropriate nutrient solution. These nutrients are sold in concentrated liquid or powder form meant to be mixed with water, and generally formulated for either vegetative or flower (“bloom”) growth. This is because cannabis has changing macronutrient requirements during its lifecycle, needing more nitrogen during vegetative growth, and more phosphorus and potassium during bud production.

Most macronutrients are sold in a two-part liquid to prevent certain elements from precipitating (combining into an inert solid that is unusable by the plant), meaning you’ll need to purchase two bottles (part A and part B) for veg, and two bottles for grow, as well as a bottle of micronutrients. Other than these basics, the only other nutrient product you may need to purchase is a Cal/Mag supplement, as some strains require more calcium and magnesium than others.

Once you’ve purchased the necessary nutrient products, simply mix them with water as directed by the label and water your plants with this solution. You should always start at half-strength because cannabis plants are easily burned. It’s almost always worse to overfeed your plants than to underfeed them, and over time you will learn to “read” your plants for signs of deficiencies or excesses.

Step 8: Water Your Cannabis Plants:

Most people won’t think twice about the water they use on their plants; if you can drink it, it must be fine, right? Well, it may not be an issue, depending on your location, but some water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals that can build up in the root zone and affect nutrient uptake, or it may contain fungus or other pathogens that aren’t harmful to people but can lead to root disease.

Additionally, some places may have high levels of chlorine in the water supply, which can be harmful to beneficial soil microbes. For these reasons, many people choose to filter the water they use in their gardens.

The most important thing to remember during this phase is to not overwater. Cannabis plants are very susceptible to fungal root diseases when conditions are too wet, and overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by the beginning grower. How often you water your plants will depend on the medium used, size of the plants, and ambient temperature. Some people will wait until the lower leaves of the plant start to droop slightly before watering.

As you gain experience and knowledge, you will alter your grow room and equipment to better fit your particular environment, growing techniques, and for the specific strains you choose, but hopefully this article will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge to get started on the right foot. And remember, growing cannabis is a labor of love, so spend a lot of time with your plants and have fun!

 

Advertisements

Conspiracy Theories

conspiracy theory 
–noun
1.
a theory that explains an event as being the result of a plot by a covert group or organization; a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a group.
2.
the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

A definition of the thing itself is frequently a good start. The thing about the nature of the conspiracy theory that jumps out right away for the observer is the question of their reality.  Conspiracy theories exist in the realm of the questionable, the possible and the rumored, and they live a sort of half-life in which they struggle to become real.  The drama of conspiracy theories is the drama of the almost, because as proof of the conspiracy theory seems to gather substance and weight for some, simultaneously, for others, it grows more and more tenuous and seems to evaporate into vapors and mists.

     It is not a peculiarly American thing, though we Americans certainly love our conspiracy theories.  We have them around the Lincoln Assassination and the Kennedy Assassination.  We have them around 9/11 and we have them around the elections of 2000, 2004, 2008 and recently with the Trump Administration.  We have them around the Trilateral Commission and Iran/Contra.  We have them around Vietnam and we have them around Iraq.  We have them everywhere.

I believe that it is not a good idea to dismiss Conspiracy Theories completely.  They are a sort of paranoid thinking, and paranoid thinking never simply pops into existence without some reality behind it.  There is always some truth in it, in some way. The challenge is to find it and account for it.  The truth needs to be honored.

     This may, in fact, be the cause of a lot of conspiracy theories in the first place:  Honest observation of odd behavior that is discounted by folks in authority.  Failure to offer explanations for odd behavior on the part of authorities, gives rise to wild speculations that grow more wild the longer the denials go on.

     Authority likes to look monolithic and perfect.  Acknowledging any error or fumbling makes authority fear for its grip on power; it’s more comfortable issuing a denial that acknowleging a goof-up/cover-up.
The more complicated the cover-up becomes, the more mistakes are made in maintaining it, and the less skillfully it is done.  Therefore the more wild the speculation grows to cover the contradictions in the various versions of the cover story.

     By the end, with some of the more elaborate cover-ups, the conspiracy theories used to make sense of them include flying saucers and alien abductions.  These sorts of conspiracy theories take on a life of their own.  I would be surprised if, at this point, anybody knows what the original cover-ups were actually about, but at some point they appear to have grown large enough to have dragged in a legitimate weapons testing and development site in Nevada, which required addition cover-ups to conceal the development of stealth aircraft.

     One of the features of Conspiracy Theories is that they may grow large enough to create what are called pseudo-communities.  The stories become convoluted enough to require narritive bridges, in other words, to make sense of the Theory.  The bridges make sense of theory but may make little or no sense in real life, requiring people who believe in these theories to believe in connections that are logically unreasonable.  Sometimes you can see these plotted as if they were true in horror movies, where your wife is an alien monster who sucks brains from french poodles, or some such.

     Whole cultures can subscribe to Conspiracy Theories, and even hold matching Conspiracy Theories that put their mutual existence in danger.  The Soviets believed that the West was looking for an excuse to invade them and wipe them from the earth (based in part on the 1919 invasion of the Soviet Union by the Allied Powers after WWI), while The United States believed that a hoard  of Soviets would come pouring through the Fulda Gap into Western Europe.  Both sides believed that the other was waiting the Nuke them into oblivion.  The reality was that it was a close thing, in part because of mutually held conspiracy theories based in part on reality.

     There is always some reality.

     There are loads of Muslims who believe that Zionists bombed The World Trade Center.  This makes perfect sense to them.  Loads of Egyptians believe that the British SIS assassinated Princess Diana, and, as I understand it, a fair number of Brits have that in their heads as well.  The reasoning for why may be different.

     There are and have been loads of Conspiracy Theories directed at the Jews by just about everyone.  The Brits have had Centuries of experience with Conspiracies against Catholics.  Any number can play.

Anyhow, that’s my thinking on the matter with conspiracy theories. 😉

Anti-intellectualism

While ultimately ‘anti-intellectualism’ is nothing more than another version of ‘us and them’, it takes on a very bitter sense with people. Don’t forget that America is founded on two principally opposed traditions: individualism and egalitarianism…

The Simpsons are a good example but not Stephen Hawking, it’s the guy who owns the comic book store and has dreams about Seven of Nine. He’s weird, but harmless, he talks about things that you just don’t have to care about.

Intellectuals, connotatively defined, talk about or are supposed to talk about things that matter, things that are important. Maybe we really don’t care about those things all that much (Homer, Hannibal’s elephants, Shakespeare etc.), we know these are important in some abstract sense. They are the preserver of our tradition. That’s their job.

It’s okay. Well, not quite, it’s okay that they do that but we really don’t vote for these people (and never have), they don’t have any practical sense, they’re not one of us and won’t represent our interests, the real interests of those who really work for a living.

An intellectual is supposed to be noble and when they aren’t, when they not only study insane things like the use of astrology as a guide to Shakespeare’s plays or compare early nineteenth century views of masturbation in young women with the novels of Jane Austen, but also challenge the common sensical ideas of truth, of common sense, and the way we know things to be true, well, we feel betrayed.

That’s not what they’re supposed to do.

There will always be a view of the intellectual as a patrician, as someone we’re supposed to look up to, and Americans resent that (not completely without good reason). It angers even more when that same intellectual tells you that the patrician view of the intellectual is nothing more than a social construction, that it’s not true — but still acts as if it were, still refuses to get off his/her pedestal an act and talk like the rest of us.

Still acts like they’re better than you and tells you what to think.

“Who do they think they are? They haven’t done an honest day’s work in their life.”

Conservatives see this, they see this resentment and capitalize on it. The Left has always villified the rich, but the rich have countered by villifying the elite (those intellectuals in those universities and their friends). Look, they think they’re better than you, they don’t talk like you, they want to change you and your lifestyle.

It’s an amazing thing really, the separation of the rich and the elite.

And the Left fell for it. The intellectual Left (beginning with the Vietnam war) became ever more enamoured with Far Left theory and not the day to day concerns of people. When criticized, they now label the critics as ‘conservative’ and the conservatives now label the Left as ‘intellectuals.’

That is, they are out of touch with us. They are the patricians. Follow the rich, we’re the ones that have worked hard for our money, we deserve respect, we won’t take your hard earned money, we don’t understand all this new fangled jargon, we believe in the same things you do, we’re just like you.

It’s an amazing thing that so many people buy this, that the Right doesn’t have an intellectual, academic base as well.

Because of course they do.

Because an intellectual act, denotatively defined, is simply the act of maintaining a sustainable argument that others can follow, agreeing or not.

It’s anyone who goes beyond. “Well, that’s just my opinion” an attempts to show why someone else should agree with it as well.

Intellectuals talk about things that interest them and talk about them in depth. The goal of an intellectual is to persuade.

And that endangers the right of everyone to have an opinion, doesn’t it?

Or does it?

What defines perfection?

Two things here:

#1. This begs the need for an infallible definition of the word ‘perfect’ and every person’s access to that.

#2. This also implies that anything less than this loosely defined concept in one’s own life is deficient and unfulfilling. 

Let’s expand on #1.

The term perfect, like so many others, is entirely subjective. It cannot be measured against one standard. Here you might interject and claim that you are well aware that perfect might mean different things to different people and so the perfect life is indeed waiting. However, in essence, that would defeat the idea that we aren’t ‘masters of our fate’. If we can therefore determine perfect for ourselves, surely we could navigate our own way there. Nothing spiritual in that I’m afraid…doesn’t speak to me of a created place ‘waiting’ for us.

Added to the philosophical flaw, let’s look at the practical reasons for why there is not a perfect life waiting for everyone. 

A – there are not enough resources per person in the world to support a ‘perfect’ life for all. 77% of earth’s population (stats from 1999 sociology class) exists in suffering – from a socio-economic pov. Where, do you suppose, are all these people –  on their unwitting journey towards their perfect life – going to find the necessary resources to outfit an extraordinary transition from misery to perfection?

B – such a premise would assume that this perfect life occurs for some. Could you please point out enough examples of a perfect life, whether in history or in the present, to affirm this? Can you also explain how you determine that those lives consititute a perfect life? 

C – You might be thinking, what about choices? Well, What about the social condition? One could find themselves in is solely a matter of personal choice. I believe, and sociological, psychological and anthropological research supports this belief, that the values of one’s culture becomes entrenched in one’s life. As a result of this, I don’t think all actions are a matter of ‘choice’. Hence, a near-starving mother of 5 hungry children in India, does not have a lot of choice to strike out on her search for her waiting perfect life. The practical reasons are obvious. However, her cultural beliefs, class system, and her gender identifications will also bind her.

#2.  I personally won’t wait for that perfect life. I will always strive for personal happiness. Frankly though, I’d be bored horribly in a perfect life. Life for me has seen many trials, many times of despair and loss. These times have taught me many things, given me much strength. I am grateful for that. I think difficult times – times that fall far short of the perfect life – are necessary for our growth and wisdom. Seriously, the idea that a perfect life waits and we have to make choices to get there undermines this. It implies that choices which bring us pain are bad, and therefore stunt our designed potential as humans to find our perfect lives.

I am afraid, if this comes across as solely a romantic notion, primarily because you have assigned a creator or entity as responsible for this fate. I am curious – and this is not a criticism per se, but true curiousity – how can you, or anyone else, place unshakeable faith in a perfect life created by an anonymity? Without a personal relationship to work from where is the evidence for personal faith? 

Which brings me to my concluding point.

Basically, from what I understand, if I were to put your whole disagreement in one sentence it would read something like this:

There is a being who has chosen your fate, he/she/it leaves clues for you to find, you look out for them, and depending on your choices you either arrive or don’t arrive at a ‘perfect’ life.

It seems inherently contradictory to me that our Anonymity picks out perfect little lives for 12 billion + people in the past and present and who knows how many in the future and then doles out a few clues to help us on our way. Humankind, as a whole, is either very dense, or there simply aren’t any clues…

For really – what is the POINT of designing this great, perfect life if no one ever gets there? (Please refer to my first point #1 B).

I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable having faith in an Anonymity who created a path for our time on earth that no one has ever reached the end of.

And to sum up: choice and fate are simply just oxymoronic in the same sentence.

What is “Rational self interest”?

I was reading about Ayn Rand’s philosophy called Objectivism … in particular about her view on ethics.  Basically her explanation of ethics is what she calls rational self interest.  This was not entirely original, since “egoism”, as a philosophical view of ethics, came before Rand.

But while reading, I saw some potential problems.
A quote from the Ayn Rand website to explain what “rational self interest” means:
“Man — every man — is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.” Thus Objectivism rejects any form of altruism — the claim that morality consists in living for others or for society.”
And another quote about social morality:
“The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that no man has the right to seek values from others by means of physical force — i.e., no man or group has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. Men have the right to use force only in self-defense and only against those who initiate its use.”

The question I have is, if we take the first statement to be true, about self-interest being supreme, how can we conclude the second statement about social morality to also be true?  If every man is an “end in himself”, why should I consider seeking values from others by physical force to be unethical?  Especially if I can, as many do, justify it in my own mind as harmonious with self interest?

This is where egoism seems to me most dubious … when certain moral principles are taught as obligatory, while at the same time the achievement of self-happiness is taught to be the highest moral goal.  From within this paradigm, what can be said persuasively to those who will agree enough that self-interest is King, but will deny any moral imperatives concerning their behavior toward others?

It seems to me that placing Self interest at the hub of every action might just be a fallacy, and a gross oversimplification of motive.

As David Hume put it, “The love of simplicity has been the source of much false reasoning in philosophy.”