Use pots made from square containers such as plastic water jugs, etc. More marijuana plants will fit in less space and have more rooting area if square containers are used. This makes your garden a recycling center, and saves you tons of money. two liter soda bottles work great, but are not square. Thirteen will fit in a kitty litter box, and these will take a 3 foot | 90 cm marijuana plant to maturity hydroponically. If you can get four litter boxes in a closet, you can grow fifty two marijuana plants like this vegetative. Spread them out more for flowering. Old buckets, plastic 3 to 5 gallon | 10 to 20 liter containers [food and paint industries, try painters' and restaurant dumpster's], paper paint buckets, old plastic garbage cans of all sizes, and garbage bags have all been used successfully by growers. Do not use paper milk cartons and juice cartons for reservoir hydroponics, since these are difficult to sterilize, and they introduce fungus into your reservoir trays. Inert materials, such as plastic is best. Be sure to sterilize all containers before each planting with a chlorine bleach solution of two tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Let container and medium such as rockwool soak for several hours in the solution before rinsing thoroughly.
Outdoor growing is the best. Outdoor pot by far is the strongest, since it gets more light, it's naturally more robust. No light leak problems. No dark periods that keep you out of your grow room. No electricity bills. Sunlight tends to reach more of the marijuana plant, if your growing in the direct sun. Unlike growing indoors, the bottom of the marijuana plant will be almost as developed as the top. Outdoors, outside of a greenhouse, there are many factors that can kill your crop. Deer will try to eat them. Chip monks and rodents too. Bugs will inhabit them, and the wind and rain can whip your little buds to pieces if they are exposed to strong storms. For this reason, indoor pot can be better than outdoor, but the best smoke I ever tasted was outdoor pot, so that tells you something; nothing beats the sun. Put up a fence and make sure it stays up. Visit your plot at least once every two weeks, and preferably more often if water needs demand. It's a good idea to use soil if you don't have a green house, since hydroponics will be less reliable outside in the open air, due mostly to evaporation. Light exposure is all important when locating a site for a greenhouse or outdoor plot. A backyard grower will need to know where the sun shines for the longest period; privacy and other factors will enter in as well. Try to find an innocuous spot that gets full winter sun from mid morning to mid afternoon, at least from 10am to 4pm, preferably 8am to 5pm. This will be really asking for a lot if you live north of 30 degrees latitude since days are short in winter. Since most gardeners will not want to use the greenhouse in the middle of the winter, you can still use winter sun as an indicator of good spring and fall lighting exposures. Usually the south side of a hill gets the most sun. Also, large areas open to the sun on the north side of the property will get good southern exposures.
East and West exposures can be good if they get the full morning|afternoon sun and mid-day sun as well. Some books say the marijuana plants respond better to morning-only sun, verses afternoon-only sun, so if you have to choose between the two, morning sun may be better. Disguise your greenhouse as a tool shed, or similar structure, by using only one wall and a roof of white opaque plastic, PVC, Filon or glass, and using a similar colored material for the rest of the shed, or painting it white or silvery, to look like metal. Try to make it appear as if it has always been there, with marijuana plants and trees that grow around it and mask it from view while allowing sun to reach it. Filon [corrugated fiberglass]or PVC plastic sheets can be used outside to cover young marijuana plants grown together in a garden. Buy the clear greenhouse sheets, and opaque them with white wash [made from lime] or epoxy resin tinted white or grey and painted on in a thin layer. This will pass more sun than white PVC or Filon, and still hide the cannabis plants. Epoxy resin coats will preserve the Filon for many more seasons than it would otherwise last. It will also allow you to disguise the shed as metal, if you paint the clear filon sheets with a thin layer of resin tinted light grey. Paint will work as well, but may not protect as much. Be careful to use only as much as needed, to reduce sun blockage to a minimum. Dig a big hole, don't depend on the marijuana plant to be able to penetrate the clay and rubble unless your sure of the quality of topsoil in the area. Grassy fields would have good top soil, but your back yard may not. This alone can make the difference between an average 5 feet | 1.5m tall marijuana plant and a 10 feet | 3m monster by harvest time. Growing in the ground will always beat a pot, since the marijuana plant will never become root bound in the ground. marijuana plants grown in the ground should grow much larger, but will need more space for each marijuana plant, so plan accordingly, you can't move them once they're in! You may want to keep outdoor marijuana plants in pots so they can be easily moved. A big hole will allow the pot to be place in it, thus reducing the height of the marijuana plant, if fence level is an issue.
Many growers find pots have saved a crop that had to be moved for some unexpected reason [repairman, appraiser, fire, etc.]. It's always best to put a roof over your marijuana plants outdoors. When I was a lad, we had marijuana plants growing over the fence line in the back yard. We started to build a greenhouse roof for them, and a cop saw us hauling wood, thought we were stealing it [which we were not] and looked over the fence at us and our lovely marijuana plants. We were busted, because he saw them. If he had seen a shed roof instead, there would never have been a problem. Moral of the Story: build the roof BEFORE the marijuana plants are sticking over the fence! Or train them to stay well below it. Live and learn... When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. Water must be close by, or close to the soil surface, or you will have to pack water in. Water is heavy and this is very hard work. Try to find an area close to a source of water if possible, and keep a bucket nearby to carry water to your plot. A novel idea in this regard is to find high water in the mountains, at altitude, and then route it down to a lower spot close by. It is possible to create water pressure in a hose this way, and route it to a drip system that feeds water to your marijuana plants continuously. Take a 5 gallon | 20 liter gas can, and punch small holes in it. Run a hose out of the main orifice and secure it somehow. Bury the can in a river or stream under rocks, so that it is hidden and submerged. Bury the hose coming out of it, and run it down hill to your garden area. A little engineering can save you a lot of work, and this rig can be used year after year.
Guerrilla farming refers to farming away from your own property, or in a remote location of your property where people seldom roam around. It is possible to find locations that for one reason or another are not easily accessible or are privately owned. Try to grow off your property, on adjacent property, so that if your plot is found, it will not be traceable back to you. If it's not on your property, nobody has witnessed you there, and there is no physical evidence of your presence [footprints, fingerprints, trails, hair, etc.], then it is virtually impossible to prosecute you for it, even if the cops think they know who it belongs to. Never admit to growing, to anyone. Your best defense is that your just passing thru the area, and noticed something you decided to take a look at, or carry a fishing pole or binoculars and claim fishing or bird watching. Never tell anyone but a partner where the marijuana plants are located. Do not bring visitors to see them, unless it is harvest time, and the marijuana plants will be pulled the same or following day. Make sure your marijuana plants are out of sight. Take a different route to get to them if they are not in a secure part of your property, and cover the trail to make it look as if there is no trail.
Make cut backs in the trail, so that people on the main trail will tend to miss the cut-back to the grow area. Don't park on the main road, always find a place to park that will not arouse suspicion by people that pass on the road. Have a safe house in the area if you are not planting close to home. Always have a good reason for being in the area and have the necessary items to make your claim believable. Briar and poison oak patches are perfect if you can cut through it. Poison Oak must be washed away before an allergic reaction takes place. Teknu is a special soap solution that will deactivate poison oak before it has time to create a reaction. Apply Teknu immediately after contact and take a shower 30 minutes later. Try to plant under trees, next to bushes and keep only a few marijuana plants in any one spot. Train or top the cannabis plants to grow sideways, or do something to prevent the classic christmas tree look of most marijuana plants left to grow untrained. Tying the top down to the ground will make the marijuana plants branches grow up toward the sun, and increase yield, given a long enough growing season. marijuana plants can be grown under trees if the sun comes in at an angle and lights the area for several hours every day. marijuana plants should get at least 5 hours of direct sun every day, and 5 more hours of indirect light. Use shoes that you can dispose of later and cover your foot prints.
Use surgical gloves and leave no fingerprints on pots and other items that might ID you to the fuzz... In case your plot is discovered by passers by. Put up a fence, or the chip monks, squirrels and deer will nibble on your babies until there is nothing left. Green wire mesh and nylon chicken fencing net work great and can be wrapped around trees to create a strong barrier. Always check it and repair every visit you make to the garden. A barrier of fishing line, one at 18 inch | 45 cm and another at 3 feet | 1 meter will keep most deer away from your crop. Gopher Granola is available for areas such as the North Canadian mountains, where wood rats and gophers will eat your crop if given any opportunity to do so. The best fence in the world will not keep rats away from your marijuana plants! Do not use soap to keep dear away, it will attract rats! [The fat in the soap is edible for them.] Put the poison grain in a feeder than only small rodents can enter, so that birds and deer can't eat it. Set out poison early, before actual planting. The rats must eat the grain for several days before it will have any effect on them. Ultimately, you may find it's easier to grow in a greenhouse shed in your own backyard rather than try to keep the rats from eating your outdoor plot.
When growing away from the house, in the wild, water is the biggest determining factor, after security. The amount you can grow is directly proportional to the water available. If you must pack-in water, carry it in a backpack in case your seen in-route to your garden; you will appear to be merely a hiker, not a grower. Transporting vegetative starts to the growing area is a most tricky aspect of growing outdoors. Usually, you will want to start plant indoors, or outside in your garden, then transport them to the grow site once they are firmly established. It may be desirable to first detect and separate males from females so that no effort of transporting | transplanting | watering males is incurred. One suggestion is to use 3 inch | 7.5 cm rockwool cubes to start seedlings in, then put 20 of them in a litter pan, cover it with another pan, and transport this to the grow site. The cubes can be planted directly into soil. If spotted in route to the grow area, burying a dead cat may be a good excuse for being in the area. Few people would demand to see the rotting corpse! One outdoor grower we know has given up on marijuana seeds. He has several marijuana varieties he likes to clone, so he starts 200 clones in his closet, then transports them outdoors in boxes to the grow site. No males, no differentiation, no weeding, no germinating seeds, no genetic uncertainties, no crops grown for seed, no transporting | transplanting | watering marijuana plants your just going to pull up later, no pollination nightmares, no wasted effort!
Use Super Soil brand in California, as this is the only known soil on the West Coast that is guaranteed to be good. Many other brands are mostly wood products and have very few nutrients, are too moist, etc. Add vermiculite, pearlite or sand to Super Soil to increase it's drainage and aeration. Organic gardeners use their own compost prepared from a mixture of chicken, cow or other manure and household food waste, leaves, lawn clippings, dog hair and other waste products including urine, which is high in nitrogen. Dog hair is not recommended for guerilla gardeners planting off their property where police could find it. DNA tests could prove it was YOUR dog's hair! Use P4 water crystals in the soil to give the marijuana plants a few days worth of emergency water reserves. This substance swells up with water and holds it like a sponge, so that roots will have a reserve if harsh drought makes constant watering necessary. Go real easy on this stuff though, it tends to sink to the bottom of the pot and suffocate bottom roots [new growth roots] and stunts the plant. Use in extreme moderation, let it swell up for at least an hour before mixing with other soil. Plant size in soil is directly related to pot size. If you want the plant to grow bigger, put it in a bigger pot. Usually, 1/2 gallon | 2 liter per foot | 30cm of plant is sufficient. A 6 foot | 180cm marijuana plant would require a minimum of a 3 gallon | 10 liter pot. Remember, square containers have more volume in a square space [like a closet]. Planting in the ground is always preferable when growing in soil. The marijuana plants can then grow to any size, unlimited by pot size. Bat Guano, chicken manure, or worm castings can all be used to fertilize organically in soil. Manures can burn, so they should be composted with the soil first, before planting, over several weeks. Sea weed is available to provide a rich trace mineral source that breaks down slowly and constantly feeds the marijuana plants. If growing outdoors in available soil, look around for leaves and other natural sources of nitrogen and work them into the soil, along with some dolmite lime and composted organic fertilizer. Even small amounts of plant food such as Miracle Gro or Formula Flora plant food can be added to soil at this time. [Organic gardeners frown upon this practice, however. Toxic wastes are produced by commercial fertilizer production] Mulch can be made from leaves and spread out over the garden area to hold in moisture and keep down weeds near the marijuana plants.
It's interesting that pot marijuana plants really do blend in with other marijuana plants to the point that they are unidentifiable by all but the most observant. Even tall marijuana plants grown among several trees will be almost invisible in their camouflage. Outdoors the object is to control access to an area, and not to arouse suspicion. Tuck them here and there, never in a recognizable pattern. Space them out, and fit them in to the existing landscape such that they get full sun, but they're hidden or blend in. Fence lines and groups of several together are best. Try to find marijuana strains that seem to match the surrounding plants. Feed nitrogen to your cannabis plants if they need to be greener to blend in. Some growers even use plastic red flowers, pinned to a plant, disguising it as a flower bush. Visit the marijuana plants at night on full moons, and if your visible to neighbors, appear to be pruning a tree, mowing the lawn, or doing something in the yard that makes you invisible. Dig a hole and put a potted plant in it. The plant's height will be reduced by at least a foot | 30 cm. Some growers top the plant when it is 12 inches | 30 cm high, and grow the two tops horizontally along a trellis. The marijuana plant will never be over 3 feet | 90 cm tall, and never arouses suspicion from neighbors. This type of plant can even be grown in your yard in full view. Many stories abound of having the neighbors over for a BBQ and nobody ever noticed the nice marijuana plants over by the fence...
Plant food and Nutrients
Plant foods have three main ingredients that will be the mainstay of the garden, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. These three ingredients are usually listed on the front label of the plant food in the order of [N | P | K. A 20 | 20 | 20 plant food has a Nitrogen level of 20%. Secondary nutrients are Calcium, Sulphur and Magnesium. In trace quantities, boron, copper, molybdenum, zinc, iron, and manganese. Depending on stage of growth, different nutrients are needed at different times. For rooting and germination, levels of high [P] nutrients with less [N | K] are needed. Vegetative growth needs lots of [N], and human urine is one of the better sources, [mix 8 ounces to 1 gallon | 225 gram to 3.5 liter water], although it is not a complete fertilizer unto itself. 20 | 20 | 20 with trace elements should do it; Watch for calcium, magnesium, sulfur and iron levels too. These are important. One tablespoon of dolomite or hydrated lime is used per gallon | 3.5 liters of growing medium when a hydroponic medium is first brought online, to provide nitrogen, calcium and magnesium. Epsom salts are used to enhance magnesium and sulphur levels in solution. Tobacco grown with potassium nitrate burns better. Plant foods with PN [P2N3] are foods such as Miracle Gro or Formula Flora plant food.
This is an excellent fertilizer for vegetative growth, or through the flowering cycle as well. Consider however, potassium nitrate is also known as Salt Peter, and is used to make men have less sexual desire or impotent, such as in mental institutions. So if certain marijuana plants are destined for cooking, you might use Fish Emulsion or some other totally organic fertilizer on these marijuana plants, at least in the last weeks of flowering. Most hydroponic solutions should be in the range of 150 | 600 parts per million in dissolved solids. 300 | 400 pm is optimum. It is possible to test your solution or soil with a electrical conductivity meter if your unsure of what your giving your marijuana plants. Keep in mind most dissolved solids readings are usually on the low side, and actual nutrient levels are usually higher. It is possible with passive hydroponics, to get nutrient build-up over several feedings, to the point the medium is over saturated in nutrients. Just feed straight water now and again, until you notice the marijuana plants are not as green [slightly], then resume normal feeding. "Pumping" is when you use more watering's to make the marijuana plants grow faster. This is dangerous if you proceed in a reckless manner, due to potential over-watering problems. You must go slowly and watch the marijuana plants daily and even hourly at first to be sure your not over-watering the marijuana plants. Use weaker plant food mixtures than normal, maybe 25%, and be sure your leaching once a month and running straight water through the marijuana plants at least every other time you water.
This applies mainly to marijuana plants grown in soil mediums. Use of light strength Oxygen Plus plant food [or Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide] allows the roots to breath better and prevents problems with over-watering. Check soil to be sure there are no PH anomalies that might be due to Hydrogen Peroxide in the solution. [One experienced grower told us he would not use H2O2 [HP] due to possible PH problems. This should not be a problem if your checking PH and correcting for it in watering solutions.] Be sure your medium has good drainage. At this point, if your watering soil based marijuana plants once a week, you can water every 3 to 5 days instead if you plant them in a medium with better drainage. Pearlite or lava rock will greatly increase the drainage of the medium and make watering necessary more often. This will pump the marijuana plants; they will tend to grow faster because of the enhanced oxygen to the roots. Make sure the plant medium is almost dry before watering again, as the plant grows faster this way. An alternative is to use a standard plant food mixture [stronger] once every three watering's. The nutrients are suspended in the medium and stored in the soil for later use. The nutrients are washed out by two straight watering's afterward and there is no salts build up in the soil. [Does not apply to hydroponics.] Stop all plant food two weeks before harvesting, so that the marijuana plants don't taste like plant food. [This applies to hydroponics as well.]
Do not over-fertilize. It will kill your marijuana plants. Always read the instructions for the fertilizer being used. Use 1/2 strength if adding to the water for all feedings in soil or hydroponics if you are unsure of what your marijuana plants can take. Build up slowly to higher concentrations of food over time. Novice soil growers tend to over-fertilize their marijuana plants. Mineral salts build up over time to higher levels of dissolved solids. Use straight water for one feeding in hydroponics if it is believed the buildup is getting too great. Leach marijuana plants in pots every month. If your marijuana plants look REALLY green, withhold food for a while to be sure they are not being over-fed. More about marijuana plant food »
pH and Fertilizers
pH can make or break your nutrient solution. 6.7 to 6.2 is best to ensure there is no nutrient lock-up occurring. Hydroponics requires the solution to be pH corrected for the medium before exposing to the marijuana plants. Phosphoric acid can make the pH go down; lime or potash can take it up when it gets too acid. Buy a pH meter and use it in soil, water, and hydroponic medium to make sure your not going alkaline or acid over time. Most neutral mediums can use a little vinegar to make them just this side of 7 pH to 6.5 or so. Most fertilizers cause a pH change in the soil. Adding fertilizer to the soil almost always results in a more acidic pH. As time goes on, the amount of salts produced by the breakdown of fertilizers in the soil causes the soil to become increasingly acidic and eventually the concentration of these salts in the soil will stunt the plant and cause browning out of the foliage. Also, as the plant gets older its roots become less effective in bringing food to the leaves. To avoid the accumulation of these salts in your soil and to ensure that your plant is getting all of the food it needs you can begin leaf feeding your plant at the age of about 1.5 months. Dissolve the fertilizer in worm water and spray the mixture directly onto the foliage. The leaves absorb the fertilizer into their veins. If you want to continue to put fertilizer into the soil as well as leaf feeding, be sure not to overdose your marijuana plants.
Foliar feeding seems to be one of the easiest ways of increasing yield, growth speed, and quality in a well vented space, with or without elevated COČ levels. Just prepare a tea of worm castings, fish emulsion, bat guano, or most any other plant food right for the job and feed in vegetative and early flowering stages. It is not recommended for late flowering, or you will be eating the sprayed-on material later. Stop foliar feeding 2 to 3 weeks before harvesting. Wash off the leaves with straight water every week to prevent clogging the stomata of the leaves. Feed daily or every other day. Best times of day to Foliar feed are 7 to 10 am and after 5 in the evening. This is because the stomata on the underside of the leaves are open then. Also, the best temperature is about 72 °F | 22 °C and over 80 °F | 26 °C , they may not be open at all. So find the cooler part of the day if it's hot, and the warmer part of the day if it's cold out. You may need to spray at 2 am if that's the coolest time available. The sprayer used should atomize the solution to a very fine mist; find your best sprayer and use it for this. Make sure the PH is between 7 and 6.2. Use baking soda to make the solution higher PH, and vinegar to make the solution lower PH. It's better to spray more often and use less, than to drench the marijuana plants infrequently. Use a wetting agent to prevent the water from beading up, and thereby burning the leaves as they act as small prisms. Make sure you don't spray a hot bulb; better yet, spray only when the bulb has cooled. Perhaps the best foliar feeding includes using seltzer water and plant food at the same time. This way, COČ and nutrients are feed directly to the leaves in the same spray. Foliar feeding is recognized in most of the literature as being a good way to get nutrients to the plant later when nutrient lockup problems could start to reduce intake from the roots.
It is important to wash leaves that are harvested before they are dried, if you intend to eat them, since they may have nitrate salts on them.