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  • Low budget indoor grow

    Growing cannabis indoors, is usually understood by many as something expensive, that requires of high investment to get a nice crop. This believe, together with others like difficulty of growing indoors usually turns into users declining the investment, and keep accessing black market. In this chapter we will talk about existing options to set up a marihuana growth indoors for a low budget. in this post we will detail what in our opinion is most important when a grower starts his first indoor operation, and what it's best to invest in to don't waste a penny.

    Low budget first indoor grow

    Every single grower has a first time growing. Today we will try to give a brief explanation about basic steps when planing our first indoor operation, to succeed in our will.

    The basics of a plant to survive are light, substrate and water. If we pretend getting good results in our first indoor operation it is recommended to don't safe money in any of these concepts, as those are the main pillars for a proper developement of our plants.

    Priorities when investing in cannabis growing

    One of the more tipical cases in-between growers with low budget is investing most of it in well-known seeds (an usually expensiver), neglecting with it many factors, specially those that could help creating a better growing enviroment. Our thoughts are these: We could have the best genetics in market, if we don't give plants the best enviroment possible, we won't get the best performance from them. So what's the meaning of all this? It is better to invest in tools that guarantee better conditions for our plants, to get the most from every single strain we grow. In practice this means that from our point of view it is better to invest our budget in elements like extractors, substrate, etc. lowering the amount dedicated to seeds or fertilizers, so no matter the strain grown, we will be able to get the most of it. Another example we can give is growing in a room: If we pretend to set up one fixture, and we are deciding if setting it directly in a room or buying a growtent, the difference in budget is clear. To everything we'll need to grow in a room, we must add the cost of the growtent. If we don't use the growtent, we can safe that money and invest in in other parameters needed for growing.

    Shopping list with low budget indoor grow in mind

    The first we should create is a shopping list of needed products, and then detailing the importance of each one, to give different options to get a good match quality/price. These is what we need for our first low budget indoor grow operation:

    Ballast
    Lamp
    Reflector
    Extractor
    Odor filter
    Ducting
    pH meter
    Pots
    Substrate
    Timers
    Fertilizers
    Seeds

    Today we won't explain the difference between different fixtures, we will only say that if we are looking for something that gives good results for the lowest price possible, the ideal would be to get an HPS 600w kit, with mixed-spectrum lamp, and a basic reflector, type Kit Vanguard 600w. This will allow us to safe some money in something we can improve with the pass of time and growing cycles (when the high investment is done and the only thing needed to change are those elements we are willing to upgrade).

    About fan and carbon filter the best solution is to buy a tubular extractor that guarantees 280-300 m3/h, and an odor filter with the same diameter and slightly superior capacity than the extractor (350-400 m3/h). It has to be oversized (in volume capacity) or otherwise we will suffer from smell escaping from the room.

    Independent from the number of plants used (and so for the amount of pots) a good choice for the substrate is a Lightmix type, as it is a good quality soil, prefertilized for 15-20 days, for a lower price compared with other ones more prefertilized.

    Another important detail is pH meter. As we are talking about a low budget grow operation, probably the best choice is getting one of those cheap pH meters that use few drops of a liquid to change the color of the water so we know more or less the ph of it.

    Referring to timers, our recommendation is to buy two of them. One Legrand to control the switching ON/OFF of the light, and another one (cheaper) to control fans and extractors.

    Referring fertilizers, we want to be clear about this: What we must have when we grow is a grow fertilizer and a bloom fertilizer. Once we have both, if our low budget allows us, it is recommended to also get a root booster and a bloom booster, that will help improving the result and the yields.

    About seeds: It is not worth it to buy the most expensive seeds in market if we don't have the skills nor the tools to give them the best care. In our shops we usually explain that there are hundreds of strains available that, by many factors, have a lower price so they are more suitable for low budget growers. Some of these strains are not only good, they have been awarded with multiple prizes, what gives us an idea of the quality. It is interesting then to chosee cheap feminized seeds, instead of wasting money in expensive genetics that will decrease our budget in other compounds.

    Improve the initial purchase if your budget allows you

    Reverse Osmosis Filter

    Digital pH and EC meters

    Climate controller

    High quality reflector

    Digital ballast

    More efficient fixtures

    We have listed in the first place the RO filter because in our opinion high quality water is one of the essential elements when cannabis growing (specially indoors). It is not rare then that plants watered within RO water, nutrients and boosters, will become healthier, stronger and deliver higher yields. As an anecdote, after more than 15 years advising growers how to grow cannabis, we detected that giving two different growers the same tools and seeds, with the only difference of an RO Filter the difference in yields can be up to 100g per light (within 1sqm growtent and a 600w fixture). To this increase of yields we should add the improvement of quality in flowers, also derived from the water quality improvement.

    Following with our improvement list, having a digital pH meter and EC meter will also help much. Mainly what we will be buying is accuracy when pH reading (compared with the cheap liquid drops), in addition to know if we are giving our plants a too high or too low dose of nutrients. All brands of nutrients give recommendations for dosing their nutrients. Even though it will be always better to manually check our ppm levels, as we've never seen a brand apologizing for a dose that killed our plants...

    The next point is the climate controller. Temperature and humidity of an indoor operation is a key factor. Same way a high temperature can derive in pests, and a low temperature could harm plants, it happens the same with humidity. The reality is that with a little of ingenuity and a timer we can safe this element for a while programing the ON/OFF of extractors, but in long-term having a climate controller is a warranty for our plants to always stay on perfect temperature and humidity conditions automatically (getting rid of headaches, effords and time).

    The three following points quoted (reflector, ballast and fixture) go by hand, as those all try to be more efficient in light use so improving yields using the same amount of light (that obviously the electric company will charge us for). So the efficiency in light-use is basic to reduce our cost per cycle. Let's go step by step:

    Reflector: As we already said, if we begin our operation with a basic 600w HPS kit with its stucco reflector, the investment in a higher quality reflector should be something we must do sooner than later. A stucco reflector usually has a reflextivity of about 6-10%. This means that if a lamp emits light 360º, half of the light emited will go straigh down, and from the other half only a 10% will be directed back to plants (from the 100% of light used, or 600w, we are only taking profit of about a 55%, or 330w). This situation changes dramatically if with replace that basic reflector for a professional one with a reflectivity of 95-95% type: Azerwing or Adjust-A-Wings. With these reflectivity numbers in hand it is not rare to notice a huge yield increase (due the higher efficiency in light use).

    Digital ballast: Traditional copper ballasts (or in some cases aluminium), have inside a coil of these materials. These coils execute a resitance, so when a fixture is sold as a 600w, it means the lamp will receive 600w to boot the light on, not that it consumes 600w. In these type of ballasts, what is normal is a consumption of 1,2-1,3 times superior to 600w (what could be about 720-780w). It is not rare then that if we replace our conventional ballast for a digital one, with more modern technology, our light consumption will drop between a 20%-30%. To this consumption decrease, we can also add another feature of digital ballasts: these technology gets higher lumens per watt ratio (larger yields), and produce less heat (what also derives in lower temperatures inside the growroom).

    The concept of more efficient fixture refers to new technologies appeared that improve performance of HPS technology, for the same or less consumption. In this case CMH fixtures, or LED lamps. While LEC fixtures guarantee a yield improvement for the same electrical consumption, LED lights in addition improve another key aspect as it is heat (producing way less heat than CMH fixtures, and of course than HPS).

    Buying complete sets or purchasing separately

    This point may cause some of you to don't agree, but from our point of view, it will always be cheaper to buy everything together in one place, that walking around trying to buy the cheapest from each store. The main reason is that there are growing kits that give you everything needed for cannabis growing with a discount for buying the complete set. To this you should add the time and gas used to go to each store. Another interesting point is always check the offer section, where we upload products every week.

    We hope this post to help guiding all those who are preparing their first cannabis grow with low budget. If you think this text has been interesting please push that Like to help creating new useful posts. If you still have any question or doubt we could solve do not hesitate to send us your questions.

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  • Cannabis transplant - How and when

    Cannabis transplant from one pot into a bigger one is a very recommended technique by experts, in addition to being so beneficial to plant's health. Cannabis, as many other plants, has a tendency to send roots to the bottom and sides of the pot, leaving unattended the central area of the pot, what detracts performance possibilities of the final yield. Even though there isn't a norm of when to proceed with a cannabis transplant, in this post we will give you some advices of how and when to transplant cannabis to get more benefits.

    What does cannabis transplant mean?

    Make a transplant of plant means to move it from one container to another (usually bigger one). This at first look can seem to be something simple, has its advantages, but also its inconvenients, so it is important to know when to proceed with a cannabis transplant, and how to do it so plants suffer the minimum possible.

    Benefits of cannabis transplant

    Cannabis plants have a natural tendency to send their roots to the bottom and sides of its main root center. Plants grow their root system this way same as buildings need foundations to hold the aerial part. If we place our seed in a container, after some days we'll see how roots have colonized the bottom of it, besides the sides, creating a dense root system in all the perimeter of the pot, what allows plant to know which are its possibilities of vertical and horizontal growth. Due this reason we can notice a different morphology when plants are grown in different shaped pots (rout or squared) as well as in different size pots. This appreciation tells us that plant's morphology goes by hand with how roots have formed the root system.
    As we said, the natural growth of root system of plants has a tendency to search for the ends of the container but... What happens in the central area of the container? Even though it is true that main root, as well as its secondaries, will pass through the center looking for the ends, its mission is not to fill the center, so the center will be unattended of root mass (this detail is easy to check once plants are chopped taking the plant out of the pot and doing a transversal cut). So here it is the main mission of a cannabis transplant, and the highest benefit of a cannabis transplant: Get the root system to fill the whole container and not only its perimeters.
    Another secondary benefits of cannabis transplants could be offering new substrate to plants (with more nutrients available), give larger space to roots in order to get bigger plants, enlarge the distance in-between irrigation...
    So it is clear then that cannabis transplant is a global benefit for plants that directly derives not only in its aerial growth, also in its root growth, what helps getting larger yields.

    Pushing the corners of the pot to free the root block

    When to proceed with cannabis transplant?

    As we previously explained the main mission of a transplant is to give more space to the roots, and get a better container filling, so in order to get those benefits we must know that transplants should always be done while roots are in developing stage. This occurs mainly along vegetative stage of plants, as even though in flowering stage plants may create some roots, are not focussed in that, so it is worthless to do transplant in flowering stage. So if we pretend getting benefits from a cannabis transplant, we should do at least one, or more transplants, while plants are in growing phase.
    When is the exact moment for a cannabis transplant? If we take as reference that each pot has a certain volumen, and this will be the limiting, together with the time plants had been in i. As urgent transplant symptoms we have:

    > Symptoms of blockage in plant's development.
    > Fading and loss of fan leaves.
    > Quick water absortion in substrate.
    > Visual control of roots shows symptoms of rootball.

    How to cannabis transplant?

    We have detailed reasons why it could be beneficial to proceed with cannabis transplant and move plants to a bigger container (or in-ground). Now the following question is: How to proceed to transplant?

    1- The first we should know before transplanting from one container to another is if the substrate is dry enough. A humid substrate could hinder the process, with high possibility of decomposing the substrate block.

    2- Once we've checked the substrate is dry the following is to prepare the pot in which we will place the plant for further development. Our recommendation is tu fill half the pot with fresh substrate (the reference of how much is got placing the old pot on the surface of the added substrate, checking that it does not surpass the height of the new pot).

    3- Place a pot from the same size used to keep plants on the surface of the soil added (placing it in the center of the new pot) and fill the sides with new substrate.

    4- Press softly the substrate added so it takes form, assuring that there is not space unfilled.

    5- Take the pot out (it will leave the exact space to place our plant in). In case of having mycorrhizae, or other beneficial bacteria add to the hole following the recommended dose of each brand.

    6- Place the pot that still contains the plant and press the superior endings of the pot, to get the pot separate from the substrate. Once this is done place your hand on the surface of the substrate in a way the main stem stays in-between your fingers and turn it up-side-down.

    7- With the plant up-side-down pull the pot out from the plant so the roots will keep uncovered.

    8- Place the plant in the hole prepared previously.

    9- Fill with more substrate the surface in case of needing.

    10- Proceed to irrigate within a good root booster.

    Transplanting step by step

    How many transplants are necessary?

    If talk about essential, or needed for a proper development, the answer is none. What? Yes you read it right, if we talk about essential, a cannabis plant does not really need to be transplanted, in fact there are many growers who got great results without needing to transplant, so that's why we say it is not essential. However, if we pretend to build a healthy and powerful root system it is recommended to proceed with at least 1-2 cannabis transplants before placing the plants in their last pot.

    The most common thing talking about transplants is that indoors you should do 2, while outdoors it is more common to do 3-4. If we do more or less will depend on the starting point (size of the first spot) and the size of the definitive pot in which we want to place the plants.

    Recommended pots for marijuana transplant indoors

    For indoor growing the first we should think is the type of garden we will execute:

    - SOG: Sea of Green.

    - SCROG: Screen of Green.

    Why? becase we should know which will be the ending size of the pot used. While in a SOG garden growers usually use 5-7L sized pots, in a SCROG what is recommended is to use 15-20 liter pots to get the plants develope quick enough to cover the growing area the sooner as possible.

    If our intention is to proceed with a SOG what's recommended is to begin with 1L pots, from there move plants into a 3 liter pot, and then into a 5-7 liter pot.
    On the other hand, doing a SCROG what's recommended is to start with 1L, later on place plants in 3L pots, from there jump into the 7L after what we'll jump into 15-20L.

    Recommended pots for cannabis transplant outdoors

    Growing outdoors has a key characteristic: A long vegetative stage. Thanks to this, we can transplant cannabis more times, before placing plants in the definitive pot (or in-ground).
    In this case we should pay special attention to an important detail beyond the pot volume: Sun and its impact in pot's plastic.

    It happens more often than desired that a grower uses pots from an indoor grow to use them outdoors, deriving in a common phenomenom: The son warms up the plastic pots, that contain humid substrate in, turning into root "cooking". If we want to avoid this we should buy pots thought for outdoor growing (more thick and usually white, or at least not black), porexpan pots, or fabric pot like Smart Pot, that avoid this effect.

    Once we have the pots our tip is to proceed with 3-4 transplants along vegetative stage (what in the northern hemisphere occurs between April and July).

    A good size to start with is 1L, to then place plants in 10L, later on in 20-25L, before transplanting them into a 40-50L pot (or in-ground).

    A good option that we specially like when we pretend placing the plants in-ground is to use big-sized fabric pots (200-300 liters). In these cases we can proceed in two different ways:

    - Make a hole in the ground and place the pot in it (our favourite option as plants will be more protected from hard winds and also from indiscreet eyes, besides being a great option to keep root temperatures under control).

    - Place the pot on ground.

    The bes advantahe of using big-sized pots is the great yields will get with only one plant, while its main disadvantage is the plant will be less discreet than growing more smaller plants.

    Place the root block to avoid root-ball

    Autoflowering cannabis transplant

    We didn't want to forget talking about autoflowering seeds in this post, as their characteristics, and special needings, make them very different to others. We want to highlight that autoflowering seeds should never be transplanted in any case.

    Firstly because these type of automatic strains are very susceptible to stress issues, and any kind of transplant could be harmful.

    Second because these genetics have a natural tendency to start flowering in cases where the root system has reached the ends of the container, so it causes an early flowering begining, reducing notoriously the final yields.

    If we take these two main reasons, it is clear then that the best way to grow autoflowering strains is to place them directly into the definitive pot (and never use a jiffy, what can also cause dwarfism in autoflowering seeds). The volume of these pots will depend on a main factor:
    The ideal plant size at late flowering (usually expressed in the description given by the seedbank). We could simplify it in two main groups:

    - Small autoflowering strains: The ones that don't grow taller than 40-60 cm.

    - XL Autoflowering strains: Those strains that grow taller than 1 meter height.

    While those smaller autoflowering strains can be grown in 10L pots, for the XL ones it is recommended to use 15-20 ñiter pots to get a higher performance.

    As we couldn't get the benefits from cannabis transplant with autoflowering seeds, we aim you to read our post about how to stimulate growth of autoflowering seeds.

    Capture of the roots before transplanting

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  • Hermaphroditic strains - The weed nobody wants

    Today we will talk about hermaphroditic strains, a disease many growers suffer, that is consequence of absurdities made by others. Unfortunately the word hermaphrodite is included in cannabis dictionary, as it happens more often than expected, throwing away efforts, money and specially time. Today we will talk about some strains known for its high tendency to hermies,and also about where all these trending appeared in cannabis seed market come from.

    What does hermaphroditic strains mean?

    As many know, cannabis plants have two differenced sex (male and female). These sexes are the reason why cannabis growth has survived for centuries, and the main reason because today we can enjoy this amazing plant, that gives us pleasure and happiness.
    Unfortunately, the concept hermaphroditic appeared in the equation many decades ago, and we should pay attention because it is the reason of many problems for growers indoors and outdoors.
    The definition of hermaphrodite (in living organisms) means that it has both sexes in one and only individual caused by a somatic or phisic anomaly. This definition then means that a hermaphroditic plant shows both sex organs (from a male and from a female).
    This detail, that could not alarm to those foreign to cannabis cultivation, is the worst fear of cannabis growers, who don't want to hear a thing about strains with this mutation.

    Problems of strains with high hermaphroditic tendency

    The mean problem for cannabis growers is that only cannabis females are accepted for consume, as those are the only ones that produce flowers with high content of THC, CBD... This circumstance, discovered many years ago, showed that a female that had not been pollinated by any male reached higher levels of THC, than those that had been fertilized with pollen, that focus all their energy in form the seeds.
    Even though when talking about preservation of cannabis it could not happen without the pollination occurred in a natural way, in recreational and medical use of this plant the higher benefits are got when pollination does not occur.
    Is at this point when we realize the huge problem it means the appearance of a female that also develops male flowers, because if not detected with time, it might ruin the whole crop due a uncontrolled pollination. This problem, already big enough, when added to the genetic domination of this trait transmitted generation to generation, makes non viable the use of those seeds (in a percentage high enough that makes almost impossible to find a single seed that does not develop this trait).

    Underground industry and cannabis breeding

    Most of the readers know that cannabis legalization (in some countries) is very recent, what made many growers had been working in secret, being very discreet to keep their favorite genetics. This is the case of great names in cannabis history like Breeder Steve (Spice of Life), Savid Joseph (Dj Short), Nevil Schoenmakers, Simon (Serious Seeds), Soma (Soma Seeds), Howard Marks, Scott Blakey (Shantibaba), Davit Watson (Sam the Skunkman), Robert Carroll, Subcool or Old Ed among others. The illegal consideration of cannabis did not stop them (thank god it didn't), so they bred most of the actual cannabis comercialized strains (in its own state or taking part in a crossing becoming new strains). From their hands many strains were born, now familiar to everyone: Northern Lights, Skunk, Haze, Blueberry, White Widow, besides other hybrids that domesticated landraces to make them growable indoors and outdoors.
    From all that industry in the shade many growers have taken profit all around the world, using their seeds to get crops they had never imagined.

    Breeding, selection and crossing

    As we previously said many of today's strains come from a previous development, that become unforgettable individuals that now are part of cannabis history. In our opinion the best quality of quoted breeders is their capacity of selection and crossing to get a strain that presents those desired certain characteristics by everyone. This detail is specially important in times where it wasn't impossible to analyze samples in laboratory, so it all fell on breeder's choices when deciding which male or female to use. Even though select and keep a female can seem an easy thing, the reality is that likes of every grower can create huge differences in which individual to be selected (some could think it is awesome and other may think it isn't). To these personal likes of what does it mean a good female we should add an extra difficulty of selecting a good male (that won't be smoked, so it is difficult to know what does it transmit to the offspring). In addition the qualification of illegal cannabis has had for years has caused that many valued individuals had been lost, by neglect, due to pests o by police bustings.

    Hermaphrodism and its scene appearance

    Hermaphroditism (or monoecious plants) can have 2 origins: genetic or environmental.
    From a genetic point of view, some genetics are more susceptible to hermaphroditic traits than others. In example it is known that a high hermaphroditic strain is Thailand sativa.

    The other possible factor, the environmental, shows us how more than a tendency genetic, a cannabis plant could herm under high stressing conditions. These conditions are usually related to difficulties in plant's evolution, causing an internal change in plants, that react forming male flowers (besides female flowers). Some of the most known factors that might cause stress are:

    -Change in photoperiod: Interruptions, alterations or lack of stability in dark period of plants, specially along flowering stage.

    -Extreme heat: Constant high temperatures (over 30ºC).

    -Late harvest: Notoriously exceed the harvest window period.

    -Structural stress: Conditions that could harm structure of plants (stems, roots, prunnings...).

    -Hydric stress: Due to lack or excess of irrigation. Can also be caused by the use of too cold or too hot water.

    -Nutrient overdose: Specially when too much phosphorus or too much potassium is used to feed plants.

    -Use of toxic products: Pesticides or plant growth regulators.

    Hermaphroditic strains or with high hermaphroditic tendency

    Some believe that hermaphroditic strains can only derive from feminized seeds, but nothing further than reality, as even though some techniques used to get feminized seeds may cause high percentage of hermaphrodism in offspring, these traits can also be transmitted in crossings where a true female and a true male match.

    In today's market we can find many strains with high tendency to hermaphroditism, from which most of them have share the same factor: An individual selected from an involuntary pollinations in a growing space, in which an environmental stress derived in a growroom full of female flowers filled with seeds. The grower, who didn't want to get rid of those seeds, used sprouted them and selected one that, in the bast scenario, didn't herm, but was transmitter of those traits, so it carries this tendency to all its offspring.
    Up to date we have described some of the factors that may cause our plants show hermaphroditic traits, but... Which strains are known by showing these traits?

    Blueberry: It is not new that Blueberry was one of the first strains known for its hermaphroditic tendency (inherited from its possible parental of thailand sativa). Dies this mean all Blueberry plants will show this trait? No, but it does mean that this is a susceptible strain that suffers it under certain adverse environmental factors.

    Kush strains: Even though it's true that kush strains don't necessary have to present this hermaphroditic trait, most of the existing hybrids got crossing two or more sub-species of kush has become in a tendency in this group that is not negligible.

    Gorilla Glue: This amazing strain, from which all growers have heard about by many reasons, is of those strains born from an uncontrolled environmental pollination occurred in a growroom. This origin has created a love and hate relation with growers, who know about its high tendency to herm, causing many crops full of seeds.

    How to avoid a strain turning to hermaphrodite?

    As we mentioned some strain do not depend on environmental factors to herm, but ¿what happens with strains with high hermaphroditic ratio? The solution if we work with one of these strains is to stress them as less as possible, specially along flowering stage, so the risk possibilities will be reduced to the minimum expression.
    The first thing in these cases would be to keep environmental conditions the most optimal possible, work with hygiene, paying attention to your timers. Another key point is to keep our plants free from pests and disease, and maintain the feeding schedule under control to avoid possible nutrient-locks.
    It is also recommended to proceed with a research previous to purchase of seeds: Even though many seedbanks do tests before releasing a new strain, there isn't a better test than many growers (with different conditions) growing the same strain, sharing their results. Even though it won't be always a strain fault, if many growers have problems when growing a strain, maybe it is better to stay away from it to save problems. At the same time, if a breeder (or seedbank) detects high hermaphroditic strain in their catalogue probably he will remove it from market and stop selling it.

    How to proceed if we find hermaphroditic strains in our garden?

    Arrived to flowering stage in our garden it is specially important to daily check our plants looking for possible hermaphroditic traits (male flowers). These flowers can be easily detected due its characteristic yellow color and its banana shaped form. If one of our plants gives symptoms of female flowers and male flowers in early flowering stage the best we can do is to remove that plant immediately (and chop her down). In case of detecting one of these plants in mid. flowering stage we can act in two ways:

    - In cases where plants produce few male flowers we can proceed to remove them one by one and keep the plant controlled for future appearances. Always before removing those bananas is better to spray plants with water to avoid the pollen contained in the bananas to be released when removing.

    - If a plant produce large amounts of male flowers we recommend to immediately remove it from the garden and chop her.

    It can also happen that these hermaphroditic traits appear at the end of the flowering period, moment in which the best decision is proceed to a flushing (if it has not been done yet) y harvest them as soon as possible to avoid any male flower evolution that could release pollen.

    What happens if I find seeds in my crop?

    If you have already harvested your plants, your flowers are dried, and you find seeds in your cannabis, the most probable thing is one of your plants hermmed on you. Some of the male flowers from this hermaphroditic strain formed released pollen enough to fertilized partially other females, what derived in seeds in your flowers.
    As we commented the low (almost null) viability of these seeds (due carrying hermaphroditic traits) we can do two things:
    Assume that every nug we grind will contain seeds that we will need to take apart and throw away before consuming the weed.
    Use all that crop with seeds to get resin extracts: Iceolator (water hash) or rosin, so we will get a top quality product, free from seeds.

    We hope our explanations and tips help you when choosing a new strain to grow, and to detect possible hermaphroditic strains in your garden.

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  • Grow cannabis outdoors for the lowest cost

    Grow cannabis, at first look, may seem complicated, something that many will say you need such a big investment, space and effords. In this aspect, like in many others, SantYerbasi disagrees with those that try to trick users, looking for more profits, and from this post we will talk about how to grow your wee for the lowest price, and 100% organic.

    Grow cannabis with low budget

    Most growers interested in self growing usually think about savings of no needing to buy in the black market what they can produce at home, for a lower price, in addition to acquiring more control over what's consumed. At this point is where appears the first important detail: Is it expensive to grow cannabis? Is it possible to grow cannabis with a low budget? The answer to these questions is easy: Grow cannabis for self consumption is quite cheap, and it gets more expensive as more limits are exposed.

    If our mission is to grow cannabis for the lowest price, you have to notice a very important thing: The cheapest way of growing cannabis is doing it outdoors, as sunlight has no cost (for the moment, even some parties try to tax it), and for the results gotten were yields per plant are way higher than indoors. These two parameters are very important, because with few plants (3-4 medium-sized) we can get our needings for the whole year covered.

    Even many people tend to think that indoor grown cannabis has more quality than outdoor grown, in our opinion, cannabis plants grown outdoors (with good skills) has nothing to envy to indoor grown ones. Obviously some limits could happen (not having a grow space like a terrace, balcony or garden), what makes it impossible to grow outdoors (so we will be forced to grow it indoors), but whenever possible, our tip is to proceed to grow cannabis outdoors.

    Needed products to grow cannabis

    Obviously the first step to grow cannabis is get some seeds. Nowadays the price of a cannabis seed could range from 5€ to 20€, depending if we are purchasing them by units, in packs of 3, packs of 5 seeds... As the wide availability of seeds offers us strains for all likes and purposes, our tip is not saving money when choosing the seeds, as its price, compared with the performance we'll get from them makes derisory the little price differences. As an example we like to expose the experience of a customer we will call X, arriving to our store asking for seeds from the strain he likes most: Jack Herer. By many it is known that Jack Herer seeds are one of the expensivest seeds in market, what could make that a 3 feminized seedpack costs 60€. The answer from the customer to this price usually suggests that it's way too expensive, so he/she would like to find something cheaper. Our opinion regarding this is that there are hundreds of top shelf strains for a lower price, that probably will leave us satisfied but, if we know for sure that strain is the one we like, why not paying that extra cost for what we like instead of trying something new that maybe likes us or maybe not? I mean are the 40€ difference (compared with 3-seedpacks from other brands or strains) too much for something we sure know we like?

    Equation: Seed cost VS Yields in grams per plant

    Cost of Jack Herer feminized seeds: 20€/seed.
    Expected yields: 300-600 grams per plant
    Cost difference per seed, compared with cheaper ones: 15€/seed.

    15€/300 grams: 0,05€ per gram, of increase for smoking our favourite strain (taking as a reference the minimum expected yields). If, instead of taking the lowest yields we supose we'll get the highest yields (so 600 grams per plants) the difference would be 0,025€/gram increase. Said this, many will understand that 0,05-0,025 €/g increase is such a ridiculous difference, so no need to go for the cheaper ones.

    For those that even though, still go for a cheaper option, do not worry, there are plenty, and as we previously explained, the quality of a strain does not match its price (price may depend of many other factors), so there are hundreds of them that we will probably enjoy.

    Following with the needed products to grow cannabis outdoors, once the seeds chosen, there are two key points: A good quality growing medium, a fertilizer for growing stage and a fertilizer for flowering stage.

    Choosing the best soil for cannabis?

    Substrate is very important, as it is the growing medium where plants will develope in, and within it plants will get what needed for a proper developement. This is way, no doubt, save budget in this point has no sense (purchasing low quality substrates). Our experience tells us there are many specialized brands producing soil for cannabis (with desired pH and EC levels for its healthiest developement), for a similar price, and even in some cases cheaper than soils sold in garden centers.

    We understand as soil a mix of substrates (peat, coco, perlite,...) that gets a balance in which plants will develope better, faster and healthier. When deciding which substrate is more convenient for us it depends on some factors, being probably the most important how prefertilized it is. Substrates are usually categorized by heavy prefertilized, medium, prefertilized, and low prefertilized. As it properly describes this categorization, knowing how prefertilized a substrate is gives us an idea of how long will it take before plants demand adding nutrients.

    Obviously a substrate contains a limited amount of nutrients, and therefore it is a must to use fertilizers to help plants achieve its best performance.

    Understanding that it is impossible that a soil guarantees a full cycle without needing to be fed, the choose of one or another type of soil is directly associated with our budget (as those cheaper substrates are the ones that will demand earlier our action to add nutrients, while those more prefertilized, will give us more time before needing the same action).

    Powdery nutrients brands

    So it is clear then, that independently from how prefertilized a substrate is, what we should look for (when trying to save some dollars) is a quality substrate for the lowest price: Best option are low prefertilized soils.

    Fertilizers soils

    Low cost fertilizers for cannabis

    As we already commented, what's important when trying to get high yields is our plants to enjoy its medium, with any lack. This situation, used by many brands to try selling growers dozens of products, the only thing that means is that the only must use products are a grow fertilizer and a bloom fertilizer, to guarantee all nutrients needed by plants for a full performance (the first one will keep our plants green and the second one will fill our flowers and enhance resin production).

    When talking about a low cost cannabis growth, our tip is to only buy these two type of products, as boosters and stimulators will help, but are not essential.

    In a previous article we discuss about best fertilizers for cannabis (from here we aim you to read it), in which we explained the different formats available of nutrients (liquids or powder, besides mineral or organic). Today, being or subject grow cannabis for the lowest cost, we aim you to use powdery nutrients, not only because its cost it's way cheaper, also because its ease of use, and for the low attentions needed, as grower will only need to top dress the susbtrate once every 10-15 days (unlike liquid fertilizers that will need to be prepared every time you water plants).

    Being more explicit, our recommendation for a full cycle are two products: Worm castings and bat guano. Worm humus will source with humic acids needed for plants in vegetative stage while bat guano will source the needed phosphorus and potassium for a heavy flower production.

    Growing autoflowering plants outdoors

    Outdoor growing is not exclusive of photodependant strains. there is an increasing hype, of growers that see on autoflowering seeds the desired characteristics for their purposes. These type of strains can be grown all year long, and a a much quicker growth cycle, so growers can harvest more times per year (notice the yields per plant won't be as high as regular ones).

    Talking about requirements, automatic seeds match the same needings than regular strains, with the only special feature its quick cycle, that conditions when choosing a proper pot. If due hour location, daylight hours, or because needing a quicker crop we choose these strains, from SantYerbasi we can almost guarantee the result will be satisfactory, specially if we choose some of the newest XL Autoflowering seeds (that can even triple the yields of the first generations of autoflowering strains).

    For those that have never grown autoflowering seeds, we recommend you to read some post written in our blog, in which we explain how to get maximum performance from these special genetics. To summarize, we will tell you that these strains get their best performance when grown under longer daylight periods, so outdoors you will get its best yields when grown between May and July in Northern Hemisphere. These plants require less space, are they don't usually grow taller than 4-5 feet and less nutrients (its quicker life cycle and its compact size makes their nutrient needings much lower.

    Conclusions low cost grown cannabis

    As explained, if we grow outdoors, the costs of a cannabis grow is super low. If we have the space where to grow,we can get a crop for a whole year, for a budget not higher than 50€-100€ what, compared with the price, for a similar amount purchased in black market, is ridiculous. No doubt, those looking for a self growing, not only will get their flowers for an extremelly cheaper price, they probably will increase the quality of whats consumed.

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  • Cannabis copyrights the legal battle begins

    Today it could seem rare, but there was a time, previous to cannabis seedbanks and cannabis copyrights, when hybrids actually marked as classics only existed in a world of ideas. The same way as marble contains an sculpture inside, cannabis plants were pure landraces, from Mexico, Colombia, Afghanistan, Thailand, India... waiting to be hybridized by first generation growers.

    Was back in the 80's when Skunk, and first comercial cannabis strains, like Northern Lights or Haze, started to earn reputation in-between growers and tokers. In the 90s, the OG Kush took the streets of California, same way it happened in New York City with the Sour Diesel. Those became trademarks: aroma, taste, strength... These new hybrids had its own characteristics, and a huge comercial impact. Ever since, competitors have increased. In the current legal market of cannabis, the impact of cannabis strains is tougher than ever before. Internet is full of sites where strains are classified, described, compared and sold; and the need of deciding what is owned by who, and determine what's new in an industry that has been on the shade for long time.

    Almost all industries depend on patents. Even though, due the singular cannabis legal context, all the work done has not been able to be registered with its cannabis copyrights. There are thousands of strains that are legally owned by no one. For decades, breeders, looked how other brands used their genetics to develope new ones, or even reproduce them (and sell them under the same comercial name).

    Now, the legal situation is changing progressively and more pharma companies focus their attention in cannabis; now, big corporations see in cannabis a multimillionary industry; and facing this legal abandonment situation some questions appear: Is it possible to get cannabis copyrights from genetics? And, whatever the case, Would it be positive?

    Copyrights: Current situation

    The current state of cannabis copyrights, or better explained, the lack of it, is a rare historic fact. Holland, back in the 70s regulated the sale of cannabis (in authorized places), gave the first cannabis copyrights register in 1996; and Medisinis, a female clone from a Skunk selected for a nactional medicinal cannabis program, was registered. Even tough, looking all over the world, not much more has been done to protect genetics.

    In Spain copyrigths have no precedents relating to cannabis, and the situation is a total abandonment for growers. The case is that you can get patents to any new invention that implies an invective activity, or susceptible of any industrial application. Even though, a patent referring to a certain strain of a plant, or biological processes can't be given, so all the strains got from crossing, or selecting, can't be copyrighted. The only way of protecting a strain are the vegetable got rights, which can be applied for new strains, different, homogenous and stable. But legal situation of cannabis discards, for the moment, any advance in this ambit and, no matter how, this looks like a war that will only be battleled in laboratories.

    In USA the panorama is somehow hopefully, specially in those states where medicinal cannabis is legal. The theory tells patents could be given to new strains, useful and not obvious. This means that the strain should present some kind of new feature that makes it useful compared to previous, in example, highly resistant against illnesses or a high content of CBD. In addition, a new strain should be significally remodeled from the genetic point of view, so it can be considered that human actions have occurred in its developement. That's why a GMO strain could be easily copirighted, while it would be almost impossible to get a patent of any of the actual cannabis strains names we actually know.


    The first preceding was set by a Colorado laboratory, when in 2015 the office of Commercial Brands and patents of USA gave the first patent to cannabis plants. The patented strain presented a unique profile of terpenes and specific cannabinoid chemotypes. Since then, there are few open applications in the goverment database. The biggest problem, more than legal, is that patent applies of this type are both: expensive and slow. So there is a huge disadvantage for small breeders compared with big corporations.

    Cannabis philosophy VS Big Corporations

    As cannabis legal market becomes multimillionary industry, the intellectual value of strains makes it more evident. Breeders that due legal reasons had kept annonimus, have seen as this partial security has filled arks of their successors.

    Obviously, when other companies start to breed with your genetics lines without needing to justify to anyone, the think start to gets serious. Even though the genetic protection interest is not purely economical. Breeders claim a recognition, as well as the oportunity to be able to continue with their own lines, cutting the legal control of their strains by others.

    There are many that are against cannabis copyrights. The cannabis philosophy has bee always moved by other laws. So every single breeder knows that to be able to create something, he needs something previously existing, at least one strain; so the strains that we know today won't exist if previously genetics hadn't been shared. At this moment of the film, it is impossible to determine what is new, and who owns it.

    But we should be realistic, the market will be regulated, sooner or later and, if breeders don't bet for patents, they are leaving the door open for coporation interests that will step on them: they will loose their intellectual property, and will be excluded from the industry.

    Closer future of cannabis copyrights

    Looks like the closer future goes thorugh genetic documentation. In USA there are companies that work on it. This is the case of Phylos Bioscience, in Portland, a genetics laboratory that works to understand the evolutive history of cannabis, favoring a viable industry and protecting the strain diversity. From a sample sent the proceed with genetic identity tests, identifying the plant, its sex, and its characteristics; scanning its origin, and show what kind of relation has with other strains.

    These type of analysis can be useful for tokers, and also for breeders. For first ones because this way they will know what are they buying and consuming. For breeders because it could turn into a valid form of protecting your strains, document them, and be sure that no one else could patent your plants, as all data registered become publicly domain. All these people working to get interesting strains, unique or with medicinal interest could genetically certify their plants, without entering into a cannabis copyrights fight nor forbiding future generation of breeder to use them.

    Conclusions

    NO matter if we are pro or against, the appearance of big corporations in cannabis market is a reality. On one side these companies can play a very important rol in the process of rejection of cannabis; on the other side small producers could be susceptible of kept apart of market.
    Is this good for the evolution of cannabis industry? Controversy is given. tradition, industrial overexplotation, the quality of the product, beneffits of tokers and pations, regulations... There are many factors that weight on each side of the scale. The process will be tough and with controversy. For the moment, breeders from over the world, protect yourself the best you can.

    Sources:

    Roll another pot patent

    The curious case of cannabis intellectual property

    Cannabiz Media

    Cannabis industry journal

    Cannabis strain patents: opportunity-risk

    Cambio de rumbo en la patentabilidad de plantas y animales

    Phylos.bio

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    The post Cannabis copyrights the legal battle begins appeared first on Santyerbasi Blog.

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