When a seed has visibly sprouted above ground and its first set of leaves are visible the seedling stage has officially begun. There are several different environmental conditions you can control to help your young plant grow a strong root system and a supportive main stem. One of these conditions is keeping a consistent air flow present at all times. It is crucial that there is some wind resistance blowing against the support system of the plant. I’m sure you have witnessed the images of long skinny cannabis stems that are stretching like crazy for the light without any root support. The wind that comes from your fan will signal to the plant that it needs to build a stronger foundation in order to survive its conditions. Cannabis is amazing at adapting to whatever environment it is placed in and that’s why it can grow in climates throughout the world. Be sure when first adding wind to the environment, that you gradually get your plant use to the airflow. At first, it’s going to be extremely weak so putting the fan on a medium/high setting could really stress out the plant beyond the point of recovery. As the stem continues to grow stronger, kick the fan up to its usual setting.
Humidity should also be in central focus early on in the plant’s life cycle. It is crucial to maintain the appropriate humidity throughout the entire growing process because humidity affects the rate at which your crops will transpire. Cannabis plants will always try and maintain a equilibrium when it comes to the water levels inside and outside the plant. So if the humidity in the grow room is too low the plant will begin to transpire dangerously quick and lose its necessary nutrients. New stunted leaves, dying flowers, and older shriveling leaves are all indications of rapid transpiration. In the seedling, stage humidity needs to be at its highest levels. I would recommend aiming for 70% and decreasing by around 5-10% each week until reaching the 40% mark. Until the plant has fully developed roots, lower levels of humidity in the air will cause stunted growth. It’s important to understand that levels above 45% are usually dangerous and unwanted in a grow room because they can cause mold and mildew in mature plants. It’s often hard to reach 70% humidity for your seedlings without the help of humidity domes or using a humidifier.
Another important determination to make is when to begin adding nutrients to the plant. I would say that it should be right around the same time you set up the fan and begin building its root structure. Up until the point where it shows its first set of leaves you should be fine using plain water that has been PH’d correctly. When you do begin adding nutrients, remember less is more and that the last thing you want to do is cause nutrient overload this early on. General Hydroponics brand has a chart that includes the appropriate amounts for the different stages of growth, including the seedling stage. I would use this as a guide more than a precise measurement. They often overstate the amount of nutrients you need in order to sell their product more quickly. I would also start smaller than the recommendations for other brands too until you know exactly how your plant will react.
The last important thing a grower should monitor is the space between the light and the top set of leaves. During this stage, I would highly recommend only using compact fluorescent lighting due to the intensity of other lighting sources. Just like with high winds, high voltage lighting can cause irreversible damage that the plant may never recover from. Even with CFLs, not maintaining the right distance can cause similar problems. The ideal height should only be 2-4 inches above the highest point of the plant. Any higher than that, and you’ll likely see it begin to stretch into a skinny long stem. These lights still emit heat and if they are really close will cause leaves to wither and dry up. Make sure to check the height at least once a day and make adjustments as needed. Maintaining the perfect environment early on always pays off and leads to a strong support system capable of holding the densest of buds.
In order to grow the best quality medicine, you need to have an understanding of the techniques growers have been using for decades to dry their harvests. Nobody wants to put 3 plus months of effort and investment into a beautiful crop that will not burn or taste right due to poor drying technique. There is far too much at stake to rush the process or not research what methods work best for your precious flowers. Just like the cultivation process, there are many different ways to accomplish positive results. Whether you decide to whole plant dry, trim when you harvest, or some sort of combination, with the right technique the drying stage will go smoothly and you’ll be left with some top shelf buds that are ready to cure.
The method that has brought the most pleasing results to my harvests, is to trim each branch as you go before placing them on hangers. This is my favorite method because not only has it brought great results, but it makes the trimming process easier as leaves and stems are easier to remove when the plant is fresh. Once all the small leaves harden and dry up into the buds, it becomes very difficult to get stems without removing parts of the flowers as well. When you are dealing with large yields, trimming is enough work on its own so there is no reason to make the process more tedious then it has to be.
In the drying area your nipples should be hard because you’ll need a cool dark and well ventilated space. It is definitely important to have a fan circulating the air around the buds but you do not want to have the fan blowing directly on them. The buds will dry up much faster and have the potential of being too crispy and breaking up into dust when you grind it. In these environmental conditions the drying stage should take around 4-5 days. Another good way to verify that they are actually ready to begin curing is to break one of the branches. If it snaps clean then it’s already too dry and you left them hanging too long but if you break it and it fractures slightly without much resistance that’s the sweet spot. Getting it down inside the correct time frame is so key because curing too early leaves the possibility of molding out your due to trapped moisture. Taking them down too late will also make buds lose the sticky feel connoisseurs are looking for.
Timing and using your best judgement on buds appearance/feel is essential to maximizing your product’s potential. I don’t think people weigh the importance of the drying stage and treat it as a minimal stage in the cultivation process instead of a determining one. While the method of drying can change, the drying environment can not so don’t settle for using drying racks or not properly controlling/ventilating the designated drying space. I truly wonder how much of the lower shelf medicine available was actually grown professionally but ended up how it did due to poor processing techniques.
There is more than one reason why I believe this question should be addressed. However, there is one significant factor that led to the writing of this article. That would be the legalization of cannabis in the state of California. This means an additional 40 million people will be subject to different laws then the rest of us living in the same country. There is far more momentum from this passage then the 4 states before them. I really believe it’s going to be hard to ignore the countries most populous state make it clear we need reform in our laws. On top of that, at the same time Nevada, Massachusetts. and Maine all legalized it in similar manners that allowed the sale of it in many forms. That means 8 states allow at least possession of personal amounts and recreational shops to open in the states. Tax revenue will be collected from each one of these states although that will take a year or longer in the states that passed laws this past November.
All these positive changes that have taken place recently are still facing the same old powerful opponents that stand to lose tons of money if marijuana is allowed to be used and sold. I think it’s very clear that we will win as more and more people become aware of why exactly marijuana was even made illegal and how wrong it is to continue this war. It’s more of a matter of when this will happen. The DEA are dragging there feet harder then ever and have refused to even reschedule the drug to a lower category in their nonsense hierarchy of drugs. They do not want to lose their easiest target and the largest source of their funding and arrests. There really isn’t as much of a drug problem once you remove marijuana because that’s the key component to all their operations and their way of justifying thousands of jobs. Taking this all into consideration I say the chances it becomes legal for all 50 states this year is not very good. I hate to not be optimistic but we are still erasing the stigma to this day that 80 years of prohibition has caused and it may take a little more then this year and a big state decision to change federal law. Once they start seeing all the tax revenue coming from California in the years to come they may change their thinking.