Making Quality Hash Using Bubble Bags

There has been an explosion in the number of home growers in the recent times due to the relaxing of cannabis laws in the United States. Additionally, the plethora of information available online and offline has enabled marijuana enthusiasts to grow own their own. While growing quality weed is half the job, harvesting and extracting the active ingredients out of the buds is a more important part. If you fail to extract the weed in the right way all your hard work put in for the growth will be down the drain.

hash weedThat is why we bring you today’s post on the mospopular extraction technique used world wide – bubble bag method.

The two basic types of extractions  are with solvent and without solvent. Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Super critical CO2 and Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) are examples of solvent based extraction techniques. Kief, dry sifting and bubble hash are examples of non-solvent methods. Let us now loom at the bubble bag method in detail.

What will you need?

  1. Plant material (buds)
  2. A bubble bag kit
  3. Distilled water (5 gallons)
  4. 2 Bags of ice
  5. Two 5 gallon buckets
  6. A stick for stirring and a blender (optional)
  7. Parchment paper
  8. Scrapping tools ( a blunt knife, a spoon etc)

Instructions

Step 1: Mixing the trim with ice and water

making weed hashA thumb rule in bubble bag extraction is that 10 grams of material yields 1 gram hash. One can mix 5 gallons of water, 2 bags of ice and about 300-500 grams of material. If the material is devoid of sticks and large fan leaves it will give a better yield. stir up the contents in a large bucket and let them sit for a few minutes between each stir. Some people also use hand blenders, but stirring too much is not suggested. Use distilled water to ensure the end product is not contaminated.

Step 2: Filtering the mixture

bubble hashArrange the bubble bags in the kits in ascending order of the screen size, folding the edges over the previous one. Then place them in a 5 gallons bucket and turn the ice-bud mixture into the last bag. Pour in two or three batches to avoid spilling while stirring ocassionally. The bubble bag sets are available in different numbers such as 4, 5 and 8 bag sets. The more the number of bags, the better you will be able to separate the hash based on the size of the resin heads.

Step 3: Separating and collecting the residue

screen size hash weedLift up the first bag and let all water drain. You can do a second run of the remaining contents but the quality of the yield will not be very good. Now lift and jerk each bag slowly to let out excess water. Turn it out and scrape out the contents on each screen onto a 25µ pressing screen using a spoon. The screen comes free with the iPOWER Bubble Hash Bag Essence Extractor Kit. (You can also order more here) Squeeze it slightly and turn the remaining content onto a parchment paper marked with the screen size of the bag you have emptied. Repeat the same for all the bags.

Each batch will have a different taste and potency, for example the hash collected from the 73µ is considered to be of high potency and 120µ bag collects the larger heads that are not the best quality. However, the potency also depends on the strain of the plant. For beginners, it is suggested that they try out the hash from different screens to get a good understanding of smoothness, taste and aroma.

Step 4: Drying and collecting

Let the collected wet kief dry for at least 12 hours to a few days. You could press them if you have collected larger quantities using a hash press, or use as it is.

Advantages of using iPower Bubble Bags:

iPower provides the highest quality plant essence extraction kits in the world.  It’s advantages include the below

  • Organise your extracts: Organise your yield easily as the bags are cooler-coded for the micron size. Different plants need different size filters, so more the number of bags you have the better it is.
  • Remove Debris:  With the help of bubble bags you can avoid getting dust or plant material into your extracts. This will leave you with high quality oils, hash and essences.
  • Simple Process: You can eliminate guess work and risk once you know what size suits your extraction. Moreover, it is much safer than using solvent based techniques that many a times leave residue which can prove fatal on consumption.

Order your bubble bag kit today at the best price and enjoy your next harvest!

 

Harvesting, Drying And Curing Home Grown Weed

While growing quality weed is 50% of the job, drying the buds and curing them contributes to 50% of the effects of the end product. Before you plan to extract your weed, you need to harvest the buds which is a task to be done with some skill and precision. Harvesting is done around 8 weeks post flowering for Indica and about 10 weeks post flowering for Sativa. You can also check for the % of brown pistils, 70%-90% darkened pistils indicates the weed is ripe enough for harvest. One could also use a hand held magnifier to check for milky white coloured trichomes which indicate that it is filled with resin and ready for harvest.

Tips for Harvesting:

  • Take off the fan leaves a week before harvest
  • Keep the environment dry, ensure proper air circulation
  • Keep the room temperature at around 70 degrees farenheitshear cannabis
  • Do not harvest outdoors or with your grow lights on, regular room lighting should do, in fact the darker the better
  • Use a sharp pair of shears for cutting the branches, sharpen using a stone if required
  • Flush the plant two weeks before harvesting, this will leech out nutrients and make the plant consume any stored sugars and other compounds which mess with the taste of the bud. You can taste the juices from the stem post flushing to check if the process is complete. That shouldn’t taste bitter or sweet.
  • Hang the branches upside down on strings/ hangers after trimming off the leaves. You can give them 5 days of drying at room temparature before the next step

Tips for Trimming

  • Trim the buds using a good trimmer such as the iPower 19 Inch Bowl Trimmer. If you do not want to use bowl, you can do it by hand too, but it will take much longer. A range of products are available that will help you with the pruning and trimming, all of which ensure a better final output.
  • Use a bowl of isopropyl alcohol to keep your shears or scissors clean of resin

bowl buds trimmer

Tips for Drying

  • Keep the buds separate during the drying process, Drying Rack Cannabis urn them often and use drying racks for even drying and preventing and moisture from trapping under the buds.
  • Adding ventilation using inline fans or even a simple oscillating fan to the room will enhance the speed of drying, but do not make the mistake of trying to dry them instantly, using a blow drier or your oven. It is known to spoil the taste and worsen the quality of the weed.

Tips for Curing

Although your buds seem crisp when touched on the outside, the dense structure retains a portion of water within. Curing draws out this remaining water out and also enhances the taste and smoothness in the process.

 

  • Do remember to open your jars several times a day in the first week and at least once a day post that to ensure that any moisture leaves the container and no gold will form.
  • The buds shouldn’t be too dry either, if the RH goes under 55%, you can use a humidiccant to restore it.  The ideal curing RH is 60% – 65%. Keep a check on RH using a hygrometer.
  • Cure the buds for at least 4-5 weeks for good taste or even upto 6 months. One can go longer than that but it is a matter of experience and practise.

Marijuana is extracted in many different ways post drying and curing. It is done  either with solvent or without one. Solvent based extractions include Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), Super Critical CO2 Oil and molecular separation. Solvent less methods are much simpler ones and are popular among at-home growers. They include kief, hash and rosin, of which hash is the simplest to make and consume. However, the type of extraction method used largely depends on the strain of the cannabis plant and also what and how much of a particluar active ingredient (terpene, THC, CBD etc) the person wants in the end product. We will read more on this in our next post.

Keep tuned!

 

 

Using A Grow Tent For Your Indoor Hydroponic Garden

Grow tents have revolutionised the ways of indoor gardening, especially for hobbyists and small scale urban gardeners. They are of great use in indoor cannabis cultivation too. Grow tents are an inexpensive and effective way of attaining total control over the grow space environment and deriving the best results for your efforts. Popular brands in the market include iPower, Sun Hut, Mammoth Gavita, Gorilla Grow Tents and GrowLab among many others.

What is a grow tent?

iPower grow tent

A grow tent is a metal-tubed structure that is completely wrapped on all six-sides in multiple layers of vinyl, which is sewn together, reinforced on the outside, and lined with reflective material on the inside. A typical grow tent consists of a door, floorpan, portholes, zippers, and windows. The portholes and the windows provide openings for inline fans and filters for airflow, and the floorpan provides an additional layer on the floor for easy cleaning. The main function a grow tent is to provide a barrier against foreign elements, and allows you to control aspects in the environment such as: temperature, humidity, light intensity, and airflow. A grow tent is the fastest and the most cost-effective way to erect a structure in any given space; however, most grow tents do not provide insulation value. It is best to utilize a grow tent inside an insulated space.

Features to look out for:

Size: First of all, measure up the space that you have in mind for the grow tent. Even half an inch difference may result in the whole unit being useless to you if you have limited room. The space you choose will largely depend on the number of plants you intend to grow and so will the size of your tent. In case you are growing marijuana, you can plan to fit 10-12 plants per SqFt. Trying to squeeze in more plants may result in overcrowding and a poor light penetration on the canopy. Leaving excess room on the other hand will result in wastage of resources. Also, the spacing affects maneuverability within the tent, so plan the spacing accordingly, you can call the brands helpline/customer care for suggestions if you are new to the process.

Height: Some growers choose multiple grow tents for different phases of plant growth, a shorter one for germination, and taller ones for vegetative and flowering (mature) stages. The height should largely depend on the type of plant you intend to grow. Keep in mind that mature plant height + accessories should be accommodated comfortably in the tent. Additionally, if you plan to change the type of plants in the next cycle, your grow tent shouldn’t go waste. The best solution is to buy a tent with adjustable height.

adjustable height grow tent

Compatibility: Check if the ports and windows are all provided according to the layout you choose or the equipment that you own. The fans, filters and reflectors along with their power cables should sit well within the tent.

Quality: Look for a bargain that doesn’t compromise on quality. There are many brands out there that claim to be the best, but aren’t. Denser fabric and stronger poles are the two most important features to look out for. Thick fabric will last longer and separate the grow room environment well without any leaks. Poles should be strong enough to take weight of any equipment that takes their support and should not corrode. Compare pole thickness between brands. Also, look for quality zippers and % reflectivity.

Built-in conveniences: Look out for the package inclusions. For example, this iPower 60”x60″x80″ includes 100% water-resistant removable mylar floor tray for easy cleaning and 2 filter straps. The Sun Hut® Fortress® 470 includes removable reflective floor liner, multiple ports for ventilation and cords, two micro-mesh screened ventilation windows, etc. You may want to check for availability of viewing windows too.

inside a grow tent

System: While you can use regular soil for growing inside a grow tent, it works best for hydroponic systems as they can nourish a larger number of plants per SqFt than soil. Flood & Drain system yields the best results and NFT (nutrient film technique) is compatible too.

Ventilation: Unlike the outdoors, the grow room is packed and needs constant circulation. ventilation kitThe ventilation should be turned on during light cycle and during dark phase it should be set at 15 min/hr for veg phase and more frequent during flowering.

Tips for Using a Grow Tent:

  • If you are using room heating/conditioning outside the tent, keep a check on fluctuations within the grow tent.
  • The shape of reflector should match the shape of tent (i.e. do not use a parabolic reflector in a square grow tent).
  • The ideal temperature for cannabis cultivation is between 68*F (20*C) ~ 80*F (27*C).

Advantages of Using a Grow Tent:

Pest Control – a completely sealed space means no permit to air borne pests and thus better harvest.

No leaks – None of your resources (light, temperature, humidity) will leak out and your plants will make the most of them.

Humidity – We mention this separately because it is a major difference to growing outdoors and within a grow tent. It is close to impossible to control humidity in an outdoor setup, better in a grow room and the easiest in a grow tent.

Portable set up – Not comfortable with the corner you choose? No worry, just move it. Need to make use of the room for other activity? No worry, fold the setup and take it elsewhere.

No guess work – Most of the grow tents come with easy set up instructions or can simply flow this video below to set it up. This one is for Mammoth Gavita, but you can follow the same instructions formats other brands. Once set, you wont be doing guess work with the rest of the parameters either, and will have total control on your plants’ growth.

Energy efficiency and canopy penetration – Almost all the light that is emitted is reflected back by the shiny surfaces which results in best utilisation of light by the plant, this allows for a high canopy penetration and almost all leafy surface is provided with the energy that translates to growth.

Aesthetic value – One of the reasons growers choose tents is that they are smell proof. No mattar what you grow, your house wont stink. For best results use a carbon filter with muffler if required. Also, they all have a removable lining on floor or a spill tray so no mopping spillages.

Ventilation- Effective ventilation and better availability of fresh air for plants as it is sealed.

Various gardeners and hobbyists have benefitted from choosing grow tents. One can grow vegetables like kales, peppers, tomatoes, onions, herbs such as basil and rosemary, flowering plants, succelents and many more. Grow tents are widely used in growing marijuana indoors as they aid in odour control and better growth overall.

Choosing a grow tent will positively impact the results you will get from your growing efforts, so pick one today!

Ceramic Metal Halides, How Good Are They For Your Indoor Marijuana Garden?

The beauty of growing hydroponically is that its a very dynamic industry, a new technology is knocking the door every now and then which helps the grower enjoy better yields in terms of quality and/or quantity. One of such inventions has been that of CMHs (ceramic metal halides). They also go by the names Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide (CDM) and Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC) which is a trademark name. Just when we thought LEDs are the ideal choice of grow lights given the spectrum control and power saving ability, CMH lighting hit the market and is now all the rage among indoor growers. It has unique benefits in comparison to other grow lights and we will read more on the same below.

First, what is this CMH?

One could think of CMH lighting as a hybrid between MH (metal halides) and HPS (high pressure sodium) bulbs. They have a ceramic light arc tube like in HPS, but use mixture of halides and gasses in the arc tube, similar to MHs. They also use salts in the mixture in addition that produces the perfect lighting. They usually come in two variants, 3100kelvin , 4200 kelvin with a wattage of 315. 

Typical CMH Bulbs 3100 4200
Typical CMH Bulbs

What makes CMH the best lighting technology for indoor grow spaces?

 Low electricity consumption

They consume much lower power than HPS and MH lights to produce a similar amount of light output, which is a huge benefit for those who grow indoors as it means lowered cost of operation.

Heat emission

HPS and MH bulbs are known to emit a lot of heat that can effect plant growth by increasing the grow room temperature. CMH emits low heat, equal or even lower than a similar wattage LED light. Lower heat means no extra ventilation required and hence lowered power bills.

Wide Spectrum

As a result of the combination of salts, gasses and halides that are used in the arc, CMHs produce a spectrum that is wider than the ones produced by other lighting systems. This ensures better growth and ultimately better yields.

CMH Broad spectrum

UV radiation

One well known benefit of CMHs is the ability to produce UV rays, which are known to be of great use for the growth phase. Growers have witnessed enhanced trichome production that boosts the THC levels and taste of marijuana buds. However, one should exercise caution while working with UV rays as they pose potential harm to humans. Shield yourself and wear protective gear.

cannabis trichomes

Longevity

The material used in the arc lets CMHs withstand higher temperature and pressure which lets it have a longer lifetime, approximately 20,000 hrs vs 10,000 of HPS.

More PAR efficient

CMHs have a higher PAR (Photosynthetically active radiation) than HPS bulbs and MHs. HPS is heavier on the reds while MHs are heavier on the blue side. CMHs have the best overall distribution in this respect. However, it is recommended to combine it with an HPS for the best results in flowering stage.

High colour rendering index

CMHs have the highest CRI in comparison to all other lighting systems which puts them closest to natural light (CRI above 90, Sun being a 100). This lets an individual work easily in the indoor set up without turning the lights off. They get a better visibility of minute details of the plants, unlike the purples and blues emitted by LEDs that are not appealing to work with for a long duration without turning them off.

 iPower 630W 3100K & 4200K Double Lamp Ceramic Metal Halide Grow Light System Kits
A Complete iPower CMH Kit

Drawbacks

Cost

The initial setup cost with CMHs is much higher compared to HIDs and MHs and CFLs. However, their durability beats this disadvantage as they need to be replaced less often.

Safety

CMHs emit UV-A,B&C rays and one needs to be very careful while working with these as they are known to pose risk to human health. Some lights come with a protective glass layer too, but it is best to stay safe by using protective gear, or turning the lights off.

Dos & Donts while working with a CMH

  • Hang CMH two feet above the canopy, adjust as plants grow
  • Do not try to fix CMH bulbs in MH/HPS bulb holders, voltage differences may result in unwanted accidents
  • Choose the right ballast, the regular electronic ballasts work on high frequencies, unlike CMHs that need a low frequency ballast. It would be best to go for a CMH lighting kit when you are using it for the first time.
  • Wear protective eye-wear and take care not to expose yourself much to the UV radiation

CMHs are proving to have a better benefits to drawbacks ratio than other lighting types, making them the new pet among many growers. More and more gardeners are replacing HPSs, CFLs and MHs with CMHs and we can surely say, they are here to stay.

Choosing An LED For Your Indoor Marijuana Crop

In our previous posts we saw how LEDs outweigh HIDs (high intensity discharge) lamps, MHs (metal halides) and other lighting systems with benefits such as better power conservation, low heat emissions and longer durability. Many growers are thus choosing LEDs to enjoy higher yields and a better overall growing experience. However, the plethora of choices and techincalities makes it confusing for a newbie to select one particular product. We decided to make it much easier for you with this post today.

LED marijuana

Below are the points one needs to keep in mind while selecting an LED lighting setup for their cannabis crop-

1 Grow Space Area/Wattage Requirements
Higher the wattage of an LED, the more light it will produce. One should keep in mind that these bulbs do not draw the mentioned wattage, for example, a 100 watt bulb will draw somewhere between 50%-60% i.e 50-60 watts.The total actual wattage required by your grow space will give you an idea of the number of bulbs/total wattage required. 400W and 600W light bulbs are usually used for indoor growth, (400 W will cover approximately 1 Sq.Mtr area, 10-12 plants). You can also go upto 1000 watts, but keep temperature control in mind and also the costs, higher wattage means higher cost.

grow area wattage

2 Chip Capacity
The brightness and efficiency of LED panel depends on the chip capacity too.  For example, having three 1W chips will not be as efficient as having one 3W chip, the higher the chip wattage, the better. Growers go for 3W, 6W or even 10W chip LEDs.

3 Plant’s Growth Phase
Different phases need grow light of different wavelengths. As a base rule, vegetative phase needs blues, clones and saplings grow well in whites and flowering stage needs reds. So choosing a multi spectrum LED with blue, red, white, IR and UV will be a good choice since IR and UV are greatly useful in growing marijuana.

 

4 Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD)
PPFD is a measurement of the light (photons) that reach the target each second. PPFD is measured in micromoles per square meter per second and expressed as µmol/m2/s. Wondering how much PPFD is right for your plant? In order for your plants to show growth, the minimum PPFD values should be:
255 – 350 µMol/m2/s on a 24/24 light cycle
383 – 520 µMol/m2/s on a 18/24 light cycle
510 – 695 µMol/m2/s on a 12/24 light cycle
Longer the light cycle, lower the PPFD should be. Don’t know the PPFD of your product? Here is a simple calculation to find it out – (PPF) µMol/S· (grow area) M2 = (PPFD) µMol/M2s

5 Quality
A good LED lamp should be made of quality raw material, the panels should be made of sturdy materials. If one single bulb is damaged it will result in a whole portion of your lamp being useless. If you are looking at the very cheap ones in the market they need to be checked twice for quality to avoid disappointment. Good quality lights come with reflectors and lens that allows to magnify the light and improve penetration. Additionally, check for an aluminium heat sink that will prevent damage due to heat emission. Some products such as iPower 300W LED Grow Light comes with a built in fan and heat sink which makes working with it much easier.

6 Warranty
LEDs naturally have a longer life due to the technology they are built with, any decent product should offer at least 3 years of warranty to over 10 years. The ones with longer warranty are more expensive. One should be vary of lights that come with short warranty such as for 1 year. These are best avoided, since LEDs are comparitively an expensive choice, a damaged item will result in double the investment and also discouragement.

Hope this will help with making your LED choice easier and fruitful. Happy growing!

 

What Lighting Is Better For Your Marijuana? HID Vs. LED

In our last post we saw the comparison between CFLs and HIDs and how each of them play up for your indoor marijuana plantation. In today’s we will compare HID Grow Lights and LED Grow Lights. The HID Grow Lights were introduced during the 1700s and have become a favoraite among many agri/horticulturists who grow indoors. LEDs were launched in the first half of 20th century and have found wide range of applications in various industries including indoor gardening. Technically, HIDs or High Intensity Discharge lamps use a capsule of gas that is lit in between two electrodes, whereas, in LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes, the diodes emit light when a circuit is complete. Cannabis growers from different parts of the world use them both and claim to get good results. So which is better? Well, they both have their pros and cons, let us take a look –

HPS Grow Lamps

CO2 Utility: Planing to invest in the CO2 generator for a grow set up running on LEDs? It may not be useful at all, because, the extra CO2 gets utilised only when the lights are very bright and the temperature is above 70 degrees. This is better possible with HID lights.

Temperature Control: HIDs emit a lot of heat and need air conditioning, a better variant of HIDs, ceramic metal halides (CMH) emit lower heat, however cannot compete with LED that does not emit any excess heat that needs controlling.

Canopy Penetration and Coverage: HIDs, CMH grow lights especially have a very good light penetration or PPF (photosynthetic photon flux), it is higher than that of LEDs, meaning the growth on your crop will be better. CMH covers a larger grow space in both vegetative and flowering stages in comparison to LEDs. However, the light and heat are more concentrated in the centre and one should be careful to position the plants carefully.

Quality of yield: Many expert growers claim that LEDs bring out the natural flavours and produce buds with higher resin content, THC levels and better colour too. HID Lights on the other hand are known to produce taller plants and larger buds.

LED I PowerOutput: For many years it was believed that HID/HPS give better yields per unit of electricity drawn than LEDs. However, this is a highly debatable topic and some professionals have started to claim that LEDs result in higher gram/watt yields.

Cost: LEDs are more pricey than HIDs, although there are a number of market players now and they are introducing lower priced variants, they still need to catch up with other lighting systems on this front. However, HIDs draw more power than LEDs, so your monthly power bill will be much higher.

HPS HID iPowerLifetime: LEDs last six times longer than HIDs and have a lifespan in between 50,000 to 1,00,000 hours depending on the model. They need not be replaced as frequently as HIDs which have a life span of 10,000 hours. HIDs are also prone to breakage and over heating related damages and may need replacement, LEDs are much sturdier to handle. HIDs and CMHs usually come with a warranty of one year, LEDs usually have a warranty of five years.

Ease of use: No ballast is required with LED, just plug it in and start using it. It comes with an inbuilt cooling system which means you won’t need extra equipment to adjust room temperature or more fans. That means reduced overall cost too. HIDs invariably need better ventilation and exhaust as they emit a lot of heat. Also, watering intervals can be longer with LEDs than HIDs.

Growth phase: Above all advantages, you can adjust the spectrum of LEDs for different growth phases and use Photomorphogenesis to your advantage. HIDs are known to work well for flowering periods for their red range, not so much for the vegetative phase.

Final verdict
– Although LEDs cost more upfront, they eliminate many other costs and also result in higher, quality yield, making them the better choice over HIDs/HPS in the long run.

More on how to choose the right LED in our next post. Keep tuned!

 

What lighting is better for your marijuana plants? HPS vs CFL

There is a plethora of grow lights available in the market out there for growing weed indoors. Each of them has pros and cons and growers choose a specific type of lighting based on different variables, such as the strain, growth stage, cost, set up and based on their personal experiences. In today’s post we will see a comparison of CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) and HID (High-intensity discharge) lights, both of which are widely used.

high cannabis yields

Growth Phase: HIDs includes Metal Halides and  HPS (High Pressure Sodium) lamps. Metal Halides are good for Vegetative and HPS bulbs are best for flowering. This is because metal halides carry blue spectrum that allows leafy growth while red spectrum from HPS bulbs are good for the bud growth. They yield larger buds with better concentration of THC according to many expert growers, they are considered as golden standard for growing marijuana. However, if you are a novice and growing fewer plants in an indoor tent where heat management is difficult, you can choose CFLs that emit lower heat and add an HPS bulb during flowering if you are ready for the change.

Plant Penetration/Coverage: a 1000 watt HPS can cover a 4X4 feet grow area, an equivalent of 4-5 CFLs are needed for the same. Experts suggest using CFLs for a plant or two, in an indoor setup.

HPS Grow Light System

Height from the plants: HPS should be at least 2 feet from the canopy, hands shouldn’t feel the burn. Balance between too little light and too much heat is important which can be attained by watching the set up closely and making changes for a best fit. CFLs should be placed closer to the plants for better efficiency.

Temperature: Temperature management is not an issue with CFL, but with an HPS bulb, a 400 watt bulb can raise ether temperature by 30 degrees. Do install ventilation equipment, or simple oscillating fans to control the grow room temperatures. (remember –  70oF and 75oF during the light period and 60oF to 70oF during the dark period)

Digital Hygrometer and Thermometer

Life of a bulb: Life of a HPS/MH bulb is anywhere between 12-18 months when it’s on for all of its life; its efficiency goes down after 3 months of usage. We recommend replacing the lamp after 6 months. The life of a CFL bulb is close to 3 years, but its efficiency goes down after 6 months. We recommend replacement CFLs / T5 lamps every 6-9 months.

Cost: CFLs are the cheapest of the bulbs available in the market. HPS will cost you more than CFLs, however, they are worth the extra bucks for the better results.

Ballast: CFLs come with an integrated regulator, hence don’t need an additional ballast, unlike HIDs that require a ballast as they can’t be connected to regular sockets. There are a few HPS lamps in the market that come with an integrated ballast too. Buy a ballast of similar wattage as your HID lamp.

HID ballast

Other stuff: There are a few things that are worth investing in for a good output. A good reflecting material, a light meter, hood with a cool tube, a timer, and protective eyewear for your indoor cannabis garden.  Do check out Ipower lighting sets on this website that are available at great prices, highly recommended by our customers.

We will cover the features of LEDs and how they can be used for growing marijuana in our next post!

 

Tips For A Good Yield Of Lettuce Grown Hydroponically

Lettuce is the easiest of all vegetables that can be grown hydroponically. Its long harvest season, ability to grow in smaller spaces, and easy maintenance make it the choice for most beginners. Moreover, hydroponically grown lettuce also tastes better according to most experts. Who would’nt want some crunchy lettuce cut afresh for a salad or in their sandwich?

Lettuce Grown HydroponicallyIn today’s blog we will discuss the tips one can follow for the best produce while growing lettuce hydroponically.

Strain: One should choose the variety of lettuce to grow depending on the season and taste preferences. Tom Thumb, Bibb lettuce (Butterhead) and Green Ice are the varieties that can be grown with ease. Royal Oak leaf has better heat tolerance and has also been known to grow well in hydroponic systems.

Starting Lettuce Seeds: For leaf lettuces, plant 2 to 4 seeds per rock wool cube and for head lettuces, plant 1 seed per cube. They germinate within 1 to 2 weeks and are ready to be transplanted to grow medium. Check for at least 2 to 3 leaves and a visible root structure if you want to be sure. You can use Rapid Rooter plugs for good root growth and avoid any rock wool related pH disturbances. Place the seedlings tray under a low intensity light.

Root Riot 50 Cube Tray with Clonex Gel

Growing Conditions:

Temperature – Lettuce is a cold weather crop. In higher temperatures it tends to bolt (flower) and acquires a bitter taste. Hence it is important to maintain the grow temperature at 60-70 degrees daytime and 50-60 degrees night time. Do buy a simple device to keep a check on this and air – condition the room as required.

pH- A pH of 6 is said to be good for lettuce and it can vary between 5.5 to 6.5. pH 6.4 is required for seedlings. Do not forget to check and adjust pH whenever you add nutrients. Use a pH up or down solution if required.

Electrical Conductivity – Low EC in summer (not lower than 1.8) and higher in winter (max 2.2). Use a measuring device to be sure.

Lighting– 10 to 12hours a day for indoor plants, use a T5 florescent grow light for low heat emission and power consumption. Metal halide bulbs with blue spectrum also offer good growth.

T5 florescent grow light

Humidity– An RH (relative humidity) of 60-80% is preferred for lettuce. If you are growing in a closed room, install an exhaust fan. If not you can use a simple oscillating fan to control RH.  You can also use a hygrometer to keep a track of this.

Spacing- a distance of 8 inches should be maintained between lettuce plants. a couple of inches extra for the head varieties.

Nutrients: The use of the right nutrients can ramp up the productivity of your lettuce crop. Lettuce needs a fertiliser with higher potassium content and high nitrogen can give tip burns to certain strains. Calcium and Magnesium sulphate are also beneficial for its growth. Do add a good nutrient solution to your growth medium for the best results. There is a huge choice of nutrients available online from various brands in different prices.

For tips on mixing, check this video tutorial – https://goo.gl/JxG5mS

Nutrients to grow Lettuce

Hydroponic System: Lettuce is know to grow well in most hydroponic systems. However, NFT, nutrient film technique is know to yield the best results. Floating raft system is the most widely used method for domestic purposes. You can also buy this set up of ebb and flow, set the pump timer to flood 3-7 times during the light cycle.

Hydroponic System for Lettuce

Harvest & Storage: For an extended harvest, pluck the lettuce leaves leaving roots in the medium with 2-3 leaves for re-growth. If you wish to store the harvest for longer, pull out with the roots attached and store in cool temperature.

You can order any products need for your lettuce crop here: Best Hydroponic Supplies.

 

Basics to Growing Cannabis (Marijuana) in an Indoor Setup

Cannabis industry in the USA is all set to explode at the given rate of states legalising it. According to Marijuana Business Daily article, titled “Marijuana Business Factbook 2017,” the U.S. legal cannabis industry is expected to grow by an aggregate of 300% between 2016 and 2021! Cannabis and all related industries are mushrooming in large and small scale operations because of the unrealistic profits it promises. Many individuals are taking up growing marijuana @home as a serious means of income and also for self-use. And it is no news that this plant can be grown hydroponically, which makes it possible to produce it in much larger quantities, six times more compared to soil based growing. Additionally, it is devoid of pesticides, hence a safer option for medicinal use. In order to enjoy these benefits, one should be very patient, careful and not get tempted to experiment when growing cannabis hydroponically for the first time.

Cannabis PlantWe have compiled a few guidelines in today’s post that will help you with your initial research for setting up your own hydroponic cannabis unit. There are different hydroponic techniques that can be followed, this is the most simple one that beginners can try.

What will you need?

  • Seeds
  • Peat pellets/ rockwool cubes for germination
  • A space to grow – could be a garage, a closet or a grow tent
  • Lights
  • Pots
  • Growing Medium
  • pH control Products and Nutrients
  • Temparature & Humidity Control

Seeds

It is very important to buy the seeds from a reliable resource if you want your produce to be good. While choosing seeds, always look for rounded ones with mottled/tiger stripes patterns. Cannabis seeds are either male or female, but it is not possible to tell from plain sight of seeds, female plants are the ones that produce buds and flowers and male ones are only useful fro breeding purposes. One can only wish that majority of the seeds turn out to be female ones. You can also buy feminised or auto flowering seeds that guaranty  higher yields over the regular ones, although each have their pros & cons.

Another popular technique to grow cannabis is cloning from existing ones, you can either snip from your healthy plants, grow them in rock wool till they develop roots (use rooting solution/cloning gel for this) or buy clones from a seller.

Cannabis seeds

Germination Cubes

Cannabis seeds germinate in about 5-7 days. The ideal temperature is 73 degrees and pH is 6. Germination can be done in either soil, rock wool or peat pellets. In case of rock wool, pre-soak the cube for a day as it raises the pH to about 7 which is too alkaline. Trays with medium are available online that make this step simple, just shift the cubes post germination to your pots.

Cannabis seeds germinate

Grow Space

If you plan on investing a little on your marijuana setup, it is best to choose a grow tent that has reflective insides and provisions for letting air in and out. Market provides these at rates as low as $44. If not, you can use a closet and line it with shiny, reflective material, but be very careful of black mold formation between the layers and ventilate the unit efficiently. Mold formation could do damage to your crops which is irreversible.

Hydroponic Grow Space

Lights

Lighting is a crucial factor that contributes greatly to the high yields hydroponics promises. In outdoor soil farming, plants get only a few hours of sunlight unlike indoor growing, where the exposure is for longer periods and moreover the spectrum band can also be controlled, and thus the rapid growth.

Cannabis needs different lighting at different growth stages, vegetative – blue, and flowering – red. Some LED lights come with a full spectrum, so you can just change the wavelengths and add more red when the plants are flowering. These are slightly expensive than buying different bulbs for different phases, but worth it as they give more durability and thousands of hours of utility as well as better luminosity (lumens per square foot).

Pots

One can always use DIY containers such as buckets, however, numerous varieties of pots are available today at cheap rates which makes buying hydroponic pots a better choice. Sometimes, a complete setup is also available that includes multiple items for a drip model.

Hydroponic Pots

Growing Medium

In deep water culture we do not use a medium, filtered water + dissolved nutrients itself are the medium for roots. Hydroton can be used to support the stem. However, if you choose other methods, rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coco coir can all be used as media to grow cannabis. Experts suggest a mix of perlite and coco coir for beginners.

Nutrients and pH control

Just like lighting, nutrition requirements depend on the growth stage, vegetative stage requires a high-medium-high ratio of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (NPK) while flowering stage needs a Low-Medium-High ratio. There are hundreds of nutrient mixes with different NPK ratios available in different brands which one can choose from.

pH control is critical for the right growth in cannabis plants, this mostly depends on the raising or depleting nutrients levels in the water/medium. Sometimes, the medium itself (such as rock wool cubes used for germination) may change the pH levels. pH control kits are available in the market, add a prescribed quantity while constantly checking for the readings using a pH meter, solution or pH strips that are available in the kit, especially the first time around. Ideal pH for growing marijuana is 5.5 to 6.5.

Hydro Nutrients and pH control

Temperature and Humidity control

Temperature of your grow room depends on the weather conditions as well as the lighting type you use. LED lights do not emit heat and make temperature control easy, if required, you may need to use a simple electric fan or a heater (in winters) to regulate temperature.

Cannabis needs humidity in the range of 40% to 60% depending on the growth stage, higher in vegetative and lower in flowering stages. A simple hygro-thermometer should help you take care of this.Hydroponics temperature control

Hydroponic gardening products are available at competitive prices from many brands today which will make the process of setting up your own cannabis garden easy and economical too.

Hope this post will provide you with a good idea of the pre-requisites for growing marijuana hydroponically. Do come back for further reading on each of the above topics which we will cover in our up-coimng posts.