When it comes to growing Cannabis, there are always mistakes being made that can be avoided. In this article, we will talk about the essentials of watering and how you can maximize the growth of your cannabis plant!
When growing in soil, there are a lot of advantages playing on our side and in this article, we will not be talking about the Virtue of soil itself (buffering properties, micro life, environmentally conscious..) but some tips on how to optimize the watering of your plants.
Growing in soil is just like growing in any other grow medium when it comes to watering. We need to water our plants with the right amount of water, nutrients, at the right time and at the right temperature.
1. Be Careful of the Temperature in your Growing Medium
Remember that Cannabis plants don't like having cold feet. This means the growing medium should be at room temperature if you are cultivating on a rather cold ground/floor. I have noticed that elevating your pot off the ground a couple of centimeters/inches will help a lot.
Cutting a milk crate does the job perfectly for a few reasons which are mentioned below.
2. Maximize Air Circulation
Having the pot uplifted on a cut milk crate will allow more air circulation around the pot. This will result in more oxygen being accessible for the roots, and the medium to dry a bit quicker which will allow you to water more frequently. Doing this will help you reduce the risk of root rots and maximize the nutrient intake capacity of the plants. A pot that is not in contact with the ground will more likely be at a warmer temperature rather than if the pot was sitting on the floor.
Generally, a rule of thumb is, healthy plants require water every 2 to 3 days. Here are some special tips that have been working great on my last grows. Just after watering, compact gently the side of the pots to create a little gap between pot structure and the soil itself, this gap will allow better air circulation.
Light is the Number 1 enemy of ROOTS! Remember to cover the gap on top by cracking the crust forming on the upper layer of the soil and then covering that gap with the some soil to avoid light reaching the roots.
3. Weight your Pots
Mostly, just looking at your plants is a good way to check how they are doing. Some strains are very resilient with many different kinds of stress, and they might not look as bad as the situation could be. To know when to water your plants, the very best way is to grab your pot and lift them to weight them.
Start by weighting them just after watering. This way you can actually feel how heavy the pots become when full of water.
4. Giving the Right Amount at the Right Time
To identify the right amount of water your cannabis plant needs, you need to take into consideration many factors such as cannabis strains, soil composition, lighting setup, air circulation (you need less water per watering if growing with a large percentage of COCO in your soil, but more regularly). To have a rough estimate, it should be approximately 15 to 25% of the pot's capacity(A 11L pot will need more or less 2L of water at a time).
5. Use Clean Water
Most of us use tap water to irrigate our cannabis babies, but keep in mind that tap water contains a lot of chemicals. It is always recommended to let the water sit for at least 12 hours to allow the Chlorine and other chemicals to evaporate.
You also have to make sure that your water is not "too hard". The hardness of water is determined by the milligrams of calcium carbonate per liter and is reported in parts-per-million (ppm) or EC(electro-conductivity). In general, water with less than 60 ppm can be considered soft, water with 60-120 ppm moderately hard, and water with greater than 120 ppm hard. Hard water generally has a very high Ph. That has to be reduced to improve the plant's nutrient absorption with pH down.
6. Using Water at Room Temperature
This is a very important factor to take into consideration! As mentioned above, cannabis plants don’t like having cold feet, that being said, your growing medium should be at room temperature and so should your water.
Cold Water will cause stress to the roots network which could result in many problems such as hermaphroditism, slower water/nutrient intake. I recommend to shake your water very well (plain, or with nutrients) just before watering your plants, this will increase the oxygen dissolved in the water.
7. Consider Pot Size
It is also very important to acknowledge this fact and adjust the amount of water you give. this is the same when you grow regular/ feminized strain, after repotting your plants into a bigger pot, you don't need to water the whole soil but just what it needs to avoid too much moisture.
8. Watering at Sunrise (when the lamps switch ON)
Watering your Cannabis babies at the beginning of the day (when the light goes ON) will ensure your plants are less moist at night & avoid any possible roots rots. Try to keep your watering schedule time consistent as the plants will generally take their habits and require water in the mornings. The first hours of the day always worked well on my plants!
9. Take your Time when Watering
A good way to water your plants is to take it easy and break it down into a two-step process. This is to allow water to infiltrate the soil fully, and you will notice that when you pour a couple of liters at once, watering solutions tend to follow the side of the pots without penetrating fully the substrate. Doing it two times will moisturize the upper layer of the medium. Once done, wait a few minutes and that’s it, you are good to finish to water your plants.
10. Observe and Adapt
We already know that hybrid strains are created using a male and female plant of different varieties. Seed banks(for feminized seeds) nowadays are doing a job where the aim is to have a homogeneous Canopy. This means that they strive to “stabilize” the strain to obtain a maximum of similar plants when cultivating a strain. This helps to prevent some plants from tending to be twice as tall as the others or any inconveniences as such. Despite the tremendous amount of work needed to stabilize a strain, you will notice some differences in shape, metabolism, colors, potency, flowering time, nutrients, and water needed when growing plants of the same strain.
Fun Facts #1
If you cultivate a Landrace strain( millennium strain, PURE breed, not crossed ex: Pakistan Chitral Kush, Columbian gold, Acapulco gold), you are most likely to have plants looking the same or most of the time two to three phenotypes very similar to each other in terms of needs and appearance and resilience. Cultivating Landrace strain is the best way to find THE champion plant that will be unique in its kind.
You need to adjust the care you give according to the individual you have in front of you, it can be a little tricky and take a little time, but the good thing is that you will see the differences between them pretty early in the growth phase and you will adapt regarding the actual development of them
Fun Facts #2
Skunk #1 Sensi seeds: needless to say this THE Bomb, these strain has influenced a lot of the actual cannabis strains available in the world these days. This strain is extremely interesting and very good to learn how to adapt the care you give regarding the phenotype in front of you. ( with a huge margin for error, skunk#1 will forgive you almost everything, you can not go wrong)
Skunk #1 from Sensi seeds is also known to be UNSTABLE, which I confirm, indeed there are 3 different phenotypes that you can encounter when growing this strain. This can be tricky when you start. Skunk #1 from Sensi seeds has been created from the crossing of Three legendary landrace strains, Acapulco Gold and Columbian Gold, and an Afghani (allowing the Skunk #1 not to reach the ceiling like the Acapulco and Colombian would do as they are pure Sativa growing very tall)
Fun Fact #3
Most of the cannabis plants skunk #1 that I have cultivated tended to be similar in height, nutrients needs, and tolerance to mistake. That being said, I have encountered some marginal Giant plants being 50% taller than the others. In that case, you need to adapt by bending the plant around trying to have it fit in the culture space, or if you have spotted the difference of metabolism early enough you could just top the plants to remedy with its height difference.
Phenotype: A phenotype is a collection of traits that cause a cannabis plant to be different from the others relatives. You may be growing a strain from seed that is a hybrid of two other strains. Crosses like this often end up with different phenotypes that look more like one parent than the other. This is the same variation that causes children to look more like their mother or father. When growing cannabis seeds you may notice vast differences between the seedlings after a few weeks. Strains with little to no variation are often described as “stable” strains.
Landrace strains: A Landrace is a pure cannabis strain cultivated in its natural environment which has never been crossbred with another variety. You won't find hybrid 'landrace' strains — generally, they are either 100% Indica or Sativa
Canopy: In horticulture, a canopy is defined as the uppermost trees, or branches of the trees, in a forest, forming a more or less continuous layer of foliage. A canopy is the topmost layer of bioactivity in a growing set up.
Regular Cannabis seeds: If you germinate and grow 10 regulars cannabis seeds, you will have more or less 50% of male and female plants, all unique from each other. Most of the growers that enjoy growing regular cannabis strains are looking to separate male from female as soon as the plants declare it's sex. Regular seeds tend to be stronger and have more potential than feminized seeds. In a sense, they are unique plants. You could discover a champion phenotype that NO ONE has ever seen before, as regular seeds are ALL unique individuals.
Maximizing your yield is about optimizing many different factors that all make a little difference at the end of the line. Watering your plants properly is one of them & and a very important one to consider! Let us know in the comments what you think. Let's get more people to join the Indoor Growing Movement!
It would be great if you could also let us know the next subject you would like to learn about!