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Americans now spend over $1 billion annually on pipes, bongs, papers, coke spoons and other "paraphernalia." It stands to reason that much more is spent on the actual drugs themselves. The U.S. Federal government is spending billions and involving military forces in attempt to intercept drugs before they reach our country from such exotic sounding places as Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, and Turkey. Such efforts have raised prices and made importing the almost exclusive prerogative of the various professional syndicates.
The obvious answer, and the recent trend, is domestic production. This article will tell you, the average American toker, how to grow super weed in your own spare room or attic. You should get your entire investment back in one harvest. For the price of a few ounces of mediocre Columbian, you may never have to buy dope again and in fact can sell your surplus to make substantial amounts of "tax free" dollars. It's not necessary to follow every technique described here, but the serious grower will appreciate our suggestions.
In many areas of the country, outdoor cultivation is a practical option. The Pacific Northwest is not that good for this purpose due to late frosts, low light intensity, and ever present slugs. Growers in the Upper Midwest, Northeast, Canada also have a short season. Not to mention the rip-offs, busts, and the tendency for your plants to be pollinated by low potency wild weed; problems which plague outdoor growers everywhere. Now we have heard that the DEA- plans to paraquat domestic grass which is all the more reason to grow indoors .
Pot is a light-loving plant.
For this reason indoor marijuana growers have increasingly turned to the Metal Halide light as a source of indoor illumination. The traditional use for the Halide light has been street lighting. The 1000 watt bulb is 1.5 feet long, approximately 8 inches in diameter. The Sylvania MS1000 bulbs develops 125,000 initial lumens of light intensity. The GE MVR1000 bulb develops 115,000 initial lumens of light intensity, but lasts 2000 hours longer and does not diminish in light intensity as much as the Sylvania bulb. Fluorescents get only about 65 lumens per watt, and require an expensive wooded support structure. VHO's are not recommended due to their excessive costs and short life. Cool White tubes are adequate. If you are paying for your own electricity, arrange to have the power in your name and the bill sent directly to you so your landlord won't notice the extra $15 or so on your electricity bill. Use a heavy-duty timer.
It's important to shop for the right features in a halide since they are not all alike. Never deal with firms which do not supply a street address yet offer fantastic deals. Often these people sell used equipment without stating so. Always insist on a remote ballast. The weight of the ballast and its heat generation make this feature a must for the home grower. The ballast should be enclosed for aesthetic reasons. If it is not enclosed be sure to insulate all connections. A four foot circular or square reflector is preferable to a spotlight reflector. By not using an attached reflector you prevent heat build up around the bulb thus extending bulb life. An attached reflector will tend to unduly focus light onto a small area. Soft white paint is a diffuse reflector and a wall painted soft white will evenly illuminate the entire room. Be sure to get the MS1000 or MVR1000 because the "super bulb" gets 15.000 - 25,000 more lumens. It is not necessary to get the phosphorous coated bulb although it may be more desirable at the flowering stages. It's better to get a Universal GE bulb which can burn in any position in case it's accidentally tilted.
Unscrew and remove the overhead glass fixture in your room. Hang a lightweight but sturdy chain from the metal to which the glass fixture was attached.Attach a hook to your fixture and hang it about 4 feet from the ground so the light reaches the entire growing area. Be sure to paint your walls non-glossy white; tape flat white paper to the doors; and cover the drapes first with an opaque material and then the glossy white paper. If your walls are too far from the plants for this to be effective, build a 2 x 2 frame around your growing chamber and tape a reflective material to it. You may use suntan blankets, or white bedsheets.Do not use aluminum foil as it tends to focus Ultra-Violet rays and burn the plants.
If you have a greenhouse, have it facing the morning sun, and paint and insulate the sides and back wall. If your area has mostly sunny days, use a 5 gallon transparent plastic water containers manufactured by Container Corporation of America. Stack them against the back wall and dye the water black for solar heat. Six ounces of RIT dye should suffice for 500 gallons of water storage. Do not use old 55 gallon drums as their height will cause most of the heat to be immediately radiated to the air. If you wish to extend the period of light, at sunset attach an opaque insulating material then a white blanket to the greenhouse ceiling and front and use a halide. This will have the advantage of conserving heat and supplying it. In areas of mild winters but low light levels the North wall should be sloped to reflect light toward the ground rather than be used for heat storage; the halides alore may supply enough heat. In areas of cool winters and low sunlight you may be better off with an insulated room or shed, relying solely on artificial light. Consult The Solar Greenhouse from Rodale Press.
Adequate air circulation is very important to the health of your plants. You should have a fan and a vent. The fan should be aimed primarily at the bulb to prevent heat build up. Your window should be at least partially open most of the time. Have a screen over your vent to keep beneficial insects in and harmful insects out. Beneficial or predatory insects may be purchased from advertisers in "Acres, U.S.A." magazine, 1000S East 60th Terrace, Raytown, Missouri, 64133 ($10 for one year).
Hydroponics means growing plants without soil in water. Growth is twice as fast, bug- free, and takes half the space. Nutrient levels and PH can be accurately and easily controlled. Pea-sized gravel is often used as a medium because it drains fast and anchors the roots to keep the plant in an upright position. Volcanic gravel, as used in Hawaii for example, is superior mainly due to its lighter weight. Hydroponics is natural because when the earth was young and very active volcanically, plants has little soil but much volcanic gravel to grow in.
Water soluble NPK fertilizer is used; 28-14-14 for the seedling stage (first month), 20- 20-20 for growing on (second m month), and 10-52-10 for the flowering stage (third month). Use one teaspoon per gallon during all stages of growth. After you've opened the fertilizer container, close it up again as the fertilizer will attract moisture from the air. De-salted seaweed powder should be used for trace minerals during all stages; use 1/4 teaspoon per gallon for all stages except flowering; when you would double the dosage to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. Fill the growing trays with gravel and pour the nutrient solution into them. One pound of each mixture should be ample for one crop. You may want to add bong water for extra THC. You may also want to use sprout water throughout the growing cycle. Ordinarily, your solution would have to be removed every two weeks and used in soil. This is done because some nutrients are used up faster than others, also it keeps your water fresh. However, if you mix a gallon of water with the appropriate NPK fertilizer and seaweed powder and spray this solution on the plants at weekly intervals, you can wait 4 weeks before changing the water. Be careful not to get the halide bulb wet. If it breaks, unplug it right away. After the spraying is completed, pour the unused portion into the growing trays. Add more fertilizer to your spray solution as the nutrients in the trays get old. Don't add more than 1 teaspoon per gallon NPK and 1/2 teaspoon per gallon seaweed powder. The final time you spray the foliage, a week before harvest,do not add the NPK fertilizer but instead use 1 teaspoon per gallon of seaweed powder for the spray* mixture. However, it is impossible to eliminate the need for changing the water unless you have expensive equipment to test the level of each nutrient. You can expect a harvest in 3 months and coincidentally marijuana has three growth stages with different nutrient requirements.
Adjust the PH with sulfur (if your water is too alkaline) or water soluble lime (if your water is too acid). An alternative method for correcting alkaline water is to soak it in acid peat moss and drain. Your water department should be able to tell you the chemical composition of your tap water. Tell them you're an aquarium hobbyist. The ideal PH for growing plants is 6.5.
Crack and inoculate your seeds in the manner described previously. Transplant established seedling cubes right into the gravel and grow under the halide. Let the water level come within 1-2 inches of the surface; this will prevent roots from growing to the surface. Add room temperature water to make up for evaporation.
The typical hydroponic system has an elevated growing tray which gravity-drains into a separate storage tank. At given intervals it is pumped back up at a rate faster that the drainage rate. This system has two disadvantages; since the growing tray is elevated your plants cannot grow as tall; also, a storage tank is bulky, expensive, and hard to clean. These can be especially critical factors in a typical 10' x 10' room where ceiling clearance is 12 feet or less. In simple terms, you get less tops per crop with the conventional system. In a greenhouse situation, the storage tank is usually outside thus chilling the water; also a pit must be dug. Even if the pit is inside the greenhouse the water would be chilled to the ground temperature of 55Â°F.
It would be possible to alleviate this problem by constructing two trays and alternating the water back and forth from one tank to the other, continuously. To control the pump it would be best to switch to an all solid-state device with no moving parts to wear out. A company specializing in high technology hydroponic controls may stock it.
Fiberglass trays have 1/2 the strength of steel if they are not "chopped" and the mats and resin are hand laid. The plastic lined trays are much cheaper to build and easier to ship, and are entirely adequate. They require a wooden frame. Since the growing trays rest on the ground they need only be 9" tall. This would enable you to grow more tops per crop where vertical space is limited. You may build your own trays easily and if this is done the size may be adjusted to whatever space you have available. Here's the procedure for assembling the trays:
There are five other hydroponic growing techniques. The Nutrient Flow Technique (NFT) uses elevated grow tubes and water, no gravel. The result is no root support and overly wet conditions .
The Top Feed System has a small water tube going to each plant but does not completely flood the medium. The result is a "coning effect" where the water touches only a portion of the gravel. Using Vermiculite or Perlite instead of gravel would alleviate this problem but again the growing conditions would be too wet for most crops.
The Wick System uses a cloth strip and capillary action. The roots would grow exclusively around the wick, the fertilizer would settle to the bottom and the water would become stagnant.
The Israelis spray the roots directly, which are suspended in air. This method is very expensive to set up and complicated tc run. An interruption in electrical power would be quickly fatal.
The "bubblator" system works fine for aquarium fish but is not a serious plant growing technique. You'd have to have an air-stone for each plant. Again, the conditions would be far too wet for most plants.