Listen here everyone! I’m coming at you with some important content. If you are looking to grow your own recreational weed take notes. I sat down with a good friend of mine and we discussed his most recent grow. I will be using “The FireMan” as his alias because it’s a sweet name… Ok, also.. I got the inside look of his beautiful plants and listened to his step by step process. So listen up if you want the inside scoops on growing legal Marijuana in your personal space. That’s me, ridin’ dirty on my way to Mr.Fireman’s fine establishment.
Troy : So why did you decide to grow marijuana?
The Fireman: This isn’t my first rodeo, but I initially made the decision to give it a try 10 years ago when I was living with a friend. Every weekend we would spend so much money on mid grade buds that would hurt our throats and give us the spins . It was so tough to find medical grade herb that it only made sense to grow our own – not to mention it was great to be able to choose the strains we preferred. At the time we didn’t know anything about photo periods (12 hours lights on/12 hours lights off) so we chose an Autoflowering. Ultimately it became fun to create a product I love so much from start to finish. Fast forward 10 years and Yes on 4 makes possessing marijuana and growing up to 6 plants legal in Massachusetts. The day after the law changed I went online and ordered my grow tent and seeds. The paranoia is gone and it’s fun again because I don’t have to worry about getting caught with an illegal grow.
Troy: It is pretty great that Massachusetts legalized marijuana. Times have changed and people – law abiding citizens should recognize their rights and reap the benefits if they please.
Please break down the process or steps of your indoor grow?
Step 1- Choose a grow light. There are lots of different lights to choose from, unfortunately they’re not all quality. When it comes to lights, you get what you pay for. More Watts=More Buds. There are a variety of lights that can be used for growing marijuana including high pressure sodium (most popular), metal halide, LED, and compact fluorescents.
Step 2- Buy an exhaust system, preferably one that utilizes a carbon filter. I opted to go with an LED grow light from G8LED (they are reputable and it comes with a warranty – should any of the bulbs fail) and even though it gives off considerable less heat than other light alternatives I still needed to add an exhaust system. I purchased a 4 inch inline fan from htgsupply.com along with 4 inch can carbon filter. This gives me more than enough air circulation for my 2 x 2.5 ft tent. Without the exhaust system I would have to deal with 90 degree heat (during the summer) which stunts growth and leads to leggy plants.
Troy: How did you choose your seeds for the grow?
Mr. Fireman: I looked online for reputable seed shops that deliver to the US. I found Nirvana Seeds Shop in Amsterdam and the website made it really easy to navigate. I chose feminized seeds because I didn’t want to go through the effort of starting a bunch of plants only to realize there were some male plants in the mix. If you don’t pull the males in time they can pollinate your female plants and you end up with shitty seeded weed.
As far as the seeds themselves, I chose a strain called wonder woman because I’m a fan of hybrid strains and this one stayed relatively squat which is ideal for my tent. The price was right 10 seeds for 60 bucks including shipping. Customer service was incredible and responded quickly to my cultivation questions. Their packaging is beyond stealth and I received them in 17 days. If I could get my hands on some clones (cuttings from a female plant) that would be just as good and possibly better for someone who hasn’t “popped” seeds.
Troy: So we got backdrop of your growing experiences, we know we need a light, exhaust system, seeds, tent, tell us about your set up.
The Fireman: Obviously if outdoors is an option the sun is a great free source of energy but for me living in the city, I needed to do it in my room.Remember whatever you choose to grow in weather it’s a premade grow tent,a closet, or (for you handy folks) something you built from scratch, you need to make sure there are ports (holes) for air exchange. You also need to make sure the space is light proof or your plants won’t produce much flowers if any.
Early on in my growing career I tried growing in a closet without ventilation and I ran into major heat issues and my yield suffered. I chose to purchase a gorilla grow tent this time, which already comes with tons of ports, a built in water tray, reflective interior, and most importantly its lightproof. I’ve spent weeks constructing my own grow tents and will not be doing that again. This grow tent is the best 150 bucks I’ve spent and it’s durable as all hell (and you really want it to be).
Troy: What type of base do you use to put your soil in?
The Fireman: When I first started growing many years ago we grew out plants in 7 Eleven “Big Gulp” cups that we drilled holes for drainage in the bottom. Surprisingly they worked really well for the plants we were growing. These days I’m pretty keen on air pots. They have holes along the side for the roots to pop out and the tips dry out naturally pruning themselves.
This encourages fresh, vigorous and bushy growth elsewhere in the root system, increasing the plant’s uptake of water and nutrients. Whatever sort of pots you use albeit clay, cloth, or plastic make sure it has holes for drainage. Remember, the bigger the pot the bigger the plant (some genetic restrictions may apply).
Troy: I see you are using soil base and not hydroponic why is this? Any reasoning in particular ?
The FireMan: There are basically 2 options a hydro setup or a soil one. Personally I’ve never felt comfortable using pumps and baskets (hydro setup) and have done soil grows each time. While using a hydro set up may yield you more it’s not as forgiving if the PH of your water is off and it’s easier to kill your crop. Soil acts as a buffer so the PH won’t fluctuate nearly as much which gives you leeway if you overfeed your “girls”. The soil I use is a mixture of fish and crab meal, guano, and worm casting which will feed the plant. The “nutes” in the soil are slowly released when the plant is watered.The soil is from Fox Farm and is called Ocean Forest and was purchased at GYO stuff on Mass Ave.
Troy: Why is it important to have healthy nutrients or soil for grow?
Nutrients can help you improve your yield and flower quality, but plant genetics really dictate what your plant “could be”. Basically, a poor strain will always be just that, with or without “nutes”. With that said, I do use nutrients and I prefer an organic line called general organics. When using organic nutrients you are less likely to “burn” your plants and the finished product seems to taste better. I also add Jamaican bat guano to my feeding during the flowering cycle. It seems to boost flower size and improve trichome production.
Troy: Thanks Mr. Fireman for your insight! All this information is important; viewers make sure you first , you live in a recreational friendly state for marijuana!
Are there any problems you ran into in your grow this season?
Mr. Fireman: Early on during vegetative growth I ran into problems with slow growth much of which was due to low humidity. I purchased a humidifier and that brought it up from 25 to 45 percent. The other reason for slow growth was under watering. I was so paranoid about overwatering (which can kill your plant by drowning the roots) that I way under did it. Also the air pots I use allow for more air to get to the dirt which means it was drying out much faster than anticipated. The plant nearly doubled in size once I upped the amount of water I was giving it.
An issue I’ve had in the past (especially later in flowering) was powdery mildew, which can really fuck up a whole crop. They say it’s not dangerous to smoke while others people say it can lead to lung infections. I was able to prevent the mold/mildew by adding a fan below as well as above the canopy. The wonder woman strain I used is also very easy to grow and is resistant to mold and mildew which helps.
I hate having to deal with “larf”, which are lower buds that never develop because they don’t get enough light. They are a pain to trim at harvest and are only really good for extracts and edibles. By lollypopping ( removing foliage from the lower 1/3 rd of the plant) the plant puts more energy into making the higher buds bigger.
One of the last problems I ran into was my room getting too hot on days that reached 90+ degrees. Ultimately heat that high slows growth and makes for more airy buds. I purchased a standing AC unit for my room so the passive intake is drawing that cool air into the tent.
Here is a wrap up of the products he used and also key pieces for a healthy plant.
Seeds- Nirvana Seeds Shop(wonder woman strain)
Grow lights – G8LED
Tent- Gorilla Grow Company Used in blog above (lite line 2×2.5 ft 5″7 height)
Pot- Air Pots 3 gallon and then transplanted into a 7 gallon
SCROG Screen- Scrog1 from EBay
Soil- Fox Farm ocean Forrest
Liquid Nutes- grow organics (entire line), bud candy, ph up, ph down
Other Nutes- bat guano during flowering