How to Improve the Quality of Your Bud
Regardless of your experience growing ganja, everyone is after the same thing –sticky bud that can relax the body and mind, relieve stress, kill pain, and facilitate a good time. While you can’t change the amount of THC (or CBD, for that matter) that will be present in your plant come harvest time, you CAN guarantee that your strain reaches its full potential, and that its strong, pungent, and the envy of all your friends.
Let There be Light
Like all plants, cannabis needs light, and the right spectrum, to grow. In fact, light is crucial at every stage of the ganja game, from germination (light is one of the triggers to unlock the latent nutrients hiding in each tiny seed) to the flowering stage. Introducing a change in the light schedule after a certain period of weeks will also guarantee your plants switch from the vegetative to the flowering stage, a necessary transition.
Daylight is best, but if for whatever reasons growing weed outside is not an option for you, there are several alternatives for a successful indoor set up.
- Fluorescent / CFL / T5 Grow Lights: Setting up fluorescent lights in your grow room is simple and effective. These bulbs come in several shapes and sizes and are useful for low-key indoor gardening without going overboard on the electricity bill. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) are shaped more like a spring and produce a wider spectrum of light which is ideal when growing cannabis in a small space. T5 grow lights are the most popular for growing weed, as they provide the widest spectrum of light and can be kept as close to your plants as possible without fear of the leaves burning.
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights: HID lights are more effective than their fluorescent counterparts, and often come equipped with a reflector or hood to direct more light onto your plants. They can get very hot, though, and require proper ventilation. Many gardeners will opt for metal halide (MH) grow lights, which are generally used during the vegetative stage, but high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting tends to be the go-to for serious marijuana gardeners, especially during the flowering stage as their yellow light spectrum stimulates bud growth.
- LED Grow Lights: A popular alternative to HPS grow lights, LED lights run cooler than the former, and are significantly easier to set up. Additionally, you won’t need to move LED lights around to avoid plants tall plants getting too close to the bulbs, or short plants needing to stretch.
Feed your Marijuana Plants the Right Food
Just like vegetables in your garden, marijuana plants need the right kind of fertilizer to grow up healthy and strong. There are a range of nutritional supplements on the market that can be added to your soil or grow medium to enhance things like taste, flavor, and bud production. There are also natural alternatives, like black strap molasses, which can provide the plant with carbohydrates, amino acids and minerals during the last few weeks before harvest.
Expert Tip: Any chemicals used as plant “food” during growth can remain in the leaves of your marijuana, changing the taste of your finished product to something much less desirable. To combat this, veteran marijuana growers will “flush” their plants several weeks before harvest. This process, which just involves running distilled water through the medium to remove any nutrients present, allows the plant to use up whatever food it has stored within its cells so that the resulting bud is free from that bitter chemical taste.
Give Your Cannabis Plants Room to Breathe
Proper air flow in your grow room and around each individual plant may not guarantee bigger buds but it will ensure that your previous babies don’t succumb to common cannabis diseases like bud rot or powdery mildew, which can form as a result of too much humidity and moisture.
Additionally, you can increase the size and density of your buds if you make sure that, along with lots of great light, you provide more than adequate air flow from the moment they enter the flowering stage. (This is attributable to the fact that, as a wind-pollinated plant, more energy is pumped into buds that have been exposed to breeze when they start to form.)
You could just let your plants grow wild and free, but pruning, or low-stress training techniques, can help your plant produce better yields. How? When you move extraneous leaves and branches, your plant can funnel its attention and energy into the leftover parts, creating bigger, stronger buds and stems. This happens during the vegetative stage and not the flowering stage, so the plant has time to recover from the damage inflicted
Tinker with the Temperature
Fickle like a rose, each marijuana strain thrives in a unique climate. If you figure out the right temperature and humidity levels for your specific strain, and can maintain that throughout the growth period, you will notice amazing results come harvest time.
Point of fact:
- Seedlings prefer 65-75-degree temperatures with 60% humidity for the first two weeks
- Adult plants under artificial lighting prefer a temperature of about 80%, with about a five percent decrease in humidity for the first month or so.
- Adult plants not grown under artificial lighting tend to thrive in temps of about 62-72%, with about 55% humidity.
Carbon Dioxide for Happy Cannabis
Intermediate and experienced growers may consider the importance of the availability of carbon dioxide in a plants ability to absorb light and convert it into energy. Did you know that supplementing plants with extra C02 can help increase your yields by up to 20%.
When using low-powered grow lights (CFLs or fluorescents), you should be producing enough C02 in regular fresh air, but for plants in high-light situations, more C02 will allow your plants to use more of the available light, resulting in faster growth and bigger yields.
Dry It and Cure It Right
The process may seem inconsequential but proper processing of your plants once they’ve been harvested can boost the flavor and aroma of the bud, along with maintaining its integrity over the long term. Dry and cure at a slow pace, providing medium humidity to prevent the development of mold, and to protect those delicate trichomes.
For storage, seal your dried bud in air-tight jars or storage bags and keep them in an area where the temperature and humidity will remain constant, as well as away from direct light. Some suggest opening the container a bit each day to let in a fresh air (air flow is just as important during this stage as it is during the vegetative and flowering stages). You can do this for upwards of a month, and then you can leave off.
Always Use Top Quality Seeds
The final tip, which is actually the first step, is to make sure you start with the best quality genetics available to you. There are marijuana seeds and then there are marijuana seeds. When you buy your cannabis seeds from a certified vendor, like Pacific Seed Bank, you’re guaranteed high quality, viable seeds that will produce strong, vibrant plants and top-quality pot.