Tried & Tested: We're with you from seed to harvest.


Both the Paper Towel Method and the Soaking Method can be effective for germinating cannabis seeds. Neither is necessarily better than the other. The choice between the two methods often comes down to personal preference, along with the specific conditions you are working with. 

Below you will find guides to both the Soaking Method and the Paper Towel Method. Following the directions, I’ve detailed the advantages I find with each method. However, the ultimate choice is always yours to make.

The Soaking Method Guide

Materials you'll need:

  1. Cannabis seeds
  2. A clean glass or cup
  3. Distilled or purified water 
    • Note, tap water can be used, but should be left to sit for a day to allow chlorine to dissipate.
  4. Room temperature or slightly warmer water

Step 1. Preparation

  • Ensure your workspace is clean and free from contaminants.
  • Fill a clean glass or cup with enough distilled or purified water to completely submerge the seeds. The water should be at room temperature or slightly warmer.
Step 2. Soaking
  • Place the cannabis seeds into the glass or cup filled with water.
  • Allow the seeds to soak for 18 to 24 hours. Leave them in a dark, warm place.
    • This soaking period will encourage the seeds to absorb moisture and initiate the germination process.
Step 3. Check for Germination
  • After 18 to 24 hours, check the seeds. You should see they are swollen, and the outer shell may have cracked or split open. This indicates the germination process has begun.
Step 4. Planting
  • Carefully remove the soaked seeds from the water. Be gentle to avoid damaging them.
  • Plant the seeds directly into your chosen growing medium. Make a small ½- to 1-inch hole in the growing medium and place the seeds in it.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and water lightly to keep the growing medium moist.
Step 5. Germination
  • Maintain a consistently warm and humid environment. Ideally temperatures should be around 70-80°F (21-27°C) and include high humidity.
    • A humidity dome or plastic wrap can help create a suitable microenvironment.
    • Keep the growing medium moist but not waterlogged.
Step 6. Transplanting
    • Once your cannabis seedlings have established themselves with a few sets of true leaves, you can transplant them into larger pots or your chosen growing setup.

KEEP IN MIND: Handle the seeds and seedlings with care to avoid damaging them during the germination and transplanting processes. It's important to be patient and provide the right conditions for your cannabis plants to thrive as they grow. Done with care, The Soaking Method is highly effective.

Compare this first approach with the Paper Towel Method below to see which is right for you.  

The Paper Towel Method Guide

Materials you'll need:

  1. Cannabis seeds
  2. Two clean, white paper towels
  3. A clean, shallow dish or plate
  4. Distilled or purified water (tap water can be used but should be left to sit for a day to allow chlorine to dissipate)
  5. A sealable plastic bag or a plastic container with a lid

Step 1. Preparation

  • Start by ensuring that your workspace is clean and free from contaminants.
  • Moisten one of the paper towels with a small amount of distilled or purified water, making it damp but not soaking wet.

Step 2. Placing Seeds

  • Place your cannabis seeds evenly spaced on the damp paper towel.
Step 3. Covering Seeds
  • Carefully fold the damp paper towel over the seeds to create a "sandwich" with the seeds in the middle.
Step 4. Second Paper Towel
  • Take the second clean, white paper towel and dampen it with a bit of water.
  • Place this second damp paper towel on top of the "seed sandwich."
Step 5. Shallow Dish or Plate
  • Place the "seed sandwich" with the second damp paper towel on a clean, shallow dish or plate.

Step 6. Enclosure

  • Place the entire setup inside a sealable plastic bag or a plastic container with a lid. This creates a controlled and humid environment for germination.
Step 7. Warm, Dark Location
  • Put the sealed plastic bag or container in a warm and dark location. The ideal temperature for germination is around 70-80°F (21-27°C).
Step 8. Check for Germination
  • Check the paper towel regularly, usually every 12-24 hours. You should see the seeds sprouting a small taproot.
Step 9. Transplanting
  • Once the taproot is about 1/2 to 1 inch long, it's time to transplant the germinated seeds into your chosen growing medium. Carefully transfer the seeds using clean, sterilized tweezers or your fingers, taking care not to damage the delicate taproot.
Step 10. Planting
  • Create a small hole (about 1/2 to 1 inch deep) in your growing medium and place the germinated seed in it, taproot down.
  • Cover the seed with a thin layer of soil and water lightly.

Step 11. Germination Phase

  • Maintain a consistently warm and humid environment for your seedlings as they grow. Keep the growing medium moist but not waterlogged.

KEEP IN MIND: Be gentle when handling the germinated seeds and seedlings to avoid causing any damage. The paper towel method allows you to easily check on the germination progress and transplant the seeds once they've sprouted a taproot.

Advantages of the Soaking Method: 

  1. Faster Germination: Soaking seeds can lead to quicker germination because it encourages the seeds to absorb water rapidly and initiate the germination process. This is especially beneficial if you're working with seeds that have a tough outer shell.
  2. Reduced Risk of Damage: With the paper towel method, there's a risk of damaging the delicate sprout when transferring it from the paper towel to the growing medium. In the soaking method, you plant the seed directly after soaking, reducing this risk.
  3. Minimal Handling: Soaking seeds in water reduces the need to handle them. Handling can be a source of stress for the seeds, and excessive touching can damage them.
  4. Consistent Moisture: In the soaking method, the seeds are exposed to a consistent moisture environment. With the paper towel method, maintaining consistent moisture levels can be more challenging.

Soaking cannabis seeds is a simple and effective method for germination.

Re. the Soaking Method from Christine: I have personally had the most success with the Soaking Method. You simply place your seeds in darkness and wait up to 24 hours. I have had success with 5 year-old seeds using this method. The nice thing about the Soaking Method is that you don't have to worry quite as much about damaging the taproot as it is typically not established enough until you plant it. I highly suggest this method, especially if you are a new grower.


Advantages of the Paper Towel Method: 

  1. Controlled Environment: The paper towel method allows you to closely monitor the germination process and intervene if a seed shows signs of trouble. You can also ensure that all seeds are viable before planting them in the growing medium.
  2. Visual Confirmation: It's easier to see when a seed has germinated when using the paper towel method. You can wait until you see the taproot emerge before planting it.

The Paper Towel Method allows visual confirmation of the cannabis’ taproots.

In Conclusion

Ultimately, the choice between these two methods depends on your preferences and the specific circumstances you're working with. Some growers prefer the Soaking Method for its speed and simplicity, while others opt for the Paper Towel Method in order to have more control over the germination process. Both methods can be successful if carried out correctly.

Planting Germinated Seeds & Seedling CarePlanting Germinated Seeds & Seedling Care

Planting your cannabis seedlings directly into their main container has some advantages, but it also comes with specific challenges. Whether it's better to do so depends on your specific circumstances and experience level. Here are some reasons why people might choose to plant cannabis seedlings directly into their main container:


  1. Reduced Transplant Stress: Transplanting can stress young cannabis plants, especially if it’s not done carefully. By planting directly into the main container, you eliminate the need for transplanting, reducing the risk of damage to the fragile root system and disturbing the plant's growth.
  2. Saves Time and Effort: Transplanting can be time-consuming and requires additional effort and resources (e.g., extra pots, potting soil, and transplanting tools). Planting directly in the final container saves time and resources.
  3. Minimizes Root Disturbance: Cannabis plants can be sensitive to root disturbance. When you transplant, you risk damaging the roots or causing transplant shock. Planting directly in the final container ensures the roots remain undisturbed.
  4. Stable Growth Environment: When you plant directly in the main container, the plant experiences less stress and shock, resulting in more stable growth from the beginning. This can be especially beneficial for beginners.

Challenges and Considerations:

  1. Space Management: Planting directly in the final container limits your flexibility in terms of plant placement and growth stages. If you need to move your plants or adjust their size, this can be challenging.
  2. Water Management: It's crucial to be cautious with watering when planting directly in a large container. It's easy to overwater, which can lead to root issues and reduced oxygen levels in the soil.
  3. Soil Volume: If the container is too large for a small seedling, the excess soil can hold too much moisture, leading to waterlogged roots or nutrient imbalances.
  4. Seedling Survival: Some growers prefer to start seedlings in smaller pots or trays because they can provide a more controlled environment and then transplant them when the plants are more robust and better able to withstand the conditions of the final container.

In summary, planting cannabis seedlings directly into their main container can be advantageous in terms of reducing transplant stress and saving time. However, it also requires careful management of water and soil volume, and it may limit your flexibility. The choice ultimately depends on your experience, your specific growing environment, and your comfort level with direct planting. 


BrainForest Grow Pots, I highly suggest you plant your seedlings directly into the Grow Pot. You only need to pay attention to the size of your plants. When they are tiny seedlings, you only need to water around the plant.  As your plant gets larger, your circle of water should get larger. The seedling stage is 2-3 weeks long, so at the end of the 3 weeks, start to water your plant around the full circle of the bag. As your plants get larger, water them until the water runs through the bottom of your BrainForest Grow Pot.

Happy Growing! 

Love, Christine




When to Harvest-Happy TrichomesWhen to Harvest-Happy Trichomes
Harvesting cannabis based on the trichomes is a widely used and reliable method to determine the optimal time for harvest. Trichomes are tiny, mushroom-shaped glands on the surface of the cannabis plant that produce and store cannabinoids, including THC and CBD. The appearance of trichomes can help you gauge the plant's readiness for harvest.


Here's how to determine the correct time to harvest cannabis based on trichome color and maturity:

  1. Use a Magnifying Tool: To assess the trichomes accurately, you'll need a magnifying tool, such as a magnifying glass, jeweler's loupe, or a digital microscope. These tools allow you to closely examine the trichomes on the buds. You can even find magnifying cameras for your phone on Amazon or elsewhere. 
  2. Focus on the Trichomes: Pay close attention to the trichomes on the buds rather than the sugar leaves. The sugar leaves may mature faster than the buds themselves.
    • Note, sugar leaves refer to the small, resinous leaves that grow on the flowering buds of the cannabis plant. They are typically smaller and less prominent than the larger fan leaves. “Sugar leaves” are called this because they have a sparkling, sugary appearance. They play a crucial role in the production of cannabis products such as hash, concentrates, and edibles.
  3. Monitor Trichome Color: Trichomes go through several stages of development, and the color of the trichomes is a key indicator of readiness. There are three main stages to watch for:
    • Clear Trichomes (Immature): At the early stages of flowering, trichomes are mostly clear and translucent. This is usually not the ideal time for harvest, as the cannabinoid content is low, and the effects may be less potent.
    • Cloudy Trichomes (Peak THC): As the plant matures, the trichomes will become cloudy or milky in appearance. This is often considered the peak time for THC potency. Harvesting at this stage typically results in a more cerebral and energetic high.
    • Amber Trichomes (Increased CBD, Sedative Effects): Over time, the cloudy trichomes may turn amber or brown. This is a sign of increased CBD content and is associated with a more relaxing, sedative effect. If you prefer a more balanced or calming high, you can harvest at this stage.
  4. Desired Effect: The choice of when to harvest depends on the desired effects. If you prefer a more uplifting and energetic high, harvest when the trichomes are mostly cloudy. If you want a more relaxing or sedative effect, wait until you see a higher percentage of amber trichomes.
  5. Check Multiple Buds: When assessing trichomes, it's good practice to check several buds from different parts of the plant. This will help you get a more accurate overall picture of the plant's readiness for harvest.
  6. Timing: The optimal time for harvesting varies depending on the strain and growing conditions, but, in general, it's often recommended to harvest when the trichomes are mostly cloudy with some amber trichomes. Waiting until all trichomes are amber can lead to over-ripeness, which may result in a less potent or undesirable taste.

By closely monitoring the trichomes and considering your desired effects, you can harvest your cannabis at the time that best suits your preferences. It's a critical step in the cultivation process to ensure that you get the effects and flavors you desire from your harvested buds.

Harvest and beyondHarvest and beyond

Harvesting cannabis is a critical step in the cultivation process. It can greatly affect the quality and effects of your buds. Taking the time to harvest and cure your cannabis properly can lead to a more enjoyable and potent end product.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to harvest cannabis:

Materials you'll need:

  1. Sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears

  2. Clean, sanitized containers for storing harvested buds

  3. Gloves (optional)

  4. Clean workspace

How to Harvest Cannabis Buds:

  1. Determine the Right Time to Harvest: As mentioned earlier, the trichomes play a key role in determining the right time to harvest. Monitor the trichomes' color and maturity to ensure the buds are at their peak potency and flavor, according to your desired effects.

  2. Prepare Your Workspace: Ensure your workspace is clean and organized. Use a sterile environment to prevent contamination of the harvested buds.

  3. Wear Gloves (Optional): Some growers choose to wear gloves during the harvesting process to minimize contact between their skin and the buds. This is especially important if you have contaminants on your hands or are concerned about hygiene.

  4. Cut Individual Branches: To harvest the plant, start by cutting individual branches or sections. Using sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears, snip the branches just above the main stem. Leave a small amount of stem attached to the buds for handling.

  5. Trim and Prune: Once you have cut the branches, you can trim away any excess leaves. Use your scissors or pruning shears to remove the larger fan leaves and any unwanted foliage. The goal is to focus on the bud material.

  6. Hang or Place Buds to Dry: After trimming, hang the branches with buds in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated area to dry. Some growers prefer using a drying rack or mesh screen to allow for proper air circulation. Maintain a temperature of around 60-70°F (15-21°C) with a humidity level of around 45-55% for optimal drying conditions. Drying typically takes between 5-10 days.

  7. Curing (Optional): After the initial drying process, some growers choose to cure their buds in airtight containers (such as glass jars). Curing helps enhance the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the buds. During the curing process, the buds should be stored in a dark, cool, and dry place. Open the containers periodically to allow for air exchange and monitor the humidity levels. The curing process can last for several weeks to a few months, depending on personal preference.

  8. Storage: Once the buds are dried and cured (if you choose to cure them), transfer them to airtight, light-proof containers for long-term storage. Mason jars are a popular choice for this purpose. Store your containers in a cool, dark place to preserve the quality and potency of your cannabis.

  9. Enjoy Your Harvest: Your cannabis is now ready for consumption! Be sure to enjoy it responsibly and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

Budget Friendly Soil RecipesBudget Friendly Soil Recipes

Check out our budget friendly, cannabis happy soil recipes

Nutrient-Rich Cannabis & Hemp Grow Recipes.

BrainForest's Complete Organic Potting Soil Recipe and Supercharged Organic Soil Recipe are perfect for people who want to grow smart and on a budget. If you don’t have the time or know-how to check the PH balance and other nutrients required to grow healthy plants, then these cannabis grow recipes are perfect for you.  

When I first decided to grow my own marijuana plants, choosing the right soil was one of the biggest challenges I faced. There are high-priced soils out there, specifically designed to feed and nurture your precious plants, but sometimes they are hard to come by and shipping can be costly, especially if you are growing more than one plant. There are online recipes, but their lists of ingredients are often hard to find. Worst of all, if you purchase ingredients individually, the sticker shock is REAL, my friends. 

Excuse the pun, but digging further into the chemistry of soil composition, there are PH testers and products that will increase and decrease the PH. There are also a host of nutrients and additives, but again, they require more time and more money. Ca-ching. Ca-ching. Ca-ching. (Boo to that.)


So where does this all lead you? 


BrainForest’s Nutrient-Rich Cannabis & Hemp Grow Recipes

At BrainForest, we know your seeds are an investment. You need a loose enough soil which will allow plant roots to grow freely, without harm. Your soil needs to have the proper nutrients to help your cannabis and hemp plants through both the vegetative and flowering growth stages. 

No more hard-to-find ingredients.

No more specialty shops. 

The recipes below minimize the amount of additional nutrients you need to purchase. You will find the instructions below for BrainForest’s Base Soil Recipe, our Complete Organic Potting Soil Recipe, and last but not least, our Supercharged Organic Soil Recipe. The wonderful thing about these soils is they have the same base for both the Complete Organic and the Supercharged Organic soils, which saves you time and money. The primary difference between recipes occurs when the cannabis or hemp roots are developed and looking for a little more pizazz. 

The following cannabis and hemp soil recipes are meant to help you build an inexpensive, organic soil that is nutritionally sound enough to aid your plant through her entire life cycle. 


For additional help, watch my easy How-To Video on YouTube: 


Shopping for soil ingredients

I typically shop for 4 cubic feet when buying Perlite, because Perlite is volcanic rock, which means it has no expiration date. The savings I get by buying 4 cubic feet versus smaller bags are astronomical. I regularly order Perlite off of, and love that it comes straight to my door - easy as pie!  

The Coco Coir typically comes in a compacted brick that is sold online or at chain stores. Be aware you will need to add water to the brick in order to rehydrate it. To make things super-easy, I put my brick in a fabric grow bag (felt works great), and then place the grow bag inside a tote so that the extra water can flow out freely.    

* * * * *

The following recipe is enough to fill about 4 to 5 gallon-sized grow bags. Grow bags will soon be available as part of our BrainForest catalog. Check out our catalog for these and other great products:

BrainForest’s Base Soil Recipe

Once you mix the above items together, split the mixture into two different bins. One half will be for your Complete Organic Potting Soil and the other half will be for your SuperCharged Organic Soil.

NOTE: I recommend you wear a mask and gloves when combining ingredients. The Perlite gets super dusty and can be a little sharp.


BrainForest’s Complete Organic Potting Soil Recipe

The first three ingredients may have already been combined in Base Soil Recipe, listed above:

  • 5 pounds Coco Coir
  • 5 pounds worm castings
  • ½ cubic foot of coarse Perlite

Once Base Soil Recipe is combined, follow directions for the final two ingredients:

In your Complete Organic Potting Soil bin, mix in 2 cups of all-purpose garden fertilizer. I have personally used the brand Down to Earth Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer. You can find it on Amazon or in stores. If you are unable to find that specific brand, look for something that is close to 4-6-2 in nutrients. Be sure the middle number is higher than the last number.

The last ingredient you will add to your bin is ½ cup of Azomite, which you can find in stores or on Amazon. Mix together and your BrainForest Complete Organic Soil is done!


BrainForest’s Supercharged Organic Soil Recipe

For the first part of the Supercharged recipe, follow the Base Soil Recipe, listed above.

  • 5 pounds Coco Coir
  • 5 pounds worm castings
  • 1/2 cubic foot of coarse Perlite

Once the Base Soil Recipe is combined, follow directions for the final two ingredients for Supercharged:

  • 5 cups of all-purpose garden fertilizer
  • 3/4 cup Azomite

Mix in your 5 cups of all-purpose garden fertilizer and your ¾ cup Azomite. These will help your plant when it reaches the flowering stage, because they will provide the nutrients it needs to flourish.

Next, you will hot-compost your Supercharged soil bin.

  1. Put the mixture in a bin 
  2. Cover the mixture with a sheet of paper - make sure the paper is nice and wet.
  3. Cover the bin with a lid.
  4. Leave the bin in the hot sun for up to 3 months.
    1. NOTE: Only the Supercharged Soil needs to be hot-composted.


Using your Complete Organic Potting & Supercharged Organic Soils

I recommend using BrainForest’s Complete Organic Potting Soil & Supercharged Organic Soil in the following ways:

  • Place the Supercharged Organic Soil in the bottom ⅓ of your grow bag. When the roots are more mature, they will be able to tap into the supercharged nutrients. The top ⅔ of your grow bag should be filled with the Complete Organic Potting Soil recipe, which will help your plants as they germinate and develop.  
  • The Complete Organic Potting Soil recipe is a great nutrient-rich soil that will work with ALL sorts of plants. If you grow anything in addition to your cannabis or hemp plants, it will work wonders for you. Personally, I use this blend for all of my garden seedlings.


Let’s Connect!

I’m so happy you found us! I hope you love these recipes as much as I loved creating them. Please feel free to pass this post on to any and all of your 420-friendly friends, or share with an avid gardener. 

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know how these awesome cannabis grow recipes work for you. Or, feel free to reach out with any questions you might have. I’m happy to help. Drop us a note at: 

BrainForest = Happy. Good.


Watering TipsWatering Tips

Watering is a crucial aspect of growing cannabis, and proper watering practices can significantly impact the health and yield of your plants. Here are some tips for watering your cannabis plants effectively:

  1. Water Quality: Use clean, pH-balanced water for your cannabis plants. Avoid using water with a high concentration of chlorine or other impurities. Many growers use distilled or purified water to ensure quality.
  2. Watering Schedule: Develop a watering schedule based on your plant's age, size, and environmental conditions. In general, water less frequently during the seedling and early vegetative stages, and increase watering as the plants grow and require more moisture. Let the top inch or so of the growing medium dry out before watering.
  3. Container Selection: Choose the right container size and type. Larger containers retain moisture for longer periods, while smaller containers dry out more quickly. Make sure your containers have proper drainage to prevent overwatering.
  4. Soil Moisture Testing: Regularly check the moisture content of the growing medium. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil to gauge its moisture level. If it feels dry at that depth, it's time to water. You can also use a moisture meter to get more precise readings.
  5. Watering Technique: Water your cannabis plants thoroughly. Make sure the water reaches the root zone. It's often recommended to water until you see some runoff from the bottom of the container. This helps flush out excess salts and ensures even moisture distribution.
  6. Avoid Overwatering: Overwatering is a common mistake in cannabis cultivation. It can lead to root rot and other problems. Be patient and avoid watering if the growing medium is still moist.
  7. Avoid Underwatering: While overwatering is a concern, underwatering can also harm your plants. Pay attention to the signs of thirsty plants, such as drooping leaves or a noticeable decrease in growth rate.
  8. pH Monitoring: Regularly check the pH level of your watering solution. Cannabis plants generally prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. Maintaining the proper pH helps ensure nutrient uptake and plant health.
  9. Fertilizer Considerations: If you're using nutrients or fertilizers, follow the manufacturer's recommendations and consider using a diluted solution. Over-fertilization can lead to nutrient toxicity and other issues.
  10. Environmental Factors: Be aware of environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, as they can affect your plant's water requirements. Plants may need more water in hot, dry conditions and less in cooler, more humid environments.
  11. Transplanting Care: When transplanting seedlings or young plants, water them immediately after transplanting to help the roots establish in the new container.
  12. Consistency: Try to maintain a consistent watering routine. Fluctuations in moisture levels can stress plants. Automatic watering systems can help maintain consistency.

Remember that the specific watering needs of your cannabis plants can vary depending on the strain, growth stage, and growing environment. Observing your plants and responding to their specific requirements is essential for successful cultivation. Over time, you'll develop a better understanding of your plants' water needs and how to meet them effectively.

An excellent BrainForest Tip when watering is to simply feel the soil with the back of your wrist. If your soil feels warm, it is time to water all the way through the pot. If your soil still feels cool, there is enough moisture in your BrainForest Grow Bag for another day.

Nutrient IssuesNutrient Issues

When growing cannabis, nutrient issues can arise that affect the health and development of your precious plants. Below are some of the main nutrient issues to watch out for. I realize nutrient information can be slightly overwhelming, so I’ve broken it down as best I can. I also refer to the colors you are looking for so that you know the proper nutrient deficiency you are having. My hope is if you follow the BrainForest Complete Organic Potting Soil and Supercharged Potting Soil Recipe, you should not run into many nutrient issues, and you can easily shop Amazon for specific products. However, be sure to take the time to hot compost your supercharged portion.  

  1. Nitrogen Deficiency: This is one of the most common nutrient issues in cannabis cultivation. It leads to yellowing of the lower leaves, starting with the older ones. The leaves may appear pale and show signs of overall poor growth.
  2. Phosphorus Deficiency: Phosphorus deficiency results in dark green or purple leaves, often with dark spots or streaks. It can lead to slower growth, poor root development, and reduced flower production.
  3. Potassium Deficiency: Potassium deficiency can cause the leaf margins to turn yellow or brown. Leaves may become brittle and curl upwards. It can also affect bud development and overall plant vigor.
  4. Calcium Deficiency: Calcium deficiency can lead to distorted new growth, brown or yellow spots on the leaves, and poor root development. It can also result in weakened cell walls, making the plant more susceptible to disease.
  5. Magnesium Deficiency: Magnesium deficiency often causes yellowing between the leaf veins, giving leaves a marbled appearance. Older leaves are usually affected first, and they may curl or become brittle.
  6. Sulfur Deficiency: Sulfur deficiency symptoms include yellowing of the entire plant, starting with the newest growth. The plant may also exhibit slower growth and smaller leaves.
  7. Iron Deficiency: Iron deficiency leads to yellowing between the veins, with the veins themselves remaining green. It can affect the plant's ability to produce chlorophyll, leading to reduced photosynthesis.
  8. Zinc Deficiency: Zinc deficiency may cause leaves to develop yellow or white spots between the veins. Leaf tips may become distorted or curl upwards.
  9. Copper Deficiency: Copper deficiency can result in leaves turning a pale green or even yellowish-white. It can cause leaves to become twisted or distorted.
  10. Manganese Deficiency: Manganese deficiency causes yellowing between the veins, often appearing as yellow or white streaks. It can also lead to stunted growth and poor bud development.
  11. Boron Deficiency: Boron deficiency can cause leaves to become distorted, with brittle edges and yellowing. It can also lead to poor root development and smaller buds.
  12. Excess Nutrients: Over-fertilization can lead to nutrient toxicity, which can vary depending on the specific nutrient but often results in burned leaf edges, dark or discolored leaves, and slowed growth.
  13. pH Imbalances: Incorrect pH levels can affect nutrient availability. Cannabis plants prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. pH imbalances can lead to nutrient lockout, preventing the plant from absorbing essential nutrients.

To prevent and address nutrient issues, it's crucial to maintain the right pH levels, follow a proper feeding schedule, and ensure that you're using quality, balanced nutrient solutions. Regularly monitor your plants and adjust your nutrient regimen as needed based on the specific symptoms you observe. Proper diagnosis and timely correction of nutrient issues are key to successful cannabis cultivation.

Light cycles, autoflowers, and sexing; oh my.Light cycles, autoflowers, and sexing; oh my.



Light Cycles are a crucial aspect of cannabis cultivation; they are determined by a plant's growth stage and flowering phase. Here are the typical light cycles for cannabis plants during their different growth stages:



  1. Seedling Stage (0-2 weeks): During the seedling stage, cannabis plants are quite delicate and require a gentle introduction to light. You can use a light cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness (18/6). This extended light period encourages vegetative growth and the development of healthy seedlings.
  2. Vegetative Stage (2-8 weeks or longer, depending on plant size): In the vegetative stage, cannabis plants focus on growing foliage and developing a strong structure. Use a light cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness (18/6) or 24 hours of light for faster growth. The 24-hour light cycle is often used by commercial growers to maximize growth, but it can be more resource-intensive.
  3. Pre-Flowering Transition (Optional): Some growers choose to transition to a 12/12 light cycle briefly (usually for a few days) to encourage the plants to start flowering. This helps determine the sex of the plants earlier, allowing you to remove any male plants. Afterward, you can return to an 18/6 or 24/0 cycle for further vegetative growth. If you are using feminized or auto-flowering seeds, this step should not be necessary for you. Female cannabis plants are preferred over male plants for several reasons, including:
    • Flower Production. Female cannabis plants produce the coveted flowers buds, which contain higher concentrations of cannabinoids like THC & CBD.
    • Seedless Bud Production. To prevent pollinating female plants, which can result in seed development, growers will remove male plants from the crop to ensure the production of seedless, more potent buds.
    • Concentrate Quality. When making cannabis concentrates such as oils, hash, and shatter, female plants are preferred because they contain higher concentrations of the desirable cannabinoids. Male plants have fewer trichomes.
    • Efficiency. Growing only female plants allows for more efficient use of space, resources, and time. Female plants are the primary focus because they yield the valuable flower buds.
    • Controlled Breeding. Male plants are crucial for controlled breeding programs. Breeders use male plants to pollinate specific female plants with desirable traits in order to create new strains with unique characteristics. Most commercial or home cannabis growers remove male plants as this is not their focus or goal.
    • Legal Regulations. In many regions, cannabis cultivation is regulated regarding restrictions on the number of plants allowed to be grown. Because of these limitations, growers tend to prioritize female plants to maximize their yield of high-quality, smokable cannabis. 
    1. Flowering Stage (8-12 weeks or longer, depending on strain): When you're ready to induce flowering, switch to a 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness (12/12) light cycle. This 12/12 cycle triggers the flowering process, and the plants will start producing buds. The duration of the flowering stage can vary depending on the strain and desired effects.
    2. Late Flowering and Harvest: As your cannabis plants progress through the flowering stage, they may require slightly different light cycles to optimize the maturation of the buds. Some growers reduce the daily light hours slightly in the final weeks of flowering to encourage resin production. For example, 10 hours of light and 14 hours of darkness (10/14) cycle.
    3. Dark Period Before Harvest (Optional): Some growers choose to give their plants a period of complete darkness (24-48 hours) just before harvest. This can enhance the aroma, flavor, and resin production.

    Keep in mind specific light cycles can vary based on strain, grow room conditions, and personal preferences. 


    Additionally, Auto-Flowering Cannabis Strains have their own unique light requirements as they transition from the vegetative to flowering stage. Since auto-flowers do not rely on specific light cycles to trigger flowering, many growers choose to maintain a light cycle of 18-20 hours of light from germination to harvest. This schedule provides the plants with ample light to maximize growth.

    Consistency in light cycles is crucial for a successful cannabis grow. Sudden changes in light exposure or interruptions in the dark period can stress the plants and potentially lead to hermaphroditism or reduced yields. It's important to maintain the chosen light cycle throughout each growth stage to maximize plant health and productivity.


    If you are not using feminized or auto-flowering seeds, it is especially crucial to know How to Sex Your Plant. Determining the sex of a cannabis plant is crucial for growers because male plants don’t produce the sought-after buds and can pollinate female plants which causes them to produce unwanted seeds. Honestly, it just isn’t fun. Use the tips below to make sure you find your males and get rid of them. (I know, they are cute....but don't keep them with your females!)  

    1. Wait for the Pre-Flowering Stage: Cannabis plants typically start showing their sex during the pre-flowering stage, which usually occurs a few weeks into the vegetative growth phase for photoperiod strains (not applicable to auto-flowering strains). The pre-flowering stage is characterized by the development of small, white or translucent "pre-flowers" at the nodes where branches meet the main stem.
    2. Examine the Pre-Flowers: Examine the pre-flowers closely. You are looking for specific structures which indicate the plant's sex.
      • Male Plants: (See photo to the right.) Male pre-flowers have small, round balls or sacs that contain pollen. These sacs are typically located in clusters and resemble a cluster of grapes.
      • Female Plants: Female pre-flowers have wispy, hair-like structures known as pistils. Pistils are white and initially appear as single, hair-like structures emerging from a small, green bud site. These bud sites can also develop into larger, elongated structures that resemble early buds.
    3. Regularly Inspect Your Plants: Continue to inspect your plants over the course of a week or two as the pre-flowers become more defined. Male plants will show more distinct and obvious clusters of pollen sacs, while female plants will develop more prominent pistils.
    4. Remove Male Plants: As soon as you identify male plants, it's essential to remove them from your grow area to prevent pollination of the female plants. If a male plant releases pollen, it can fertilize the female flowers, causing them to produce seeds instead of the desired resinous buds.
    5. Sex Testing Kits (Optional): If you want to determine the sex of your cannabis plants earlier in the growth process, you can use sex testing kits, which are available commercially. These kits allow you to analyze a plant's DNA and identify its sex within a few weeks of germination.

    Remember that sexing cannabis plants can be a bit challenging, especially for novice growers, as it requires a keen eye and patience. It's important to regularly inspect your plants as they progress through the vegetative stage to ensure you identify and remove any male plants promptly. Early detection and removal of male plants are crucial to maintain the quality and potency of your female plants and to prevent accidental pollination.

    Christine's Grow Diary


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