Yo Skunkers! Rev here today with something I was encouraged to do, by the number of emails I have been getting regarding today’s subject: starting your first indoor grow. In this article I am going to boil it down to the most basic good info to help you guys out. I’ll keep it uber basic.
Some of the things I want you guys to take away from this article today, are the most important things, if you indeed want to start out growing on an all-natural path. Above all, once your garden starts rocking, you need to resist the urge to “fertilize” them somehow. You won’t need to mess with bottles or teas. Your water x soil x container size is what it is really (mostly) all about.
A mellow top dressing with something like alfalfa meal every 10 days is all good, but the true power comes from letting your containers reach an equilibrium, regarding the roots and the soil life. Consistent water, as in, PPM and pH is the real “secret” here. The designer water I will show you how to make is bomber for cannabis, using just commercial soil with castings.
What You Need
- Small air pump, airline, and an air-stone. You need to make some “designer water” here to carry you the distance without fertilizing.
- A TDS Meter; these are a must
- Dechlorinated ground water (like tap, well, or spring) that is between 40 – 80 PPM.
- Dolomite lime, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), and Langbeinite. Get food grade DE; Langbeinite is easy to get from Down to Earth in 6 lb. size, which is a lifetime supply. Dolomite lime and DE can both be found on Amazon, or in any good nursery.
- A good light—a GOOD light! Don’t waste your time trying to flower under something like fluorescents, you’ll be disappointed huge. If it is warm where you are, I would go with an LED light around 300 to 400 watts, and full spectrum. And if it’s cold, I recommend a 400-watt HID light—metal halide using an Agrosun Gold bulb, or something full spectrum as possible.
- Fans; do not even THINK about underestimating air exchange and air movement. As plants grow, they “exhale” (transpire) more and more humidity which will quickly become mold problems. Handle this, and make sure there is air being sucked out of your garden, and air always moving within your garden.
- Earthworm castings; you can find these fairly easily in grow shops, nurseries, or online. It’s another must have for this formula.
- Soluble Mycorrhizal fungus. Add his to your water after every transplant. Not granular, soluble.
- You need to make it PITCH BLACK during lights out while flowering; seriously, be OCD about this.
- Day/night temps should be around 85 deg lights on and no cooler than 60 degrees lights off. This is a guideline.
Designer Water, Soil, and Containers
You’re going to need a 1-gallon pitcher someplace you can bubble the water in it for 24 hours using the air pump and air-stone. Fill it with dechlorinated ground water and add 1/8th of a teaspoon of langbeinite and let this bubble for 24 hours. At the end of 24 hours it should be right around 400 PPM give or take 50 PPM. Pour this water off the top into another pitcher avoiding pouring any of the langbeinite dregs into the new pitcher.
Pour this water into standard ice cube trays and freeze them. Here’s how you make the water. Rinse out your pitcher you bubbled the langbeinite in, fill with groundwater and add 1/8th teaspoon of dolomite lime, ¼ teaspoon of DE, and one of the langbeinite ice cubes. Bubble this for at least 24 hours, pour it off the top, and mix this bubbled water with another gallon of pure groundwater. This is your designer water you will use on your plants from little baybees until 2 weeks before harvest. Every time.
Get good soil, and Ocean Forest soil works well. Avoid cheaper soil here, because often times it is made up of mostly peat moss. Find bagged earthworm castings and mix this with your soil 3 parts soil to 2 parts castings. For your containers, make sure they are well aerated with massive drain holes DO NOT use party cups as containers for smaller plants. I would flower in 4- or 5-gallon containers. Self-watering type containers would be highly recommended here. I also like the Plant Warrior pots for flowering.
The Important Skills
Your watering skills are at the apex of importance. Get good at knowing when to water. Cannabis plants like a wet dry cycle, and overwatering is a common newbie mistake. Also, DO NOT compress your soil in your containers, ever! This is bad. Avoid the temptation to add anything but (designer) water to your plants—you will do more harm than good in the big picture; specifically harvest results.
For your lighting, I would recommend a photoperiod of 18 hours ON and 6 hours OFF (18/6 photoperiod), for plants in vegetative state. Just go with a simple 12/12 photoperiod for flowering. Start from seed, avoid starting from clones you got from somewhere, trust me here, in the bigger picture it will be well worth it. Parasites and mold often travel with clones. Also, you can let the water with the dolomite, DE and ice cube bubble for however long. But only let the langbeinite bubble for 24 hours.
Transplant often. Boom! Anytime your plants are looking like they are getting too big for their containers, or looking a tad sad, transplant, and transplant in smaller steps upwards. This increases root production (root density in the containers). Using larger container sizes to flower in (5 gallon) under lower wattage lights (400 watt) strikes a good balance with smooth sailing. Also, existing household amperage is normally adequate to run a 400-watt light, or three of them.
Use mulch, bark mulch is pretty easy to find, and you can use the chunky stuff or the shredded stuff, just use it. Make it at least 1” thick on top. This is my version of a fly-by of the most important things you need to know if wanting to start your own small indoor grow, and be as all-natural as possible. For the plants’ last two weeks before harvest, just use dechlorinated groundwater, and discontinue designer water.
If you stay with my advice here, get decent lights and have decent venting and air movement; you will rock! Your final product will be truly top-shelf high quality. This article is for all you guys that ask me about starting up, regarding what I think is most important—do it! Cheers.
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.