Hermaphrodites Happen

As a Cannabis grower, there are many challenges on the way to harvest. From selecting the seed, germination, nurturing through pests and blights, even the actual destruction of the plant is a process. Let me add another issue the Cannabis farmer needs to look out for.

Hermaphroditism is a phenomenon where a plant can present both male and female flowers. This is a bad thing for Cannabis growers as the creation of pollen can turn an entire garden into seed laden flowers.

While some Cannabis strains may be more prone hermaphroditism, any female can “hermie” while in flower. A farmer must keep a close eye on the development of their Cannabis plants’ sex organs.

The Cannabis hermaphrodite needs only a few of the females’ flowers to develop male “parts” to completely overwhelm a garden with the pollen that creates seeds. The seeds from a hermaphrodite will be prone to hermaphrodite as well, making them worthless for a future crop. Each one of those male yellow “bananas” (stamens) produce an obscene amount of pollen. Check out the video below of me “jacking off” a male stamen:

Hermaphrodites are most commonly caused by stress on the Cannabis plant. Overheating and interruptions in the light cycle are the most common reasons for a plant to “go hermie”. The Cannabis farmer can reduce the risk of a hermaphrodite by simply removing any stress on their plants. Light leaks, spikes in temperature, inadequate ventilation even the shock of over fertilization can cause your green babies to become hermaphrodites.

If a hermaphrodite does develop in your garden, get it out of there. Take a close look… you may be able to pluck all the male parts off. But remember, if any of those male “nanners” survive, there WILL be seeds in your harvest.

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Fun with Fungus Gnats

I noticed little black flyers in my grow tent during the vegetative stage. At first I assumed them to be fruit flies but a quick look on the web identified them as the fungus gnat. All indoor Cannabis growers will deal with an infestation of fungus gnats at some point.

Fungus Gnats usually come from the soil medium, especially if the soil spent anytime outside in a moist environment. These little buggers like moisture, light and carbon dioxide; all found in every garden. These tiny black gnats begin life as fungus eating larvae actually aiding in decomposition but too many may have them munching the plant roots as well. Letting the soil dry out between watering, adequate ventilation and removing any dead leaves around the plant will help to control their activity.

Cannabis is a crop I would expect most people would want pesticide free. Luckily there are multiple, low impact solutions for just about any pest you would have in the garden. Fungus gnats are no exception. I was seeking the fastest and cheapest method that would have the least impact on my Cannabis’ growth. Some web research revealed a product that provides two methods of control in one package.

Nematodes are the most numerous multi cellular animals on Planet Earth. There are more than 20,000 species of nematodes, also called round worms, that live on every part of the world. Nematodes live in the oceans, the soil, even in our bodies! Nematodes can be harmful as well as beneficial. Of course, as Cannabis growers, all we care about are the beneficial nematodes.

nematodes in a box

This kit comes with millions of live nematodes as well as a pack of yellow tinted sticky strips. One simply places the Nematode covered sponge in a couple gallons of water (not tap water, the chlorine will kill the ‘todes). Wait five minutes before watering the Cannabis plants with the nematode soup. Within a few days those nematodes will grow into fungus gnat larvae killers.

fungus gnats

While the nematodes make themselves at home, the yellow sticky strips can be deployed in the garden. Even though these weak flying pests are more at home running all over the leaves, they do take flight and land permanently on the yellow stickum. It is very satisfying to see the little bastids on the strips yet at the same time it is kind of disturbing. You will notice less flies as the nematodes do their job and kill the future of the fungus gnat infestation.

There are other low impact, non chemical treatments I haven’t tried to control fungus gnats. Diatomaceous earth is essentially microscopic shells that, when spread around the Cannabis plants, will cut up the pests when they come into contact with it, killing them eventually. Steel wool will have the same effect on any little flyers that land on it. If I have fungus gnats in the future, I will give these methods a try and report back.

Amazon sells the Fungus Gnat eradication kits for about $15.00.
Here’s the link: Nema Globe Fungus Gnat Pest Control.

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The Cannabis Under the Stairs – Part 2

Cannabis is legal to grow in many of our United States. If you’re able to grow, you should. It is easy, fun, educational, and not very expensive. The first post: The Cannabis Under the Stairs, assembled the equipment needed to start growing in a closet. This post is about the setup of the growing medium in your newly constructed microfarm. Hopefully this quick guide will inspire YOU to start your first grow.


Now that the grow tent is setup for growing Cannabis in a closet under the stairs, the growing medium needs to be considered. At this point a decision needs to be made: soil or hydroponic? I have been growing with soil for nearly two years. For me it was less expensive and easier to go with soil. I hope to give a hydroponic grow a try some day when I feel more confident with my growing skills and I can expand my grow area.

Making a soil mix that will maximize growth is not difficult, especially these days. With the legalization of Cannabis, growing stores are popping up like Starbucks! Additionally, more companies are competing for farmers’ dollars with specialized Cannabis products including premixed “megasoils”. How much soil mix to buy/make depends on the number pots and the size of those container. There are approximately 7.5 gallons per cubic foot of soil. The soil bags are usually clearly marked in cubic feet.

cannabis soil choices

Remember, a little research goes a long way. Here’s a list of soil companies to check out:

Adding some Perlite will lighten the soil and help with drainage, letting the soil dry out between watering. Perlite is a volcanic mineral that is treated to create properties to aid with soil aeration and water retention. Perlite retains some water but more importantly, it traps oxygen on it’s textured surface keeping the soil aerated. I usually put in a handful of Perlite per pot and mix it in well. If you choose a Cannabis premix, check to see if the Perlite might already be in there. Once the soil mix is ready, the container must be considered.

Since a tent is limited in area, the pot size will be limited as well. A larger pot will yield a larger plant and a smaller pot will yield a smaller one. The correct size not only dictates the number of pots in the tent but how big the Cannabis could grow. It is important to remember only one Cannabis plant should be in each pot. Also keep in mind there are growth training techniques that maximize yield per area but, as a beginner, they are best tried after a few successful grows.

cannabis potting diagram

The bottom of the pot must have a layer of small stones so the soil can drain freely. Of course, you’ll need a tray under that pot to catch the water that will leak out from the drain holes. Use those clear plastic trays that raise the pot a tiny bit above the water. They cost about a buck at most garden stores and will keep water off the floor of the tent.

The tent I am using is 48 inches by 24 inches. I start with 8 plants in the tent but, as the Cannabis grows, I will remove any male plants as well as the weaker ones so that 4 plants remain. The foliage and buds of the four Cannabis plants will completely fill the tent by the time they are ready to harvest.

It is time to get some seeds or clones and get this party started. But that’s a post for another day.

The Cannabis Under the Stairs

Cannabis is legal to grow in many of our United States. If you’re able to grow, you should. It is easy, fun, educational, and not very expensive. These days all the components for a successful indoor grow can be purchased without leaving the living room. Here’s an extremely quick setup guide to inspire YOU to start your first grow.


My new living situation has a great closet under the stairs. The grow box I built where I previously lived fit in there but with limited access to the rest of the closet. I was also looking for some more “head room” for my soil-grown Cannabis plants. I decided to maximize the usable space with a grow tent.

A grow tent is the perfect solution for a low impact, low cost home grow situation. Grow Tents are great for renters who wish to grow Cannabis without any effect on the property. Add the power stingy, cool running LED lights and you’ve got a stealth microfarm of your very own.

cannabis grow tent

A search on eBay will cue up hundreds of indoor grow tents. These reflective foil lined thick nylon tents have large zippered doors and multiple “vent tubes” and flaps to accomodate the plants and equipment that will go inside. After measuring my closet space, I determined the tent size 48″ by 24″ by 60″ would fit perfectly. You ‘ll see multiple sizes are available so choose wisely. Check the shipping origin and try to go with a company inside the USA as it will arrive faster and any decfect/damage issues will be easier to resolve.

These tents are very easy to assemble but be sure to setup the tent in the closet. I assembled my tent outside first only to disassemble it to get it to fit in the closet. Once the tent is put together, you’ll notice straps that will enable looping over the rod where clothing is hung on hangers. This adds extra stability and takes any weight of the flimsy frame that keeps the grow tent upright.

A key environmental factor for successful indoor Cannabis growth is air quality. It is essential that a tent sysem includes a venting system that is able to “replace” the air inside every couple of minutes. With all the plant processes like photosynthesis and transpiration, fresh air with the required components including oxygen and carbon dioxide is key. Proper air replacement controls humidity and temperature as well.

The vent is attached to a carbon intake filter that helps to remove the pleasant but incriminating odor of fresh Cannabis flowers. The fan is attached to a vent (basically a 6″ PVC pipe) out of the tent through one of the vent sleeves. The sleeves are cuffs with cinch cords to snug the fabric to the vent.

vent system for indoor cannabis

Airflow is very important for the indoor grow system. The vent fan will refresh the air inside the tent but adds little actual movement of that air. Air “turbulence” strengthens the Cannabis plant’s stems, helps to disrupt pests, aids in the prevention of fungus and helps to control the tent’s air temperature. A small clip on fan (6 inch) works perfectly in a smaller grow tent with ample locations inside to clip the fan in the most effective locations. I like to move the fan around during the grow so the plants get “wind stressed” in multiple directions.

COB LED grow lights

The light source is the most important component to an indoor grow. There are so many choices, it can be daunting. The development of LED (light emitting diode) grow lights has taken great leaps forward with every new version released. In my opinion, LED lights are the ONLY choice for the small indoor grow. This debate could rage on but the bottom line is longer lifespan, cheaper operation costs and lower heat during use all add up to the perfect imitation sun for the home grower. The latest in lighting, COB (Chip on Board) technology super charges the LED, producing a higher Lumen output. COB chips are built right onto the circuit board helping to make them more efficient and less likely to fail.

How much light will you need? Once you’ve calculated the square footage of the canopy area, multiply that number by 50. My tent setup has a total floor area of 8 square feet. I currently use two 180 watt LED fixures. That is a bit shy of the desired 400 watts. but it will be more than enough coverage for the 4 to 6 plants I hope to grow. Plants will still grow with insufficient light, they will just grow slower and have a smaller yield.

Cannabis Grow Lights

Any lighting choice should be made at a “brick and mortar” retailer as customer support, including the ability to quickly replace a failing unit must be considered. A helpful sales person will ensure you make the right choice considering details like wattage and spectrum ranges. LED technology is evolving so fast, I believe they will replace most other lighting options in the future.

The LED lights should be at least 8 inches from the plant. As the Cannabis grows, the lights will need to be adjusted from the plant tops. Most growers use a dangling system with ratched cams to pull the light upward with a tug of the support cables. If the plants are started with the lights too far away, the seedlings will stretch into gangling, unstable plants. If the light is too close, bud bleaching and burning will result.

LEDs do their best to mimic the properties of our Sun to promote plant growth. Like the Sun, indoor gardeners should limit their exposure of these lights on the eyes. Maybe a pair of sunglasses would help, but keeping garden visits to a minimum is also a wise choice.

SensorPushRemember, the fans will make a lot of noise, so consider that before setting up in a closet next to your bed. Also, invest in a good temperature and humidity monitor as extremes of both will affect your grow. I personally like to use a system that sends the data to my phone. I use a device called SensorPush which has worked flawlessly for a year and a half. The environment inside your grow tent will be very important to you as your plants mature.

You’ve gathered your hardware and assembled your very own grow system and it didn’t break the bank! For less than 1000 dollars you’ve created a microfarm right in your own house. Now its time to consider the soil, fertilizer, pots and, of course, the seeds. But that is a post for another time.

A Cannabis Mutation

The Yankee Stoner is still new to the weed growing scene with only two successful harvests so far. I germinated a batch of Blueberry seeds I purchased from a popular seed company on New Years Day. Imagine my surprise when I noticed one of the seedlings had sprouted into an interesting mutation… three cotyledon leaves.

Blueberry Cannabis seedlings

Like any other inquisitive Cannabis farmer, I went to the web to seek out an explanation for this phenomenon. There seems to be some confusion with some calling the phenomenon tri-lateral branching and others claim it is a whorled phytolaxy. From what I can decipher, they may be the same thing. Whorled phytolaxy is an organism having three or more times the haploid chromosome number. Tri-lateral branching is a manifestation of the phytolaxy, where the plant has “extra features”, in this case, three cotyledons and branches instead of the normal two.

The Cannabis “forums” couldn’t agree on the future of this plant. Some post were positive, predicting greater growth and bigger buds. The naysayers said to expect a male plant with smaller flowers. The inferior genetics may result in a possible hermaphrodite and advise no cloning. Whatever the future holds for this plant, I am excited to watch it grow and see what develops

Cannabis Trifoliate

As the proud father of a mutant cannabis plant, I fawned over the seedling as it began to veg out. I patiently waited for the sex of this plant to reveal itself. If it is a male, should I let it flower and make some seeds? Should I clone her if she’s a female? After 8 weeks I switched the light cycle over to 12/12.

On the 51st day of growth I have confirmed it’s a Girl!

Cannabis pistils

…to be continued.

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Homegrown Happiness

My second crop of Cannabis is all dried and in the curing stage. I’ve cracked open the first jar only 7 days into the cure. I broke up a most fragrant and sticky dried cannabis flower and filled a bowl. The joy of the harvest is undeniable but the satisfaction of actually consuming that harvest is beyond compare.

smoking cannabis

The volume of knowledge one accidentally absorbs whilst raising a crop of cannabis is staggering. From seed to smoke, there is much to learn. No worries… there is endless help on-line for the first time cannabis grower. Some trial and error but mostly nurturing and reward, the bottom line is: Growing cannabis is just not that difficult.

big cannabis bud

The indoor grow can be setup for less than $800 with a yield that will surprise you. The latest LED grow light technology uses less power and provides a cooler, safer light. Cannabis seeds are easy to get these days and some strains out there almost grow themselves. Even in Westborough, where cannabis sales are banned, there is still the home grow option. A small, legal indoor farm can provide a few fat ounces of high grade cannabis every 4 months.

There is no good reason NOT to grow Cannabis.

beautiful cannabis

I urge everyone to grow their own. The Cannabis plant is easy and fun to grow with rewards that go way beyond the tomato harvest!

Second Grow Timeline

With the success of my first grow, I was quick to start up the Second Grow. I cleaned out the grow box, mixed some fresh soil while the next group of seeds germinated. If I can successfully grow a second crop then I can be certain it wasn’t just beginner’s luck on the first grow.

DAY 1 – July 24 – Moisten 8 seeds bought from Netherlands between layers of paper towel. [on window sill]

DAY 2 – 7 seeds showing tap root.

cannabis germination

DAY 3 – Significant tap root growth on 7. 8th seed cracked with a very tiny tap root.

DAY 4 – July 27 – Placed tap rooted seeds into peat pots and soaked well.

DAY 5 – July 28 – Seedlings up already. Video here: https://youtu.be/zi5qUy2c34I

DAY 6 – July 29 – Placed planted seeds in grow box. [Light cycle: 18 – 6 hours]

DAY 9 – August 1 – Planted in square gallon pots. 8th seed discarded. 6 seeds in pots, 1 in a starter pot. [71° F 70% humidity]

DAY 13 – August 5- Robust growth. Watering every other day.

cannabis

DAY 18 – August 9 – Strong growth continues, very healthy leaves. [74° F 66% humidity]

cannabis seedling

DAY 19 – August 10- Leaves filling out quickly. Watering every day.

cannabis plants

DAY 21 – Steady growth continues.

cannabis growing

DAY 25 – August 16 – Steady growth continues. Rotating plants every day. [74° F 72% humidity]

Cannabis in the grow box

DAY 27 – Huge, wide leaves. Lots of new growth.

DAY 28 – August 21/eclipse day – need to consider a second grow box. Plants growing out very wide. Topped the 2 tallest plant this morning.

Day 32 – August 24 – took the riser out of the box to lower the cannabis plants 3″ from the lights. Very lush and healthy foliage.

cannabis

DAY 34 – August 26, 2017 – Moved the two smaller plants into their own grow box (read Grow Pod Project) sharing a 3 gallon fabric pot.

marijuana

DAY 39 – September 1st – full veg, taking up lots of water.

potted pot

DAY 43 – Labor Day – September 4 – Changed light cycle to 12/12 in main grow box. Two plants in “grow pod” catching up, still on “veg time” (18/6).

cannabis grow pod

cannabis farm

DAY 49 – September 10 – Switch to potassium rich nutrients (NPK = 1-3-14). 4 of the plants showing female pre- flower. Can’t tell on the others yet.

cannabis

DAY 53 – September 14 – Burst of growth at tops, starting to form flowers. Looks like I have 6 out of 7 females.

DAY 55 – September 16 – Had to tie back the largest plant.

cannabis plant

DAY 58 – September 19 – Six plants all showing flowers.

cannabis plant

DAY 60 – September 20 – Every plant has flowers growing strongly, including the “growpod” plants.

cannabis growpod

DAY 64 – September 24 – Flowers swelling nicely. Hot and sunny, brought 4 plants outside for a few hours. Trimmed larger fan leaves and any yellowed leaves.

yankee stoner cannabis

DAY 70 – September 30 – flowers fattening, odor quite strong, lemon and pine.

DAY 72 – October 2 – pistils starting to brown at the tips. Grow pod about a 2 weeks behind.

DAY 76 – October 6 – Flowers getting heavy. [68° F 76% humidity]

DAY 80 – October 10 – flowers continue to swell. Starting the flush with distilled water.

weed

DAY 82 – October 12 – picking off large yellowing leaves on all plants. Flowers still swelling.

cannabis flower

DAY 88 – picked off many yellowing leaves, still douching with distilled water.

DAY 92 – October 22 – Partial harvest… trim three of six plants today.

Let the CANNABIS HARVEST commence.

cannabis

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Cannabis Flower Festival

Cannabis flowers are as beautiful as they are unique. The fuzzy pistils rise from the bloom like wisps of white smoke. The aroma is very strong and quite pleasant, a mix of fruit and pine. As the flowers “ripen”, they become even more showy and fragrant. The flowers reveal a sugar like crystalline patina and the pistils start turn a light brown as the buds steadily increase in size.

Enjoy this collection of photos showcasing my second grow of cannabis plants’ flowers swelling towards harvest.

cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 59
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flowers at 63 days.
marijuana
Cannabis Flower – Day 65
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 70
Cannabis Flower – Day 72
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 76
cannabis
DAY 77 – Cannabis Flower
DAY 80 – a box of Cannabis flowers
cannabis flower
Day 88 – Cannabis Flower –
Getting root bound, harvesting this one soon.
Day 89 – Cannabis
Day before harvest
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Second Grow – Cannabis Sex

The group of plants from this second grow have grown beyond the size of the of the box. I should have taken steps to bend these plants to train them for lower growth. I’m hoping the switch to flowering lighting will stop the upward growth some.

cannabis plants

It hasn’t been quite a week under the “flowering” schedule yet there is already evidence of preflowering females. I examined all of the cannabis plants carefully and I can see no signs of male flowers.

weed pistils

cannabis pistils

Hopefully I’ll get visible evidence that will confirm the sex of all of the cannabis plants. See you soon…

update: It appears I have all female plants. I removed the seventh plant as the Massachusetts law only allows 6 flowering plants per household.

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Second Grow – Veg Time

The seedlings have had some explosive growth! I think it is fair to say these have entered the vegetative stage. The growth is so lush and the leaves so fat, I think I’ll need to prepare a second grow chamber to contain it all.

I lowered the plants by removing the 3″ box I had underneath the pots. These plants are starting to grow upward so that extra room from the light source was necessary.

I “topped” some of the plants by pinching that tight cluster of new leaves at the tip of the plant. This stops the tendency to grow one main cola, and splits the plant into two main stems. When the cannabis plant is topped at a young age, the plant will grow multiple colas by adding new branches for buds to develop on and (hopefully) keep the plant’s height down.

topping cannabis

I will top the other plants when their new leaves get a bit larger. I always hesitate when I’m grabbing that bright green cluster of new growth. I hate to hurt my plants in any way but this is a necessary step.

cannabis leaf cluster

…watch us grow…

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