Training, Transplanting and Feeding Techniques Explained
Tune in for the second episode of From Seed To Stoned’s indoor Peyote Wifi grow. In this article we cover how to start training your plants for bigger yields, how to transplant, and feeding techniques to maintain healthy plants from start to finish.
How hard can growing cannabis be? One can simply plant a seed outside into some decent soil, and with a consistent watering schedule take a plant from start to finish. However, after many years growers have refined the process in such a way, that we can take our average grow, and push it to new limits in terms of quality, and quantity of yields. This guide will provide a nice base for a beginner to grasp the ropes on growing, and will also show you free and easy ways that you can push your garden to the next level. At the end of the day, you don’t want to just “grow weed”, you want to grow “really good weed.”
Training and Topping
One of the easiest ways to achieve higher yields is to properly train your plants to maximize their canopies overall spread, while removing growth that will ultimately drains the plants energy and produce small undesirable popcorn nugs come harvest time. The 4 plants grown here need to completely fill the entire 5×5 tent.
To do this, you need to keep the plants close to the soil and spread them out before you let them grow upwards. The easiest way to do this is by topping the plant. Topping helps redistribute a plants growth hormone from the main stalk and pushes it towards new offshoots further down the plant. It essentially forces the plant to grow outwards instead of upwards. Once the plants have started working on their 4th and 5th node site, you can proceed with topping.
The process itself is very straight forward. First, you take a pruning snip and disinfect the blades with rubbing alcohol. Even though infections are rare, in my opinion it is better to be safe than sorry.
Next, you remove the upper most, newer growth of the plant. This can be found right above the newest established node site. See those 2 little leaves starting to grow up? Remove those directly at the base of their stems.
Over the next few days, the plant will begin to grow 2 new main tops, instead of one. Keep a close eye on them, watering when needed, and refilling your humidifier when it gets close to empty. You can switch from the gallon bags to the humidity domes shown here. They both work the same, however these domes are considerably larger which allows the plants to remain covered for a bit longer. It can be good to use these up until a few days after transplant.
Why does it benefit your plants to start with a smaller pot, then move up in size as it matures?
Firstly, whether you pre-germinate, or place the seed directly into the soil, larger pots hold a lot more moisture than a tiny seedling can use. Smaller pots means less of a chance of overwatering, something that can easily kill a start. This makes it easier to successfully propagate. It is also a lot easier to maintain a uniform soil moisture in a small pot.
Secondly, transplanting causes the plant to produce feeder roots. Feeder roots are smaller shoots that uptake water and nutrients from the soil. Starting in a smaller pot, and then moving to a larger one creates a healthier, sturdier, root ball from the get-go.
Growing auto flowers can be an exception to this rule, because transplant shock can occur if not transferred delicately. You can transplant autos if you have experience, and are careful, but it can be easier to start your autos in the pots you plan to finish in.
However, these Peyote Wifi’s are photo periods, so if transplant shock does occur, there is not the same time pressure, and you can give the plants the proper time to recover.
Using an Inoculant
Grab an empty starter pot and create a 1:1 hole in your finishing pots. Next, take some DynoMyco, which is a Mycorrhizal Inoculant, and sprinkle it into the newly created holes. Using an inoculant will increase the chances of transplant success and will also cause the roots to grow much faster.
Next, carefully take your starts, and gently press around the edges of the pot to loosen the root ball. Once loose, flip the plant over and with a little nudge, the root ball should slide out.
Once the plant is free, you can apply more DynoMyco to the root ball directly, and then gently place the plant into its finishing pot. It is important to note that because of the high humidity levels during propagation you can get bits of algae on the top of your soil. This isn’t something to be too concerned with as the problem won’t persist once you remove the humidity domes.
If you are careful, and have inoculated the soil, the plants should bounce back fairly quickly. It is normal for the plants to be a little droopy directly after transplant, just be patient and let them adjust. After 24 hrs, the plants should have perked right back up and look happy again. To be on the safe side give them a few days rest before applying your first feed.
Feeding Your Plants
Depending on what medium you use, the time for feeding can vary. Some pre-amended soils can last about a month, where some will last about 1-2 weeks, and if you’re in a medium like coco-coir, I’d suggest feeding within the first week of life.
Having experimented with a ton of different nutrient brands previously, for this run, Earth Juice Sugar Peak lineup was used. One of the great things about Sugar Peak is it’s a one-part liquid nutrient system. This means that technically you don’t need to mix any other nutrients together to take a grow from start to finish. You use Sugar Peak Vegetative during veg, Transition for transition, and so on. This makes the process a lot easier than having to mix 5-7 different solutions for a single feed. Although this is a one-part system, 2 extra solutions were added to the feed: Oilycan, which is a Calcium-Magnesium supplement that has no nitrogen meaning you can run it later into flower and Xataylst, which is a blend of molasses, kelp, bran, and yeast. These aren’t strictly necessary to run with the sugar peak lineup, however, it certainly can benefit your grow, if you don’t mind adding 1 or 2 extra solutions to your feed.
Using a 5-gallon mixing bucket, add one gallon of water. You can use tap water, but only if the PPM is low. The tap water used here comes out a 50 PPM, which is considered pretty low. It is definitely recommended to test your tap water with a PPM meter and look up your cities water quality table. Because although this tap water is okay to use, some cities water can be considered hard, and unusable.
Next, it’s time to add the nutrients. For veg feeds, Sugar Peak Vegetative, Xataylst, and Oilycan were used. Because this lineup has no Silica, or Micro, it doesn’t matter what order you mix the nutrients in. So you don’t have to worry about a potential lockout due to mixing incorrectly. Here is the rough schedule used for these plants.
The most common mistake people make when following a schedule is to go by weeks, rather than what stage the plant is in. Remember, schedules are just rough guides to feeding. It’s up to you, the grower, to determine what stage the of life the plant is in, and feed, as necessary.
Once the nutrients are added, mix them all together using a large plastic spoon. It is important to mix well to ensure everything has evenly dissolved.
There are many soil growers who don’t PH their feed, but we recommend to be aiming for a PH of around 6.1 to 6.3. If the PH is too high, just add in some PH down, which is essentially just citric acid.
If feeding just plain water, you don’t need to worry about getting some water droplets on the leaves, but when feeding, you really need to try your hardest to keep the plant itself dry at all times. I’ve noticed some nutrients can burn leaves if left on top. If you do get any droplets, carefully dry the leaves off with a paper towel.
Now that the plants have moved passed the seedling stage, the light is currently hanging at 30 inches at about 40% power. As the plants continue to age and mature, both the light and intensity will be raised as needed. Judging by their tight internodal stacking, and vigorous growth, this lighting seems to have dialled in nicely.
So far, you can see two distinct phenotypes. One is growing very compact, boasts a great healthy look, and seems to expand the fastest. The other, is certainly lankier. Stacking is not as tight, and tends to stretch a bit more. Training these two classes of phenos is going to prove interesting in the coming weeks as we want the canopy to be perfectly even by the time they go into flower.
To be continued……