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Germinating marijuana seeds in urine

The Most Popular Fertilizers for Growing Cannabis [Guide]

With an increase in the number of states where people are legally allowed to grow marijuana, it was inevitable that the fertilizer market would take off. Without the right fertilizers and nutrients, there is no hope of your weed producing fat buds. While you need to be careful not to overdo it and cause nutrient burn, a lack of fertilizer will ultimately harm your plant.

In this guide, we look at the best fertilizers and provide a quick guide on making your own.

Vermiculite and Perlite

While these materials are often considered to be interchangeable, they are different entities. They are both relatively sterile inorganic products but look and act differently. Perlite is hard and porous and is made by heating volcanic glass to an extremely high temperature. Vermiculite is soft and spongy and made by heating mica to an incredibly high temperature.

Perlite is normally white, traps water, and has a slightly alkaline pH. Vermiculite is tan or brown, absorbs water, and has an almost neutral pH. The two materials are often sold together despite their differences, and the combination absorbs water up to four times its weight.

These materials are ideal for preventing your soil from hardening when it dries.

Most importantly perhaps, vermiculite and perlite provide calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which gets into the soil and nourishes your marijuana. If you have a hydroponics setup, you can create a fertilizer that includes 50% of perlite and vermiculite, with the rest made up of peat moss and water. If you are using soil, you only need 10% of perlite and vermiculite in your fertilizer.

Human Urine

As bizarre as it sounds, your urine is a fantastic fertilizer for your marijuana plants. Fresh human urine is high in nitrogen, one of the key nutrients in weed growth. The breakdown of your urine depends on your diet. If you follow a ‘Western’ diet, the nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) ratio is 11-1-2. For reference, blood meal is 12-2-1.

As urine contains a lot of salt, it must be diluted to a ratio of at least one-part urine, 10 parts water. DO NOT URINATE DIRECTLY ON THE PLANTS! It will probably kill them. If you plan to use your wee on potted plants or seedlings, dilute the urine to a 1:20 ratio in water.

It should go without saying that you must only use your urine if you are healthy. Don’t use it if you are on medication or have a urinary tract infection. By the way, if you are grossed out by the thought of using urine, how do you feel about bat guano or cow poop?

Wood Ashes

Yet another unexpected fertilizer, wood ash contains ample potassium and lime for your plants. Believe it or not, you can even use the ashes from your fireplace, assuming you have burned wood. You can lightly scatter the ashes on your plants, or add them to a compost heap. One issue is that the ash will produce high amounts of salt and lye if it gets wet.

It is also important to note that ashes from hardwood trees, such as maple and oak, contain more nutrients than ash from other trees, on average. Wood ash also acts as an effective pesticide by keeping slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied invertebrates at bay.

Bat Guano

A fancy term for bat poo, guano has been used as a soil enricher for eons. You can also use manure from other animals including chickens and cows. Bat guano is often worked into the soil or made into compost tea. Bat guano’s NPK ratio is 10-3-1 which vegetative stage. Chicken manure releases nutrients slowly and can enhance yield.

Fish Meal

Fish meal is typically made from ground-up parts of the fish that are inedible. The result is a fine powder that can be added to your soil. Fish emulsion is pressed fish oil. When combined with the meal, it prolongs the release of the nutrients. Fish meal is high in nitrogen. Alternatives include blood, bone, and soy meal.

Worm Castings

This is what comes out of an earthworm once it digests soil or other organic components. It is laden with tiny organisms and loaded with nutrients. It is commonly added to compost tea because adding it directly to weed, especially during the flowering stage, could result in your marijuana tasting like worm feces.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

Composting

Experienced gardeners know that organic material will ultimately grow back into the soil, and take with it the nutrients in the original matter. You could compost kitchen waste and other organic materials and expect to be rewarded with wonderfully fertile soil. As well as boosting your plant’s growth, composting reduces your landfill contribution and enriches the soil in your locality.

Your compost heap can contain anything; as long as it is organic.

This means the food you throw out, chicken manure, worm castings, and bone meal. After you have created your compost heap, turn the compost with a pitchfork (daily if possible) until the contents have been properly mixed. By doing this, you maximize decomposition and reduce the time it takes for the heap to become usable. As a rule of thumb, you can expect it to take three months for your compost to become usable.

You can also create a compost tea, which is basically a liquid version of your compost heap. You need organic molasses, organic compost, water, a bucket, and a few other materials. It normally takes around three days to make, and you should use it as soon as possible.

Hydroponics

If you have a hydroponics setup, it means you are using a growing medium such as Rockwool or coco coir instead of soil. As a result, you need store-bought nutrients made especially for hydroponics. These nutrients will contain no organic matter as they are provided through minerals, and should contain optimum NPK ratios.

With marijuana, you need high nitrogen, medium phosphorus, and high potassium during the vegetative stage. During the flowering stage, you need high phosphorus and potassium, and low nitrogen. What you buy must also contain various micronutrients such as iron, copper, boron, sulfur, manganese, and magnesium.

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Carbon Dioxide Boosting

The process of photosynthesis involves plants using oxygen, sunlight, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to create energy. When you increase the CO2 in your grow room, you boost your marijuana plants’ growth. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is by using white vinegar and baking soda. Set it up so that one drop of vinegar falls into a bowl of baking soda every two minutes, and marvel at the CO2 increase in the room.

In an outdoor setting, you need to improvise as the smell of vinegar could land you in trouble with the authorities. A useful CO2 increasing technique involves placing a large plastic bag over the plant. Then, fill an empty plastic jar with baking soda until it is 25% full. Put the open jar beneath the tent created by the plastic bag.

Pour a tablespoon of vinegar into the jar until it begins to foam, a sign that it is generating CO2. Reseal the bag, allow the plant to breathe for a quarter of an hour and add more vinegar to what’s left of the baking soda. Stir with a stick and leave the bag over the plant for at least four hours.

If you are growing indoors, you could invest in a CO2 cylinder or a generator.

Synthetic or Organic Fertilizer?

There are tried and trusted products such as Miracle-Gro that are worth buying if you are a novice grower. Over time, however, you will learn that pre-packaged products are expensive and wasteful, not to mention bad for the environment. Once you learn how to create your own organic fertilizer, there’s a danger you will get addicted!

As well as saving a small fortune, you learn so much more about plant nutrition, and gain an understanding of what your plants need, and when. Eventually, this knowledge will lead to larger yields and more potent buds. The key is to determine what nutrients each organic element brings. For example:

  • Nitrogen: Worm castings, bat guano, human urine, and chicken manure.
  • Phosphorus: Bone and fish meals, rock dust, and banana peels.
  • Potassium: Fish meal, wood ash, and kelp.
  • Calcium: Clay, gypsum, and limestone.
  • Magnesium: Epsom salts and dolomite.

When Should I Stop Fertilizing?

Make sure you create a feed chart to discover what happens when you feed specific nutrients to your plants at set growth stages. If the leaves of your marijuana plants are turning yellow or look burnt long before harvest, it could be a case of nitrogen burn. Check your feed chart to see if it is a likely reason.

If your plants are being overfed, perform a flush with pH neutral water, but don’t do it in the week before forcing the plants into flowering.

Keep an eye out for deficiencies but resist the urge to add extra fertilizer. Marijuana plants often need fewer nutrients than you think. Perform a flush any time from two weeks away from harvest, or else your weed could taste of fertilizer!

Final Thoughts on Marijuana Fertilizers

If you see yellow leaves near the base of your plants as harvest time approaches, there’s no need to panic as that’s a normal occurrence. It is all too easy to overfeed your plants and cause nutrient burn, an issue that could damage your plant permanently, at least in an aesthetic sense.

If you are using a store-bought fertilizer, begin with half of the recommended dose unless there are clear signs of nutrient deficiency. The amount of nutrients your plant needs depends on the marijuana strain. When using organic fertilizer, start small and gradually increase the dose as and when it is needed.

Although you can use ready-made fertilizers as a novice, it is best to educate yourself on the topic and learn how to create organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil, and the environment in the long-term, it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening. The more knowledge you possess, the more likely it is that you will grow bigger plants and enjoy greater yields.

EDITOR’S CHOICE – Homegrown CannabisCo

Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.

8 Tips for Growing Durban Poison [Grower’s Guide]

Durban Poison is one of the most sought-after pure sativa strains on the market, and with a THC content of 16-20%, it provides you with a powerful, yet clean and happy high.

American weed advocates discovered it in the 1970s and brought it over from the South African port town of Durban. It has been crossed with a variety of strains over the years, so you should find its genetic code in numerous popular hybrids.

A man named Ed Rosenthal supposedly ‘discovered’ Durban Poison and brought it across to the United States. After developing the strain via selective inbreeding, he passed on a few seeds to his friend, Mel Frank. The goal of the duo was to reduce flowering time while increasing yield.

After working with multiple generations of the plants, Mel determined that there were two distinctive phenotypes. If you live in America, you are probably using the ‘A’ strain; the ‘B’ strain ended up in Europe.

Durban Poison is a fantastic morning ‘pick-me-up’ (like a cup of coffee) and provides you with an invigorating cerebral high. It is also the strain of choice for mood-altering conditions such as anxiety and depression.

If it is your favorite strain, you’ll be delighted to know that it isn’t one of the most difficult to grow. In this growing guide for Durban Poison, we provide you with eight key steps and tips to improve quality and yield.

Tip #1 – Germinate the Seeds in Sterile Soil or a Hydroponic Growing Medium

As we mentioned, the growing difficulty of Durban Poison is ‘easy’ or ‘moderate.’ The first step is to germinate the seeds. We advise you to steer clear of Jiffy Cubes #7 for Durban Poison because they tend to stunt growth.

If you would prefer to use a hydroponic medium instead of sterile soil, it is best to plant in vermiculite once the seed has germinated. This substance provides your seedling with a lot of oxygen and is easy to grow the roots in.

For beginner growers, the growing difficulty of Durban Poison is classified as ‘easy’ or ‘moderate.’

The paper towel germination method is a good option, but make sure you regularly check the towels because they dry out quickly. When the root comes out of the seed by at least 1/16 of an inch, use tweezers to transplant the seed to your grow medium. Use 5-55-17 marijuana plant food on the seedling to stimulate growth. During the first couple of weeks, keep the temperature in the 72-80-degree Fahrenheit range.

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Tip #2 – Grow Outdoors for the Highest Yield

You can grow Durban Poison indoors or outdoors because it is resilient to all weather types. If you grow indoors, use a hydroponic system for the best results. It will take around nine weeks to grow indoors. The system will provide you with an estimated 13 ounces per square meter.

However, the Durban Poison plant prefers being outdoors where it can grow towards the sky. It is not unusual to see one of the plants towering above you at the height of over seven feet! If you elect to grow outdoors, the plant should be ready for harvest by early October at the latest. Expect a yield of around 16 ounces per plant.

Tip #3 – Add Human Urine During the Vegetative Stage (No, Really!)

Believe it or not, human urine contains a variety of valuable nutrients (assuming you have a healthy diet). These nutrients can help your Durban Poison plant flourish during its vegetative stage.

You already understand the importance of adding a high amount of Nitrogen (N) during this growth stage. It is also essential to add Potassium (K) and Phosphorus (P). However, some growers like to add urine to a solution that also includes plant food, Epsom salts, and a couple of other ingredients.

Research in Sweden suggests that diluted human urine is a fantastic fertilizer for farm use. It improves the recirculation of N-P-K and reduces the environmental impact of wastewater. Hopefully, you already know that you can’t urinate directly onto the plant or the soil!

Instead, create a mixture that is one-part urine, ten parts water. You can increase the ratio to 1:20 or 1:30 for younger plants when using soil as your growing medium. Wait until the little round leaves (cotyledons) have fallen off your seedlings before using any fertilizer regime. Depending on your diet, urine can have a high level of salt. As a result, make sure you allow runoff, which you throw away.

Research in Sweden suggests that diluted human urine is a fantastic fertilizer for farm use. It improves the recirculation of N-P-K…

Change the Ratio in a Hydroponic System

If you use a hydroponic growth medium, a ratio of 1:60 is a good start. Make sure you adjust the rate depending on your plant’s needs. Urine contains nitrogen, which bacteria consume as food. The bacterial protoplasm stores the nitrogen. When the bacteria die, the nitrogen is released and used by the plants.

Other nutrients included in human urine include manganese, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B6 and B12, zinc, iron, and creatinine. Urine also contains auxin, which is known to boost flower growth. One of the main issues with urine is the high salt content.

There is also the possibility of the urine coming into contact with pathogens once it has left the body. Don’t use urine if you have a kidney or urinary tract infection. It probably isn’t a good idea for indoor growing either due to the smell!

Tip #4 – Protect Your Plants Outdoors

If you live in an area that gets plenty of sunlight, or somewhere where marijuana cultivation is legal, consider growing outdoors. You benefit from lower electricity bills and a higher yield.

However, marijuana grown outdoors is vulnerable, and Durban Poison is no different. It is susceptible to fungi and bugs. Also, animals such as deer and rodents can come along and rip your garden to pieces.

Put up a secure fence to keep the bigger pests at bay and visit your garden every few days. Also, do not go more than a week without visiting your plot. Soil is best for outdoor growing. Try to find a spot that provides sun from at least the mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Ideally, you will have a greenhouse which negates the need for a fence. Disguise it as a tool shed if necessary. Growing weed in a garden is far better than in a pot. If you go down this route, dig a large hole. Don’t expect the weed plant to penetrate clay and rubble unless you’re confident that the topsoil is of premium quality.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, put a roof over the weed plants and train them to stay beneath it. Remember, Durban Poison plants grow tall! This is an essential point if trying to develop a “secret” operation (which, by the way, we do not recommend). It is also crucial to have an excellent source of water nearby. Dragging heavy buckets of water to a site is hard work, and looks pretty suspicious.

You can deal with pests such as mites and bugs by creating organic pesticides. Garlic is one of the finest ingredients you can use in any spray. Most insects HATE it.

WayofLeaf Tip: Try using garlic mixed with water as a natural insecticide for your Durban Poison grow.

Tip #5 – Adding the Right Nutrients at the Right Time

As we mentioned above, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are the three most essential ingredients. As Durban Poison is pure sativa, you can be a little lighter with the feeding. We recommend being more vigilant for signs of nitrogen burn than you would with other plants. The next most important nutrients are sulfur, magnesium, and calcium.

Focus on adding high levels of P during rooting and germination. Allow nitrogen to take center stage during the vegetative stage. If you purchase plant food, make sure it has trace amounts of boron, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and molybdenum. If you recall, we mentioned Epsom Salts during the ‘adding human urine’ tip. They add sulfur and magnesium to the mix.

If you use a hydroponic growing medium, add a tablespoon of hydrated lime or dolomite per gallon of growing medium. It adds plenty of nitrogen, magnesium, and calcium.

Your growing medium needs excellent drainage. Typically, you would water once a week with normal drainage. If you have excellent drainage, you can water your Durban Poison plants every 3-5 days. You can improve matters by adding lava rock or Perlite to the medium. As a result, your plants will grow faster because of the enhanced oxygen to the roots. Silica could also strengthen the plant during the growth cycle.

WayofLeaf Tip: Improve drainage and enhance oxygen to the roots of your Durban Poison plants by adding lava rock or Perlite to your growing medium.

Finally, please take care not to over-fertilize your Durban Poison plants as they are more susceptible than most. Always carefully read the instructions that come with the fertilizer. To begin with, use 50% of the recommended dose and monitor your plants. If they cope with the nutrients, add a little more, and continue the process throughout. Overfertilization can kill your plants!

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Tip #6 – Keep Your CO2 Levels in Check

Carbon dioxide is like manna from heaven for your marijuana plants. Durban Poison, in particular, responds exceptionally well to elevated CO2 levels to the point where you can double the yield.

As you probably know, plants use CO2 for photosynthesis. During this process, plants create sugars they require for the development of weed plant tissues. Bump up the CO2 levels, and you increase sugar production and growth rate.

You can produce CO2 by burning natural gas. It is crucial to vent heat and carbon monoxide to the outside air. CO2 is best used during the 8-10-week flowering stage because this is when the plant is at its most dense. This means it has trouble circulating air around its leaves.

It is possible to purchase costly CO2 systems. Alternatively, you could try the quick and easy sodium bicarbonate and vinegar solution idea. Mix around 300 mL of vinegar with a tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate. It will become frothy and release CO2.

Make sure you create the solution just before you close all entrances to your growing room. Another idea is to drip vinegar onto the sodium bicarbonate so that it provides a slow release of CO2.

WayofLeaf Tip: Carbon dioxide enhancement can boost your Durban Poison yields by up to 30%!

Overall, carbon dioxide enrichment should boost your yield by at least 30%. However, it is far from being a risk-free venture. As long as the air is over 200 ppm of carbon dioxide, it should be enough to ensure your plants have ample nutrients for photosynthesis. As it happens, there is enough CO2 in the air already!

Remember, elevated CO2 levels are potentially deadly for humans, so make sure you don’t fill your home with it!

Tip #7 – Temperature Considerations

Durban Poison is a tough plant with lifespans in both the southern and northern hemispheres. It can grow in a wide temperature range between 65- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

However, many growers claim that Durban Poison can safely grow at temperatures up to 90 degrees. It rises to 95 degrees if the plant is growing in a CO2 enriched environment (1500 ppm). Such an area needs regular venting to keep humidity levels down.

Although the maximum temperature is rather high, it doesn’t mean you’re growing it at the optimal temperature in the 90-degree range. It is best to grow at 85 degrees during the vegetative stage (in a well-vented area). Drop the temperature below 80 degrees during the flowering stage. Above all, please make sure the temperature remains over 70 degrees during the day and does not fall below 60 degrees at night.

Mild shock may occur if you expose your Durban Poison plants to temperatures below 60 degrees at any time. Repeated exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees could kill the plants. Elevate your growing pots if you are concerned that the ground is sucking the heat from the roots.

Exposure to temperatures below 50°F is almost certain to cause devastation to your Durban Poison crop…

Remember, when the temperature rises, the air has a better ability to hold water. The result is reduced humidity, along with the risk of fungi. Speaking of humidity, make sure it remains no higher than 60-65% during the vegetative stage. Reduce it to as low as 30% during flowering. High humidity is bad for your plants, except in the germinating and rooting stages.

Tip #8 – Harvesting for Maximal Yield

There are few better moments in a marijuana cultivator’s life than the first time he or she cuts down the first ‘ripe’ plant. Your Durban Poison plant is ready for harvest when at least 70% of the white pistils turn brown or orange.

The time of harvest dictates the THC content of your plants. If you harvest too early, you don’t get the full potency. However, if you wait until almost all the pistils have changed color, the THC will transform into CBN. This ruins the psychoactive effects that you would otherwise expect to receive from Durban Poison.

If you are unsure as to when to harvest, take a sample when almost half of the pistils have changed color. If you think it isn’t strong enough, wait another week and try again. Until you become experienced, it is mostly a case of trial and error.

WayofLeaf Tip: If you wait until all of the pistils on your Durban Poison plants have changed color, the THC will break down into CBN and minimize the psychoactive effects of the buds.

When sampling, take buds from the top or center of the plant as they are most likely to be ripe first. Once the lower buds reach maturity, you will notice that they get larger and fuzzier.

Cure & Dry Your Buds

The best method of curing and drying your Durban Poison is to bring it indoors. Hang it upside-down in a room at the right humidity and temperature. Wait a few days and check moisture levels. When it is sufficiently dry, store the marijuana in an airtight mason jar with a little space. Open the containers every couple of days for a few minutes. In most cases, your Durban Poison is ready after a few weeks’ worth of curing.

Your patience is rewarded at this stage because air-dried weed tastes far better than its quick-dried counterpart. It is a bad idea to try and dry your Durban Poison in the sunshine because you only reduce potency. You can even dry marijuana in a paper bag at a pinch! We also recommend avoiding microwave drying because it severely impacts the taste. The last thing you want is for anything to spoil the enjoyment of this wonderful strain.