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Ask a Stoner: Growing Cannabis Bonsai Trees

Dear Stoner: Can I really grow a cannabis bonsai tree? That’d be so beautiful to look at next summer.
Dani

Dear Dani: You’re not the only one interested in cannabis bonsai trees. Colorado Governor Jared Polis dove into the topic on his Facebook page last week, using it as a way to remind Coloradans about home-growing laws.

Cannabis bonsai plants are essentially born in conflict, as a bonsai is bred for longevity and small stature while cannabis is bred for yields and harvesting. In fact, some hard-core bonsai growers don’t think that cannabis is compatible with the bonsai ethos at all — but if you can forget going for a large plant and a big yield, it’s hard not to be floored by those beautifully trimmed little devils on the Internet.

Are they real? Yes, but in the same way that the beautiful pizza on a Domino’s commercial is: There’s the model, and then there’s reality.

Cannabis bonsais require more disciplined training than pot plants grown for yield.

Cannabis bonsais require more disciplined training than pot plants grown for yield.

While cannabis bonsai plants would be difficult to grow, it is possible, according to several horticulturalists. You need to find genetics with sturdy roots and be diligent while training and manipulating the plant’s trunk so that it twists and curves. You would also need to trim the leaves routinely, but not to the point of just bare buds. There are several guides online with more detailed information. No matter which one you follow, be prepared to spend a lot of time on trial and error if you want a true cannabis bonsai and not just a small, ugly pot plant.

And yes, even a small, ugly pot plant counts as one of the six you’re able to grow in your home, as Polis notes.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.


Toke of the Town

Online Cultivation Course Wants Your Weed Growing Career to Bloom

Growing cannabis at home is legal in Colorado, but some of the weed we’ve seen harvested from basements should be outlawed. Seeds, pests, mold and larf are all common challenges faced by inexperienced cultivators, and can result in poor smell and taste, as well as waste a lot of time and money most of us don’t have.

Tyler Morley and Jeremy Deale, two commercial cannabis cultivators in Colorado, believe they’ve created an online cannabis curriculum, the Chronic Method, that will help home growers avoid those costly, buzz-killing issues. Similar to the Three a Light method, the course gives growers step-by-step instructions from seed to harvest, and the duo makes pretty bold claims on the strategy’s success rate.

We recently sat down with Morley and Deale to learn more about the Chronic Method, and how growers can maximize their yields.

Westword: How did you each end up becoming cannabis growers?

Tyler Morley: I’m from Virginia, and I grew up in agricultural areas; I was working at golf courses when I was fifteen. Then my cousin moved to Breckenridge in 2009. So I graduated high school, got my associate’s and then got my agricultural degree from Virginia Tech. Two years later, I hit up my cousin to visit him for a ski trip, and that’s where I met one of his colleagues, Nick. I struck up a good relationship with this guy through my cousin over the next few years.

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I kind of wanted to change my life, and didn’t want to be in the golf industry anymore, but I still wanted to stay in agriculture. … Right after Colorado went legal, Nick asked me to come out and work for him. I moved out here in 2015, started at a facility in Aurora that is now called Treehouse, and moved my way up the ladder there. Then I went to Super Farm and was a manager over there and helped their buildouts. I’ve built out and started up some initial facilities here in Denver, and was lucky enough to be on the ground floor. I’ve really loved it ever since.

Jeremy Deale: My introduction to cannabis was through my uncles, who were into a lot of things. But one of them actually grew his own crop in Fort Collins. I was, like, fourteen and on my way up to an Iron Maiden concert the first time I was ever around it. Fort Collins just seemed to be a hot environment in the ’80s and ’90s for cannabis. I played a lot of soccer, so I wasn’t a big smoker, but I was always around it. And, like Tyler, my family is farmers. I grew up with my grandparents, and both of them were farmers.

So in the early 2000s, I’m remodeling kitchens, and one of the guys I’m working with is Pete Williams, the co-founder of Medicine Man. Long story short, my friend and I helped Pete get his start in the cannabis world.

My wife made me leave the industry for four or five years, so I was helping caregivers and home growers get set up around that time. I met Josh Haupt of Three a Light through a mutual friend, and they offered me a job at the beginning, based on my experience. Through my relationship with Pete Williams, I actually set Medicine Man and Three a Light up together [Morley worked there, too]. Then, after the merger, Tyler and I walked into work, and we didn’t have jobs. That’s why we started the Chronic Method.

What made you so confident about this growing process that you wanted to share it with others?

Deale: We know it works, because we worked it for over two years straight. It’s the top production method on the planet right now.

Morley: Back when the black market was at its strongest, it was damaging the recreational market. Not even a year ago, indoor pounds were going for $ 650. People who don’t grow the quantity nor the quality that Three a Light, Medicine Man, Super Farm or Pioneer — the largest producer of cannabis in the world — grows can’t survive, because they don’t have the methodology to produce those pounds for less than $ 600.

This methodology is going to save peoples’ asses on the legal market, and it’s going to save a lot of home growers from headaches and problems in their basements. Jeremy and I have had our hands in over 6,000 pounds of harvest during a 24-month period. When Sweet Leaf was at its full capacity, our 33,000-square-foot facility was outproducing their 100,000-square-foot facility by almost 30 percent. At the end of the day, it’s all numbers, and if the market plummets again, some people might not survive it.

Deale: Most average growers can get a pound and a half to two pounds per light. This method is used to grow three, four or as high as five pounds per light, depending on environment. If you’re not including trim — which is a sellable and usable product — I’ve still seen three or four pounds of flower per light. If you’re trying to make your own medicine as a home grower, those extra pounds could save you from running cycles year-round. It’s a little more expensive up front, but the production pays for itself tenfold.

A lot of reasons that a first-timer wouldn’t try out growing is because they’re afraid the crop will die, get attacked by bugs, or something dumb will happen that they can’t react to. This is a crash course in cannabis that will eliminate those problems.

How does this technique differ if you’re in a basement compared to a large-scale operation?

Deale: The only difference is really space and the number of plants. You can do it with one plant, two plants, 200 plants or 400 plants. The guidelines break it down so there’s no interpretation.

Morley: There are five factors when growing any plant: light, water, air, nutrients and soil. As long as you hit those five things and do everything we say, you can be indoor, commercial, residential or even a greenhouse.

The method applies to outside, too. You’d get close to the same results in a greenhouse or outdoors, but you won’t have the same light intensity. So the production would vary from crop to crop outside, but it’s still the best yield you’d get outside.

In terms of difficulty, what would you compare growing cannabis to? Is it harder to grow than most vegetables or maintaining a small pet?

Deale: If you’re indoors, it’d be the same as growing cucumbers or tomatoes indoors. It does take some time and commitment to maintenance, but like anything else, you get in what you put out.

How much have cannabis growing techniques and equipment changed in the past five years?

Morley: The equipment just keeps getting better. Not a whole lot of methodology is changing, but the equipment really is. A lot of it has to do with lighting: A lot of people think that nutrients is the plant’s food. And it is, but it’s more of a supplement. Photosynthesis and light is how the plant gets real food. Trying to mimic the sun is hard to do, so we’ve seen a lot of lighting companies coming out with full-spectrum tech and the most efficient bulbs to get the most bang for your buck. The equipment is constantly evolving, and it’s something to stay on top of.

Deale: The industry hasn’t been legal long enough for us to really say anything definitive. You can’t tell people that this person is a master grower, because no one has hit the ceiling yet. No one knows what the full potential is. There are some really, really good growers out there, no doubt. Josh Haupt, the Jungle Boys, Pioneer — those are all really good growers who can hit those high numbers.

But methodology is just part of it. Equipment and science keep getting better. We’re looking at soil humidity and leaf surface temperature now. We’re able to see bugs days before the physical eye can see them. The technology that’s in this is changing so much, but I don’t think the way people have grown agriculture overall has changed much. People still grow carrots the same way they did thousands of years ago. It’s pretty much the same, but we just try to accentuate it and keep adding variables to make this equation the best. That’s where our heads were at with the Chronic Method. It literally walks growers through this.


Toke of the Town

5 Myths about Growing Cannabis in a Greenhouse

Many countries are legalizing cannabis lately. This has increased the commercial value of cannabis, and more farmers are enthusiastic about growing it on a large scale. But, many people who have a shortage of space are growing cannabis in their gardens and backyard. Some of them even want to grow in their greenhouses, but they fear it will affect the growth and quality of their crop. Well, it will not. There are lots of myths about growing cannabis in greenhouses, and today you’ll learn the truth behind them.

1. Light deprivation helps cannabis growth better

If someone told you this, they have no idea about greenhouses and cannabis. Light deprivation means you are stopping natural light from entering the greenhouse using a blackout curtain. While it may work for a few plants, it is certainly not helpful for cannabis. On the contrary, you should arrange for lights even at night. Compare some of the best led grow light sets before installing one in our greenhouse. You can attach them horizontally or vertically for faster growth.

2. Specific greenhouse designs that help cannabis growth

This is a common misconception among many farmers. Whether it is a high-tech greenhouse or a regular greenhouse, if you take care of the plants, they will grow as they should. You need to focus on the growing technique and not the design of the greenhouse.

3. Light can substitute heat in the greenhouse

Many people think that the lights inside the greenhouse generate enough heat to support cannabis growth. No, they don’t. The lights are substitutes for sunlight, but they don’t have enough warmth to replace the heating effect that the sun offers. The 12 hours at night should get sufficient heat if you want quick and healthy growth. Ideally, the greenhouse must have a heater, especially if the conditions are cold outside. With an optimum temperature inside the greenhouse, your produce will experience faster growth.

4. Greenhouses are expensive than a warehouse

The cost to build or purchase a greenhouse is significantly less than growing cannabis in a warehouse. Building a warehouse involves a lot of operational costs, labor costs, and maintenance costs. Plus, you need to find a suitable plot that also adds to the total expense. On the other hand, you can install a greenhouse in your backyard or garden. Those who have spacious gardens are utilizing the space efficiently by developing a greenhouse. You don’t have to think of so many expenses upfront.

5. Expect high ROI if you have a cannabis greenhouse

Since cannabis in greenhouses gets more care, many people claim that the return of investment is very high from the first year. It isn’t necessarily true. Your ROI depends on various factors like promotional channels, the amount you spend initially on the greenhouse, your location, and the quality of the cannabis. While some may experience high ROI, not many will have the same luck.

Now that you are aware of the most common myths, it is high time you avoid such tips from others. Know the facts and then enter the cannabis world.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Ideas to Use Growing Bags for Plants

Growing bags are made of fabric or plastic bags. These are useful to develop shallow roots. Feel free to use them for small gardens or balconies. Remember, growing bags are ideal for the hydroponics system. They can put out little waste because of their re-usable qualities. If you want to use growing bags, prepare them for your favorite plant. Install a plant and care for a growing bag to improve the health of a plant. Here are some tips for using a grow bag.

Purchase Growing Bags

These bags are available at home improvement stores or nurseries. Feel free to choose between fabric and plastic growing bag. The fabric bags may need more water than plastic growing bags. Consider the size of the roots before choosing a bag.

Each growing bag comes with special instructions, such as How to use grow bags. Read these instructions carefully before using them. Avoid a massive bag unless you want to plant something large. For instance, a 50-gallon bag is sufficient to plant a grapefruit tree.

Use Clay Pebbles to Line the Grow Bag to Assist Drainage

If your potting mix is not vulnerable to drainage, you will need something to put in the bottom of a grow bag. Feel free to use chunky perlite or clay pebbles. Put sufficient perlite or pebbles at the base of a bag. Cover this bag completely. Use almost 1-inch of perlite or rocks in a bag.

Mix Soil to Your Grow Bag

Feel free to use gardening soil (compost-like). You will need a compost created for containers or make your mix. For a grow bag, you will need a blend of 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite (a moisture-retentive mineral) and 1/3 moss mixture (mushroom compost or chicken manure). Fill your growing bag up all the way. The top of your grow bag must have only 5 cm of space.

Shape and Loosen the Grow Bag

After putting soil in the bag, shake it well and knead it as a pillow. The shape of the bag must be similar to a low hummock. It is essential to spread the soil equally.

Prick drainage holes in your grow bag with scissors. Maintain a distance of 1.3 cm between gaps in the bottom. These holes are necessary to release extra moisture. If your grow bag has drainage holes, feel free to skip this step.

Add Plants

It is the right time to add plants, so pick plants with shallow roots. The base of the bag will not affect the roots. You can grow flowers, herbs, potatoes, lettuce, French beans, strawberries, marrow, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, capsicum (peppers) and tomatoes. If you want to grow large items, you will need large growing bags.

Choose the Right Location for Plants

It is easy to move your grow bags, so feel free to put them in a different location. You can put them in a greenhouse, garden, or balcony. Consider the availability of warmth and sunlight when selecting the location.

To make room for plants, you have to use a trowel or hands to scoop out the soil. Make sufficient space to add plants. You have to install a root ball in the soil. Put this ball on the scooped out place. The soil must cover the whole ball. Moreover, cover the top of this ball with dug out soil.

For the proper growth of the plant, you have to pay attention to the watering requirements, nutrient solution, and fertilizer. You can get the advantage of self-watering systems, such as a drip system. Fertilize your heavy feeder plants and prop up them as per their needs. In this way, you can grow healthy plants.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Why is Growing indoors with hydroponics, grow tents and led lights becoming so popular

Benefits of Growing Indoors 
When the winter season arrives and you are dreaming of fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden, growing indoors makes this a reality and not a dream. Growing indoors can provide you and your family with fruits and vegetables all year long. There are added benefits of plants such as cleaning the air in your home and can improve the looks of any indoor space, makes indoor gardening a great idea. Plants are not hindered by the natural elements such wind, rain and the cold. You can set up a small area such as a windowsill set up a larger area such as a bench or table. Shelving can use used if you are limited in square footage allowing several layers of plants to be grown in the same area. Now that you are interested, let’s explore growing indoors.

Hydroponic 
Hydroponics is soilless growing. Why grow soilless you might be asking. Well, hydroponic yields produce faster and in greater quantities. How is this possible? The main reason is because the growers can create the ideal blend of nutrients for each specific plant. The nutrients are received by the plants roots directly allowing the plants to conserve energy not having to look for the nutrients. Since plants aren’t looking for nutrients in the soil, you can grow more plants in the same area. Using a sterile medium, Hydroponic growing eliminating pest infestations commonly associated with soil grown plants. The environment that plants are growing in is a stable environment with no sudden changes allowing the plants to better thrive.

Grow Tent 
A grow tent is a portable, reusable grow room that can allow you to set up a growing operation almost anywhere. You can grow year-round in a grow tent since it is climate controlled. Need humidity, not a problem, it will only be humid in your grow tent, not your whole house. The ability to regulate a specific area makes the grow tent energy efficient. Grow tents allow you to grow hydroponically or with soil. Like hydroponic growing, grow tents can prevent the infestation of pests. You still need to monitor the plants health, but you will see less infestations. The grow tent will keep the odors that can be associated with soil confined so your house will not smell like earth. Most grow tents come as a set making them a simple and easy solution to growing indoors.

Lighting 
No matter if you decide on using a grow tent or a windowsill, lighting is imperative for indoor growing. Plants need light to survive. When looking for lighting for your indoor garden, remember that plants absorb specific wavelengths of light. The light you choose needs to have the same wavelength that the sun provides which is why a regular light bulb will not work. Keep the light close to the plant, but not so close it will burn the plant. Most plants require about 14-16 hours of sunlight or simulated light in the case of indoor growing. Compact Fluorescent Lighting Systems or High Intensity Discharge Bulbs are the way to go when selecting lighting.

Why Grow Indoors 

Growing indoors is convenient. There are many great company’s out there to help you get started as such as Canada Grows Indoors LLC. No more watering several times a day since your plants are being grown in a controlled environment. Providing the ideal steady temperature allows your plants to thrive and produce more fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Growing indoors is a great hobby allowing you to produce the crops of your choice all year long.

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Author: Karen Miller
Karen Miller is the founder and chief editor of Canadagrowsindoors.ca. She loves sharing her fast knowledge of indoor growing equipment with others.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Top Hydroponic Systems for Growing Cannabis

Hydroponic is a method for growing plants and weeds that do not require soil. The plants are grown in a nutrient-rich liquid to provide them all they need to grow and develop properly and faster. You can find different types of hydroponic weed system for growing cannabis. Keep in mind, hydroponic systems are not the only thing you need to grow cannabis – you also need best grow tent, grow lights, and other accessories.

We have listed and described for you some of the popular types of hydroponic weed system here.

DWC – Deep Water Culture

DWC is one of the cheapest and simplest methods. All you need is a large bucket filled with nutrient rich solution required by the plant. Then you need a smaller basket filled with peat for the roots to grow and a submerged air stone to provide oxygen to the roots.

For every plant or weed, you need a separate set up with the basket. In case you need to grow multiple plants, you can connect all these baskets with a reservoir using irrigation tubes. The reservoir will provide and circulate fresh water and nutrients between these plants.

Pros

  • More than one plant can be grown by this technique
  • Simple to set up

Cons

  • Difficult to keep the temperature of the reservoir within the range of suitable temperature
  • Pump failure can kill the crops

 

Drip Hydroponics

The drip hydroponic system does not immerse the roots in a solution. Instead, through a network of different tubes, the nutrient-rich solution drips on to the roots and is sprayed on them. the plant absorbs some of these nutrients whereas; the pump recycles the rest of the solution back to the reservoir for reuse.

Pros

  • Less wastage of water
  • Recommended for areas where water is short

Cons

  • Pump to circulate the water can break down
  • Not suitable for organic growing

 

Ebb & Flow

The ebb and flow method immerses the roots in the nutrient-rich water periodically. When the pump switches on, the water flows from the reservoir to the roots and soaks them fully. When the pump switches off, the water drains back into the reservoir via tubes. At this time, the exposed roots absorb oxygen for the air for respiration.

Pros:

  • No requirement of air stones
  • Periods between the flooding of roots prevent fungal growth

Cons

  • Water needs replacement every few days
  • High maintenance cost

 

Aeroponics

The Aeroponic method exposes the roots to the atmosphere which is similar to that of a rainforest. The plants hang from baskets with their exposed roots on which the nutrient-rich water is misted on. This results in the formation of a fog of nutrients which makes the plant grow very rapidly.

Pros

  • The use of water is very efficient
  • Plants grow very rapidly

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Close monitoring of environmental factors such as temperature required

 

Last Thoughts

To sum it up, there are many different types of hydroponic system for growing cannabis which make use of different techniques. According to us, the best one is the Aeroponic with misting technique due to many reasons.

Firstly, compared to other systems, Aeroponics technique uses water very efficiently and effectively. Secondly, there is a very little chance of some parasite or fungus. Thus, places facing scarcity of water can benefit from this technique and grow cannabis very rapidly.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Growing Trend: Stratos the Latest Dispensary Brand to Embrace Hemp

The CBD water is warm, and investors are ready to jump in. Some of those investors are coming from established marijuana dispensary brands and are now diving into the hemp and CBD-only pools, buoyed by their experience with the plant and dealing with much tougher regulations.

Stratos, a marijuana-infused product company known for tablets as well as its medically focused outreach, is one of the latest established pot businesses to try its hand at CBD. We caught up with Kate Heckman, Stratos vice president of branding and marketing, to talk about what CBD can do for its wide target audience.

Westword: Stratos has been around for a few years now. Why jump in the hemp and CBD-only arena?

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Kate Heckman: We started creating THC products with CBD for the recreational and medical market in 2014, and very quickly saw the demand skyrocket around CBD products. People wanted to reap the medicinal benefits of CBD without the high you get from THC. We decided to leverage our experience in the cannabis space and launch a CBD-only product line that could be sold online and shipped anywhere.

Are CBD tablets and other products intended for recreational use as well?

Absolutely. The purpose of CBD is not exclusively to treat some sort of health condition. People can take CBD to unwind, just like you would a glass of wine to help relax at the end of the day. Where THC-heavy cannabis products can make some people feel sleepy, CBD can offer a relaxing effect without drowsiness.

Stratos has been actively reaching out to senior citizens to educate them about medical marijuana products and their potential benefits. How can CBD further help that demographic?

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At every Cannabis 101 for Seniors event that we did, we heard the same thing over and over, which was: “I don’t want to feel high. So how can cannabis help me?” CBD tablets are the perfect option for seniors, because they’re familiar with the pill-delivery method, and it’s also sugar-free, gluten-free, smoke-free and vegan, so it can fit in within the medical requirements of an individual’s health regimen.

What’s the difference between CBD oil and full-spectrum hemp oil?

Where we are right now in the industry, CBD oil and full-spectrum are essentially considered the same thing. Where the buyer needs to beware is understanding that measuring the “hemp oil” content doesn’t necessarily equate to how much CBD is in the product. If you’re looking for CBD without any THC, find products containing CBD isolate. Full-spectrum hemp oil offers full-plant potential by extracting cannabidiol (CBD), phytocannabinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids and trace amounts of THC. CBD isolate distills the full-spectrum extraction and strips out all other properties except CBD.

With looming oversight from the Food and Drug Administration and reports of New York City’s health department cracking down on CBD edibles, how do you see CBD products such as yours being labeled and regulated for national consumption going forward?

We currently use FDA regulations for guidance on how we manufacture, package and label our products. Our team is adept at working within strict regulatory environments, so we feel confident about being able to adapt to any necessary adjustments. For now, we’ll have to wait for the specifics of the FDA language.

How will selling and buying CBD in Colorado be different from the rest of the country, or states that haven’t legalized recreational cannabis?

As the first market to become recreationally legalized, the Colorado market is highly competitive and very sophisticated. Patients and customers have also had access to cannabis and CBD longer, making them very knowledgeable and also discretionary when it comes to what they buy. Having that kind of market insight and customer feedback really helps us fine-tune our approach and product offerings. Regardless of where people purchase, we encourage them to be judicious in their research. Confirm that the product is tested for pesticides, residuals, solvents and microbial growth; that the product was grown in the U.S; and that it actually contains the amount of CBD listed on the label.


Toke of the Town

Are Scientists Closer to Growing Made-to-Order Kidneys?