Welcome good green peeps! My “Letters” to Rev series is just a Q&A with questions I have gotten texted or emailed to me. Today we field three unique cannabis growing issues. Light intensity when sprouting, a mulch sourcing issue, and genetic expressions that are often Yin & Yang for reals.
Alright then earthlings, let’s rock and/or roll with today’s “Letters” to Rev…
Unique Cannabis Growing Issues, Question #1: Wattage for Sprouts?
I bought your book, second edition, and retired my 1000-watt HPS and hydro setup. Now I have 2, 640-watt NextLight LEDs I haven’t turned on yet. I have 2 tumbling composters and my soil will be ready soon. As you know these lights are dimmable, 25%, 50%, etc. Should I use these lights at full power to sprout with? You have made this all fun again, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Rev’s Answer to Q1
Howdy Marius, you rock amigo, thank you for the support. It sounds like the real fun is about to begin. That sounds like one badass light you have there, and I myself run the 420h LED lights from NextLight, I love them dearly.
Myself, I would run those 640-watt lights at 50% power, at a height of about 2-feet above sprouts. Many people tend to want to sprout plants under weak-ass shop lights (fluorescents) or like LED lightbulbs. This is a big mistake, I think. You want your plants to grow up adapting to intense lighting like they will have during flowering. This allows them to already have the abilities in place to fully take advantage of powerful lighting. Yields are much better from plants raised under intense lighting.
As you likely know, using a 24/0 photoperiod is bad. If you sprout them under a photoperiod of 12/12 for their first 10 days above ground, you will be able to sex them easily at 30 days old. After they are 10 days above ground, simply up their photoperiod to 16/8 or 18/6. This works very well.
Unique Cannabis Growing Issues, Question #2: Mulching Options?
“Hi Rev! Hey so I have a question that is not so much a growing issue as it is a lack of mulch issue. I don’t really have any access to bark and I’m not big on shipping stuff. So, my question is, what else can I use as mulch besides bark? Can I use straw indoors? Also, how thick should the mulch be? Thank you for everything you do.”
Rev’s Answer to Q2
Hey Ty, yeah man you have a shitload of options here. You can use dried up cannabis leaves and chopped up cannabis stems as a great mulch. Dried and chopped up straw works fine, I myself would use alfalfa straw/hay here all dried and chopped up. Another old favorite is banana peels dried and chopped up. Hell man, you can use dried up lawn clippings if you want to—as long as the lawn hasn’t had pesticides or weird chemicals used on it.
The denser your mulch is the longer it will last. You need to replace the mulch as it decomposes. Something like lawn clippings will decompose much faster than say, cannabis stems would. I would keep my mulch layer about 2-inches thick. Raw things that haven’t been dried will temporarily rob some nitrogen from your container’s resources, so always let raw/wet things dry out totally before using for mulch.
Pumpkin, squash, or cantaloupe rinds all dried and chopped up makes excellent mulch. Avoid trying to use anything like gravel or lava rocks as mulch. This does not serve you well and the additional weight of your rocks on top will compact your soil causing other potential issues. Sand is another thing that doesn’t work very well.
Unique Cannabis Growing Issues, Question #3: Special Strains?
FROM: Tannie Buds
“Hiya Rev. We recently got some seeds from Denmark, and the plants have been growing for a whole run so far and we love them for their potency and flavors, but they are super hard to grow. One small problem like drought stress and they are put off their game for the rest of their lives. I notice these plants all have those hollow stems as well. My question is, can anything be done to help these plants be heartier? I mean, is there a way to run the soil amending or top dressings to counter this weakness?”
Rev’s Answer to Q3
High Tannie. First of all, the hollow stems by themselves are normally a good sign, I think. Whether this condition is caused by environment or genetics is debatable. I have heard carbon and/or boron have something to do with it … however, in my whole life I have never seen all the different plants/strains in a grow all express hollow stems. It’s fairly rare in my experience. So, while your plants may test after the fact to be deficient in something, that doesn’t mean your soil or methods are also deficient regarding those elements. Genetics differ in their strengths, some are better at acquiring, metabolizing, and storing nutrient elements than others.
Your newly gotten genetics sound to me like what I would call—fussy—and this is normally some kind of weakness or weaknesses, involving co-dependent expressions. As in, if you were to remove whatever causes the plants to be fussy, genetically, you would also lose key good expressions. One doesn’t happen without the other. You savvy?
There are no doubt special modifications you could make to accommodate these plants in particular. I have no idea what that may be. These changes could prove harmful to your normal/other plants. Some plants within a group of sprouts will always have issues with nutrients to some degree. It most normally hovers around a calcium, and/or potassium related issue with ability to uptake and/or metabolize/store.
Using a soil like all naturally built TLO soil you won’t have any deficiencies in your soil or your plants. But some plants/varieties will express problems dealing with certain nutrients. They normally work it out within a couple of weeks. Sometimes (fairly rarely) they never do. Use those selection skills. Here’s another article by yours truly here for your reading pleasure: Must Haves for Indoor Cannabis Growing 2022, Skunk Magazine.
I’m writing today with my index finger all slashed open and taped up with a paper towel, LoL. It’s challenging for an old, stoned guy. Get used to hurting yourselves, it happens a lot more as you get older in my experience hahahaha… I’m currently on the second to last chapter in the book—whew—closing in now fast baybee! Swing by KOS …For some healthy, hearty, and potent cannabis seeds.
Kind of spooky watching the Corona get more and more contagious without getting more deadly. I play this game like once per month called Plague on my iPad. The whole big strategy to snuff the world’s population is to make your virus uber contagious without making it too dangerous, too fast. You make it deadly once it spreads super easily. Just sayin’, yikes. Heh heh. L8r G8rs… See ya back here next Tuesday for another article here at SKUNK baybee!
- REv ?
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.