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11. Training Day

Training your plant can lead to increased growth and yields. Cannabis is apical in nature. That means it will be Christmas tree shaped, with the top point receiving the majority of the nutrients, growth hormones and light. If you create multiple tops, you can trick the plant into sending nutrients and hormones to all the tops and you can evenly distribute the light. This will create an even canopy with many branches and tops which will each turn into colas, during flowering season. These techniques are referred to as “High Stress Training”.

Please note: these training techniques are not recommended for autos. Autos have a short lifespan, so we don’t want to put them under any extra stress during their grow cycle. There are training techniques for autos. We’ll share these with you at a later stage. Also note that stress training is only for the Veg phase and not during flower as we don’t want to stunt growth. We like to do our training in the evening to help the plants recover quicker during the dark hours.

In order to start training, you want your baby to have at least 5 nodes. This means, 5 sets of true leaves coming from the stem. ( Some people start to train at 3 nodes but we wouldn’t recommend this for beginners ). You can train as late in the Veg cycle as you like and can do multiple toppings or FIM’s, just give your babies a week or 2 to recover.

Read more about why you should top and train here.

There are 2 popular High Stress Training Techniques we’ll use.

You can use a pair of sharp scissors or a blade to make your cuts or you can use your hands. You should press your thumb nail into your index finger to cut through the stem. Many growers recommend a clean cut with a sharp tool but we prefer to use our hands and help the plant form a “scab”. Find the method that’s best for you, just make sure to clean your tools thoroughly. We like to use the alcohol swaps from the pharmacy but hot water and soap will be fine too. You can apply some honey or cinnamon to the cut afterwards. Both are a natural antibacterial which will help heal the wound. If you don’t have any, don’t worry the plant knows how to heal itself.

1. FIM’ing

FIM stand for “Fuck it I missed” and was discovered through error. A grower tried to top their plant and missed but realized it created double the number of tops, so continued doing it. This method is far less precise and more forgiving. You want to remove 75% of the new leaves at the top of your plant. This is our recommended training method for beginners.

How to FIM?

You want to find the top growth point and then either pinch or cut the tops off the new leaves. You want to take off around 75% if the new growth. In a few days, you’ll notice the leaves start to grow and between 4-8 new tops will appear.

2. Topping

This is the process of cutting the growth tip off the main stem of the plant. “Removing the terminal bud will encourage the development of two new main colas and promote growth of the lower, secondary branches. The aim is to invert the Christmas tree shape to allow more light penetration. Growth hormone is diffused to all of the shoots once the apical bud’s dominance is removed”.

How to top your plant?

Find where your top growth point is and work your way down towards the stem. Just above where the branch meets the stem, you can make your cut. This will promote growth in all 4 of the leaves that are left, to create 2 new tops.

What is a clone?

A clone is a cutting taken from a plant which is then rooted to form an exact genetic replica of the parent plant. A clone will have the same DNA and be the same maturity and age, although much smaller. Many growers keep healthy mother plants for years and produce clones constantly. It’s a great way to keep a good plant producing. It’s not recommended to clone a clone as you start to lose genetic material.

Do you want to clone?

If you’re wanting to clone, now is your opportunity ( not the only one but a good time ). In order to clone, you need to have a viable piece of stem 15 – 20cm long ( from the top of the leaves to the place you’re making your cut, just above a node ). Clones are best taken from the new growth at the top of a small plant or the lower branches of a big plant. as your plant grows, you will see your leaves start to alternate. This means there will no longer be 2 leaves joined at the stem but rather 1 at a time. Once you have 15-20cm of growth above the first alternating node, you’re ready to top and then clone the top. You can top before this but the cutting wouldn’t make a good clone.

How to clone?

Get your Jiffy pots ready. You can pour some water (distilled or filtered) over the pellets, wait for them to expand and then place the pellets into the biodegradable pots.

Now get your cloning gel. It’s the bright green liquid with the black lid. Pour some of the cloning gel out into a shot glass (you don’t want to contaminate the gel as you won’t be able to use it again ).

If you’re going to be cloning whilst topping, you’ll want to use a sharp, clean tool and make a 45’ cut across the stem. This helps increase the surface area to give the stem more space to create roots. Once you have topped your plant, take the cutting and put it straight into the shot glass of cloning liquid. You want to move the cutting around so that the end is coated in the gel about 2cm up the stem. This helps prevent air bubbles whilst also promoting root growth with hormones from the gel. Leave the cutting in the gel for around 5 minutes before putting it into your Jiffy pellet and squeezing the medium around the stem to seal it.

Clones don’t have roots yet so they “breath” through their leaves. We want to create a humid environment for them. We can do this by making a done home like we did for our seedlings or by placing the clones into a bowl and covering with cling film. You’ll want to open the dome or film a few times a day for air exchange and to spray the clones with your water bottle to increase humidity. Clones also like a warm, low light environment and plenty of darkness. We like to keep ours in a cupboard for around 14 hours of the day and then take them out onto a shady patio for the other 10 hours of the day. Clones can’t really generate their own food so we like to spray them regularly with a diluted Kelpak solution (0.5ml / L water). We also like to clip the edges of our leaves. This helps to promote the rooting hormone which we want. They look weird but trust us it works. You’ll want to take any large fan leaves off and only leave the small ones.

Clones aren’t the easiest things to look after and roots can take weeks to grow. Remember they will also take longer to come through the Jiffy and be visible. As long as your clones look healthy and start new growth, you are good. You can start to give them a diluted nutrient spray after the first week.

Aftercare

Your plants will suffer a bit of shock after any training techniques. Allow your babies 1-2 weeks to recover, before doing any other training or repotting. You can help your plants bounce back, by using a Kelpak foliar spray at night. Add one cap of Kelpak (1ml) to 1L water in your spray bottle and shake well. Spray your plants well, on the top and bottom of the leaves.

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10. Feeding – Veg Box

Once you’ve moved into your new 10L grow bags, you’ll let your plants adjust for a day or 2. During this time you’ll give them a Kelpak foliar spray ( see previous post for details ). After this, you’ll go back to regularly feeding and watering. This guide will teach you how to do just that. If you have any questions, pop them in the comments section and we’ll get back to you with answers. We’re here to help.

In this box ( Veg ) you’ll be feeding your 5 plants a total of 10L of nutrient mix per week. That’s 2 x 5L bottles. You can feed a little each day ( -+ 250ml ) or about a liter ever second or third day. Just remember to give your plants 1 day per week of plain water. You want to make sure your plants are not being overfed. Look out for crispy edges on your leaves or any spots or burns. If this happens, dial your feeding down slightly and flush with plain water for a day or 2.

By this stage you may be finding it too expensive or difficult to use bottled or filtered watered. It’s the best but if it’s not an option, you can start using tap water on feeding days. The nutrients we add will help lower the ph. Remember, cannabis in coco wants to be in a slightly acidic ( low ph ) environment. If you’re going to use tap water, use water from the house and not the garden and leave it in a large bucket, uncovered, overnight, so the chlorine dissolved off.

We like to give our plants a little bit of plain water before each feed so that the medium is slightly wet and the nutrient mix doesn’t go straight through. We still want to be watering and feeding down the side of our bags so the roots have to move out to look for water, therefore making your plant bigger and stronger. Make sure the nutrient mix doesn’t splash onto your leaves. This will burn them. If this happens you can spray the leaves with a little bit of water to rinse them. Feeding and watering is best done during the day when the water can be fully absorbed by the roots. Foliar sprays are best done at night when the leaves absorb better and the sun won’t burn them.

This month we’ve moved into bigger grow bags so you’ll give your plants 10L of nutrient mix each week ( instead of 5L ). You can mix up a 5L, use what you need and store the rest in a cool, dark place. Always shake the bottle well before feeding. You’ll be using 2 types of food, a “grow” and a “bloom“ in different quantities. You’ll use the syringe to measure the nutrients. Remember to wash the syringe out properly after each addition. The “grow” is in the bottle with the black lid and you’ll add this to your water first. In week 1 and 2 you’ll add 7ml of “grow” to each of your 5L bottles. Then you’ll mix thoroughly and leave to stand for 5 mins before adding the “bloom” nutrients and mixing well. This is in the bottle with the white cap. You’ll add 5ml to each of your 5L bottles for week 1 and 2. Then, you’ll leave the mix to settle for 5 mins before shaking well again. Now, you can start to feed.

How you water and feed will depend on you, your grow and your environment. You want to feed the entire 10L per week. You can do this as small daily feeds of around 250ml or about a liter every second or third day. It’s important to stop feeding or watering when you see it “running off“ ( coming out of the bottom). Make sure to check your plants regularly. If you bury your finger into the medium, it should feel damp and cold up to the second crease (about 5-10cm). If your finger is dry or warm, it’s time to water and feed.

Here’s a feeding chart for this month:

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9. Another new home

Your plants will start to get tall and fill your pot ( their leaves will stretch beyond the edge of the pot ). That’s when you know it’s time to transplant. You want to get your babies in a new home, where their roots have space to grow. Transplanting can cause a bit of shock so you want to be careful. Follow our guide for a successful transplant. Remember to leave us any questions in the comments section and we’ll be happy to help.

* Top tip: do your transplanting in the late afternoon or at night. It helps reduce the shock and gives your babies time to recover overnight before the scorching sun comes out. *

Prepare your medium

1. Get a large bucket or bowl ( it needs to fit 60L ). If you don’t have something this big, you can break it down into 2 smaller ones.

2. You’ll also need around 30L of filtered watered for the coco and another 10L afterwards. Remember you can get your bottles filled at Fruit and Veg at a very reasonable price.

4. Pour half the water into the bucket/ bowl ( around 15L ).

5. Add all the calmag ( it’s in the little brown paper bag ).

6. Mix well until dissolved in the water.

7. Add the coco brick and push down into the water to submerge.

8. Leave to soak and absorb. Add extra water as needed. You can help break the coco up, with your hands.

9. Once the coco has fully absorbed all the water, you want to fluff it up with your hands. ( You want the coco to be light and fluffy ).

Filling the new grow bags

1. Get one of your new grow bags and start to fill with coco. ( Don’t pack the coco too tightly, the roots need air to breath ).

2. You want to pack around 15 – 20cm of coco into the base of the bag. ( when you place your 3L grow bag inside, you want the seedling to just be peaking out the top, of the new bag ).

3. Remove the ice cream stick, skewer and any plant wire from your 3L grow bag.

4. If your seedling has stretched a bit you can gently pinch off the bottom 2 sets of leaves.

5. Then you want to get your seedling in. Here, you have 2 options. Option 1: You can leave your seedling in its original, 3L natural grow bag and just put that straight into the new pot. The roots can grow through these bags into the next one, it just takes a bit of time. Option 2: cut the original grow bag down the side and gently remove it. This method is slightly more tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s not bad. This is our preferred method. Don’t try to roll the bag off and keep it, it’s not worth it. Watch the video, it’s easier than the instructions.

6. Once the seedling is placed into the new grow bag, start to pack coco around the outside of the pot and then around the base of the stem.

7. Gently pat the coco around the stem to keep the seedling upright and firm.

8. Fill to around 5 – 2cm from the top of the new bag.

9. Put the ice cream stick in your new bag so you know who is who.

10. Repeat so all 5 seedlings are in their new homes.

11. Save any extra medium to use at a later stage. If you don’t have an airtight container big enough, it can stay outside in a bucket in the sun, just rehydrate when needed.

Aftercare

As we said, transplanting can be a bit traumatic for the babies. You’ll want to give them some extra care afterward to help them bounce back.

1. Make a foliar spray with the kelpak. ( The kelpak is the green liquid in the little bottle with the white lid ). Add 1ml ( the size of the cap ) to 1L of water in your spray bottle and shake to mix.

2. You can spray your leaves each evening with the kelpak spray, for the first week. Just make sure to give the leaves a spray of plain water afterwards, so they don’t burn. The mix will keep for a week in a cool, dark place. Shake well before each use.

3. You’ll also want to give your babies some water. This helps to fill any air pockets in the medium. You’ll want to give each plant 500ml – 1L of plain water, slowly around the edge of the bag.

4. If you see your babies starting to wilt, give them a top up of water later and another little spray with the kelpak. The first 24hrs are critical, after that your babies should be very happy in their new homes.

You’ll want to start feeding your plants in 2 – 3 days times. Stay tuned to see how to feed these babies so they can grow nice, big and strong.

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8. Feeding – Seedling Box

Your babies will start to grow their first ”true“ leaves. Those are the serrated ones that start as a single blade and then become 3, 5, 7 and sometimes even 11 blades per leaf.

When you start to see 3 blades per leaf you can start feeding your babies. Follow our guide and send any questions our way, we’re here to help.

How to mix your nutrients

What you will need: 2 x 5L distilled/ filtered water.

1. Get your first 5L water bottle and your little nutrient bottles from your Box.

2. We don’t feed in the first week so you should have 6 bottles. ( 2 green, 2 gold and 2 silver)

3. This week you will feed your babies the first 2 green bottles.

4. Add 1 bottle at a time.

5. Shake the water well to mix it after each addition.

6. Leave to stand for 5 minutes between additions and then shake again.

( So that’s: add green bottle 1 / shake / leave to stand for 5 mins / shake / add green bottle 2 / shake / leave to stand for 5 mins / shake).

7. Now you’re ready to feed your babies.

8. Write on your bottle – “Nutrients week 1”.

9. You can keep this mix for up to a week in a cool dark place.

10. You’ll use it throughout the week, just shake well before use each time.

How to feed your seedlings

Have you read the watering guide in the previous post? If not go and do that now. This will all make a lot more sense when you’ve read it.

1. You want to start by giving your plants plain water first, to soak the soil. Water about 250ml of plain water around the edge of the bag.

2. Now, give each plant 250ml of the nutrient mix. ( Again, go in down the edge of the bag ).

3. Repeat for all your plants.

4. Save your mix in a cool dark place.

5. You can repeat this feeding process every 2 – 3 days, until all the mix is finished.

6. Remember to water first and shake your nutrient mix before adding it.

Next week you will mix and feed with the gold bottles and in the last week you will use the silver bottles. You’ll repeat this whole process again next week and the week after, with the corresponding colours.

Want to to see how our babies changed after feeding? This is what a week of feeding can do.

See cotton Candy’s life so far in this quick video. We’d love to see your grow. Join the forum and get sharing.

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The Science of Water

How to water?

1. Always use filtered, distilled or RO water ( more about that below ).

2. You want control over your water pressure and stream, so we suggest pouring water into your spray bottle ( without the spray part ) or a cup or glass. This gives you a bit more control.

3. You want to water around the edge of the bag, in a circular motion. Don’t water near the stem ( more about this below ).

4. You want to water until run-off ( read more below ).

5. Water when the medium dries out ( more about that below? Yup you guessed it! ).

Some questions we think you might have:

Wondering why we water around the side of the pot?

You always want to pour water around the edge of your pot or bag. Slowly and carefully, pour water around the edge, in a circle. This helps the seedling remain stable but it also helps the plant grow faster and bigger. Roots will always look for water, so if you water around the edge, the roots have to seek the water out. This means they grow out, towards the edge of your pot. Do you know what happens when you have nice wide roots? You get a beautiful, big plant. The saying goes, “As above, so below”. This means, the bigger your roots, the bigger your plants.

What is ph?

In basic terms, ph describes the acidity levels of water. A high ph, above 7, is considered basic or alkaline, whilst a ph below 7 is considered acidic. A ph of 7 is neutral.

Wondering why we only use filtered or distilled water?

Tap water often has impurities in it that you wouldn’t want to give your plants (like chlorine). On top of that, it often has a high ph, which means it’s alkaline. Cannabis plants like neutral or slightly acidic water. Using bottled/ distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) water, means you know the ph of the water is neutral. You can get these waters, bottled at any store and you can refill your bottles at any Fruit and Veg or water store ( instead of the cost and environmental impact of single use water bottles). The ph is especially important when we start to feed our plants nutrients. The nutrients will take the ph of your, neutral pure, water down, to make it slightly acidic. This is ideal for cannabis plants. They absorb nutrients best when the water is slightly acidic. Feeding with alkaline water can result in nutrient lock out, which we don’t want.

* More about feeding in a later post *

What is run-off and why is it important?

Run off is when you water your plants and the water soaks through all the medium and runs out of the bottom of your bag. It’s important to water a little at a time until run-off happens. This means all your roots are soaked nicely but you‘re not over watering.

How much and how often should you water?

This question does’n not have a definitive answer, sorry. The general rule, is that you want to water whenever the medium dries out. You can test this by sticking your finger into the medium. You want it to feel cold and damp up until your second knuckle. If not, you should water. In a hot, dry climate this might be once a day but in a cooler or more humid climate, you’d water less. Remember, your plant also loses more water when it’s windy, so keep an eye on those babies. If your plants look frazzled and crispy, they need water. If the look limp and droopy, they are getting too much water, lay off for a few days until the plant returns to normal. You want to water early in the morning or during the day. Your plant can only absorb water during daylight hours. Watering at night will leave you with soggy roots which leave you prone to mould and rot. We don’t want that.

We’ve found the 3L natural grow bags need between 500ml – 1L of water before run-off occurs.

Beware of over watering.

Cannabis roots don’t like to sit in water so if you’re unsure, water less rather than more. It’s also important to not allow your fabric bags to sit in their own run-off puddle. Ideally, move them away from that area after watering or put your plant on a raised surface to help drainage.

How we help you water correctly?

We have especially chosen the natural, fabric grow bags and the perfect medium mix to help prevent you from over watering. The bags and medium offer great drainage and aeration, to keep roots happy and healthy.

If you have any questions, pop them in them comments and we’ll answer them for you. Don’t be shy, we’re all here to learn.

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7. Sizing Up

So, your babies have outgrown their little Jiffy homes? Follow along to see how to mix your medium, fill your bags and plant your little seedlings into their new fabric bags. If you don’t have new homes, order the Seedling Box now.

Remember if you have any questions, put them in the comments section and we’ll help you. Don’t be shy, someone else may have the same question. We’re all here to learn.

Mixing your medium

1. Get a big bowl or bucket ( it needs to fit 15L ).

2. Place the brick of coco into the bowl.

3. Cover with water ( 5 – 10L ) *remember to use distilled or filtered water.

4. Wait around 15 minutes for the water to be absorbed and the coco to break down.

5. You can assist the process a bit, by getting your hands in there and breaking up the coco and mixing it around.

6. Add the contents of the bag marked “vermiculite”.

7. Add the contents of the bag marked “perlite”.

8. Get your hands in and give it a good mix until everything is well combined.

Filling your bags

1. Get your fabric grow bags and your medium mix.

2. Fill each bag almost to the top. You want the medium to be loosely packed but holding a solid shape.

3. Keep any extra to top up later.

4. Repeat for the other 4 bags.

Planting your babies

Side note: Watch the video, it’s way easier than these instructions.

1. Make a hole in your medium with your hands. ( Push the medium out towards the sides of the bag ).

2. Get your seedling in its Jiffy pot and hold it over your filled grow bag.

3. Hold in one hand ( left ) whilst you gently tear the pot down one side with the other hand ( right ).

4. Then, gently cup the seedling and the medium in your right hand whilst removing the pot with the left hand.

5. Using both hands, gently place the seedling in the hole you made earlier in your medium.

6. Gently, hold the seedling with your right hand as you pack the medium around the stem with the left hand.

7. Press the medium in softly so your seedling is secure.

8. You can top up with the remaining medium if you need to. Otherwise, save it in an airtight container, to use later on.

9. Remember to move your ice cream stick over so you know who is who.

10. Repeat for the other 4 bags.

Watering your seedlings

1. You’ll want to water your seedlings in, after you transplant them. ( It helps fill any air gaps in the medium and you’ll have better success ).

2. Seedlings aren’t stable in their new homes yet, so it’s important to water carefully ( again only distilled or filtered water ).

3. We find it easiest to fill your spray water bottle so you have control over the flow of water coming out of the small top.

4. You’ll want to give each plant around 250ml – 500ml of water ( stop when the water starts to run out of the bottom of the bag – this is called runoff ).

5. Carefully pour the water around the edge of the bag in a circle ( not around the stem ).

More information about watering in our next post.

Your babies will will be happy in their new home for the next month or so. Then, you’ll need to order your Veg Box to get you through the vegetative stage.

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6. Topping up

So your babies have been in their little jiffy homes for a few days now? You should be keeping them hydrated, in a warm shady spot. You should notice them growing a bit each day and that they start to “stretch” for light.

Remember if you have any questions, put them in the comments section and we’ll help you. Don’t be shy, someone else may have the same question. We’re all here to learn.

At this stage, their little stems run the risk of growing faster than they can handle. It’s important to give them some support. That’s why we recommended emptying the jiffy pellets out and saving any extra in an air tight container. Now is the time to use it. Pack a little bit of the jiffy contents around the stem of your seedling. This will offer support for the stem. Give them a spray of water afterwards.

You will want to transplant your seedlings soon. If you don’t have a Combo Box, you’ll want to order your Seedling Box now.

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5. Dome homes

Seedlings love humid conditions. In places where the humidity is low, you’ll need to help your little babies out. There are 2 easy and cost efficient options you’ll have lying around at home.

Remember if you have any questions, put them in the comments section and we’ll help you. Don’t be shy, someone else may have the same question. We’re all here to learn.

1. Dome home

This is our favorite method. Making a dome home for your babies is very easy. You should have some 5L water bottles or 2L plastic bottles lying around. Cut the tops off and place the bigger bottom over the entire pot and seedling. Remove and check on your babies regularly. They shouldn’t need it, but if they look like they’re drying out, give them a spray of water. Can’t say we didn’t tell you, they’ll look adorably cute in their new dome homes.

2. Cling wrap

If your babies are struggling with a lack of humidity, you may want to place them into a large bowl and wrap them up in cling film. Check on them regularly and open the wrap to let in fresh air. You don’t want your seedlings to get too wet so their stems become weak and break. If you find it’s getting too humid in there, poke a few holes in the cling wrap for ventilation.

Keep your babies in their humid home for a few days in a warm place, out of direct sun. Once you see them getting strong and tall, you can release them from their dome home to live outside as normal. You’ll want to keep them in a shady spot away from any wind.

Subscribe and follow along to Grow With Us.

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4. It’s jiffy time

Once your seeds have been in paper towel for a few days, they will have nice long tails ( around 3 – 5cm long ).

Now you’re ready to get those babies into their growing medium. We use jiffy pots and pellets because they make a great first home for your babies. Follow along to learn how to plant and care for your little ones. Remember if you have any questions, put them in the comments section and we’ll help you. Don’t be shy, someone else may have the same question. We’re all here to learn.

1. Get a large bowl and place the jiffy pellets inside.

2. Add water ( 500ml – 1L ).

3. Watch the pellets expand. Leave for around 10 minutes.

4. Once the pellets have expanded, get your pots ready.

5. You can place the pellet straight into the pot but we find this method a bit precarious. We prefer to empty the contents of the pellets out into a bowl and fill the pots with the medium.

6. Keep any extra in a sealed container to top up later ( more on that in a future post ).

7. Once you have filled all your pots to the top, get your seeds ready for planting.

8. Use your ice cream stick to make a hole in the medium, big enough to your seedling it fit comfortably in there.

9. Gently remove your seed from the paper towel ( Don’t let the root tip break ).

10. Carefully put the seed tail into the hole whilst holding the top.

11. Pack the jiffy around the seed tail and pinch around the top to give your seedling some support.

12. You want around 1-2 cm of the seedling poking out at the top.

13. Put your named ice cream stick in so you know who is who.

14. Repeat for the other 4 pots.

15. Gently spray all the seedlings to hydrate them.

16. You’ll want to keep them in a warm place out of direct sunlight.

17. Seedling babies actually like to be in a pretty humid environment.

If you’re home all day to care for them and spray them if you see them dry out, that’s great. If not, read the next post on how to maintain humidity.

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2. What to do when you have your seeds?

Congratulations, you are about to become the proud parent to a forest of little babies. Don’t worry, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Follow the step-by-step guide or watch the videos. Don’t worry, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section and we’ll be here to help you and answer all your questions.

*Remember to always use filtered or distilled water to keep the Ph neutral. *

1. When your seeds arrive, write the names of their strains on the ice cream sticks provided (use pen or permanent marker so it doesn’t wash away).

2. Fill 5 glasses with lukewarm water.

3. Place seeds and their name tags into water (use different labelled glasses for each seed – otherwise you’ll get confused).

4. Leave to soak for up to 24hrs, in a warm dark place.

5. Check out the next post to see what to do next.

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1. Seeds – the start of it all

In order to grow cannabis, you have to have seeds. We don’t supply seeds but we have a handy guide to help you pick and acquire some great seeds.

First, let’s breakdown some of the basics of the cannabis plant. Then follow our step-by-step guide to picking the right seeds.

What is a strain?

A strain is a specific type of cannabis. Like you will get different types of roses, so cannabis comes in thousands of different strains. A strain has unique qualities like the appearance, taste, smell, medicinal benefits and difficulty of growing. These all need to be considered when picking which strain to grow.

How to pick your strain?

Still not sure which strain you want to Grow With Us? Leafly.com is a great resource for discovering strains. Watch this quick video of how to navigate leafly.com to find the right strain for you. You can search by a number of categories including mood, medical benefits and flavor profile. Once you’ve picked your strain you can get info on the origin of the strain, it’s flavors, benefits and growing info. Take a look here:

How to navigate Leafly.com to find the best strain for you.

Greencamp is a fantastic App which can help you find the strain that’s right for you. Follow this video to see how to navigate the App and find your strain. You can choose the medical condition you want to treat, time of day you want to consume, percentage of THC and CBD as well as flavor. Make your choices, press “find strain” and it will bring up a list of anything matching your criteria. You can even bookmark all your fave strains. We love this App.

How to navigate the Greencamp App

What about bag seeds?

Lots of new growers don’t start out with bought, “fancy” seeds. Many people will start with seeds they already have. Generally, they will get the odd seed in the cannabis they consume, so those can be kept aside for planting. These won’t be the best seeds in the world but if you originally consumed it, it can’t be too bad. And with love and care, even an average seed can turn into amazing cannabis! So, don’t worry if you don’t want to buy seeds, use what you have and Grow With Us.

We can’t wait for you to Grow With Us. Have any questions? Post them in the comments and we’ll answer you as soon as we can.

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11. Training Day

Training your plant can lead to increased growth and yields. Cannabis is apical in nature. That means it will be Christmas tree shaped, with the top point receiving the majority of the nutrients, growth hormones and light. If you create multiple tops, you can trick the plant into sending nutrients and hormones to all the tops and you can evenly distribute the light. This will create an even canopy with many branches and tops which will each turn into colas, during flowering season. These techniques are referred to as “High Stress Training”.

Please note: these training techniques are not recommended for autos. Autos have a short lifespan, so we don’t want to put them under any extra stress during their grow cycle. There are training techniques for autos. We’ll share these with you at a later stage. Also note that stress training is only for the Veg phase and not during flower as we don’t want to stunt growth. We like to do our training in the evening to help the plants recover quicker during the dark hours.

In order to start training, you want your baby to have at least 5 nodes. This means, 5 sets of true leaves coming from the stem. ( Some people start to train at 3 nodes but we wouldn’t recommend this for beginners ). You can train as late in the Veg cycle as you like and can do multiple toppings or FIM’s, just give your babies a week or 2 to recover.

Read more about why you should top and train here.

There are 2 popular High Stress Training Techniques we’ll use.

You can use a pair of sharp scissors or a blade to make your cuts or you can use your hands. You should press your thumb nail into your index finger to cut through the stem. Many growers recommend a clean cut with a sharp tool but we prefer to use our hands and help the plant form a “scab”. Find the method that’s best for you, just make sure to clean your tools thoroughly. We like to use the alcohol swaps from the pharmacy but hot water and soap will be fine too. You can apply some honey or cinnamon to the cut afterwards. Both are a natural antibacterial which will help heal the wound. If you don’t have any, don’t worry the plant knows how to heal itself.

1. FIM’ing

FIM stand for “Fuck it I missed” and was discovered through error. A grower tried to top their plant and missed but realized it created double the number of tops, so continued doing it. This method is far less precise and more forgiving. You want to remove 75% of the new leaves at the top of your plant. This is our recommended training method for beginners.

How to FIM?

You want to find the top growth point and then either pinch or cut the tops off the new leaves. You want to take off around 75% if the new growth. In a few days, you’ll notice the leaves start to grow and between 4-8 new tops will appear.

2. Topping

This is the process of cutting the growth tip off the main stem of the plant. “Removing the terminal bud will encourage the development of two new main colas and promote growth of the lower, secondary branches. The aim is to invert the Christmas tree shape to allow more light penetration. Growth hormone is diffused to all of the shoots once the apical bud’s dominance is removed”.

How to top your plant?

Find where your top growth point is and work your way down towards the stem. Just above where the branch meets the stem, you can make your cut. This will promote growth in all 4 of the leaves that are left, to create 2 new tops.

What is a clone?

A clone is a cutting taken from a plant which is then rooted to form an exact genetic replica of the parent plant. A clone will have the same DNA and be the same maturity and age, although much smaller. Many growers keep healthy mother plants for years and produce clones constantly. It’s a great way to keep a good plant producing. It’s not recommended to clone a clone as you start to lose genetic material.

Do you want to clone?

If you’re wanting to clone, now is your opportunity ( not the only one but a good time ). In order to clone, you need to have a viable piece of stem 15 – 20cm long ( from the top of the leaves to the place you’re making your cut, just above a node ). Clones are best taken from the new growth at the top of a small plant or the lower branches of a big plant. as your plant grows, you will see your leaves start to alternate. This means there will no longer be 2 leaves joined at the stem but rather 1 at a time. Once you have 15-20cm of growth above the first alternating node, you’re ready to top and then clone the top. You can top before this but the cutting wouldn’t make a good clone.

How to clone?

Get your Jiffy pots ready. You can pour some water (distilled or filtered) over the pellets, wait for them to expand and then place the pellets into the biodegradable pots.

Now get your cloning gel. It’s the bright green liquid with the black lid. Pour some of the cloning gel out into a shot glass (you don’t want to contaminate the gel as you won’t be able to use it again ).

If you’re going to be cloning whilst topping, you’ll want to use a sharp, clean tool and make a 45’ cut across the stem. This helps increase the surface area to give the stem more space to create roots. Once you have topped your plant, take the cutting and put it straight into the shot glass of cloning liquid. You want to move the cutting around so that the end is coated in the gel about 2cm up the stem. This helps prevent air bubbles whilst also promoting root growth with hormones from the gel. Leave the cutting in the gel for around 5 minutes before putting it into your Jiffy pellet and squeezing the medium around the stem to seal it.

Clones don’t have roots yet so they “breath” through their leaves. We want to create a humid environment for them. We can do this by making a done home like we did for our seedlings or by placing the clones into a bowl and covering with cling film. You’ll want to open the dome or film a few times a day for air exchange and to spray the clones with your water bottle to increase humidity. Clones also like a warm, low light environment and plenty of darkness. We like to keep ours in a cupboard for around 14 hours of the day and then take them out onto a shady patio for the other 10 hours of the day. Clones can’t really generate their own food so we like to spray them regularly with a diluted Kelpak solution (0.5ml / L water). We also like to clip the edges of our leaves. This helps to promote the rooting hormone which we want. They look weird but trust us it works. You’ll want to take any large fan leaves off and only leave the small ones.

Clones aren’t the easiest things to look after and roots can take weeks to grow. Remember they will also take longer to come through the Jiffy and be visible. As long as your clones look healthy and start new growth, you are good. You can start to give them a diluted nutrient spray after the first week.

Aftercare

Your plants will suffer a bit of shock after any training techniques. Allow your babies 1-2 weeks to recover, before doing any other training or repotting. You can help your plants bounce back, by using a Kelpak foliar spray at night. Add one cap of Kelpak (1ml) to 1L water in your spray bottle and shake well. Spray your plants well, on the top and bottom of the leaves.

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10. Feeding – Veg Box

Once you’ve moved into your new 10L grow bags, you’ll let your plants adjust for a day or 2. During this time you’ll give them a Kelpak foliar spray ( see previous post for details ). After this, you’ll go back to regularly feeding and watering. This guide will teach you how to do just that. If you have any questions, pop them in the comments section and we’ll get back to you with answers. We’re here to help.

In this box ( Veg ) you’ll be feeding your 5 plants a total of 10L of nutrient mix per week. That’s 2 x 5L bottles. You can feed a little each day ( -+ 250ml ) or about a liter ever second or third day. Just remember to give your plants 1 day per week of plain water. You want to make sure your plants are not being overfed. Look out for crispy edges on your leaves or any spots or burns. If this happens, dial your feeding down slightly and flush with plain water for a day or 2.

By this stage you may be finding it too expensive or difficult to use bottled or filtered watered. It’s the best but if it’s not an option, you can start using tap water on feeding days. The nutrients we add will help lower the ph. Remember, cannabis in coco wants to be in a slightly acidic ( low ph ) environment. If you’re going to use tap water, use water from the house and not the garden and leave it in a large bucket, uncovered, overnight, so the chlorine dissolved off.

We like to give our plants a little bit of plain water before each feed so that the medium is slightly wet and the nutrient mix doesn’t go straight through. We still want to be watering and feeding down the side of our bags so the roots have to move out to look for water, therefore making your plant bigger and stronger. Make sure the nutrient mix doesn’t splash onto your leaves. This will burn them. If this happens you can spray the leaves with a little bit of water to rinse them. Feeding and watering is best done during the day when the water can be fully absorbed by the roots. Foliar sprays are best done at night when the leaves absorb better and the sun won’t burn them.

This month we’ve moved into bigger grow bags so you’ll give your plants 10L of nutrient mix each week ( instead of 5L ). You can mix up a 5L, use what you need and store the rest in a cool, dark place. Always shake the bottle well before feeding. You’ll be using 2 types of food, a “grow” and a “bloom“ in different quantities. You’ll use the syringe to measure the nutrients. Remember to wash the syringe out properly after each addition. The “grow” is in the bottle with the black lid and you’ll add this to your water first. In week 1 and 2 you’ll add 7ml of “grow” to each of your 5L bottles. Then you’ll mix thoroughly and leave to stand for 5 mins before adding the “bloom” nutrients and mixing well. This is in the bottle with the white cap. You’ll add 5ml to each of your 5L bottles for week 1 and 2. Then, you’ll leave the mix to settle for 5 mins before shaking well again. Now, you can start to feed.

How you water and feed will depend on you, your grow and your environment. You want to feed the entire 10L per week. You can do this as small daily feeds of around 250ml or about a liter every second or third day. It’s important to stop feeding or watering when you see it “running off“ ( coming out of the bottom). Make sure to check your plants regularly. If you bury your finger into the medium, it should feel damp and cold up to the second crease (about 5-10cm). If your finger is dry or warm, it’s time to water and feed.

Here’s a feeding chart for this month:

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The Veg Box

Congrats on getting your new Veg Box. Find out what’s inside and how to use it.

The Veg Box

What’s Inside

– 5 x 10L Plantmatter grow bags

– 5kg Coco

– 2 bottles of nutrients – Grow (black) and Bloom (white)

– 10ml Syringe

– 10m of Garden twine

– 20 x Skewers

– 5 x Ice cream sticks

– 5 x Jiffy pots

– 5 x Jiffy pellets

– 5ml Rooting gel (black)

– 5ml Kelpak (white)

– 60g Cal Mag

Read Post 9 – Another New Home – to find out how to use the contents of your new Veg Box. Leave us any questions, in the comments section and we’ll gladly help you with answers.

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9. Another new home

Your plants will start to get tall and fill your pot ( their leaves will stretch beyond the edge of the pot ). That’s when you know it’s time to transplant. You want to get your babies in a new home, where their roots have space to grow. Transplanting can cause a bit of shock so you want to be careful. Follow our guide for a successful transplant. Remember to leave us any questions in the comments section and we’ll be happy to help.

* Top tip: do your transplanting in the late afternoon or at night. It helps reduce the shock and gives your babies time to recover overnight before the scorching sun comes out. *

Prepare your medium

1. Get a large bucket or bowl ( it needs to fit 60L ). If you don’t have something this big, you can break it down into 2 smaller ones.

2. You’ll also need around 30L of filtered watered for the coco and another 10L afterwards. Remember you can get your bottles filled at Fruit and Veg at a very reasonable price.

4. Pour half the water into the bucket/ bowl ( around 15L ).

5. Add all the calmag ( it’s in the little brown paper bag ).

6. Mix well until dissolved in the water.

7. Add the coco brick and push down into the water to submerge.

8. Leave to soak and absorb. Add extra water as needed. You can help break the coco up, with your hands.

9. Once the coco has fully absorbed all the water, you want to fluff it up with your hands. ( You want the coco to be light and fluffy ).

Filling the new grow bags

1. Get one of your new grow bags and start to fill with coco. ( Don’t pack the coco too tightly, the roots need air to breath ).

2. You want to pack around 15 – 20cm of coco into the base of the bag. ( when you place your 3L grow bag inside, you want the seedling to just be peaking out the top, of the new bag ).

3. Remove the ice cream stick, skewer and any plant wire from your 3L grow bag.

4. If your seedling has stretched a bit you can gently pinch off the bottom 2 sets of leaves.

5. Then you want to get your seedling in. Here, you have 2 options. Option 1: You can leave your seedling in its original, 3L natural grow bag and just put that straight into the new pot. The roots can grow through these bags into the next one, it just takes a bit of time. Option 2: cut the original grow bag down the side and gently remove it. This method is slightly more tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s not bad. This is our preferred method. Don’t try to roll the bag off and keep it, it’s not worth it. Watch the video, it’s easier than the instructions.

6. Once the seedling is placed into the new grow bag, start to pack coco around the outside of the pot and then around the base of the stem.

7. Gently pat the coco around the stem to keep the seedling upright and firm.

8. Fill to around 5 – 2cm from the top of the new bag.

9. Put the ice cream stick in your new bag so you know who is who.

10. Repeat so all 5 seedlings are in their new homes.

11. Save any extra medium to use at a later stage. If you don’t have an airtight container big enough, it can stay outside in a bucket in the sun, just rehydrate when needed.

Aftercare

As we said, transplanting can be a bit traumatic for the babies. You’ll want to give them some extra care afterward to help them bounce back.

1. Make a foliar spray with the kelpak. ( The kelpak is the green liquid in the little bottle with the white lid ). Add 1ml ( the size of the cap ) to 1L of water in your spray bottle and shake to mix.

2. You can spray your leaves each evening with the kelpak spray, for the first week. Just make sure to give the leaves a spray of plain water afterwards, so they don’t burn. The mix will keep for a week in a cool, dark place. Shake well before each use.

3. You’ll also want to give your babies some water. This helps to fill any air pockets in the medium. You’ll want to give each plant 500ml – 1L of plain water, slowly around the edge of the bag.

4. If you see your babies starting to wilt, give them a top up of water later and another little spray with the kelpak. The first 24hrs are critical, after that your babies should be very happy in their new homes.

You’ll want to start feeding your plants in 2 – 3 days times. Stay tuned to see how to feed these babies so they can grow nice, big and strong.

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8. Feeding – Seedling Box

Your babies will start to grow their first ”true“ leaves. Those are the serrated ones that start as a single blade and then become 3, 5, 7 and sometimes even 11 blades per leaf.

When you start to see 3 blades per leaf you can start feeding your babies. Follow our guide and send any questions our way, we’re here to help.

How to mix your nutrients

What you will need: 2 x 5L distilled/ filtered water.

1. Get your first 5L water bottle and your little nutrient bottles from your Box.

2. We don’t feed in the first week so you should have 6 bottles. ( 2 green, 2 gold and 2 silver)

3. This week you will feed your babies the first 2 green bottles.

4. Add 1 bottle at a time.

5. Shake the water well to mix it after each addition.

6. Leave to stand for 5 minutes between additions and then shake again.

( So that’s: add green bottle 1 / shake / leave to stand for 5 mins / shake / add green bottle 2 / shake / leave to stand for 5 mins / shake).

7. Now you’re ready to feed your babies.

8. Write on your bottle – “Nutrients week 1”.

9. You can keep this mix for up to a week in a cool dark place.

10. You’ll use it throughout the week, just shake well before use each time.

How to feed your seedlings

Have you read the watering guide in the previous post? If not go and do that now. This will all make a lot more sense when you’ve read it.

1. You want to start by giving your plants plain water first, to soak the soil. Water about 250ml of plain water around the edge of the bag.

2. Now, give each plant 250ml of the nutrient mix. ( Again, go in down the edge of the bag ).

3. Repeat for all your plants.

4. Save your mix in a cool dark place.

5. You can repeat this feeding process every 2 – 3 days, until all the mix is finished.

6. Remember to water first and shake your nutrient mix before adding it.

Next week you will mix and feed with the gold bottles and in the last week you will use the silver bottles. You’ll repeat this whole process again next week and the week after, with the corresponding colours.

Want to to see how our babies changed after feeding? This is what a week of feeding can do.

See cotton Candy’s life so far in this quick video. We’d love to see your grow. Join the forum and get sharing.

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Reading list

1. We love this more philosophical look at growing. It really does teach you such valuable life skills, like patience, determination, attachment and detachment, accountability and critical problem solving skills.

“Not only do you develop hands-on cultivation skills, but you’ll also learn lessons that can be applied to just about anything. Crucial life skills like patience, forethought, restraint, and attention to detail all figure hugely into the cannabis cultivation process. As you develop confidence as a grower, you also may see the things you learn spill over into other areas of your life. “

Read more here.

2. New research shows that cannabis is being used as a beneficial substitute for antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids. The reason? “Less adverse side effects,” said 39% of patients. Others responded that cannabis was safer (27%) and more effective in treating symptoms (16%).

Read the full article here.

* Disclaimer: please note we are not doctors and whilst we share our opinions and information, we encourage you to speak to a doctor before changing up your meds.

3. We’re so happy that people are finally realizing the amazing medical benefits of marijuana. Now that the bans are finally being lifted, scientists have had the opportunity to research this incredible plant. How lovely to have a Harvard Medical review about the health benefits of cannabis. Many people know about the ability to treat cancer but there are so many other applications. From pain management, to Parkinson’s and MS treatment, Harvard struggled to name an illness that cannabis didn’t help. And the best part is there are no known side effects. Stick with us to guide you through this educational journey. #growwithus

Read the full article here.

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The Science of Water

How to water?

1. Always use filtered, distilled or RO water ( more about that below ).

2. You want control over your water pressure and stream, so we suggest pouring water into your spray bottle ( without the spray part ) or a cup or glass. This gives you a bit more control.

3. You want to water around the edge of the bag, in a circular motion. Don’t water near the stem ( more about this below ).

4. You want to water until run-off ( read more below ).

5. Water when the medium dries out ( more about that below? Yup you guessed it! ).

Some questions we think you might have:

Wondering why we water around the side of the pot?

You always want to pour water around the edge of your pot or bag. Slowly and carefully, pour water around the edge, in a circle. This helps the seedling remain stable but it also helps the plant grow faster and bigger. Roots will always look for water, so if you water around the edge, the roots have to seek the water out. This means they grow out, towards the edge of your pot. Do you know what happens when you have nice wide roots? You get a beautiful, big plant. The saying goes, “As above, so below”. This means, the bigger your roots, the bigger your plants.

What is ph?

In basic terms, ph describes the acidity levels of water. A high ph, above 7, is considered basic or alkaline, whilst a ph below 7 is considered acidic. A ph of 7 is neutral.

Wondering why we only use filtered or distilled water?

Tap water often has impurities in it that you wouldn’t want to give your plants (like chlorine). On top of that, it often has a high ph, which means it’s alkaline. Cannabis plants like neutral or slightly acidic water. Using bottled/ distilled or RO (reverse osmosis) water, means you know the ph of the water is neutral. You can get these waters, bottled at any store and you can refill your bottles at any Fruit and Veg or water store ( instead of the cost and environmental impact of single use water bottles). The ph is especially important when we start to feed our plants nutrients. The nutrients will take the ph of your, neutral pure, water down, to make it slightly acidic. This is ideal for cannabis plants. They absorb nutrients best when the water is slightly acidic. Feeding with alkaline water can result in nutrient lock out, which we don’t want.

* More about feeding in a later post *

What is run-off and why is it important?

Run off is when you water your plants and the water soaks through all the medium and runs out of the bottom of your bag. It’s important to water a little at a time until run-off happens. This means all your roots are soaked nicely but you‘re not over watering.

How much and how often should you water?

This question does’n not have a definitive answer, sorry. The general rule, is that you want to water whenever the medium dries out. You can test this by sticking your finger into the medium. You want it to feel cold and damp up until your second knuckle. If not, you should water. In a hot, dry climate this might be once a day but in a cooler or more humid climate, you’d water less. Remember, your plant also loses more water when it’s windy, so keep an eye on those babies. If your plants look frazzled and crispy, they need water. If the look limp and droopy, they are getting too much water, lay off for a few days until the plant returns to normal. You want to water early in the morning or during the day. Your plant can only absorb water during daylight hours. Watering at night will leave you with soggy roots which leave you prone to mould and rot. We don’t want that.

We’ve found the 3L natural grow bags need between 500ml – 1L of water before run-off occurs.

Beware of over watering.

Cannabis roots don’t like to sit in water so if you’re unsure, water less rather than more. It’s also important to not allow your fabric bags to sit in their own run-off puddle. Ideally, move them away from that area after watering or put your plant on a raised surface to help drainage.

How we help you water correctly?

We have especially chosen the natural, fabric grow bags and the perfect medium mix to help prevent you from over watering. The bags and medium offer great drainage and aeration, to keep roots happy and healthy.

If you have any questions, pop them in them comments and we’ll answer them for you. Don’t be shy, we’re all here to learn.