When you pop over to one of the marijuana seed supplier’s websites, it’s essential to know and understand the different options.
Purchasing a packet of regular seeds will give you a mix of males and females.
If you pick these, you’ll have to pay close attention to your plants to pull the males before pollination, or it will dilute your plant’s THC count.
They cost a little more, but feminized seeds have no males, so you don’t have to spend too much time watching your plant’s anatomy.
If you miss just one male, it can ruin an entire crop.
These have a short growing period and flower after a certain number of days rather than the amount of sun per day like regular seeds.
New growers may prefer these to start because they allow them to be successful the first time out.
Since you can grow two plants per person and up to four per household now in Canberra, consider trying an auto-flowering and regular plant.
Although the genetics of cannabis is much more complicated than Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid, it’s still the easiest way for growers, distributors, and dispensaries to label the effects of different variances in the plant.
Below are some of the broad characteristics of each.
Sativa-like effects include increased euphoria, uplifting, suitable for social settings, without a couchlock.
Sativas can enhance creativity and boost the mood of anyone experiencing symptoms of depression.
Indica-like effects include calming, stress-relieving, full head, and body highs with a mild to heavy sedation.
Indicas are often recommending for sleep, relaxing, and reducing pain.
As the name suggests, these are a cross between both Sativas and Indicas and contain characteristics of both in varying degrees.
There are some 50/50 ratios, but most strains are dominant in one of the other.
Buying Cannabis Seeds in Australia
It’s unfortunate, but the cannabis laws don’t allow you to purchase seeds in the country.
However, it’s not illegal to possess marijuana seeds, and growers can buy them discreetly from online suppliers.
Cannabis seeds have a durable outer shell, but you still need to store them right to keep them viable for germination.
Much like cannabis oils, you must keep seeds away from light and humidity and store them where the temperature won’t fluctuate.
Ideal locations are dark, cool, and dry.
Whenever possible, keep seeds in their original shipping containers.
If that’s not an option, seal them in something airtight, such as plastic storage bags that zip.
You can put them in the refrigerator or freezers.
3. Find the Perfect Grow Area
There are a few factors for finding the right area for your cannabis garden.
First, you should be comfortable with the area.
Indoor Growing Spaces
For most personal use, indoor grow areas are going to be small, so make sure to read the seed’s descriptions regarding size and consider ones for indoor growing that are short and bushy rather than tall and broad.
A small room or closet lined can make the perfect space for your plants to get a concentrated amount of heat from grow lights.
Some of the supplies you’ll need for indoor cultivation include,
LED (light-emitting diode), HID (high-intensity discharge), fluorescent, or induction grow lights
Exhaust system with charcoal filters
Containers with proper drainage systems
Macro and micronutrients (Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper)
Keep in mind that growing indoors with a hydroponic setup is illegal in Australia without a license.
Outdoor Growing Spaces
As mentioned, security is an important consideration when growing outside.
Unless you plan on setting up video surveillance, installing fences, and even perimeter alarms, a good option is one close to your house with good outdoor lighting to deter thieves.
Another option is to use containers.
If your planting directly into the ground, you’ll want an open space with as much sun as possible.
Another factor, when feasible, is an area that gets a light breeze that helps move the air around in hot or humid climates.
Make sure to put your containers on a sturdy hand cart. As they increase in size, it will be harder to move them around.
A second advantage of keeping them in containers and mobile is you can bring them inside during inclement weather, such as heavy winds, rains, or unseasonably cold or hot temperatures.
You’ll need far fewer tools for outdoor cultivation than indoors. Some that are necessary include,
Quality soil with few rocks, organic, and the right mix of nutrients
4. Germinating the Seeds
When you get your package of seeds, carefully scrutinize all 10 or 20, under a light.
Choose the darker ones first over ones that are lighter in color, which is more inferior in quality.
You can use seeds that are slightly damaged, and they should still germinate.
There are a few methods to use, including,
Wet kitchen towel – one of the most popular ways to germinate seeds, it only requires paper towels or cotton wool pads and water. You can learn more about this process here.
Glass of water – one of the least effective ways; requires placing the seed in a glass of water that’s 22 degrees Celsius. You can learn more about this method here.
Direct soil – this method is like growing many plant types. The key to direct soil is not planting the seed too deep. The temperature, pH balance, and moisture levels of the soil play an essential role in this method. You can learn more about directly sowing seeds in the soil here.
Additionally, you can purchase starter kits. Seeds need temperatures of 21 to 32 degrees Celsius to germinate and take about five to ten days.
Remember to be very careful when handling seeds and small seedlings. These are very delicate. At this point, you’ll need to transfer the seedlings into containers if you didn’t use the direct to soil method.
For seedlings ready in October, depending on the local day and night temperatures, you may be able to sow them in the ground if you’re not using containers to grow your plants.
5. Stages of Growth
Following germination, the seedling stage takes about two to three weeks, and you need to maintain an air temperature of 77 degrees with proper humidity.
The next stage is vegetation and the first time you can take clones from your new plants.
During this time, the plant’s stalk will thicken and new nodes will form for the next set of branches.
The second to last stage is pre-following. This is when the female and male reproductive parts will start to show (if you’re using feminized seeds only, you won’t have to worry about male issues.) Flowering is the final stage, and it lasts between 6 and 12 weeks depending on the strain.
6. Cannabis Plant Care
The most apparent care tips involve watering your plants, being careful not to overwater, which can lead to mold.
If you’re still in the early stages of growth, this may include paying attention to indoor and outdoor temperatures, moving plants inside when it gets too cold and outside when it’s warm enough for them to get some natural rays.
While you can plant some strains and let them grow with relatively little interference, most require some tweaking at different stages to prevent mold and increase yield.
This is increasingly true if the strain tends to grow tall, top-heavy, or is busy. There are various techniques you can use to get the best results.
Screen of Green or ScrOG
The ScrOG method has been scientifically studied and proven to improve the yield of cannabis crops.
Famous books like The Big Book of Buds, by Rosenthal, promotes the Screen of Green (SCROG) growing method as the best way to bring out the cannabis plant’s full potential of THC and CBD.
The method involves the use of a chicken wire screen or net to hold the tops of the plant’s canopy and contain growth, which allows you to increase yield in a smaller area. This method works well with a limited growing room indoors and out.
Plastic zip ties or Garden ties (really useful for super cropping)
Super cropping is easily down with these few steps:
Choose the cannabis branches for super cropping
Place the branch between your thumb and index finger
Gently bend the branch in the chosen direction
Use ties and repair the branch with duct tape where necessary
The topping process involves pruning the primary growing tip of your cannabis plant.
Topping is a High Stress Training (HST) method that is common in both indoor and outdoor cannabis growing and cultivation.
Topping can be useful in growing more seeds or increasing the yield of resin and flower (bud) in the plant.
This training method involves removing the crowns of your plants to cause two to grow back in its place.
You can do the same thing again with the double tops to create four new tops, and so forth.
The benefit of this is to increase cola production. This method works best with cultivars that have long flowering periods.
How do you top cannabis plants?
To top the marijuana plant, you will need some sharp scissors or shears to make a clean cut at the top of the primary stem of the plant. Ensure that you completely remove the top growth of the cannabis plant.
Its useful to give a few centremetres between where you can and the branches below in case of any mistakes while topping your cannabis plant.
Fimming is a similar high stress training method that can improve the yield of resin and flower (bud) in your cannabis plant.
This Fimming process is popular with smaller growing setups of one to three plants.
The result of fimming your cannabis plant is up to four new top colas. The extra cannabis shoots use the growth hormones from the main stem to grow rapidly.
Be careful with the Fim method as it can damage your plant if you do it too early or too late.
The best time to fim your plant is at the start of the vegetative phase, which will allow the cannabis plant to focus its nutrient derived energy into the production of flowers.
To fim your cannabis plant, pinch the main stem and cut of 70-80% of the tip. This will lead to the growth of up to four colas.
No matter what method you use, if any, pruning is essential to your cannabis plant’s health.
The goal of growing cannabis is to have a high yield of resin and large flowers (buds), and having a pair of sharp pruning shears in your arsenal is important.
Pruning your cannabis plant requires removing fan leaves and low-growing tips to direct all the plant’s nutrients to the upper-level leaves and flowers.
You can use your fingers or scissors to prune. It’s recommended you remove between 60 to 70-% of the bottom growth to boost the tops production.
The result is having all the growing energy and nutrients directed to the flowers and resin production in the cannabis plant, and not wasted on the leaves.
7. Pest and Predator Control
Luckily, cannabis plants come with built-in defense systems with their strong and sometimes overpowering aromas.
This means you don’t need to use heavy chemicals. But you still may need to use some mild pesticides that are approved for marijuana.
It’s essential only to use products that are safe for plants you can consume. Indoor cultivation will make it easier to control predators.
However, you’ll still need to keep an eye on your soil and watch your plant’s stalks, stems, and leaves for signs of insect pest activity.
Cloning cannabis plants involves cutting off a smaller branch during the vegetative state (at least eight weeks old).
Significantly reduce your mother plant’s nutrients during this time to prepare it.
If there are too many nutrients, the clone will continue to grow as if it’s eight weeks old and not produce the roots necessary for a new plant.
You can learn more about cloning, including the different techniques to get healthy roots, here.
There’s learning for nearly endless cannabis cultivation.
With the long growing seasons in Canberra, it’s easy to grow half the year inside and half the year outside.
Indoor and outdoor growing methods vary, and there are various techniques available to tweak your yield.
Other challenges can be present as you choose different cultivars that require intermediate or expert skills, such as plants vulnerable to mold or needing specific training methods to produce a good yield.
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
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