In this section, we will address the various methods of pest and fungal control available to the cannabis grower and their uses. For quick reference, they will be categorized according to the defense they offer. As a reminder, we will review preventative measures to take in planting your cannabis crop in order to give it a good healthy head start.
All life forms need a healthy immune system to ward against disease and illness that can be carried through the air by insects, even humans and animals. In the case of plant life, a strong immune system begins with the growing medium, whether soil or hydroponics.
When cultivating your marijuana garden in the ground, it is important to clear the existing soil of all debris, including remnants of previous plant life. Amend the soil with sterilized compost, meaning it has been heated by the sun, and mix well. Let the amended soil rest for about a week before planting to allow the soils to blend and become familiar with each other. Skipping this step sets your new marijauan plants up for burning or going into shock as s result of the high concentration of nutrients in the compost alone. When planting, space seedlings far enough apart from each other that they receive good air flow as they grow. Make sure the grow site receives equal amounts of sunlight and darkness.
Fertilizers are rated by their NPK numbers (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). The numbers on the bag indicate the percentage of concentration for each component. Potassium is good for all stages of growth. Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth. However, back off on the nitrogen level during the flowering stage and increase the phosphorus level, which promotes the growth of roots and buds. The recommended nutrient levels during the vegetative growth stage are 10-5-5. This reverses at the flowering stage to 5-10-10.
Water your garden when the top layer of soil becomes dry. Over watering promotes root rot, mold and fungi and sets your garden up as host to a whole slew of problems with insects and diseases.
To give your hydroponically grown cannabis a healthy environment, keep light out of the water systems by using opaque equipment. This will deter the growth of algae. Keep the grow room clean and change clothes before entering if you’ve been outside. Insects, mold and bacteria can be carried in on clothing. Regulate the humidity level to no higher than fifty percent. High humidity is a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria.
Before purchasing commercially available control products, read the labels. Ensure the product is safe for food crops or fruit bearing plants. Since cannabis is inhaled and enters the human body, it is considered a food (consumable) crop. Also, confirm whether the product is meant for soil or hydroponic grow systems. Go organic when possible and consider making your own remedies to save time and money when treating your crop. Follow instructions implicitly in order to avoid damaging the plants. When trying a product or remedy for the first time, test it on a few inconspicuous areas and wait a few days to monitor the plants’ reaction before continuing.
Now that we have covered the basics regarding creating optimal growing conditions for your cannabis garden, we will address control options, beginning with correcting nutritional deficiencies.
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