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Appendix 01

Germination - The process whereby growth emerges from  a period of dormancy
Taproot - A plant's taproot is a straight tapering root that grows vertically down. It forms a center from which other roots sprout.
Cotyledon - A cotyledon (or "seed leaf") is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant. Upon germination, the cotyledon may become the embryonic first leaves of a seedling. 

Germinating your seeds.

The life of a Cannabis plant starts within the seed from which it is born.
Like all other seeds, Cannabis seeds react to a combination of humidity, temperature and the total hours of sunlight each day.
Only when these three determining factors have reached the perfect values will the seed come to life.

No matter if the plants stand in direct sunlight or shaded, the Cannabis plant knows exactly which time of the year it is even when it is just a little seed, and will sprout when the time is right and the conditions are optimal.                                                                                                  To start the germination process you need to soak your seeds in water, there are a number of ways to achieve this.


1. Soaking in water

Place your seeds in a glass of water, the seeds should crack open within a few days and are ready to be placed in some soil. This technique is perhaps the easiest way to germinate your seeds, but keeping the seeds in the water too long can cause diseases and deficiency's, never leave your seeds in the glass of water for more than two-three days.

soakinwater.jpg

2. Paper tissue

Place the seeds between a couple of wet sheets of paper tissue, keep the tissue moist untill the seeds have opened, this can take between 3-7 days before the seeds are ready to be placed in soil.

Be carefull when removing the seeds from the tissue after the seeds have sprouted, sometimes the taproot grows into the tissue and might get damaged.

3. Straight into soil.

The most natural way to germinate your seeds is by placing them straight into moist soil.

Make sure to keep the soil wet untill the plant is growing out of the soil and at a nice (room) temperature, it might take up to a week before the seeds sprout.

 

As soon as the seeds have soaked up enough water to soften its outer shell to crack open and release the taproot to grow.
The taproot will grow into the ground looking for water, growing as deep as it can grow before spreading sideways until it finds water.
In the meantime, above ground, the first sets of leaves will grow from the husks of the seed.

Now your seeds enter the "seedling" stage.

4. Seedling stage.

The seedling stage of a Cannabis plant starts as soon as the first leaves are visible.
This first set of leaves lacks the serrated edges that characterize Cannabis, instead the cotyledon, as the first set of leaves is called, has smooth edged leaves to fit better inside the seed.
After the Cotyledon follow the first set of "true leaves". Here you will instantly recognize the serrated edges that resemble the blade of a saw.

5. Leaves

The leaves of the Cannabis plant have several fingers each, always an uneven number of fingers starting with a one-fingered (serrated) leave that comes right after the (smooth/one-fingered) Cotyledon.
This one-fingered leave is then followed by one or two sets of three-fingered leaves, after which a set should grow of five fingered leaves.

After the first set of five-fingered leaves the rate of increase will depend on the particular strain. Some strains stay with the five-fingered leaves all the way through the grow cycle, other keep on adding fingers; 7, 8, 9 and 11-fingered leaves are not uncommon.

Usually when a Cannabis plant starts flowering, the number of fingers per leave will rapidly decrease until there are only one and/or three-fingered leaves growing from the upper parts of the plant.

As soon as the first set of five fingered leaves is visible the plant will start growing faster every day, the roots are spreading quicker and taking in more nutrients and the real growing season starts.

Growing

The grow season usually starts when the days get more than 16 hours of sunlight, Cannabis grows at it strongest rate when receiving 18 hours of uninterrupted daylight, followed by 6 hours of complete darkness.

In nature the Cannabis plant starts to grow in the last weeks of Spring when there are enough hours of daylight and no chance of frost.

How long do i need to grow my plants ?
The length of the grow season depends completely on the location where they grow, in natural sunlight the plants are triggered by seasonal changes, accompanied by in/decreasing hours of daylight and can last between 1-4 months, usually Cannabis will grow untill late in the summer before it starts flowering.

Indoor grow rooms depend on lamps with timers and grow seasons can be as short as 5-14 days depending on the height you want your plants to reach before harvesting.

Flowering

Cannabis plants will automatically start flowering when they receive 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of un-interrupted darkness.
In natural sunlight the start of your flowering season depends on your location, equatorial countries have almost 365 days with just 12 hours of day light, where Scandinavian countries can live in complete darkness for months in a row.

...Appendix

Staminate - The stamen (plural: stamina or stamens) is the male organ of a flower.
Pistil - A pistil is the female reproductive part of a flower which receives the pollen and produces a seed, the pistil itself is formed from the stigma, style, and ovary.
Hermaphrodite - When a plant shows both staminate and pistillate flowers, this is usually caused by enviromental stress or poor genetics.

First part of the flowering cycle.
Entering the flowering season will cause a major change in the plants life. Where during the growth cycle they only had to think about themselves, now they have to worry about the future of their existence.
With the hours of daylight diminishing, the plant's primal instincts warn them for the coming winter. The introduction of autumn is the prelude to an inescapable death for all annual plants like Cannabis.
The first part of the flowering cycle shows a significant change from the way they grew before. Most plants will start growing faster than ever before where others will almost completely stop gaining height.
The way Cannabis behaves during the first few weeks of their flowering cycle completely depends on their origin. Sativa strains tend to gain a lot in height whereas pure Indica strains sometimes completely stop growing upwards.

How to recognize a male plant ?

Male plants can be recognized by their "staminate" flowers, these are small sacks filled with pollen.

As soon as these pollen sacks open, they will release millions of fertile pollen that, when in contact with a female flower, will start the growth of seeds in your female plants.

You should remove the male plants from your garden as soon as you find them.

How long does the flowering cycle take ?

The length of the flowering period depends on the strain, this can be as quick as 6 weeks for the faster strains and up to 20 weeks for the purest equatorial Sativa's.

     Type of seeds                        Estimated flowering time
     Top 44      6-7 weeks
     Skunk #1      7-8 weeks
     Super Crystal      8-9 weeks
     Homegrown Cheese      8-10 weeks
     Haze      12+ weeks

more information on flowering times you can find in our seed catalogue.

First signs of flowering.

Although the length of the flowering cycle may vary a lot between strains, the visual aspect of flowering is quite similar among most strains.

Female plants will start to develop a few white hairs called "pistils" under each set of internodes, as soon as the first few pistils are out there will be an explosive increase of pistil growth resulting in large clusters of white hairs.



The second part of the flowering cycle starts about halfway down their total expected flowering period, during this time the plants will not only grow more new pistils but the older pistils will slowly start changing appearance.
At the base of every two pistils a pod-shaped bract will grow, called "stipule", which will later act as a womb to grow a seed when pollinated by male pollen.

Change in leave color.
During this stage of its life the Cannabis plant will slowly start cannibalizing some of the energy that has been stored in its older leaves. These leaves will slowly loose their green color and turn yellow.
As soon as the leaves have yellowed, they will with and die, and should be removed from the plant to prevent any chance of mould.



The leaves of a Cannabis plant let themselves be read like a book, they will be able to tell you how the plant feels, usually in time for you to react and prevent your plants from getting permanently damaged.

During this part of the flowering cycle most Cannabis plants will stop growing its "green" bits and start concentrating on developing their flowers.

Last part of the flowering cycle.
During the last part of the flowering cycle there will be just a few new pistils appearing and most the plants energy goes into maturing their flowers, slowly all the pistils change color and all the stipule will form large clusters of buds.



The rate of resin gland production increases just as fast as the bud production, resulting in buds that look frosted with powdered sugar.
Cannabis resin contains the psychoactive ingredients that make these plants so desirable. These resin glands are called "trichomes", a Greek expression meaning the growth of hair, and are shaped like a little mushroom.
The heads of these trichomes are pumped full with essential oils and will continue to swell up until ready for harvest.

Most strains of Cannabis continue to flower untill approximately 80-90% of all the pistils have changed appearance, this is usually the point that the THC levels are at their maximum potency and the plant can be harvested.

Harvesting.

...Appendix

Trichome

from the Greek meaning "growth of hair", are fine outgrowths or appendages on plants.

Resin gland

The resin glands are one of the three types of trichomes found on Cannabis, these contain the active ingredients like THC, CBD and CBN.

These resin glands look very similar to mushrooms, with the "hood" of the glands being formed of an sticky oil.

When should i harvest my plants?

The best time to harvest your plants is when they are mature. It is not always easy to see the exact moment you should harvest, but there are a few guidelines to follow.

Most people observe the shape and color of the buds and its pistills. These will change color and shape during the flowring cycle.

Most types of Cannabis pistills change from white hairs to orange and brown, while the buds should have become dense and quite solid to the touch.

A more acurate way to discover if your plants are mature, is by using a little microscope or magnifying lens.

Carefully look through your lens for the trichomes, look at their mushroom shape and especially their bulbous hoods.

When these look like they are fully swolen and ready to burst, and some have a slightly amber hue they have reached their peak.

When most trichomes are still clear/transparent you should wait a little bit longer.

What do you need.
To harvest your Cannabis plants you might have to use a rose cutter or any other garden scissor able to cut their tough stem.

A dark room or cupboard to hang the plants, and a few pieces of string to hang the plants from.

How to harvest.
Cut your plant as low to the ground as possible, a large stem contains a lot of moisture and will slow down the drying period as all the water evaporates primarily through the buds.

How to dry Cannabis flowers.
Hang them upside down from their stem in a darkened area like a cupboard until the plant has dried.
To achieve the highest quality of dried Cannabis you will have to dry them quite carefully, when drying too fast you will notice an extreme drop in the quality of the buds and when drying too slowly you might experience an increased risk of bud rot.

How long do they need to dry ?
The time it takes to dry depends on both the size of the plant and the humidity of the room where the plants will eventually hang to dry.
Your plants have dried long enough when all the branches snap when bend, as long as the branches bend there is still a lot of water in your plants and need to dry longer.
Do not try speeding up the drying process by placing the plants near a heater or cooking it in an oven, you will loose quality and flavor, and many times you will not get dense buds this way.

How to store your harvest.
As soon as your plants are dry you can put the buds in an airtight container or zip lock bag until consumed. Make sure that the bags or containers are filled such that there is very little air left in them.

You should open the container with your buds every couple of days to let some air through, this allows the natural chemicals in your plant to change and make a smoother smoke. 

 Mother plants and clones

...Appendix

Clone
The term clone is derived from the Greek word for "twig, branch", referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

Motherplants
Motherplants are plants kept in their growth cycle to produce clones.

Clones of mother plants can be made with the exact genetic composition of the mother plant. Superior plants are selected and propagated vegetatively; the vegetative propagated offspring are used to develop stable varieties without any deterioration due to segregation of gene combinations.

Why cloning?
Making a clone of your plant is very easy and guarantees consistency in your garden, all clones from a single plant will be identical copies of that plant year after year.
The secret behind making healthy clones is the selection of its mother plant, a (high quality) mother plant will produce clones of that same quality.

Sexing your plants.
When you grow from seeds you do not know if it will turn out male or female so you first have to find out the gender of your plants, this can be achieved in two ways.

1. Force flowering.
2. Cloning

Force flowering is the easiest and quickest way to determine the gender of your plants, but might cause environmental stress in your plants.
By placing a Cannabis plant in a 12 hour light cycle you will force it to start flowering. Keep them in this 12/12 light cycle for 3-4 days and then place them back in their vegetative/grow cycle with 18 hours of light.
After about one week you should be able to see either pistillate (female) or staminate (male) flowers growing between most internodes (side-branches), and you can remove the male plants from your garden.
Since you have placed the plants back in a 18 hour light cycle they will not continue flowering but instead revert back to their vegetative stage and keep on growing, these will become your mother plants.
Cloning your plants is a more time consuming method but will show the gender of your plants without actually flowering the plants themselves.
Make a clone of your plants, label the clones and their donor plant to prevent mix-ups, and place thee clones directly in a 12/12 light cycle to force flowering, in the mean time you should keep your donor plants under 18 hours of light.
You should be able to differentiate the male clones from the female clones within one or two weeks, now you can remove the donor plants that made a male clone and keep the rest.

How to select the best mother plant?
Most seed you buy should be very similar, especially with stable genetics there should be little to no difference between seeds.
But sometimes nature can prove to be unpredictable, one seed out of a thousand could turn out different than the rest.
When one of these seeds turn out much better than the rest you wish that you have kept it alive, these so called "keepers" usually produce the most desired buds or yield much more than average.
To find one of these keepers you need to grow as much seeds as possible, clone them all and flower those clones.
Only after harvesting each plant you can look for the desired traits and use that clone's donor plant as your future mother.

How long can a mother plant stay alive ?
As long as your plants stay healthy you can use them for cloning, there are people who have been cloning the same plant for many years with no problems.

Most Cannabis plants can say healthy for a long period of time but they are still annual plants and a prolonged indoor grow period could cause environmental stress resulting in auto-flowering and/or hermaphrodism.


You should start growing a new mother plant as soon as you see a change in consistency and uniformity amongst your clones, when the yields go down or when the clones start growing weak.

How many clones can a mother plant produce ?
The amount and freqency of cloning depends on the size of your donor plants, a small plant might only have one clonable branch were larger / older plants might produce up to 50 clones every few weeks.

 Size control & shaping your plants.

It happens far too often that Cannabis plants grow more vigourous than people expect. Most often resulting in plants that do not fit the growroom anymore, leaving a stressed and confused gardener.

However, it is quite easy to prevent this problem, and you can actually control the size and shape of your plants.

Most of the plants energy goes to the main stem, Cannabis grows almost always in a christmass tree like shape with large side branches on the bottom and smaller branches the higher you go up the stem.

When you cut the top of the main stem, a technique called topping, you will stop the energy flow that goes up the main stem and divide this energy in the remaining branches under your cut.