Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Thoughts about Cloning

Those of you who read this blog carefully have probably noticed that I allowed my ladies to go from veg to flower, without choosing a Mother Plant for cloning. That is because I’ve had second thoughts about cloning, and I’ll tell you why.

Since I’m a very small grower using only one 600W High Pressure Sodium light with six plants underneath, if I were to have taken clones off a Mother Plant I would have needed another light and another grow space to grow them during their vegetative stage.

Do you see the problem? I would still need to let my other five ladies go into flower (which I’m doing now) under my main grow light, but I would also need another space with another grow light to allow for let’s say six clones to go through their vegetative cycle.

You see for vegging, cannabis plants need 18 hours of artificial light resembling daylight (I use a conversion bulb on the blue end of the spectrum to do this), while for flowering they must have 12 hours of total darkness, following 12 hours of simulated daylight.

Also, according to the laws of the state I live in, I am only allowed six cannabis plants at a time. Were I to have set up a cloning operation, sooner or later I would have had 12 adult cannabis plants, which would have been against the law.

For larger growers—or in states that allow more than six plants for medpot patients—cloning is an ideal way to propagate cannabis, especially if you have found a Mother Plant that provides powerful, tasty, and fragrant medicine, that is pleasing to your palate and nostrils.

I’ve read up on cloning, and some growers suggest that you may harvest your intended Mother Plant, then put her under an 18-hour per day regimen of simulated daylight to put her back in the vegetative stage. Advanced Nutrients VHO-Very High Output nutrient is designed to feed Mother Plants at this vital stage. This option is still open to me, and I’m considering it. I am looking for more input to see if this method has any drawbacks.

I would imagine that the Mother Plant might be exhausted having been harvested and then expected to go into veg again. But this would solve the problem of having to have two grow spaces, since instead of starting my next six ladies from seed, as I usually do, I would just start them from clones.

Cloning has an additional problem. Since all of my plants according to the above scenario would come from the same genetic stock, they would be extremely vulnerable to the exact same pests and diseases. That means that a viral infection, for instance, would wipe out my entire crop and I would have to start from scratch.

One way to prevent this is by regular use of Barricade through both stages of the life of my plants. According to the Advanced Nutrients Nutrient Calculator, for instance, during the “2+ Bloom – Medium Feeding” Formula stage, using Sensi Bloom A and Sensi Bloom B as my basic ferts, and given that the size of my reservoir is 72 Litres (which it is—12 Litres per hydroponic bucket) I would have to apply 7.2 mL of Barricade during the first week of flowering, 9.36 mL during the second, increasing to 11.52 mL during week 4. Then it would decrease to 10.08 mL in week 5, and 8.64 mL in week six, with zero Barricade being applied during the final week.

Barricade is a potassium silicate that strengthens cell walls and enables my cannabis plants to fight off pathogens and insects much more readily than untreated plants. I also use Scorpion Juice as a foliar spray to impart what is known as induced systemic resistance to my ladies.

So by reinforcing the immune systems of my marijuana plants, I can foresee the day when cloning will be possible for me. The Nutrient Calculator gives exact details of how much basic fert and supplements to apply to your clones, during the first two weeks of their rooted existence.

By rooted existence I mean that prior to your clones rooting, you should dip them into a mild solution of your basic fert, but feed them only with pure water. Once they start growing roots—after spending time under a humidity plastic cover—then you can start feeding them with an increasingly nutritious and protective mix of basic fert and root colonizers.

Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice are an essential part of any cloning process, as is Clone It and Jump Start, which help them to establish their roots and gives them a fair fighting chance to grow into healthy, abundant female cannabis plants.

A clone will in effect be an identical replica of the Mother Plant, so all the clones from a female Mother Plant will be female. Aficionados of different strains swear by cloning, since it enables them to replicate their favorite pot ad infinitum. More clones could be had from adult clones.

Also, growers advise that you give away a number of clones to friends, just in case your own crop gets wiped out. You could ask for a clone back in the future to start the whole cloning process all over again.

So I’m still thinking about it, since it seems a very attractive proposition indeed. But more research is required.

posted by Wes @ 12:11 PM


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