Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, February 23, 2007

Brownies, Deep Buckets, and Colonized Roots

My buds from the last harvest have dried beautifully and we have sampled them, Claire and I. However, Claire has lost her voice and she is feeling terrible. She’s been attacked by the flu bug and with all the hacking and coughing, to inhale smoke has become impossible for her.

Enter Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein. That very famous Lesbian couple did as much for the art of baking hash brownies, as they ever did for literature. Claire sat in a chair in the kitchen, covered with a blanket, and gave me step by step instructions on how to mix the brownie mix, lace it with dried cannabis, and pour the mix into a pan for baking.

Whether you ingest the cannabinoids through smoking the dried buds or you eat your therapeutic cannabis, the same medicinal effects can be had, except that inhaling the smoke gets the THC and other beneficial ingredients into your bloodstream that much faster.

Once the blood carries the cannabinoid molecules from the lungs to the brain, an incredible feeling of relief permeates our bodies and minds, and Claire is able to manage the pain of her excruciating migraines, while I can cope with the fact that I’m a recovering cancer patient.

We just have to make sure that our daughter Squirrel doesn’t find the brownies and eats one or two. Children’s developing brains are not yet ready to handle the changes brought on by cannabis so we’ve had long talks with our daughter about mom and dad using marijuana for medicinal purposes. She agrees that she’s too young to try it, although in a few years peer pressure will no doubt put temptation in her way.

I’ve recently visited an online marijuana forum and was once again surprised how young some of the people are who are experimenting with the drug. It is a drug in the sense that it is a healing agent that’s been used that way for centuries. But my advice to youngsters is let your brain develop naturally until your mature enough to handle the consciousness expansion that takes place when you ingest THC.

The Advanced Nutrients Medical website has a great article on using cannabis with caution. If you have a history of mental illness, or if there is mental illness in your family, you should definitely read these words of wisdom.

The other thing that I observed on this online forum is how paranoid some people are about buying hydroponic supplies. They urge you to build your own system with components purchased at a hardware store, rather than a garden shop. Even if you pay cash, one posting warned, the shop owner could take down your license number as you drive away from the store and you could be tracked down.

I purchased my six bucket ebb and flow hydroponic system second hand from a grower who was leaving the country. It works like this: a reservoir containing my nutrient solution is located under the buckets. A pump sucks up this solution and a system of rubber tubes distributes it to each bucket at periodic intervals.

The buckets are filled with baked clay pebbles, my grow medium of choice. After the grow medium is totally flooded with nutrient solution there is a pause the length of which is controlled by an automatic timer. Then drain openings on the bottom of the buckets automatically open and the solution flows back into the reservoir underneath.

The size of my reservoir is 72 Liters, 12 Liters for each bucket. I’ve recently upgraded from 12-inch buckets to 16-inch diameter buckets, in order to allow my six select ladies to grow as big as they want. My buckets are deep to accommodate a sizable root system for each plant.

I switched from rockwool to baked clay pebbles as my grow medium of choice, since rockwool tends to retain water too long and doesn’t allow the roots to breathe. Baked clay pebbles, on the other hand, are porous and allow for aeration of my roots which need oxygen to thrive.

I use Sensi Grow A&B and Sensi Bloom A&B as my base fertilizers. This Advanced Nutrients two-part was specifically designed to feed cannabis plants and my plants have been getting bigger and bigger as a result. I also use the other Advanced Nutrients Medical products suggested in their Nutrient Calculator.

It wasn’t always so. The first few times I only used the basic fert and perhaps one or two supplements. At that time I was growing organically, using Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom, and I was so pleased with the progress my plants were making, that I figured they didn’t need too much else.

Since then I’ve been talking to the tech guys at Advanced Nutrients Medical and spend a lot of time reading about the technical details of how each of their products works on cannabis. I’ve learned so much in the past year doing this, that I highly recommend it to anyone growing or thinking about growing medicinal marijuana.

The importance of using the root colonizers—Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice—I cannot overemphasize. They’ve made a world of difference in the size, health, and vigor of my plants, as well as in the abundance of my harvests. I would be willing to bet that if you grew two cannabis plants side by side, one with these root colonizers, and one without, the first one would end up being twice the size of the second.

Using beneficial fungi, bacteria, and selected microbes, these three products cause your roots to grow faster and they also facilitate the absorption of the essential macro- and micro-nutrients that your plants need to thrive.

I’ve switched from growing organically, not because I wasn’t pleased with the Iguana Juice products, but because my free-lance income all of a sudden shrunk in size and after a feverish session with our household budget and pricing various grow solutions, I found that using synthetics was more economical.

Also, synthetics work better in a hydro situation, since they’re designed to dissolve faster and more efficiently. Organic products—as good as they are—sometimes clog up your pumps because their ppm ratio is different.

As long as you flush periodically with pure water and just before harvest with Final Phase (to remove any lingering chemical taste or residue) using synthetics works perfectly. As Hunter used to say on TV—“It works for me.”

posted by Wes @ 11:33 AM


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