You probably have already heard about it. Cannabis is now legal in several states in American and in the entire country of Canada. You can now use marijuana recreationally and medically without having to fear the strong arm of the law as long as you use cannabis within the legal restrictions. However, using cannabis is not the only thing you can do today it to have a method of top-dressing cannabis.
In a lot of states and countries, you are now legally allowed to grow marijuana plants in the comforts of your own home so long as, again, you are doing so within the limits of what the law allows you to do. In that sense, you do not have to spend a lot of money buying expensive marijuana buds and cannabis products in specialty stores and retail outlets because you can now grow your own stash in your own property.
However, before you can even think about growing your own marijuana plants, you still have to learn more about the basics of marijuana cultivation. In that regard, top-dressing marijuana plants is one of the better options for you if you want to make sure that you are pampering your cannabis and that you are giving them all of the essential nutrients they need to grow healthy and thriving.
The Basics of Growing Marijuana
Top-dressing cannabis plants might be a good way to pamper your weed, but knowing the basics of growing cannabis is more important than knowing how to spoil and pamper your plants. After all, once you master the basics, it will be easier for you to experiment with different ways of providing your plants with the best kind of care possible.
All that considered, here are the basic steps of growing marijuana plants:
- Choosing the seeds you want to grow
If you do not know, there are plenty of different types of seeds you can choose from whenever you want to plant marijuana. You actually have a wide variety of choices as regards to the type of seeds and the cannabis strains you want to grow.
In terms of seed types, there are three main choices for you. You can opt to grow regular marijuana seeds, which are seeds that were never altered or changed and will grow up to be regular male or female cannabis plants. Regular seeds tend to be more affordable but are quite risky because they can grow to become male plants. Meanwhile, feminized seeds are some of the more popular choices for a lot of growers because they grow up to become female plants. This dispenses the need for you to wait for your seeds to grow to a certain age before you can tell whether or not they are female. And the last seed types are autoflowering seeds, which grow up to become autoflowering marijuana plants that are easier to grow and do not rely on the photoperiod for them to flower.
Meanwhile, when it comes to strains, you have indica, sativa, and hybrids. Indica marijuana strains are smaller plants and have effects that are more relaxing in nature. Sativa seeds turn out to be huge plants that produce buds that can have energizing and stimulating effects. Lastly, hybrids can have the best of both indica and sativa worlds depending on how they were bred and on which between the two they lean more towards.
Choosing marijuana seeds does not have to be an art, and it is something that really relies on your skill level as a grower as well as on your personal preference.
- The fundamentals
When it comes to growing healthy and thriving marijuana plants, there are several fundamental factors. These factors are light, water, medium, air, humidity, temperature, and nutrients. Without one or a few of those fundamentals, your plants will not grow up to become healthy cannabis. That is, of course, if they actually end up growing up.
- Choosing your light source
As mentioned, light is an essential part of growing marijuana plants because they need it for photosynthesis and because you need to change their light schedule to trigger their flowering phase. If you are growing them outdoors, you do not have to worry so much about the light source because you will be relying on the sun on. however, choosing a good type of lighting is essential for indoor growers.
For indoor growers, there are plenty of choices. CFL and LED bulbs might be efficient, but they are not very strong. Meanwhile, HPS bulbs and MH lamps are quite powerful but can cost you a lot of money because they are not very efficient when it comes to energy consumption.
Germinating marijuana seeds is the first stage of growing them. When germinating them, you can follow several methods, but we opt to use the paper towel method. This method involves using paper towels, plates, and water to force your seeds to germinate. It is as easy as soaking the towels in water and making sure they are damp. After that, you can place the seeds in the damp towels and then cover them with plates. Store the plates with the seeds in a dark place. After a few days, the seeds will germinate.
- Vegetative state
After planting your seedlings in their medium after they germinated, the vegetative stage comes. This is when the marijuana plants are in the middle of rapid growth. In that sense, this is when they require a lot of nutrients. During the vegetative stage, they will require a 16:8 light schedule and need to be topped once in a while to make sure they grow well enough to be manageable.
- Flowering phase and harvesting
After the plants have grown to their maximum size several weeks into the vegetative stage, it might be time for the marijuana plants to flower. The flowering phase is when the plants produce healthy and thriving buds that can be harvested once they are ready. If you are not using autoflowering seeds, you need to change the plant’s light schedule to trigger the flowering phase. To do so, you may need to give them a 12:12 light schedule. After a few weeks, the flowers will bloom, and the buds will be ready for harvesting.
What is Top-dressing Cannabis?
If you want to grow marijuana plants that are healthy and thriving, it is important to pamper them using soil that is rich in nutrients. To do so, spreading fertilizer on the garden and then waiting for a while before tilling the soil tends to be the most common practice for most cannabis growers. However, top-dressing is a good alternative to this method.
Top-dressing is usually done by spreading an even layer of fertilizer on the garden soil. But, instead of tilling the fertilizer into the ground, you simply have to leave it alone and then plant directly on top of the fertilized area of the soil. The reason why you do not till the fertilizer into the soil is that it can possibly damage and ruin the ecosystem in the soil and possibly even deprive your cannabis plants of the nutrients they could have made use of had the ecosystem been left alone.
Because you are leaving the soil alone, your marijuana plants will absorb the nutrients at a slow but steady pace as the soil needs to absorb the top-dressed fertilizer (considering that you did not till it into the soil). As such, if your plants need correction, top-dressing is not the way to go due to the slow release of nutrients. It is best used for supplementary purposes or for routine care for your cannabis plants.
It is better to top-dress your garden soil when the temperatures are still ab it low, but the soil has become dry enough. This usually happens during the early part of spring but not during the latter part or when summer is about to arrive.
The Best Way to Top-Dressing Cannabis
Using mulch at the top of your soil is one of the best ways of top-dressing it. That is because mulch is excellent at retaining nutrients and moisture and will slowly release those into the soil as time passes by. This makes sure that your cannabis plants will have more than enough water and nutrients to grow healthily. Biodynamic accumulators such as dandelion greens, comfrey, horsetail, and fava green beans are excellent choices for mulching.
- Plant-based fertilizers
While fertilizers for your marijuana plants usually come in the form of manure, it might also be a good idea to add plant-based fertilizers on the top of the soil from time to time. That is because plant-based fertilizers are also excellent at retaining moisture and will slowly release such into the soil as time passes by.
- Use a common mixture
Mulching and plant fertilizers might be good choices when you are top-dressing the soil for your marijuana plants, but you may also want to use common fertilizer mixtures that are already tried and tested by time itself. In that regard, common mixture usually includes the following:
- Worm castings
- Kelp meal
- Crustacean meal
- Bone meal