Place seeds in a glass of distilled water and put in a dark place for a couple of days. Laying seeds between moist paper towels will also do the trick. Once seeds germinate, plant in indoor starter box. Remember, pointy end of seed up. Let the little critters grow for about 10 days before transplanting outdoors. Prepare outdoor soil by turning over a couple of times and adding 1 cup of hydrated lime and a little water-soluble nitrogen fertilizer. Plants will need a minimum of eight hours of sunlight a day. Water several times during first week, but not enough to rot the root system.
Provide camouflage. Planting weed next to corn or hops works well. Plant in patches, or bend plants over and tie to the ground once they reach a noticeable height. Wrap plants growing in pots on the patio in coloured plastic. Pinch tips of leaves off to improve potency and resin production.
Plant weed around rye, spinach or pepperweed. It won't do as well. Plant too close together or plants will not grow properly. Brag to the neighbours about how beautiful your new friends look next to your azaleas.
Use one cubic foot of soil per plant. Use only sterilized soil. You don't want bugs. Each plant will need about 150ml of water per week and at least eight hours of light a day, but no more than 16 hours. Use 2 feet of fluorescent tube per plant, or 75 watts per bulb if you're using globe-type lighting. Mount lights on movable racks.
Mix soil with equal parts sand or perlite. Provide as much ventilation as possible. Paint walls white or cover with aluminum foil to reflect light. Interrupt the night cycle with an hour of light to encourage more female plants. Drop a few worms in dirt to test soil. If they survive, great. If not, there's a problem. Provide as much C02 as possible. You can rig your own CO2 system: mix water, sugar and yeast in a 10-gallon gas can. Attach a length of perforated rubber hose to the nozzle. Crimp other end and suspend above plants. Top up yeast periodically.
Set up your hothouse in an area of your house or apartment that's exposed to tobacco smoke. Place light any closer than 14 inches from plants. Use "cool white" fluorescent lighting.
Keep nutrient pH levels in reservoir between 5.6 and 6.2. Add "pH up" or "pH down" as required. Try to keep nutrient levels in your reservoir between 1,000 and 1,200 parts per million, or PPMs, at the seedling stage, and 1,600 to 1,900 PPMs when plants are blooming. (You'll need a PPM meter for this.) Keep your system clean by adding water conditioner, aka bio-acids or plant acids. Light is another area of much debate. Sodium vapour or metal halide? Anything between 400 and 1,000 watts will do.
Keep temp in grow space at about 30 Celsius, and humidity at 50 to 60 per cent. Use as many fans as possible -- you can never have enough air flow. Take pH and nutrient readings daily, and before and after every feeding. If you're using ozone lamps to deal with smell, make sure to place them right next to the uptake fan, or your plants will die. Watch your hydro bills.
Go bananas with nutrients and other hydro minerals. Set up generators and other noisy equipment where neighbours or the guy living in the apartment below can hear them. To keep the smell of pot from wafting all over your neighbourhood, wrap aluminum foil around a 2-by-8-foot piece of plywood. Take a piece of electrical wire, from an unused lamp, say. Strip both ends. Tape one end to the tin foil, and ground the other. (You can do this by removing the plate from an electrical outlet and wrapping the wire around the middle screw of three you'll find on the side. It's the screw with a white wire usually attached.) Change the tin foil every two weeks.
HARVESTING YOUR WEED
Hang plants upside down. Dry using an electric heater set to about 130° F. Make sure there's a barrier, like a piece of plywood, between plants and heater. Ventilate the space. For smaller amounts, place on cookie sheet on middle shelf of oven and heat until leaves smoke and curl. If you don't want seeds at the harvesting stage, pick the males -- they're the taller plants -- before they shed their pollen.
Put dry ice in plastic bag of pot and place in the freezer for a week or two. Dampen pot, seal in a plastic bag and keep in a dark, warm place for two weeks. For the more adventurous, take the undesirable portions of the plant (stems, seeds and weak weed) and boil in rubbing alcohol for about 45 minutes. Repeat. Combine used batches of rubbing alcohol and re-boil to a syrupy mixture. Add mixture to pot and, voila, the bomb.
TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS
Brother Walter Tucker of the Hamilton-based Church of the Universe suggests freezing seeds before planting "to give them the illusion that they've gone through a winter." Adds Brother Michael Baldasaro: "They love it cold. The most potent marijuana in the world is found in the mountains. What do you think the burning bush Moses encountered was?"
Tim Hampton, head of the Saskatchewan-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, suggests a tobacco, chili pepper and garlic spray mixture to combat spider mites. "It's more organic than bug spray," he says.
Pot seed distributor Marc Emery says moderation is key. "Don't water too often. Stop fiddling with the plants. Leave 'em alone and they'll be all right."
Medical marijuana user Terry Parker offers these words of wisdom: "If you're growing marijuana, don't talk about it."
Marijuana Party of Canada head Marc-Boris St.-Maurice says, "Don't get busted. And don't deal with bikers."The government is too chicken to legalize it. What's a conscientious pothead seeking soulful wisdom to do? NOW offers a ready-to-use how-to guide to growing your own -- outdoors, indoors or hydroponically. Warning: be on the lookout for nosy neighbours.newsinsight: