Cycle of life
It all starts with seeds. In spring, when temperature gets warmer and water is present, germination occurs. It is possible to fake a spring any time of the year when growing inside.
Optimum conditions are a temperature around 22°C, presence of water and oxygen. The seeds start to rehydrate, and then the germination process begins. Good ventilation is important to avoid mold.
Each strain is different, and some will take longer to germinate, so be patient and sing them a song...
Cutting : A cutting is a clone, which means it has exactly the same genes of the plant you cut it from. A cutting allows you to keep a special plant (in a vegetative state), or to propagate and obtain an infinite number of plants, all having the exact same genetic code ; very useful to have a super homogenous crop. To get a successful rate, the cutting needs a vegetative light cycle (18/6) and temperature should be around 22°C and hygrometry above 85%.
Vegetative phase : The plant remains in a vegetative state when it receives 18 hours of light per day. The stem will get thicker while more leaves will appear. Each leaf is like a solar panel giving energy to the plant. It can be wise to train the plant to allow light to reach more sprouts.
The plant needs mainly nitrogen (N) among other nutrients. A good quality substrate, plenty of light and a good ventilation will allow plants to grow nicely.
Flowering phase : Changing light cycle to 12 hours per day induces flowering. After the switch of light, the plant will bloom, but before showing buds, it will start to grow fast, often double or triple in size. It is called the stretch.
Sativa dominant usually have a strong stretch (x3 x4 or more) whereas indica dominant have x2 or no stretch at all. If you grow sativa plants, make sure they don’t grow too high !! After a period of stretching, the plant starts to produce pistils.
During bloom, the plant will mostly need phosphore (P) and potassium (K) among other nutrients. The bud will fatten, showing more and more pistils.
Two weeks before harvesting, it is good to rinse the substrate to force the plant to use all the nutrients left. At that time buds should be well developed and slowly, leaves change colors, pistil becomes brown, trichomes turn amber. It is important to check buds for mold. When 30 to 50% of trichomes are amber, it is time to harvest the plant.
Harvest : Chop off branches or trunk in order to harvest. Trim the big leaves with no trichomes, and choose if you want to remove now or after drying the smaller leaves containing trichomes. Seems easiest to remove while still fresh, but not everyone agrees with this…
Best drying conditions are a dark, cool (~18°C) and well ventilated place. Be aware that smells can be very strong during the drying process. Give special care that no mold attacks the buds !!
Curing phase : One of the most important times ! To have nice looking buds, it is good to trim all leaves. Keep all the leaves that show trichomes, it is highly valuable !
After ~2 weeks, the buds should be dried, it is time to put them in a glass jar. From now, the curing process will occur. The buds will continue to refine during one month or more at room temperature in a dark place.