Marijuana Growing Help Chapter 5

      Years ago people grew seeds from their best stash, mostly sativas, originating in Colombia and Mexico. These plants grow in a classic conical shape, with long spreading limbs at the bottom and a single main stem on the top. Since then, Americans have discovered many other varieties such as single-stem Moroccans, asymmetrical indicas, and variants such as "creepers." There are thousands of varieties of marijuana. They have different potential yields, highs, flower size, bud structure, ripening time, height, leaf shape, color, bushiness, and amount of light required for adequate growth.
      In much the same way that the environment affects the yield and flavor of grapes, it also affects the genetic potential of marijuana. The taste, quality of the high, yield, and color are all subject to modification by the environment. Some of the factors include amount and quality of light, water, temperature, amount, ratios and kinds of fertilizers or nutrients, and cultivation practices.

The Marijuana Lifecycle

Marijuana is an annual plant. Each spring the plants germinate and begin a period of rapid growth. As fall approaches, the plantsí growth changes from vegetative to flowering or reproductive. Female and male flowers are found on separate plants. To produce seeds, pollen from male plants must fertilize the female flowers. When the male plants are removed from the garden, the females remain unfertilized. The resulting clusters of virgin flowers are called sinsemilla, which means "without seeds" in Spanish. These "buds" are prized by the marijuana connoisseur.
      Undisturbed by gardeners, the male plants release their pollen into the air, lose vigor, and die. The female plants continue to produce flowers for quite a while as long as they remain unfertilized. Once fertilized, the small ovary found behind each flower begins to swell, and within a few weeks, mature seeds are produced. When most of the flowers are fertilized, the plant ceases to produce new flowers. Instead, most of its energy goes to the maturing seeds. As the seeds mature, the plant loses vigor and dies.

The Modern Plant

In the past few years the breeders at the Dutch seed companies have popularized new strains especially bred for indoor growing. Many varieties are available which are high yielding potent and compact. For most gardeners, Dutch seeds are their best choice. While the price of these commercial seeds may seem costly at first; getting the best seed stock is the most inexpensive way to improve a garden. No matter how good the system or attentive the care of the plants, if they do not have the potential for massive high quality buds, they will never produce them. A seed does not represent just a single plant; but an entire genetic line. New plants are cloned by growers from plants or more seeds can be produced which carry this heritage.
      Marijuana varieties are often categorized as either sativa or indica. Indica plants tend to grow compact with heavy dense buds, relatively short stature and a minimum of wide branching. Sativas used to be gangly, with smaller buds. Now they have been bred to grow smaller with heavier yields. When marijuana plants are forced early the new sativas and indica plants gain 25-100 percent height. However the older sativa varieties, even when forced at a short height may continue to grow into a large size plant. This makes them unacceptable for growing in short height gardens.


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