How to grow cannabis in coco coir?
Coco coir is a versatile growth medium that makes an excellent option for all growers. Coco coir comes in loose and compressed brick form comfortable for transport-store-use. Coir ensures superior water retention, aeration while being economical, user-friendly.
Coir is made from fibrous extraction of coconut husk and available in 3 major types, and is by nature a renewable, non-toxic, ecological asset.
Coco coir is an essential grow medium and soil amendment that helps cannabis to grow to their fullest potential. Researches say that coir-based substrates are effective for cannabis during the vegetative and flowering stages of production.
It can be handled manually or automated hydroponic systems with real time sensors and regular monitoring. It is also resistant to fungal-bacteria-molds, provides sturdy substrate for all kinds of cannabis like indica, sativa, hybrid and ruderalis.
The typical coco coir available on the market are pre-washed, buffered, hydrated and ready to use right out of the bag.
Coco coir are only usable when they are completely hydrated. It is preferential for a grower to place coir blocks within the larger containers such as air pots, plastic pots and fabric bags.
Fabric pots are ideal to start with cloners and new seedlings, it comes in different sizes of 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 gallons. A 5 gallon fabric pot is best suited for a 5kg compressed coco block.
Complete Guide for Cannabis Grow
Preparing Grow Substrate
Even the coir is pre-buffered, light buffering is needed at the grower’s end. Coir has a natural high concentration of sodium and potassium, so it needs to be treated by soaking in Ca-Mg solution to leach out the excess salt content.
Higher concentration of potassium leads to calcium deficiency in grow medium used for marijuana plants.
Hydrate the compressed block with distilled water to note down the precise nutrient addition and balanced pH and EC. Once the brick is fluffed, completely damp prepare for the decent grow mix for cannabis.
Marijuana requires highest aeration compared to other weeds. Mixing grow supplements like perlite and vermiculture improves water intake and encourages strong root growth.
The most recommended coco-perlite mix of 70-30, i.e, 70% of coco and 30% perlite at top layer. For a new cloner, the perlite mix of 50-50 helps the root to grow deeper, quicker providing easy water accessibility.
Cannabis potting mix needs 2-3 inch layers of clay pebble at the bottom to aid oxygenation and better drainage.
And flush the mix by pouring pure water with a pH of 6.5 until the run off is less than EC 100 (0.1). The flushing is essential to drain away residual EC from buffering that could burn sensitive cannabis.
Plant Nutrient Mix
Coco goes well with every kind nutrient supplement. Cannabis grows in a hydroponic system with coir as the medium demands some essential grow supplements like Cal-Mag and other plant grow nutrients.
No matter what nutrient schedule you use, make sure not to include nutrient at every watering. Otherwise you will burn your plant with excess nutrient buildup.
While using nutrient solution, test for pH of the solution, use wisely with the prescription provided at the back end of the nutrient pack.
Furnish other fertilizers and grow amendments to enrich the nutrient availability.
Caring for Cannabis
Stage- 1- Germinate (1-5th days)
At the early stages of growth, the relative humidity should be kept high (65-80%), pH 6.2 to 6.4 and room temperature should be maintained at 72-79F (22-26C) and measured for perfect Nutrient Element Ratio (NER).
Have the grow light turned-off (dark) during germination to protect the young roots from light heat and later after a day or two switch it with 18/6 lighting hours (16 hrs light-8 hrs dark).
Stage- 2- Seedling (6-12th day)
In this stage where cotyledons sprout out, turn-on the CFL light to 24 hours (full day) and room temperature of 70-85oF (20-30oC), humidity 40-60%.
In this stage, the pH of water inflow should be between 5.6 to 6.5 inorder to improve calcium solubility.
The seedling in the coco/perlite substrate should be watered once or twice per day until 20% runoff from bottom. Coco must not be let to dry and be frequently wetted.
Lighting power of 15-25W of Fluorescent or LED (23 W of CFL) is required for the stage of true leaves to occur and the intensity of the light should be maintained properly by adjusting the height between lighting and seedling.
Place a thermometer or hygrometer to check for simultaneous change in temperature and air moisture.
In the first few of true leaves appear, start fertigation inflow with EC around 350-400 and strengthen the dose of Cal/Mag to its full potential and other nutrient schedules for better growth of cannabis.
Increase the EC of the solution by parts of 80-100 every time. At the end of seedling the nutrient solution must be of its full strength around 1000EC.
After the plant has 3 nodes, transplant to a bigger container.
Stage- 3- Transplant
Continue to water your plant till 10-30% runoff and maintain the water pH at 5.6 to 6.5. About 2 weeks later transplant your cannabis into a bigger new pot preferably, fabric pot. Let the EC of the new pot mix be lower than seedling substrate to avoid transplant shock.
Once the cannabis reaches half of its final desired size, start plant training.
Look for any color changes in the leaves, if the first few leaves have turned yellow then it means Nitrogen deficiency (sigh of reduced chlorophyll production), so make appropriate arrangements for proper nutrient management and do not go low or higher than optimal.
Considered as a regularly growing plant, cannabis are provided with 12-12 lighting duration (12 hrs light, 12 hrs darkness).
Keep close monitoring of the plant in this flowering phase as the chances of nutrient deficiency like lacking in Phosphorus that shows small, dark green leaves with purple veins and lack of Potassium turns leaves yellow, brown then die.
And importantly control the room temperature from 65-80oF (18-26oC) and humidity ranging 40-50%.
If possible tease(train) your plant by gently bending and stretching, but avoid training once the buds are formed.
Stage- 4- Harvest
Harvesting at the right time means a lot. Harvesting early, loses its potency; later will produce a sleep dosage.
Choose for the precise moment of harvest by observing through glittering trichomes under Magnifier.
Trichomes start head out clear and glassy- buds are not potent.
Trichomes heads turn milky white as it matures, these trichomes are full of potent with the highest level of THC and CBD that are used in Recreation- mental/psychoactive effect.
With some more time felt (after a week), white trichome head turns amber/golden that has less THC used for Relaxing- anti-anxiety effect.