What is Seed Sprout Tea or SST?
Despite forming part of Chinese cuisine and medicine for centuries or even millennia, it’s only been in the last 30 or 40 years that the western world has really woken up to the health benefits of eating seed sprouts, or germinated seeds. These days it’s widely accepted that adding some sprouted beans or other seeds to our daily diet is highly beneficial for their high content of protein, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But did you know we can get some great results by adding seed sprouts to the diet of our cannabis plants too?
Yes, it’s true! Our plants can make the most of the beneficial properties of sprouted seeds and enjoy a natural boost in growth and plant health. Seed sprout tea (SST) is an easy, economical and environmentally-friendly way in which we can irrigate our garden with our own homemade plant growth stimulant, rich in phytohormones, enzymes, minerals and nutrients, and is suitable for use on cannabis plants in vegetative growth as well as during the flowering period, depending on the seeds being used.
Barley grains sprouting in a jar
You’re probably aware that the hormones we humans produce can have a marked effect on our behaviour, metabolism and physical development, but it’s not just us that do this, it’s a common trait to almost all other organisms, and even plants synthesize hormones too. Over the course of a plant’s life cycle, almost all aspects of its activity, of its growth and its development, are controlled by these organic chemicals that the plants naturally produce for themselves, and which we call phytohormones.
These plant hormones not only regulate the morphology and metabolism of plants but also determine how the plants respond to environmental factors such as stress and physical damage caused by weather conditions, pests or pathogens. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common phytohormones, the effects they have on plants, and some ways that gardeners can harness the huge potential of natural plant hormones to their own benefit.
Coconut water is a rich source of many different phytohormones, in particular, Cytokinins (Photo credit: Crisco 1492)
As most of you already know, cannabis resin is in fact an accumulation of trichomes secreted by the plant, which contains the highly regarded cannabinoids and terpenes that give marijuana its particular and unique aromas, flavours and effects. Coinciding with the steady increase in popularity of extractions and concentrates in recent years, the resin production of a particular strain or plant is a trait that is becoming more valued by growers and extracts producers who refuse to invest time and effort in the cultivation of plants with a small amount of trichomes.
When to harvest marijuana plants according to trichome ripeness
Of course, this interesting trait has a lot to do with the plant’s genetics. Parental crosses that produce a big amount of resin have a much higher probability that their offspring also stand out in this department, so more and more breeders are now using the most resinous strains available in their projects. Nevertheless, and regardless of the resin production “dictated” by the genetics of each strain, you, as a grower, can use a number of tricks that will make your plants produce more trichomes, which ultimately will mean better buds with a more intense aroma and a more powerful effect. Below we explain some of these tricks, as well as others that can help you to increase your production of cannabinoids and terpenes.
There are different ways to increase the production of trichomes
Flushing your cannabis plants
Cannabis is one of the few plants in the world, together with the vine, which contains a large number of terpenes. When mixed, these terpenes generate new flavours and smells that caress the taste buds like candy. To obtain this type of flavour and enjoy buds of the best quality, you must make sure the plants are nutrient-free at the moment of the harvest.
If the plants have an excess of nutrients in their metabolism, the organoleptic properties of the buds will be ruined by the high amount of salts accumulated in them. When combustion takes place, it will release harmful particles that, aside from leaving a bad and very unpleasant taste in your mouth, could make the joint spark due to the excess of mineral salts.
Properly flushed cannabis plants ready to harvest
What are the roots?
The roots are the first organ of the plant to come into direct contact with the surrounding growing medium after germination. Most plants have three types of roots: the main tap root and the fibrous roots, which grow into the ground, and are often invisible to the naked eye; and adventitious roots, which can sprout from the aerial parts of the plant, such as the stem, and grow towards the substrate.
The cannabis plant has all three types, but the adventitious roots are less common and only grow in environments with high and steady humidity levels. The ability to produce adventitious roots is what makes cannabis so suitable for propagation via cloning.
Healthy roots mean healthy plants
When we talk about photoperiod, we mean the daily hours of light and darkness that any given living organism receives, while photoperiodism refers to the physiological reaction provoked by the length of day or night, and the way it affects the behaviour and development of these plants and animals.
In botany, each subspecies has its own specific photoperiod, but plants can be classified into three groups: short-day plants, long-day plants and day-neutral plants. Cannabis is a short-day plant (with the exception of Cannabis Ruderalis autoflowering varieties), which means that it needs long nights with over 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness to trigger flowering.
In the plant world, both the light intensity as well as the daily hours of light/darkness determine the biological functions of organisms, such as seed germination, growth, flowering and maturing processes. In this way, the development of plants can be activated or suppressed depending on lighting conditions, meaning that, for example, most plant species are unable to flourish unless they receive a certain number of hours of darkness.
The length of day and night determines many biological processes
Logically, in nature, the photoperiod is determined by the season of the year and the solar cycle. But what happens with indoor crops under artificial lighting? The answer, also very logical, is that the grower sets the photoperiod of indoor gardens, and in this way, they are able to control whether the plants remain in the vegetative growth phase or if they begin their flowering process.
A common mistake among many beginner indoor cannabis growers is that of not changing lightbulbs often enough, so while the first few crops are a roaring success, later grows, despite having all the same parameters, don’t produce anywhere near the same quantity of buds. Why might this be? On many occasions it’s because you are using a grow lamp with far too many hours of use behind it.
High intensity discharge bulbs, such as HPS, HM or CMH/LEC are, with use, gradually diminishing the amount of light emitted, so (although at first glance we may not realise it) after several crops we can find bulbs that are delivering half the lumens than when we first fitted them. In addition, at each phase of its development, the plant will require a maximum and a minimum of lumens to grow and flourish in a normal way.
In this article we will see how to use a light meter to measure how much light is emitted by our lighting systems, as well as the ideal range of light intensity for each phase of our plants development.
Good light distribution helps to give homogenous harvests
Growing cannabis with automatic irrigation
Cultivating cannabis is an art in which each grower uses their best techniques and their own knowledge, as well as different growing apparatus that can help to manage the growing environment or as in this case, the automatic irrigation of cannabis plants.
Automatic irrigation in cannabis cultivation
The duration of a cannabis crop is around 3 months, with the first month for the plants vegetative growth and at least the next 2 months for flowering. During this time plants require water and fertilisers every few days, so irrigation will become a repetitive task that can end up tiring all but the most dedicated grower, especially when time is at a premium.
How do we light our cannabis growing space?
When we decide to set up an indoor cannabis grow for personal use at home, there are many factors to take into account if we want to get the best results, but one of the most important to consider is the type of light and its power consumption.
When deciding on the type of light to use, we must keep in mind that each technology has its different advantages and disadvantages with respect to growing cannabis. Certain types of bulbs will offer the best yield (lumen per watt) but at the same time they are a considerable heat source that can cause problems to many growers, especially those that live in particularly warm climates or are only able to grow cannabis in small spaces.
On the contrary, other types of illumination emit almost no heat at all, although often the high price of this kind of lighting, combined with its lower effectiveness when compared to other systems, combine to make them less popular. They are, however, indispensable to the many indoor growers that can only cultivate cannabis successfully thanks to the low heat emission of these lights.
This lighting kit with air-cooled reflector includes all you need for plentiful flowering
Causes of death in cannabis plants during the growth period
The vegetative growth of cannabis plants can be one of the longest periods of cultivation when growing outdoors – or indoors – where in, for example the countries of southern Europe they enjoy a lengthy spring and summer. During the course of this growth phase, problems can arise that may lead to the death of the plant even before the flowering stage begins.
Let’s see what are the most frequent causes of death during the plants’ growth period and what we can do to avoid a premature, unhappy ending.
Cannabis plants in vegetative growth