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Encyclopedia > Alternative Cannabis cultivation

There are many alternative cannabis cultivation techniques. This article focuses on several types: hydroponics, organic, Sinsemilla, and "Sea of Green."


Hydroponic cultivation

Main article: Hydroponics

Hydroponic cultivation generally occurs indoors, although there is no practical obstacle to growing outdoors. In general, it consists of a non-soil medium which is exposed to a nutrient and water flow. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. ...

There are many types of hydroponic systems. If the nutrient solution floods the loose growing medium and recedes for aeration, this is an ebb and flow or flood and drain system. Systems that gradually drip solution onto the medium are drip systems. Systems that intermittently spray roots floating in air are called aeroponic systems. If aerated water runs down a channel lined with a film of rooting medium, this is a nutrient film technique system. A series of tubes intermittently running high flow nutrient solution into the tops of growing containers use a top feed system. Close-up of lettuce and wheat grown in an aeroponic (air-culture) apparatus, NASA1998 Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate media. ... Aeration is the process by which air is circulated through, mixed with or dissolved in a liquid (usually water) or substance (such as soil). ...

Hydroponic systems greatly increase aeration of plant roots, and increase control of nutrient uptake. Hydroponic systems are decidedly more difficult to operate for the amateur or hobby grower, as over-fertilization is common, because there is no soil to act as a nutrient buffer. For this reason, many growers now use coconut fibre as a soilless medium due to its high drainage and buffering capabilities, making it almost impossible to over-fertilize. Additionally, if a hydroponic system fails, the crop has a high probability of dying as the roots rapidly dry out (this is especially true of aeroponic systems). However, properly operated hydroponic systems, with other factors at an optimum, have been proven to outperform soil under the same environmental circumstances.[citation needed] For other uses, see Coconut (disambiguation). ...

In marijuana culture, some believe that hydroponically cultivated marijuana can have fewer byproducts in the resultant smoke and ash, providing for a cleaner and healthier smoke.[citation needed] Of course, the veracity of such claims is suspect, as with proper pre-harvest flushing, and post-harvest drying and curing, there would be nothing to indicate an inherent difference in harmful content between soil and soilless mediums. This itself is controversial, as many growers/botanists believe any excess nutrients are broken down into sugars during the drying and curing processes, effectively killing the plant by starving it of nutrients.

Organic cultivation

Organic (a substance containing a carbon molecule, and that is or was a living organism), may be a misnomer when applied to cultivation of cannabis, though it is similar to the organic food movement in recent times. It is superficially similar to the hydroponic methods, with the exception of tending towards soil and nutrients which are derived from organic sources. In general, these sources are items like guano. The use of soil (generally in buckets or heavy duty plastic bags) makes for a more natural cultivation process. However, the composition of the "organic" nutrients is monitored by the manufacturers, and is usually printed on the container. For this reason, the supposed organic cultivation of cannabis, especially indoors, resembles other controlled cultivation methods where the intake of the plants is closely monitored. Some claim that organically grown marijuana gives a smoother smoke, supposedly because the flowers are free of heavy metals and other impurities that may occur in chemical fertilizers. However, if done right, a plant grown through the hydroponic method will yield more than the same plant grown with the organic method, but will often have a 'chemmy' aftertaste which is a big turn off for those who have adapted to organic buds.[citation needed] Life on Earth redirects here. ... Organic vegetables at a farmers market in Argentina. ... The Chincha guano islands in Peru. ...

Sea of green

In contrast to the "Screen of Green" methodology, Sea of Green (or SOG) growing depends on the high density of plants (as high as 60 per square meter) to create uniformity in the crop. In this technique, which is often grown in hydroponic media, only the colas of the plants are harvested. Containers are used to enforce the geometric distribution of flowers and plant material, as well as their exposure to lighting and atmosphere. Sea of green is popular with commercial cultivators, as it minimizes the amount of time a plant spends in vegetative stage, and allows very efficient light distribution, keeping the plants much closer to the lights than when grown to full size. However, the individual plants grown with this method typically give smaller yields than those grown with other methods.[citation needed] The general belief is that the overall crop yield will be roughly the same. Some believe this method produces especially potent marijuana, the basis for this claim is that all buds are top colas and the top cola is the most potent on the plant.[citation needed]


Sinsemilla (literally, "without seeds" in Spanish) refers to removing male plants from the grow environment before they have a chance to fertilize the females. The resultant cannabis contains more psychoactive compounds known as THC. The amount of THC in sinsemilla is considerably more (14% compared to 4%) in comparison to cannabis that has been grown in a pollinated environment, because the production of seeds requires an immense amount of energy, and if left unpollenated a female plant will divert all her energy to calyx production in an effort to catch pollen. This is especially desirable, as the calyx is where the highest concentration of trichomes exists, and the more densely packed a plant is with calyces, the greater psychoactive effect that plant will likely have.

Thus, sinsemilla is more expensive to purchase than cannabis with seeds, as the purchaser is actually receiving more psychoactive substance. Potent sinsemilla is especially important to medical users, to minimize the amount of cannabis they must consume in order to be afforded relief. Cannabis with seeds is generally considered to be of inferior quality and/or grown with inferior technique. Common terms for seeded, or otherwise low-quality, cannabis are schwag or mersh. The term swag may refer to one of the following: A wreath or garland suspended from two points, also fabric hung from two points A subsidence in the ground Goods taken by a thief or burglar In Australia and NZ, a swag is the traditional roll of belongings carried by...


  • Cervantes, Jorge. Indoor Marijuana Horticulture. Van Patten Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-878823-29-9
  • Clarke, Robert Connell. Marijuana Botany. Berkeley: Ronin Publishing, 1981. ISBN 0-914171-78-X
  • Green, Greg. The Cannabis Grow Bible. San Francisco: Green Candy Press, 2003. ISBN 1-931160-17-1.
  • Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana. Ah Ha Publishing Company,2000. ISBN 1-878125-02-8
  • Starks, Michael. Marijuana Chemistry: Genetics, Processing & Potency. Ronin Publishing, 1990. ISBN 0914171399

External links

  • Seedbank Update - The authority for seedbank market research.



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