Cannabis has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, whether for recreation or medicinal purposes, it is clear that humans have been reaping the benefits of this beautiful plant for as long as we can remember. It is no surprise then, that with the ‘green revolution’ sweeping across North America and other parts of the world that more and more people are looking to start growing their own product. Whether you’re looking to save money or be certain exactly what’s going into your medicine, here’s all you need to know about why you should (or shouldn’t) start growing!
Why would you want to grow cannabis indoors?
People choose to start growing for various reasons. Many cite costs being one of the reasons that they choose to grow, rather than paying $50 for a half ounce, you can pay the same amount in electrical and upkeep costs and get 10 times as much. Another reason is wanting to have a choice in what you grow! If you are a medical patient, you may need a different strain (perhaps one with a higher CBD to THC ratio) compared to a recreational user – growing your own supply would ensure that you have maximum control over your cannabis.
It’s possible that you don’t have secure access to cannabis so growing may be your only option. Furthermore, if you are living in an illegal state then you may often have to interact with and encounter drug dealers who – let’s face it – aren’t always the most friendly/have your best interest at heart so there is an extra element of safety which comes alongside growing. More than anything else, growing cannabis is a fun, rewarding experience which is an excellent test of your patience and planning skills.
What should you know before you start?
While growing cannabis indoors is a great hobby, please ensure that you have considered the following:
- In some places, growing cannabis is illegal without a license granted by an appropriate government department so please check your local laws before starting anything.
- You are looking at a commitment of roughly 4-5 months of your time and effort. From the moment you germinate your seed to when you can smoke your own bud will be at least 4 months. This includes roughly 3 months of growth, a week for drying and then ideally 6 weeks of curing, however a 2 week cure will have a significantly noticeable difference in appearance, taste and flavor so can be done as the bare minimum.
So you have decided to grow! There are many factors you need to consider when deciding exactly how you want to do your first grow. Firstly, are you growing indoors or outdoors and why?
Outdoor grows are prone to having problems such as pests, nutrient deficiencies and adverse weather however indoor grows often don’t have these problems because the grow environment can be fine-tuned.
The general cost of growing outdoors is almost always less than growing indoors; you would need just a few things:
Depending on the phase of development of your cannabis plants, they may require at least 8 hours of sunlight a day and temperatures shouldn’t dip below 15 C otherwise you risk slowing down or even halting growth completely. That being said, cannabis is called “weed” for a reason – it can grow in very difficult conditions, so as long as you are giving your plants the best you can for their particular environment, they will be fine.
Generally not very expensive, a lot of people use the soil available in their yard and enrich it using their own combination of fertilizers or buy a bag of commercial growing soil such as Fox Farm, Biobizz or Plagron.
You need a private space where you can grow without the threat of being caught. This can be a safe place in the woods, in your back garden or in a communal grow space – whichever you choose, it is important to be able to get to your plants at short notice; to give them water in a heatwave, for example.
What are the advantages of growing indoors?
Indoor growing requires a greater, and more expensive, setup. As well as privacy and a secure location, basic things you’ll need are:
- A light – this can be HPS/HID, CFL or LED with all have their pros and cons.
- A suitable grow medium – soil/soilless. For the sake of simplicity, this article will not consider hydroponics which requires more thought and a meticulous approach.
- Correct pH – Cannabis prefers a growth medium and feed pH of between 6 and 7 if in soil and 5.5 – 6.5 if using a soilless setup.
- Nutrients – nutrients are the basic building blocks of plant life; they help plants grow during the vegetative period and help them produce fine buds throughout and towards the end of the flowering period.
- A controlled grow space.
Now that you are convinced that indoor growing is for you, what do you need to get started? Follow this guide to help.
Choosing the perfect grow space
Choosing a grow room is like choosing a first car, you can look at all the brand-new, expensive cars that you want but the reality is you will only have so much to spend and not want to make too much of an investment on the off chance you decide growing isn’t for you. Firstly, you need to to look at the space you are working with. Do you have a tent, a closet or an entire room? Naturally, your expenditure will vary depending on the size of grow you want to do. A tent is a cheap and effective way to do your first grow and even if you have access to an entire room, in certain instances it is better for you to have one large or multiple smaller tents within the room.
A grow tent is exactly what it sounds like; a durable, waterproof, light-leak proof tent with reflective walls to help ensure your grow is as facile as it can be. These come in a range of sizes, so you can choose one that’s best suited to your space and needs. Most tents will come with support bars to hang your light, appropriate cutouts for fans as well a zip to access and securely close the grow space.
To provide the correct temperature and relative humidity, you will need to ensure that the heat and moisture, that will be released during your grow is appropriate managed. This can either be done using extraction fans to remove excess heat from the light or alternatively, you can use an air-conditioning unit to help reduce the temperature and humidity. While this wouldn’t be the first course of action for an indoor grower, especially one who is trying to keep costs down, this can be a useful solution if you have no other option. Either way, it is vital to ensure adequate ventilation. Keep your grow tent temperature below 30C.
A carbon filter is an air filter which passes “contaminated” air over a mesh of activated carbon to scrub it of any smell before passing out the other side completely odor-free. This is a tried and tested method to remove grow-related aromas and is the industry standard for commercial growers. A carbon filter usually goes on the inside of your tent and is connected to an extractor fan via a duct. This is a must have for stealth, especially when growing more pungent and smelly strains like Skunk.
Cannabis prefers to grow at a certain pH, this varies depending on your growing medium and is between 6 & 7 for soil grows and between 5.5 and 6.5 for those using soilless growing techniques. A pH meter or indicator strips are an essential in every growers toolkit; you need to ensure that the pH your feed is correct for your chosen medium.
What growing medium should I use?
Cannabis enthusiasts have a range of options when it comes to choosing a growth medium. Due to its rugged nature, the plant can be grown both in soil or in the absence of soil, using an alternative material to support the plant roots and weight.
Soil requires a feeding pH of between 6-7, this is because soil has live bacteria in it which require a biological pH to ensure they can still function. However, this also functions as a buffer so it is not as important to be accurate with your pH. Furthermore, most soil mixes do not need any extra nutrients in the feed, for at least a few weeks, as they contain all the essentials the plant needs from the start, unlike soilless growing.
Soilless grows use an inert medium which means you will need to provide all of the nutrients in the water during feeding. Commonly used mediums are peat coco (coir), vermiculite or perlite. A key benefit is faster growth than soil, however a limitation is having to be very accurate with pH and feeding nutrients by hand. Hydroponics and aeroponics systems allow for optimal nutrient intake and generally provide growers with more yields but they need constant attention and are not so forgiving like soil.
Choosing the right container for your cannabis
Now that you have decided what growing medium you want to use, you have to consider what container to use. Cannabis is so versatile that you could grow it in a bucket or even a normal garden pot, however modern grow techniques indicate that there are more efficient alternatives such as fabric or air pots.
Due to the more porous nature, this allows for better air permeation through the medium and provides the roots of the plant with oxygen that they need for growth. They also offer better drainage which is often a key issue for beginners.
Fabric pots are often made from recycled material and are exactly what they sound like, they provide for excellent drainage and allow for some air to pass through them, especially in between watering.
Air pots are made of plastic and offer the key benefits of fabric pots, however they have far greater air permeation which accelerates growth, particularly during the vegetative period.
Cannabis grow lights
The choice of grow lights is perhaps the most important decision when starting a grow because there are various options available, all with their benefits and downsides.
Compact fluorescent lights are a great choice for growers looking to do a small/micro grow as they do not let off much heat and are often low in energy consumption. Another key benefit is they can be kept at a distance of as close as 2-5 inches from the tops of the plant, unlike HPS or LEDs. This is beneficial for those growing in a space bucket or inside a PC case where space can be an issue. However, they do not have great penetration so there will be very little light available for bud sites lower on the plant so they are not ideal and not recommended for larger grows.
High pressure sodium lights are an excellent choice for those looking to do larger grows. These lights provide excellent penetration, are very bright and are not very expensive (compared to LED). They have been the go-to for growers for a long time and I’m sure will continue to be used in the future. However, they waste a lot of energy on heat which can be an issue for those looking to do a smaller grow, as there would be additional costs incurred in keeping the grow space cool. Many HPS systems have cooling systems called “cool tubes” which connect the light directly to exhaust fans, removing the excess heat generated by the lights, allowing them to be placed closer to the plants and thus provide for better light penetration.
Light emitting diode grow lights are the most advanced form of horticultural growth lamps. They are used in various forms; diode panels, quantum boards and the newest form chip-on-board (COB) LEDs and offer the ideal light source for any grower. They are powerful, efficient and very versatile, however they tend to be more expensive than their counterparts and due to their high power, they need to be positioned at a greater distance compared to HPS.
For a beginner, it is advisable to purchase an LED light as they are they’re easiest to use; the majority are plug and play and unlike HPS and CFL, they still retain some value if you decide growing isn’t for you.
Air, Temperature and Humidity
You want to ensure clean air is coming into your tent and that you ventilate your used air either outside or into another room, as recirculated air isn’t great for cannabis plants. As well have having a high level of CO2, your plants need to be within certain temperatures. There is leeway on either end depending on which strain you choose to grow, however cannabis prefers to be between 22 and 27 C.
Relative humidity (RH) is the amount of water in the air in the form of moisture. This is very important, as the plant needs different relative humidity depending on what stage of the cycle it is in. While in vegetation, plants thrive with higher levels of RH, while in flower RH should be lowered in order to prevent mold and mildew forming. In general, use the following:
- Vegetative: 50-65%
- Flowering: 30-45%
Tips and tricks!
There are many techniques you can employ to ensure you have a fruitful harvest of high-quality buds including different forms of training you can do to the plant. This includes:
- Low-stress training, topping and defoliation
- Ensure you do not have any light leaks; it is important that when it is night time for the plants, they should not have any light on them. This is usually not an issue if you use a tent or a have a dedicated grow room however if you are growing in your closet, for instance, or inside a large PC case, you will need to ensure that all sources of light have been blocked out.
- When you water your cannabis plants, always do it as the lights are coming on – avoid watering right before the lights do off.
Why not head on over to The Vault Cannabis Seeds Store and pick up some cannabis seeds now, whilst taking advantage of the discount codes VAULT15 for 15% of your order total and don’t forget to check out our discount cannabis seeds page for all the latest offers, promos and competitions!
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Remember: It’s illegal to germinate cannabis seeds in many countries including the UK. It is our duty to inform you of this important fact and to urge you to obey all of your local laws. The Vault only ever sells or sends out seeds, or seed voucher prizes for souvenir, collection or novelty purposes.
How Bitcoin Became Crypto’s Answer to Wine, Whisky and Watches
As Bitcoin trading volumes decline, the asset is being seen as something more like a rare asset than a tradeable currency.
- Data says Bitcoin is being used more as an investment than a tradeable currency.
- The currency is seen more as a hedge against volatility in fiat markets.
- It’s now behaving more like assets including fine wine, rare whiskies and classic cars.
While we know Bitcoin’s price goes up as well as down all the time, crypto market watchers in 2020 seem to be coming to similar conclusions: the nature and scope of this recent Bitcoin bull run looks and feels different.
In today’s Market Watch (in association with AAX) we’re going to explore why this is and why Bitcoin is now being treated in a similar way to how investors buy and hold luxury items such as wine, whiskey and watches.
Bitcoin becomes an asset
First, let’s take a look at how Bitcoin trader behaviour has changed.
The number of Bitcoin addresses holding more than 0.1 coins, (currently about $1,188) is at an all-time high, and the number of addresses holding more than 100 coins (currently $1,188 million) has reached a six-month high, according to Glassnode.
The number of crypto whales, those holding more than 1,000 BTC has also hit an all-time high in August of this year.
This has been a trend that’s been maturing over several years, according to Grayscale’s valuing Bitcoin report. In the paper, Grayscale noticed a marked increase in the number of holders–people holding Bitcoin for longer than three years–versus speculators, people who have moved Bitcoin in the last 90 days.
The report also indicates that there has never been a higher level of Bitcoin owned for more than a year. Bitcoin is becoming a store of value, and not a trading currency, which we’ll explore more in the next section.
Ethereum and Tether become the currency of crypto
As we said earlier, as little as a year ago, Bitcoin was the lifeblood of the cryptocurrency liquidity markets. But things are different now.
A new report from crypto research firm Messari on Q3 activity in DeFi and stablecoins has revealed that the current rolling 30-day average for Ethereum is around $7 billion; Bitcoin’s is under $3 billion.
If current rates hold, Ethereum is on track to see more than $1 trillion in annual transaction volume, a major reversal from 2019, when Bitcoin transaction volume was more than double that of Ethereum.
Tether, however, isn’t just the most traded stablecoin—Messari found that over the summer, it grew to surpass even Bitcoin with a rolling 30-day average transaction volume of nearly $3.5 billion.
Bitcoin has been toppled from its traditional perch, which is another reason why Bitcoin’s outlook is becoming more a luxury asset than cryptocurrency du jour. In the last section, we look at the similarities between how Bitcoin behaves and how other luxury assets do.
Bitcoin the fine wine of crypto
When investors look at whether an asset or commodity is investment-worthy, one aspect they pay attention to is something called the stock-to-flow model.
This a figure calculated by dividing the existing supply of a commodity with that commodity’s annual production growth. Commodities with high stock-to-flow ratios include gold, silver, wine, art, classic cars, watches and yes, Bitcoin. Let’s take gold as an example.
The World Gold Council says that approximately 190,000 tons of gold has ever been mined. Let’s call this the stock. Every year, the gold industry pulls out of the ground somewhere between 2,500-3,200 tons. This is the Flow. In this instance, the stock to flow ratio of gold is 59. This means it would take 59 years at the current rate to mine 190,000 tons of gold. Meaning its value will hold very well.
Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow has behaved with a high correlation to this model. In essence, Bitcoin’s value is predicted to go up as the amount of Bitcoin produced trends down with time thanks to the way the network has been built.
Assets like these are also seen as a hedge against market volatility.
Most market watchers look at gold as a symbol of investor intent. When the markets are down, the price of gold tends to go up. Which is true, as the charts below attest. As stock markets have become more volatile this year because of COVID-19, so has the price of gold as investors flock to it as a safehaven.
But buying and storing gold is difficult, and involves a legion of middlemen who charge for this privilege.
When investors can’t get their hands on bullion, they look to other rare assets to put their money in, like wine, whisky and watches, among other luxury items.
The aforementioned assets have to contend with similar aspects of supply and demand, scarcity and availability, which has made investors seek out rare items to hold as an investment. Take whisky for example.
According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report, the rare whisky sector has grown in value by 564% in the past 10 years, with a 5% gain this year. Fine art is up 141%, wine 120%, cars 194% and watches 60%. As stock market performance has faltered this year thanks to a global recession, investors are picking up the finer things and holding them, because like gold, there isn’t many of these luxuries being producted or coming on to the market each year, so their value increases. Let’s look at watches in more detail, in particular, Rolex.
Rolex makes approximately 800,000 watches per year, giving it a steady supply. However, the availability of those watches is scarce. Waiting lists for popular models can be as high as five years, and access to those waiting lists are given to existing clients who have bought Rolexes before.
Rolex also regularly discontinues ranges, increasing their scarcity. For example, one type of Rolex, nicknamed “The Hulk” (because it’s all green) was discontinued this year causing its price to spike 200% in a few months.
That’s lead to a grey market where the price of Rolex watches surpasses what you’d pay at retail, if you could get hold of one, making them a surprisingly good investment. The same applies to certain types of wine, art and cars: there aren’t a lot of them, and they perform better than other asset classes. Just like Bitcoin.
Bitcoin isn’t gold
While Bitcoin is often compared to crypto’s answer to gold, this column contends that it’s more akin to a rare consumer commodity than gold thanks to how it’s managed, bought and sold.
The supply and distribution of gold is handled by big institutions and state actors. It’s also heavily regulated to prevent fake gold entering supply – although it’s harder to keep counterfeit precious metals out of the supply chain than people first thought.
The supply and distribution of fine items like wine or watches is not managed in the same way. Instead, it’s a marketplace more akin to buying and selling of cryptocurrency. There are brokers, and exchanges, buying and selling to individuals and companies in a more fluid way without the same federal or institutional oversight. And many people want to keep it that way.
Bitcoin, like a fine wine gets scarcer with age, and investors are loving it.
Sponsored by AAX
This sponsored article was created by Decrypt Studio. Learn More about partnering with Decrypt Studio.
Grayscale invests $300m in a day to grow its crypto portfolio
Grayscale Investments continues to grow its cryptocurrency portfolio by adding $300 million in assets under management (AUM) in a day
Grayscale Investments revealed that it had added $300 million worth of cryptocurrencies to its digital assets portfolio over the past 24 hours and over $1 billion in the last week. This information was relayed by Grayscale CEO Barry Silbert via a tweet yesterday.
The crypto fund manager noted that it had $6.3 billion in AUM as of October 15. However, it has added $1 billion in cryptocurrencies over the past week, and the company now controls $7.3 billion worth of digital assets.
Silbert stated that the company “Added a cool $300 million in assets under management in one day. The additional sum brings the total assets held under management to $7.3 billion”.
The funds are held in the company’s trust for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), in addition to Grayscale’s digital large-cap fund. This latest development comes less than 48 hours after PayPal announced its entry into the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin surpassing the $13,000 mark afterwards.
Each Grayscale report is delayed by 24 hours, which means that this data refers to the previous day’s figure.
The cryptocurrency funds manager reported that its Litecoin (LTC) Trust recorded the highest growth since the last report. Grayscale reported that its LTC Trust increased by 7.5%, while their Zcash (ZEC) Trust increased by more than 6% over the past 24 hours. Grayscale also has extensive holdings in other cryptocurrencies such as Ripple (XRP), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Horizen (ZEN) and Stellar Lumens (XLM).
Grayscale might be increasing its cryptocurrency holdings after raising massive funds in the third quarter of the year. Grayscale’s financial report for Q3 2020 revealed that it had bought over $1 billion in investment across all its cryptocurrency trusts. This year, Grayscale has raised $2.4 billion, which is more than twice the total amount they obtained for the years 2013 – 2019.
The investment firm revealed that 81% of investment in the third quarter came from institutional investors, while another 57% came from people investing in multiple products.
With the crypto fund manager now holding over $6 billion in AUM, it means that Grayscale controls around 2.5% of the total Bitcoin supply, currently above 18,000 BTC. The Bitcoin supply is capped at 21 million, which means that roughly 2.5 million bitcoins are left to be mined.
Grayscale isn’t the only company that is increasing its stakes in cryptocurrencies at the moment. MicroStrategy recently bought $425 million worth of Bitcoin, and Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. invested $50 million in Bitcoin.
Stellar to skip Protocol 14; Cites issue with validator crashes
In an announcement, Stellar said that the Stellar public network will no longer upgrade to Protocol 14 on October 28, skipping straight ahead to Protocol 15.
Protocol 15 is reportedly the same as Protocol 14 but fixes an issue that could have caused validators to crash, reports Stellar.
After the Stellar testnet upgraded to Protocol 14, the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) continued testing and discovered that two rare, specifically constructed transactions could have caused validators to crash.
Fortunately, Protocol 14 was not yet live on the public network, and no one submitted either transaction on the testnet, so no validators actually encountered the bug.
The SDF stated that,
“This discovery is exactly the kind of thing the testnet is designed to bring to light: long before we suggest a change to the public network, we thoroughly test it in a sandbox environment, and leave plenty of time to root out and correct potential problems so they never go live in a production environment.”
There is a scheduled validator vote to upgrade the public network to Protocol 15, which is already live on the testnet, on November 23.
While this may seem like a delay, the date was intentionally pushed back by the SDF in order to ensure that those running Stellar Core or Horizon have enough time to install Protocol-15.
Reportedly, those running Stellar SDK and have a Protocol 14 version installed don’t require an update.
Protocol 15, brings with it two new features – Claimable Balances and Sponsored Reserves which will allow apps and services built on Stellar to appeal to a much broader audience.
For instance, onboarding users is now a lot easier using these new features along with Fee Bumps.
Previously, users had to find a third-party exchange in their jurisdiction to buy XLM and transfer that XLM into their wallet, accounting for the need to maintain sufficient reserves to cover trustlines and offers. This was exceedingly difficult for the non-crypto literate user.
Protocol 15 addresses this pain point with the introduction of these new features, as highlighted by the SDF,
“After Protocol 15, a wallet can offer in-app deposits via a Stellar anchor, who can accept a user’s funds in their local currency and immediately create a Claimable Balance. The wallet can then cover lumen reserves and transaction fees on behalf of a user, so the user can start using the app pretty much immediately without knowing anything about blockchain or cryptocurrency. The user experience is seamless, and makes sense to crypto-enthusiast and the non-crypto literate alike.”
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