One of the biggest challenges of growing marijuana is getting accurate, science-based information on how to do it.
Because cannabis was illegal everywhere until a few years ago, and is still federally illegal, few scientists were willing to invest in marijuana growing research.
Most of us growers rely on marketing hype from companies making grow lights, hydroponic nutrients and other grow gear, “bro wisdom” from hundreds of growing marijuana websites and discussion forums, and grow books.
Hardly any of this “knowledge” has professional marijuana crop science to back it up, and a lot of it is stupid and harmful.
Dr. Bruce Bugbee, a full-time professor who heads the Crop Physiology Lab at Utah State University and founder of Apogee Instruments, is one of few scientists working hard to publicly give cannabis growers accurate, research-based marijuana growing advice.
Bugbee’s university lab studies medical marijuana cultivation; he and his graduate students have uncovered facts about growing marijuana that debunk the standard mythology we’ve all been exposed to.
You can find other articles on Growing Marijuana Perfectly that track Dr. Bugbee’s pioneering research, especially regarding photobiology (how light affects plants) and grow lights.
One of his most important discoveries has led to more accurate understanding of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which is the only part of the light spectrum that drives plant performance.
PAR sensors other than those made by Apogee follow the old-school assumption that PAR wavelengths from only 400 to 700 nm wavelengths contribute to photosynthesis. More recent research shows that far red light (700-750 nm) also contributes to photosynthesis, but only when other light wavelengths are present.
For example, if a far red light measuring 150 µmol/m2/sec intensity at the leaf is the only source of light it will not contribute to photosynthesis (effective intensity of 0), but if that far red light is present alongside a light with a visible spectrum output of, say, 1000 µmol/m2/sec, then the total amount of light contributing to photosynthesis would be 1150 instead of just 1000.
Far red wavelengths are believed to beneficially impact plant stretch, internodal spacing, and bloom phase length.
Bugbee and his team also investigated the claimed effects of ultraviolet light (340-400 nm) on cannabis, and found them to be negligible and/or strain-specific.
Now, Dr. Bugbee is advocating a redefinition and expansion of PAR to include 400 to 750 nm instead of only 400 to 700 nm, and he created a new type of PAR meter keyed to actual PAR. You will see more about this innovative new meter later in the article.
Dr. Bugbee and a team of PhD students and crop science professors are offering a professional university course that all serious marijuana growers should enroll in. His “Science and Technology of Medical Cannabis Cultivation” course gives you the latest scientific insights into:
– Nutrition, fertilizers, and media
– HID and LED lighting
– Temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide enrichment
– Flowering and photoperiod
– Harvesting and curing
– Pest and disease management
This is an online learning experience that allows you to go at your own speed. You can get a formal completion certificate and an official college transcript upon completing the course.
Bugbee’s course provides you proprietary information on optimizing root growth, aboveground growth, lighting, high-yielding cultivation tactics, propagation, harvesting, drying, and curing, crop protection, and marijuana botany. His data helps home growers and professional licensed marijuana growers.
The class costs money, but is well worth it. Dr. Bugbee and Apogee Instruments are world-famous for designing the broadest range of professional agricultural sensors including their new e-PAR meters that exactly match the 400-750 nm PAR spectrum.
Apogee’s unparalleled product line also includes soil oxygen meters, chlorophyll meters, DLI (daily light integral) meters, leaf and bud temperature sensors, and many more.
In our experience, Apogee devices are the gold standard for horticultural measurement. They’re in a class far above competing brands, with flawless operation, longevity, accuracy, and technical support.
You get a glimpse of how innovative and reliable Dr. Bugbee is by watching the following video. In it, he describes the “cardinal parameters” affecting growing marijuana, and how you can optimize your grow op for the highest yields, fastest growth and most potent buds.
Our grow ops have greatly improved since we started following Dr. Bugbee’s cannabis cultivation advice several years ago. He has been especially helpful with our understanding of photobiology, giving us the knowledge necessary to evaluate grow light brands and use grow lights in the most energy-efficient, crop-enhancing ways.
Take a look at the details for Dr. Bugbee’s university cannabis cultivation class, and the following grow video. It’s great to have access to tested, original science that clears up misconceptions about grow lights, light cycles, hydroponic nutrients, and other foundational marijuana growing tactics and gear!