Dear Stoner: I'm considering growing herb for the first time this winter in my basement. Should I do a hydroponic or a soil setup?
Dear Bobby: Hydroponic was the wave of the future in the '90s — especially in High Times, where high-tech setups were all the rage. And with good reason: You can get some great yields from hydro setups, and aside from the initial layout, they're relatively maintenance-free. There are great hydro grows out there, too: One of our good friends absolutely kills it with Sour Diesel in his.
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The problem with hydro is that a lot of people don't get the details down, namely the flushing part, and the resulting buds taste like fertilizer and burn like chunks of coal. In recent years, soil grows have come back into vogue — especially with the flourishing of organic soils and even "veganic" soils (which don't contain any animal-based nutrients like worm castings, emulsified fish or bat guano). It's a great option; we think soil buds taste better than hydro-grown buds and that soil gives flowers a deeper, richer flavor.
But which would we suggest? Neither. We think you should give coco fiber a try. In many ways, it's a mix of soil and hydro growing, using chopped-up fibers from coconut shells. You can grow in the coco alone, as the consistency is not unlike that of soil, but you can also run a mix of coco and soil or coco and organic composts. You can really do whatever you want with it. Coco fiber is like the honey badger: It doesn't give a shit. You can run either hydro nutrients or soil nutrients; just watch your PH levels (keep 'em between 5.8 and 6.3) and don't over-feed. Coco fiber is an easy medium that retains water well without over-saturating, takes nutrients well and — most important — flushes clean of nutrients easily when it's time to finish your plants. For more detailed advice, check out the mad scientists posting on the coco-growing forum at icmag.com.
Ask a Stoner
Dear Stoner: I only eat the stuff. Sativa and indica is my question: Which to eat?
MTM from the potline
Dear MTM: Judging by your slow drawl on our voice mail, we're guessing you're already a pretty mellow dude. So if getting even more mellow is your goal, shoot for the indica-heavy edibles. If you want to get high as a kite for a few hours but remain active, stick with sativas. We prefer the blended edibles ourselves, as hybrid strains tend to pack the best of both worlds.