If you are a marijuana lover, there are few things more satisfying than growing your favorite strain at home. In the latest of our detailed grow guides, we provide you with eight tips and tricks to help you get the best result when cultivating Death Star. It is a clone-only strain that first became available in the early part of the 21st century.
It was originally bred in Ohio and is a cross of Sour Diesel and Sensi Star. As you can probably guess, Death Star was named after the gigantic enemy space station in Star Wars. It is an indica-dominant (75%) hybrid with a THC content ranging from 18% to 27%. As a result, it is not a smoke for newbies because it is so potent, and it acts fast.
Although you will be hit with a cerebral high, it is Death Star’s effects on the body that are most striking. You will feel happy, and so euphoric and high that you may actually see Darth Vader aboard the Death Star! When you take a high enough dose in the evening, it works as an effective sleep aid.
For those interested in Death Star’s medicinal benefits, it can be used to treat depression, stress, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. In other words, if you are wound up tighter than Kim Kardashian’s pants, this is the marijuana strain for you.
1 – Growing Death Star – Is an Indoor or Outdoor Setting Better?
Overall, Death Star is a novice grower’s dream because it is so easy to cultivate. It is extremely resistant to most molds and mildew and doesn’t seem to appeal to pests. If you elect to grow it indoors, its flowering time is 8-9 weeks, and you receive a yield of 14 ounces per square meter planted.
As far as growing outdoors goes, Death Star prefers a moderate to high temperature range of 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with relatively low humidity. As Death Star grows fairly dense, it could be susceptible to bud rot if you expose it to excess moisture. It will be available for harvest in mid-October outside and provides approximately 12 ounces per plant.
2 – Consider Using a Greenhouse
We readily acknowledge that this tip isn’t applicable to a significant proportion of residential growers, but using a greenhouse will boost your overall yield. As we mentioned in #1, Death Star can be attacked by bud rot if grown outdoors in humid conditions. With a greenhouse, you get to control the light cycle and ensure your crop is not exposed to unseasonably harsh weather conditions.
Unfortunately, we now live in a time where the climate is no longer as reliable as it once was. Farmers are reporting excessively hot summers in one part of the world, while in another location thousands of miles away, farmers complain of excessive wet spells. When you grow your Death Star in a greenhouse, you keep it protected from the unpredictable outdoor climate.
It is common for unexpected heavy rainfall to damage plants and cause bud rot. Fortunately, a greenhouse protects plants from the rain, and you can also install heaters, air conditioning units, and dehumidifiers. You can do all of the above in your basement grow room, but with a greenhouse, you have the bonus power of the sun.
3 – Handling Bud Rot
Also known as botrytis cinereal, bud rot is the primary cause of concern for Death Star growers as far as diseases go. It is a form of mold that develops in the core of your weed’s buds. The infection begins inside the bud and spreads outwards. As a result, you may not spot the problem until it is far too late. When left untreated, bud rot spreads all over the plant and produces spores that spread throughout the garden.
Initially, buds turn white, and when it becomes grey and slimy, the bud is no longer usable. You can remove the infected area and try to grow the rest of the plant, but there is a danger that the rot has set in across your garden. It is no exaggeration to say a bad bud rot infestation could destroy your crop.
As there is no way to cure bud rot, your best option is prevention. It thrives on low temperatures, high humidity, dense buds, weak plant immune systems, and bad ventilation. With dense buds, Death Star is a prime candidate for bud rot if grown in a cool and wet room with poor air flow.
As well as training and pruning your plants, invest in a high-quality dehumidifier, lighting system, and air-conditioning unit. A quick and easy tip to lower humidity is to water your crop early in the morning. If you are growing Death Star outside and it has been exposed to heavy rainfall, make sure you go through your garden and shake each leaf to get the water off.
4 – Choose Organic Nutrients
Assuming you are using soil as your growing medium rather than adapting a hydroponics setup, it is vital to pay attention to the initial quality of the soil. You can save time by purchasing pre-mixed soils because they will contain all the nutrients your crop needs. However, these so-called ‘super’ soils are expensive. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars by creating your own super soil.
By creating and using organic soil, you aid the environment by refusing to use chemical nutrients. When building your soil, it is best to choose loam as it offers better drainage and is easier to work with than clay, sand or silt soils. When you buy basic soil, make sure you check to see the ingredients and nutrients it offers. If you want to use soil from your garden, pay for a soil test to ascertain the quality.
Although your Death Star plants require dozens of nutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are the building blocks. Bat guano, crustacean meal, and worm castings provide ample Nitrogen. You can get Phosphorus from rock dust and bone meal, while wood ash and kelp meal take care of the crop’s Potassium needs.
Once you’re happy with your soil, mix it up. You can use a spade, but a rototiller is faster. Add manure with water every few days until the soil feels cool between your fingers. Some gardeners swear by annual tilling, because they add further amendments to ensure the soil remains fertile.
If you are growing Death Star in the same patch for the second year in a row, remove the roots and stalks of last year’s crop. It is a good idea to use them to form compost heap and add them to the soil once they have decomposed. Some growers plant a crop such as radishes as a ‘cover’ crop during winter. If you follow suit, make sure these crops are destroyed before starting a new marijuana growing season.
5 – Play Music to Your Plants
This is an extremely ‘far out’ suggestion, and one that is guaranteed to sound like a good idea when you’re stoned! However, it is not as preposterous as it sounds. According to research by Dr.T. C. Singh, of the Annamalai University in India, playing music to marijuana plants helps them to grow!
As you know, sound waves are little more than vibrations that travel through a medium such as water or air. In humans, sound waves result in our eardrums vibrating, and they convert pressure into electric energy that our brain says is sound. Plants are a little different because they feel sound waves. It seems that when plants experience the vibration from sound waves, they are able to deliver nutrients more efficiently.
In Dr.Singh’s research, he discovered that plants enjoyed a 72% increase in biomass and a 20% increase in height when exposed to music. He also found that, when germinated seeds were exposed to music, they produced plants that possess more leaves and grew larger and heavier than average.
In an episode of MythBusters, the team tested the theory that music helps plants grow on green beans.
They divided the beans into seven separate groups and exposed each one to a different type of music, or encouraging/discouraging speech from a male or female. It turned out that intense death metal had the best results. You’ll probably feel silly playing music to your marijuana plants, but it makes sense that Death Star would like death metal!
6 – Maintaining the Right pH Levels
Hopefully, you’re already aware of the pH scale. It is a measure of a solution’s alkalinity or acidity. The scale goes from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). As the pH scale is based on logarithms, it only needs a small change to make an enormous difference. For example, a solution with a pH of 4.0 is 1,000 times more acidic than pure water at 7.0!
Your marijuana plants are made up of approximately two-thirds water, and like all living things on Earth, they need water to survive. If you are using soil as a growing medium, its pH should be between 6.0 and 6.8. For a hydroponics setup, the ideal pH range is between 5.5 and 6.0.
Don’t focus all of your attention on the pH of the water you use to feed your plants; the nutrients you add also play a major role in pH. For example, Nitrogen sources such as fertilizer, legumes and manure either contain or form ammonium. The result is an increase in soil acidity (a decrease in pH) unless the plant directly absorbs the ammonium ions. The higher the rate of nitrogen fertilization, the greater the acidity of the soil.
As a rule of thumb, it takes 1.8 pounds of pure calcium carbonate to counteract the residual acidity of 1 pound of nitrogen as ammonium. The nitrate that is formed may also combine with magnesium, calcium, and potassium to leach from the topsoil into the subsoil. Once again, this causes the pH level to drop.
If you find that the soil has become too acidic after using nitrogen fertilizer, you can increase pH and fertilizer efficiency, and decrease soil acids. Did you know that when you use nitrogen fertilizer on soil with a pH of 7.0, 0% of the fertilizer is wasted? However, if you use it on soil with a pH of 5.0, over 53% is wasted! Check the pH of your soil regularly to make sure it doesn’t fall outside the recommended ranges.
7 – Growing Death Star on a Budget
Unless you have vast experience cultivating weed, you probably think it is a very expensive process. In actual fact,you can grow Death Star from start to finish for a lot less than you think. There are many ways to cultivate on the cheap, but you’ll end up with low-quality bud. Here are a few important pieces of equipment you’ll need, complete with low-budget options.
Instead of purchasing cheap seeds, make sure you pay whatever it takes to get top quality. As Death Star is an autoflowering strain, it can begin flowering within 2-3 weeks of germination. This cuts down on expenditure during the vegetative stage and enables you to invest your money in important weed growing equipment.
Create Your Own Grow Tent
There are grow boxes available online; these are basically rigid grow tents with ventilation, lights, and a few other amenities. However, you may find a better deal by checking out the prices of individual components. You can create a DIY grow tent that has twice the area of the tiny readymade grow boxes on sale. It is often the case that the lighting supplied is pretty weak, so think long and hard about whether you want to drop a couple of grand on a box that only lets you grow weed in solo cups.
Lighting & Electricity Bills
If you want to save money on your energy bill, invest in LED lights. Fluorescent bulbs are cheaper to buy, but LED lights provide more heat and a lower energy bill. You should also invest in an exhaust system to ensure heat is vented out. If your grow room is small enough, you could get away with a strong fan rather than investing heavily in a sophisticated AC unit.
Reflective walls help light bounce around the room so that it reaches every part of your plant. Adding them to your grow area will increase the yield without raising the cost of your energy bill.
Store-bought nutrients are convenient and expensive. If you go down this route, you should focus on a brand’s cheaper ‘base’ product lines because they will normally have enough nutrients to do the job. Whisper it quietly, but most brands sell you nutrient lines that contain far too much nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. All you really need is up to three bottles of a base nutrient line if growing weed residentially.
One final note; make sure you purchase nutrients with a long shelf life. Unfortunately, most nutrients that last a long time after the container has been opened are not organic.
While there are never any guarantees, you can grow Death Star for a reasonable price. All you need is the seeds or a cutting; a small DIY grow tent, reflective walls, soil, nutrients, lighting, and a fan to provide air flow. Additions such as supplements and CO2 buckets aren’t necessary if you’re a first-timer. We would recommend investing in a thermometer, hygrometer and pH meter to measure temperature, humidity, and pH.
8 – Keep Your Mouth Closed
Although medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states plus D.C., not all of these states allow you to grow your own weed.
First and foremost, check your state’s cultivation laws to see if you can grow, and how much is legal. Next, don’t tell anyone about your marijuana garden. Even if it is legal in your state, it is federally illegal so you could technically get arrested. By announcing to the world that you have an indoor marijuana garden, you are also giving thieves a new target.
You need to seal your grow space to ensure that the smell of weed does not spread around the neighborhood. A good ventilation system will also help you. If you are using several fans or loud ventilation systems, and grow the weed in your home, consider investing in foam floor mats or acoustic treatment to soundproof the room as much as you can. Last but not least, don’t sell your cannabis unless you have a license to do so. It isn’t worth ruining your garden, incurring a huge fine and going to jail just to make a couple of hundred bucks.