Do I Really Need a Microscope for My Cannabis Garden?
Making good decisions in your garden for stronger, healthier yields means getting up close and personal with your plants at their different stages of growth.
Any indoor grower would agree you need the right gear to control light, temperature, humidity, and water. Beyond these essentials, however, people often diverge greatly on what types of equipment they deem “necessary.” Microscopes are one of those pieces of equipment that some growers can’t live without, while others have never even tried.
With a microscope or magnifying glass, you get a more in-depth look at your cannabis plants during all phases of growth. By magnifying important parts of your plants like reproductive parts and trichomes, the tools can quickly increase your knowledge of cannabis plant physiology.
If you aren’t sure if a microscope is right for you, let’s have a look at some key points to assess the usefulness of the tools.
Microscope vs Magnifying Glass
Before we can dive into their functionality and benefits, we first need to delineate between microscopes and magnifying glasses. While both technologies enlarge images, they accomplish this goal in slightly different ways.
The most defining characteristic of a magnifying glass is the use of a single lens. In turn, these single lenses only offer a single magnification size. To adjust the focus of a magnifying glass, you hold the lens near your eye, while moving the object in question to find the right distance for a clear image.
Microscopes use multiple lenses in tandem to zoom in and out on objects. As such, microscopes are generally more complex tools that feature stands, lights, and dials for making adjustments. Complex microscopes can get quite expensive and feature 3-4 lenses.
Sexing Your Plants
A good mantra to follow for sexing cannabis plants should always be “the sooner, the better.” The earlier you catch male plants in your garden, the sooner you stop wasting time and resources caring for them, while also preventing them from pollinating your females.
Since preflowers on cannabis plants are quite small, your best bet is to grab a microscope and carefully study the place where branches meet the stems. By having a careful look at a magnified image of a calyx, you should be able to tell early earn whether it’s a male or female.
In the pre-flower stage, male pollen sacks tend to resemble the “spade shapes” seen in a deck of cards. Conversely, female calyxes are pear-shaped—featuring a much more defined and slenderer tip than male flowers.
Detecting Pests & Pathogens
As all experienced growers will tell you, its impossible to get good results without spending much time in your garden. By tending to your plants daily, your able to identify dangerous pests and pathogens before they can do real damage to your crop. Adding a microscope to this process only makes your detection of pathogens more efficient.
Especially with microscopic pests like spider mites, it’s easy to mistake bugs for pieces of dirt or dust. By using a magnifying glass, you can quickly see that the bugs are moving, while also detecting the miniscule leaf damage caused by mites. Next, you can take proactive steps to ensure the infestation is stopped before any real damage is done.
Gauging Time of Harvest
To get the largest and most potent crop possible, you need to gauge the correct time to harvest your cannabis. No matter what your experience level, a microscope can be a huge asset for deciding the right time to harvest. In fact, microscopes are the only means for getting an accurate read on trichomes.
As buds reach maturity, the shape, color, and transparency of trichomes start to change. Early on in the flowering stage, trichomes are largely clear. However, as flowers get nearer to harvest, trichomes change to a slight amber color with increased opacity. When about 20 percent of trichomes have changed, you know it’s time to harvest.
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While microscopes and magnifying glasses used for growing are often quite affordable, they do vary slightly in their overall functionality.
Jeweler's Loupe Pocket Magnifying Glass
AC Infinity designed their Jeweler's Loupe Pocket Magnifying Glass specifically with cannabis growers in mind. Each model features a primary 30x and a supplementary 60x zoom lens to provide two levels of magnification for your buds. Even more, AC Infinity integrated ultra-bright LED lighting to enhance the clarity of smaller details. The magnifying glass is held within plastic housing and an aluminum case to keep it protected.
Mobile Phone Microscope
Equipment manufacturers have designed microscopes specifically to integrate with mobile phones. Importantly, mobile phone microscopes provide digital images of your cannabis crop that can be shared with friends and grower forums. With this new technology, you can get help with your cannabis crop from people around the globe.
Pocket microscopes are basically compact versions of the more elaborate microscopes used by scientists. These handy tools are integrated with several different magnification settings that can be changed with a simple dial. Most pocket microscopes also feature LED lights for better viewing.
One you have the equipment on hand to create a stable cultivation environment for cannabis, you can begin looking at additional gear to fine-tune your skills. While some growers can’t image working without a microscope, some have never even tried one. After some careful consideration, it’s apparent that microscopes are important tools that can greatly increase your skills and knowledge as a grower.
By utilizing a microscope, you get an in-depth look at your cannabis plants during all phases of growth. With this knowledge in hand, you can make educated decisions about your garden. When you consider their affordability and effectiveness, it seems that no grower should go without a microscope of some sort. Who knows, one of these simple tools might even save your garden one day.
AC Infinity is the foremost name in air delivery systems, designing and developing the latest innovations in cooling and ventilation technology. They offer a suite of quiet inline fans that automate the growing progress and track key metrics. Visit acinfinity.com or contact [email protected] to learn more.
Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content
Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.