Experimental Conclusion Growing Culture

When we left our experiment in the June issue, we were waiting for seedlings to flower. In that experiment, I was trying to replicate the same process performed by Sister Marie Etienne Tibeau in 1936 when she tested hemp plant seedlings growing in a non-nutritive medium with different fertilizer formulas minus one essential element. Tibeau also had a control group that she didn’t give fertilizers to. The plants were then forced to flower by changing the light cycle to 12-12, light on, light off. She reported that the plants in the control group, and the ones receiving no nitrogen produced only males.

In my own experiment, I set seedlings in a tray with previously unused rockwool cubes and gave them 70 parts per million (ppm) tap water that contained no nitrogen. In last month’s issue of CULTURE, the plants were just beginning to show flower growth, but the sex was undeterminable, for most, even under a 6x photographer’s loupe.

Now, one month later, the sex of the plants can now be determined. About eight of the plants had died from failure to thrive because of the nutrient environment. There were nine males and 11 females left. Obviously, my results differed from Sister Tibeau’s.

Next, I will try overdosing seedlings with nitrogen to see if I get the same results that she did, the results of which were to receive only female plants. However, her experiment was only partially successful. The rate of nitrogen was so high that the plants first indicated with limpness and extremely dark green leaves, and then died.

Photo courtesy Ed Rosenthal. The tray of seedlings, which have been given tap water that contains no nitrogen.

Photo courtesy Ed Rosenthal. The author inspecting the seedlings with a 6x photographer’s loupe.

Photo courtesy Ed Rosenthal. Male flowers on a seedling.

Photo courtesy Ed Rosenthal. Female seedling.


It’s not too late to set plants outside to enjoy the sun. If your plants are clones or just small in size, you may want them to grow a bit before flowering. Do this by breaking up the dark period at least once a night for a few hours by exposing the entire plant to light. (You can use a flashlight with a broad beam.) The light only has to touch the plant for a moment. Once you cease to expose the plant to a moment of light repetitiously, the plant will start to flower. It will take about two months for the flowers to grow and ripen.

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