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How to Get Clones from Your Cannabis Plants

Taking cuttings from a strong mother plant allows you to preserve the exact genetic traits of that strain. While it might seem complex, cloning cannabis can be simple, given you use the right techniques and equipment. Here’s everything you need to know!

A comprehensive guide to cloning cannabis plants.

Contents:

Cloning a cannabis plant sounds pretty futuristic, but it’s actually quite simple; it just involves taking a cutting from one of your plants and giving it time to develop roots. Cannabis growers tend to take clones either from mother plants (which are kept constantly in veg) or young vegetative plants that they’ll later switch to flower.

There are many benefits to cloning your cannabis plants, but the main advantage is it allows you to preserve the specific genetics of a plant almost indefinitely. Best of all, cloning is free!

What Are Cannabis Clones?

Cannabis clones are cuttings taken from a vegetating cannabis plant. Once they grow roots, these cuttings turn into plants with the exact same genetics as the plant they were cut from.

When you buy cannabis seeds from a respected seed bank, each seed will contain the genetics of both its mother and father. Once you germinate your seeds, however, you may find that your individual plants (or phenotypes) look quite different. That’s because they may express the genetics passed down from their parents in different ways, just like you might look very different from your siblings.

Hence, if you find a plant with particular characteristics (smell, taste, yield, size, etc.) that you love, cloning it allows you to preserve those genetics, grow after grow. If you have any lingering doubts about the process, take a look at the benefits of growing cannabis clones versus seeds.

Choosing the Right Mother Plant to Clone From

Cloning is really about capturing the best attributes of a particular strain. As such, you want to be pretty selective about which plants you take your clones from.

Ideally, you’ll want to clone a plant that you absolutely love. If you germinate a bag of seeds, keep an eye out for that one plant that just seems to top its siblings; the one that grows the fastest, looks the strongest, smells the best, or yields the most. That’s the strain you’ll want to clone.

Some traits growers tend to look for in mother plants include:

  • Exotic or pungent aromas
  • Sweet, smooth, and bold flavours
  • High potency and resin production
  • Manageable heights (when growing indoors) and robust growth
  • Fast flowering time
  • Resistance to pests, moulds, and other pathogens
  • Large yields

When growing from seeds, some growers opt to take clones from all their plants while they veg. Then, once these first plants are harvested and dried, they only keep the healthiest clones from the one plant they liked the most.

On the other hand, it’s also possible to only take clones from those vegging plants that stand out in any of the areas mentioned above. Unfortunately, it can be hard to determine the aroma, flavours, and potency of a strain so early on, which is why we recommend taking clones from all your plants, then culling those you don’t want post-harvest.

What Do You Need to Clone Cannabis?

  • A healthy vegging “mother” plant
  • A clean scalpel, razor, or sharp scissors
  • Starter cubes (Rockwool, etc.)
  • Cloning gel or powder
  • “Mild” lighting for your clones: a low-wattage CFL or a special light for clones/seedlings is ideal
  • High-proof alcohol to disinfect your tools
  • Propagator (optional), which comes complete with everything you need to create the perfect microclimate for your clones

How to Take a Cannabis Clone

When it comes down to actually taking your cuttings, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Choose the Right Rooting Medium

To help your clones develop healthy roots, we recommend planting them in a well-aerated medium that retains plenty of moisture. For best results, we recommend using Rockwool cubes (made from molten rock that’s been spun into a fine thread), as they allow for plenty of airflow and provide great moisture retention. Make sure to also invest in a plastic tray (which will hold the cubes and help them retain some water) and a dome or propagator to retain humidity around your clones.

Prepare Your Tools

Cleanliness is the key to taking and growing healthy clones. Hence, make sure to wash your hands and use gloves before handling your plants, and sterilise your razor, scalpel, or scissors as well as your work area with high-proof alcohol.

When you take cuttings from a plant, both the mother and cuttings are at a higher risk of developing infections from the bacteria in their environment. Washing your hands and sterilising your equipment will minimise the risk of these bacteria causing your cuttings (or worse, your mother) any problems.

Prepare Your Medium and Rooting Gel

Once you’ve taken a cutting from your mother plant, you’ll need to act quickly. You don’t want to leave the inside of its panch exposed to the elements any longer than is absolutely necessary. To help speed up the cloning process, we recommend setting up your work area before you make the cut, with your rooting gel and medium ready to go.

Also, we recommend lightly moistening your medium before you start cloning. Just remember not to overdo it; clones like high humidity and a slightly moist medium, but they’ll rot in a medium that’s drenched.

Select a Cutting

You can technically take cuttings from both vegging and flowering cannabis plants. However, cuttings taken from a flowering plant may take longer to root and tend to exhibit slower growth. They’ll also need to be reverted back to veg for about 2–3 weeks before you can flip them into flower again.

Cannabis clones are best taken from the tip of a healthy panch. Remember, the healthier the cutting, the faster it will root and grow. We generally recommend taking cuttings from the bottom panches of a plant, seeing as they typically receive less light and will produce smaller buds. Make sure your cuttings have at least two nodes.

Make the Cut

To take a clone from a cannabis plant, make a clean cut at a 45° angle below the last node of your cutting. This will increase the area of the rooting surface, helping the panch develop more roots and grow more quickly.

Once you’ve taken your cutting, dip it into your rooting or cloning gel and stick it straight into your medium. Once secure in the medium, remove your clone’s bottom leaves (leaving only the top fan leaves and growing tip intact). Finally, trim the tips of the fingers on the clone’s remaining leaves to promote photosynthesis and water uptake. This reduces the surface area of the remaining leaves and also slows evaporation, helping your young clones hold on to more water as their roots are developing.

If you’re a beginner grower, we recommend taking one clone at a time. If you’re more experienced, however, you can take multiple cuttings from a mother and keep them hydrated in a glass of non-chlorinated water until you’re ready to dip into your rooting agent and move them into their medium.

Place Your Clone in Its Dome

Once your clone has been planted and trimmed, it’s time to move it into a dome. This will allow you to keep humidity levels high (clones need high humidity as they absorb water via their leaves as they develop their roots). Once you’ve situated them in a dome, keep your clones on an 18/6 light cycle (18 hours on, 6 hours off) under a low-power fluorescent or metal halide lamp.

If you’re looking for a complete kit to help you grow both healthy seedlings and clones, we highly recommend investing in a **propagator. While they’re typically used for seedlings, this simple accessory also offers the perfect environment for your fragile clones.

Check In on Your Clones Daily

From here on out, you’ll want to check on your clones daily to monitor their health and ensure they have enough water to fuel their growth. If the humidity in your dome or propagator drops, spray the leaves of your clones lightly with unchlorinated water. Also, if some of your clones die (which is common), remove them immediately so they don’t rot and cause mould to spread to your other clones.

Clones can take between 10–14 days to develop roots, but some may take longer. Once a clone has developed 3–5cm roots, they are ready to be transplanted.

Transplant Your Clone

To transplant a clone into soil, remember to work in a sterile environment and prepare your pots with moist soil beforehand. Then, use gloves to gently remove your clones from their medium and plant them (remember to completely cover your clone’s roots).

How to Clone Cannabis in Rockwool

  1. Soak your Rockwool cubes in slightly acidic water (we recommend a pH of 5.5) for 2–3 hours.
  2. Make small holes in the middle of your cubes using a pair of sterilised scissors.
  3. Take your cutting following the instructions listed above.
  4. Dip your clone into your rooting agent and secure it in the hole of a soaked Rockwool cube.
  5. Place your clone in your propagator or dome and lightly douse it with some water to keep humidity high.

How to Clone Cannabis in Soil

  1. Prep your soil and pots. We recommend using a light potting mix with perlite (at least 25–50% by volume) and plastic party cups as your pots. Don’t use fertilised soils as they will burn your cuttings.
  2. Soak your soil lightly and let it drain.
  3. Take your cutting, dip it into a cloning agent, and stick it straight into the soil.
  4. Lightly pat down the soil around your clone’s stem to hold it in place.
  5. Move your cutting into a propagator or dome and spray it with water to boost humidity.

Note: When cloning in soil, you can keep your plants in their pots until they’ve outgrown them (this can take 3–4 weeks or more, depending on the size of your starter pots and your cutting’s rate of growth). If you’re using plastic cups as pots, transplant your clones once their roots start to reach the sides of the cup.

How to Clone Cannabis in Water

If you don’t have access to soil or Rockwool, you can clone cannabis directly in water.

  1. Fill a container (a tall, narrow glass or plastic bottle will work fine) with unchlorinated water (with a pH of around 5.8–6).
  2. Take your cutting, dip it in rooting gel, and place inside your container of water.
  3. Change the water every 2–3 days to prevent bacteria and/or algae from forming around your clones.

Can You Clone Cannabis Without Rooting Gel?

This is a very common question that we get from both amateur and more experienced growers. And the answer is yes, it is possible to clone cannabis cuttings without using rooting gel or any other kind of rooting hormone. In fact, some advanced growers prefer to clone without the use of these hormones, instead letting their plants develop roots naturally on their own.

If you want to try your hand at cloning cannabis without rooting gel or hormones, try the following:

  1. Prepare an opaque container with unchlorinated water.
  2. Take your cutting and immediately put it inside the water. Trim its lower leaves so they are not sitting in the water.
  3. Place the cutting on a windowsill, away from direct sunlight.

For the best possible results, keep your room temperature at 23–25°C. Roots will form in about 8–10 days, and some clones will be ready to transplant after 2.5–3 weeks, but this can vary considerably. You’ll know your clones are ready to be planted once they’ve developed roots that are at least 3–5cm long. You can also add ground-up aspirin or vitamin b1 to the water to help your plants root faster.

Caring for Cannabis Clones

Cannabis clones are fragile and need the right care to survive. Most importantly, your clones need the right temperature and humidity to produce good results.

Creating the Perfect Environment for Cannabis Clones

Clones thrive at temperatures between 23–25°C (74–78°F) and a relative humidity between 75–85%, regardless of the medium you’re cloning them in. There are a number of ways you can keep things warm and humid to help your clones develop healthy roots as fast as possible:

  • Use a heat mat underneath your cloning tray or propagator to keep temperatures optimal in cooler conditions.
  • Add perlite at the bottom of your tray to retain moisture.
  • Spray your clone’s leaves and the inside of your tray/propagator with water right after cloning to boost humidity.
  • Use a thermometer/hygrometer to measure the temperature and humidity level in your clone tray.
  • Check in on your clones every 24 hours to make sure their environment is perfect.
  • Remove any dead clones from your tray or propagator immediately. Decaying plant matter attracts bugs into your grow area and creates a peeding ground for fungi and other nasty pathogens that can quickly kill off your remaining clones.

How to Water Young Cannabis Clones

Remember, young clones don’t have roots, so watering their medium isn’t going to do much good. Instead, water your young clones by lightly spraying their leaves a couple of times per day. Only water your medium if it’s becoming dry; never soak it or water it as you would a regular plant.

Lighting Requirements for Cannabis Clones

Clones will burn under strong grow lights or direct sunlight. For best results, keep your cannabis clones under CFL bulbs placed roughly 10cm from the tops of the young plants. Alternatively, keep them on a windowsill out of direct sunlight.

Also, remember that your plants will need at least some darkness for their roots to form. While some growers use different light cycles for their clones, we always recommend sticking to an 18-6 vegetative cycle.

Minimising the Risk of Mould and Other Pests

As mentioned above, cannabis clones enjoy warm, humid conditions. Unfortunately, high humidity and warmth can also attract pests, fungi, and nasty bacteria into your grow space. To prevent these pathogens from destroying your clones, always use sterile equipment and keep your temperature and humidity within the suggested range.

Additional Tips for Cloning Cannabis Plants

To close out this guide, let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cannabis clones. You can refer to these tips as needed throughout the cloning process so you can set yourself up for success!

Q: Why Are My Cannabis Clones Turning Yellow?

A: Cannabis clones will naturally yellow over time as they gradually use up nutrient stores in their leaves. Some yellowing usually isn’t a problem as long as your clones root properly. If a large number of your clones are turning yellow before they can develop roots, this could be caused by high humidity and/or temperature issues. If your temperature and humidity levels are spot on, check the size of your clones; they should only have 2–3 nodes, and you’ll want to trim off any of their bottom leaves.

Finally, if you still find that too many of your clones turn yellow, you may want to switch to another cloning method and see if your results change. Some growers find they’re more successful cloning with one method than another.

Q: Why Are My Cannabis Clones Wilting?

A: There are countless causes behind wilting cannabis clones. If you spot any signs of wilting on a young clone, you’ll want to act quickly; remember, these plants are very fragile and can’t handle a lot of stress. More often than not, clones will wilt if they’re not getting enough water.

Start by checking the temperature and humidity levels in your dome, adjusting them if they’re not optimal. As they work to develop their roots, clones take up water through their leaves via transpiration (just like seedlings). It’s vital your temperature and relative humidity levels are on point for plants to transpire properly. Trimming the tips of your clone’s leaves also helps it retain water.

Also, remember to check your lights and ensure they aren’t too far from your plants. Poor lighting can affect a clone’s ability to photosynthesise, causing it to wilt (see “Lighting Requirements for Clones” above).

Q: When Should You Transplant a Cannabis Clone?

A: We recommend transplanting your clones once they’ve developed strong roots that are at least 3–5cm long. Cuttings usually take between 10–14 days to develop roots, but this varies greatly from one strain to another.

Q: Why Are My Cannabis Clones Drooping?

A: New cuttings naturally droop after being taken from a mother plant. It’s just part of the plant’s response to the stress of being cloned. Once they’ve developed roots, your clones should naturally spring back up and reach for the light.

If your clones continue to droop, go back and check the temperature and relative humidity in your dome, as well as your lights. Also, make sure you haven’t left too many leaves on your clones. Remember, we recommend leaving clones with just their top two leaves. If you’ve checked all of these variables and they’re on point, try to prop up your cuttings to avoid them touching their medium and getting soggy.

Q: Can Cannabis Clones Turn Male?

A: No, female cannabis clones cannot turn male. They can, however, turn hermaphrodite. This can be the result of stress or genetics. For example, if your mother plant tends to show hermaphroditic qualities, those genes will be passed down to your clones as well.

Q: How Do You Make Cannabis Clones Root Faster?

A: It takes time for cannabis clones to develop roots, and there’s no real way to hurry the process along. However, by creating the perfect environment, being clean and fast, and using a quality rooting gel, you can maximise the health of your clones so they can develop a strong root system.

Start Cloning Your Cannabis Plants!

Cloning cannabis can seem like a daunting process, especially for inexperienced growers. But it doesn’t need to be; with a strong mother, a good cloning process, and clean equipment, you can replicate the same plants—and the same bud—time and time again. Remember to keep this article on hand whenever you’re cloning to simplify the process!

Got a particular cannabis strain you'd love to clone? Click here for a detailed overview of everything you need to know about cannabis cloning.

Monster Cropping Cannabis: Step-By-Step Guide

Monster cropping is a training method that allows for continuous harvests without keeping a mother plant. Clones from flowering plants become dense monsters with big yields! Read on to learn the advantages, disadvantages, and how to monster crop indoors and out.

Monster cropping cannabis for maximum yields and efficiency.

  • 1. What is monster cropping?
  • 2. What does monster cropping do to cannabis?
  • 3. Is monster cropping cannabis worth it?
  • 3.a. Advantages of monster cropping
  • 3.b. Disadvantages of monster cropping
  • 4. How much does monster cropping improve yields?
  • 5. How long does monster cropping take?
  • 6. How to monster crop cannabis indoors
  • 7. How to monster crop cannabis outdoors
  • 8. Monster cropping and screen of green (ScrOG)
  • 9. Should you try monster cropping your cannabis plants?
  • 1. What is monster cropping?
  • 2. What does monster cropping do to cannabis?
  • 3. Is monster cropping cannabis worth it?
  • 3.a. Advantages of monster cropping
  • 3.b. Disadvantages of monster cropping
  • 4. How much does monster cropping improve yields?
  • 5. How long does monster cropping take?
  • 6. How to monster crop cannabis indoors
  • 7. How to monster crop cannabis outdoors
  • 8. Monster cropping and screen of green (ScrOG)
  • 9. Should you try monster cropping your cannabis plants?

If you grow cannabis, the following situation might sound familiar: Your tent is filled to the brim so your plants can collect all the light possible. Some plants are in the vegetative stage, a few are flowering, and there might even be one giant mother plant taking up lots of room, energy, and air. Let’s do something about it: Monster cropping has come to the rescue!

WHAT IS MONSTER CROPPING?

Monster cropping is a cannabis plant training technique that can help you grow more efficiently. In essence, it involves taking flowering clones and reverting them back to the veg phase to capitalise on dense, bushy growth.

With this method, you don’t need to keep a mother plant to ensure continuous harvests. And, when you combine it with other forms of plant training, like ScrOG, it can help increase yields even more while cutting down on energy costs. Monster cropping can be performed indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse.

WHAT DOES MONSTER CROPPING DO TO CANNABIS?

One principle behind nearly every plant training technique is stress. If done right, this is a good thing. Controlled stress on your plants can promote desired growing characteristics; for example, it can make plants grow in a certain shape or develop more bud sites. Stress on cannabis plants encourages their natural defences into action. They go into “turbo mode” with maximum terpene production, resulting in a more aromatic final product.

Training techniques that involve damaging plants, such as pruning or taking cuttings, inflict considerable stress, and thus plants will need time to recover. Because of that, methods like monster cropping are used on photoperiod cannabis strains only.

Monster cropping differs in one important aspect from other high-stress techniques: It does not directly impact the growth of your current crop. Rather, you take clones from mature flowering plants, and these clones are then reverted back to veg.

IS MONSTER CROPPING CANNABIS WORTH IT?

Monster cropping may or may not work great for you. It all depends on your setup, your strains, and your experience. For instance, it doesn’t work with autoflowers and is not optimal for strains that grow very short or too slow. To help you decide whether monster cropping is worth it in your case, here are some pros and cons.

ADVANTAGES OF MONSTER CROPPING

Continuous harvests and no need to keep mothers

With monster cropping, you don’t need to keep a mother plant around for continuous harvests. You are taking clones from flowering plants. You can simply start flowering your entire crop as usual, taking the next generation of clones from these. With no need for a dedicated “mother room”, you can make better use of your growing space, lights, and air.

Maximise yields

When you re-veg flowering clones, they will grow monstrous! Your re-vegged girls will become extremely bushy with more side branches. More branches with more buds exposed to your lights means bigger yields! The bushy growth also allows you to more effectively fill your grow space.

Complements other training techniques

For even better results, you can combine monster cropping with other training techniques like topping, fimming, lollipopping, or LST. This way, you can easily fill a small tent with one giant monster. For the absolute best results, combine it with a ScrOG (more on that below).

DISADVANTAGES OF MONSTER CROPPING

Doesn’t work with autoflowers

Autoflowers can’t be re-vegged, which means monster cropping is a no-go. On that note, taking monster crop clones from small or slow photoperiod strains isn’t the best idea either.

Not all cuttings will be successful

Compared to clones from vegging plants, clones from flowering cannabis have a lower success rate. Since some just won’t root, you should always take some extra cuttings. Even expert growers have a hard time getting all their flowering clones to root. So expect some losses.

It takes time

Cutting clones, waiting for them to root, and then re-vegging them for a few weeks means it will take longer until you can harvest your girls. So if you’re pressed for time, monster cropping may not be what you want.

HOW MUCH DOES MONSTER CROPPING IMPROVE YIELDS?

It’s hard to give an exact figure on how much monster cropping can increase yields, as this relies on a variety of factors—your experience being one of them. Some growers recommend letting cuttings veg into large bushes before encouraging lateral growth with repeated topping/super cropping, and then placing them under a ScrOG. Although highly involved, this allows growers to manipulate clones to deliver the best-possible harvests.

But aside from looking at numbers alone, don’t forget that monster cropping provides another advantage: You can harvest multiple times! This by itself is a convincing argument.

HOW LONG DOES MONSTER CROPPING TAKE?

It’s best to take your clones at about 2–3 weeks into flowering.

Once you have taken your flowering clones, it will take an average of one week until they root. The re-vegging of your clones will then take (at least) another 2–3 weeks. When all is said and done, expect the process to add at least 3 weeks to your plant’s growth; and this doesn’t even factor in further topping and training. Each additional topping will add around a week to your grow.

HOW TO MONSTER CROP CANNABIS INDOORS

Enough with all the theory—let’s get into the practice. Here is how to monster crop cannabis indoors.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

• Sharp scissors, knife, or scalpel
• Alcohol wipes (to disinfect your tools)
• Glass or container with water (to soak the cuttings)
• Rooting gel (optional)
• Rockwool cubes, perlite (optional)

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR BEST FLOWERING CANNABIS PLANT

At around week 2 of flowering, locate your best specimen—one that has grown well and tall. If you have multiple strains, you could select several cuttings from each one to see which plants turn out best. Make sure that the plants you’re taking from are healthy and not displaying any signs of illness or deficiency.

STEP 2: TAKE CUTTINGS

Take your scissors or knife and give it a quick wipe with alcohol to disinfect. Cleanliness will greatly help your cloning success! Go to your chosen flowering plant and select a lower branch. These usually root faster than branches on top. Swiftly cut diagonally across the stem to take the cutting. A diagonal cut provides more surface area for the cutting to take in water and nutrients, and for the roots to grow.

Again, make sure you take more cuttings than you need. Expect at least 25% of your clones not to root. Disinfect your tools before each cut.

STEP 3: ROOT THE CUTTINGS

Immediately after taking each cutting, place the stem into the container with water. The water will seal the cut and prevent air from entering, which would otherwise kill your clone. Alternatively, you can use a rooting gel instead of water. You can leave the cutting in the container until roots appear, or you can place it into a rooting medium such as rockwool cubes or perlite.

STEP 4: RE-VEG YOUR CLONES

To get your clones back to a vegetative state, you need to adjust their light cycle accordingly. Most growers choose an 18/6 schedule, but anything from 18–24 hours of light will work. When your clones start to re-veg, they will grow in an odd way with round leaves and lots of branches. This strange growing phase will last for about 3–4 weeks.

OPTIONAL: PLANT TRAINING

Once your clone is in full vegetative growth again, this is when you can apply plant training (topping, super cropping) to encourage lateral growth even more. Your plants staying short and flat will be particularly advantageous if you plan to put them under a ScrOG.

HOW TO MONSTER CROP CANNABIS OUTDOORS

Monster cropping can also be done outdoors, where it provides a major advantage: If you grow in a warm climate with no frost, you can achieve two harvests in a single season! This is how you do it.

STEP 1: PLANT YOUR SEEDS

If you bring out your seeds in winter, the longer nights will put your plants into flowering as soon as they emerge. If you want to extend the vegging period to add some size to your clones, you can supplement with a small light that you turn on for an hour or so every night. This interruption in the dark period will prevent your ladies from going into flower.

If you grow in a climate with occasional frost in winter, keep your plants indoors under a vegging light cycle, then set them outside once there is no risk of frost. If you are able to do that early enough in the year (by February in most places) they will go back into flowering before the days get long again. If it’s still too cold during this time, it’s not worth the risk of killing your ladies.

STEP 2: HARVEST YOUR CANNABIS

Your first batch of buds will be ready to harvest in early spring before daylight savings. At the same time that you’re filling your bags, around mid-March, the days will soon be long enough for your clones to re-veg.

STEP 3: SECOND GROWING SEASON

Once your clones have gained mass, they will naturally progress into the flowering phase as the seasons change. This means you can harvest them at the usual time in fall. Bingo! You brought in two harvests in one growing season!

Pro tip: This outdoor monster cropping method only works in climate zones where there is no risk of frost all year long, such as in Southern Europe, Southern US, etc. It won’t work in regions where you’d need to wait until late spring to plant outside.

MONSTER CROPPING AND SCREEN OF GREEN (SCROG)

Monster cropping is all about maximising lateral growth from shorter plants. This makes ScrOG (screen of green) the perfect method to go with it.

Installing a net over the canopy will increase horizontal growth further as you weave branches through the mesh. The ScrOG will encourage an even canopy so your weed plants can make best use of available light. The result: tons of fat buds!

SHOULD YOU TRY MONSTER CROPPING YOUR CANNABIS PLANTS?

Taking clones, getting them to root, topping, and ScrOG aren’t exactly for the bloody beginner to cannabis cultivation. On the other hand, monster cropping may be just what experienced growers need to push production to the next level. It is one of the best ways to take full advantage of your available grow space.

So, if you have the skills and are not afraid to put a knife to your cannabis, you should definitely try out monster cropping. Rest assured, the results will be worth it!

Monster cropping involves taking clones from flowering cannabis plants to encourage heavy branching, high yields, and continuous harvests. Here's how to do it! ]]>