Growing cannabis isn’t easy. Whether you’ve already taken a shot at it or you’re a newcomer here, you’re probably aware that the process can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Many people attempt to grow cannabis and fail to yield in the beautiful buds we see at dispensaries. So, where are they going wrong?
In today’s article, we’re providing you with a simplified process for growing cannabis. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
Step 1: Choose Your Cannabis Room
Before you purchase your seeds, you’re going to need a designated space where you can conveniently grow your cannabis. Many people opt for a closet or to set up a tent in their living area, however, you can use anything from a cabinet to a spare room.
The purpose of this space is for the sake of your equipment and control. The trickiest part of growing cannabis is keeping complete control of the environment.
For newcomers, we suggest you start small and work your way up. With just a plant or two, you’ll get an idea of the cannabis growing process. Plus, it’s a lot easier to focus on a few plants rather than a dozen.
Keep in mind, growing cannabis is expensive. There are a number of different costs that must be considered (which we’ll get to later). And if your grow operation is smaller, the mistakes you make will, in effect, be less costly.
Size of Space
However, even if you’re only growing a plant or two, it’s vital you keep the size of your space in mind. Cannabis plants can sometimes triple in size in just the first month or two of the growing process. Not to mention, all the equipment you’re going to need to keep your plants healthy.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when growing cannabis in your home:
- A Space Easy to Clean – Growing cannabis is a dirty process and one which you’ll find yourself having to clean over and over again. With that, it’s beneficial to have a surface or area that’s easily wipe-able. Carpets and wood may be a bit difficult, especially once your plant begins sprouting.
- Don’t Let Light Out – Ideally, you want a space that keeps the light completely contained. Light leakage has been found to develop male flowers which can’t be used for getting high.
- Temperature Control – You want a space that cool and dry with fresh air just around the corner. Spaces that are warm and humid usually don’t allow cannabis to grow well.
Another important thing to keep in mind is you want to make sure this space is somewhere you can check regularly. It’s important for cannabis cultivators to check each of their plants 3 to 4 times a day.
Step 2: Get Your Cannabis Lights
The most important aspect of your growing environment is your lighting. For this reason, it’s vital you find yourself the perfect light set up.
There are a number of options to choose from, including:
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights – Within the cannabis industry, you’re going to see most people using HID grow lights. They’re quite expensive compared to other options on this list, but without a doubt product the most light for your plants. You can choose between a metal halide (MH) light, which makes a blue-ish white light, or a high pressure sodium (HPS) light, which creates a red-orange environment.
- Fluorescent Grow Lights – Most small-scale growers usually go with this option as they are cheaper than HID and don’t require a cooling system. There’s no denying you can harvest some beautiful plants with a fluorescent light set up, however, it’s noteworthy to mention they produce 20% to 30% less lighting per watt of electricity.
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) Grow Lights – LED lighting can be tricky. Not only are they much more expensive than HID lights but many manufacturers produce cheap fixtures that break easily. If you find a high-quality light, we guarantee it’ll last you a long time, but the price alone may turn some people off.
Step 3: Provide Your Plants with Air
In order for a healthy grow, plants require fresh and air and plenty of carbon dioxide (CO2). Since you’re growing indoors, these aspects aren’t going to come naturally and you’re going to have to proceed with a DIY set up.
Many opt for an exhaust fan and place it near the top of the growing space. This allows warmer air to pass through. With this, people also place an air inlet on the opposite side of the space, near the floor, in order to filter the air out.
Cannabis plants are picky when it comes to temperature. Ideally, you’ll want:
- 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) to 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) when lights are on.
- 58 degrees F (14 degrees C) to 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) when lights are off.
Your air set up is highly determined by your lighting set up. For example, if your lights produce more heat, you’re going to want to produce more air.
In order to find the right air set up for your plants, we suggest first purchasing the lights, and then running them in your grow space before placing the plants inside. This will give you an idea of the temperature and any adjustments you may need to make.
Step 4: Timing Your Light/Dark Cycle
Having full control over your light/dark cycle is key to producing beautiful plants and one area newcomers often get wrong. There are many options for this control – including some expensive ones – but for the sake of our guide, we’re going to focus on your cheapest options.
For every 24 hour period, you want your lights on for 16 to 20 hours while your plants are in vegetative growth. Once they’ve enter their bloom phase, you want your lights on for about 12 hours every 24 hour period.
It’s absolutely necessary your lights turn on and off during the same time every single day. If you switch it up, you run the risk of stressing your plants. So, for this reason, a timer is essential.
You’ll also need a thermostat switch for your exhaust fan to control the temperature of the room. These will automatically turn your fan on and off in accordance to your desired temperature.
Step 5: Soil or Hydroponics?
Once you have everything mentioned above, you’re ready to purchase your grow medium. There are two different options most growers tend to choose from, soil and hydroponics.
To give you a brief idea of the difference:
- Soil is not only the standard way to grow plants but an easier option for newcomers. Organic pre-fertilized soil (referred to as “super-soil”) is the best option as it contains all the nutrients your cannabis plants will need in order to grow.
- Hydroponics (soil-less) is a bit trickier than your traditional soil grow, but can provide you with a very healthy harvest. This method has you feeding your plants with concentration solutions of mineral salt nutrients directly to the roots. If you’re looking for a faster grow that produces larger yields, hydroponics is the way to go.
Step 6: Fertilization
In order to produce large and healthy yields, you’re going to need to fertilize your plants. The most common nutrients for this are:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
You’ll also want to consider the following micro-nutrients to be provided on a less regular basis:
For those who haven’t purchased pre-fertilized soil, you’re going to want to feed your plants with these nutrients at least once a week. You can purchase them in either a liquid or powder form and mix it with the water you use.
As a footnote, it’s best to start off your cannabis plants with a half-strength nutrient as they can be damaged in the early stages of growth from too much nutrients.
Step 7: Keep Your Plants Watered
Watering your plants may seem simple enough, but truth be told, not all plants benefit from the water you may be willing to drink. In fact, many gardeners opt to filter their water as it may contain the following:
- Dissolved minerals
- Other pathogens
When watering your cannabis plants, you need to be extra careful not to over-water them. Cannabis is vulnerable to fungal root diseases when it’s too wet. Of course, you don’t want to underwater them either.
Typically, you want to water your plants whenever the soil feels dry for about an inch deep. This usually means watering every 2 to 3 days.
Growing cannabis is no doubt a challenge. But if you can master the cultivation practices, the rewards are great. Not only will you save tons of money on cannabis in the long run but you’ll have the ability to play around with different strains and, who knows, maybe even develop one of your own.
Once you overcome the learning curve, every grow operation will become easier. Of course, that learning curve is a big one – especially, for those who’ve never gardened before.
We hope this guide has provided you with enough of the basic information necessary to begin your cannabis harvest.
Still have questions concerning how to grow cannabis?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further information concerning cannabis growth, we’d also love to hear from you.