Thinking of growing your own marijuana, but intimidated by the process? Don’t be – it isn’t difficult at all if you have even basic gardening skills. Cannabis is an adaptable plant, and can survive in a range of conditions. Of course, it can only really thrive in an ideal indoor setup, and if you want to grow high-quality marijuana, you are looking at more of a challenge.
When growing marijuana indoors, you need to create an environment which is favorable for the process. That means selecting the right space and stocking up on some basic equipment. After that, it is just a matter of planting your weed, being diligent and patient in caring for it, and harvesting it when the time is ready.
In this article, I am going to teach you everything you need to know to get started, including all the supplies you will have to buy, tips and tricks for success, and troubleshooting for when things go wrong. But to get started, let’s talk about setting up an ideal indoor environment suitable for growing pot.
Setting Up The Right Environment
First, you will have to figure out a room or alcove in your house or yard where you can grow cannabis. This can be pretty much anything:
- A full-size room
- A closet
- A shed
- A basement
- A tent
Those are just a few ideas. You don’t have to grow a ton of pot right away. If all you have is a small spot to experiment with, just go ahead and get started. In fact, this is probably better, because you will make mistakes with your first plants.
Here are some important considerations:
- When flowering, marijuana plants can take up about three times as much space as they previously did, so plan for that.
- Remember that you need room not just for your plants, but also for your equipment (see the section below).
- Choose a space which is easy to keep clean.
- You need room to work as well, unless you plan to take the plants out and put them back when you are done working on them.
- The ideal space will be cool, dry, and already well ventilated.
- If possible, choose a spot in your home without any windows. You will be artificially producing carefully controlled light and dark cycles and you don’t need light leaking in from outdoors to throw that cycle off.
- You will need to check on your cannabis plants at least once a day (several times a day is good if you are just starting out), so do not pick a room which is too far out of your way.
- Think about privacy as well. You don’t want your nosy, interfering neighbors figuring out what that shed in your backyard is for.
Equipment You Will Need
Now that you have a space picked out for your cannabis, it is time to stock up on the basic equipment you will need.
To start with, you will need the right kind of artificial lighting to get your cannabis to grow. This is going to be the most expensive part of your setup, but it is worth it to invest in the best quality – because the quality of your lighting will, for the most part, determine the quality of your pot. Here are your main options:
- Induction grow lights: These are closely related to fluorescent lights, but they are more energy-efficient and last longer. They do however cost more.
So on the whole, I would say that if you want to save money, fluorescent lights are a good option, but if you want the very best quality, go with LED lights. If you are looking for a compromise, HID lights may represent the best overall value.
High quality LED lights at an excellent price.
You need constant ventilation in your space for your plants to get the carbon dioxide they need and to maintain a steady temperature. This is achieved by installing an exhaust fan near the ceiling along with a filtered air inlet, which should be situated next to a door across the room from the exhaust fan.
How big should the fan be? That depends on the lighting setup you choose and how much heat it generates. Here are the temperatures you are aiming for:
- During the light cycle, the temperature should be between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- During the dark cycle, the temperature should be between 58-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a super hot climate, consider turning on the lights at night and turning them off during the day. This should make it easier to keep the temperature steady.
Finally, here are two additional bits of advice:
- Buy a charcoal filter to stick in your exhaust fan if you want to seriously reduce odors.
Thermostat/Hygrometer, Automatic Controls And pH Kit
As for the lights:
- During the vegetative growth period, the lights should be switched on for 16-20 hours per day.
- During the flowering phase, the lights should be switched on for 12 hours per day.
|Buy a pH kit to track soil and water conditions. Ideally, you should maintain a pH of 6-7 for soil, or if you are going with hydroponics, 5.5-6.5.|
As just mentioned, you have two main options when it comes to growing pot: using soil or hydroponics.
- Soil: This is easiest if you are a beginner. Any potting soil will do, but it is important that you select soil which doesn’t have any artificial extended release fertilizer in it. The simplest option is to go with organic pre-fertilized soil.
- Hydroponics: This is a method for planting without soil. The upside is that the plants will absorb the nutrients you feed them more quickly and efficiently, which can result in more substantial yields and faster grow time. The downside is that it is more challenging, since you need to maintain just the right conditions for the plants to thrive.
Ideal for growing all types of herbs 🙂
There are a ton of different options here, ranging from cheap and simple to complex and expensive. If you want to go cheap (wise as a beginner), you can just use some large buckets or perforated plastic bags. If you are looking for something technical, you can purchase a “smart pot,” or so on.
Just like other organisms, cannabis needs nutrition to grow. Key nutrients include:
- Macronutrients: Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus.
- Micronutrients: Calcium, iron, magnesium, copper.
- Certain strains of cannabis also require calcium and magnesium.
The nutrients are sold in liquid form, with the macronutrients in two separate bottles. The reason is that if they were all combined in one bottle, they would react and form a solid. You will then have another bottle for micronutrients, so that is three bottles total, with a possible fourth bottle if you need calcium and magnesium.
|To keep thing simple when you’re still learning to grow, I recommend this easy to use 3-pack – Advanced Nutrients Bloom, Micro & Grow|
It is smart to cut the dosage you are feeding your plants in half initially, because you need to see how they react. Overfeeding is very dangerous, so start with a low dose and increase with care until you reach the optimum amount of nutrition.
There can be a lot of nasty stuff in tap water that you don’t want to pour into the soil of your marijuana: chemicals, excess minerals, fungi, bacteria, and so on.
One thing I haven’t yet talked about is choosing your actual marijuana plants. Here are some options when it comes to seeds:
- Feminized seeds: This ensures that you are getting all female plants. This will prevent male plants from getting into the mix and fertilizing the female plants. You don’t want fertilization going on, because females which are fertilized will begin growing seeds. This pulls energy reserves away from the process of producing THC. Feminized seeds are excellent for beginners.
- Auto-flowering seeds: These seeds flower automatically regardless of light exposure.
- Regular seeds: These are exactly what they sound like. They are just standard marijuana seeds.
- High THC or high CBD seeds: As their names indicate, these seeds produce strains of marijuana which are especially high in either THC or CBD.
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When And How To Harvest Marijuana
Once you plant your seeds, they will germinate into the vegetative stage. So long as you run the lights 16-20 hours per day, you can sustain this stage for as much time as you want. If you eventually maintain one or more mother plants, you will keep them in this stage permanently.
To maintain the vegetative stage:
- Lights should be on 16-20 hours
- Use more blue/green spectrum light
- Maintain humidity at 45-55%
- More nitrogen is needed during this phase.
When you are ready for your marijuana to flower, you can trigger the new stage by switching to a schedule where you only keep the lights on 12 hours per day.
This phase lasts anywhere from 7-16 weeks. During the flowering phase:
- Feed plants more phosphorus and potassium. High nitrogen is needed initially, but toward the middle of this stage, you should reduce it.
- Use more red spectrum light.
- Lights should be on 12 hours a day.
- Reduce humidity slightly.
To know when it is time to harvest, you need to use a magnifying glass to examine the color of the trichomes. This allows you to determine the THC levels.
- When 60-70% of the pistils are darkened, you have the highest THC levels present.
- Looking for the most soothing effect because you are planning to use your pot to treat anxiety? When 70-90% of the pistils are darkened, you should harvest.
When you are ready to harvest, cut the plants, hang the cannabis to dry, trim as needed, and cure your marijuana in an airtight jar.
Additional Tips And Tricks
- Make sure your containers are breathable. This is one reason perforated plastic or fabric can work well. Be sure to include drainage holes in any container you use.
- Do not choose soil which is too dense. This also will stand in the way of the roots breathing and taking in the oxygen they need.
- Check which nutrients are already included in the soil you purchased before you start feeding your plants. This will prevent you from overdoing it. You can’t go wrong with the FoxFarm organic potting soil.
- If you see brown spots on your leaves or thick, twisted growth, it could be that your plants need more boron. Brown spots may also be indicative of calcium deficiency, especially in the presence of hollow stems.
- Are the tips of the leaves turning yellow? This is a sign that your plants are not getting enough copper.
- Brown patches on lower or middle leaves may point toward inconsistencies in pH.
- If your plants are deficient in sulfur, you may see yellow coloration at the base of the lower leaves which gradually spreads toward the tips.
- Have leaves which are brown or yellow around the edges and green in the middle? Try adding more potassium.
- Leaves with mottled, unusual colors which fall off may indicate phosphorous deficiency.
- Wilting leaves result from over-watering. Ironically, they can result from under-watering as well.
- When the inner and top leaves are yellow or white, you may need to add more iron.
- Yellowish tips indicate nutrient burn.
- If the lower leaves are yellow and dropping off, your plants may not be getting enough nitrogen. If the leaves are dark green and turned downward, they may be suffering nitrogen toxicity.
- Leaves which are reddish or pinkish may be suffering molybdenum deficiency.
- When the top leaves are yellow, the plants may need more zinc.
- Yellow areas on leaves which are located between the veins may point toward magnesium deficiency. If there are also brown spots, it might be manganese deficiency.
- If the leaves closest to the fan are curled, they have wind burn. Point the fan away.
- Leaves that curl upward are usually overheated. If they have a “burnt” or yellowish cast, they may be too close to your lights.
Root problems may occur as well, and can manifest in just about every way you can imagine. As a result, they can be hard to diagnose.
Growing Marijuana Requires Some Preparation, But It Is Fairly Easy
Growing marijuana may seem daunting if you are a beginner, but cannabis is a hardy, adaptive plant. So long as you have the right supplies and you set up a favorable environment, you should be able to achieve success with your first crop.
Once you learn the basics, you can continue to learn and refine the process until you’re growing the highest-quality pot.