Tips For the Home Grown Beginner: What Do I Need To Do To Start Growing My Own Weed?
Growing your own weed for the first time can be an exciting and overwhelming process. We take a look at what you should consider before you purchase your first seeds.
It is easier than ever to start growing your own cannabis. More cities, states and countries are legalizing its production and use and hundreds of companies are churning out products at a record pace to make it easier to grow high quality weed. OK, but where to start? Before you set about choosing and purchasing your seeds, you need to determine a few things about your growing space and your production goals before you can begin the process of growing your own weed.
Growing Marijuana: Inside or Outside?
The first thing to consider is where you are going to grow your crop. Can you grow it outside? If it is legal to grow where you live, do you want to grow it out in the open, or conceal it? Marijuana thrives outdoors in sunny and mild climates. Make sure that if you need to fence it in or otherwise obscure it that you are still allowing it to get enough sun and rain. If it is legal to grow outside, you will want to investigate if there are others growing cannabis in the area. You do not want to risk airborne pollination from a neighboring crop if they are growing cannabis for seed production and you are growing it for bud harvesting. Know the lay of the land before opting to grow outside.
If growing outside is not an option, then you have numerous other considerations. If you are forced to or choose to grow inside, you need to make sure that all of your crop’s lighting, water and nutritional needs are supplied by you, since it can’t get those things from the sun, rain and soil. Like with the outdoor grow, you need to decide if you can risk your growing plants being seen. Growing in your living room might afford your weed crop to get some amount of natural sunlight and a lot of attention and may work if you never have company over, but this probably isn't the best place for your crop, especially if you don’t need everyone knowing how “green” your thumb really is. Indoor growers need to decide if they will be growing in a soilless medium, such as potting soil, or be growing in a hydroponic setup. Either way, proper lighting is a must as is an understanding of what cannabis’ lighting and nutritional needs are at different stages of growth.
Growing Decisions for Your First Weed Crop
Once you have established the “wheres”, then it’s time to tackle the “hows”. No matter where you grow your weed, it is important to decide what kind you will be growing. Is it a sativa dominant strain or an indica? Not only does each provide different effects on the body, each has different growing habits, which will dictate things like how high to place your grow lights and how much space you need to devote to your grow. Once you have determined that, you can make a more informed decision of what strain or strains you will be growing. Identifying a reliable source of seeds or seedlings is money well spent. You want to make sure you are actually growing the strain you had wanted and not find out that you were sold a handful of “ditch weed” seeds. The stage of growth you acquire your plants at will dictate the initial cost of your plant stock, but also how much time it will take until harvest.
You will need a reliable source of water. Testing your water is critical to know what the pH is and if there are other particulates or dissolved materials that will affect your crop’s ability to thrive. Many growers opt for a reverse osmosis (RO) system to purify the water that they irrigate their cannabis with. Another decision to make with water is how you are going to do it. If you are only growing a few plants, hand watering may be an option. If you are growing many, you may need to invest in a drip irrigation system that can be controlled with timers. If you intend to take and root any of your own cuttings, you may need to invest in a mist system.
Indoor air quality is as important for your weed crop as it is for you. You will need to ensure that there is sufficient air flow in and around your crop to help reduce the chance of fungal pathogens developing; a good circulating system will also help to regulate the temperature of your grow room. An additional consideration for weed crops is the smell. You may need to invest in a system that removes the pungent smell of cannabis. Some self-contained grow tents are able to do this fairly well but in bigger growing areas, duct work, and blowers will need to be employed so as not to divulge the location of your grow.
Sanitation cannot be overstated when staring to grow your own weed. Making sure that you grow with only new or disinfected pots, trays or other growing vessels as well as making sure to only trim and harvest with clean and sterilized shears will help to keep your cannabis crop healthy and help to avoid spreading pathogens from plant to plant.
The final word on beginning to grow your own weed is to have some patience, and to rely on the vast network of experienced growers who are, more often than not, willing to help new growers walk their way through the experience and try to avoid some of the novice mistakes that they all have made. Growing weed can be as simple or complex as you choose to make it and is definitely as much art as it is science.
Now, it's time to consider your seeds.
Written by Chris Bond | Certified Permaculture Designer, Nursery Technician, Nursery Professional
Chris Bond’s research interests are with sustainable agriculture, biological pest control, and alternative growing methods. He is a certified permaculture designer and certified nursery technician in Ohio and a certified nursery professional in New York, where he got his start in growing.