Don’t go overboard, though, he warns. Start with growing three plants in five-gallon pots. This way, if one dies, you’ll still have two plants, and the pots will limit their growth. A general rule of thumb is that they’ll grow one foot for every gallon of soil. He recommends mixing your own organic soil, which he explains how to do on his website and will save you the headache of adding nutrients or pH testing. “The soil is what we call alive,” he says. “It’s always breaking things down to replenish nutrients that are missing.” But if you can’t mix your own soil, or don’t feel like it, you could buy organic Pro-Mix soil, which Johnson says many outdoor growers use.
Whatever you do, don’t plant your clones in the ground. They’ll run rampant, and “you’ll have pounds of weed in your house,” Johnson says, recalling the trays of weed atop his kitchen table when his crop grew wild. “You don’t need the stress of plants getting out of control, growing over your fence.” If your neighbors can see them, they might complain about them, and having too many plants could get you arrested.
Since clones come from plants that have been grown indoors, let yours chill in a shaded area for a week before exposing them to full sun, Johnson says. “The clone hasn’t tasted sun like that, and the transplant itself will be stressful.”
There are different harvesting methods, but Johnson cuts the whole plant at the base and hangs it upside down with some twine in a dark room at a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a fan for airflow — you definitely don’t want the room to be humid, which will cause mold to grow, rendering your crop unusable. It’ll probably take around a week to dry.
Cannabis cultivation laws vary widely state-by-state. Also, we can’t stress this enough: Growing cannabis is illegal in a lot of places, and the penalties — which include steep fines and prison time — can be much worse than possession, since growing can imply an intent to distribute. Black and brown folx need to be especially scrupulous about heeding these rules, since law enforcement targets us way more than white people for weed-related charges, even if we consume it at similar rates.
That said, when your plants are fully flowering, you might find yourself watering them daily, based on these indicators. When you do water them, keep going until you see water running off the soil, to ensure the water reaches all of the soil in the pot.
If you buy seeds from a seed bank, look for those labeled “feminized” to ensure they give rise to female plants, Johnson says. But if you’re a total newbie, he suggests buying clones, which are cuttings from a “mother” female plant, available at some dispensaries, as well as at nurseries. Not only are they easier to obtain, “they’re easier to grow. You get a clone, and you transplant it to some soil.”
To check if your cannabis is ready for trimming, perform a break test on each branch. If it bends so much it nearly breaks, then it’s ready, and if it breaks right away, it might be overly dry, but still totally usable. Trim off the buds and seal them inside a mason jar for curing, opening it periodically over the course of about four weeks to let moisture escape. Johnson outlines a detailed schedule on his website, including instructions on how to look for mold.
Johnson notes that the outdoor grow season lasts from around April to October, meaning if you plant seeds now, they’d still yield flower, but not much. Since it’s late in the season, he suggests buying a large clone, which will have more branches and therefore yield more flower.
If you use organic soil, all you’ll really need to do is add water, Johnson says — but don’t overdo it. The number one mistake he sees new growers make is watering their plants too often. In general, “watering every day is too much. The rule is, if you pick up your plant, and the pot is heavy, then it has a enough water. If it’s light, it’s dry, then you need to water.” You could also stick your finger knuckle-deep into the soil; if it feels dry, add water.
While you can absolutely grow cannabis indoors, outdoor cultivation is much simpler and cheaper, says Ron Johnson, author of How to Grow Organic Cannabis: A Step-by-Step Guide for Growing Marijuana Outdoors , who also runs the website The Cannabis Gardener. “The sun is free,” he tells Mic. “You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars a month in electrical bills.” An outdoor garden probably won’t allow you to turn over product fast enough, but it’ll suffice if you just want to grow weed for yourself. Plus, it’s gentler on the planet.
Do your homework and read up on the laws in your state. Some states prohibit growing cannabis, while others, like my home state of California, permits anyone over age 21 to grow cannabis, but only up to a certain number of plants. NORML has a pretty in-depth guide to the laws in each state. Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, and Maine also allow cultivation, but again, the specifics depend on the state. Definitely clarify what your rights are before you start the glorious path to at-home bud gardening.
Cannabis plants can be either male or female. Female plants yield the plump flowers, a.k.a., “buds,” that we know and love, brimming with psychoactive compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, which gets you high), Modern Farmer explains. Male plants yield much smaller flowers, which people typically don’t consume. In other words, if you want to actually indulge in your crop, you’ll want female plants.
When the pandemic hit, many of us turned to quaint pastimes to soothe our existential dread, whether it was baking sourdough, knitting, or doing jigsaw puzzles. If you want to expand your repertoire of distraction methods with an activity that still has that quiet, homey vibe, but with a bit more of an edge, consider growing your own weed.
Your cannabis will be ready to harvest at around October. You’ll know they’re ready when the buds “start to get really, really swollen and packed pretty tight,” Johnson says. But it can be hard to tell if you’re a beginner. Many growers say that if you think your plant is ready to harvest, wait two weeks, since many newbies tend to harvest too early. Or, you could share a photo of your crop on a forum and ask more experienced growers to weigh in.
Once you’ve cured your cannabis, sprinkle some bud in a bowl, or whatever your preferred method of imbibing might be, and savor your hard-earned crop.
Before you get started.
If cost isn’t a consideration, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is the preferred option for most marijuana growers. These are highly efficient light fixtures for indoor growing. They use less energy and create very little heat. LEDs produce wavelengths across the light spectrum, so they can be used for both the vegetative and flowering cycles.
Some people like to grind the sugar leaves and use them. However, it is all about the clean, leafless nugs if the goal is to fully enjoy an intoxicating high. You can use the sugar leaves to make cannabutter, however. After trimming, you should hang the buds up to dry. After 7-10 days, you can place them in airtight containers to cure. The more patient you are, the better the buds will taste. They are also more potent!
This is when you can extract the male plants and eliminate them. Male plants will have what look like little clusters of bananas; these are the pollen sacs. Female plants will have sharper early-stage calyxes with white hairs (pistils). Those growing from female clones or pre-purchased feminized seeds should have no concerns about male plants.
4 – Successful Indoor Growing Requires the Following Features.
You can get these macronutrients pre-packaged in liquid or powder form (if you’re using an un-supplemented soil mix). However, a lot of organic “super soils” already contain them in sufficient amounts.
There are some outstanding pre-filled soil kits specially designed for increased airflow. Keep these in mind when deciding what to grow your first cannabis plants in.
It’s very important to grow your cannabis plants to a size suitable to your space and likewise to the container you choose. You will need to transplant every time your plants double to triple their size. Small cups or 4-6” pots are good for starts.
Lastly, consider using an RO filter as excess levels of chlorine and unfiltered minerals could harm the plants. You may want to choose a distilled option or at least filter it before adding it to your soil. Mineral-laden tap water can cause unwanted build-up in the cannabis root systems, which can lead to detrimental root disease.
Enjoy, and more than anything else; remember to HAVE FUN!
When cultivating cannabis indoors, there are two viable options: Growing in traditional soil or a hydroponic tray. Soil is typically recommended if you’re growing indoors for the first time. It’s cheaper, more straightforward, and more forgiving than an advanced hydroponic system. Let’s take a closer look at each of the two options.
Step 10: Cut Your Cannabis Plants Down — Carefully!
Other mixes are “neutral,” without any nutrients present. These mixes need appropriate amounts of fertilizer right from the start. Amendments to soil ingredients include compost teas and mycorrhizae bacteria, as well as other organic compost nutrients.
The frequency of watering and the amount you give is determined by a few obvious things. These include the size of the plant, the stage of development, and the rate of photosynthesis (how fast it’s growing). However, there’s no exact science when deciding how much water to give and how often.
HID lights produce a substantial amount of heat. Therefore, proper use of air circulation and conditioning becomes vital. Some growers choose air-cooled fixtures to mechanically remove heat.
For example, most growers use one of two main types of HID lamps/bulbs depending on the developmental stage. Metal halide (MH) bulbs are best during vegetative growth. High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) is the preferred option for the mature flowering stage. If you can only afford one, choose HPS as they are much better for flowering and are more efficient on a ‘watt-to-light’ scale.
Step 9: Set Time to Care For Your Plant (Every Single Day!)
If you don’t know how to tell a male cannabis plant from a female , we’ve got a great article on the topic.
Make sure your cultivating space is sanitized and clean. There’s an inherent risk posed by pests and contaminants. A messy space invites pathogens, harmful bacteria, and mold. A good idea is to plan a bi-weekly cleaning routine and stick to it.
If you’re growing from seed, you need to wait until the flowering stage. After a week of nighttime photoperiod, the plants will start reaching maturity and will develop reproductive parts at the nodes.
The drawback is they can cost 3-5 times more than a decent HID setup! If you’re serious about getting into growing and have money to spend, however, give serious consideration to LEDs. But do your homework to avoid ‘scam’ LEDs online.
Ensuring your plants get the right nutrients is probably second only to lighting in terms of importance. Proper nutrient selection and application are among the most critical factors in growing premium-grade cannabis. While weed is resilient, growing it in sub-optimal conditions means you will miss out on yield and potency.
You can tell the difference by the pre-flowers they grow at the tops of branch joints (the “V” where the stems meet the trunk):
Thus, if you want your plants to reach a height of 3 feet, you would need a 6 gallon pot. If you are using fabric pots (as I recommend) go twice as big. In this example, get a 12 gallon pot (or at least 10).
Now that you have all your equipment gathered, it’s time to start growing cannabis. Well, there is one more thing you need. The most important of all. The actual cannabis plants.
So anyway, being a novice on the LED front… like everyone else, my simple question was, “Which one should I buy?”… Well, you’d go to 20 sites and end up with a list of 20 different lights… I was beginning to ask myself if I could be bothered with the hassle until I stumbled upon your site where you gave a great unbiased review on the Phlizon range of CREE COB lights and I didn’t look back… That was just what I needed… You recommended them and said why… With my small set up, the 1000w was perfect for my needs and two weeks into the grow my plants look closer to three weeks old… Lovely, happy and healthy plants… I’m delighted with your advice, delighted with my lamp (which didn’t break the bank) and delighted with my grow (so far)
The best way to do this is with supplemental lighting. Another reason to add supplemental lighting is if your primary fixture is not heavy in red spectrum light. In that case, some smaller all-red LED lights would really help boost yields.
Flowering Your Weed Plants.
Here is a graphic that shows you what to look for:
Marijuana plants also need a lot more light during bloom, so you want to make sure you give them what they need. Powerful LED grow lights are best, but I also highly recommend CMH lights.
If you start your seedlings in this soil (which I do recommend for simplicity), they will suffer some nutrient burn at first. This is not a huge deal, but you can avoid it if you like, by putting some less nutrient-rich soil on top of the Ocean Forest soil for your seedlings.
And you can get by without a charcoal filter to remove the odor as well. Ideally though, you want to ventilate your tent and you want to remove the odor from any air you ventilate out.
If you don’t have a thermometer or humidity monitor, don’t worry too much. As long a your cannabis plants are not freezing or scorching, they will grow. Keeping the environment in the ideal range just means faster and better growth.
Make sure you water your plants regularly. Whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, give them more water. Water them until you see around 20% extra runoff water come out of the bottom of the pot. Be careful not to water too often. Always wait until the top one inch of soil is dry.
Use the magnifier to examine the trichomes. These are the crystals, or the frosty-looking stuff you see accumulating on your buds.
So let’s get started, by going through the whole growing process step by step, beginning with the preparation and ending with harvest.
The reason fabric pots should be bigger is that the soil dries out much faster in a smart pot. Making the pot larger, increases the time it takes for the soil in the middle to dry out.
2. Get Pots And Soil.
This does depend on the strains, though. If the strain is labeled as short, you can expect it to not double in size during flowering. If it is labeled as tall, you can expect it to more than double in size.
Sometimes the male and female growths look very similar, but if you see white hairs, it is female.
If you don’t want to bother with the Rapid Rooters, you could also just germinate your seeds in the same container that you plan on using for your young seedlings. It could be a plastic cup or a 1-gallon fabric pot or whatever.
Weed plants love fresh air. They achieve the best growth when they get a slight breeze. It also serves to prevent mold. The best way to give your plants the breeze they need is with a fan on the lowest setting. You can also remove larger leaves or lollipop your plants to improve air flow.
To know when it is harvest time, you first need to wait until your buds stop growing new hairs. This is where many inexperienced growers jump the gun. Make sure they are done growing white hairs, because sometimes they just pause for a bit, then grow more.
HPS works well too, as it always has, but I don’t recommend it anymore, since LED and CMH are better. Assuming quality LED grow lights, of course.
If you know someone who is growing marijuana plants and can hook you up with seeds or clones, lucky you! You can skip this section. If you have clones, head here to learn how to get clones to root faster.
I would always spend a bit more and buy feminized seeds.
If you use a nutrient rich soil, your plants will be getting a good amount of nutrients, at least for a while. Eventually, you will need to provide more, by adding them to your plants’ water.
You want your plants to grow short and fat, with multiple peaks that are all about the same height. That way, each peak gets the same amount of light and grows the same large bud.
Once you have the space, you want to get it ready for growing marijuana indoors. The easiest way to do this is to get a grow tent. You can find tons of inexpensive tents on Amazon and these cheap tents are good enough for most of us.
It is small and comes with both a clip and a stand. That means you can clip one to the tent pole above the canopy and have a second one standing on the ground, blowing fresh air below the canopy. It does not oscillate, but that is not really necessary in a smaller grow tent or grow space.
Your plants will look like they are slowly dying during this time period. That’s because they are. As the near harvest time, they will look pretty rough, because they stop taking in nutrients and everything they have is funneled into bud growth.