Do you want to grow your own cannabis at home? Here is a short guide on how to get you started with all the steps you need to take, as well as the essential equipment you will need.
Find a suitable grow space or room for your cannabis
Depending on the free space you have available, designate a room, a corner, a tent, a cabinet or part of your basement for your new cannabis plant. Read ahead so you see what kind of equipment you will need in order to ensure that the space is sufficient.
If you are new to this, make sure that you start small. Instead of heading off and planting your own huge cannabis plantation, it is a better idea to plant just a few plants to see how things go. Also, the equipment needed for indoor cannabis care can get quite expensive, so if you are not ready to splurge out right now – begin with two to three plants first.
Even with just a couple of plants, you will still need space for the LED grow lights, the fans, the ducting and the other equipment, so make sure that you have chosen the appropriate location for your homegrown cannabis.
Also, keep in mind, that if everything goes well, your plants will soon grow quite big as they reach the flowering stage, so headspace should be available as well.
The area should be easy to clean and sanitize. Choose a space with floors which are easy to clean, and if possible avoid any carpeting, curtains or drapes around your plants.
The room where you are going to keep your cannabis plants needs to be light-tight. Make sure you can avoid light leaks which can confuse the plants into producing male flowers. Plus, it is essential that the room is dry and cool, so that you can control the humidity and temperature levels properly at all times.
Choose the proper grow lights
The indoor grow lights are the most important factor which will ensure that your marijuana grows and develops properly. This is why you should go ahead and purchase the best HID or LED grow lights which you can afford. Here are some of the most commonly used marijuana grow lights:
HID grow lights
High-intensity discharge lights are high quality and are preferred by indoor cannabis growers because they combine value with efficiency and output. They do cost more than fluorescent and incandescent lights but are more energy efficient and produce much more light than them. Although they are not as efficient as LED grow lights they are much cheaper than them. You can choose between Metal halide (MH) HID lamps which emit a blue-white light suitable for vegetative growth or high-pressure sodium (HPS) HID lights which produce a red-orange light suitable for the flowering stage. If you can’t afford both types, it is better to purchase HPS grow lights because they produce more light per watt.
Your grow light setup will also need a reflector hood and ballast for each light. If the space is tight, make sure that you have air-cooled reflector hoods for the lamps connected with ducting and exhaust fans to cool down the heat which the lights produce.
LED grow lights
Led grow lights are highly efficient for indoor cannabis growing. The main problem is that they are much more expensive than HID fixtures. The main advantage is that they will use much less electricity, they last longer and they don’t generate so much heat while producing the light which is suitable for all stages of the growth and leads to better quality plants and bigger yields.
Induction grow lights
These are the oldest type of lamps. They are longer lasting than fluorescent ones but are more expensive and are not readily available everywhere.
Ensure that the plants get air
Your cannabis plants need air and carbon dioxide for the photosynthesis process which keeps them alive, well and growing. This is why you need to ensure a constant stream of air flowing into the grow room. This can be done via an exhaust fan placed higher to get the warm air out, and a filtered air inlet lower down and opposite of the exhaust fan to let the air in.
Depending on the type of cannabis you are growing, the temperature in the room need to be 70-85°F with the lights on, and 58-70°F when the lights are off, so you need to choose a properly sized exhaust fan in accordance with the space and the grow lights you are planning on using.
To ensure the steady flow of air, place a fan across the plants without directing it directly towards them, in order to avoid windburn.
Choose your monitoring and control system
For beginners, using a simple 24-hour lighting timer and a thermostat switch for the exhaust fan is sufficient to ensure that the plants get the light, air, and temperature they need.
There are more sophisticated monitoring and control systems which allow for the automatic adjustment and control of the humidity, CO2 levels, the temperature, and lighting, but they are quite expensive.
The lights need to be on for 16-20 hours per day while the plants are still in vegetative growth, and then for 12 hours a day when they reach the flowering stage.
Pick the right grow medium
You can use traditional pots with soil for your plants, Rockwool slab in a hydroponic container for your cannabis plants. Here are the pros and cons of the different cannabis mediums:
This is the traditional medium used for cannabis growing and it is an excellent choice for newbies. Choose a high-quality soil without an artificial extended release fertilizer for your cannabis plants. A good option is pre-fertilized organic soil which doesn’t need any additional fertilization as your plants grow.
This medium requires that the roots of the plants are fed with concentrated mineral salt nutrients, and allows for a faster direct absorption of the nutrients and thus for the faster development and growth and bigger yields. It does require high precision in order to not overfeed or underfeed the plants.
Choose the right containers
The type of container you use for growing the plants depends on the medium you choose, your equipment and the size of the plants.
Hydroponics requires smaller pots and containers, while larger containers need to be used for cannabis plants planted in soil.
You can make your own containers by perforating disposable cloth or plastic bags, buckets or other DIY solutions. The most important thing is to allow for proper drainage of the container you choose because cannabis plants are highly sensitive to overwatering.
Give your plants the proper nutrients
If you want your cannabis to grow properly and produce bigger yields, you will need to ensure that it receives all the macronutrients it needs.
These include Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K) and Phosphorus (P), as well as smaller quantities of Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, and Iron.
Of course, if you choose to use pre-fertilized organic soil, you don’t need to add any additional macronutrients. Otherwise, you should feed your cannabis plants with them at least once every week. They are sold in powder or concentrated liquid form, which have to be mixed with water.
Water the plants
Never overwater cannabis, because its roots are susceptible to rotting. Also, check whether the water you use doesn’t have high levels of chlorine or other dissolved minerals which can damage the roots of your plants.
Hopefully, this brief guide will help you get started with your own home cannabis plant growing. Good luck and have fun watching your plants grow!