We love to help people and spread the love of cannabis. Now, we want to help you grow the best buds you can. In this article, we put together our 5 step How to Grow Marijuana series into one ultimate guide.
1. Equipment & setup
No matter what your reason for growing your own herb, be it medicinal, recreational, or simply financial, you want to do it right. In order to do that, you need to control these 8 factors for an amazing indoor grow setup:
Ensure that your grow area allows for plenty of room for equipment, work space, and room to move. Plants will roughly double in size when they switch from veg to flower. Make sure you have room for lights above that. Better to have too much space than too little.
2. Grow medium
Soil vs. Hydro, the age old debate. Hydro gives larger yields and faster growth but is more expensive to setup and easier to mess up. Soil is cheaper and easier but requires more lifting, muscle, and space. There are several ways to go, but always start with what you are confident you can handle, and afford.
Outdoors, all you really need is the sun. Indoors, you need to provide light. Small grows, like a closet, can get away with CFL’s and everyday supplies. Larger grows, like a shed or room, need industrial lighting.
Going big means either HID or LED. For HID, or High-Intensity Discharge lights, High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) works best for your flowering stage, and Metal Halide (MH) is better for vegging.
LED lights are more expensive to purchase but easier on your electric bill. The most important thing to remember with lights is the spectrum. Vegging plants love blue light in the 480 nm range, flowering plants love red light in the 650 nm range. As for brightness, 16,000 lumens is the goal.
Learn these letters. N (Nitrogen), P (Potassium), K (Phosphorus). These are the major nutrients. The needed ratios change from veg to flower, so time-release nutrients in soil won’t cut it. Try to get nutrients made in the right ratio for both your grow medium and cannabis.
Using garden center varieties means more mixing and work for you. There are also many micronutrients you need to provide. Each does something different for the plant.
Three factors play into this. Plants need airflow for strong branches and prevention of pests & mold. Grow areas need a good exhaust to prevent heat buildup from lights. Make sure you have filtration, or the smell will give you away.
Use charcoal filters for exhaust lines, create a vacuum in the room so smells don’t leak out the air intake, and use fans inside for a breeze. As far as CO2 goes, don’t worry about it unless you have a few grows under your belt and have maxed out all other ways of increasing yields.
In a hydro setup, you have all the water you need. Just keep it circulating a fresh. For soil, you need adequate drainage. Line containers with pebbles and sand to help drainage. Only water soil when it is dry an inch or more deep.
Water and electricity don’t mix. Keep wires up off the floor, and water cleaned up. Standing water breeds bacteria, mold, and pests that will kill plants.
Save time, money, and heartache. Invest in monitoring devices for pH, humidity, & temperature at a minimum. Also, put lights on timers. It’s much easier than turning on and off manually.
Keep all tools, clothes, equipment, nutrients, and the room itself free of mold or bacteria. Washing with diluted bleach, keeping bottles sealed until use and having clean work clothes does more to prevent damage to plants than anything else. Don’t leave food or trash in the grow space.
For more details on this info, see the full article here.
2. Growing & cultivation
The links above will tell you all about getting the little plants started. After they begin growing vigorously, you will need to transplant them, and possibly train them to maximize yields.
Light training your plants
The first control you have over cannabis is light. Indoors, you control when they change from veg to flower. Light for 18-24 hours a day keeps them growing in the veg stage. Once you put them on a 12-on/12-off cycle, they will start to produce buds.
Light also controls height. If plants have to strain for more light, they grow tall and lanky. Check light with a meter at canopy level and adjust light height regularly.
Remember the plants will double in height or more after you switch them to flowering, so keep an eye on the ceiling.
LST or Low-Stress Training uses bending and tying plants to change their shape. This helps “bush” them out. Gently bend them down and anchor them, they will stretch back toward the light in a few days. Each branch facing up turns into a bud-producer. More branches up mean more bud.
Supercropping involves actually damaging the plant a bit to stress it into bushing out. To super crop, you bend the plant sharply, until it pinches. This “knuckle” thickens, and also spreads the canopy out.
Sea of Green uses lots of plants close together to achieve more bud than a few big plants with lots of room. With or without a screen above it to spread out the canopy, this technique is used by many commercial growers for huge yields.
Topping or Fimming involves cutting off part a growth site to make the plant regrow twice as many. The difference between the two is where the growth area is cut.
Mainlining or Manifolding involves intensely combining the tie-down technique with topping and fimming to produce an even distribution of nutrients to many bud growth sites. It takes longer to achieve a full grown plant. After each trim, it takes a few weeks to recover. But the results are so impressive, they tend to be worth it.
Defoliation basically focuses the plant’s energy and nutrients on bud production by removing excess foliage towards the bottom.
All the above techniques should only be done while the plant is still in the veg stage. Once you switch your light cycle, you want to concentrate on nutrients and light only.
Within a few weeks, the plants will show signs of their sex. Bud production is ladies only, so get rid of the boys before they pollinate or you could lose a whole crop to seed. In flowering, you want to drop the temp. about 5°F and the humidity.
The nutrient emphasis moves away from nitrogen, so change up the feeding schedule. Two weeks before buds are ready to harvest, you want to flush the plants with just water. This gives the herb a cleaner flavor.
For more details, click the link here.
3. Troubleshooting & Solutions
There are plenty of things that can go wrong if you don’t keep a weather eye out. The biggest issues are pH, watering issues, nutrients (too much or too little), mold, and pests. I won’t even try to sum it all up here. That is why I dedicated a whole article to it!
To read all about problems and solutions, click here.
4. Harvesting & Drying
When your buds are ripe, the moment has come. The lower leaves will yellow and start to fall as the plant nears the end of its life cycle. You can tell the time when the trichomes have changed from clear to either milky white or amber. Then you flush and get your harvest area set up.
Put on your gloves on and get to work. Leave buds on stems and hang upside down until they are dry enough the stems break easily. Then trim those sugar leaves away and go on to curing.
For more detail on setting up your harvest area, click here.
5. Curing & Maxing out potency and flavor
Properly curing your herb is vital for flavor, potency, and smokability. The main way to do this involves air-tight containers like mason jars. With controlled humidity and a regulated environment, the moisture slowly pulls from the center of the buds. As it does this, it enhances flavor and aroma. Think of aging a fine wine.
Control the humidity between 65%-70%, like a cigar humidor. The longer the buds cure, the smoother the smoke. Properly cured herb can store for years!
There are other ways to cure your herb, and amazing tips on enhancing flavor and potency in the full article here.
Are you planning on growing your own herb? What will your first setup and strain be? Share your excitement with us on social media or in the comments below.