Published : 05/24/2020 12:25:12
Categories : Marijuana and cannabis Blog
Have you ever dreamed about harvesting your own cannabis crop? Now that the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing has left many of us confined to our homes, it’s the perfect time to start growing the cannabis garden you’ve always wanted. Most of us have plenty of spare time, and there’s only so much Netflix a person can watch!
Everything you need can be delivered right to your doorstep. Why not start by ordering high-quality marijuana seeds online from our catalog?
But before you flex that green thumb, you’ll want to study some of the basics of cannabis gardening. For starters, check out Marijuana Grow Basics: The Easy Guide for Cannabis Aficionados by Jorge Cervantes.
Now, let’s begin your cannabis growing journey with our quick guide taking you through the process step by step. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few tips along the way.
Whether you opt to grow indoors or outdoors, you’ll want to choose a secure location. Even if growing cannabis is legal in your area, you’ll still need to protect yourself from hungry animals, curious kids, and thieves.
You can grow cannabis outdoors in containers or, if you have enough space, you can plant cannabis directly in the ground. Unless you choose an autoflowering strain, you’ll be tied to the seasons for flowering, so this spring is the time to sow seeds for a fall harvest. You’ll also want to choose an outdoor strain that thrives in your particular climate.
For most of us, indoor cannabis gardening is the best bet. You can grow a small indoor crop in a spare room, a repurposed closet, or a specialized grow tent. You can achieve a three or four-plant cannabis harvest in a relatively small area with only one or two grow lights.
Make sure the space you select has easy access to water, electricity, and proper ventilation. It’s a good idea to connect the lights, fans, and filters for your garden to a dedicated electrical circuit.
Step #2: Choose and Buy Cannabis Seeds
Cannabis seeds come in a variety of types and strains, all available at High Supplies.
Feminized seeds are genetically modified to produce all female plants. Female cannabis plants produce the beautiful buds we all crave. Even one male in the garden can pollinate the females, making your buds weak and filling them with seeds. If growing high-cannabinoid sinsemilla is a priority, you might want to purchase feminized seeds.
Regular marijuana seeds are all natural and not chemically altered or genetically modified. Regular seeds produce around 50% female and 50% male offspring. Buying regular seeds is a more economical option, but you’ll need to remove the male plants from your garden as soon as the plants reveal their sex in the pre-flowering stage.
Most cannabis plants start flowering in response to a changing light cycle. However, autoflowering seeds will enter the flowering stage automatically once the plants reach a certain age. This allows you to keep the light cycle constant in your grow room and potentially harvest multiple times in one growing season. All of the autoflowering seeds we sell at High Supplies have been feminized, so you won’t need to worry about male pollinators ruining your crop.
With so many delicious strains of cannabis on the market today, how can you possibly choose? You’ll want to keep several factors in mind when you’re shopping for cannabis seeds, including:
Difficulty: Some cannabis strains are picky. Beginner’s should select a hearty variety that easily resists common pests and diseases.
Yield: Since you’re probably only going to start with a few plants, you’ll want a strain that offers higher yields per plant.
Effects: Sativa-dominant strains tend to impart more energetic effects, while indica-dominant varieties are generally better for evening use.
Climate: If you’re growing outdoors, you’ll want to choose a strain that fits the environmental conditions where you live.
Unless you’re growing outdoors, you’ll need to buy grow lights. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of lights for growing cannabis.
CFLs offer beginners an easy way to start growing on a budget. They’re inexpensive to buy and don’t consume a lot of electricity. The downside is that CFLs don’t put out enough power for extra large yields. However, CFLs are excellent for the seedling stage.
For many years, HIDs like Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) were the industry standard. HID lights allow for larger yields than CFLs and are becoming more economical as growers switch to LED systems.
The biggest drawback is that HID systems use more electricity than CFLs and LEDs. MH and HPS bulbs also produce a lot of heat, meaning more power usage for cooling systems. Excess heat also means you won’t be able to let your plants grow close to the light fixtures, which can burn them.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Grow Lights
These days, more and more indoor growers are choosing full spectrum LED grow lights. LEDs are less expensive to run and produce much less heat than HIDs. You won’t need to worry about your plants burning, and you can let them grow much closer to the lights. Although LEDs are usually a bit more expensive, the increased yield and savings in electricity bills can quickly make up for the higher price tag.
Step #4: Provide the Right Environment
Plants need fresh air to thrive, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential for the process of photosynthesis. You’ll need a steady stream of air flowing through your growing space. Most growers use an oscillating fan to increase airflow and an exhaust fan to remove stale air and reduce the temperature from the lights.
In addition to proper ventilation, you should install a filter to reduce odors during the flowering stage. If you’re only growing a few plants, a fan/filter combo will work fine for your exhaust.
Maintaining proper humidity levels is crucial for a successful cannabis harvest. Too much humidity can encourage fungal growth. Bud rot from fungus is one of the sworn enemies of all cannabis growers. The last thing you’ll want to do is spend months tending your garden to find your whole crop ruined.
The best defense against bud rot is to keep your humidity levels appropriate for each stage of growth. In general, seedlings like high humidity around 70-80% and vegetative plants thrive around 65%. To prevent moldy cannabis buds, you’ll need to lower humidity levels to around 40-50% for the flowering stage. Combat mold problems by hanging a hygrometer in your grow area and using a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture.
The main methods of growing cannabis are hydroponics, geoponics, and aeroponics. Hydroponics and aeroponics are advanced growing techniques that require specialized growing mediums. Growing in soil, or geoponics, is by far the easiest method for beginners to grow cannabis.
You can either make your own organic supersoil or purchase a high-quality blend, such as Fox Farm’s Potting Soil. Avoid soils that contain artificial extended release fertilizer, which is unsuitable for growing cannabis.
Step #6: Provide Your Plants with Adequate Nutrition
Cannabis plants need certain nutrients to thrive, including:
Lesser amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper
Since you’re presumably growing in good quality organic soil, you won’t need to fertilize your plants as often as a hydroponic grower would. With a little research and patience, you can make your own organic compost and compost teas. Alternatively, you can buy premade nutrient solutions in concentrated liquid or powder forms.
While growing in soil is more forgiving than using hydroponic mediums, you should still check the pH of your water and adjust accordingly. You can buy a simple pH testing kit and up/down solutions at most garden stores or online. Optimum pH for your water is around 6.0 to 6.8.
Household tap water is usually fine for growing cannabis in soil. However, most growers filter water with reverse osmosis systems to eliminate excessive amounts of minerals and chemical additives like chlorine. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by beginners. It’s best to test the soil with your fingers and water your plants only when the soil feels dry.
To germinate your seeds, first soak them overnight in a small glass of water in a dark area like a cupboard or drawer. Next, moisten a paper towel and fold the seeds inside. Put the towel and seeds inside a ziplock bag in your dark area. Check back daily to see if your seeds have sprouted. If not, spray the paper towel with water and check again the next day.
Once your cannabis seeds germinate, plant them in a small pot or plastic cup with holes in the bottom for drainage. Cannabis seedlings are delicate, so take care not to overwater, overfeed, or burn them with your lights.
Step #8: Nurture and Train During the Vegetative Stage
After your cannabis seedlings reach about 8 sets of leaves, your plants will have entered the vegetative stage. They’ve established a strong root system, and they’re now putting most of their energy into branching out and growing more fan leaves. You’ll need to repot your plants into a larger container to give them more room to grow.
During the vegetative stage, cannabis plants thrive on at least 18 hours of light per day. Vegging cannabis plants also require a fertilizer with a higher percentage of nitrogen.
How you train your plants during the vegetative stage can determine your final yield. Most indoor gardeners use techniques like fimming, topping, and low-stress training to encourage plants to branch out. Left to their own devices, cannabis plants will grow in a Christmas tree shape with one bud higher than the others. Creating an even canopy will allow all of your buds to receive more light, thereby increasing your yield.
Step #9: Adjust Techniques for Flowering Cannabis
Unless you’re using autoflowering seeds, your cannabis plants will begin to flower in response to the amount of light they get each day. To induce the flowering phase indoors, you’ll need to switch the light cycle to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Although it depends on the strain, you’ll usually make the switch around 3.5 weeks into the plant’s vegetative stage.
If you didn’t start from feminized seeds, you should keep a close eye on your plants for signs of preflowering. Remove any male plants immediately. Males develop faster and can quickly release enough pollen to fill your entire crop with seeds.
You’ll also need to decrease the amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer and increase the levels of phosphorus and potassium. Also, keep a close watch out for fungus and insects that like to hang out inside the buds around the stems.
Right before harvest time, the leaves on your plants will start to turn yellow and the pistils on the buds will turn from white to orange-red and shrink. The best way to tell if your plants are ready to harvest is to inspect the frosty trichome layer with a jeweler’s loupe. Once you see that the majority of your trichomes have turned from clear to cloudy and amber, your crop is ready.
Most growers remove the large fan leaves and hang plants upside down by the roots or break them into smaller branches before hanging them. Place your drying cannabis in a dark, well-ventilated area. When the stems snap instead of bending, you can proceed to trim and cure your cannabis.
After you’ve trimmed your buds, cure your cannabis using the following procedure:
Fill wide-mouthed glass jars about ⅔ full of cannabis.
Add a package of desiccants and a battery-operated hygrometer.
For the first week, open your jars up a few times each day for around 15 minutes to let excess gas escape.
After that you’ll only need to burp your buds once a day.
Make sure humidity levels stay between 60-65% to prevent mold. If you see the humidity creeping toward 70%, open the jars and let your cannabis dry until the humidity drops back to normal.
After you’ve cured your buds for around 3 to 4 weeks, you’ll be ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You deserve to be rewarded for turning the COVID pandemic into a chance to finally grow your own cannabis. You’ll have the satisfaction of consuming homegrown buds and you’ll save a ton of money at the dispensary.