Getting Started With Home Growing
Setting up home grow
How much cannabis you can grow will depend on the area of your home you have available.
Setting up home cannabis grow doesn't require a lot of space – though the more room you have, the better. If you're going to grow for yourself, you'll need about three to five square feet for each plant. If you're growing for four people, you'll want to make sure you have at least 15 square feet.
Also, keep in mind that plants need light and air circulation, so if you're planning on growing in a closet or other enclosed space, you'll need to make sure it's well-ventilated and has plenty of light.
Regardless of whether you want to harvest enough flowers to roll up a joint every few days or if you want enough bud to fill your entire jar every two weeks, growing cannabis can be rewarding on both small and large scales. It's pretty easy to set up a home grow. You need some basic supplies and a little science know-how. We'll walk you through every step in this article.
- Choose your grow area
Think of a spot in your home for your indoor grow setup that works for you away from children or pets. You don't want your plants to be disturbed, and you don't want others touching them. Pick a grow space with good airflow. Avoid the basement because air circulation can be problematic down there. Also, consider how much light you will get in the area and how much noise this spot makes, especially at night when the lights are on.
If it's your first time, you'll want to start with a small indoor grow room — a grow tent or grow box will do. They're easy to set up and provide a way for you to control the environment indoors. The size of the grow tent will depend on the number of plants you want to grow, but, as a beginner, we recommend starting with a 2x2x4 foot grow tent.
Before you set up the tent, make sure all the parts are included in the package, and there aren't any tears or holes in it. If everything looks OK, go ahead and follow the instructions that come with your tent.
Marijuana can be grown indoors or out, although growing indoors means you can control the light cycle, CO2, and temperatures much better. If you are growing indoors, you need to supply your plants with a light source. You have many options for lighting, depending on the size of your grow room and how much money you want to spend.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) are inexpensive and easy to set up for beginners for a small-scale grow. Larger grows to need LED or high-intensity discharge (HID) lights to produce more lumens per watt.
LED lighting is the most efficient technology and produces less heat than other options like high-intensity discharge (HID) or fluorescent lights. LED lights also last longer than different types of lighting, which means you'll need to replace bulbs less often.
If you're growing indoors, providing adequate lighting is a crucial consideration. Your LED or HPS lights should only be on between 12-18 hours per day, depending on the growth stage. The light cycle should remain consistent every day, so a timer is helpful here.
- Grow medium (Hydroponics, aeroponics, or soil)
The grow medium is where the cannabis plant gets its support. And we mean literally — it's the material that holds up the plant and its roots. The medium also acts as a reservoir for water and nutrients. There are three main types of growing mediums:
Soil is an excellent choice for many growers. It's easy to work with and can produce excellent yields if you choose the right strain. If you're new to growing, the soil is a perfect option. You can add nutrients to the soil or use supplements throughout the grow cycle.
When setting up your soil grow, the primary consideration is choosing the suitable container. The general rule of thumb is that a plant needs one gallon of soil per foot of height. So a three-foot plant would require a three-gallon pot at least, and most will likely need five gallons or more by harvest time.
Aeroponics relies on misting or spraying roots for nutrition and moisture, so a substantial air pump becomes an essential part of any aeroponic setup. Most aeroponic systems use pots in a reservoir filled with water and nutrients, but other arrangements may have plants supported above the reservoir.
A hydroponic system is a water-based system that delivers nutrients directly to the cannabis plants through the water. It eliminates the use of soil and can be used in indoor or outdoor environments. One of the most common hydroponic systems is Deep Water Culture (DWC). DWC systems are among the easiest hydroponic systems to set up and maintain, but they aren't recommended for beginners.
- Nutrients and water
There's a good reason why cannabis plants need nutrients — they're heavy feeders. They'll exhaust the soil of most plant nutrients, which is why growers have to supplement their plants with extra nutrients. When you get right down to it, though, it's only a handful of elements that matter most when growing cannabis: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) are the Big Three in terms of plant nutrition.
You can buy nutrient solutions that come premixed with specific NPK ratios for different stages of growth, but you can also fine-tune your mix to your specific plant requirements. Water is a nutrient, too — even more important than any other because it's the vehicle that carries all those other nutrients to your plant's tissues.
- Temperature and humidity control
Temperature, humidity, and airflow are critical in maintaining a successful cannabis garden. A thermometer/hygrometer/humidifier is a helpful tool for keeping track of these factors.
It would be best to keep temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 30 degrees Celsius) during the light cycle and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius) during the dark cycle. If you're using a grow tent with lights, it might get hot enough inside to warrant an exhaust fan to keep temperatures down.
Humidity levels should stay between 40-70 percent. If humidity gets too low, that can stress plants or even kill them. If moisture gets over 80 percent, there's a chance of mold growth, which is a severe problem for cannabis growers. The grow room should also have air circulation so humid areas don't form, and water doesn't collect on leaves or buds.
All your plants' leaves will release moisture into the air, so you'll need an intake fan to keep this humidity under control. Putting a hole in the top of your grow area and installing an exhaust fan will help remove heat and humidity from the air and prevent mold growth, so this is crucial if you want your plants to be happy and healthy!
- Tracking your plants' progress
When you grow your own marijuana at home, it's a good idea to keep a close eye on your plants so you can spot signs of trouble early. It's also good to track your young plants' progress so that you don't forget how much time has passed and how big your plant is in relation to the other stages of the growth cycle.
Give each plant a nickname and make sure it's well-documented in photographs and notes. You'll be surprised how quickly you can forget about a particular plant, even if you only have two or three growing at once!
Overall, cannabis cultivation at home is a fun and rewarding hobby. You get to take pride in your plants, harvest the flowers and make your edibles. It can also save you money (and help you avoid sketchy dealers) if you need cannabis for personal use. So if the idea of growing pot at home appeals to you, go for it! Be careful with your measurements, and always start small to test yourself.