Cannabis legalization is spreading rapidly in many countries of the world. That is why many people can legally grow weed. Naturally, it may appear to a newbie that cannabis growing is a complex process. However, we would like to allay this wrong opinion and assure on the opposite, since, knowing the main growing rules you will be able to get rich harvests of the plant without any excessive labor.
In this article, we have gathered the most valuable information which may be of use for a beginning grower. This manual describes 11 main steps following which you will be able to create an optimal environment for indoor cannabis growing, i.e. inside a premise. But, first things first!
Step 1: You need to select a room where you will grow cannabis
One may grow cannabis indoors, or in the open air. Indoor method of cannabis growing is very convenient, however, it is more demanding. When growing bushes indoors, you can control continuously the process and watch the plant development. However, the room should be equipped properly with the use of additional equipment. Before starting growing cannabis, chose the room where you plan to grow the bushes. Also, some tanks will be needed for the sprouts.
Having selected the room, create the required temperature regimen in it. Young marijuana bushes grow faster at a temperature from 20 °C to 30 °C. On the flowering stage, it is necessary to maintain temperature within the 18–26 °С range. Also, high-quality lighting system is very important in a closed room. Select light sources which heat the least the air inside the room and around the bushes.
Many growers prefer to grow cannabis outdoor. Such a variant of growing is less costly, since sun light is used as a lighting source in this case. However, when growing cannabis outdoors, one may forget about confidentiality. You will need to take care to protect your bushes from intrusive sights of strangers, as well as from invaders: animals and insects. The climate you live in is by no means unimportant. Think in advance about the methods of counteracting droughts, heavy rains, temperature fluctuations, etc.
Step 2: Proceed with seeds selection
Having selected the place for cannabis growing, you may proceed with seeds selection. Today, it is not hard to find and purchase various strains of seeds, which account over 1000 kinds. Having selected this or that kind, you are strongly recommended to read grower’s comments on each of them. Each marijuana strain has its peculiarities. The most popular are Indica and Sativa strains. Strains with prevailing Indica, or auto-flowering strains are best for growing indoors.
The most rated auto-flowering strains include:
- Girl Scout Cookies by Fastbuds.
- AK 47 Auto by Bulk Seeds.
- Big Devil XL by Sweet Seeds.
- Crystal Meth by Fast Buds.
- Auto White Widow by Dutch Passion.
- Auto Devil by Bulk Seeds.
- Amnesia XXL auto by Dinafem.
- West Coast OG by Fast Buds.
- Jack 47 Auto by Sweet Seeds.
- 60 Day Wonder-Autoflower by DNA Genetics.
Beginning growers should know that it’s not recommended to purchase seeds from unverified suppliers and in precarious shops. The best variant will be purchasing cannabis seeds from well-known Seed Banks. Purchasing seed at such places, you can be absolutely sure of their high quality.
Step 3: Select the soil for cannabis growing
The following are best for growing marijuana indoors:
- Coconut substrate. This type of medium has the form of bricks made of coconut fibers. The advantages of this medium are: environmental compatibility of the material, its availability, perfect aeration, hygroscopic properties, simplicity and convenience of plant growing, small weight, stable pH, compatibility with vermiculite or agricultural perlite. Also, no parasites develop in this medium, nor does rot or mould.
- This method means growing plants without soil. In this case, the plant receives all micronutrients and substances from a solution. This method is the most convenient and much more convenient for the growers who grow cannabis indoors. The main advantage of the hydroponics is that the plant receives a constant supply of required minerals throughout the whole growing cycle. The advantages of the method include the possibility of constant control of the nutrients content, possibility to protect the roots from drying or oxygen deficit, getting rid of invaders and various diseases that develop in soil mixes. However, this method has its disadvantages: high cost and danger of plant overfeeding with fertilizers.
Step 4: Select ideal fertilizers
Each beginner should know that growing of high-quality and fruitful marijuana bushes is only possible on a condition that the bushes are fertilized with the right solutions. It is also important to understand which fertilizers in particular and when exactly the plant should be supplied with. When selecting a fertilizer, various factors should be taken into account, such as: planned place for cannabis growing, bush development stage, bush size, and many other factors.
Basing on personal experience, we do not recommend to fertilize the bushes excessively, which have not developed the plant tissue, since it will be hazardous for the plant, if done before its active growth starts. Small sprouts should be fertilized frequently, but in small portions. Beginners are advised to fertilize the plant with 1/4 of the recommended dosage indicated on the ready fertilizer packing. Also, make adjustments depending on the selected growing medium. For instance, a sprout planted in a coconut substrate, needs a little more of fertilizers containing calcium and magnesium. It is due to the fact that this type of medium holds a part of calcium and magnesium. In such a case, the plant should be fertilized with 1/3 or 1/2 portions.
In case of hydroponic environment, the root system needs higher supply of oxygen. For this purpose, compressors and aerator nozzles are used. When fertilizing the plant, do not forget to control pH level. In case of increased or lowered pH level, cannabis bushes will not be able to extract nutrients in a due manner. For this reason, control and maintain pH level, which is a key to successful growth of marijuana. In case of plant growing in soil media, pH level should be 6.0–7.0, and in case of hydroponics, 5.5–6.5.
Step 5: Arrange a high-quality lighting system in the room
When growing cannabis indoors, you will need to arrange a high-quality lighting system. Beginners should know, that different types of lamps should be used on different growth stages. In case of cloning and vegetation, the plant should be lit with light with blue spectrum prevailing since it has a positive influence of the photosynthesis. Energy-saving lamps, LED or sodium arc lamps (DNaT) with increased share of blue spectrum may be used. Lamp power should constitute 600 W per 1 m2 of the room overall area.
Energy-saving or DNaT lamps with red spectrum prevailing should be used on the flowering stage. Such a spectrum has a positive influence on the cones which grow strong and aromatic. Thereat, the lams should be at a right distance over the plants. Using a grow box, make sure to install a small-size fan to extract excessive heat. This is why we strongly recommend to arrange a small ventilation system.
Plants on the vegetation stage, when grown outdoor, should receive sun light daily for at least 8 hours. For the plant to enter the flowering stage, 12/12 light mode should be arranged. An exception is auto-flowering strains of seeds which are less dependent on the light mode and can flower under various amounts of light. As a rule, auto-flowering strains start flowering after 1–1.5 months.
Step 6: Get familiar with seed sprouting methods
Seeds can be sprouted using various methods. At that, various technical novelties may be used, for instance, a special starter cube called Rapid Rooter. However, many growers sprout seeds using paper towels, cotton wool, or water. Most efficient and simple sprouting methods include:
- Seed sprouting in soil. This method is the simplest and most natural. Seeds should be planted into special soil containing the right balance of nutrients. Seeds should be buried at 3–5 mm depth. Seeds should be planted to well-moisturized soil and held indoors at a temperature from 21 ° to 30 °. 2–3 days later the seeds will start germinating, on a condition that they were fresh.
- Sprouting on a moist surface. In this case, seeds are placed on a wetted paper towel, wetted gauze cloth, cotton disks, sponge, or cotton wool. The surface should be moisturized with purified bottled water. The seeds placed on a moist surface, should be covered and left in a room with temperature from 22 °C to 30 °C. Check daily the sponge or other selected material the seeds are placed on, for moisture. After the descending axis develops, the seeds need to be placed into soil. Perform the transfer with maximum care. For that, use pincers, then the delicate roots will remain undamaged.
- Germination in water. This method is optimal for beginning growers since it allows to receive high percentage of germinated seeds. Seeds are placed in bottled water poured in a convenient tank. Then, this tank is placed in a room with air temperature from 22 °C to 30 °C. After the root appears, the seeds are planted into the growing medium using pincers.
- Germination in a hydrogel. This method is the most up-to-date and is used most frequently. Hydrogel keeps seeds from overdrying, and avoid excessive moisture at the same time. Prior to use, soak the hydrogel in purified bottled water and leave for 30–40 minutes for swelling. After gel gets swollen, drain excessive water and mix it to get homogeneous mass. Place the mixture into a container where the mixture would occupy 2/3 of its volume. Then place the seeds, pressing gently onto them, on the surface of the ready mix. Afterwards, cover the container with a lid or cellophane film and leave in a room with air temperature of 22–30 °C. Open the tank with the seeds daily until the seeds germinate. This way you will ensure air inflow required for the seeds.
- Combined method. This method implies a combination of different germination methods. For instance, combination of the method with water with method of germination on a moist surface.
Step 7: Pay special attention to the plants on the vegetative stage
On the vegetation stage, bushes start growing and developing actively. The plant grows upwards actively and acquires leaves. The start of the stage is indicated by the first sprouts before the light mode is changed. On this stage, the plants need large space since the formation and development of the root system takes place. This is why cannabis should be planted in pots of 25–30 liters in volume.
It is recommended to get large pots since their volume influence directly the size of the future bushes.
After vegetation starts, wait 2 or 3 weeks and start fertilizing the bushes. Use a mixture with increased nitrogen content. From personal experience, it is advisable to fertilize cannabis gradually, starting with 1/3 of the dosage and reaching 3/4 of the dosage. This way, you will not damage the root system. The plant needs a lot of light on the vegetative stage. Leave the lamps on for 18–24 hours in the room where you grow marijuana. Optimal ratio of lighting is 18/6. The plant should be under lighting for 18 hours and in the darkness for 6 hours. This lighting will make the bushes large and strong.
Step 8: Watch the inflorescences on the flowering stage
This stage is the most important in the life cycle of marijuana since the flowering influences directly the yield and quality of the forming cones. That is why growers should watch closely the plants and conditions of their growing. Light mode on the flowering stage should be 12/12. An exception is only for the auto-flowering strains of cannabis since they start flowering automatically. Also, do not forget about the temperature mode which should be as follows:
- from 26 ° to 28 °C during daytime;
- 18 °, at night.
Air humidity in the closed room should be within the range from 40 % to 50 %. Excessive humidity may cause mould on the plant. On this stage, the bushes should be watered frequently, but not amply, and fertilized as well. Keep the soil not too moist, but lightly moisturized.
Also, on this stage, female bushes should be distinguished from the male ones, since only the former produce cones. Having discovered male bushes, get rid of them right away. Experienced growers recommend to beginners to purchase female strains of marijuana. This way, you will not have to devote time, efforts, and resources to bushes just to get rid of those in the end.
Step 9: Start harvesting
No doubt that this stage is the most interesting for any grower. Before harvesting, leave the bushes in complete darkness for 1–2 days. This manipulation will reinforce the psychoactive properties of the finished product. Also, in the ripening state, the bushes are not fertilized and are watered with pure water. This way you will get rid of the fertilizer taste which may be present in the taste and odor of the cones.
Harvesting should take place on the cannabis ripening peak, when the trichomes get dark. This stage can be determined using a magnifying glass. If the trichomes turned from semi-transparent to amber or cream-white, harvesting may start. Experienced growers recommend to start harvesting when a half of the existing trichomes and pistils turned dark.
Step 10: Dry the collected cones properly
Having collected the harvest, inspect thoroughly the trusses, leaves and other parts of the plant and throw away any of those with signs of mould and damage from diseases and invaders. Good trusses should be hanged and left to dry in a dark room. Thereat, the cones should be located at a certain distance from each other, to let the air circulate freely between them. Air humidity in the room should be within the range from 50 % to 60%. Air temperature should be from 18 °C to 20 °C.
After drying, curing should take place. For that, place the dried cones into an air-tight tank and leave in a dark cool room for 2 hours. In case of condensate formation, continue cone drying. This procedure should be repeated until no condensate forms. This procedure allows you to reveal to the maximum the taste and psychoactive properties of marijuana. Also, curing allows you to remove any excessive moisture from the cones. This procedure makes it possible to get even and pleasant glowing combustion. Altogether, drying and curing of the collected harvest take about two months.
Step 11: It is important to store the collected harvest properly
Store the ready cannabis harvest in a tightly closed glass or metal tanks. Also, food vacuum containers may be used. The tanks should be placed in cool dark places. Properly dried marijuana harvest may be stored for a long time without deterioration of its taste properties.