So, you want to grow your own marijuana huh? Well, I’m glad to tell you that you’ve just picked one of the most fulfilling hobbies there is. People who have already grown their own cannabis will tell you that it is relaxing, therapeutic, and even lucrative. It’s not even that difficult nor expensive since you can always get help from Mother Nature. You can always start with just one plant and take it to the next level whenever you’re ready. Then, you can add more plants, grow different strains, and experiment with different growing setups. So, shall we begin our introduction to home growing marijuana?
Table of Contents
1. Where to begin
1.1. Do your research
2. Buy your seeds and equipment
2.1 Buying seeds
2.2 What to look for on a seed bank’s website
2.3. Indoor and outdoor growing equipment
3. Germinating seeds to seedlings
4. Care and maintenance
5. The flowering stage
6. Drying and curing
We’ve already covered the topic of home growing marijuana in a few of our posts. But since this is an introduction to home growing marijuana meant for beginners, we’ll keep it short and simple so you can get started immediately.
The first order of business for pretty much everything is research and planning. If you’re totally new to home growing, here are some of our related articles you may want to check out:
- How to Buy Marijuana Seeds
- Where is it Legal to Grow Marijuana at Home in the US?
- What is a Home Grow Kit?
- The Most Common Mistakes When Growing Marijuana at Home
- The Growth Stages of the Marijuana Plant
You need to get acquainted with a lot of cannabis-related terms so that you can make informed buying choices that you will be happy with. You’ll learn those here in our introduction to home growing marijuana and other articles. You can also check out some of the best websites that you can browse for news and information like Way of Leaf (formerly MarijuanaBreak) and Leafly.
One good thing you can do is to organize your plan on paper and create a checklist. Here are some ideas of what you should note down:
- Your location – this is important especially if you are in the US. Some states prohibit home growing. If you live in one of them, you’re out of luck. Even then, if you live in a state where it is legal, there are still a lot of rules you’ll need to comply with.
- Your budget – You can always start with just one plant but you probably won’t be satisfied with your yield after waiting 8 months. But if you have the budget, you can always grow more indoor where you can have more control over how the plants will grow.
- Your growing space – the number and kind of plant you will grow will be determined by how much space you have. Some strains grow taller than others and if your plant doesn’t get enough space, you won’t get a good yield. Your growing space and location will determine if it is more suitable for you to grow indoors or outdoors.
Once you’ve done your research and have everything planned, it’s time to buy your seeds and equipment. You can always buy your seeds separately but there are also home growing starter kits that come with seeds. Some websites also let you choose the kind of seeds that come with the growing kit.
Buying seeds would be an easy task if not for all the complications brought by US marijuana laws. Each state has its own set of laws that govern the buying, selling, and possession of cannabis and its products, so you may want to check your state’s website first before buying some.
If your state allows the selling of cannabis seeds, then your local dispensary would likely have some. However, buying online seems to be more convenient and discreet which is why many prefer this route. You can buy both locally and internationally but again, because of US marijuana laws, it can be more troublesome to buy internationally. But those who can deliver to your location will most likely know how to avoid legal obstacles. These sellers will make sure that the seeds you buy will be delivered to your location safely and discreetly.
First-time home growers would probably find better success with feminized, autoflowering seeds. Feminized seeds will grow into female cannabis plants that bear flowers full of cannabinoids that we’re after. If they are autoflowering, you no longer have to change the amount of light it gets in a day to make it transition from vegetative to flowering stage. The plant will just automatically bear flowers as it matures.
Make sure that you buy from a reputable seller. You may come across websites that sell seeds really cheap, this is not always a good thing. If you make the mistake of buying seeds from shady sellers, you may end up wasting your money since your seeds may not germinate at all or may contain males. Males don’t have value if you want to grow for the purpose of harvesting flowers. Here are a couple of things the website of a reputable seller will have:
- Their company’s address, location, and contact details. Sometimes you won’t find it and that’s ok, but having full contact information and location is a better indication that a company is legit.
- Complete information on the seed’s strain.
- Partnerships with top breeders around the country.
- Availability of various modes of payment. They should also offer the option of anonymous payment methods.
- A blog and guides page for the purpose of educating their customers.
A legit seed seller will always be transparent and forthcoming to their customers. This is difficult given the current legal situation of marijuana in the US, but legit marijuana companies always try to make things easier for their customers.
Once you’ve assessed your premises and determined if you’ll be doing an indoor or outdoor setup based on your state’s laws and growing space, it’s time to choose your growing equipment.
If you live in the US and you don’t have an outdoor space that’s fenced high enough to keep your plants away from public view, it’s likely that you’ll have to go with an indoor growing setup. In most states that allow home growing, growers are still required to keep their plants away from public view in an enclosed space that can be locked and secured.
Obviously, indoor and outdoor setups each have their pros and cons but one thing is for certain: indoor setups will cost you more since you’re practically trying to replicate and outdoor environment. However, it will also give you more control over the amount of light, temperature, and airflow that your plants will be getting. If you know how to control these factors correctly, you can end up harvesting bigger, better quality buds.
Most indoor and outdoor setup kits also come complete with potting soil, fertilizer, pH tester, and even clips and strings for training the plant. You’ll probably get all that you need from start to finish in these growing kits. You can use this checklist of the essential equipment for an indoor growing setup that we’ve provided in this introduction to home growing marijuana and just add more as you like:
- Tent with reflective material inside
- Lights (LED is a good choice for beginners)
- Fans, exhaust fan
- Ducting tubes
- Seedling trays
- Potting soil
- Fertilizer pack (vegetative, flowering)
- pH tester
- Pruning shears
These are all the essentials you’ll need for an indoor home growing setup. Of course, an outdoor setup would require much less. Usually what you’ll need for an outdoor setup is just a greenhouse type tent that will allow sunlight in while providing a bit of protection from pests. After you’ve successfully grown a few plants, you may realize the limitations of these kits. By then you’ll probably want to buy equipment separately to customize your own setup.
Once you’ve bought your equipment, it’s time to germinate your seeds. The basic idea behind this is to bring the seed out of dormancy by exposing it to moisture. There are a few ways to do this but the most popular method is the paper towel method. Here you will enclose the seeds in between some damp paper towels to give them a soft and dark place to sprout. Cover it with a plate to make a protected dome-like space and wait for a day or so to germinate.
The seeds can be planted into the planting medium once they show their taproot. You can plant them in soil with the taproot pointing downward but you may want to use a rapid rooter. These help the seedlings grow better roots so they can be more resilient once they are transferred to their growing medium.
Take note, you may need to transplant the seedling once or twice until it is fully grown. This is because the seedlings will grow better if they are put in a pot just large enough to allow the roots to absorb all the water, nutrients while having ample space for it to breathe. If a small seedling is put in a large pot, the water and nutrients might settle at the bottom of the pot where the roots can’t reach it. On the other hand, a seedling cup that is too small will choke the plant’s roots. Just remember that transplanting can stress out your plant so minimize it as much as possible.
After your plant has grown a set of 4 mature leaves, you mostly just have to take care of it while waiting for it to grow flowers. Here are some of the basic tasks that you need to carry out regularly:
- Checking humidity, temperature, soil pH levels
- Turning the lights on and off, if needed
- Adding fertilizer
- Checking for pests or infections
Take note that the humidity and temperature levels, kind of fertilizer, and sometimes the amount of light that your plant receives should change as it transitions from its vegetative to flowering stages.
If you want a good harvest, you’ll need to learn how to train and prune your plant. It’s a skill that may take a bit of getting used to, but the idea behind it is simple. You need to train the growth of your plant so it can get more light, conserve space, and have better air circulation. Meanwhile, you need to prune off dead branches or those that won’t get as much light so your plant can divert all its energy to better bud sites.
There are various ways to train your marijuana plant like Screen of Green (Scrog), topping, etc. and the method you pick will depend on the kind of setup you have. Keep in mind that training and pruning introduces stress to the plant so you should do this a week or two before the flowering stage.
If you’ve followed this introduction to home growing marijuana closely and your plant made it up to the point where it’s already growing buds… Congratulations! All you need to do is to continue your routine and wait until the flowers are ready to harvest.
Knowing when is the right time to harvest can be tricky for a beginner. Usually, the breeder where you got your seeds from will recommend a harvest date. However, this will just help you approximate when you are supposed to harvest. The best way is still to inspect the bud visually with a magnifying glass. Most growers like to harvest their buds when it already looks like it’s white with frost. This is when the trichomes are milky white and full of THC that gets you high. You can also harvest a little bit after that when the trichomes are turning amber. This will give you a more relaxed, narcotic high since most of the THC has already degraded into CBN.
This is a fairly simple process that makes a big impact on the potency and flavor of your buds. Curing involves nothing more than leaving your buds in their containers at the right humidity and temperature so that its cannabinoids can continue converting into THCA, the precursor of THC. During this process, the terpenes are also preserved while it “ripens”, making the bud more enjoyable to smoke. On the other hand, quick-drying will halt this process altogether, so the slow curing process is much more preferable.
As you can see, growing your own weed does not have a steep learning curve. It’s almost no different from growing regular herbs. However, you’ll have to put more attention and effort into it if you want a good harvest and this is where it can get difficult and expensive. One thing is for sure though, even if you spend more time, effort, and money in growing your own marijuana, it will be fun and worth all of it and we hope that this introduction to home growing marijuana has helped you get started on your growing journey.