So you got your license or whatever you need to grow your own medicine. Now what? Information on growing cannabis is quickly becoming its own gardening niche, but a lot of it seems to assume that you own a multi-acre grow-op, know about supplementing your C02, and are looking for tailored spectrum lighting. Don’t despair, even the experts started out learning what size pot to use and why it was never a good idea to grow marijuana in the closet.
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I’m going to be writing for the folks who want to grow six or fewer plants, the small scale canabist. This series of articles is for you even if you are only growing a single plant. Although there’s a lot of cross over between small and large scale growing, the differences are substantial. For example, growing hydroponically in water instead of soil is more cost and work efficient on a larger scale. It’s easier to give a hundred plants their dose of nutrients by feeding it through the water supply, than by applying it to each pot by hand. But do you need this kind of system in your living room, humming over the dialogue while you binge watch Weeds?
Small is Beautiful
Scaling down takes a lot of concerns out of the mix. You don’t have to know the stats on how different ballasts for lighting compare because you can simplify when growing only half a dozen plants or less. There are quality products such as lights that are geared specifically for the scaled down grower as well as corners you can cut. And then there are the corners you had better not cut, or you’ll find your grass is closer to lawn.
What I’m going to present in this series of articles is not a definitive and all encompassing guide, but it will be enough to get you into the game. From there you can research and supplement with additional info to suit your situation, and I will be providing links to some of that stuff. Through the series I’ll be talking about sprouting seeds, sourcing soil and potting pot. Soon enough you won’t remember what life was like before you started cohabiting with your lil’ green buddies. Which brings us to the first concern… should you grow inside or outside?
Go Wild in the Country
It’s always easier to grow a larger plant outdoors if you are in the right growing zone. Marijuana used to stretch across North America, growing as a wild weed. The government applied a lengthy eradication program to bring it to its current state of controlled substance. So there is nothing exotic about growing this otherwise crazily exotic plant. It literally used to grow almost everywhere and part of its eternal beauty is how many hybrids it easily spawns.
However, there’s a lot you can’t control in the great outdoors, such as pests and weather. Varmints can dine on your dope and your mighty tree of a plant could turn out to be mostly stem. In some places, theft and pollutants are a problem. You want your bud to be as clean and healthy as possible. Basically, you need to treat this plant like a food because your ultimate goal is to ingest it in some way. So the first tip is never forget that your harvest is something you will be consuming. Clean air, soil and water are a must, most especially if you are using it as a medicine — and if that’s not guaranteed outside, then you are heading inside.
Growing Cannabis Indoors
A lot of the information in this series will apply equally to raising your lil’ buddies inside or outside. For example, your seeds need to germinate no matter where they end up. However, I’ll be giving more time to inside growing because you have to create a certain version of the great outdoors for your beanie crop. You will literally produce night and day and this is critical, because your plant is responsive to the seasons. So to grow this plant you need to turn into Mother Nature. Congratulations mom!
Congratulations and break out the pink, because all your little ones are going to be girls. It’s the female that holds most of this plant’s superpowers for reasons that I will get into a little further on in this series. What’s important right now, at the beginning, is that you are able to control for pollination since you don’t want all your beautiful bud going to seed. Generally, that is easier to do indoors than out since you don’t necessarily know if there are other plants in the vicinity.
One male cannabis plant can send out enough fine pollen dust to make sure your female plant is included in a sizable neighborhood cannabis family. If you are planting outside in favorable conditions you must never forget that cannabis is indeed a weed, because it acts like one. It’s a seed-makin’ machine which is great for someone who wants seeds, but you want buds.
Growing indoors does have its own drawbacks, such as that you must turn into Mother Nature as noted. That’s perfectly fine if you were going to be a helicopter parent anyways, because you want to check in on your sprouts daily. You’ll need to learn about and purchase a selection of equipment and your grow center will cost money in electricity. Ah yes I know, the dreaded electric bill! But things have changed radically in this department due to new developments in lighting such as LEDs. Gone are the days when you had to chose between bankrolling your grow wattage or taking your vacation.
One of the biggest problems facing the indoor cannabis grower is pests, because the plants will be somewhat stressed by their unnatural environment. As we go forward, I will be giving tips to reduce this stress as much as possible and I will provide information on products that can control or eliminate certain common pests. Since we are treating cannabis like a food, we’re going to stay organic because chemical pesticides reside on or even inside the plant long after the bugs are gone, and who wants to eat or smoke chemicals?
And so We Begin
I’m going to assume that all you have in your hand right now is the permit that allows you to grow marijuana (if you need one). And of course a joint. And OK, maybe a coffee. But what I’m getting at is, what’s not in your hand is seeds. The second article in this series is going to start looking at seeds, where to get them and what to do with them. If you know another grower who has given you a “clone,” which is just another name for a rooted cutting, then you can jump past this next post because your lil’ buddy is already up and bobbing about. For all others, its time to dig in and make this happen!