The best way to access an affordable supply of high-quality cannabis buds at any time is by growing your own. The question is, how hard is growing cannabis indoors step by step, and is it really worth the hassle? Though it may seem time-consuming at first, in the long-run, it’s well worth the investment. The main advantages are that you’ll know for sure that your buds are free of harmful chemicals, and you’ll save a lot of money along the way. So to get you off to the right start, here are a few tips on growing cannabis indoors for beginners.
Growing Cannabis Indoors Step by Step: Things You Should Know
Before rushing to purchase a lot of feminized or auto-flowering seeds, there are a couple of things you should know about growing cannabis indoors for beginners. In California, residents older than 21 can grow up to six plants at home at the same time. In Oregon, you must also be older than 21 and can grow up to four plants at home. Having said this, our advice is to start with just a few so you can understand how they grow and then improve your technique after your first harvest. This will be a learning curve and starting out can often be tricky. But fear not! After reading this complete guide to growing cannabis indoors, you’ll have all the info you need to roll your sleeves up and give it a go.
Step One: Assess Your Resources
The first step is assessing the resources you have available for your indoor grow setup. How large is your space? A small room or even a closet can do the trick, as long as it can be in total darkness for at least 6 hours in the vegetative stage and 12 hours in the flowering stage. You may need to purchase a grow tent to keep your space dark. If you do, make sure it’s big enough for at least three large planting pots, fans, and lighting too. The smallest tents available usually fit only one to two small plants, so double-check the size before buying.
The room or grow tent you set up should have easy access to power and a water source. Power is needed to keep the ventilation and lighting running according to schedule. If you choose to create a hydroponic setting, you’ll also need to keep the water running (we’ll talk about this later). An AC outlet power strip and a light timer will help you keep things running smoothly 24/7. Getting the consent of anyone you live with is also advised. The last thing you want is to get half-way through growing and then have to abandon ship because your roommates aren’t happy!
Step Two: Choose Your Growing Medium
You can grow cannabis using different types of soil or even using a hydroponic system. For beginners, our advice is to start with soil . If you already have a little experience though or you’re just feeling bold and want to take your growing to the next level, you could try using hydroponics . Many passionate growers turn to this technique because although there’s more room for errors, the yields are impressively high.
If you opt for soil, you can buy a super soil specific for cannabis. Another option is to buy any organic potting mix and add organic fertilizers to it. Adding a third of coconut coir or perlite will help give the soil a lighter texture and will allow oxygen to reach the plant’s roots. Just avoid any mediums that say slow-release or time-release because these nutrients are not a fit for the flowering stage.
Depending on the system you chose, the initial setup for hydroponics can be more expensive than soil. You must also keep in mind that hydroponic systems require mineral nutrients as opposed to organic ones and you must flush your plants with neutral pH water before harvesting.
Step Three: Choose Your Strain
This is the part where the fun begins because you can choose one of your favorite strains. Strains such as Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue #4, Girl Scout Cookies, and Sour Diesel are all ideal for beginner growers. Once you’ve picked your favorite you’ll then need to decide whether you buy cannabis clones or seeds. If you’re looking to speed up the process and guarantee a successful first grow, we’d recommend choosing clones.
By growing clones you’ll shave a few weeks off the growing process and avoid the hassle of germinating and growing a seedling. You also won’t need to worry if your plant is a male because clones are identical to the mother plant – which is always a female. Plus, if you choose the right cannabis nursery, you will always have robust and verifiable genetics. This means you’ll know exactly what strain you’re getting, with no surprises, as often happens if you opt for cheap seeds.
Step Four: Set Up Your Supplies
Now that you’ve chosen your medium and strain, it’s time for shopping. Your checklist should include the following:
Grow tent: Must be large enough to fit at least three plants, ventilation, and lighting.
Lighting: Depending on your budget, you can choose between fluorescent, HID, or LED grow lights.
Ventilation: This will depend directly on the lighting setting you choose – LED and HID usually require more ventilation.
Nutrients: these will vary depending on the medium you chose. Ideally, you should pick one for the vegetative stage (grow) and another for the flowering stage (bloom).
Gardening supplies: This almost goes without saying, but take note: soil, pots, gloves, watering source, and pruning shears to name a few.
Other supplies: Gardening pH meter, thermometer, and humidity sensor are crucial to ensure the best condition for your plants to grow in.
Magnifying glass: this will help you see the trichomes’ color when it’s time to harvest.
A carbon filter and an exhaust fan may be needed if you’re worried about the plant’s smell bothering neighbors or roommates.
Step Five: Vegetative Stage
Assuming you’re a smart grower who has decided to begin with clones, your plants will already be in the vegetative stage. You should keep your clones under at least 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness during this phase. As they grow taller, make sure to transplant them to a bigger vase, so the roots have enough room to grow healthily.
Use “grow” nutrients and check the soil to see if it’s not too damp or too dry. Although most clones are ready to start flowering after about 50 to 60 days, you can extend this phase for a couple more weeks to produce bigger plants. Keep the pH between 6.3 and 7.0, the humidity between 40% and 60%, and the temperature around 80°F (27°C). Your plants should always have access to fresh and moving air too.
Step Six: Flowering Stage
When your plants are big and strong enough to switch to the flowering stage, you can start providing them with 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. This is also the time to start feeding the plants “bloom” nutrients. Once they enter the flowering stage you can trim the larger leaves to make sure all the branches get access to light and all the buds grow nicely. Keep the temperature and pH the same and lower the humidity to around 30% to 40%.
When the little hairs called pistils start to appear, this could mean you’re almost ready to harvest. It’s crucial to make sure the hours of darkness are uninterrupted, so double-check that your room or tent has no light leaks. Use the magnifying glass to check the trichomes. As soon as they get milky/cloudy and start turning amber, it’s time to harvest!
Final Thoughts: Drying and Curing
The whole process of growing and harvesting your first batch of cannabis plants can be a challenging experience. However, if you do everything correctly, you should have at the very least a couple of buds to celebrate. Dry your buds somewhere dark, cool, and with low humidity for at least two weeks. After that, you can cure your buds in sealed glass jars for as long as you want. You can smoke it immediately, but the longer you wait, the better it gets.