How to Grow Cannabis at Home: The 7 Most Important Basics
If you’ve been wondering how to start your own cannabis grow at home, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll help you learn the basics of what you’ll need to grow cannabis at home. Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
Growing Cannabis From Seeds:
There are two ways to grow cannabis at home. The obvious way is from seeds. Like any other seed, you plant it and allow it to germinate. The other way is from a clone. A clone is a “cutting” (branch) taken from a single plant and amended so that it starts to grow its roots. Thus becomes its separate plant. Since the cutting was obtained from a single plant, it is an exact DNA copy of the plant from which it was taken.
There are two types of cannabis seeds available today: photoperiod and auto-flowering. The life cycle of all cannabis plants is split up into two stages.
The first is the vegetative stage. This is when the plant grows its branches and leaves. Next, it’s time for the plants to develop their body and structure. The second phase is the flowering phase. This is the stage of the plant’s life we all wait for. This is when flowers start to develop, which will form into buds. Photoperiod cannabis plants will not enter the flowering stage until they receive 12 hours of darkness daily Autoflowering cannabis plants will flower based on age. Even if left under light for 24 hours a day. Whether you are buying photoperiod seeds/clones or auto-flowering seeds, they are separated into two categories; feminized and regular.
Cannabis is a dioecious plant. This means it takes a male to pollinate a female and reproduce. Regular seeds contain males and females. Females are the only ones that produce fruit (buds). And if you want to ensure seedless buds, you should stick with feminized seeds/clones. Feminized seeds are all females. When choosing which cannabis plants to grow, these are the things to be aware of before deciding which strains you plan on growing.
Do I Need Tents?
The most simple yet practical place to grow cannabis is inside a grow tent. Grow tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most mass-produced grow tents are assembled using an interlocking tubular constructed frame you must make yourself. The canvas is fitted over the frame following all manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.
The exterior canvas of most tents usually has a black woven nylon-type material. Most tents’ interior canvases have a highly reflective foil-like (actually a stretched plastic) material called mylar (though other materials can be used). Mylar is used not just because it is highly reflective but because it reflects light evenly, preventing hot spots, and is exceptionally durable.
All tents use a zipper and flap system for closing and keeping interior light inside the tent while simultaneously keeping exterior light out. Outside light reaches a female plant in its flowering cycle, and its 12 hours of darkness can cause the plant to hermaphrodite. This is called a light-stressed hermaphrodite. One primary reason tents are so efficient and widely used is the ability to prevent this. All tents contain access ports for venting and power cord access. Upper support bars are used for hanging your grow lights as NEEDED.
If using photoperiod seeds, then two tents would be ideal. That way, one tent can be used for plants exclusively in the vegetative stage, while the 2nd tent can be devoted to plants in the flowering stage. When choosing the size of your tent, the three most important things to factor in are: the amount of space the room the tent is to be located has available, the number of plants you plan to grow, and the size of the plants you plan on growing.
What Lights Are Best to Grow Cannabis?:
When deciding which grow lights to purchase, it is essential to remember the formulation of 50 watts per square foot of increased space. This calculation will allow the optimum results available to your specific plant. There are three basic categories of lights suitable for growing cannabis indoors. The first is HID (High-Intensity Discharge).
This category of light includes HPS (High-Pressure Sodium), MH (Metal Halide), and CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide). These lights give off extreme light and require a separate ballast to power the lamp. The heat is the major drawback to this kind of light growing at home. Out of all three categories of grow lights, HIDs far and wide produce the most heat. Many different types of HID lights are available on the market today.
The ones recommended for a tent setup are the types that can connect ducting to the fixture. Ducted HID lights with some heat produced are known as cool tubes. Florescent is the second category of grow lights. They are usually sold in 2- or 4ft light bars though CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) grow bulbs are also available. Fluorescent grow lights should be used for clones and seedlings only.
They do not have enough light output to be effective for multiple plants in the vegetative stage or even a single plant in the flowering stage. The third category of grow lights is known as LEDs. LED lights are made one of three ways: Full spectrum LED which gives off a light similar in appearance to a blacklight.
Also known as “purple” LEDs, these are often the most cost-effective. Newer technology has ushered in cob LEDs and quantum boards. LED (light emitting diode ) lights usually consist of numerous single diodes mounted in line with one another.
Cob (chips on board) LED lights group these diodes into one lighting module. This can increase the lifespan as well as the overall performance of LEDs. The final form of LEDs available is known as quantum boards. Quantum board LEDs are large circuit boards with hundreds of single LEDs mounted to them. These LED lights give off a hyper-bright white (not purple) light color.
They are very bright and run cooler than traditional HID lights. When buying LED lights, it is essential to note the “true wattage” of the light you are buying. The watts a manufacturer claims can vastly differ from the actual watts drawn from the outlet. Therefore, when comparing the strength of watts per light, disregard all manufacturer claims and only go off the “true watts” or watts from the wall.
How Do I Manage Ventilation/Air Flow
Airflow and circulation are of paramount importance when growing indoors. Fans must be used to keep humidity and temperature in check and help strengthen your plants. Lack of airflow can cause a multitude of issues. Mold and overheating are the first two that come to mind. A combination of factors will determine the size and types of fans needed to keep your tent at the optimal environmental condition for growth.
For example, in a medium-sized tent running a 1000watt ducted HPS light, to achieve an ideal growing environment, one would need to install a six inline fan using six flex ducts to the light pulling cool air from outside one end of the tent, through the light and exhausting outside the opposite end of the tent.
A 4-inch inline fan uses a duct to pull outside air inside the tent to introduce a more relaxed atmosphere, and a simple 20-box fan or a 16-oscillating fan distributes air movement. At the same time, a 600-watt LED in a 2×4 tent may only require a 4-inch exhaust fan connected to a duct running outside the tent in combination with a small oscillating fan. Notably, carbon filters are made for just about every inline grow fan-produced. Therefore, installing a carbon filter to your exhaust fan line will significantly reduce any odors associated with the exhaust air from your grow tent.
What Are Mediums?:
When using the term “medium,” we refer to anything the roots cling to. This can include different types of soils and other materials (used chiefly in hydroponic setups). When growing cannabis, you have one of two options, to grow in soil or to grow in water. The “world of the soil” is quite massive.
Choosing which to go with can be a daunting task in itself. For this article, we will stick with the two major ones: organic and non-organic. Organic-based soils must contain at least 20%-25% formerly living carbon-based material. Non-organic earth can be made into organic soil by adding organic amendments. Common organic amendments that are very beneficial to the growing of cannabis include bat guano and earthworm casing. Non-organic amendments are often added as well. Such as perlite to help with drainage.
It is essential to stay away from any png soil that claims to “feed” your plant. These types of soils have time-released nutrients and are not recommended for the growing of cannabis. Growing in water is known as increasing “hydroponically.” When you are not using soil as a medium, another material must help support the plant’s structure. This is accomplished by using materials such as clay pellets or coco fiber. These materials provide the top roots of the plant, something to hold on to, while more seeds search for moisture and nutrients.
There are different types of hydroponic systems and setups. A simple Google or YouTube search can help immensely when deciding the right approach to fit your needs. Hydroponic growing does present some unique advantages. The one that I like the best is the lack of pests. While pest damage can still happen, with the absence of soil, you, in turn, have the absence of anything living or laying eggs in said soil.
Will I Need Nutrients?:
Cannabis requires specific amounts of critical nutrients to survive. Nearly all commercially available nutrients will have three numbers printed on the bottom of the label. These three numbers stand for N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus), and K (Potassium). Different levels of these three essential nutrients are needed throughout the plant’s life cycle.
For example, cannabis requires more Nitrogen during its vegetative stage than its flowering stage, where less Nitrogen and more Potassium and Phosphorous are necessary. Additional nutrients are needed as well, such as calcium and magnesium. In hydroponic setups, nutrients are added to circulating water. Nutrients can be added to the soil in a variety of ways. To name a few, you can amend soil naturally with additives such as bone meal, blood meal, bat guano, and earthworm casings.
There are also foliage sprays (which are sprayed directly to the leaves) and liquid and powdered products that can be mixed with water and applied during regular watering. There are also organic “teas.” These are unusually homemade, though some premade teas are commercially available. Teas usually consist of organic material high in vital nutrients. Homemade tea recipes are readily available online. PH should be closely monitored when mixing and adding nutrients to your plants, soil, and water.
Other Basic Supplies to Grow Cannabis:
As can be seen, cannabis plants require a certain level of attention to detail. Various tools can aid in making it a lot easier to provide the attention to parties needed to have quality plants and bountiful yields. Inside your growing space, you will want to monitor specific variables. First and foremost are the area’s air temperature and relative humidity. This can be accomplished with the use of a thermal hygrometer.
Thermal hygrometers should be left in the grow space throughout the increase. This ensures accurate readings no matter the time of day or light schedule. Another variable, just as important as temperature and relative humidity that needs to be monitored is the PH of the medium. PH levels tell us how acidic something is. Cannabis has a specific PH range in which it thrives.
These ranges can vary depending on the growing medium. It is essential to check the PH of any water you are using to water your plants (regardless of whether nutrients have been added or not). PH “stick meters” can be used to monitor the PH of soil and water.
Many different types of PH meters and thermal hygrometers are found on the market today. They are available online or at any nursery, home improvement, or grow store. In addition, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and portable air conditioners are known to be needed from time to time. Checking the humidity levels and temperature will determine whether these are required.
If these tips have helped you prepare how to grow cannabis, let us know, and join the discussion in the community!