Five Simple Steps to Growing Your Own Cannabis

by Rosana Beechum

From total prohibition, legal cannabis is quickly becoming the norm all over the U.S., with an increasing number of states legalizing both recreational and medicinal consumption. Cannabis is also legal, or at least tolerated, in many parts of Europe. So, if you currently reside in an area where it’s legal to do so, you might have decided to grow your own cannabis. This is a great idea—not only is it cheaper, but it also gives you full control over the cannabis that you grow and use, and there is now a wealth of information available to get you started. Growing your own cannabis is a fun, inexpensive way to get high-quality buds. The plant can grow in a range of climates all year round, indoors or in greenhouses.

As with all types of gardening, growing cannabis is a skill that you’ll develop over time. The good news is that it’s easy to learn, and there are plenty of resources available to help you, even if you’re new to gardening in general. There’s absolutely no reason to be intimidated by the idea of growing your own cannabis; it’s not a complicated process, and it can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you’d like. Read on to learn more about the basic steps of cultivating your own cannabis at home.

1. Choosing Cannabis Seeds:

When it comes to choosing the seeds that you’re going to cultivate, the options are many. Sativa, indica, ruderalis or an endless number of hybrids are all available at your fingertips. You can find several reputable seed bank options online. Seed Supreme, for example, is a trusted store that allows you to find and order everything you need in just a few clicks. It lists everything from regular to feminized, auto-flowering and medicinal seeds, with everything that you need to enjoy the best experience. If you’re not sure about which kind of seeds you want, it’s a good idea to think about your preferences and past experiences. Is there anything that you’ve particularly enjoyed in the past? Anything you’ve been wanting to try? Then consider your growing circumstances. Auto-flowering or indica strains usually grow better in small growing spaces, while larger spaces will be suitable for almost any plants.

2. Growth Fundamentals:

Now that you’ve gotten set up and decided on the seeds that you want to plant, it’s time to get to grips with some important fundamentals of growing cannabis. You will need over twelve hours of light in each 24-hour period, which you can control when growing indoors. You’ll also need soil or other neutral media, such as perlite, coconut coir, rock wool or vermiculite. Cannabis requires fresh, moving air to enjoy healthy growth. If you’re growing indoors, you’ll need a fresh air intake, exhaust for stale air and a fan for movement. Water, along with a soil mix that’s rich with compost, vitamins, minerals and living organisms, is also essential.

3. Understanding the Vegetative Stage:

The moment that green leaves meet the light will start the photosynthesis stage in earnest. At that point, your plants will begin to metabolize, and the vegetative stage will have begun. If you’re growing indoors, lights should be set to an 18-hour day and six-hour night routine. Bear in mind that this doesn’t have to coordinate with actual daylight hours; you can set it at times that are most suitable for you. During this stage, your plants will thrive best in organic soil, or you can feed them with nutrients that are specially designed for the vegetative phase. Plenty of fan-generated breezes will ensure that temperatures are kept under control and that your young plants are afforded the treatment that they need. You may consider adding carbon dioxide to the environment or use scrogging and low-stress training to increase the plants’ growth rate and flower potential.

4. The Blooming Stage:

Blooming, flowering, budding—they’re all the same growth stage of the cannabis plant. As the aromas begin to develop, you’re in for an exciting few months ahead. Depending on your choice of strain, you’ll also find that interesting floral arrangements are beginning to develop. The blooming or budding phase comes along with distinctive chapters common to all strains of the cannabis plant, and they will begin as soon as the vegetation stage ends. If you’re growing outdoors, you’ll usually see this stage begin once the heat of summer has passed, and autumn is approaching. If you’re an indoor grower, it’s easier for you to control when this flowering stage begins by changing the light schedule to equal amounts of night time.

5. Harvesting Your Plants:

There’s no set way to harvest a marijuana plant; the best way to do so is to see what works for you, and learn as you go along. Some people use a technique called wet trimming, which involves removing all of the leaves while the plant is still standing, before breaking it down further. Branches can then be hung out to dry, or individual buds can be placed on a drying rack. You may also want to consider removing the sugar leaves only, before harvesting and hanging the entire plant. Whichever harvesting technique you use, you should dry the buds in a dark, cool place with as little humidity as possible. Ideally, this process will take a minimum of two weeks.

Once the plants are fully dried, the branches will easily snap, and thicker ones will be slightly flexible. At that point, the chlorophyll will have degraded, and the green that dominated during the growth period will have been replaced with a range of colors, which will depend on the specific species. You can see tans, fawns, pale greens or even deeper purples and blues as the bud’s true dry colors begin to develop.


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Emerald contributor since March 2012

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