Young cannabis plants need optimal conditions to grow. Let us help you with your first crop of legal marijuana for optimal yield. Learn best techniques and preparation required for cloning marijuana, plus tips to ensure optimum root development following clipping from the mother plant. Come learn how to easily grow organic cannabis at home! This article discusses soil options, seed selection, containers, and tips for ongoing care.
How To Grow Weed At Home : Easy 10-Step Guide For You
As soon as the pandemic hit, everyone was stuck at home. Everyone was looking for things other than working from home and waiting for home deliveries. It was a dream for everyone for a long time until the novelty of the idea wore off, and everyone wanted to look for new hobbies. We started looking for new things to keep us engaged and indulged.
Maybe you were also one of those people who picked up a pen or brush and started discovering your talents. Others figured that they got a green thumb and started growing plants. But, surely no one ever thought of growing weed? Is growing your own marijuana worth it? Yes, it is, especially if you indulge in smoking it. You can find stores to buy weed online legally but with growing your own weed, you will be able to learn many additional skills in gardening and farming during this process.
If you are making up your mind about how to grow weed at home, there are a lot of factors to consider. The process is not as simple as sowing a seed and letting it take its time to grow and reproduce. Weed cultivation is a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing day by day.
However, commercial cannabis or sativa plants still have a long way to go. Growing cannabis is a very long and caretaking process. Let us help you understand the process and the important factors to growing good weed at home.
However, if you live in the US, you must be cautious. Growing cannabis plants still is not legal all across the US. You cannot grow weed plants at home in some states. When growing a cannabis plant, you must ensure your respective state allows you to grow weed at home. You can find how to pass a drug test for weed on the internet.
We will help you understand the factors and steps you must take for growing a cannabis plant. Here you will find ten distinct steps to help you grow weed effectively. Let us see how growing weed indoors is a new, fun hobby to adopt.
Step 1 – Deciding the Best Cannabis Seeds or Clones
The cannabis plant can be a male plant or a female plant. Like any other plant, you need to be specific about a cannabis plant. This decision is important to determine what you want from your cannabis plants and what are the best weed strains .
Look for Female Plants
Hence, if you buy cannabis seeds from your local seed bank, you should look for a label for “Feminized Seeds.” Males give you small flowers or “Buds.” The flowers obtained from them are usually discarded and are of no apparent use.
When you grow weed from female cannabis seeds, you will get plump pungent flowers that are the primary source of THC. Hence, if you want to grow weed indoors, you should choose female cannabis seeds for a good yield. However, if you are new to growing marijuana, you can also opt for clones.
Clones are a Better Growth Option
Clones are essentially cuttings from mother plants or female plants. You can obtain these cuttings at your local nurseries. Just as they are easier to obtain, they are much easier to plant, grow, and yield in less time. You only need to plant some cuttings in the soil, and you should get most of them to grow.
But you also need to plant each clone in a separate pot. Planting these clothes directly in your garden soil can make them run rampant like wild shrubs. You can plant them in a kitchen top tray and wait till a week before you take them out in the sun. The kitchen top trays will help you limit and monitor the plant’s growth.
Step 2 – Creating the Perfect Cannabis Grow Room
No matter how enthusiastic you are about growing marijuana, you do not need a massive grow space. If you are growing weed indoors, you can use small kitchen top trays for a handful of plants. You can also use empty cabinets, unused rooms, or an attic to grow cannabis.
Whatever you decide, you should ensure that your grow space has the best conditions for growing weed indoors. Here are some useful tips to help you choose the best grow space when growing weed indoors.
Start With a Small Pot and Work Your Way Up
You only need a few plants to start and gradually work your way up to dozens of marijuana plants. Growing marijuana indoors is a skillful process, and a mandatory learning curve is involved. Marijuana plants are very sensitive during germination.
However, once your marijuana plant is mature enough, it can grow on its own at a fast pace. Germinating seeds is never easy when you are new to cannabis growing. Once your marijuana seeds start germinating or clones start developing the root system, they will soon reach the flowering stage.
However, you will need to give them space to grow once they develop into healthy plants. Once the flowering stage starts, your harvest will exponentially increase every season with increased plant growth. You will start seeing flower clusters with your cannabis growing daily.
A Clean Grow Space is Mandatory
You must ensure that your grow space for growing weed is hygienic and free of any outside pollutants. If you grow weed indoors only, the dedicated grow room must have an air filtration system for fresh air. It is to ensure that there are no airborne contaminants or insects. Hence, you will be growing cannabis just as lab-grown cannabis.
You must also clean the space around your marijuana plants to avoid bacterial or fungal buildups. You should make a weekly schedule to clean the place thoroughly and monitor the plant leaves. Furthermore, you can also protect your weed plant by spraying them with any homemade organic insecticide. Only use organic pesticides or fertilizers since marijuana can absorb toxic metals. Moreover, never use chemical fertilizers or growers as weed plants accumulate these substances in their bodies. Hence, it would be best to test the soil and its pH levels before planting.
Create a Sunlight Schedule
Direct sunlight is the most important factor for a weed plant during the growing stage. Growing cannabis can be a nightmare if the lighting conditions are not properly regulated. You need to create a check and balance for how much light they experience and for how long.
If you grow weed indoors, they need 12 hours of uninterrupted sunlight. After that, the weed plants need to rest in complete darkness, where they produce flowers that transform into buds.
Like every other living thing, the marijuana plant needs to rest. If any ambient light is seeping in from anywhere, the flowers that develop are full of seeds. These flowers do not yield smokable buds; hence it is important to create a schedule.
Sativa plants are photoperiod plants that require a strict schedule for sunlight exposure. Thus, it would be best to create a light cycle during the seed germination and growing stage. They must face both extremes of the spectrum to produce optimal results during the vegetative stage.
Additional Measures to Grow Weed
To grow cannabis at home, you must ensure that the growing environment is free of pests. You also need to ensure that no airborne invaders are involved, like bacteria, fungus, or anything else.
Another important factor to monitor is the humidity and temperature of the grow tent. To grow cannabis optimally, you need to be very specific with the temperature and humidity settings.
You must ensure that you cultivate cannabis in trays or pots that are easily accessible and manageable at any time. You can convert them into your own cannabis garden with a little more care and effort.
Step 3 – Install Cannabis Grow Lights
The primary light source is the sun itself. But no one wants to have the extra responsibility of putting your plants in and out twice a day. It is when artificial grow lights come into play.
It would be best if you allowed a reasonable budget to decide on a good lighting setup. However, it would cost you some money at the start. But once the whole system starts working on its own, you will reap good fruits with your weed crop.
It is a long-term investment to ensure the best possible weed buds. Here are some of the best lighting options to choose from.
LED Grow Lights are Ideal for Growth
If you are an avid weed enthusiast, money might not be a concern for you. If you can, choose the best possible option on the market right now. Right now, LED lights are the most preferred option among weed growers.
Marijuana grows ideally in perfect lighting conditions that are optimized according to the growing stage of the plant. LED lamps can be the most effective and energy-efficient lighting solution for your indoor weed plants.
LED lamps produce a wide array of wavelengths across the light spectrum. They use very little energy and are practically cool lights. The only drawback is that they can cost you many times more than any other lighting system. However, they are a worth-it investment in the long run. Moreover, if you decide to go for one, you should not save money on subpar, low-quality LED lamps.
Install Induction Lamp Grow Lights
Induction lamps are another option for home growers. It is quite unconventional, but many companies are now adopting them for the commercial production of cannabis. They have proved to be very energy efficient and decently effective compared to more conventional grow lights.
These lamps produce high-intensity lights and can be compared to HID (high-intensity discharge) lamps but are way more energy efficient. Although they produce heat, you need to turn your ventilation on more often.
Install HID Grow Lights
Most people use high-intensity discharge lights that can effectively optimize indoor growth. These can give you rapid results and be the most value-for-money appliance to install. However, there are some drawbacks to using it.
The first one is that they need more components to run alongside them. Hence the total cost for a HID light package can be expensive. But if you are willing to spend some extra money, they can prove to be useful for growing weed at home.
You can choose between two types of HID bulbs. It depends on what growth stage your marijuana is in. You can choose between a metal halide (MH) bulb or you can get a high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulb. MH bulbs are mostly used during the growing stages. HPS bulbs are mostly used when plants are in the flowering stages and have developed the tap root. HPS bulbs can cost more, but you should be able to get better efficiency.
HID bulbs can produce a lot of heat, so they are not energy efficient in any way. Thus, it would be best if you also kept your circulation active most of the time when using HID lamps. But if you can spend extra money, you can use air conditioning in certain areas to alleviate heat rapidly.
Install Fluorescent Grow Lights
Fluorescent lights are available at any local electrical store. They are also easier to use than the other options discussed above. They are high propagating lights and can be ideal for young plants with less yield.
These lights are also low wattage, so they do not produce any heat. Further, they do not require a lot of power to run. They will not affect the internal temperature of your growing area while still doing the job.
They might not be too effective for bigger plants. However, for a home project, they should be more than sufficient. They are the most economical option for home growers.
Step 4 – Marijuana Grow Ideally in Fresh Air
When setting up a system to grow marijuana, you need to have a good ventilation system. It is to make sure that the airflow is consistent but also that it is not too windy. It is to ensure the flowers can pollinate easily without any outside help.
Create a Ventilation System
You can create a ventilation system yourself. Just make sure that you place the exhausts strategically. You do not need to place too many fans. Just enough to create a gentle airflow.
For this purpose, you can use box fans, bracket fans, wall-mounted oscillating fans, etc. Place them strategically so that they work effectively with each other. It is to ensure that the temperature does not rise due to CO2 buildup.
We all know that warm air is lighter and rises. A good ventilation system helps by pushing out hot air and pumping in fresh cool air. You can achieve this by mounting your outtake exhaust a little higher. Your intake valve should be a couple of feet higher than the ground.
It will ensure that your indoor grow room has a fresh supply of CO2 and oxygen at all times. Further, this also regulates temperatures for your young plant growing indoors. Indoor growers need to maintain the optimal temperature range for their cannabis indoors during the vegetative stage.
Most cannabis varieties flourish in cool temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit when in sunlight. But most strains like indica grow best at night in temperatures around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This optimal temperature happens when you switch off the lights and leave them to rest.
Step 5 – Create a Monitoring and Control System
The next step in how to grow weed is to create a closed monitoring system where you can control everything. The system needs to be automated if you cannot tend to your plants for a few days. The system also needs a backup power supply to keep the alarms and sensors running in case of power outages.
Install a Thermostat
You need to install five basic apparatus to keep your plants growing at the best temperature. You need a thermostat, outlet exhaust, inlet fan, light sensors, and LED grow lights. A thermostat is installed to monitor the temperature inside the grow room continuously. This thermostat is set to turn on the ventilation system to bring in the fresh cool air.
It helps you create a stable temperature zone inside your designated grow space. It also helps you control the humidity as well. Further, when you automate the ventilation system, you are essentially saving energy and reducing the cost of production.
Automate a Watering System
You also need to set timers for your watering systems, especially when the cannabis plants are in vegetative growth. The watering system needs to be optimized to water during optimal hours when the plants need it most. Over watering can cause the yellowing of dark green leaves.
Install Light Radars or Sensors
You cannot possibly be always there to put the plant in the dark and bring them out in the sun every day. For this, it would be best to install a self-sliding roof to let in sunlight when it’s time. You can automate the roof with a timer to automate and strictly monitor the sunlight exposure for the plants.
Usually, when you grow marijuana indoors, they need sunlight for at least 15 to 18 hours a day during the growing age. When they are mature enough and reach the flowering stage, they need 12 hours of darkness. Hence, it is important to regulate the sunlight exposure when growing cannabis indoors.
Monitor Soil pH
Cannabis plants are very pH sensitive and need constant pH control. For this, you need to ensure the quality of the water. If you are using ordinary soil, you should try to maintain the pH between 6 and 7.
If you use a pH meter, look for the sweet spots of 6.2 and 6.5. Further, if you use hydroponic systems, you should aim between 5.8 and 6. Hence, these pH ranges can guarantee optimal growth and yields. Still, you should install a pH monitor for ease.
Step 6 – Be Creative and Know How to Grow Weed
You can grow cannabis indoors as well as outdoors. If you grow indoors, you can use ordinary soil, or you can use a hydroponic system. It mostly depends on your personal preference and ease of maintenance.
However, in whatever way you decide, you should be confident and stick with your decision. Any process can be effective. But, if you want to save money and are just starting, it is better to use organic soil.
Hydroponic solutions can be very hard to manage and have more associated risks. So a newbie should start with soft peat as a growing medium.
Organic Soil vs. Hydroponic System
Soil is abundant and is always inexpensive. You can easily acquire good nutrient-rich soil from your nearest river bank or freshwater pond. But it would be best if you were vigilant about any inorganic industrial waste present at your soil’s source.
You can get better results with high-quality coco peat, which is airy and less dense than your traditional soil. It can offer more nutrients and help seeds germinate and grow much faster. However, it would be best to fertilize them more frequently than when you plant them in regular soil.
If you use animal manure for fertilizer, beware of the chances of adding unnecessary bacteria and harmful organisms. However, there is another more advanced growing system called a hydroponic setup. In it, you grow your plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution that ensures rapid growth with abundant yields.
Hydroponic solutions can give you a much more reliable delivery system for nutrients, but the chances of error in it are also very slim. You can get ideal growth and yield if everything is done according to the book. But there is no room for an error contrary to the soil.
Step 7 – Choose Appropriate Containers to Grow Marijuana Plants
Whenever you plan to grow your marijuana, you should be very cautious about the location and vessel of planting. Cannabis can be rampant if left to grow in the wild with unlimited land. It is why you must decide how many plants you want to grow. You can start with five plants since that would be enough for personal use.
Choose Containers Carefully
It would help if you also decided on how much you want your plants to grow. You can start with small cups and work up to half-foot pots. You also need to limit your plant growth every time they grow twice their size.
It would help if you used a wet paper towel for germinating your seeds. Afterward, you can put them in organic peat in a small pot. It would be best if you were very considerate of your final growing station.
You need one-gallon soil per foot length of your plant. However, make sure the soil has good water drainage. You can also opt for pre-filled soil kits that ensure increased airflow, better water drainage, and absorption.
Step 8 – Love Your Cannabis Plants by Giving Them Organic Nutrients
Every plant needs its fair share of proper nutrients to grow effectively. Weed needs some extra attention when it comes to nutrients. It is the most important growth factor for cannabis after good lighting conditions.
You can get premium-quality cannabis buds if you provide them with proper nutrients that help develop flowers. Although marijuana can grow in harsh conditions, it does not ensure the best yield. Hence, you need to use the best organic soil to get the best yield out of your harvest.
The most important macronutrients include nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. You can get these nutrients pre-packaged. But you can also create organic home fertilizers to fulfill all these nutrients.
You can also buy a pre-packaged super soil mix fortified with all these nutrients. You can always replenish the soil afterward. However, it would help if you did your homework about the nutritional needs of your specific weed strain. You can always create your custom nutrient feed with measured quantities of the above nutrients.
Step 9 – Cannabis Plants Loves Water
Every amateur home botanist thinks that every plant needs a lot of water. But, in reality, plants do not consume water as humans do. Hence, you must be very vigilant when watering your plants. It would be best if you were extra careful when watering weed plants.
Although some plants can grow optimally in large water ponds like rice, cannabis does not need too much water. Cannabis plants love water and can store a lot in their body.
Avoid Watering Too Much
Cannabis is very sensitive to air circulation, and too much water can affect that circulation around the roots. They show stunted growth if they do not get enough air circulation or if the humidity is too much. It can also affect flower production.
You need to measure your plants’ water intake. It depends on several factors. For example, the size of your plant, the stage of growth, the rate of growth, and the season as well. If it is summer, they will require more water.
But you also need to ensure that the growing vessels have enough holes to allow extra water drainage. It prevents any pest or germ culture growths. You must also install RO (reverse osmosis) filters to distill your water and avoid excess chlorine or harmful inorganic chemicals.
It would be best to synchronize your watering cycle with the internal temperature and humidity meters. It will help you determine the speed at which the soil dries out. This way, you can save water and optimize your plant’s growth.
Step 10 – Take Care of Your Home-Grown Cannabis
No matter how much of an enthusiast you are, you cannot keep an eye on your weed plants every time. But there are many ways you can ensure you do every step of automation to keep the process in check. But how do you grow weed ideally in a home DIY situation?
Invest in Automated Monitoring Appliances
If you have spent a considerable budget on alarms, meters, and thermostats, you would only need to maintain them. You only need to re-calibrate or reconfigure your thermostats. Moreover, it would help if you ensured that the backup power supply is always available.
You can also automate the power supply and save money by installing several solar panels. These can save your power expense substantially. Likewise, you must ensure that the water reservoir has a fresh water supply and is purified.
Eliminate Male Plants
You also need to know what plant sex you are growing and what yield you expect. Let go of any males and grow more females to get premium buds. You must also learn to differentiate between the two and eliminate male growths.
You can use a pre-feminized seed for germination. But if you want to know the basic difference, males have banana cluster-like pollen sacs. The females have calyxes, which have a white hair-like structure.
Another thing to learn is when to transplant a seedling into a bigger pot. Additionally, you also need to learn the proper light cycles of every plant, especially around the flowering season.
Bonus Step – Avoid Stressing Your Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants can get stressed easily, so you must acclimate them to different climate conditions, including rain and sunlight. Once your clones develop roots, you can take them for bright shade in the sun. Furthermore, it would help if you gradually put them out in the sun for a limited time before trying direct sunlight.
Ideal Sprouting Season
The ideal season for growing marijuana outdoors is from April to October. Hence, starting with seeds in the fall, you will not get enough flowers for a good yield. The flowering cycle would be short. You will get the same flowering phase if you plant cannabis seeds mid-season.
Thus, you can start by planting a healthy clone with multiple solid branches. It will induce flowering in the blooming season, and you will have enough buds to enjoy. However, you must be careful with how you plant them and what soil mix you use with each clone.
What Do We Think About Cannabis Growing?
Marijuana has been a part of many cultures throughout human history. Every culture has its own way of harvesting and using this wonder plant. But in the last century, doing and growing weed has been considered taboo. However, this needs to change.
Growing Cannabis Indoors Should Be Legalized
Growing weed has been illegalized and regulated so much that even amateur growers worry about getting caught. However, many states are legalizing its harvesting at small scales and domestic sales. But still, the superstitions about weed’s adverse or addictive properties should be crushed.
This plant has existed and survived among many civilizations. But no one ever thought of banning it, burning it, or confiscating it then. Also, if you live in specific states, you can get a small-scale license easily and start growing your own cannabis.
If you want to grow weed in the back of your garage, you will surely need to get a license. If you already grow weed as a hobby, you would most probably have some knowledge about this special plant. For all newbies, you must love the care and hard work that goes into harvesting and growing these plants. You have to be patient as indoor cannabis plants need lots of care and maintenance.
Enjoy the Whole Process
Growing cannabis or any plants at home is a very indulging experience. You always learn new things with every new harvest. You develop a certain affection and empathy for the farmers who grow weed on a large scale every day.
If you grow weed as a hobby, you learn a lot about botany in general. Also, you develop a relationship with these plants just like a pet. The more love and care you give these plants, the better yield you can get from cannabis grown indoors.
Surely the process of germination to harvesting is a long and tedious one. But believe me, it will be worth it once you go through the curing process. Once you create your first joint with these potent buds, it will all be worth it. But, above all, this is a fun hobby and should not be pushed too much. Growing great weed at home is a trial and error process. If you are not one of those professional growers, you only need a few plants to rely on.
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Continue reading this BudPop’s Delta 8 flower review to learn more about the products that this company sells.
Cloning Marijuana: How to Grow Cannabis Without Seeds
Cloning is a bit of a hot-button issue in the world these days. Only as far as cloning humans is concerned though. That’s fair enough considering all the moral, ethical, and spiritual considerations that come along with premise of replicating a human life. There’s no such questions to be debated in the botany world, and cloning plants has been done with much success for decades now. For example, cloning marijuana is an example of this approach to growing plants is a hit with home grow enthusiasts around the world.
You CAN grow a marijuana plant from a seed, but if want the same strain with exactly the same properties, and in some case the same unique characteristics, then you will need to clone it. If you ask an expert about how this process works, be prepared to absorb a LOT of information.
But ask them how to make clones from weed plants and you’ll find it’s quite straightforward. Not as easy as it is to buy marijuana clones, but those of you who like being hands-on with your home grow experiments will want to give cloning marijuana a try.
Cloning Marijuana Guarantees an Identical Plant
An overview of cloning marijuana will explain how it involves cutting of a small piece of an existing marijuana plant and then having that plants develop its own roots . The cut piece of plant will have the same gender and exact same genetic structure as its donor plant, meaning that the plant that eventually regrows itself from the cut piece will too .
Let’s say you have a particular marijuana plant that’s especially healthy and hardy and gives you a bountiful yield of exactly the type of bud you love . Would the sound of having a number of those EXACT same plants sound good to you? Darn right it would, and if you have that plant then achieving this is entirely possible.
Other advantages to cloning marijuana include:
- Expanding on your crop at no additional cost – asides from basic supplies, making clones is free
- The ‘head start’ that clones have in comparison to seedlings, meaning in the big picture that they’ll be at their flowering stage more quickly
- Better choice for those hoping to practice Sea of Green or 12/12 from seed techniques due to clones already being mature and able to be oriented to the flowering stage immediately
Cloning Marijuana: Guidelines
The first consideration you’ll need to have when cloning marijuana is that a ‘mother’ plant will be required to get the clones from. Obviously, choosing a female plant that displays signs of vigor and good health is best. If you have one of those you’ve likely at least mastered the basics of how to grow marijuana, but now you’re about to start down a whole new path.
Here’s a list of the primary supplies you’ll need:
Sharp scissors – You’ll need these to clip your clone pieces from the mother plant, as well as for future defoliation and trimming once your clones have grown into being their own plants
Starter cubes – these are also essential, as they’ll be the homes for your clones while they develop their own roots
Cloning Gel or Cloning Powder – These products are good because they provide a sealant around the cut plant tissue and then supply it with the hormones required for optimum root cell development
Proper lighting – This will be very well understood if you already know how to grow cannabis, but we’ll go over it again briefly in case it’s not. Natural sunlight is best of course, but that’s not possible for many growers much of the time. If that’s your situation, T5 grow lights are the best for clones and seedlings, and especially when suspended 8 or 9” above your clones.
Depending on your situation you may need more supplies, but everyone who’s going to try cloning marijuana will need these four.
Taking Your Clones
Alright, we’re now going to assume that you’ve got your healthy mother plant and all the supplies you need to start. The first thing you’ll do is determine the readiness of your mother plant. There is one basic criteria for this; if the leaf shoots or nodes of the plant are alternating (which means not connecting at the same point on the stem) it is mature and ready for cloning.
Next, soak the starter cubes in water for just a few minutes. No longer. This is important – soak them too long and you’ll reduce the effectiveness with which they’ll promote the clones developing a good root.
Now let’s get down to the hands-on part of how to make clones from weed plants. You want to clip new growth tips on the plants, where there is a new branching and a new top. It is also better to take your clippings from the lower half of your plant, as these leaf shoots have more rooting hormones than those higher up. They will grow roots more quickly because of these hormones.
These growths should be easy to identify being right on the top and often a much lighter green in colour.
Now, with scissors in hand, prepare to make your cut:
- Use your thumb and index finger to grab the shoot an inch or so below the new growth tip
- Eyeball your new cuttings so that they will be between 5 to 8” long, so you will be cutting 5-8” below the growth tip
- Hold it steady as you take the scissors and proceed to cut the branch away at a 45-degree angle
- After making the cut, use the sharp inside edge of one of your scissor blades to ‘scuff’ up the area just above your cut. This will expose more of the stocks ‘raw’ genetic material inside it and aid in the cloning process
Immediately after this you should place the cutting into a glass of water, and do the same for all cuttings you take. After a short period of time you can remove them and trim off huge lower leaves or clip top fan leaves. Return to the water right after doing so.
Once removed, if you’re going to use cloning gel or cloning powder now is the time. If not, proceed to place your new clones into moistened starter cubes. Press around the bottom of them to ensure they’re well sealed.
The last tip here is to keep your resettled clones out of grow lighting for the first couple of days to give them a chance to settle. No longer than 2 days though. And once you do start to give them lighting, don’t give them 24 hours of it. 16-18 hours a day is better.
Just like that you’ve got no need to buy marijuana clones, you’re now sufficiently in the know to create your own using nothing more than your existing crop and a few supplies.
How To Grow Cannabis Organically: Seeds, Soil, Containers & Care
The topic of “how to grow cannabis” has such a funny vibe about it. If you browse around online, you’ll see there are many cannabis growers with extremely strong opinions about “the right way” to grow cannabis, though all of their methods vary… Esoteric language, expensive supplies, and complicated recipes or instructions are often used, making it a very intimidating and confusing subject for new home growers.
I am here to hopefully take some of the mystery out of it for you! The methods we choose to use for growing cannabis here at home are pretty dang simple! Sure, there are some steps to follow and supplies to gather, but growing cannabis is not all that more complicated than growing high-quality organic food at home. Or at least that is how we approach it. All you need is rich healthy soil, a large container, and either cannabis seeds or started seedlings – called “clones”.
Read along to learn about our preferences for soil, containers, seeds, and how to get started growing cannabis at home, organically!
This article will get you started with your growing season, then check out the follow-up posts for ongoing care – with tips on routine fertilizing, organic pest control, and how to harvest, dry, and cure your cannabis too. Keep in mind that our goals are not all about high yields. The goal is to grow safe, high-quality, organic cannabis that we can utilize and enjoy with peace of mind – knowing how it was treated from “bean to bowl”. It is about quality over quantity, though we end up with more than enough anyways!
This post is intended for people living in states who are legally allowed to grow cannabis at home, either medicinally or recreationally. If you have any questions about this, please refer to your local cannabis regulations. Note that today’s post is also geared around growing cannabis naturally outdoors, so I will not touch on light deprivation or indoor grow set-ups. I do plan to write an indoor grow guide in the near future, but most of the tips in this article can easily be applied to an indoor grow too!
Where to get cannabis seeds or clones
Keep in mind that cannabis has not been legalized at the federal level – with the exception of low-THC, high-CBD hemp. Therefore, even if you live in a state that has legalized marijuana, shipping cannabis seeds and products across state lines is technically still illegal. But it is commonly done nonetheless. To my knowledge, people buy cannabis seeds online fairly easily and without issues. However, if cannabis is legal in your state, the most safe and “by the book” way to procure seed or started plants (clones) is from a licensed cannabis store.
Here are a few reputable places that discreetly sell cannabis seeds online:
– A popular ‘seed bank’ with a huge selection, including CBD! (money order only) (autoflower seeds only) (based out of the Netherlands, ships to US) (UK, ships to US)
Keep reading to the “Cannabis Growing Conditions” section below for information on exactly when and how to start cannabis seeds (or plant clones).
Feminized, Regular, or Autoflower Seeds
Cannabis comes in many shapes and sizes! Obtaining feminized seeds or plants guarantees that they will flower. Aka – they’ll grow buds. “Regular” seeds could grow up to be males. They’re pretty useless unless you want to breed plants. Any males in vicinity will pollinate your female plants, make them produce seeds in the buds, and reduce their THC development. Most people cull the males before they produce pollen to avoid this. We grow with feminized and sometimes regular seeds too.
If you do grow regular seeds, see this article to learn how to determine the sex of your cannabis plants in the early pre-flower stages. You may also want to start regular seeds a few weeks earlier than you would feminized seeds, which allows for ample time to ID the ladies (or gentlemen).
For a super-quick growing season and small, manageable plants, you could try autoflower cannabis types. Autoflowers are available in feminized, sativa, and indica options too.
Young cannabis seedlings we started from seed. If the seeds are ‘regular’ (not feminized) we usually pot them up into larger nursery pots (shown in the background on the right) until we can identify if they’re male or female. Once we identify the ladies, then they are transplanted into their final grow bags, shown on the left. If this sounds too involved, stick with feminized seeds to start!
Strains: Sativa vs Indica
Sativa-dominant plants are typically more uplifting and energizing. Sativa plants also get taller, lankier, and take longer from seed to harvest. Indica-dominant strains finish a little faster, pack on fatter buds, and are generally shorter and wider plants. These make them a preferable variety for northern climates with shorter growing seasons. Indica is also known for more of a mellow, sleepy, heavy, couch-lock kind of vibe.
We generally prefer uplifting, happy, energetic sativa-dominant hybrids – ones that are balanced with enough indica to keep things smooth, relaxing, and still make for a great night of sleep. “Maui Wowie” is a long-standing favorite here, and “Rosetta Stone” is our new go-to lately.
Beyond all of these broad categories, each strain will also have unique attributes that may make it more or less desirable to you. Find what suits your needs! What works for us may not be what works for you. To read more in-depth on the differences between sativa, indica, and autoflowers (including their health benefits) check out this post.
Autoflower cannabis plants in the greenhouse, in smaller 5 gallon smart pots. They take up far less space, and time!
THE PERFECT CANNABIS SOIL
If you checked out our post about how to build the perfect organic soil for raised beds, our methods for building the perfect cannabis soil isn’t all that different. We’re shooting for something that is rich, biologically active, full of micronutrients, and has an excellent balance between moisture retention and drainage. Reference that raised bed soil post if you want to dive deep into detail, but otherwise here is a quick-and-dirty for cannabis soil:
I’m going to give you all two options below. One is a little more involved, which is crafting your own soil from scratch. This is what we do. The second option uses pre-made soil, and requires less ingredients and steps upfront.
Either way you choose to go, please note that we follow a no-till method. That means the soil is a one-time upfront cost, aside from some amendments you’ll need on an ongoing basis. Those last a long time before needing replenishing too! At the end of a growing season, the mature cannabis plant is cut down at the soil line, and the roots left in place to decompose over the winter with the aid of worms and light moisture. The soil is used year after year in the same container, improving with age. This is also called ROLS – recycled organic living soil.
Here are two of our 25-gallon cannabis grow bags, full of recycled organic living soil. These are kept in a shed over winter (and some outside too), and kept alive with an occasional light watering. The soil is reused the following season.
Option 1: Our Organic Cannabis Soil Recipe
Combine the following ingredients. If you plan to fill several large containers (like grow bags – discussed below) then it may be easiest to mix all of these in a very large tote or even spread out on a tarp, and then add some to each bag. Note that it is best to pre-moisten the peat moss before mixing it with everything else. Peat tends to be hydrophobic when dry, and can make your soil less likely to absorb water well if it is mixed without wetting first.
- 1 part Canadian sphagnum peat moss (We often use Roots Organics or Premier – both found at our local ‘grow shop’.)
- 1 part high quality compost (We love Malibu’s Biodynamic Compost, but it’s only available on the West Coast. There is a similar East Coast option by Coast of Maine. You could use aged homemade compost, or shop around to see what is available. Maybe there is a local worm farm in your area?)
- 1 part aeration additive (We prefer 3/8-inch Lava rock, aka lava cinders. You could use pumice or perlite instead.)
Evenly mix in the following amendments:
, ½ cup per cubic foot of soil* , ½ cup per cubic foot of soil , ½ cup per cubic foot of soil , 2 cups per cubic foot of soil , 1 cup per cubic foot of soil , 1 cup per cubic foot of soil
- A handful of worm castings and a few compost worms, if possible
- Optional: Biochar, 2-4 cups per cubic foot of soil
*In the recipe above, when I mention the amendment amounts “per cubic foot of soil”, I mean the total combined volume including peat moss, compost, and aeration. Also note that all of these amendments are things we also use in the garden, and last many seasons!
Curious about what all these things are for?
Kelp meal contains over 70 different vitamins and minerals. It helps promote overall plant health, vigor, and tolerance to stress, pests ,and disease. It is also a renewable, sustainable resource – so that’s a huge plus.
Neem meal enhances microbial activity, making your soil even more alive! It also strengthens root systems, and can help control unwanted nematode populations, fungus, and soil pathogens.
Crab or Crustacean meal is high in chitin, which stimulates the soil food web and beneficial microbe activity. It may also help combat root knot nematodes. This meal contains both macro and micronutrients as fuel for the plants.
Rock Dust contains micronutrients and trace minerals that are essential for a plant’s core biological processes to work at their strongest, such as nutrient uptake and photosynthesis.
Gypsum contains calcium and sulfur, and helps the plant better utilize and uptake potassium, which is one of the key macronutrients that all plants depend on for life. In the “NPK” ratio for all fertilizers, the K stands for potassium. Adequate potassium availability and uptake enables plants to photosynthesize, produce energy and important enzymes during growth, and also assists with water uptake and drought resistance.
Oyster shell flour is an excellent source of calcium for the plants, as well as phosphorus. Adequate calcium carbonate protects plants from heat stress, makes them more resistant to disease and pests, strengthens plant cell walls, and increases nutrient uptake and overall vigor. Oyster shell flour also acts as a pH buffer.
Here is a little video of our organic living soil in action:
A note about peat moss:
Peat moss gets some flack for being not very sustainable. However, it also gets some of the best reviews and results for growing cannabis. Cannabis likes very slightly acidic soil, which peat moss naturally is. It is also an incredibly common ingredient in almost all bagged soil, so it’s hard to avoid in the gardening world. Aaron put together our soil before we were fully aware of the environmental concerns. Because we are reusing and recycling it each year, the best thing for us is to continue utilizing it!
Some people who grow cannabis choose to replace the peat moss portion of this recipe with coco coir, which is a more renewable, sustainable material. I can’t speak to its effectiveness because we haven’t used it for cannabis, though we do add a little coco coir to our raised beds sometimes, and also use it as bedding in our worm bin. Honestly, we have heard not-so-great results and read numerous studies that show coco coir has inferior performance to peat moss.
Option 2: Use Pre-amended Bagged Soil
If mixing up all those amendments sounds a little too “extra” for you, you could do the following instead:
Use mostly pre-made, high-quality, bagged organic soil. If you have access to it, try to add in a little rich aged compost, worms, worm castings, and/or aeration too! Experiment with building your own soil, with a premade base. Check out this post on how to start a super simple worm bin, if you’re in need of worm castings! They can also be purchased.
For this method, you could skip a lot of the additional amendments upfront, though you’ll still want to add some as the growing season progresses. Cannabis is a hungry plant! The choices and availability of bagged organic soil options will vary depending on where you live. If you can, get top-of-the-line stuff – it is going to be more pre-amended for you.
Examples of popular cannabis soil brands to keep an eye out for are Roots Organics products, Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest/Happy Frog, or Recipe 420 by E.B. Stone. Even some of the Kellogg or G&B Organics could work well, especially when premium compost is added. Check to see if there are any hydroponic stores or “grow shops” in your area. Those stores cater to cannabis growers, and are more likely to carry premium bagged soils over the stuff at big box nursery centers.
Now that you have a soil choice in mind, what are you going to put it in?
CONTAINERS FOR GROWING CANNABIS
We prefer to grow our cannabis in grow bags, and I’ll explain why below. If you want to stick your plants in garden beds or right in the ground, be my guest! This is just what works for us. Check out how to build a durable and deep raised garden bed here.
Benefits of Grow Bags
The preferred container for growing cannabis for many people, ourselves included, is in large fabric grow bags. As opposed to a hard-sided container, they promote better aeration, drainage, and even moisture. Solid containers like 5-gallon buckets could be used, but have the tendency to be drier on top and soggy on the bottom. Grow bags also accomplish something called air-pruning. When the cannabis plant’s roots near the edge of the bag, the exposure to air naturally prunes them back. This is a way to keep the plant happy and healthy in its given container, naturally limiting itself and keeping the roots healthier. In contrast, a solid container allows the plants roots to continue to grow in circles around the container and themselves – becoming root bound. This is not a good thing.
Grow bags are great because they allow people to grow cannabis in a variety of living situations, be it on a patio, indoors, or in a greenhouse. By using a container, you have ultimate control over the soil you choose to fill it with.
Additionally, you can make them mobile! We make rolling dollies to sit all of our cannabis grow bags on, out of 2×6’s and heavy-duty casters. See the photos below. That way, we can easily roll or rotate the large (and heavy!) plants out of our way or into better sun as needed. If you do the same, make sure you get casters that are rated for at least 50 to 80 pounds of weight per wheel, minimum. Ours are 2″ and okay for the flat patio, but 3-inch wheels probably would have made it even easier to move.
Our DIY dollies with casters. Three redwood 2×6 boards are held together by a supporting 2×4″ in the opposite direction, screwed into each board. To catch runoff, we use large plant saucers. This one is 25-inches (top rim to rim) and can hold the 25-gallon grow bags that are 21″ at the bottom. Lava rock is sitting in the bottom of the saucer to keep the grow bag from sitting in standing water.
Grow Bag Brands and Sizes
The bags we prefer to use are the Smart Pot brand, or GeoPot. These are extremely durable and long-lasting. You get what you pay for. We have used cheaper grow bags in the past and they rip and degrade within a season or two of use. Smart Pots will last for years and years. We have bags that are three years old and still as good as new. Call me silly, but I also love being able to choose tan or brown colored bags. I like a pretty garden space and prefer the look of those to the stark black choices.
The size of your grow bag will dictate the size of your cannabis plant, and its health. Obviously, the size of your space will determine how big of bags you can use too. The smallest I would suggest for a traditional photoperiod plant is about 15 gallons. We generally use 20-gallon or 25-gallon bags for those big girls.
If you have a lot of room and want really large plants, you could go even larger! On the other hand, if you are growing autoflower cannabis plants, a 5-gallon or 7-gallon bag would work just fine. Not sure what the difference between a photoperiod and autoflower cannabis plant is? Check out this post that explains it all.
Okay, we have our soil and our bags… now on to the most important part of this post: the cannabis itself.
See how big they can get? Those are our Maui Wowie girls. Also note the DIY dolly below the grow bags. We can easily roll them aside when we want to enjoy our patio space, and put them more in the middle when we’re not outside.
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CANNABIS GROWING CONDITIONS
In most places, cannabis seeds are started indoors in March or April, and transplanted outside in April or May once the risk of frost has passed. Basically, cannabis seedlings need to be protected from freezing or other harsh conditions – just as any other seedling does! If you aren’t sure about your area’s frost dates, stop by this article. In it, I share veggie seed-starting calendars for every USDA hardiness zone. For cannabis, you can essentially follow the timing recommendations for tomatoes (but on the later end of the given windows).
Depending on the strains you are growing and your summer daylight hours, the average cannabis plant will continue to grow larger in size (in its vegetative state) until the days begin to shorten and it receives less than 12 hours of sunlight per day (e.g. after summer solstice). Then, it switches into its flowering stage and begins to develop buds. Most outdoor cannabis plants will be ready to harvest in September to October. The exception to this would be for autoflowers, which can start and finish their entire life cycle in as short as 3 months.
Starting cannabis from seed
We prefer to grow from seed. Once we obtain seeds, we treat them pretty much like any other garden seed! They’re germinated in 4” pots full of seedling start mix, inside on a heat mat. Keep the containers covered and moist until they sprout. Ideal germination temperature is around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
After sprouting indoors, cannabis seedlings need strong bright light – such as that provided by a supplemental grow light. Unfortunately, a sunny window will not provide enough light, and the plants will get extra tall, weak, and leggy. Once our seeds pop indoors, we move the cannabis seedlings to our greenhouse for a few weeks before going fully outside. We also use lights for growing autoflowers in the off-season in the greenhouse. (See this article for more information about choosing and using grow lights.)
To read more in-depth information about how we start seeds, check out our seed starting 101 post!
Cannabis seedlings in our greenhouse, being treated just like the peppers, eggplants, and other garden plants!
Note that you do not need a greenhouse or fancy supplies to start cannabis! If you don’t have a heat mat, I suggest pre-soaking the seeds in non-chlorinated water overnight before planting. This will aid in germination. In lieu of seedling start mix and little pots, another option is to germinate the seed inside a moist root riot cube, then plant the whole cube in its final grow bag after it sprouts. If you aren’t equipped to raise seedlings indoors for several weeks, plan to start in late April to early May. Most locations will be adequately warm enough by then for the seedlings to go right outside after germination (or to sow seeds directly outside, if you wish).
Once they’re a few weeks old and the weather is right, we transplant our seedlings outside to their final large grow bag. When they are transplanted, we sprinkle some mycorrhizae in the planting hole and on any exposed roots. Mycorrhizae enhances nutrient uptake, and disease and drought resistance. If you did have your seedlings indoors under lights for a few weeks, don’t forget to properly harden them off before moving them outside! This helps to strengthen them and prevent transplant shock.
If you are growing from clones instead (such as those you purchase at a local dispensary, or obtain from a friend), you can skip straight to potting them into grow bags outside.
Some young cannabis plants, recently transplanted into their final large grow bags. The small support stakes will be replaced with larger ones as they grow.
Sun and Support
Full sun is best! If you have a wide open location that receives full sun all summer and into fall, you’re in luck. We have changing sun patterns, with some shade from our house and trees to contend with. That is the beauty of putting the grow bags on dollies – we can move them around to receive the most sun possible as the seasons change.
Provide support for the main stalk with a sturdy stake. As the plant gets larger and starts to put on bud weight, you may find the need to further support individual branches. This will depend on the strain. Some growers get crazy with their support and training systems! We start with a small stake for seedlings (shown above) and then swap it to a 5 or 6-foot tall stake as the plant matures.
In regards to water, the goal is to provide consistent, even moisture. Do not let the soil completely dry out between watering, but don’t drown it out either. As with many things, this will vary a lot depending on your climate. If you’re in a very hot and arid place, you will need to water more frequently than someone in a cooler coastal climate like ourselves.
As the plant grows and the root ball gets larger, it will drink water faster and therefore need more, and more often. I will write a follow up post about watering and fertilizing (which often go hand-in-hand) throughout the growing season soon.
If possible, use dechlorinated water. It isn’t a deal-breaker, but the plant and soil microbes will definitely appreciate it. If you are on city tap water, allowing a bucket of water to sit out overnight can help the chlorine dissipate. We mostly use our captured rainwater. Another option is to use a simple hose carbon filter to remove chlorine.
Mulch the top of your grow bag to maintain a healthy soil. We love using biodynamic accumulators that not only provide moisture retention, but will later break down into more nutrients and energy for the cannabis. Some examples of biodynamic accumulators are borage, comfrey, yarrow, and dandelion greens. Fava bean greens are also excellent for green mulching, since they’re nitrogen fixers! If you don’t have access to these types of plants, straw or hay will work.
I don’t know about you… but to me, that mulch is looking super sexy! Yarrow, comfrey, borage, lavender, dandelion greens, and straw.
Another popular mulch option is to use an organic cover crop seed mix, and lightly working it into the top inch of soil when you first plant your cannabis seedling. As it gets watered, cover crop will grow under the canopy of your plant. It becomes a living mulch, and also enhances your living soil food web. As it grows tall, you can “chop and drop” mulch with it. That is when you trim it and leave it in place to decompose as green mulch.
And just like that, you’ve given your cannabis a stellar start! You’ll be enjoying your own homegrown organic bud in no time.
Once you have your cannabis off to a strong start, come learn about the ways we routinely fertilize our plants! Also, how to keep the pests at bay:
- “How to Feed Cannabis, Organically: Top-Dressings, Teas & More”
- “Organic Cannabis Pest Control: How to Keep the Bugs Off Your Nugs”
Last by not least, when the time comes, here an article all about processing your cannabis: “How to Harvest, Dry, Trim, Cure, & Store Homegrown Cannabis: The Ultimate Guide”. When IS the time right to harvest? You’ll learn that here too. This guide is basically everything you need to know, from the best timing, temperature, humidity, methods, and more.
Once you have your homegrown goodies properly dried and cured, it is all ready to use: whether you like to smoke or vaporize your cannabis (read this important article on the subject), make cannabis-infused oil for edibles, homemade cannabis tinctures, or create healing topical salves. The options are endless!
I hope this all took some of the mystery out of growing cannabis for you. Please feel free to ask questions and pass this post along. To the left, of course. Wishing you the bet of luck with your growing adventure!