If you live in a state where growing marijuana on a personal level is legal, this post is for you. In this endeavor, we plan to investigate what goes into growing weed on your own. It might be a time-consuming process but it all pays off in the end.
With many states legalizing recreational and medical usage of marijuana, many people have got into the habit of purchasing weed from the local dispensaries. But how would you feel if you could grow yours inside your home? A lot of people have the misconception that growing weed is too expensive or too difficult. We plan to debunk all the myths today.
Let’s get started.
Understanding the Mediums
The first task at hand for you is to decide whether you want to grow weed inside your home or outside. The mediums will vary upon your choice.
If you choose indoors, a deep water culture medium is a great choice. It’s a hydroponic method of growing plants. We’re going to address it is the DWC method throughout this article.
DWC is amazing for faster results. The roots of the cannabis plants will grow in a pot of water instead of soil. It’s easier for the plant because it doesn’t have to find the nutrients in the soil. Rather, it’s directly introduced in the medium. The energy it saves will directly go into growing the plant faster.
Using a blubber bucket reservoir can make your life so much easier in this case. The bucket is a complete system that allows the roots of the plants to be submerged in a highly concentrated nutrient solution. And you can change out the solution without hurting the roots.
Then comes the coco coir medium. It’s very beginner-friendly in terms of complexity. It brings in the best of both worlds, the easy techniques of gardening along with the fast growth of hydroponics.
You use coconut husks to grow the plants instead of pots. The fibrous nature of the coconut husk allows it to draw moisture more efficiently, helping the plant to retain oxygen for longer. Coco coir technique is easier to maintain as you don’t have to flush it like the DWC.
As for outdoor growing, the soil is the best medium to go with. Regular gardening tactics work well in growing weed. You can use organically composted soil or get it directly from the store. If you want to enrich the soil with nutrients, you can compose it using alfalfa meal, bio-olive, blood meal, oyster shells, kelp and humic acid.
The biggest advantage of outdoor growing when compared to indoor growing is that you don’t have to add nutrients constantly. The plant will get the necessary nutrients from the soil. However, the growth is a little slower than hydroponic methods.
Once you decide on which medium to use, it’s time for your seeds to germinate. Germination is the process when a seed begins to grow. Seeds are the easiest way to go for growing weed. Cloning is also an option but that asks for its separate content.
The germination process is as easy as planting the seed into the medium. If you’re growing outdoors, plant the seeds directly into the soil. If you’re using hydroponics, using a seedling plug is recommended. A seedling plug allows you to grow the seed and then plant it once it germinates.
The time for germination varies from strain to strain. Older seeds take longer to germinate in general. If you’re opting for fresh seeds, the time may also vary depending on the strain. Some grow fast while others take their time.
Here are some helpful tips for your germination process.
- Don’t go too deep with the seed. ½ inch works well for most strains.
- Keep the soil moist but don’t overdo it.
- Make sure your seeds are warm. The cold climate is not good for germination.
Watering the Seedlings
Overwatering during germination is one of the fatal mistakes beginners make. It can slow down the growth of the plant, even kill it altogether. Let us share some helpful insights that you can use for your case.
Don’t use more than 500ml of water the first time. Take the water into a cup and pour it very slowly around the seedling. Go on a circle. Don’t water it anytime soon after that. Let the top layer of the soil to dry out a little before the next watering session.
If you’re using hydroponics or coco coir, adding nutrients to the water is mandatory. The germination process requires a few essential elements that accelerate the process. The potting soil method doesn’t require any nutrients for weeks to come. And super soil germination won’t require any nutrients throughout the lifetime of the plant.
As the seedling grows, you need to increase the amount of water. Use your intuition based on the growth of the seedling.
The Vegetative Phase
Once you start to see your seedling becoming a plant, you’ve officially entered the vegetative state. It’s the primary state of the cannabis plant’s life. It will grow leaves and stems. You won’t see any buds yet. Keeping patience and nurturing the plant is crucial at this state.
The maintenance routine at this stage is very similar to any other plant. You water the plant regularly if it’s outdoors. If indoors, you flush the water reservoir system and add new nutrients every once in a while. If you’re using store-bought nutrients, refer to the manual to see how much of the nutrients you must add depending on the growth and strain of your plant.
Using grow lights is especially important at this stage if your plant is indoors. Adjust the light from time to time depending on the growth.
This might be one of the most crucial stages of a cannabis plant’s life, but at this point, it’s strong enough to recover from human errors. If you accidentally overwater the plant, refrain from watering it again unless you see the roots drying.
Watering Patterns in this State
You cannot quantify your water at his stage. Growing weed is a very intuitive process and you must use your intuition to get the results right. When it comes to watering, keep an eye on the bottom of the plants. When you see water coming out from the bottom, stop watering. Make sure that you clean the runoff water as it can rot the roots.
A rule of thumb for growing weed at home is to look out for dryness. It should ideally take 3 days for the topsoil to dry out. If you see it drying in around 2 days, add a little more water every time. If it takes more than 3 days to dry out, use a little less water.
If you are required to add nutrients for the plants, more likely for hydroponic users, make sure that you follow instructions for the vegetation level. Cannabis plants don’t require as many nutrients as most other plants so it’s best to use half the strength.
Keeping a close eye on the color of the leaves will give you a good idea of when to increase the dosage. Lime green leaves or paleness in the stems are the telltale signs that you need to add more nutrients.
Once the plants reach half the size of your final estimation, it’s time to move on to the flowering stage. Yes, you have control over how big the plant grows! If you don’t initiate the flowering stage in time, the vegetation will only grow bigger without giving buds.
The Flowering Stage
This is the stage where you start seeing flowers or buds. The plants will rapidly grow double in size in this phase. Remember the grow lights? It’s time to set them on a timer. The lights should glow only 12 hours a day, followed by 12 hours of complete darkness.
Darkness is mandatory for growing weed. The buds won’t come if the plants don’t get enough darkness. If you’re growing outdoors, making the plants lightproof is essential.
You’ll notice that your plant growing exponentially fast for the first few weeks of the flowering stage. It’s known as the ‘flowering stretch’. You should see your first bud after 2-3 weeks. Once it starts to flower, you must make sure that you’re only getting female flowers. Female flowers are the buds that you harvest and male flowers are pollen sacs resulting in seeding.
If you start with feminized seeds, there’s no need for you to worry. But if you didn’t, identifying the flowers would be a crucial step for you.
Identifying Male and Female Flowers
Male plants are usually smaller and don’t have any buds. They produce pollen sacs that resemble grapes. You cannot use pollen sacs for smoking or as edibles. It just doesn’t work that way. You only want female plants to produce buds.
Female plants are larger and denser in vegetation. The flowers initially look like white strands of hair that later turns to be buds after fattening.
The flowering stage is when the plants stop growing. However, you need to give time to the buds to get to their peak stage. You can start harvesting after around 8 to 12 weeks of the initialization of the flowering stage.
Keep in mind that the flowering stage is the most vulnerable for cannabis plants. Any infestation or lack of care might ruin all of your hard work so far. So, monitor the plants every day. If using nutrients, using blooming nutrients instead of vegetation.
All of your hard work is almost ready to show results. Once the buds fatten and you’re satisfied with how they look, you can start the harvesting process. It’s recommended to use a magnifying glass to check for maximum potency. If you look close enough, you’ll find ‘trichomes’ on the buds that indicate the level of THC on the buds. When the trichomes look white as milk, it’s time to pluck them.
You can also wait for the color to turn a little yellowish if you want more of a relaxation effect.
Drying and Curing
We’ve reached the final stage of the process. Smoking that smooth blunt is just two steps away. The first step is to dry your buds properly. Then, you cure them for the final touch.
Drying is crucial to make the buds burn smooth. The quality improvement is very noticeable when compared to improperly dried buds.
The ideal humidity for drying cannabis buds is 60% RH (Relative Humidity). You can monitor the humidity with a simple monitor. The buds should be hanged upside down in a closed space along with the branch after you cut the extra leaves off. A close or a grow tent works great for drying.
The temperature must be around 60°-70° F for proper drying. You must try to maintain the temperature as best as you can. You can use dehumidifiers if you see a rise in humidity. Uncontrolled humidity can result in mold growth. If humidity is less than what’s needed, you can use cardboard boxes to trap humidity.
Don’t cram too many buds in a tight area. They should have enough space between them for breathing. The drying area should have very mild air circulation.
You know the buds are dry when you can snap off the stems without bending them. Also, the buds should come off the branches without leaving any strings behind. Generally, it takes anywhere from 4 to 10 days to dry cannabis buds, depending on the relative humidity of the region and the potency of the buds.
The final step of the process. You trim the leaves and put them in mason jars. Fill up about 80% of the jar and monitor the humidity with a hygrometer. The humidity should be around 55%-62%. Conversely, you can invest in humidipaks to automatically maintain the relative humidity.
After about two weeks of curing, you’re ready to enjoy your creation. Make some brownies or roll a fat joint, it’s up to you!