Apply the steps below to your garden and you’ll be growing your own in no time! Lets assume you have a growing environment set up, say a spare bedroom, a tent or some space in the garage. And lets also assume you have the electricity mapped out to know exactly how much is power is available. Ill go more in depth in about grow room build outs in the near future.
1) Time (Save Time, Get Clones From Trusted Source)
First off, you need to start with a crop. The Cannabis plant can have either a male pollen sack or female pistils. To produce seedless Cannabis flower, aka sinsemilla, your crop must only be female plants. To ensure an all female crop most growers source high quality genetics of Cannabis in clone form. A clone is a branch cut off a mother plant, put through a rooting process, along with many other cuttings in batches, to provide an exact clone of the mother plants genetics, growing traits, aromas, etc. Getting your crop in clone form from a reputable source saves TIME.
You will want to transplant your newly acquired cuttings into bigger sized pots, anywhere from 2gal – 5gal, where they will live till harvest time. But for now they will grow under 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness everyday for 1-3 weeks. Keep in mind the plants will stretch up after the flowering stage begins up to two feet more! So plan ahead and begin flowering when the clone small enough to leave room for the light, the heat from the light and ceiling height.
Then, flowering begins! Switch the timers on the lights to a 12 hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness for the next 55-65 days depending on strain.
2)Temperature (Keep it Cool, Keep it Fresh)
For the Vegetative stage of growth, the 18h on 6h off, the plants will enjoy low 70s to about 80 degrees fahrenheit along with constant airflow from oscillating fans. Humidity in the room can raise up to 65%-70% if the humidity is not controllable. In general, maintaining humidity around 50% is optimal.
For the Flowering stage, 12h on 12h off, the plants will want it cooler and fresher. Bring the temps down to 68-76 degrees fahrenheit, maintain the constant air flow from the fans and do not let the humidity go above 50% for any extended period of time.
The room where your crop is growing will either need to be cooled with a combination of an inline and outline fan, bringing in cool air from the room its in or outdoors and sending the hot, pungent air outside. Or the room will be cooled with one of many different options of Air Conditioners and not all of these are created equal. More on that later..
3)Chemical (ph Range, Nutrient Feeding)
Before giving any water to your plants, wether there is a nutrient solution in it or just plain filtered water, always check the ph level with a ph meter. If growing in soil, use a ph range of 6.0 – 6.8. And if growing in any hydroponic medium, use a ph range of 5.6 – 6.2. I like using 6.2 – 6.3 for my plants that are in Coco.
As far as nutrients go, just head over to your local hydroponic store or browse online and purchase a simple, complete nutrient line. There are a lot of supplement products out there that work great and some not so much. Just stick with nutrients from the same brand and stick with the basics for now. The other Pro of sticking with a single nutrient brand is they provide a feeding chart to tell you exactly how much and when to feed your plants.
4)Mechanical(Plant Lighting and Maintenance)
When growing indoors, it is not the amount of plants that matter but the size of the growing light and the footprint the light can give. So you can grow 1-16 plants under the same size light and produce roughly the same amount, no matter what the plant count. This is due to the light only being able to give off so much energy that the plant can use.
Grow lights for the Vegetative stage can consist of CFL, Florescent, Metal Halide, and LED. I recommend using florescent light for clones and early transplants and Metal Halide for growth right before the flowering stage. For the flowering stage change the light to an HPS or High Pressure Sodium. Both a 400 watt Metal Halide and 600 watt HPS will cover a light footprint of about 4x4ft or 16 sq. ft.
Check as often, daily if possible, for any dead leaves, debris, spilled water or growing medium, anything that will attract pests. And clean it up! A clean environment is crucial to trying to maintain a pest and disease free garden! While you tend to your plants, you may notice they need support to hold themselves up. You can grab some bamboo stakes for a few bucks. Stick the stakes into the medium and add as needed, remember those branches are going to have to hold up heavy buds soon..
Let these babies grow until the buds are dense, aromatic and the resin is slightly cloudy. Different genetics have different flowering times so for the novice, give it a good 8 weeks of flower and check daily around week 7 to week 9 for when you think its ready to harvest. Plan ahead! You need to give your plants plain water for 10-16 days to flush out any nutrients in the soil. Now this flushing period needs to finish when the plant is ready. This is why the last two weeks require daily attention.
Harvest day! Cut down your plants and remove the bigger fan leaves that no not contain any resin. You can also trim off some of the bigger leaves that DO have a bit of resin. Don’t worry about trimming right now, they will need a final detailed trim after they have been dried. Hang dry your herb for 7-10 days, keeping the environment in check with temps at 65-75 degree fahrenheit and humidity at no more than 50%. Once the herb is dry and the stems of the plant snap when you break them, its time for the final trim. Trim all the small leaves with resin into a trimming tray. Then store your trimmed herb in a glass mason jar in a cool and dark place generally for 1-3weeks. And thats it! You have just grown your own!
We at Neighborhood Nursery are here to try and help as many patients grow they own medicine. We are here to help in any way we can and thats why this was written. Keep an eye out for future topics covered and questions from the readers being answered!