A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana

Growing your own cannabis plants can be a rewarding and cost-saving  venture. If done correctly, growing your own product can save you thousands in the long-run. This guide is just the beginning, as you’ll find more resources on our website that addresses even more specific and complex problems you’ll deal with as you embark on your growing journey.

The very first step you must do, before anything else, is to make a plan. Having a plan set in place before you start buying thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and dedicating your time to growing can be what decides the success of your growing journey. Here are a couple things to consider before you break ground:

  • Purpose
  • Scale/Space
  • Regulations

Your purpose for growing is what dictates every other decision you make on this journey. You can grow for personal reasons, such as supplying yourself with bud to save cost or grow for business, by supplying product to your local dispensaries. This is why you must choose which path is right for you, as everything else follows this decision. A great tip to help you work towards your purpose is to write it down and make small goals that go towards this chosen purpose. A little involved yes but making up small goals along the way will help you considerably with staying on schedule and making your harvest even better.

When growing, you have to set aside a space for the operation. If you’re growing for personal reasons, you might be able to use that extra broom closet that you don’t really use. Or if you want to make money growing, you might consider using your backyard (assuming you have one) or maybe even building a pole barn/shed. Important things to consider when choosing a grow space is the amount of light that enters the room, the natural temperature/humidity of the room and the overall size of the space. Sometimes people grow in compact grow boxes that you can buy online or in their closets and simply extract the plants when it’s harvesting time. Sometimes people want to work directly in their grow-room and set aside an area for that purpose. Remember it all depends on your purpose!

The last aspect to consider when planning your grow is regulations. Depending on your state, there are limits to the number of plants you are allowed to possess in your home and outdoor property. There are currently 23 states which have home-growing provisions, find that list here. If you live in a state that has yet to address that problem, then unfortunately you’re out of luck and all you can do is wait your turn. Although, with the increased deregulation of marijuana on state and federal levels you might not have to wait that long.

After you’ve made a plan and set aside time for the entire growing process, you are ready to start! This is what we call the purchasing stage, this is where you’ll have to purchase seeds, lights, pots, beds, fans, humidifiers and more for your specific growing situation. Here are the basics you’ll need:

Seeds

The seeds you choose are important on whether your plants end up being a male or female. This is important because female plants are the ones who grow bud. You can choose to buy regular seeds or feminized seeds online. Regular seeds have a 50/50 distribution of male and female seeds, while feminized seeds are 100% female. It’s important to do a little self-research to find reputable online retailers to source your seeds from, or you can even go to your local dispensary and they might sell you some seeds. When you buy your seeds, make sure to buy some growing units for the seeds that are perfect for the vegetative stage for marijuana plants. When they get to the flowering stage, you can move them to bigger housing such as pots or beds.

Lighting

If you decide to grow inside, an option that most beginners should try first, the lights that you decide to use are the principal factor in the entire operation. The lights control how large your plants get and the quality of their bud. So, whatever budget you’re working with, focusing a larger chunk of it to lighting is a good thing! Here are the three basic options to choose from:

  • HID
  • Fluorescent
  • LED

HID (high intensity discharge) is the industry standard for grow lights. Costing a little bit more that fluorescents and being a little bit less efficient that LED’s, they still prove to be the most popular option. Their combination of light intensity, efficiency and value are hard to ignore. Keep in mind that HID’s require ballasts and hood-reflectors per unit.

Fluorescent’s cost less and offer high-intensity bulbs in packages that contain the entire lighting set-up. With these advantages, fluorescents are a popular choice among first-time and small-scale growers. The drawback to fluorescents is that they are roughly 30% less efficient in generating light per watt of electricity used than its competitors.

Light emitting diodes (LED), while new to the growing community, have been around for a long time. While they have a considerable up-front cost, costing much more than their competitors, LED’s have considerable advantages because they last much longer, are more efficient, use less electricity, generate less heat and even provide a wider spectrum of light. If you have the budget, go for these for a long-term lighting set up!

Air

Air is vital to plants for them to grow and survive. This means that your grow room/unit needs to have a constant source air-flow to regulate the temperature and to give carbon dioxide to plants. This can be achieved simply by purchasing an exhaust fan at the top of your grow room to remove the warm air. The size of your fan depends on the size of the grow room and how much heat your light’s give off. The ideal temperature for your plants will be around 70-80 degrees F.

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