Growing marijuana can be a lot of work, yet it can be a fun and educational experience. Whether you’re growing for recreational or medical reasons, the experience can be very enriching.
While growing weed isn’t technically too difficult to do, there are some complications that can occur throughout the process. We hope that this “how to grow marijuana indoors for dummies” guide will provide you with a basic understanding of what to when growing weed, from seed to clone and the best homegrown.
The following tutorial will be aimed at assisting urban growers who might not have safe and legal access to quality cannabis. Prior to teaching you the ways of growing at home, we will need to cover some basic ground rules first.
While we never advocate breaking the law, we understand that certain people despite all warning would still continue to grow cannabis at home irrespective of the risk of losing their liberty. Thus, we created this guide to assist in following the safest practices to ensure that you don’t go to jail over a plant.
Follow these principles and you should be quite safe from getting busted by your local authorities. Nonetheless, the risk is entirely on you and we do not endorse any illegal activities whatsoever.
For those who are living in a legal cannabis state and do have the right to grow at home, this guide will serve as a crash course on personal cannabis cultivation.
Irrespective of whether you’re living in a legal or illegal state, following the suggested principles of “urban growing” will help reduce risks associated with growing cannabis at home.
- Your Grow is Your Secret – Whether legal or illegal, you’ll want to keep your grow secret. You never know who might be willing to go that extra mile to screw you over. If you’re in an illegal state, your secret cannabis grow should be on par with having a sex dungeon – you don’t talk to anybody about it.
- Be Patient – One of the biggest mistakes newbie growers make is that they are too eager to crop out. Of course, we understand. However, if you’re aiming to grow quality cannabis, patients will be necessary. As a general rule of thumb, “If you think it’s ready to move onto the next phase in the cycle, wait a week or two before doing it…”
- Automate wherever possible – You don’t want to be in charge of everything that’s happening within the grow cycle. Wherever there is an opportunity to automate something, do it. Make it easier on yourself and on the plant.
- It’s okay to fail – Every grower had plants die on them. Yes, it sucks. But every time you fail, you learn how to grow better and how to avoid pitfalls. Take your failure and turn them into lessons.
Now that we have the four basic principles established, let’s start moving into the actual process of growing weed.
How to Grow Weed Step 1 – Finding your Grow Space
Before you even start to think about growing weed, you first need to establish a suitable grow space. You can consider creating a double chamber grow room or a single chamber grow room.
The difference being that in a single chamber grow room, you’ll take the plant throughout the entire growth cycle from start to finish, whereas in a dual chamber grow room you will have one space dedicated to vegging and the other to flowering.
Needless to say, dual chamber grow rooms provide faster crop cycles and a few additional benefits such as having the ability to detect male plants before moving your entire crop to the flowering stage.
Some people, however, due to space constraints would have to settle for a single chamber grow room.
Some viable single chamber solutions are;
- An empty closet space
- A Grow Tent
- A DIY Grow Box
These micro grow solutions will not provide you with a lot of space, however, with efficient planning you can increase the yield per square foot significantly. We will be covering some of these tips further down.
Step 2 – Your Necessary Tools
Now that you have established your grow space, it’s important to get all of the necessary tools and equipment needed to take your plant throughout the entire grow cycle.
You will need:
A Light Source
Depending on the size of your grow room, you can opt in for 400 Watt HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) lights which produce a very wide light spectrum but also generates a lot of heat. Or you could also opt in for a more economic version, such as the CFL (Compact Florescent Lights) which do not generate a lot of heat but has a reduced light spectrum.
In essence, you simply need to surpass 6000 lumens to be able to fully crop out a cannabis plant. Two big CFL lights can reach that light spectrum.
For first-time growers, we recommend starting off in the soil. Hydroponics, while not necessarily more difficult, is less forgiving when it comes to making mistakes. Soil provides you with a slightly bigger window to rectify your mistakes.
You’ll need to check the PH of the water, the humidity in the air, trichome development on the buds and much more. We recommend getting a PH-kit, Thermometer, Hydrometer, Digital Timers (for light cycles), magnifying glass.
Furthermore, it would be wise to stock up on scissors, a watering can, gloves, small fan, wire or twine, Mylar reflectors and a few sticks, pots.
Furthermore, you need to get some fertilizers, flowering solution and perhaps some organic pesticides in case you’re faced with unwanted pests.
Now that you have your necessary tools, it’s time to move onto building the grow chamber.
Step 3 – Setting up your Grow Space
With all the tools in hand, it’s time to set up the grow chamber. For this example, if you are going to build a CFL Single Chamber Grow Space.
Firstly, disinfect the entire area. You do this to ensure that there are no contaminants in the area. You can use a bit of bleach to ensure that you have removed any mold or fungus in the area.
Secondly, paint the entire interior reflective white, or use the Mylar we suggested earlier. Simply cover the entire interior with Mylar.
On top of your Grow Chamber, you will mount your lights. Your lights will be hooked up to chains that will allow you to adjust the height of the lights.
You’ll need to do some basic wiring to get the lights set up, however seeing that these are CFL lights, you won’t need a ballast or anything of the sorts. Simply ensure that the lights can be hung from the chains and adjusted to the required height throughout the grow.
Next, mount a small fan on the top of the box near the lights. This serves to mimic the wind cycles in nature and will promote stronger plant stalks.
Make sure that the chamber is “light sealed”, meaning that no light from the exterior can spill into the box. This is necessary especially during the flowering cycle where any small alteration to the light cycles can stress the plant.
Now that you have all of these things set up, it’s time to start preparing the soil.
Step 4 – Soil Preparations
As mentioned earlier, we’re focusing on a soil mix. The soil mix needs to be rich in nitrogen as cannabis plants consume nitrogen at higher rates. Look for a soil mix with the highest nitrogen count.
You can also add in a bit of fertilizer to enrich it with nitrogen even more. Whenever you mix different soils together to make your own unique mixes, be sure to let it air out for about three days. This helps the oxygen in the soil to settle.
When layering the soil within your pots, have some sort of drainage system at the bottom of the pot. Most commercial pots come with these included. If your pots don’t have drainage holes, you can drill your own.
Lay about 2 inches of pebbles at the bottom of the pot. This will allow the water to drain off through the soil and not collect at the bottom. Stagnant water could cause root rot, so you’ll always want to have some sort of water drainage occurring when you grow weed.
After the layer of pebbles or stones, use the rest of the available space for your prepared soil mix. Don’t compress the soil too much, just let it settle by itself. Once more, let the soil sit for a day or two before you start using it for your plants.
Once you’ve prepared your pots, it’s time to move onto germination.
Step 5 – Germinating your Seeds
If you have your own seeds, then simply place your seedlings within a ball of cotton and then inside a Ziploc bag for about 2-3 days in a dark place. This is usually enough to get the seeds to start sprouting.
In the case you don’t have seeds on you, you’ll have to order them online or go to a local dispensary and purchase them.
Seed prices vary depending on the strain and the quantity. Be sure to do your research on easy to grow strains to ensure the highest chance of success within your grow.
Once you have acquired your seeds, simply germinate them as mentioned above.
Step 6 – Vegging
Now that you have planted your seedlings in the pots. Set your light cycle to 18 hours light and 6 hours dark. This will mimic the “Summer time” and will allow the plant to grow in size.
During this period, the plant will not produce any buds or any significant smell. Its only function within the vegging stage is to develop a strong root system and vertical growth.
Considering that you probably are working with a small grow space, it is recommended to prune the plant often. One technique you could implement is called “Topping”. To “Top” your plant, you’ll take the upper node [where the two leaves branch off] and cut it in a 45º angle.
This will significantly slow down vertical growth. Your plant instead will begin to bush out. Topping is recommended for people who don’t have a lot of space to grow.
Additionally, you could consider SCROGGING or LOLIPOPPING, however for the sake of this guide we’ll only talk about Topping.
If your plant is growing too fast, you could also train the plant by tying down leaves and make space artificially. Try to get as much light on the inner parts of the plant stalk and stems to promote more growth on the stems itself.
You’ll be in the vegetative stage for roughly one month and a half to two months before continuing to the next phase.
Step 7 – Flowering
Almost two months after you planted your seedlings, your marijuana plant should be at the right height to start flowering. To induce flowering, you’ll need to do two things.
- Use some “Bloom solution” (Flowering Solution) on the plant for a few days. Remember to dilute it at first so you don’t burn the plant.
- Switch light cycles to 12/12 (12 hours’ light – 12 hours dark). This represents the winter time and will trick the plant to start flowering.
Once the plant is flowering, you can continue to use “flowering solution” roughly once a week. Your plant will tell you if it needs more or less.
During this stage, you should not prune or cut anything on your plant. You SHOULD NOT interrupt the light cycles. Meaning if there is anything that needs to be fixed within the box, its best to wait until you have 12 hours of light to make any changes.
Pruning at this stage will negatively affect the yield. If your plant is occupying too much space, use the twine and tie down the buds away from the lights. The plant will continue to push towards the light, so you might have to make modifications throughout the entire flowering stage.
You’ll be flowering for an additional 2 months before you get ready to harvest.
Step 8 – Harvesting
Now that the trichomes [resin glands] on the plant has turned about 70% amber, you can start the harvesting process.
The first thing you’ll need to do is flush your plant. You do this with excessive watering for two to three days.
Once the flushing period has been concluded, start the drying process in soil. To do this, take a bit of charcoal and lay it around the base of the stem of the plant. This will further assist in flushing the plant of pesticides and unwanted fertilizer.
Additionally, it will increase the efficiency of the drying process.
Leave the plant in the soil for about three or four days with the charcoal around the base of the stem.
After three days, cut the plant at the base of the stem.
At this point, you are faced with these questions – Do you dry trim or wet trim?
Dry trimming means you’ll be drying out the plant a few more days before you start trimming the excess leaf off the buds.
Wet Trimming refers to trimming right after you cut the base of the plant.
It depends on your preference. Personally, I prefer wet trimming as it creates less hassle later on however other growers prefer dry trimming because there is less resin build up on your scissors. As mentioned, the decision is yours to make.
Step 9 – Drying and Curing
Now comes the art of growing cannabis. The drying process could either be before or after the trimming part. Let’s assume you did a Wet Trim, and thus the buds are ready to be dried.
First and foremost, you’ll need a well-ventilated dark room. Hang the buds from hangers or tie them down with rope and have the ventilation system create a continued flow of air. Don’t let the air hit the buds directly, but rather let it bounce off a wall or something of the sorts.
You need to ensure that you aren’t creating too much airflow as you might dry the plant too quickly. After about a week to a week and a half, your plant should be ready for the curing stage. You’ll know it’s ready if the stems break easily, but don’t snap off.
Cut away any excess leaf and stem and place it in a hermetically sealed jar. Once the jar is filled, you’ll move it to a dark spot to sit for a few weeks.
Throughout the 15 days you’ll keep it curing, you’ll open the jar once or twice a day, remove all the bud and lay it out on a flat newspaper for 15 minutes. Then, you’ll place the buds back inside the jar and leave it to cure.
Do this for about two to three weeks.
After about three weeks, your bud is ready to be smoked.
Step 10 – Enjoying the Fruit of your Labor
You’ve gone through months of trials to reach this point, but now you finally have your own bud ready to smoke. Pack a bowl and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
It might turn out to be the best bud you have ever smoked in your life [if you followed these tips to the letter].
Now you know the process of growing your own weed from start to finish. We hope that this “how to grow weed indoors for dummies” guide provided you with the necessary insight to start cropping out your own bud like a pro.
If we forgot anything, be sure to contact us so we can continue to update this guide over time.
Until next time…happy toking!