Home Grown: How To Grow Your Own Weed
So you want to grow your own weed!
Good news: The general process is not that difficult, once you grasp the basics. With that said, there is a lot of misinformation out there – as well as some legitimate tricks to get the most out of your time and effort.
And that’s where we come in…
Before we get into this, we would like to remind you that growing is only legal for persons over the age of 21 and only for personal use.
Each city and county in California has variations on quantities allowed, whether it be number of plants or pounds, so be sure to check your local set of guidelines.
Don’t be a fool…know the rules. 😉
Some Do’s and Don’ts:
DO: Start from seeds unless you can verify the clones you are receiving are exactly what you’re paying for (clones can carry disease and genetic weaknesses of their mother plant). Sometimes you simply do not get what you are paying for.
Also, clones sent through the mail tend to arrive in a state of shock. You can end up waiting the same amount of time as if you’d sprouted from seed (verify your source if you go this route).
DON’T: Tell people about your garden (people can be lazy, loose-lipped, jealous and vindictive). Do yourself a favor and keep your med-garden to yourself.
DO: Use high-quality soil; a good soil will already contain the nutrients needed with very little to no amending.
DON’T: Use fertilizers or soil-boosters (you can burn the roots). If your soil and light are good, you don’t need them anyway.
DO: Start with feminized seeds. Proper planning and attention to detail won’t mean much if you use males. Male seeds produce leaves and seeds instead of plump, beautiful buds – results that are less than rewarding.
DON’T: Attempt to grow in a dirty, poorly ventilated space (any funk trapped in the room can be absorbed by the plants). This will directly and most likely adversely effect your final product. The clean factor applies to you as well, wash your hands and tools every time; if you smoke cigs wash twice; nicotine is a poison and it will kill your young plants.
Before planting anything, begin by preparing the grow space. This means consider your desired crop size and ensure you have enough space with plenty of light.
The space could be a box, a closet or that extra room people keep camping-out in – sorry man, no room. You’ll also need some lighting and reliable air-flow.
A normal bedroom window won’t be enough. LEDs provided excellent light without blowing up your power bill, however HPS and LECs are also acceptable for high density/potent yields.
Additionally, you may want to consider sealing your grow space; home improvement stores carry ‘zipper-walls’ for keeping in dust and debris during construction. You can use these as a seal within your space while having an easy access point.
No need to dedicate an entire room, unless you want to.
Next, be sure the room has excellent ventilation. Stagnant air and cold temps are crop killers.
Use verified seeds (check out verified seed banks). Begin your process in a controlled environment. A water closet works. Light is not required at this stage.
Start by filling a shot glass half-full with mineral water and seed. If you choose to use tap water, fill a container the night before and let it sit; this will allow things like chlorine and other potentially harmful additives to evaporate.
Let the seeds ‘soak’ for 24-30 hours so they can absorb the water. Set the shot-glass(es) on top of your water heater for a consistent temp. Cover with a dark cup as germination requires water and warmth, not light.
For more details checkout seed germination.
Now that you have germinated seeds, you’re ready to move on. In your sealed, clean grow space, keep the temp between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during ‘lights on’ and 60-65 degrees during ‘lights out’ or overnight. While keeping the humidity level between 45-65%, drop the now germinated seeds into a small cup with that quality/nutrient rich soil.
Keep an eye on these as they get larger and gently re-pot as the plant(s) get larger to avoid root bundles.
Your lighting should be running 16-20 hours per 24-hour period. I suggest a simple light or outlet timer; the beginning of your cycle is, say, 4am.
Plentiful light with space between plants will not only up your harvest but will also add potency – just don’t overdo it.
This stage should last several weeks, until the plants are at least 18″ to 20″ tall and have 4 or more leaf branches. Different strains have different growth rates, just be sure your plants are strong before moving them on to the next stage.
This is where you’ll start to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Now you will want to reset your lights for 12 hours on, 12 off, to trick the plants into thinking it’s Fall. This is so they will slip into flowering (budding).
Incorporate the rest of the following points and you will be feeling better in no time!
First off, be sure not to over-water your plants. Too much water will yellow your leaves while lessening your overall yield and potency.
Let the top soil actually get almost flaky before adding more water. Another way to avoid over-watering is to simply lift it, if it’s light as a feather then you know it’s dry and time to water.
Plants need constant, fresh air circulating through the space. You don’t want air blowing directly on them, rather an exchange of fresh air flowing with an escape for the stale air.
Good air-flow also helps you maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels. In return, you will receive happier, healthier yields.
For this you’ll need three elements – Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium; the basic components of plant fertilizer. If you’ve used nutrient-rich soil, you’re probably good, but I’d still keep an eye on it. The vegetative stage prefers more Nitrogen while the flowering stage prefers more phosphates.
When using in-water nutrients (mixing in a cup prior to watering), be sure to read the label. Adverse effects of various treatments could yield the opposite of what you’re going for. This will help you avoid damaging your garden.
I recommend only using the in-water nutrients every other watering cycle to avoid overdoing it; too much of a good thing is still too much.
So you’ve made it to the harvest! That 5-7 day period of peak harvest potency. You will know you’re there when the hairs turn reddish, brown or orange (depending on strain). When roughly half of the little resin glands (tricomes) on the buds have turned to an amber hue, it’s time.
Sometimes the top of your plant may be ready before the lower section. No problem, trim off those and allow the rest of the plant to finish before cutting the whole plant down. This is an opportunity to sample the goods before everything is complete; for this try Quick Dry.
Be gentle with your meds and your kindness will be repaid in taste and potency.
Check out some additional tips, including outdoor variations of what we’ve discussed above: Grow Tips.