Considerations Before You Grow Marijuana
The decision to grow marijuana is a beneficial one, though there are some things to consider before getting started. Being ill-prepared can make the process of growing cannabis more tedious and stressful. While there are now more dispensaries available across the world, many people are opting to grow their own plants so they can be sure of the product’s quality while saving money. Before you start growing cannabis, consider the following information.
Consider the Legalities
Before purchasing cannabis seeds and supplies, it is wise for you to understand the laws that govern private cannabis growers. While states are legalizing marijuana by passing new legislation, it is still considered a controlled substance at the federal level. The conflicts between state and federal laws are still complicated.
It is wise for you to conduct careful research to learn as much as possible about the state and county laws where you live. Once you know the legal issues that may be faced, it will be less stressful to start the growing process without being afraid of problems arising.
Learn the Basics of Growing Cannabis
While you certainly do not need to be an expert on growing marijuana, it helps to be informed. The more research that is carried out before starting the process, the better equipped you will be to achieve a successful harvest. Consider the following basic facts to understand better how cannabis grows.
- Cannabis is a flowering plant that can be male, female or hermaphrodite. You should never mix male and female plants.
- You can grow cannabis indoors, outdoors, or even in a greenhouse, depending on the time of the year and the climate.
- There are three main types of cannabis, and they include Ruderalis, Sativa, and Indica, with Sativa and Indica being the most popular.
- There are three phases involved in the growth cycle of marijuana plants, and they include seedling, vegetative, and flowering.
- You can grow about three to four crops a year, depending on the setup and type of cannabis plant. Some plants enter the flowering stage faster than others, but most start to flower within three to four months.
It is helpful to conduct research and buy the best marijuana handbooks. As you grow each new crop, from seed to harvest, your knowledge and confidence will begin to expand.
Consider the Costs of Growing Marijuana
While most people grow marijuana to avoid the higher costs of purchasing from dispensaries or on the black market, there are costs involved in growing cannabis. The cost will depend on the operation’s size and how professional the setup is.
No matter the setup or experience level, most indoor cannabis growers are going to need at least the following:
- Grow light/lights
- Grow tent or space
- Light reflectors
- pH meter
Professional setups require much more equipment, and the expense can rise exponentially. Having the basics on hand will help to ensure you are adequately prepared for planting, growing, and harvesting.
Although you do not want to purchase the absolute cheapest equipment on the market, this does not mean the most expensive equipment is best. Carefully researching the market will help you to find the best prices and products.
Do You Have Enough Space?
Ensuring there is enough growing space is another important consideration. The space needed will depend on how many cannabis plants you are growing. Most growers implement a 3X3 space when getting started. While it is impossible to give an exact number, you will typically be able to plant two to four cannabis plants per square foot, depending on the type.
Space is not the only consideration when it comes to knowing how much cannabis to plant. In general, you should plant no more than eight plants per grow light, or they will not get enough light to go through each critical stage of growth.
You are more likely to get bigger yields by growing fewer plants and using bigger pots than cramming many smaller containers into a tiny space. Just like all types of plants, marijuana needs room to grow, so do not try to grow too many at a time, or you will get a much lower yield.
Indoors or Outdoors?
You can grow marijuana plants indoors and outdoors, depending on the current laws in your state and county. There are pros and cons to both.
Growing plants indoors allows you to keep the growing process more private. It also allows for better control of the climate during the developing stages.
The biggest downfall of growing cannabis indoors is the cost of buying all the equipment. Once you have the equipment in place, the costs of growing indoors will be minimal.
Growing cannabis outdoors does not require any equipment because your plants will have full access to the sun and rain to keep them growing healthy and strong. Plants grown outdoors will often grow more massive than those grown indoors.
There are two major downfalls to growing cannabis outdoors. First, others could see your crops, and this could create problems, depending on the area and those who see it. Also, it is impossible to control the growing conditions.
In the end, it will be up to you which one offers the best choice. Consider the laws, your neighbors, the climate, time of the year, and budget to determine the best option.
Consider Your Time
While you can set up an almost fully automated system, this is going to cost quite a bit of money. If the setup is not automated, it is essential to set aside time each day for monitoring the growing temperature, humidity levels, and lights. With a few harvests under your belt, it will be time to explore the options of setting up environmental controls and timers.
You should plan on checking on the plants a couple of times a day, making sure the soil moisture is at the correct level. Too much humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth, while too little will cause plant death. On average, plan to spend an hour or two on your plants each day, depending on how many are growing.
What About Light?
Light is one of the most important aspects of growing cannabis indoors. If you are growing outdoors, all that is needed is the light from the sun.
There are many types of grow lights available, so it is wise to conduct research and learn as much as possible about the options. Consider the following before making a purchase.
- CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are considered one of the most popular for new cannabis growers because they are affordable and easy to use. It is important to note that CFLs lack the energy release larger growing lights offer, so they are likely to result in a lower yield.
- Fluorescent lights are preferred for growing cannabis, but they must be installed close to the plants because they are not as strong as some other types of grow lights.
- LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights are the most expensive option for cannabis growers, but they will offer a higher yield and energy savings. Many novice growers wait until they have honed their skills before purchasing these more expensive lighting options.
- MH (Metal Halide) lights are one of the most popular options for indoor marijuana growers because they produce high yields and are relatively inexpensive compared to some options.
- HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) is another affordable and popular option in growing lights and would be an excellent first choice for new growers.
Consider the Nutrient Needs of Cannabis
Just like any plant, cannabis needs nutrients to grow healthy and strong. A lack of nutrients can create many issues, including the death of your plants. With the cost of seeds and time spent growing, no grower wants to end up with dead plants.
While there are many beneficial nutrients for cannabis plants, there are three that are essential. Potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus are necessary for healthy cannabis plants. It is simple to purchase a solution that contains these crucial nutrients. As you learn more about the growing process, you will discover cannabis also benefits from the following nutrients:
It takes a concerted effort to be able to use the above nutrients in their correct proportions. As you grow cannabis, gaining wisdom will come naturally. Before experimenting with nutritional supplementation, make sure to consult a good marijuana growing handbook to ensure the right proportions and ratios are used.
Know the Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies and Disease
Monitoring the health of your cannabis plants is an essential step in reaping a healthy crop. Just like any other plant, cannabis is susceptible to certain types of diseases and nutritional deficiencies. Being able to recognize the signs of problems is crucial for caring for marijuana plants.
The signs of nutritional deficiencies include the following:
- Pale leaves
- Red stems
- Small growth
- Curling leaves
- Spotted leaves
- Malformed leaves
The signs of diseases in marijuana plants include the following:
- White-spotted leaves
- Yellow or brown spotted leaves
- White powder on leaves
- Brown or black buds
- Curled leaves
Choosing the Right Strain
There are thousands of marijuana strains, and they can all vary in color, taste, and potency. Careful research helps you to understand the complexities of each strain and how they differ. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to growing marijuana though there are some strains that are easier for beginner growers because they are hardy and not so fussy over their growing conditions.
Consider the following for some strains that are easy to grow and do not require a lot of work.
In the beginning, it may be wise to try growing one or two plants at a time and try different strains to see which ones produce the highest yield. Once you find your favorite, stick with it.
Know How to Harvest and Prepare
When it comes time to harvest your glorious cannabis plants, the right steps must be taken. If you are looking for buds that will offer an uplifting experience, collect them early. For a more relaxing vibe, wait longer, and then harvest.
You will know it is time to harvest your cannabis when the trichomes have become opaque, and the pistils are a beautiful amber color. The following steps should help you with harvesting.
- Remove the fan leaves before harvesting your cannabis plants. If the fan leaves are left intact, they can prevent proper airflow around the plant during the drying process, and this can result in mold growth and improper drying.
- If you use trellising, make sure to remove any of this material before the plants go into the drying process, to prevent trellising materials from entering the final product.
- For best results during the drying phase, keep the plants suspended from hooks and the room at 50 – 55% relative humidity (RH) and the temperatures between 60 – 70°F. It will take at least 14 days of drying before the plants can be cured.
- To cure your plants, they will first need to be deboned. Deboning means removing the stems from the flowers. The flower buds can be placed in an airtight container and allowed to cure for two to three weeks.
Have the following items on hand to ensure your cannabis is harvested correctly:
- Handheld trimmers
- Trim trays
- Hooks or lines
Yes, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to growing cannabis. Although all the above information may seem a bit overwhelming, once you have the hang of things, growing marijuana is not overly complicated.
Educating yourself is one of the best steps you can take when preparing to grow cannabis. The more you know, the more effective the growing process. It takes time to perfect the steps involved in producing a successful high-yield crop, but with practice and time, it gets easier. Start with navigating your strain options by visiting an online seed distributor like i49 USA.