Before You Start Growing Cannabis
Before you start growing cannabis at home, you should consider some basic things regarding your grow.
- Where do you want to grow?
- Where do you buy seeds?
- What type of marijuana do you want to grow?
- What size pots do you want to use?
- The type of growing medium you want to use?
- What type of nutrients do you want to use?
- If growing indoors, what type of light do you want to use?
Keep reading to get an in depth discussion about each of these questions. In the end, each decision is based upon personal preference, space available, and your budget.
Where You Want to Grow Your Cannabis
When considering where you want to grow, you need to consider the following:
- Grow outdoors or indoors?
- Do you have a spot outdoors where you won’t get your plants stolen?
- Do you have a spot indoors that you can hide from guests if need be?
- Does the area you are considering have consistent temperatures or does it fluctuate?
- Do you have a spare room or area in your home you can dedicate to growing?
I personally wasn’t able to do an outdoor grow because I don’t have a spot where people won’t steal my plants. But, if you have an outdoor spot that is safe from theft, growing outdoors is a great option as it cuts the cost of a light, electricity and possibly pots.
When growing cannabis indoors, it’s important to consider the option of being able to hide your grow from guests in your home. I’m sure you trust the people you bring into your home but they could tell someone who then tells someone else.
When you put this much effort into your grow, you want to minimize the chance of it getting stolen. Even though cannabis cultivation is legal, there will still be people who want to steal what is yours.
You’ll also want to consider the temperature of the indoor area you choose to grow in. If it fluctuates, you’ll have to work harder to keep a consistent environment for your plants. Once you consider all these factors, you’ll be ready to choose your grow area.
Where to Buy Seeds
There are many reputable seed banks available for us Canadians, but to make things easy for you, here is a couple that I’ve used.
I like both of these seed banks because you get free seeds with every order (that you get to pick yourself) and they both have sales pretty frequently. True North has many different seedbanks within it to choose from but i49 has a great selection of strains as well. I have been happy with every strain from both seedbanks so far. My favourite to date was i49’s Blueberry Auto. It had great yields and the one phenotype smelled and tasted like fresh blueberries.
I have only ordered from these two sites so far but had good experiences with both. Both sites had shipping fees of $20CAD and they both came in the mail in a timely manner. Other than these sites that I have personally used, I’ve heard good things about:
- Crop King Seeds
- Seedsman Seed Bank
- BC Bud Depot
- Canadian Seed Bank
What Type of Cannabis You Want to Grow
There are 2 types of cannabis plants:
Which one you choose depends on a couple things: Space and time.
- Flower automatically regardless of light cycle
- Can continue the same light cycle the entire grow (24 hrs of light, 20-4,18-6)
- Great for small spaces as they only get so big
- 30-90 days seed to harvest
- Rely on the change in light cycle to 12-12 to start flowering
- Generally gets bigger than autoflowers, hence need moire space
- Flower time ranges from 8 to 14 weeks
I started with autoflowers for their quick return and also because of limited space, but I think every grower should try both at some point just to say they’ve grown both. I plan on growing photoperiod for my third grow.
What Pot Size to Use
Pot sizes depend on a couple things:
- Type of cannabis you’re growing
- How big you want the plant to get
An autoflower plant can use anywhere from a 3.5 gallon pot to a 7 gallon pot depending on how big you think it’ll get. It’s best to plant an autoflower seed directly into it’s final container to avoid unnecessary stress on the plant. For our first grow, we used 5 gallon pots for our autoflowers and they worked very well for us.
Photoperiod plants on the other hand, can start out small and gradually move up in size into the desired size is achieved. So, you could start with a very small pot and work up to a 10, 15 or 20 gallon pot until harvest.
Once you decide the size pot(s) you need, then you have to decide on a type of pot.
There are traditional plastic pots with tray, smart pots/grow bags, or air pots. The last 2 types of pots are different than traditional pots as they have better airflow to the roots causing air pruning of the roots. So, it stops the plants roots from becoming entangled and pot bound.
I just used regular pots my first grow but I’ll be investing in some grow bags soon. Your choice of pot type is really a personal preference.
What Growing Medium to Use for Growing Cannabis
Here are 3 common types of growing medium and some key points about them:
- Soil/Soil mix/Compost – can create living soil, can use organic growing style, doesn’t require special knowledge, ideal pH 6.0-7.0
- Soilless medium (Coco coir & perlite) – can also create living soil, can use organic growing style, doesn’t require special knowledge, ideal pH 5.5-6.5
- Hydroponics (DWC) – fastest growth, most control over nutrients, requires some special knowledge, requires extra costs, ideal pH 5.5-6.5
Soil is the traditional growing medium; Coco coir & perlite are a new favourite among many growers and hydroponics which means you’re growing your plants roots directly in water. Choosing your medium comes down to cost, your knowledge of that style, and what you want out of your grow.
My knowledge on hydroponics is limited, mostly because I’ve never grown that way before. I can’t give you much insight on costs, setup of equipment or how to set up the water system needed for hydroponics. I chose soil because it was what I knew and was comfortable doing.
What Nutrients to Use for Growing Cannabis
For basic nutrients, they have a N-P-K ratio or nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium ratio. These are basic nutrients plants need to photosynthesize and grow. There are two types of nutrients:
Here are some key points about each:
- Better smell & taste to buds
- More natural
- Not for hydroponics
- Increased potency
- Faster growth
- Only choice for hydroponics
What you want out of your nutrients and what type of grow you want to have will help you decide what type of nutrients you should use. I chose the organic nutrients as I had used a living soil as well and the two work well together. For more information on Growing organic cannabis using Gaia Green organic dry amendments click the link.
What Kind of Light to Use for Growing Cannabis
There are a few options for lighting when growing cannabis: CFL, HID, or LED.
CFL or Compact Fluorescent Lights
- Cheapest option
- Standard sockets
- Low light output compared to other options
- Need many lights to achieve same effects as other lights
- Best suit for small grows
HID or Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Lights
- Golden Standard for growing (may be changing)
- MH for vegetation & HPS for flowering
- 600 Watt most popular size
- More costly upfront than CFL but less than LED
- Most expensive for electricity costs
- Creates a lot of heat; 600W and higher need exhaust fan
- Have special hood and ballast
- Cheap on electricity while producing great light output
- Produces some of the best result
- Cooler than HID lights
- No ballast
- Highest initial cost
I decided to go with a 600 Watt HID-MH/HPS light system and got a whole kit for under $200CAD. I ordered my light from www.growlights.ca and was very happy with my experience.
The light kit came with 2 light bulbs (we got 1 MH & 1 HPS), a hood reflector, ballast, rope ratchets for the light, and a timer. It was well worth the money and came in the mail within a week.
Now that you can decide what YOUR grow is going to look like, don’t wait! Get growing cannabis at home!
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