Get Your Grow On: Growing Cannabis For Beginners
There exist magical places in the United States where you can turn your green thumb into a really green thumb. The personal cultivation of marijuana plants carries no penalty in some jurisdictions. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these mythical lands—including California, where it’s legal to recreationally cultivate up to six marijuana plants as of January 1, 2018—then you’re going to want to pay attention to our crash-course on growing cannabis for beginners.
Choose Your Fighter
You could begin with a seedling, but where’s the fun in that? To truly experience the joy and wonderment of growing cannabis from the beginning, you should start with a seed. Your favorite local or online dispensary will be able to help you locate the seed of your dreams. Marijuana isn’t called weed for nothing; it’s a remarkably resilient plant that grows quickly, and you can go from seed to smoky treats in about four months!
Gather Your Gear
You’ll need more than just a few seeds to get started. The initial investment for growing cannabis can be a little steep, but just imagine how much you could save in the long run. Besides, have you ever tasted a tomato or pepper grown in your backyard? The connection you will forge with your plants will make them all the tastier in the end.
Here's an essential shopping guide for growing cannabis for beginners:
- Look for something comparable to a five-gallon bucket.
- Make sure there are holes in the bottom to encourage proper drainage.
Potting soil and fertilizer
- Beginning cannabis growers should choose an organic soil mix.
- Look for products rich in nutrients like guano, peat moss, kelp, or coco fiber.
- Avoid anything with “slow release” or “extended” nutrients because they can alter the flowering stage.
- For the beginner’s guide to growing cannabis, you should choose either a CFL or LED starter kit. The CFL has a lower initial investment but higher operational costs.
Starter kits will support a few plants. At the minimum, they should include lights, grow box, fan, and a timer switch.
Sprout Your Seeds
Fill your growing container with delicious (to your plant) soil and nuzzle the seed about one-half inch below the surface. Water the soil until it’s barely moist and put your new baby in a nice warm place. Marijuana seedlings like the 68 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit range (mature plants enjoy slightly higher temperatures).
It can take a week or so before your seedling will break the surface. Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t look like marijuana right off the bat either. Spritz its young leaves with a water bottle and keep the soil moist (but not overly so!) to encourage growth.
Flip the Switch
Once your seedling has taken the form of proto-pot—that is to say, its leaves have the distinct iconic shape we know and love—it’s time to focus on giving it enough light. Plants survive and thrive thanks to the magic of photosynthesis, and weed is no different.
Expose your plant to at least 18 hours of light every day. You can use your light kit’s timer to turn off when electricity costs are at their peak (usually noon - 6 p.m.).
Nourish the Change
The next few weeks—called the vegetation stage—can be the most challenging time of growing cannabis for beginners. A beginner’s guide to growing cannabis indoors should always list this most crucial element above all: patience! Here are some other things to keep in mind during this stage.
- Follow the instructions on your fertilizer packaging to keep your plant well fed—but do not over fertilize as this can cause chemical burn.
- Do not over water! Wait until there is an inch of dry soil at the top of the container before watering.
- Trim away any damaged leaves. Keep an eye out for spots, mold, or desiccation.
- Maintain a constant temperature (between 68 - 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Let the artificial sun shine on your plant for at least 18 hours every single day!
- Some plant parents like to stimulate their foliage’s mind by talking or playing music to them. Consider this going the extra mile when it comes to plant parenthood.
Flower Power Up
Once your plant has grown tall and strong, it’s time to trick it into giving you beautiful bud babies. Trigger the flowering stage by creating a nighttime. An easy cannabis growing guide for beginner’s trick is to set your light timer to 12 hours of darkness. This should produce intense flowering.
Reap, Dry, and Cure What You’ve Sown
Dote on your plant’s every whim and desire (Fewer nutrients? Higher temperature? More water? Less small talk? More jazz music?) and you shall be rewarded with thick clumps of buds after approximately eight weeks. Trim away the buds and hang them up to dry.
The drying process takes a few days: you’ll know it’s time to move on to curing when small stems break away from the larger stalk. Check on them a few times a day to see how they’re doing.
Once dry to the touch, you should stash your buds in quart-sized glass mason jars to cure them. Put them in a dark, moderately humid room to achieve that desirable sticky-icky quality. Fill the jars three-quarters of the way full so you can shake your buds periodically. If they clump together, open the jars to let moisture escape.
The best part of growing cannabis for beginners: Test out your results!
Congratulations! Growing cannabis for beginners can be a challenge, but you did it! You deserve a smoke break with your own homegrown indoor marijuana. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and contemplate which strain of weed you’ll grow next.