By Luis Rivera
Setting the right expectations is one of the first things you need to do when starting to grow cannabis. If you`re a beginner, it’s easy to set your expectations too high, wanting to grow the perfect plant on the first try, or too low, being perplexed by all the steps involved in the process.
In this case you need some clear step-by-step guidance. Growing cannabis can be quite easy if you’re prepared and willing to put in some effort.
We are going to focus on the most basic steps of how it’s done indoors, as it is the more common and environment controlled method. So, if you’re enthusiastic about starting your own growing operation, read on.
1. The Growing Space
The first thing you need to do is set up a space for the growing process. Growing indoors enables you to control the environment and give the plant exactly what it needs, but also gives you some privacy. Furthermore, in the case of growing just a few plants, the expenses are not very big.
This journal will give you an idea of what to expect depending on your setup and scale.
The most important thing you should consider when choosing a space is access to water and fresh air. Its best if you have a garage or an extra room, but if you’re tight on space you can use a grow tent or even a closet.
The temperature and humidity of the space should also be considered. You should be able to adjust the temperature between 65 F and 85 F, depending on the growth stage. A very common and easy way is to install an air conditioner, but it also depends on the scale of your operation. Generally, it should be warmer during the first stages and a bit cooler during the flowering stage. A device for making the space more or less humid is also advisable.
2. The Seeds
The next logical step on the list is to select the proper seeds. This is a tricky step that can be different for everyone, depending on where you’re located. After considering whether you want to grow indica, sativa or hybrid you need to look for a good and reputable source. Do some research and look for the best options available near you.
3. The Grow Medium
Soil is the most preferred and common grow medium for cannabis due to its low cost and high reliability. If you`re a beginner, this is the most recommendable approach, especially if you have some experience with gardening or growing other plants in soil.
There is a wide selection of special growing soil available for purchase online and while it might be a bit more expensive than regular soil, it saves you some time and effort.
4. The Grow Stages
Understanding the plant’s growth stages and how its needs differ throughout each one is of essence. There are many specifics involved, that we won`t get into here, but in order to get the best results, you should read more about each stage here.
Here is a general timeline of the growing stages:
- Day 1 to 21 – pre-flowering transition
- Day 21 to 28 – formation of buds
- Day 28 to 42 – the buds get bigger and denser
- Day 42 to 56 – the buds ripen further
- Day 56 and on – the flowering stage comes to an end and harvesting can ensue
Cloning is a great alternative to growing from seeds and has definite benefits. Simply put, you cut off a branch from another cannabis plant and then plant it separately. Naturally, the process has more depth to it but in general, it can be done by anyone.
Here is a great explanation video of how it’s done properly. Once you watch it you’ll surely gain the confidence to try it yourself.
The biggest merit of this method is that it allows you to copy the genes of any strong and high-yielding plant and increase the overall quality of the buds. There are also many special products, such as cloning gels and powders, designed to aid the process. You can see the difference between them by watching this video.
6. Selecting the best LED Grow Lights
Grow lights are the most important piece of equipment you’ll need when growing cannabis indoors. There are many options available on the market but LEDs are the definite leader, both in terms of return on investment and efficiency.
LED grow lights increase both the yield quality and the plant growth rate, while being incredibly energy efficient.
The best LED grow lights for cannabis are full spectrum and can be adjusted depending on the growth stage. For example, during the vegetative stage, the plant benefits from light in the blue spectrum because it makes its leaves bigger and healthier. During the flowering stage it benefits from light in the red spectrum, because it makes it taller and increases the bud`s mass.
Taking good care of your plant is essential and you should take the time to do some leaf and stem maintenance. We recommend that you use the four P`s method – pinch, pluck, patience, prune. This is a very efficient method that evens out the light your plant receives and makes it grow more even, produce bigger buds and be more consistent.
For more detailed information on how to maintain your plant watch this instructional video.
It takes 2-3 months of flowering for the cannabis to be ripe. Aside from the standard fattening of the buds and strong smell, you can tell that the time is right when the white hairs on the plant turn brown. I`s important to harvest at the right moment, otherwise the potency and effect will suffer.
At this point you’ve already done most of the hard work and it’s time to enjoy the fruits. You simply need to cut the plant and pick off the buds.
9. Additional Information
We’ve given you the basics, but there is so much more to growing cannabis. Each step can be examined in detail and there are many small things that should be considered. Therefore, we recommend that you further expand your knowledge with the following materials.
- Marijuana Growing Humidity Moisture
- Increasing Cannabis Growth Rates
- 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Cannabis
Growing cannabis indoors is not as challenging as it might seem but there is still some preparation and effort involved. The basic steps we’ve listed provide a good foundation to get you started, but as your growing operation expands, you should read up and try out what works best.
For a farewell, here is a soothing time-lapse video of cannabis growing to get you motivated.
Luis has 20+ years of experience in global market expansion, business development, mergers and acquisitions, business re-engineering, finance and investor relations of software companies. He is passionate about technology, spectral science, indoor farming, food production, automation, and more. Since 2015 he is the president of Advanced LED Lights, a leading LED grow lights manufacturer based in Hiwasse, Arkansas. When not at work, Luis enjoys swimming, yoga, as well as growing grapes and flowers in Sonoma, California.