Cannabis Grow 101

Growing weed indoors is not at all difficult these days.  There are lots of strains which are bred to give great results.  And there are lots of options for grow methods and lights.  If you have never grown weed indoors before you will be faced with a confusing number of options.  In this week’s blog we will aim to focus on a few simple recommendations which will allow you to make a successful first grow indoors.  You will be amazed how easy it is to grow top quality marijuana! –DutchPassion 

Step 1.  Where to grow?  One of the easiest ways to start is with one of the purpose built indoor grow tents available from proven vendors such as Hydro Lab and Secret Jardin.  These tents are strong and can be assembled in a few minutes, they are light proof and come with all the necessary holes for cables and air extraction.  These tents cost around €100 for a basic model.

Step 2.  Growing in soil or hydro?  Cannabis can grow in a massive number of different ways.  Perhaps the simplest way is in soil.  But it will grow well in coco fibre, clay pebbles, rockwool and any number of different hydroponic systems where there is no soil.  So long as the roots get nutrients and oxygen cannabis will grow.  It is called weed for a good reason !

In this week’s blog we will look only at growing in soil to keep things simple.  Growing in hydroponic systems does give great results but the additional technicalities involving pH, electrical conductivity etc may be a bit confusing for some first-time growers.  We will start by looking just at growing in soil.

Step 3.  Soil quality.  The simplest way to start growing is to buy a prepared specialist soil from companies like BioBizz, Canna or Plagron.  This isn’t the cheapest way of getting started, but it is the simplest as everything is done for you, and you know the soil will give solid results. If you visit their websites you will see that they have soil for seedlings and soil to use when ‘potting up’ plants into their final containers.  They also have additional soil additives which you may want to consider to maximise yields, such as extra nutrients for flowering.  If you buy compost from the local garden centre then add at least 30% perlite in the soil to allow root aeration. If you can, add some worm castings or other light soil enrichers such as bat guano.  There are lots of good books and growing websites which will allow you to get a little bit more information in your own language.  But the easiest way to start is to get a specialist, ready-mixed soil and large plant containers.

If you use large containers, say 15-20 litres with a prepared soil mix you will have a very simple way of growing.  You won’t need to worry about pH or nutrient deficiencies.  The only thing you will need to do is water them lightly a couple of times a week and perhaps add a little liquid feed towards the end of flowering when the soil nutrients are getting depleted.  The most common mistakes made by new growers are over-watering and over-feeding, both of these slow plant growth and limit your end-result.

Step 4.  The growroom.  Keep the temperature around 25°C.  If it gets too hot (over 30°C) or too cold (under 20°C) you may start seeing slow growth and other issues.  If you are growing in a tent you will need to extract the air from the tent.  Air is removed by a fan which sucks the air through tubes (usually 100mm+ diameter).  The air should be sent through a carbon filter to remove all traces of the characteristic cannabis smell.  Finally the extracted air is vented normally outside or into a well ventilated loft.  Pro growers will use ozone generators to remove the tiniest remaining canna smells.  Growers that don’t take steps to deal with canna smells often wish they had.  If you are growing indoors then you really must use carbon filters.  Cannabis plants need a constant supply of fresh air to stay healthy and grow.

Step 5.  The seeds.  You have 2 choices.  You can grow AutoFem seeds or traditional ‘photoperiod‘ strains.  AutoFem’s take 70 days from sprouting the seed to harvest under a lighting regime of 20 hours on, 4 hours off.

Traditional strains are grown initially under 18 hours lights on/6 hours lights off.  This is called vegetative growth; the plant grows leaves, roots and branches but no bud. Usually after 4 or 5 weeks the plants is switched to 12 hours lights on/12 hours lights off.  This causes the cannabis plant to go into flowering and produce the buds we all love.  Normally the flowering process takes around 9 weeks.  The finished plant is cut down, the buds trimmed and dried for a few days.  Normally people cure (or mature) the buds in glass jars for a month or two to get the best flavours and a great high.

Cannabis plants can be male or female, but only the female plant has the buds that you want.  For that reason you are better off with feminized seed which will give rise to 95%+ female plants.  Dutch Passion were the first to offer feminized seed back in the 1990’s and today feminized seed accounts for 97% of our seed sales.  If you are new to growing, we would recommend a robust, forgiving variety such as feminized Skunk #11 for your first attempt.  Skunk #11 gives great yields, a great smoke and is easy to grow.  At €27 for 5 seeds it is the most affordable of our most highly-rated strains.  This was our first strain to sell over 1 million seeds for good reasons.

Step 6.  The light.  Most indoor growers use HPS lights.  These are a low cost and effective way of growing.  LED lights have been improving dramatically in the last 2 years, but at around €1000 for a 300W system they are still a little too expensive for many people.  But the results we have seen with them show that technically they are now really delivering excellent performance.  If you buy a grow tent you will normally get a manufacturers recommendation about the size of lamp and size of extraction fan.  The most common HPS lamps are 250W, 400W and 600W.  The more power they have, the more light (and heat) they produce.

And that is it.  There are countless ways to grow cannabis, but growing in premixed soil, in a purpose built indoor tent with an HPS light is one of the easiest ways to start.  More advanced growers will tell you that hydroponic systems such as NFT and especially DWC (deep water culture) gives even better results than soil.  If you are growing for the first time this year we wish you success !

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