Tag Archives: growing marijuana

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 !

True Cost of Home grown vs Dispensary Cannabis

Ive always wondered how much it cost to grow versus how much it is being sold for per gram and this chart definitely helped give a clear insight of how much is what!

How Much Does Cannabis Cost at a Store or Dispensary?

The ability to walk into a store and purchase any number of cannabis products is a luxury that should not be taken for granted. Flowers, concentrates, and edibles that range in potency, flavor, effect, and smell fill the shelves of your average shop. Many of the products require expensive machinery and a high level of skill to produce. The diversity of flower and quality genetics is something most consumers could not dream of 20 years ago. However, these products are subject to high taxes and regulations that make packaging and distribution expensive.

Costs Estimates of Store Bought Cannabis
Costs Estimates of Store-Bought Cannabis (click to enlarge)

How Much Does It Cost to Grow Your Own Cannabis?

Growing your own product has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Taking cultivation into your own hands gives you complete control of the products used to grow your cannabis, giving you full knowledge of the process and a better understanding of the plant. It also allows you to explore growing techniques, genetics, harvest times, and curing strategies. This all requires time and effort, but sharing the fruits of your labor with your friends and family is unparalleled.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cannabis Growing: 3 Key Differences

However, at the same time, it’s also important to realize the difficulties that can arise from growing your own cannabis. Pests, mold, and other diseases can rapidly sabotage a grow and leave you with a bad crop. Additionally, if you’re completely new to growing, you could make some costly mistakes as you learn through trial and error how to raise healthy crops with strong yields.

If you’re curious about the approximate costs of growing your own cannabis at home, keep in mind that the pricing varies between growing indoors vs. outdoors, as well as the size of the space in which you’re choosing to grow.

Growing Cannabis Indoors

For our indoor cannabis grow cost estimates, the space we calculated costs for is a 6 ft by 6 ft grow space. We’re using soil as our growing medium, and only one room will be used for both vegetative growth and for flowering. Also, let’s assume we’re in a temperate climate where the use of A/C will not be necessary, which will save us some energy costs.

How to Grow Cannabis Indoors

Not included in the price estimates is the cannabis plants themselves. For this exercise, we’ll use six clones to save space and reduce our vegetative growth time. A single clone can cost between $10-$30, but higher-quality clones can be more expensive. Our plants will spend around a month in vegetative growth and around 8-10 weeks flowering.

Cost Estimates of Growing Cannabis Indoors

With a 1000-watt bulb, ideally you could produce up to a gram per watt. Realistically, as an enthusiast starting out, you might find yourself anywhere between that and a half gram per watt. This assumes you avoid pests and disease, and you feed your plants to keep them healthy. You should set aside an hour or more a day to observe and work in the garden to keep your plants happy.

Small Closet Grow

If a 6 ft x 6 ft space is unrealistic, you can consider growing in a much smaller space using a grow tent kit. The grow tents dimensions start at 2x2x5 ft and get more expensive the larger you go. You can buy a 2’x2’x5’ kit for under $1,000 that includes everything you’ll need to grow cannabis besides the soil and plants themselves. A kit will allow you to grow two to four plants in one to three gallon pots. In a space this size, you would most likely use a 400-600 watt light and have a return ratio similar to the larger 6 ft x 6 ft room.

Cost Estimates of a Small Closet Cannabis Grow

Equipment Cost
2’x2’x5′ grow kit $900
Four 3 gallon pots $20
20 gallons of soil $20

Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Growing cannabis outdoors can be a very simple startup process. The largest concern is the climate in which you live. It needs to be sunny and dry enough to promote growth and prevent rot. Additionally, it needs to stay sunny and warm long enough into the fall to allow the plants to finish flowering. Growing in a greenhouse can help with the temperature and moisture-related issues with cultivation, but climate still dictates your ability to grow outdoors.

For this estimate, we will assume you are growing in a climate where the plants can be outside from the start of the season (July) to the end of the season (October). Again, we will use clones to start (which are not included in our cost estimates).

Cost Estimates of Growing Cannabis Outdoors

Equipment Cost
45 gallon smart pots (5 count) $80-$140
Soil (20 gallons, 12 count) $300-$500
Soil amendments $100-$200
Nutrients $150-$500
Watering tank (250 gallons) $500
Mixing tank (50 gallons) $100
Water pump $200-$600
Hardware (trellising, zip ties, stakes hoses, valves) $400
TOTAL COST RANGE: $1,830-$2,940

High yields of quality product can be produced outdoors. A plant grown in a 50-gallon pot should net you between 1-2 lbs of flower. You’ll need to consider the cost of the time you will put into your garden; an hour a day on average should allow you to take care of your plants. Some days will require nearly no time while others will require more. Also, the property required to grow outdoor cannabis is a factor. Most people growing outside do so on large properties for security reasons and odor issues.

Keep in mind that many of these costs will be lower in simpler, smaller gardens. Growing a plant or two in your yard can cost very little, especially if you already own much of the equipment from growing other types of plants and produce. Of course, many of these startup materials can be re-used for your next harvest as well.

Estimated Price Per Gram of Indoor and Outdoor Cannabis Grows

Yield Cost Price Per Gram
Indoor 6’x6′ – 500 grams $1,948 $3.90
Indoor 6’x6′ – 1,000 grams $1,948 $1.95
Indoor 2’x2′ – 200 grams $940 $4.70
Indoor 2’x2′ – 400 grams $940 $2.35
Outdoor – 2,000 grams $2,385 $1.19
Outdoor – 4,000 grams $2,385 $0.60

Looking at these totals, you’ll find that growing can be done for a much lower price than purchasing your product at the store. However, labor and property are not included in these costs. Someone will have to check in on the garden daily and spend time pruning, trimming, feeding, watering, and monitoring the plants for signs of disease, rot, or mold. Growing cannabis is strenuous and can be difficult, but if you’re looking for a new hobby and have the time to dedicate to growing, you might find yourself saving money and enjoying yourself.

Labor Costs and Their Impact on Price Per Gram

When including estimated labor costs of $20 per day for the growing period, the prices change significantly. (We adjusted the labor time needed for the 2’x2′ space at $10 per day because the size of the space is much more manageable.)

  • Indoor 6’x6′ space: $140 per week x 14 weeks = $1,960
  • Indoor 2’x2′ space:  $70 per week x 14 weeks = $980
  • Outdoor space: $140 per week x 20 weeks = $2,800

Estimated Price Per Gram of Home Grows Including Labor

Yield Cost (Including Labor) Price Per Gram
Indoor – 500 grams $3,908 $7.82
Indoor – 1,000 grams $3,908 $3.91
Indoor 2’x2′ – 200 grams $1,920 $9.60
Outdoor – 2,000 grams $5,185 $2.59
Outdoor – 4,000 grams $5,185 $1.30

Reflecting on the costs between purchasing cannabis and growing your own in addition to the benefits that each method has to offer might have you clearly leaning to one side or stuck in a stalemate. Cannabis is not cheap or easy to grow, and chances are you will get higher quality, more diverse products at the local shop. However, if you want to explore producing your own crop and if it feels less like labor and more like a hobby, then perhaps a personal garden is the way to go.

Source – Leaf.ly