The 7 Easy Steps Of Growing Cannabis

Legal cannabis is becoming the norm across the United States and in many other countries of the world. Hooray!! Although not official, it is ostensibly legal in most of Europe and if not legal, then certainly tolerated.

So, you have come to the decision to grow your own cannabis. Well done! Soon you will be part of a rapidly growing culture. The phenomenon of homegrown marijuana that is sweeping the world.

Growing your own cannabis is a fun and inexpensive way to put high-quality buds in your jar. Marijuana is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of climates, in greenhouses or indoors all year round.

CANNABIS IS YOUR FRIEND

Like all gardening, cannabis growing is a skill developed over time. It is easy to learn but takes a happily stoned lifetime to master. There is no reason to be intimidated by growing your own. The process is not complicated and can be as inexpensive or expensive as you like.

Understanding the fundamentals of cannabis growing is a good place to start your marijuana growing journey. Making informed decisions early will maximise your end yields. These seven basic steps will give you an excellent knowledge base to become an expert marijuana gardener.

STEP 1: CHOOSING YOUR CANNABIS SEEDS

Cannabis Seeds

The choice is staggering. Sativa, indica, ruderalis, any number of hybrids, all available at a click. You know what you enjoy from personal experience. What strains have fitted your groove in the past? What strains have performed as a satisfactory medicine for your particular ailment? They are probably a good place to start.

With your personal taste in mind now consider your growing circumstances. Are you growing in a small cupboard where small fast-maturing plants like autoflowering strains or indicas will be the most effective use of your space? Or do you have a nice big backyard where you can grow one or more monsters directly in the soil or in large pots?

STEP 2: CANNABIS FUNDAMENTALS

Cannabis Fundamentals

In order to grow at its best and give you the juicy buds, you love cannabis requires some fundamental things.

LIGHT: For healthy vegetation marijuana needs over twelve hours of light per twenty-four hour period. Indoors this is controlled by you with timers. Outdoors germination must be delayed until the plants can be exposed to more than twelve hours of daylight and receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day.

GROWING MEDIUM: Organic growers will use some kinds of soil every time inside or out. However, soil isn't the only choice. Neutral mediums that are entirely nutrient dependant include coconut coir, perlite, vermiculite or rock wool. Aeroponics, purely hydroponic or deep water culture do not use mediums at all. The suspended root matrix gets nutrients directly from the nutrient mix.

AIR: For strength and proper exchange of gases, cannabis requires fresh moving air. Outdoors this is no problems your plants will be exposed to breeze and gale alike. Indoors your plants will need a fresh air intake, stale air exhaust and a fan for air movement. Still, environments encourage pests, moulds and weak growth. A buildup of aspirated gases will stunt plant growth.

WATER: Like all living things cannabis needs water to grow, thrive and carry out its biological functions. If you live somewhere with regular rainfall your outdoor crop may get all it needs from nature alone. Large cannabis plants are notoriously thirsty. If you are going big then you will certainly need to supplement water between rains.

Indoors water becomes the medium that carries nutrients. Unmodified water is used to flush hydroponic and soilless systems regularly. The pH of your water is very important. The canny cannabis grower has a good pH meter as part of a comprehensive grow kit.

TEMPERATURE: Cannabis is a very hardy plant and can survive cold and heat well. Just like you or me though, it can get stressed and not function well in the extremes. Cannabis can freeze or boil to death. It can stop growing or go into stasis. It will go into survival mode if the temperatures are too high or too cold for too long. Twenty-seven degrees centigrade is the accepted ideal for vigorous cannabis growth. Indoors this is easy to achieve with fans, air conditioning units, heating and cooling mats. Lights will certainly generate heat that needs to be vented.

Outdoors you need to pick your time. Know your particular climate well. Have a sun cycle app or chart to make sure you get your timing right. Too early and you risk your plants going into flower immediately, then re-vegging when the daylight increases. This is unwanted. Your flowers will not form properly when blooming begins. Too late and you will have small plants with fewer flower sites.

NUTRIENTS: Like all living things cannabis also requires fuel to grow. A good friable soil mix that is rich with compost, living organisms, vitamins and minerals can supply your plants with enough food for their whole life cycle.

Watering with compost tea and other organic mixes like molasses or feather meals improve soil quality and encourage healthy plant growth.

With hydroponics or neutral mediums you supply all of the plant's lifeblood with pre-formulated nutrient blends. Usually customised for marijuana especially. Specialised concoctions are made exclusively for whichever soil-less medium you choose.

HUMIDITY: Outdoors you don't really have any control over this factor and you are at the mercy of your climate. The upside is that the variations in humidity and the robust biological functions needed to adapt to a changing grow environment makes your plants exceptionally strong!

Indoors humidity control is very important from seed to flower. Leaves aspirate atmospheric moisture as part of their day to day functions. Properly balanced humidity makes for a healthy pest and mould-free environment.

Cupboard, grow tent or dedicated grow room. Directly in the soil or in pots outdoors. Even in a companion planted garden your marijuana will need to satisfy all these needs to grow well and supply you with high-quality resin soaked nuggets.

STEP 3: LIGHTS FOR INDOOR CANNABIS GROWING

Cannabis Lighting

With legalisation, there has been an absolute explosion in the choices of lights and grow chambers for growing cannabis indoors. Your budget then will be the deciding factor.

GROW CUPBOARDS: Fully customised for cannabis and ready to go sophisticated grow cupboards made by people with decades of experience are available. If you have the thousands of dollars to spare. Lights, fans, separate clone, veg and flower chambers, timers and carbon filters all ready to plug and play.

LIGHTS FOR EVERY BUDGET: At the other end of the scale, you can have a rudimentary yet very efficient CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) or small LED panel (Light Emitting Diode) setup for less than three hundred dollars. Growing great buds in a spare cupboard. Other compact fluorescent lights like T5 battens come in a range of spectrums for vegging and flowering and can fit in a small space well.

HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide) lamps are traditional types of grow lights. A 1000W HPS with reflectors can efficiently light a 1.5 x 1.5-meter space and provide excellent growth. Similarly, a 600W MH lamp will light the same sized space and give you world class flowers at the end of the grow cycle. The heat factor generated by these lights must be considered. If not exhausted efficiently your grow space will quickly become too hot for healthy cannabis growth.

STEP 4: GERMINATION AND CANNABIS SEEDLINGS

 Cannabis Seedlings

Beginning your whole cannabis grow adventure is the germination of your seeds. Each viable seed contains all the information needed to grow the strain of plant you have chosen. All they need are the right conditions and the life cycle will begin. Seeds won't germinate until three specific needs are met. Water, correct temperature (warmth) and a good location.

Growing cannabis is an organic process without strict sets of rules. It is not a linear system to learn, but an art to be mastered. There are a number of equally effective methods for germinating cannabis. Over time you will find the one that works best for you.

STRAIGHT INTO THE MEDIUM: Place seeds directly into your medium, this way you can avoid any transplant shock. More often it is easier to germinate in a small pot of your chosen medium then pot on to the garden or bigger pots.

PAPER TOWEL: Seeds are placed on moistened paper towel on a plate and placed in a warm dark place. Usually covered with plastic or an upturned plate to retain moisture and humidity. After a few days to a week, your seeds have sprouted.

JIFFIES, PLUGS AND ROCK WOOL STARTERS: Easy to maintain as you can have fifty seeds germinating in a very small space. Once the seedlings are established they can be put in their final position without damaging roots.

IN WATER: Simply soak seeds in enzyme enriched water until you see the tap root appear then put in your medium. The seedling will quickly strike and break the surface about a week later.

GERMINATION STATIONS: Offering substantial control over the germinating environment germination stations provide humidity, temperature control and can accelerate germination times.

When your plants have broken the surface and the cotyledons have shed the seed husk and opened to reveal the first set of true leaves photosynthesis has begun. Now you have a true marijuana seedling on its way to becoming a heavy resinous indoor miniature or booming outdoor tree.

STEP 5: THE VEGETATIVE PHASE OF CANNABIS

Vegetative Cannabis Growth

The moment green leaves meet the light photosynthesis begins in earnest. Your plants start to metabolise and the vegetative phase has begun.

INDOORS: Lights are set to an eighteen hour day, six hour night light regimen. This doesn't have to coordinate with the actual daylight hours, you can set it to times of day that suit you. Running electrical equipment during off-peak periods can save you a lot of money.

Your plants are happy in an organic soil or they are being fed nutrients designed for the vegetative phase. Lots of fan-forced breezes keep temperatures under control and strengthen your young plants. Exotic disciplines can be used like adding carbon dioxide to the environment. Low-stress training and scrogging can be used to increase the growth rate and flower potential of indoor cannabis.

How Long Does The Vegetation Phase Last?

The vegetative phase can last as long as you like. Depending on whether you want lots of small plants taking up your space as with the Sea Of Green grow method. Or, choosing a few larger plants topped and mainlined to produce large flower clusters.

OUTDOORS: Cannabis grows rapidly once the daylight hours start to increase during spring and on into summer. Unlimited root room and good genetics can see a plant grow to three or four meters during the vegetative phase.

Most contemporary plants are topped and under-shucked continually during the whole growth phase. This encourages an even canopy that will fill with homogeneously sized buds during the bloom stage. Cannabis will continue to vegetate while there are more than twelve hours of daylight. The further away from the equator, you are the shorter vegetation time your cannabis will have before starting to flower.

STEP 6: THE BLOOMING PERIOD OF HEALTHY CANNABIS

Vegetative Cannabis Growth

Blooming, flowering and budding all refer to the same phase of growth for the marijuana plant. The next few months will be exciting times as aromas start to develop. Interesting floral arrangements also begin to emerge that are particular to your choice of strain. The blooming phase has distinctive chapters that are common to all cannabis plants and begin when vegetation finishes.

Outdoors the first stage of flowering can be seen when Summer's heat has passed and autumn approaches. Indoors you control when the flowering begins by changing the lighting schedule to a twelve hour day, twelve hour night photoperiod. {{{{{{Depending on species cannabis can bloom as a response to three possible traits.

Depending on species cannabis responds to hormonal changes that make it continue vegetating or begin blooming. There are typically two types APD and autoflowering:

  • APD or Absolute Photo Determinate plants rely on a hormone that is sensitive to light to keep vegetating. This hormone prevents flowering when it is active. It is rendered inactive in low light levels and as nights become longer. Twelve hours or more of night will induce flowering.
  • With autoflowering strains, this same hormone is age dependent. The plant stops producing it when it reaches a certain species-specific age and flowering begins regardless of photoperiod. This can be as little as two weeks after germination.

The Different Stages Of Blooming

DIFFERENTIATION: At the very beginning of the flowering phase a noticeable change in growth pattern happens. Rather than the striving and stretching symmetry of vegetation the branch growth begins to zig-zag and compresses with less distance between nodes. Differentiation is very noticeable.

BLOOMING: Flowering follows the same stages in all species, but for different lengths of time. A quick indica will be cured and in the pipe weeks before a long maturing sativa.

Soon after differentiation, proper flowers will start to form. Calyxes will emerge at branch internodes quickly forming pistil covered puffballs. Much desired resins are already forming in young trichomes on the pistils, calyxes and leaf surfaces.

The puffballs of calyxes start to stretch along their own spike. This makes room for fresh fluorescent clusters and bud-specific leaves. Unlike sugar leafs, these new leaves are thicker, smaller, often heavily crinkled and covered in trichomes. They are eventually partially submerged by the swelling flower clusters.

Over the weeks these flower clusters multiply and form large colas covered in resin swollen trichomes. Left to mature further the calyxes and the trichomes swell with copious amounts of desirable resins. Full maturity quickly approaches.

STEP 7: HARVESTING, DRYING & CURING FOR BEST QUALITY BUDS

Curing Cannabis

During the last few weeks, nutrients are ignored and your plants will be flushed out with clean water. This guarantees a pure flavour free of nutrient and built up salt aftertastes.

When Is My Cannabis Mature?

Now covered abundantly in trichomes, pistils are shrivelling back and changing colour. Deep orange, mauve, brown or scarlet may emerge depending on species. The swollen resin sacks begin to change colour in waves all over the plant. First, going from clear to milky then milky to amber. The flower clusters are so swollen they seem to have turned inside out.

These signs mean it is time to harvest the results of your hard work.

  • For higher THC content harvest when trichomes are 20-30% amber.
  • For a broader cannabinoid profile harvest when trichomes are 60-80% amber. Watch carefully as the differences here may only be twenty-four hours.

Harvesting The Marijuana Plant

There is no set way to harvest. Be rakish and learn by doing.

Some will wet trim which is removing all the leaves while the plant is still standing then break the plant down further. Hanging branches to dry or laying individual buds on a drying rack. Some will remove the large sugar leaves only then harvest and hang the whole plant.

There are no set rules except be careful when handling. You want to disturb the delicate trichomes as little as possible.

Drying And Curing Cannabis

Dry your buds in a dark cool place with little humidity. Ideally, this process is very slow and should take a minimum of two weeks.

Check things often for over drying or moulds

When dry, thin branches will easily snap. Thick branches will still be slightly flexible.

The chlorophyll has degraded and the green of growth has been replaced with species dependent colours. Fawn, tan, a pale green or even deep blue and purple can emerge as the buds true dry colours develop.

Storing Cured Buds

At this point loosely pack a well-sealed glass jar with your treasure. Open the top or "burp" the jar once a day for the first two weeks. This releases built up humidity that can moulder your buds. Once the flowers are dry to the touch only burp the jar once a week. You don't want weeks of hard work to be wrecked by lack of attention.

How Long Does Cannabis Take To Cure?

You can cure for as long as you like. Remembering that the psychotropic compounds drop a water molecule when properly cured and become more psychoactive. This takes at least six weeks when cured under ideal conditions. The longer the cure the smoother the result. Keep your jars in a dark cool place. THC breaks down into other cannabinoids over time when exposed to light.

If you are unsure about bud dryness sample your wares as they dry so you have a future reference. Dry cannabis doesn't really feel completely dry because of the waxiness of the resins. You will develop the feel and skill quickly.

Enjoying your own well-grown cannabis is not difficult. Some attention and patience can reap stinky benefits even from the smallest of spaces.

Happy growing friends!