Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis - What You Need and What to Do
The legalization of cannabis is spreading rapidly across the US and it covers more than just its free trade in limited amounts.
Growing Weed from Seed
In some states, it is legal to grow up to 5-6 cannabis plants for your own use. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Buy some seeds, drop them in the ground and reap the harvest. In truth, it is far from being as simple as that. Here is a beginner’s guide to growing indoors.
Before you run to buy fertilizer and seeds, you need to make some preparations. First of all, you need to pick a place where you will be growing your plants. Most people find it easier to grow indoors as you have more control over the process. Here are some tips to find the best spot for indoor growing:
Air and Ventilation. Plants are alive and need fresh air so you need to arrange for a light breeze to be available.
Light. Cannabis plants love and need lots of light. If you intend to get a good yield, make sure the plants have plenty of sunlight or special grow lights.
Temperature. It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. If you feel comfortable that usually means that your plants do, too. And here you should pick the sunlight dosage - that is if you are not using grow lights. Avoid extreme temperatures at all costs so as not to burn your plants. The best temps for young plants are 70-85F and for those flowering are around 65-80F. As in case with humidity, a separate system to control the temperature is basically a must.
Humidity. Plants require a wide range of humidity depending on their stage. Seedlings need lots of moisture - around 70%, and by the end of the flowering cycle it will need to be brought down all the way to 30%, so humidity control is crucial.
You can use any of the free premises you have like a shed, garage, or even a spare room, but you need to make sure that you can manage all of the above.
And, before you get to growing, check to make sure that it is legal and your state as well as the plant count allowed.
Now, let us cover the basic stages of growing:
Step 1. Seeds
Getting the seeds is the first and crucial step. You can probably find some at a local seed distributor if it is legal in your state. Make sure to pick a reliable seller based on advice, reviews and so on. The big question is the type of seeds. Do you want to grow an Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid strain? Do you want feminized or auto-flowering seeds? Buying regular seeds means that you will need to remove any males before they mature and pollinate your females. If this is your first go, minimize your risks by opting for feminized auto-flowering seeds.
Step 2. Germination
Now it’s time to prepare your seeds for planting. The easiest way is to put the seeds into a wet paper towel and let them sit for a couple of days. Don’t forget to keep the towel moist. Once you see that the seeds are ‘popping’ and have small roots, it’s time to plant them.
Step 3. Planting
This part is probably the easiest. You’ll need a pot and some soil. Select high-quality soil rich in nutrients for growing cannabis plants. Keep in mind that the size of the pot should be no less than a gallon and allow for drainage of excess water. A pot made of fabric will do nicely.
How to plant the seeds? Insert a finger into the soil and create a hole of about half an inch - an inch deep, and place the seed in it. Cover with soil and water it. Allocate the pot to the area where you plan on growing the plant.
Step 4. Growing
The stage between germinating and flowering is called vegetation. It is the most important part when it comes to cannabis plants. The quality of the flower fully depends on how successful the vegetation period went.
Depending on the type of plant you’re growing you will have to create different conditions. Airflow, humidity levels, watering, nutrition, lighting are the keys to growing a “happy plant”. To provide enough light, you will need to buy special growing lamps. A typical lighting scheme is 18/6, meaning 18 hours with the lights on and 6 hours off. In case you are ready to invest more money you can buy turnkey indoor growing systems that include almost everything you need.
Step 5. Flowering
After the vegetative phase your plant will begin flowering. This stage requires more care. You will need to change your lighting scheme, add more nutrients to grow big healthy buds, and so on. Usually, beginners are really curious as to when they can finally enjoy the harvest. There is no clear deadline for how long your plant should be at the flowering stage. You should check the timeframe for your particular strain and pay attention to trichomes - those small resin glands on the flower - to determine the best time to gather the crops. Get a microscope to make sure it is not too early and not too late. If trichomes are of a milky white-amber color, it’s time to harvest your flower.
Step 6. Harvesting
This stage is relatively easy. Just cut the flowers down with gardening scissors and try not to touch the precious trichomes. This is where all the good the stuff is.
Step 6. Dry and Go
Drying is technically a two-stage process. The first stage is the regular drying of the flowers. It takes 10-14 days and you can easily do it at the same space where you were growing the plant. The second stage is curing. For that you need a dark place with low humidity. It could be a jar, box, or any other container. This stage could take up to 14 days as well. After the herb is completely dried, the flower is ready for consumption.
As you can see, the growing process is far from being chilled and relaxed, as they often show in so-called stoner movies. It requires care and attention at every stage and the question you need to ask yourself before you start - am I ready for this? Because if you slack off or let your guard down at any stage, you might end up searching “How can I save my dying cannabis plant?” on Google, and lose your crops.
But, we do not want to discourage anyone - give home growing a try, if you are up for it. It’s a great hobby and a great way to connect with the plant.
Now that we have covered the basic of home growing, you can see that it is not as easy as it seems. Luckily, if you live in Colorado, Silver Stem is there to help you - we offer high quality cannabis, grown by our team of professionals with decades of experience. Our flower is pesticide free, conforms with all regulations, and the important part is that it is grown exclusively in soil and handled by hand. If you decide to try the best cannabis in the state, we'll be delighted to see you at any of our locations!
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