Dispensaries offer a wide variety of cannabis strains that are easy enough to purchase, but have you ever considered the art of growing at home? There are so many benefits to cultivating your own favorites like Wedding Cake or Pineapple Express.
Continue Reading Below
Think about it. You’d be saving money, growing exactly what you want, and most importantly, you started up a new hobby. Before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to talk about the supplies for the beginner cannabis grower. With so many options available in the cultivation market today, it can be overwhelming to know what you absolutely need to start your new project.
Keep reading to learn about our favorite beginner cannabis supplies and how to follow your state’s regulations to stay within your legal limits.
Beginner Cannabis Grower Regulations
Is it actually legal for you to grow cannabis at home?
Continue Reading Below
If your state has not legalized recreational or medical marijuana, steer clear from growing at home or face the consequences of hefty fines and/or jail time.
Research your state's regulations on growing at home. Photo credit: Shutterstock
For states that have passed the legalization of marijuana, you’ll still want to check local laws and guidelines. Though many states have legalized access in one form or another, grow laws vary widely. Research your state laws to understand how many plants you can grow. Pay special attention to the fine details including the number of plants that can be in a vegetating state and how many can be flowering.
In British Columbia, adults 19 years of age and old are legally allowed to grow up to four plants. Some places, like Denver, Colorado, allow up to 6 plants per adult for anyone over the age of 21, with only 3 of those plants to be flowering. Be smart and do your homework.
Continue Reading Below
Where are you planning to grow?
State or city regulations may also define where you can grow whether that’s inside, outside, or even placing designated signs to clearly state that cannabis is behind locked doors.
Bugs will be more prevalent on outdoor grows. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Growing outside can yield far more cannabis, but the elements can be harsher on the plants like wind, hail, and even too much rain. It is recommended that a beginner cannabis grower start their first grow inside. There is far more control over the environment and there is far less threat of mold, animals, and pests. You can certainly get indoor bugs but that’s another conversation.
If growing inside, where do you plan to set up? A closet or basement is ideal because conditions are dark and cool. Hot rooms are no good and can become perfect breeding grounds for mold like bud rot or powdery mildew.
The Grow Tent
While a grow tent is not absolutely necessary, the control within a grow tent far outweighs growing indoors without one. Not only that, but it helps tame the pungent smell when using proper ventilation.
Grow tents come in an array of different sizes. Photo credit: Shutterstock
When shopping for your grow tent, your main concern should be its height. Do some measuring. What type of dimensions are available for a grow tent?
You won’t need more than a meter or two in width, but room for height is the most important variable. There are, however, plenty of low-stress training techniques for lower spaces. Find the tent that fits to the top of your ceiling and the rest can be adjusted regarding your plants’ height, later. Some models happen to include adjustable poles as a side note.
Once you’ve found the right tent and now you can fill it with goodies. But, which goodies?
There are so many options available to choose from, that it’s easy to pick something unnecessary. Think of it as buying one of those fancy golf balls to improve your drive by fifteen yards. Unless you’re a professional golfer who has their swing dialed to a tee, you likely won’t be taking advantage of the potential benefits just yet. Beginners can focus on the basics and update their equipment as they go. Specialized equipment can also be very expensive and might not be worth the upfront investment.
Soil or Grow Medium
What type of soil or medium are you planning to use? There are several options.
The easiest one for beginners is living soil. There are microbes and other organisms, often including earthworm casing, bat guano, and more. This method does not need fertilizers, pesticides or the math that comes along with them. The plant uses the rich components from the soil to grow and absorb nutrients as it goes. Just add reverse osmosis water. Another plus is that the soil gets better after each harvest and you never need to change or buy soil again.
The other popular type of soil is coco. Produced from coconut husks, this type of soil is best known for water retention. You’ll be less worried about the plants running dry.
If you’d like to take a stab at growing hydroponically, the best medium to use is called Rockwool. This fibrous substrate comes in cubes and has been utilized in growing plants of all types for decades. There is no mess and it allows for easy drainage, plus it is easy to stack the cubes onto larger blocks like a ziggurat to allow for more growth as they move into flower and need more room for their roots.
Deep water culture growing can lean to be more difficult for beginners. Photo credit: Shutterstock
Aeroponics or Deep Water Culture
There are other options such as aeroponics and deep water culture, but growing weed for beginners is best kept simple. An aeroponics setup comes with a lot of maintenance and cleaning. Without it, mold or root rot may creep in.
Water and Nutrients
It sounds obvious but you need quality water. The pH balance is crucial to growing and using city or tap water can hurt your babies. Reverse osmosis water is the one you want. It gives you more control while supplying the cleanest water. Your pH should be anywhere between 5.8 - 6.2 on the scale between acidity and alkalinity. However, for a beginner grower, obtaining a whole reverse osmosis setup is a large investment. For your first time out, aim for filtered water, and make sure that the pH is balanced. You can also purchase bottled reverse osmosis water as well.
Nutrients will boost your cannabis to express their full expression and traits. Certain elements make all the difference. For a full breakdown, read more here.
Other Supplies for the Beginner Cannabis Grower
You will need plant pots if growing in soil. Sizes from 1 pound to 5 pounds are available.
Be sure to purchase your grow tent first to ensure that your lights will fit in it. Photo credit: Shutterstock
What size tent did you choose? This can affect the light you need. When choosing between high-pressure sodium and an LED, go with LED for beginner growers. Mars Hydro is a great brand but sometimes you are on a budget and other options will be best to begin with. Remember to pick up a light timer as well to keep your “daytime” and “nighttime” schedule perfectly synchronized.
Intake and Exhaust Fans
“Boy, oh boy! Is there a skunk in here”? If you are growing at home, that might be something you hear. The standard grow tent should have a slot for both an intake and outtake fan, both including a carbon filter. This will keep your funky, fresh strain smells at bay.
Growers don’t let grower friends touch their cannabis without gloves. Plenty of people do, and it’s not the end of the world, but think about the oil on your hands. Over time, that oil can come into contact with your plants and affect the growth and yield. You’ll also keep your hands from getting caked with sticky hash. Wear gloves! Latex is best if you’re not allergic.
Find a good thermometer and hygrometer to track humidity. If using nutrients in your grow, remember the measuring cups. A pH meter will also be useful daily.
A Small Fan
Your babies want to feel like they’re in the wild outdoors, so give them a breeze.
Trellis is a great tool to help your plants from growing too tall. Photo credit: Shutterstock
This specially placed netting, most often referred to as trellis at the grow store, will allow your plants to grow horizontally in smaller spaces.
Don’t forget the smaller stuff for when you harvest your plants. You will need isopropyl alcohol for cleaning, mason jars for curing, plus gardener shears and plastic bins for trimming.
Seeds or Clones
After you have finally set up your grow, it’s time to start planting. You can begin by acquiring seeds or clones. Seeds need to germinate first before being placed in the ground for the best success.
Not all seeds are the same. There are feminized seeds, mixed sex seeds, and autoflower seeds. Each of these will need to be cared for differently. The easiest seeds to start with are feminized or autoflower seeds.
Feminized seeds will guarantee that your plants are female unlike a mixed-sex bag. Male plants have to be picked out of your crop, in their vegetative stage, which can be hard to identify as a beginner. If missed, the males can pollinate the remaining females, forming seeds which are never fun to pick out of your bud, or worse – smoke.
Be sure to properly germinate your seeds before planting. Photo credit: Shutterstock
If you would like to focus less on technical issues like the number of hours your lights should be on and off, pick up some autoflower seeds. Autoflower seeds are available in feminized or mixed seed packs. You can expect autoflower seeds to finish, from seed to flower, in around eight to ten weeks. Unlike regular seeds that need sixteen hours of light and eight hours of darkness while vegging and twelve hours of each while flowering, autoflower strains can quite literally grow in constant light. There is less pressure to remember when you have to turn your lights off.
Do some research and find some strains that have great reviews. I Love Growing Marijuana has wonderful options. Buying professional seeds have less chance of hermaphroditing versus the ones you find at the bottom of your weed bag. Autoflower seeds do more work for you but feminized seeds will give you more control and learn the ways of growing.
A beginner’s best friend is a reputable clone source. Dispensaries often sell clones and if they are healthy with strong root production, you’ll be one happy camper. These tiny plants are literally “clones” from its “mother plant”. Because the mother plant is female, your clones will be too.
Clones can be a great way to begin for first time growers. Photo credit: Shutterstock
After you’ve selected your strains and purchased them (double checking that they look healthy), you’re ready to get them into soil. Gently create a small hole with your fingers that will house the clone, its rockwool or soil cube, and its roots. Cover the hole and gently pack the soil to keep the clone standing upright and snug. Water and mist them with distilled water to keep them from going into shock, as they were very wet in their cloning stage. From here you can grow them into their vegetating stage.
Although supplies for the beginner cannabis grower can seem overwhelming, keep it simple. Someone will always know “a better thing” but stick to your plan. The yield you desire shall come. Best of luck and happy legal growing!