How To Grow Marijuana

If you've decided it's time to try to grow your own seeds and enjoy harvesting your own weed crop, you probably need a few pointers to help you learn how to grow marijuana. While growing weed isn't difficult, it's definitely not something you can do successfully without the right information at your fingertips.

While you can't just stick some seeds in a pot and hope for the best, growing your own plants isn't as hard as some people make it seem. The key is to find the right method to suit:

 

  • Your available growing space
  • Your available budget
  • The amount of crop you want to harvest

The great news is that virtually anyone who has a bit of extra time and a bit of space can growing professional quality buds of their own.

If you're struggling on a shoestring budget, don't panic. You can still successfully grow weed, albeit on a small scale. You don't actually need to pay out a fortune to get started as long as you have the basics.

 

The Basics of Growing

So, the sooner you get growing, the sooner you can get your fix, so let's get started. What does weed need to grow and thrive?
  1. Light – think back to those school science lessons when you learned about the basics of growing plants. You can use natural sunlight or growing lights, but without any light at all, you won't be growing anything.
  2. Growing medium – yes, that does mean soil, but that isn't your only option. Read on to find out more about that...
  3. Air – without decent ventilation, your plants won't thrive.
  4. Temperature – controlling temperatures isn't always easy, especially with a small scale setup, but as a basic rule, if you're feeling too hot, your plants are probably hot too, and whatever you do, don't let your plants freeze – being stuck out in the cold doesn't just kill humans – it'll kill your weed too.
  5. Nutrients – this depends on how involved you want to get. Yes, you can compost super soil of your own, but if you're feeling lazy, just buy some pre-formulated nutrients and add them to your water.
  6. Water – yes, weed is a plant, and as you already know, without water, it won't survive. No matter whether you're growing your crop outdoors or inside, you must make sure that it's getting plenty of all of these elements.

How Long Does Weed Take To Grow

The first question every new grower asks...

While no doubt you're impatient to take that first toke of your own crop, you're going to have to be patient. For quite a while actually. To be precise, for around 8 and a half weeks. But remember, good things come to those who wait!

If you're in a rush, growing your crop indoors is likely to produce a faster result since you can control the budding of your plants more effectively. If you go for auto-flowering varieties, you'll also get a faster growing crop, but remember that there's always a tradeoff. The shorter growing time your crop takes, the smaller your yield is likely to be.

 

Also, be careful which strains you choose – some varieties can take as long as 7 months to grow, so if time is of the essence, you need to do your research carefully.

On average, it will take around 4 months to go from growing to harvesting and curing your own buds.

Avoiding Common Errors

Newbie growers all make mistakes, but some of the obvious ones are pretty easy to avoid.

Firstly, don't be tempted to conduct a last minute experiment that could damage or kill your plants. Don't do anything without checking it out on Google first. There are lots of growers out there with a lot more experience than you, so someone is bound to have tried your great idea!

Secondly, don't skip key steps in the process. You may well be in a hurry, but missing out essential elements such as finding out about the importance of root pH levels and light schedules will mean that your final result is going to be less than spectacular.

If you want a high quality bud, and which grower doesn't – you'll need to follow every step I've listed here.

Choose Your Growing Space

The first step in choosing where to grow your crop is pretty obvious – outdoors, or indoors. 

It goes without saying that if you're growing outdoors people are going to notice, so if discretion is important to you, you might want to knock that idea on the head. 

Growing your plants inside is a lot more private and you'll also get better control. It's also pretty cheap to start up your indoor setup, especially if you're starting small.

Indoor Growing

So, what sort of indoors spaces are suitable?

Basically, pretty much anywhere that has easy access to air and water. Some of
the most popular spots include:
  • Garages
  • Spare bedrooms
  • Closets
  • Spare bathrooms
Of course, you need to think rationally about which is the right spot in your home to suit your lifestyle. There's absolutely no point in using your spare bedroom if your best mate is going to be sleeping in there for half the week, or putting your plants in a closet if your Mom's clothes are hanging in there!

You need to think about temperature too. Remember that grow lights will boost the temperature up a bit, but if your garage is sub-zero most of the year, you
probably want to avoid using it as your growing spot.

Young plants grow must quickly when the temperature is around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but when they reach their flowering stage, you'll want
to drop the temps a but to around 64 to 80 Fahrenheit for better smell, color and trichome production.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you're using bright growing lights in a compact space like your closet you're probably going to need a air conditioner
so your temperatures stay in the proper range. For a more basic set up, a fan will probably be enough to pull away the hot air.

Growing Outdoors

An outdoors setup is a bit cheaper to get going, but if keeping your growing under wraps is important, this is definitely not going to be an option. However, if you're living in the right sort of growing environment and choose a good strain, you won't really need to do anything special since the sun will take all of the hard work out of it for you.

That said, you can't control the weather, so if it's getting too dry, you'll have to get off the couch and water the plants, and conversely, if it's bucketing with rain, you'll have to find away of protecting them. If you live in an extreme climate, a greenhouse is a good idea.

Choosing A Grow Light

There are a few different types of grow lights that you can use, with the most obvious being the sun. However, the chances of getting enough sunlight in your closet are pretty slim, so you might need to choose something more artificial such as CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs), LED grow lights, High Pressure Sodium lights or Metal Halide lights.

Here's the lowdown on all your lighting options so you can make a choice:

The Sun
This option shouldn't take too much explanation! However you can't just
stick your plants on your windowsill and let them get on with it. While weed needs a minimum of 8 hours a direct sunlight per day, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, it doesn't grow well on windowsills.

CFLs
CFL bulbs are easy to find and cheap to buy, making them a great choice for beginner setups. However they're nowhere near as powerful as a dedicated grow light. 

Other Fluorescent Lights
Traditionally, these types of lights are designed for plants that require a lower intensity of light than weed plants, so if you're going for this option you should go with a high output T5 bulb. These lights aren't the best choice and something stronger is recommended.

LED Grow Lights
LED grow lights are a lot more powerful that fluorescent lights and CFLs, but you're going to be paying for the privilege. These are the most expensive grow lights on the market.
Also, you could end up with a dodgy piece of kit since there are quite a few unscrupulous sellers who are making a profit from naïve novice growers, so always choose a reputable company if you're going down this route.

HPS and MH Lights
High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide lights are the top choice for indoor growing. Pretty cheap to buy, you're going to get plenty of bang for your buck here. HID lights are going to get a good result, but you need to watch out or you'll get a nasty shock when your electricity bill comes in. The good news is that a smaller MH or HPS grow light is perfect for a small grow and won't produce anywhere near the amount of heat that a larger one would.

Choosing a growing Medium

So... what exactly is a growing medium? You're probably thinking “soil”, and yes, that is one of the possibilities, but that isn't the only one.
  • Soilless Mix – this could be vermiculite, perlite or coco coir
  • Hydroponics – any grower worth his salt has heard of this method which is famous for its big yields and fast growth, particularly when used with HID grow lights
  • Aeroponics and Aquaponics – both of these are pretty rare
Soil is pretty much the easiest option out there, and if you're going for that choice, you should really compost your own for the best possible taste. Of course, if you can't be bothered, that's no problem, you can just buy a ready made mix for convenience sake.

You can even pop down to your local garden center and buy a regular organic potting mix – if you use some quality nutrients with it, you'll do just fine. If you grab a bag of perlite your soil will drain even better.

A mix of perlite and coco coir is a pretty good choice for anyone who's looking for a low maintenance beginner-friendly option. Its cheap, relatively problem-free and holds water pretty well.

Hydroponics aren't an easy option, but if you've got a drive to grow this way, don't waste time fiddling around with other methods first, just do plenty of research and make a good start on it the first time.
If you do your homework, there's no reason why you can't be successful even as a beginner.

What Nutrients To Choose?

Nutrients are pretty important, and unless you're using a composted super soil you're going to need to use some weed nutrients so your plants will be successful. Weed plants are really heavy feeders so you'll certainly need to add nutrients at the budding stage even if you're using an amended soil. If you're going with hydroponics or a soilless mix, you'll need to go with a specific hydroponics nutrient variety.

Another thing to think about is your tap water. You probably won't think twice about using the stuff from your faucet to grow your seeds, but if you live in a hard water area or anywhere with impurities in the water, you're going to need purified water instead.

pH is another factor to keep in mind. If you don't maintain the root environment's pH, you're going to end up with nutrient problems, so test your water's pH before you begin watering your plants with it. Too low or too high a pH is going to stop your plants from absorbing nutrients properly, especially when they get to the budding stage, and even if you're providing optimal nutrients, your plants won't be able to absorb them if the pH is all wrong. For soil growing, you need to keep the soil at a pH of 6.0 to 7.0, and for hydroponics you're going to need a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5.

Choose Your Strain

So, now you've sorted out your growing location, your growing medium and your light source – what are you missing? Yup, you've guessed it – the seeds! If you're naïve enough to think that weed is just weed, you've got a lot to learn!

There is a bewildering selection of strains out there to choose from, but unless you're lucky enough to know another grower you're probably going to have to shop online for your plants. Do your research and find out which strains are the best for achieving the effect you want – are you looking for a euphoric high, or would you rather feel chilled and relaxed?

Perhaps a combination of both is perfect for you? There's going to be a strain out there that suits your preferences perfectly, the key is to find the right one.

Germinating Your Seeds

Germinating your seeds is where you need to begin. You can get started by placing your seeds in a special starter cube and keep it warm and moist (not dripping wet though!) In a few days, you'll find seedlings starting to sprout. If you're going old school, however, there's an easier and cheaper way to go. Cast your mind back to growing cross seeds at school – remember what you needed?

A paper towel, a couple of plates, some water and your seeds... Yup, it works just as well with weed!

Growing Your Plant

As soon as your plant has started to grow leaves it has entered its vegetative stage. Its going to start getting bigger at this stage and then it'll start producing buds. When your plant is in the vegetative stage you need to think of it as a teenager going through puberty – it's purely focusing on getting bigger and stronger, but feeding the plant with additional nutrients could burn your young plant, so start off with half strength and gradually bring the amount up. You shouldn't go full strength unless it's showing symptoms of needing extra nutrients such as falling leaves.

Your plants are going to need between 18 and 24 hours of light per day during this stage when growing them indoors. If you're growing your plants in an outdoor environment, you'll need to ensure that they're getting direct light between 10 am and 4 pm and preferably for longer.

The Flowering Stage

At this stage, your plant will begin making buds and this stage is the last
one before you harvest. When your plant gets to this point in its life cycle you're going to need think about the following:

  • Changing to a 12/12 light schedule
  • Identifying your plants' gender
  • Removing male plants
This stage usually begins once your plants are getting a minimum of 12 hours of
uninterrupted dark during the night.

If you're growing indoors, changing to a 12/12 light schedule is vital to give your plants their essential 12 hours of darkness. You can do this by using a timer on your grow lights. For outdoors growing, you won't need to do anything as your plants will automatically begin to flower once the days are short enough.

When your plants go through the flowering stage they will show their gender – yes, plants can be boys and girls! If you're going for regular weed seeds, you're going to find that half of your crop are going to be male and half female, but you can start off using feminized seeds that mean you'll only end up with female plants.
Let me explain why this is important – a female plant will produce buds, whereas male plants will only make pollen sacs, and those are useless when it comes to smoking.

Your plants are going to reveal which gender they are a couple of weeks after embarking on a 12/12 light schedule. You'll recognize the females by their wispy white hairs which grow at the top of the branch joints. The more of these you have the better. A male will have no white hairs and will start to grow pollen sacs. While it may sound sexist, you'll need to dispose of the male plants as they're going to do what guys do and impregnate the females. This is bad news as they'll make fewer buds and what does fewer buds mean? 

Yes, you guessed it... less weed to smoke!

Once your plants are at this stage, turn down your temps to around 65 to 80
degrees Fahrenheit so you can get buds that have better smell, trichome production and smell.

Harvesting, Drying And Curing

Ok, you're onto the home stretch! The end is in sight and you can almost feel that high already! 

You'll know that harvesting time is here when your buds have stopped growing new white hairs. They'll be pretty fragrant by now and will look full and plump. Once around 40% of the hairs have got darker and started curling in, your harvesting window has opened. If getting the highest level of THC is important to you (and it probably will be), you should harvest when around 50% to 70% of your plants' hairs ave got darker. If you harvest when around 80 to 90% of the plants' hairs are darker, you're going to get a higher level of CBN for a more relaxing effect. 

Next comes the easy bit – the actual harvesting. There's nothing complicated to it – just get out some scissors and start cutting – yes, it's that easy!

Collect up all of your cut buds and hang them in a dark, well-ventilated, cool place upside down to dry out. Slow drying is best, but keep checking for overdrying and mold  you don't want to ruin it all at the last hurdle. Once they're all dry, it's curing time. Simply put them into a quart-sized tightly closed mason jar in a dark, cool place, opening each jar daily for just a few seconds for the first couple of weeks to moisture can be released and fresh air can get in. If any of the buds feel moist, just leave the jar lid off until they have dried up – moisture leads to mold.

After a couple of weeks, if your buds feel dry, and have felt the same every day for a week, you can open the lid just once weekly instead of once daily. You can start smoking it after a couple of weeks of curing, but if you want a more potent effect, 30 days or more is better. Don't wait any longer than six months though, since potency reduces over time.