Step 1: Select marijuana strains
The first important step when you grow cannabis is of course to choose what exactly you will be growing. There are different types of strains and before choosing a particular type, you should think about what results you are aiming for. So, ask yourself if you are looking for medical or non-medical use, what kind of smell and appearance you are looking for, and whether you want mental or physical effects.
The main characteristics of sativa strains are that they grow tall and into long buds, they are heat-resistant but unable to manage cold, and have a lighter effect.
Indica strains grow short and into dense buds, are cold-resistant but unable to manage heat, and have a heavier, relaxing effect.
These are a mix of indica and sativa strains. They are small and are good for starting out to grow cannabis because they have a short cycle of 2 to 3 months. Their name comes from their ability to automatically flower without needing different light periods for their stages.
Grow Tent Gorilla Model GGT59
Step 2: Pick a space for growing
Next, you will need to pick a ‘grow’ room. It doesn’t have to be an actual room – it can be a grow cannabis tent, a closet, a cabinet, a spare room but whatever option you choose, you need to keep a few things in mind. Your cannabis need to breathe, so keep good air circulation in mind or consider investing in a fan to ensure fresh air. You’d have to keep your space sanitized, so avoid carpets, drapes, raw wood, etc.
Pick a convenient place which is safe and easy to get to, so that you will be able to monitor your plants every day.
Pay attention to the temperature, and again, if it is too warm, invest in a fan to grow cannabis.
And remember – this is your space, so pick a private one. This applies even to places where growing cannabis is legal. The fewer people know, the better.
Step 3: Pick Grow Lights
Outdoor growing plants use the energy from the sunlight and can grow to the size of a tree in less than a year but when you grow marijuana indoors, your lighting is your number one priority. It is a good idea to invest in the best lighting option you can afford. There are a few good options for a grow light.
LED Grow Lights
The LED (light emitting diode) lights are proven to be the best option for marijuana growers. LED lights are highly efficient, require less electricity, create much less heat, and contain more wavelengths across the light spectrum, which leads to better quality plants.
However, they are more expensive than the fluorescent and the HID grow lights.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
As we mentioned, the compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs are significantly cheaper and easier to use than the other options to grow cannabis. They do not generate a great amount of heat and provide enough light to keep your plant in a vegetative state. They are less efficient than the other options but they are a good option for novice inside growers who are not certain that they will stick to the inside growing.
HID Grow Lights
The HID (high intensity discharge) lights can be either a HPS (high-pressure sodium) or MH (metal halide). The two main types differ in terms of the stage that they should be used in. MH bulbs should be used during vegetative growth, while HPS bulbs are a better option for the mature flowering stage.
However, it is not necessary to get both types of lamps – if you want to save some money and only get one, make sure you choose HPS as they are a bit more efficient way to grow cannabis.
Induction Grow Lights
Induction lamps are an old technology invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s and they represent a more efficient version of the fluorescent lamps.
Step 4: How to Grow Cannabis
After you have picked seeds, a place, and a light, it is time to start growing! Your light reflector should be low and closer to the light. You light timer should be on for 18 hours and off for 6 hours per day.
It is easy to overwater and overfeed your plants but be careful – cannabis roots prefer a wet/dry cycle. Observe the plants for burnt leaf tips – the first sign of overfeeding. Drooping leaves are a sign of overwatered plants.
Step 5: Nutrients
Remember that growing cannabis is not that much different than growing any other plant – in order for it to grow and prosper, you need to use nutrients.
You can grow in soil without using nutrients but the best chance for that is if you grow inside.
The winning nutrient ratio is 10% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus and 5% potassium. Nitrogen fosters growth, phosphorus is good for growth of roots and flowers, and potassium – for growth of roots and photosynthesis.
During the vegetative stage: potassium must be high, phosphorus medium to high, nitrogen high
During the flowering stage: potassium must be high, phosphorus medium to high, nitrogen low
Step 6: Harvesting and drying
Harvesting and drying is as important of a phase as the growing itself. Some signs of your plants going into a harvesting period are: tiny crystals appear around the flowers, intense smell, sticky flowers, pistils change/darken their color (from white to red/brown) and 60-70% of the white hairs curl in, a few larger leaves turn yellow.
When your plants are ready to harvest, get a sturdy pair of scissors and cut the plant down from the root ball. Then trim away the extra leaves and hang up your buds to dry. Drying should take a week or two depending on the humidity and heat. For your buds to dry slowly, a humidity of 50% and temperature around 70 degrees will be good. Once the small branches snap and the outside of the flowers feels dry, the buds are ready for curing in jars.
Use opaque jars and choose the same temperature for the curing phase, and humidity of 60%. Make sure you open the jars daily for a period of 1 to 3 weeks. It can take up to 8 weeks for your marijuana to cure.
Luis has 20+ years of experience in global market expansion, business development, mergers and acquisitions, business re-engineering, finance and investor relations of software companies. He is passionate about technology, spectral science, indoor farming, food production, automation, and more. Since 2015 he is the president of Advanced LED Lights, a leading LED grow lights manufacturer based in Hiwasse, Arkansas. When not at work, Luis enjoys swimming, yoga, as well as growing grapes and flowers in Sonoma, California.