Growing Cannabis - A beginners Guide

Growing Cannabis

A Basic Beginners Guide

Growing cannabis at home can be a rewarding and enjoyable endeavour. Here is a basic guide to get you started on your journey to cultivating your cannabis plants.

Understanding Legal Considerations

Before you begin, it is crucial to understand the legal status of growing cannabis in your area. Regulations vary widely by country, state, and even municipality. Please make sure you are compliant with all local laws to avoid legal issues.

Choosing Your Cannabis Strain

Selecting the right strain is an important step. Cannabis strains can be broadly categorised into three types: Indica, Sativa, and hybrids.

Indica: Known for its relaxing effects, it tends to have a shorter flowering period and grow bushier, making it suitable for indoor cultivation.
Sativa: Known for its energising effects, it typically has a longer flowering period and grows taller, which may require more space.
Hybrid: These strains are a mix of Indica and Sativa, aiming to capture the best qualities of both.

There are also different types of seeds:

Autoflowering: These plants are feminised and do not need a change in the light cycle to start flowering, they start flowering usually within 4 -6 weeks.
Feminised: These seeds are bred to produce only female plants that grow the flowers (buds). They need a change in the light cycle to start flowering.
Regular: These seeds contain both female and male plants.

Setting Up Your Grow Space

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Indoor Growing: Offers more control over the environment and can be done year-round. However, it requires an investment in equipment like grow lights, ventilation, and possibly a grow tent.
Outdoor Growing: More natural and cost-effective but depends on the climate and season.

Essential Equipment

For indoor growing, you will need the following:

Grow Lights: LED, HID, or fluorescent lights.
Grow Tent: Helps contain light and control the environment.
Ventilation: Fans and filters to manage airflow and odour.
Thermometer and Hygrometer: To monitor temperature and humidity.

Growing Medium

Cannabis can be grown in soil or hydroponically.

Soil: The most common and easiest medium for beginners. Use high-quality organic soil with good drainage.
Hydroponics: Growing plants in nutrient-rich water. This method can lead to faster growth but requires more knowledge and equipment.

Germination and Planting

Germination

Place seeds in a glass of distilled water.
Store them in a warm, dark place and try not to move them.
Check daily and plant once the seeds sprout 1 to 1.5cm roots (usually within 7 to 10 days)

Planting

Fill Pots: Use pots with good drainage holes.
Plant Seeds: Place sprouted seeds about 2 cm deep in the soil.
Watering: Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Vegetative Stage

This stage focuses on plant growth. Here’s what you need to know:

Light Cycle: Provide 18-24 hours of light per day.
Nutrients: Use a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
Watering: Water when the top 2-3 cm of soil is dry.
Training: Techniques like topping, fimming, and low-stress training (LST) can help manage plant shape and optimise light exposure and yeild.

Flowering Stage

This stage triggers bud development.

Light Cycle: Switch to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of complete darkness each day.
Nutrients: Use a fertiliser higher in phosphorus and potassium.
Monitoring: Watch for signs of pests and mould. Maintain proper humidity and temperature.

Harvesting

Knowing when to harvest is critical for potency and yield.

Trichome Check: Using a magnifying glass or a camera on a smartphone, look at the trichomes (resin glands) on the buds. It’s time to harvest when they turn milky white with some amber.
Pistil Check: The pistils (hairs on the buds) should be mostly brown and curled.

Drying and Curing

Proper drying and curing are essential for flavour, potency, and smoothness.

Drying

Trim: Remove large fan leaves.
Hang: Hang branches upside down in a dark, well-ventilated room.
Monitor: Drying takes about 7-10 days. Buds are ready when stems snap rather than bend.

Curing

Jar Up: Place dried buds in airtight glass jars.
Burp Jars: Open the jars daily for the first few weeks to release trapped moisture.
Store: After the first few weeks, open jars less frequently. Cure for at least 3-6 weeks for optimal results.

Common Issues and Solutions

Pests: Use neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Mould: Maintain low humidity and good air circulation.
Nutrient Deficiencies: Identify and correct with appropriate fertilisers.

Growing cannabis at home requires attention, patience, and a willingness to learn. By following this guide and continuously educating yourself, you can successfully cultivate your cannabis plants. Happy growing!