The thought of growing cannabis for the first time might be daunting, especially when you consider the various tools, supplies, and information you'll need.
While skilled growers have learned strategies to enhance their yields, everyone, from novices to experts, benefits from understanding the fundamentals of growing plants, whether they be cannabis or other varieties.
It's crucial to educate yourself before diving headfirst into a comprehensive cannabis grow. Long-term success depends on your ability to plan ahead. In order to do so, you should ask yourself the following questions before growing cannabis.
5 Things To Consider Before Growing Cannabis
Whether you've grown cannabis before or not, you'll need to ask yourself a few important questions to get a clearer sense of the magnitude of the task at hand.
1. Do I know enough about cannabis regulations in my state?
Keep in mind that, under federal law, growing cannabis for recreational use is a serious crime that can land you in prison for up to five years. As of October 2022, only 19 states in the United States have approved the cultivation and use of recreational and medical cannabis, namely:
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
*Illinois is the only state in which recreational cannabis use is permitted but home cultivation is prohibited.
That said, every state comprises varying state regulations surrounding the nuances of growing cannabis. If you don’t find your state in this list, hold off on this venture. If you do, it’s essential that you conduct extensive research on the cannabis provisions and requirements in that specific state.
Learn about cannabis regulations in your state here.
2. Do I have the right growing environment?
Make sure your environment is cannabis-friendly before you start thinking about growing your favorite strain. There’s way more to think about if you’re planning on growing cannabis indoors, such as the area, temperature, humidity, water pH, and lighting.
Start with dimensions of no less than 3x3x5 feet. A larger area is preferable. A spare room or even a basement works fine; just make sure to keep the environment clean. Check for mold in any indoor location before you even consider growing cannabis there.
The temperature should be set between 68°F and 78°F. It’s essential to look for a thermometer gauge to help you determine the surrounding climate. Don’t worry, they can be found for a low price, so there’s no need to break the bank.
Investing in a dehumidifier is a wise choice if your home is constantly damp. If you live in a dry city, get a humidifier to add humidity to the area.
The optimal pH range for watering is between 5.8 and 6.2. The pH of most municipal water supplies is around 7.8, but you can adjust this with a buffering agent like pH Down, which is phosphoric acid that lowers pH levels. You get the best results when you incorporate the buffering agent at the end, after your nutrients and fertilizer are mixed into the feed. Ensure you secure a meter to read pH.
You can’t just use fluorescent lighting to achieve a proper grow. Play it safe and get a 175-watt HPS light. They can plug straight into a home outlet. Position the light directly overhead, but two feet away to prevent overheating. But take note of light pollution. A common mistake growers make is neglecting proper lighting for different growing methods. For example, if you are growing photoperiod cannabis (and not autoflowers), you will need to provide over eight hours of uninterrupted darkness to the plants during flowering.
3. Do I have the time and money to invest in my grow?
Growing cannabis either indoors or outdoors will have vastly different time and cost commitments. Growing cannabis inside is more expensive than growing it outside, in a greenhouse, or in a combination of the two. On the other hand, growing indoors can save you effort compared to outdoors (the cost-efficient option).
The prices associated with growing cannabis indoors might reach $75 per square foot. It costs between $10 and $17 per square foot to cultivate outdoors, while it costs about $50 per square foot to do so in a greenhouse or a combination of the two.
Why is growing cannabis indoors more expensive? Controlled environments, including lighting, temperature, and humidity, are crucial for plant growth. However, outside grows don't need any special equipment to maintain a steady temperature and humidity level because they rely on the sun's rays for light.
4. Should I purchase seeds or clones?
You have two options for getting your crops off the ground. They can either start from seeds or cuttings from an established plant. Both procedures result in cannabinoid-rich buds, although they do so in distinct ways.
While some growers choose clones for their speedy growth and genetic consistency, others prefer a more hands-on experience, beginning with seeds. It is important to understand both methods, whether you are a novice grower or a seasoned vet, so that you can maximize future results through experimentation.
There are benefits and drawbacks to planting seeds and using clones. Seeds are dependable, simple, and readily available, but they require a longer growing period and may not germinate. By contrast, clones are robust, productive, and true to type from the parent plant, but they are vulnerable to environmental stressors and may produce fewer yields.
If you are growing cannabis for the first time and don’t know anybody who does it, stick with seeds. Obtaining clones can be challenging if you don't have connections in the growing community. If you do know reliable growers, a clone would be a great way to get wonderful results for your first grow.
5. Do I know enough about cannabis cultivation and harvest?
Growing cannabis is a fascinating endeavor because it does not require much to get started. However, you will need to arm yourself with knowledge, and believe it or not, this is the information that can make or break your harvest.
For a cannabis plant to thrive, it needs tender loving care. It also needs water, nutrients, light, airflow, and heat. Let’s take a deeper dive into each one:
Every plant needs water. Naturally, cannabis requires water, and the amount required varies during each growing stage and depends on your climate and weather. Just be careful not to overwater your cannabis, which is the most common mistake in first-time growers.
Cannabis can't flourish and thrive without proper nourishment. In order to grow, it needs a lot of these three nutrients: potassium (K), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P). These three are critical for your plant’s health, but so are micronutrients like calcium and iron. To beginners, we suggest looking for amended soil for convenience. This way, you can simply add water for the water-soluble nutrients to absorb into your plant.
Due to its photoperiodic nature, cannabis’ flowering time is controlled by how much daylight it receives every day. Take note that if you are growing outside for the first time, you need to keep in mind that the plant requires over eight hours a day of interrupted darkness. Any semblance of light, whether headlights or lamps, may render your grow with a poor outcome.
Cannabis requires airflow or wind, which can be created artificially with fans indoors or naturally outside.
It’s important to cultivate cannabis under ideal conditions of temperature and humidity. The optimal range is between 55°F and 85°F, with a relative humidity of 50% to 70%.
In a nutshell, take note of the different stages of growing cannabis:
- The time it takes to cultivate cannabis can range from 10 weeks to 32 weeks, depending on the technique you employ and the final size of your plants.
- Initially, cannabis plants are either seeds or clones. For seeds to develop into seedlings, they must germinate. A cutting can be grown into a mature plant to create a clone that shares the same genetic makeup.
- Cannabis enters the vegetative stage, which is typically the longest stage of its life (as an outdoor grow), after the seedling stage. The plant will only possess a primary stalk, branches, and fan-shaped leaves.
- The magic happens when cannabis begins to blossom and develop buds. Approximately two months before harvest, plants go through this stage. The time frame before this stage is largely dependent on your strain.
- After cutting down your plants, trimming, drying, and curing them during harvest, your homegrown marijuana will be ready to consume.
Growing cannabis with love
The most important thing is to treat cannabis like any other plant. That entails providing it with the appropriate level of care and tenderness.
Hopefully, this post was able to give you enough knowledge to get started growing cannabis. You can use this article as a checklist to keep track of everything you'll need to remember if you plan to do this in the near future.
May your new growing adventure be rewarding!