What You Should Know About Growing Marijuana

Thinking of growing marijuana?

You’re not the only one. According to Pew Research, six-in-ten (61%) of Americans say marijuana should be legalized. The latest Gallup poll has the number at 64% of Americans. Either way, the majority of Americans agree: you should be able to grow marijuana on your property.

It’s already legal in many states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

In 2016, recreational marijuana sales in the U.S generated 1.55 billion dollars. Analysts project that number to 8.7 billion dollars by 2021. So, what does that mean for you?

It means that if you don’t already live in a state where it’s legal, you soon will. It also means it’ll be as easy to purchase as a bottle of wine. Which begs the question, is it worth growing?

Below we’ll outline the growing basics, both good and bad.

Read on and decide for yourself.

The Difficulties of Growing Cannabis

By nature, marijuana and its non-psychoactive sibling, hemp, are hearty plants. They’ve grown prodigiously in the wild for tens of thousands of years. Written accounts show humans have used their medicinal properties since 2000 BCE.

In more recent history, scientists have bred cannabis strains to increase the plant’s potency. This breeding has also made it more temperamental.

If you plan to grow the plant indoors, other factors complicate the issue. You must simulate the plant’s natural environment. That includes light, wind, rain, CO2, and nutrient levels.

If you fail to consistently give the finicky plant what it needs, you run the risk of low yields, plant diseases, and bug infestations. The learning curve can be steep. Fortunately, once you know the basics, the hardest part is to remain consistent.

Types of Cannabis Strains

Selecting which strain is right for you can be daunting. The first step is to decide whether you want an indica or sativa.

Indica strains tend to provide a deep sense of body relaxation. If you use pot to help you come down from a stressful day or to help you sleep at night, this is a good choice.

Sativa tends to give users a more energized experience. If you use pot as a social activity, or you’re using it in the middle of the day, this is a good choice.

Both indica and sativa have hundreds of different strains. To choose which best suits your needs, consider your plant’s potency, ease of growth, and time to maturity. Reference the “Marijuana Grower’s Bible” by Jorge Cervantes, High Times, or your local dispensary to gather data.

When you decide on a strain, buy clones rather than seeds. Growing weed from seeds requires sexing the plants. It’s a process better left to intermediate-expert level growers.

Methods for Growing Marijuana

Three growing methods exist, soil, hydroponic, aeroponic. The soil is 10x as forgiving as the other methods. All methods need approximately the same amount of space and power.

We recommend you start with the soil. After you gain some experience with the plant, you can move up to hydroponics or aeroponics.

Soil-Based Systems

When you add nutrients or try to balance the pH of your plants, soil acts as a natural buffer. It absorbs all the water and nutrients. The marijuana then sucks what it needs from the soil, and the system is much more forgiving.

Take your clone and plant it in a pot. If you plan to grow a massive plant, use ten-gallon pots. If you intend to short, stocky plants with giant buds, go with one-gallon pots.

Buy a soil from your local grow store which includes perlite. It helps to aerate the soil and gives the cannabis roots a better medium in which to thrive.

We recommend you grow a few plants through their lifecycle without using nutrients. The soil comes with everything your plants need to succeed. Instead, focus your efforts on building a healthy environment for the cannabis.

Ensure the airflow and lighting is enough. Too little or too much can be hazardous. Watch out for burnt leaves, molds, and bugs. Each indicates different problems, but those problems are usually air flow or lighting.

For more specific instructions, check out our article on how to build a grow room.

Hydroponics-Based Systems

These systems are not for beginners. They are soil-less. If you use hydroponics, you can’t rely on the buffer which soil naturally provides.

You can grow your plants in pea gravel, peat, and perlite, or avoid solid material altogether with the nutrient flow technique (NFT). In each method, nutrient-rich, pH-balanced water runs directly over the cannabis roots.

If the solution is off even slightly, you run the risks of major damage to the plants. In the case of NFT, if the solution stops running, the plant roots with quickly wither and die.

The setup for hydroponics is more costly and extravagant. Check out mobile vertical rack grow systems for more info.

Aeroponics-Based Systems

This is the most challenging type of system you can use. It’s a spin-off of NFT systems. Essentially, you blow the nutrient-rich solution over the roots of your plants using something like a car’s fuel injector.

If the solution is even marginally incorrect, or if it stops running, say goodbye to your plants. We recommend you wait until you have plenty of experience before approaching this method.

Lighting for Your Plants

Keep your clones under lights for 24 hours a day until you’re ready for them to begin budding. When you’re ready, change their light cycle to 12 hours of light, 12 of darkness. After you change their light cycle, it’ll take about 70 days until they’re ready for harvest.

Most systems use 1000 watt lamps. These lamps typically cover 4 to 8 blooming plants. They also quickly drive up your power bill and produce a tremendous amount of heat.

That means that any room you use should also include some fan(s) and air conditioning. Remember, improper air flow is one of the leading causes of mold and bug infestations.

Other things to keep in mind when setting up your grow room include:

  • CO2 canisters
  • reflective Mylar
  • proper ventilation
  • proper waste disposal
  • a system for raising and lowering your lights

Take a look at the space you’re considering for your grow room. Where will you put the above? If you have more questions, jump online or take a drive to your local grow store.

Every situation is different. The information you need for your specific circumstances is readily available. You need but ask.

What’s Next?

Well, what’s your decision? Have you decided growing marijuana is for you? Or will you wait until you can purchase it from your local dispensary?

Before you make your final decision, read our articles on what to look for in your local medical marijuana dispensaries and how to buy cannabis online. Go on, read them now while the subject is still fresh in your mind.

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