Growing your own cannabis is an exciting time for the average home grower. It doesn’t matter whether you have grown cannabis all your life or whether you are doing it for the first time. Planning the grow, and preparing everything required for a smooth cultivation, can be great fun.
And nothing quite beats the thrill of successfully harvesting your own crop of top-shelf cannabis. Growing your own cannabis is a rewarding hobby. It also saves you massive amounts of cash and delivers better quality than the cannabis you can generally buy on the streets. Here are a few considerations before you start growing.
Seeds or clones.
As cannabis growing has become increasingly popular, there is now quite a significant number of growers that swap and share clones. When done well this can allow the home grower a top quality selection of the best quality varieties. Well organized cannabis social clubs often boast a collection of several proven, high potency and good yielding indica and sativa varieties. Not everyone is quite so lucky to enjoy the convenience of locally supplied elite clones.
That’s why many grow from cannabis seeds, which can be bought over the internet or from local seed shops. If you do grow from clones the only real risk is disease, which can be introduced with the new clones if they came from a diseased parent. Usually the risk is low, but it’s worth looking out for. If you prefer seeds, your task is to get the best auto-flower or feminized photoperiod varieties. Choose a seed company you can trust.
Summer or winter grow?
Indoor growers often struggle with temperature extremes. In summer, the challenge can be keeping the grow room from getting too hot, especially when the grow light is switched on. In winter, the challenge is often keeping the grow room warm enough, especially when the lights are off. If you grow in a loft space, the difficulties are multiplied as temperature extremes can fluctuate wildly.
There are some things you can do to help. During summer months, many indoor growers prefer using feminized photoperiod varieties. These will bloom under 12 hours of indoor light. During the summer months, set the indoor lights to come on during the cooler evening periods, e.g. from 9pm to 9am. This helps smooth out the temperature extremes. And during winter months, you may find it easier growing auto-flower seeds under 20 hours of daily indoor light. The heat from the grow light helps maintain a warm grow room
Winter growers and snow.
In cooler climates, some growers worry about melting snow on their roof. This is a real worry for those that grow in the loft, or for those that extract grow room air into the loft space. In cold winters, no snow on the roof can be a sign of cannabis growing. Some growers simply prefer to avoid the winter months, especially January and February. Others arrange for extra roof insulation. Some growers prefer to vent the grow room air up a chimney rather than into the general loft space.
Small scale growers with a low power light and a low number of plants may feel the risk is one worth taking. But anyone that has managed to melt the snow on their roof will be very aware of how vulnerable they can feel when the neighbor’s roof is covered with snow and yours isn’t.
A few tips for the paranoid.
A good quality carbon filter can last a couple of years. After that, efficiency is slowly lost and so is the ability to mask the characteristic cannabis smell. Perhaps the worst feeling for an indoor cannabis grower is waking up and realizing that the filter has failed and the whole street can smell the crop. The grower can be thrust into an instant panic. Will the grow shop open before the local constabulary arrive? Will you be able to get a new filter quick enough? Of course, the smart grower replaces the carbon filter before it fails. This may feel a bit wasteful, throwing away a working carbon filter. But the cost of them is small in comparison to the crop value. And regular, high quality carbon filters are an unavoidable cost of growing your own. The real professionals always have a spare carbon filter available just in case the worst happens.
The rest of us should never, ever, think about pushing a carbon filter until the very end. One small tip, especially for now growers, is to thoroughly tape over the connection between the extraction fan and the filter. This prevents any smelly, unfiltered air, sneaking into the extraction fan before it has been through the carbon filter. If you have a noisy extraction fan you can upgrade to one of the modern near-silent acoustic extraction fans. Some of these have been designed for very quiet operation, perfect if you are a bedroom grower or have sensitive neighbors.
Suggestions to improve your grow room.
One popular addition which gives great peace of mind is an automatic fire extinguisher. They are inexpensive and available for under €50. An automatic fire extinguisher sits in the corner of your grow room, it only discharges the CO2 contents when it detects the heat of a fire. You will probably never need an automatic fire extinguisher in your grow room.
Especially if you use high quality equipment. But if you work long hours or if you go away from home for a few days at a time when you are growing, then an automatic fire extinguisher delivers fantastic peace of mind.
Growers that use a lot of water, for example hydroponic growers, often find that a large water-proof tray is a great way to capture an unexpected water leak. A large tray can hold over 100 liters of water. If you live in an apartment the last thing you need is water leaking into the flat below. Placing your plant containers in a tray removes the possibility of a water leak, and helps keep your grow room easy to maintain and clean.
Organic is always popular.
When planning your next grow, give a thought to a more organic approach. Many growers already prefer to grow organically. It needn’t be that difficult either. Companies like BioTabs offer some fully proven, fully organic grow products that are easy to use and help deliver a great taste and aroma to your cannabis.
The grow room that gets steadily better.
These days, ordering nutrients online is easy. But some growers prefer to have absolutely everything ordered and waiting before the grow starts. This allow them to grow with a feeling that the grow is under full control, well planned and fully organized. As well as having all the necessary nutrients for the complete grow, many growers also like to have replacement light bulbs just in case they have an issue with their HPS during the grow. It’s the same philosophy as the growers that always have a spare carbon filter and a spare pH meter. Most of the time, our lives are subject to unexpected and random changes.
For some people, their grow room represents the idealized world where planning and optimized cultivation go hand-in-hand. And why not? Whether you are growing for medical need or for recreational pleasure, it makes sense to organize your grow room as much as possible and aim for maximum quality. Your grow room, and the genetics you grow in it, is one area where you don’t need to compromise. Aim for the best you can realistically afford.
Resist the temptation to give your indoor plants some sun.
In the middle of summer it can feel tempting to bring your plants outside for an afternoon of real sunshine. But there are some very real risks to doing this. One of the privileges of an indoor grow room is that your plants are protected from outdoor pests. If you take your indoor plants outside, even for a short time, it is quite possible that they will return to the grow room with some uninvited guests. Some of these guests, like Ladybirds, will be harmless to your plants.
But others, such as aphids, greenfly etc. are very much a genuine nuisance. Even if you check your plants for pests, it is difficult to check underneath every single leaf. Within a few days, greenfly or blackly can multiply and cause real issues. Keep your grow room as clean as you can, optimize it and learn as you grow. Aim to improve your own understanding of cannabis plants with each grow. With the right grow room upgrades, such as LED, and with the best genetics you will soon be growing better quality weed than you can buy.