Now that growing weed is legal—I know it is here in Oregon, up to four plants per residence—I’m just learning how to grow my own medicine. Do you have any tips?
— Gonna Be a Green Thumb
Dear Gonna Be a Green Thumb,
Thanks so much for your question. For many people, growing their own cannabis makes a lot of sense. They’re able to choose the strains they favor, don’t have to drive far distances in some cases to access a dispensary, and it can be more economical. And, there’s a reason it’s called “weed”—it truly grows like one, so even folks who normally kill a cactus have a shot at growing cannabis.
First, you want to double-check your state’s laws before embarking on any of this. Some states allow four plants, others six. Some have very specific parameters of where and how you can grow. For instance, in Colorado, “all marijuana plants must be kept locked in fully-enclosed locations away from kids (and pets) and out of public view.” And in Alaska, “only 1 oz. of harvested cannabis can be transported at a time; the rest must remain in the same location as the harvest.”
Once you're aware of all the legalities, then it’s time to start growing! Read up a ton (and talk to experienced growers you might know) before jumping in with both feet. That will ensure that you don’t waste any time/money/plants and are prepared for as many variables as possible.
Get a pot for your pot.
You want something big and sturdy with draining holes. There are a bunch of ones out there for this purpose that you can buy, or you can go to your local hardware store, get a 5 gallon plastic bucket and drill some holes in the bottom. Then, fill it up with soil—don’t skimp on this part. The stuff you’re growing will go in your body, so drop a few on the organic potting soil full of nutrients.
Plant your seed, water, and wait.
Plant your seed about an inch deep, water until dirt is moist, and keep your new baby in a warm place as you wait for it to sprout.
Light it up!
Your budding bud will need at least 18 hours of light a day to truly flourish, so you'll need to invest in some grow lights, which will be the most expensive part of this whole operation.
As your plant grows, there are a ton more things you should keep in mind: the quality of the soil you maintain, what you “feed” it, making sure you detect and eliminate issues like mold, fungus, and or other diseases, triggering the flowering cycle, and eventually harvesting/drying/curing the fruit of your labor.
As I said before, the best way to learn about all of that is either via an experienced grower that you know or by accessing some of the great resources there are online. Below are just a couple of my personal favorites:
Marijuana Grow Bible is a great resource for those just starting out, those needing to brush up on their growing skills, or even experienced growers who might need to look something specific up. Plus, it’s available for free to download!
Also, don’t forget to check out the helpful resources MERRYJANE has on growing!