I want to grow my own weed at home for personal consumption, but on a small scale. I've grown vegetables and various herbs before, but never an herb like this! Where do I start, and what are some good resources to learn the ins and outs of developing a green thumb?
— Future Ganja Gardner
Spring is in full swing, so what a perfect time to start thinking about your very own ganja garden. Growing cannabis on a small scale for personal use can be a very enriching and rewarding experience. Read on for a very basic 101 on what to do and where to go for more help!
The first thing I would suggest is triple checking the laws in your state and then assessing the risk versus the reward of growing weed. While cultivating a personal amount probably won't get you in trouble, it's always good to have an idea of what risks (beyond root rot!) might pop up. If you’re in a state currently debating its stance towards cannabis legalization and aren’t sure what the future might hold, revisit our guide to all the marijuana-related bills that are currently in congressional purgatory.
Next, figure out if you'll be growing indoors versus outdoors. Each option has its pros and cons, but weather and sunlight can obviously be a dealbreaker when it comes to outdoor growing. So, depending on your location, you might end up with an indoor garden. If you do go with a small outdoor garden make sure you have a way to protect the plants from curious animals (and possibly neighbors!) and that you have enough space for the plants to access sunlight for 8+ hours a day. For indoor growing, you need a space where you can control the temperature and light, and also have access to electricity.
Once you’ve figured out where you're going to grow, you need to figure out the what. You have a few options here. You can start from seed, which will have a beginning process similar to growing vegetables as you wait for seedlings, or you can grow from a seedling if you have access to those. Many dispensaries sell seeds and seedlings, so if you live near any that will make it much easier. However, there are many online sites with good reputations that sell seeds that, so folks who can't easily access dispensaries can still get their ganja gardens going.
Now you're ready to keep an eye on all the important elements required to growing cannabis: light, air, water, containment, soil/nutrients, and temperature. You will have to put some money into getting it all going, anywhere from around $100 to upwards of $1,000. That said, this initial investment will eventually help you grow multiple generations of plants, so it will be worth it in the long term. Grow Weed Easy has a great list of different methods and equipment you will need, as well as the time commitment necessary for each one. You can start with a simple set up of just a bucket and some lights, or build something more sophisticated (and expensive); it all depends on how much you're looking to grow and how much you want to invest.
Once you've got some baby plants growing, your next step is keeping them in a vegetative state in order to get a nice harvest of buds. This means keeping light on your plants for a good chunk of the day — up to 20 hours of light per day, in fact. Once your plant has reached the flowering stage, you then drop the light time down to 12 hours on/12 hours off in order to cajole it to fruit.
My number one tip for growing cannabis is read, read, read. There are many websites and forums devoted to growing cannabis, and a lot of them offer tried and true tips for the novice grower. Also, books! Books not only provide you with a solid base of information, but they're great for turning to when a specific issue or problem pops up. Some all time favorites include:
While you can certainly do any of this on your own, it could also be fun to check and see if there are any grow classes in your area. That way, you can ask questions as they come up, get advice from experienced growers, and make some fellow gardening friends who share in the joy of ganja.
Good luck and happy growing!