how to grow cannabis at home

Grow with the Flow: How to Grow Cannabis at Home

Some little-known tips and tricks to help grow your own cannabis plants at home.

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There’s still time to get growing on your own quality stash to share with family and friends. Here are some little-known tips to help you grow cannabis at home. 

Tent It

First, you have to pick a space in your home where you want to grow cannabis.

A closet or spare room can work, as long you can keep extraneous light out during the bloom cycle.

But Trevor Wilkinson, the owner of Grow It All in Toronto, says a small one-metre by one-metre tent is all you really need since the legal limit for growing marijuana for recreational use is four plants. Also, “Tents make it easier for blocking light, which is essential if you want your plants to flower.”

Marijuana starts blooming when the light cycle is 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Twelve hours of total darkness is essential, otherwise your plants will not bloom.

No matter what space you choose, you’ll need timers for controlling the lights.

Light Essentials

There are a number of options for lighting. Wilkinson recommends ceramic metal halide light “because it provides a superior light spectrum.”

Ceramic metal halide is the latest in lighting technology, replacing high-pressure sodium bulbs as the preferred choice. Most professional growers use the ceramic metal halide lighting system. High-intensity LED lights, which are coming into their own as the technology improves, are also an option.

But each lighting method has its pros and cons. Ceramic metal halide lights generate more heat and use more electricity, than high-intensity LED lights.

Methods to Grow Cannabis at Home

Then you have to decide the method to use for growing.

You can choose the conventional method of growing in a pot, organic or growing hydroponically.  

how to grow cannabis at home

For conventional growing, all you need is your favourite potting soil and regular garden variety fertilizers. For organic, I recommend using Pro-Mix Mycorrhizae growing medium (which is not a soil), together with Gaia Green Premium Organic Fertilizer and worm castings, which should make up about 10 percent of the mix.

For hydro grows you will need a nutrient reservoir, flood table, a submersible pump, 4 inches by 4-inch rock wool cubes, a pH tester and nutrients made specifically for hydroponic gardening, which is way too much trouble unless you have space and time.

Go with the Flow

A thermometer and hydrometer are needed to keep track of temperature and humidity. Your plants will grow very slowly, if at all, if the temperature is too cold, or die of dehydration if the temperature is too high. Also, blooms will rot if the humidity is too high.

Wilkinson recommends installing a fan to create air movement. “Your grow-op has to have good air circulation to get the moist air out,” he says.

The Most Important Decision of All

Once you’re set-up, all that’s left is choosing the plant.

Many growers go with clones, which are cuttings taken from a female “mother plant.” But Grow It All store manager Marshall Black says there are risks with clones.

“They can come with bugs or mould, problems you won’t get with seeds.”

Black likes regular seeds because they give “access to a wider degree of genetics and to some longstanding pedigree.”

The downside here is that some plants, about half, will be male and they need to be separated from the female plants. That’s because female plants that come in contact with male pollen will stop producing THC, the part that gets you stoned. 

One way to better assure you end up with a sensimilla or virginal crop is to buy feminized seeds. But do some research before buying feminized seeds. I wouldn’t trust the pedigree claims made by some seed producers. So, find a licensed pot producer to provide you with seeds or clones.

The Last Word

If you are not using a tent, I recommend growing auto-flowering cannabis plants. This variety of marijuana automatically switches from vegetative growth to the flowering stage with age, as opposed to changes in the ratio of light to dark hours. 

In the long run, you will save money growing your own cannabis at home. And as an added bonus, Wilkinson says, “You can grow better at home than what you can buy on the street.”