Last Updated on November 28, 2020 by Josh Desair
Since the breakthrough legalization of recreational weed from 2012-present, ten lucky states (whose representatives were the true MVP’s) have got the chance to finally enjoy natures finest green flora, with little to no legal consequences. It has been a lucky sum of years for weed growers and users all over the U.S, and while flocks of people smoked up and enjoyed the fruits of nature, the state’s economies took a long-deserved break too.
GDP and the economy rose dramatically, proving that legalization was the economic boost we needed after the U.S post-recession dud. Feeling on top of the world, distributaries popped up all over California (and so on) allowing free buying and legal selling across these states. But that, unfortunately, is where this article comes into play. Of course, you can buy and smoke up but growing recreational weed for personal use at home is another situation altogether. For tax reasons (and a tonne more,) growing weed at home isn’t as free-flowing as smoking it has become.
It’s a complex issue with little clarity, but here at Wake&Cake, we have researched all around the web to create this short and sweet guide for you. So, if you are looking for the ins and outs of growing weed at home then look no further- our guide covers what you need to prepare and how to grow your sweet Mary Jane for a full untainted experience.
It goes without saying that researching before you immediately dive in and start growing is crucial. Look into the laws of your state, where you want to grow and how much is acceptable. Here at Wake&Cake, we do not promote the personal growing of cannabis in states where it is currently illegal. For the purposes of this article, all references will be based on current Californian Law due to our substantial amount of readers in this demographic.
Look into how much weed you want to produce based on how much you live on- compared with the legal maximum (which we will get into later.) Asses the space you have and guesstimate whether you need to grow inside, outside or in its own tent or hydroponic. It’s also important to check the wattage on any lights you buy, as well as heating, to make sure you don’t trip the electricity in your home.
Research where to buy your seeds, and buy seeds accustom to your taste. Research local distributors or buy online from trusted websites if you are looking for an unusual hybrid. Assess your budget based on the equipment you need to buy as well as electricity to maintain the environment for maximum growth. You will find cheaper insulation techniques and equipment, as well as a big price difference in HID lights compared to LED.
There is no need to risk anything as a beginner, keep it simple, a routine schedule and an uncomplicated and clean space.
Now the boring stuff may be, well, boring- but it’s a must in this case. This fresh legalization has been long overdue, and due to being in its early stages some laws still need to be instigated or finalized. But no fear! There is an abundance of websites to help you out which continuously update depending on any advances in the restrictions if you need additional information, but hopefully, this article will suit you well. This article will also be based on the current Californian Law (of 2019) so if you are located in a different state, it would be useful to check in on the state laws yourself.
As of now, you can only grow six plants per occupancy. Why? There are many reasons, including the environmental impact of everyone free-growing their own weed- due to fresh water and energy implications.
Despite popular opinion, you don’t need green fingers to grow weed. You do, however, need space- and a bit of cash to start off with. See setting up your planting station as an investment, higher quality lights mean higher quality leaves via more THC. Set out your planting station with the correct equipment and set-up. So, the question is what do I need?
To start off with, you need a room. Insulated and enclosed. Keep it simple, with one entrance, no drafts and at little natural light as possible. Make sure your grow room is in your domestic property owned by you and not rented. And please don’t grow it away from home. Not only does it have a strong smell but it shows up mighty fine on an infra-red cam- though you may not necessarily be prosecuted, the feds will certainly confiscate all your hard work for a simple mistake. If, however, you do rent a property, be sure to check in with your contract and the landlord’s policy to avoid any complications. Fans are a simple addition to the room, for the purposes of circulating the air. While you shouldn’t have a drafty room, it must have access to fresh air otherwise the plants will not photosynthesize. Drafts or access to outside temperatures are a problem-causer due to the quick temperature changes which damage the natural growing process.
Ever wondered why Jamaican weed is so weak? It’s because weed is still illegal there! To make do, people took to the forests to grow it. The inconsistent sun patterns combined with shadow from the trees (to hide from the feds) creates a dull weed, in which you smoke 2-3 dirty joints to build up your high. Which is fine, if you aren’t cashing out so much for each one. What’s the takeaway? Light is crucial for high-quality weed. We recommend LED lights- 600W per 5metres squared, to be precise. Just like any plant, marijuana needs just as much warmth and sunlight to flourish as any other non-native plant. Choose your lights wisely. A cheaper but effective light is an HID (high-intensity discharge) it is widely used by professionals due to its cost efficiency, however, LED lights use substantially less electricity, produce more light, but can be 8-10 times the price of HID and other, less popular lights such as induction and fluorescent.
Once you are complete with your set-up you need to choose your seeds. There are many hybrids of marijuana (e.g sativa) so choose the one which excites you the most. Plant it under fertile soil preferably in a separate plant pot- water immediately with a PH balanced water (to avoid acidity) and keep going every day until it crosses from the germination stage to the seedling stage.
Consider where you live, marijuana needs to be grown consistently between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cooler area, or just have the A.C whacked up all day, you best invest in some electric heaters. To save on electricity, install insulation around the walls, windows and especially the door to prevent drafts and sudden temperature changes. If you have a small budget you can use padding, insulation boards (which cost around $12 for a 1.2mX2.4m board.) If you really are sparse for change you can tape up foil blankets- you know, the one’s neighborhood police give you after they find you in the street after a bad trip. They are extremely affordable, around $0.50 for a 1mX2m blanket. For a similar, upgraded version, products such as SuperQuilt which are thick, padded foil blankets used for wall insulation, work extremely well. However, none of these will take effect if you’re A.C is constantly on, so keep it warm and add a wall-side thermostat. There are also many apps you can download to monitor the temperature from your phone.
With LED lights, warmth and a controlled environment packed together, this is referred to as your grow room. A grow room doesn’t technically need to be in a house, but whatever you make of it, it needs to have four walls and a roof to control the light and temperature.
The main thing to avoid is male plants. Light, once again, is the most crucial influence on this- seal tight your windows to make sure you stick to the specific light schedule for your buds.
Yes, even with the best growing room the threat of disease is very common in cannabis plants. Think ahead and try to prevent it, as successful treatment it is rare and will be a waste of a good plant. Not to mention the time and effort. Because disease spreads easily, it’s good to keep each plant in a separate container. Considering cost and regulations, sticking to single-digit numbers of plants is wise as fast-spreading diseases can take their toll in as little as one day- so if something does happen, at least you will only lose a couple of plants at worst.
Keep your growing room sanitized and do not allow any pets in there either, as they are carriers of mites and other pests. Sterilize your room with rubbing alcohol, keep yourself clean- and if necessary wear a hazmat suit.
We have looked into the early stages of a cannabis plant, but it’s next two stages are where you will see the plant actually flourish.
The average cycle is 8-9 weeks with a consistent light schedule. Sometimes it can be faster, due to a 10hrs a daylight vs dark schedule, but this is unreliable, hard to follow, and produces less THC.
After the seedling stage, you will see medium sized leaves sprouting out, and the plant height will be twice the size as a seedling. But don’t be hasty and clip them yet, as they are merely in a vegetative state. They are pre-blossomed and too ripe- imagine them like a green banana.
The last stage is flowering. During the flowering stage, this is when the leaves are ripe and ready to be clipped, you will see buds growing from the center, and its leaves will be widened.
Treat raising marijuana like raising a child, with love and care. It needs to be consistently maintained. It is vital to add nutrients to the growth source. Not only does a flourishing plant require PH balanced water (PH 4-6) but you need to water it with nutrient-rich missed water, for example, molasses. If you aren’t using mineralized water, then go directly to the source of growth- the soil. To maintain healthy soil, add a natural fertilizer. In fact, soil is such a vital part of the growing balance that there are many websites dedicated to it. To choose the right soil for you (taking into account PH balance, nutrients, and water retention) then take a look at our hand-picked favorite by Leafly.
You can contain your cannabis growing environment in every aspect and it will flourish-but why do you need to micro-manage each part of the growing stage? Because this isn’t natural cannabis out in the garden relying on rain. Even so, due to so extreme temperature changes and acid rain, growing outside isn’t your best option. Hydroponics are another great option in which all your mineral and nutrient needs are met, but they usually come in industrial sizes or may be out of your budget. Still, if you can afford a hydroponic which is domestic-sized, we would definitely recommend getting one.
In terms of lights during the growth stages, having your LED’s on every hour is actually not healthy for your weed. It needs time for chloroplasts to develop and time to rest in-between absorbing the light. During the vegetative state, lights must be on for 18-19 hours per day, and off for 5-6 hours. During the flowering period, switch the light timings to 12hrs on and off. To keep the timing intact, set a timer in the room and on your phone. If you are prone to forgetfulness, try an LED set with a built-in timer, they are harder to find but worth the few additional bucks if timing just ain’t your bag. It is crucial to not let the light flow 24/7 because cannabis is not evolved for this, and the leaves will dry out (and leave the soil unfruitful for more planting.)
So that’s that! As long as you take care of your plants, soon enough you will have ripe, green leaves reading for clipping, grinding and smoking. Just set up your station properly, with LED lights and insulation. Try an airy room that isn’t ventilated and keep the temperature warm always. Time your lighting and monitor each stage of the growth process. Apart from that, good luck growing!