Get Started for Under $500
Successfully growing cannabis indoors can be daunting for a beginner. In this article, we suggest 4 plants in a grow tent that is 2 feet by 2 feet. Together with seeds, we think you can start growing for under $500. Full-grown plants will sometimes take more than 1 square foot each (2 square feet per plant is the usual number), but in an indoors grow tent, you can afford a little crowding because your light is concentrated.
Indoors or Outdoors?
In places where it is legal to grow your own pot (and even in other places). MaryJane Farmer recommends indoor growing in a grow tent or grow box for up to 12 plants. The risk of theft, disease, pests, weeds and discovery outweighs the benefits of outdoor growing, even considering the cost of setting up a grow tent. Unless you are a commercial grower (and sometimes even if you are), your product will taste better, be higher quality and bring higher prices if grown indoors.
With the increased interest in cultivating the plant for personal uses the market now offers a lot of great indoor grow tent equipment to make this process easy and effective. Here are the tools we recommend for the beginner with up to four plants. Adding in the cost of seeds, this entire setup can have you growing your first seedlings for under $500.
You have probably already heard about how Cannabis is a plant that doesn’t require too much effort as it can grow under not so perfect conditions. This might be true, however, the right treatment and excellent conditions are required for a healthy and potent plant. All you need to know is what are the natural conditions that cannabis grows under in nature and how to best substitute them in your grow tent. We hope that this guide will ease the process and help in making it very successful.
Soil (aka dirt)
Before you start setting up your grow tent you should decide on the number and type of plants you are about to cultivate. If you want to grow large plants, plan that each plant will take up about a 2 foot by 2 foot space when fully grown. That’s a rough rule of thumb that really has to be tested in your own operation, because lighting, nutrients and soil type will all influence how your plant grows.
Choosing quality soil is very important, therefore you should consider buying it from a brand that sells cannabis-friendly soil only. Do NOT dig up dirt from your yard–use quality dirt from a nursery or from online. Here we’ll list some of the signs that tell if the soil is good for cannabis:
- It is very dark
- Loose in texture
- Holds the water and it doesn’t get muddy
- The water easily drains to the bottom
We also recommend using nutrients packaged specially for cannabis. This combination product is a good choice:
- General Organics Provides Gardeners With A Complete Line Of Premium Biological Plant Foods And Supplements
- We Combine The Time-Tested Ingredients Of Traditional Agriculture With Sustainable And Efficient Methods Of Modern Cultivation
- General Organics Now Has The Go Box Starter Kit
- No Assembly Required
Picking Your Space
First off, you should start by picking a good place in terms of size and location. Consider that it should be permanent as replacing is not advisable, and before setting up any grow space, clean the location well.
Here is an all-in-one grow tent that can easily fit four plants in a large closet. The virtue of this setup is that most of the basic components you will need are already included. The components were built to fit together so that makes for a relatively simple DIY project.
- LED 300W grow light + 4" filter ventilation kit + 24"x24"x48" dark room
- Featuring a user friendly "Full Spectrum" design, you can easily grow your plants in any growth cycle required like germination, seedling, veg, flower
- use coal based activated carbon environmentally friendly materials and Carbon Layer Thickness: 1.5 inches
- Durable: Heavy duty 600D lightproof oxford cloth and diameter 16MM white paint coated metal rods and Large heavy duty Zippers
- Best Heat Dissipation for the Best Stability and Longest Lifetime
A closet or wardrobe that is light-proof and set up in a dark and dry place can be a suitable grow space, if you are a DIY person. We have an article talking about the factors to consider in building a grow room versus buying a ready-made grow room or grow tent. However, MaryJane Farmer recommends that beginners use an indoor grow tent. You can find many different types of tents on the market and whatever your choice is they make a perfect grow space. They are light-proof, odor-proof and often come with additional equipment for placing the ventilation fans and lights. The Topolite tent we recommend comes in multiple sizes and configurations, but the least expensive one is sufficient for four plants.
Setting up Lights for a Grow Space
When it comes to lights most growers are nowadays choosing LED grow lights. With the constant advancements in the LED technology, these grow lights now are the choice over older style HID or fluorescent (T5) lights. The reasons are described in depth in MaryJane’s article on HID vs LED, but to be brief LED Grow Lights are
- More efficient
- Economic- they consume less energy than any other
- Have a longer lifespan
- They come in many different shapes and sizes –suitable for any size of grow space
- They heat up less which means the temperature will be more controllable
- You can put them closer and increase the light intensity while avoiding the risk of burning the plants
- You can have LEDs with an adjustable spectrum of colors to get the most out of your buds.
The grow tent we recommend above comes with several choices of light intensity. Manufacturers often quote 30-50 watts per plant. There are a lot of rough guesstimates that go into that figure but for a four plant operation, the smallest size tent and the lowest intensity light will be more than enough.
Along with the LEDs, we recommend a timer to control the light cycle. Although some growers would disagree, we strongly recommend against more than 18 hours of light per day (here’s MaryJane’s recommendation for light schedules) during the early stages of plant growth. For convenience then, you will want a reliable timer like this one:
- SIMPLE TO USE: Pins UP means timer is OFF. Pins DOWN means timer is ON. Please note that your timer’s pins will come pressed DOWN new of the box. Pull the pins UP to begin setting your timer.
- AUTOMATE YOUR HOME OR OFFICE: Turn on and off lamps, small appliances, Christmas trees, and other electrical devices with a handy timer.
- DESIGN YOUR OWN SCHEDULE: With up to 24 on and off settings per day, you can program your devices to turn on/off in as small as 30-minute intervals. Settings will repeat daily once programmed and plugged-in.
- Century to BN-LINK: Your product might come in the brand of BN-LINK or Century as we are currently rebranding to BN-LINK. Please be assured that the quality remains the same.
- RATINGS: 125-Volt, 60 Hz./15-Amp, 1875-Watt resistive/8-Amp, 1000-Watt tungsten/5 Amp ballast
Both lights and ventilation fans are often included in all-in-one kit boxes with a growing tent. The grow tent we recommend from Topolite has fans and filters included, which makes setup much easier.
Ventilation is important in order to keep the plants fresh with moving air and make them feel like home (nature). You need fans to move the air inside for controlling the humidity and to control the temperature by moving the hot air out. Ventilation is prevention for molds, mildews, spider mites and other pathogenic infections that can seriously damage your plants.
If you are growing in a wardrobe or closet and building your own grow room, you can make holes in upper corners to install the fans. Some people choose to leave the door slightly open. However, it is advisable to choose a good combination of fans and place them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure of the proper ventilating effect.
Regulating the Temperature and Humidity
These two factors have a great impact on the plants, so you need to find a way to measure and control them. You can do this by installing some measuring instruments inside the grow space – thermometer and humidity monitor are a must. Here is another product we recommend:
The temperature and humidity depend largely on the climate in your region, particularly if you are growing outside. When it comes to temperature the ideal range for growing cannabis is between 65 and 80°F or 18 – 26°C. As for humidity, the advice is to be kept between 30 and 50 percent. Some growers and some strains prefer a warmer environment, and indoor growing is the best way to regulate this. You can research seed strains at ILGM.
MaryJane Farmer’s Advice
There are lots of handy people in the cannabis industry, many of whom prefer to DIY. But for a beginner, I think it makes sense to spend some money and buy products that are specifically made for indoor growing. The products we recommended above total a little over $300. The cost of seeds will be another $100 to $150 depending on the strain you choose. It is always wise to plant more seeds than you expect to harvest. Even though you might end up with 6 or 10 seedlings, don’t get greedy and crowd your plants. Time enough to learn what you can do and can’t do with your new green thumb.
I love to get your comments, criticisms, suggestions and advice. The comment section below is for anything you want to write. If you want to send photos of your new indoor garden, use electric mail to MaryJane@420Beginner.com.
Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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