Can I Start Growing My Own?
Growing cannabis can be difficult or easy, depending on your abilities and the amount of attention you give to your plants. Creating beautiful crops of personal plants is an extremely rewarding experience. What do you need to think about when starting out?
Sorting out the growing equipment, finding the right strain for you and the amount of dedication it takes to bring a crop to term can be a daunting concept. Below you will find some tips on growing marijuana, both indoors and outdoors. You always have to start with marijuana seeds, of course.
There are seed sellers in the US, but some of the best are in Europe. But a big reminder: make sure it is legal to buy and grow marijuana where you live before you even go one paragraph farther. Ok, let’s break down growing into its simplest parts and provide hints and tips for finding the perfect marijuana seeds. Again, don’t buy seeds if it’s not legal where you live. (Hint: if you are in the USA, it’s probably not legal to buy seeds online so stop reading right now)!
Let’s start with the basics – Seeds
There are plenty of fantastic strains and marijuana seeds that are easy to grow and will give you great results no matter your level of expertise. Let’s look into characteristics and after you have figured out that part you can start shopping. Should the first crop be Indica or Sativa? feminized or Regular? Indoor or Outdoor? How about Autoflowering?
Strains of Cannabis
Marijuana seeds are a variety of cannabis, and there are two main strains: Indica and Sativa. Indicas have a shorter flowering time and tend to be a safe bet for beginners. They also tend to respond well to basic growing mistakes and are generally ideal for medicinal users. The joke about Indica is that it stands for “In Da Couch” because it is so relaxing. However, if you aren’t too bothered about Sativa’s taking longer and needing a little more care and attention then certainly go for that happy creative feeling that sativa is known for.
Feminized seeds will only grow into female plants, making them a great choice for your first crop. Sexing the plants and removing the males can be a bit of a headache, and a slip-up can ruin your whole crop. Not something you want to be dealing with your first time growing. Perhaps a little pricier than regular seeds, but definitely worth it. To check out the hundreds of options for feminized seeds you can visit the justifiably famous ILoveGrowingMarijuana site or you can go to Growers Choice Seeds. You could also read our seed buying guide for some additional options.
Indoors or Outdoors?
The indoor/outdoor decision is largely based on the grow space you have available. Indoors is always a good idea for pest control, including two-legged pests. So if you have a decent space to grow inside your house or apartment then go for it. The cost of setting up the space will be higher, but you’ll have a lot more control over the growing environment.
Outdoor growing is more eco-friendly and cheaper but can present a lot of issues that you may not be equipped to deal with. The space in which you grow your crop will also narrow down your seed choices as most seeds will only grow in certain environments.
Autoflowering seeds can be a fantastic choice for beginners as they are faster flowering, are more compact and feminized, sometimes cost less, and are generally very easy to grow. These are great for indoor growing since the plants are shorter, and for small outdoor spaces like balconies. The ideal type of seed for first-time experimentation. MaryJane Farmer talks about autoflowering seeds in this article.
Indoors Setup Basics
I will give you a few basic tips that can help you get set up. You will need to carefully consider every aspect of your growing space as all of it will affect your plant babies.
Before you get started, pick your grow space and draw a detailed floor plan. Then you can think about the trickier bits.
What Kind of Lights to Buy?
Choose your grow lights, do you want LED or HID (High-Intensity Discharge, which includes HPS and CMD lights)? LEDs are eco-friendly, give your plants everything they need, and can provide the full spectrum of light for your plants throughout their different growing cycles. HPS lights are a bit more powerful and can help your plants reach their full potential, but temperature control can be a little trickier. Here is our article on the difference.
To cut to the chase, MaryJane Farmer recommends LED Grow Lights, especially for beginners. Now that there is a large variety of choices, the prices are much lower than a couple of years ago and there is far greater choice. And there are often added features that make your grow experience much easier. MaryJane’s full 2021 review of the Best LED Grow Lights can set you up with a light that is right for your space.
Ventilation Needed for Climate Control
Make sure your space has plenty of ventilation to ensure that oxygen is getting to your plants. This also makes sure your plants aren’t overheating as there will be some fans and other machinery involved. It is extremely important to carefully control the temperature and humidity around your plants. Here are MaryJane’s recommendations for temperature and humidity control products. And we also have an article on ventilating your space.
For a detailed article about setting up your first grow space go to our beginner’s setup article here.
Growing outside involves a lot less setup as the sun and the environment will do the jobs of the various lights and fans. First, think about the weather. If you don’t live in a relatively warm climate with plenty of sun, then it probably isn’t a good idea to grow outdoors.
If you do have Mother Nature (mostly) on your side, then you need to know everything about the climate, the lengths of the sun cycles, the temperature changes, precipitation, etc. Do your research. There is a great reference for climate “hardiness” zones from the USDA in this article.
Picking a space in your garden is extremely important because you want to give your plants as much sunlight as possible, especially at midday. A breeze is also great for your plants, but you don’t want them to be exposed to strong winds.
You will also likely want your plants to be hidden from prying eyes. Balconies and rooftops are often safe places to grow, or in a garden with a decent-sized fence. If you’re very lucky you might be in the middle of nowhere with no nosey neighbors.
Remember, these plants can get pretty tall and some of them have a strong scent later in life, which may cause neighborhood complaints and bring unwanted attention from the authorities. You will also have to deal with pests and weeds and the possibility of cross-pollination. Download our free Beginner’s Grow Guide over in the sidebar or in the annoying popup that you have probably already run across. Or use this link to download the free ebook.
Research your strains carefully before you buy. If you choose a poor quality seed then all of your hard work will be for nothing. Make sure you are dealing with reputable dealers with plenty of experience. We often recommend Robert Bergman’s ILGM site to find out about seeds.
Get Good Dirt
However, a high-quality seed doesn’t mean much without high-quality soil. Buy the best soil to make sure the caloric and nutrient needs of your plants are met. Quality organic soil will help your plants reach their full potential.
Use boosters and fertilizers to make sure your plants are getting everything they need to grow up to be big and strong. These can be used if your soil starts to lose its nutrients, which it will over time. MaryJane Farmer recommends using supplemental nutrients and using commercial fertilizer and growing medium (dirt) rather than pulling something out of the backyard. But don’t just use nutrients indiscriminately because giving your plants too much can cause more harm than good.
Make sure your growing space has plenty of light and air, and that the temperature is perfect for your plants. There should be enough humidity without there being too much. It is all about balance when it comes to the environment and it is definitely worth the extra effort.
Do plenty of research about curing and drying your crops. Growing may be the hard part, but the final stages are still crucial. Again this requires excellent balance and a nice flow of air. Mould thrives in dark, dank spaces so make sure your buds are exposed to plenty of light, air and are completely dry before you move on to curing.
MaryJane Farmer’s Advice
As you probably have figured out by now, growing weed to produce a good harvest that is smokeable is about more than just throwing seeds on the ground. Sure, weed grows wild and you can grow wild weed if you want. But the end product might not be what you want or expect. So do a little research and read some (free) books before spending much money.
I want to hear your advice, criticism, suggestions, and questions. Leave a comment below. Or send me a photo of your successful grow: MaryJane@420Beginner.com