In many parts of the United States – as well as throughout much of the world – growing cannabis is now legal. That’s great news! If you’ve come to the decision to start growing your own weed, you have even more reason to celebrate. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are thinking of growing their own and becoming self-sufficient wherever possible.
Here are the five steps to growing weed indoors that you need to know about. We recommend using soil as a growing medium for beginners.
Choose the Right Seeds and Get Them Germinated
The first step to growing weed indoors is to start with the right seeds. What makes a good seed? For starters, you’ll want one that is dry, dark-colored and hard – ideally, one that is purchased from a reputable seed source.
When you’re buying seeds, you’ll be able to choose between feminized and non-feminized seeds. Opting for feminized seeds can save you some time. Non-feminized seeds can help for breeding purposes, but many tend to get rid of their male plants if they are not breeding. Those who are just starting out may want to stick to autoflowering or feminized seeds.
Otherwise, you’ll have to decide between indica (great for a calm, relaxing high) or sativa (perfect for a more energizing, uplifting high) strains. You can also pick a hybrid, which will blend the best of the two different strains. However, it is important to realize that a plant’s effects are generally determined by their cannabinoid-terpenoid profile, not necessarily just whether or not they are indica, sativa or a hybrid. Yes, there do be to be some broad patterns between the type of cannabis and its effects, but this is not always the case. Hybridization has also blurred the lines significantly.
Now it’s time to germinate! You will have to soak your seeds on paper plates ahead of time, then wait for them to germinate. It can take a few days for this to occur.
Wait for Seedlings to Emerge
Once your seedlings emerge, it’s time to transfer them into the growing medium. The type that you choose it’s up to you – while most people grow weed in soil, others prefer hydroponic setups. Regardless, you’ll want to plant them about 10 mm deep in the medium. Keep it damp, but be sure not to overwater.
Move Into the Vegetative Stage
The next step is to wait for your plants to move into the vegetative stage. At this point, you are going to be providing about 18-24 hours a day of light, along with temperatures around 70 to 85 degrees. You will need to water frequently, supplying extra nutrients (particularly nitrogen) on a regular basis. If you didn’t get feminized seeds, you will need to remove all male plants at this point, too.
If you want to avoid trying to find the right seeds to buy and the germination process, you can buy clones from a dispensary. This can help you find an appropriate plant for your needs with far less work, and can avoid the vegetative stage entirely.
Enjoy the Flowering Stage
In the flowering stage, your plants will develop thick, heavy-scented buds as all of their energy is focused on bud development. They’ll grow much larger, too, as the buds, hairs, resign glands, and trichomes develop. This is when you move to a light cycle of 12 hours of dark and 12 hours of light. Light leaks during dark time can stress the plants out and can cause the plant to develop hermaphroditism and produce seeds.
Stop training your plants, and towards the end of flowering, stop giving nutrients and start to flush your plants using just water.
Depending on the type of plant, most cannabis strains finish flowering between 6 and 14 weeks. Indicas and autoflowering strains usually finish flowering between 6 and 9 weeks, hybrids 8 – 12 weeks and sativas between 10 and 14 weeks. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but most cannabis plants of different types follow this pattern. The phenotype expressed matters as well. For example, a hybrid that expresses indica will likely finish flowering sooner than a hybrid that expresses sativa. You can read more about Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis here.
Some people also decide when to finish flowering by looking at the trichomes (the glandular hair of the plant). This can help growers determine when the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes are fully formed. The trichomes usually go from clear, then cloudy, then amber. Many people harvest when most trichomes are an even mixture between cloudy and amber. For some, harvesting too early in the cloudy stage can lead to a more uncomfortable experience, whereas harvesting when a number of trichomes are amber can impart a more “relaxed” and less overwhelming experience.
Finally! Time for Harvesting and Curing
After all your hard work, you get to enjoy the harvesting and curing process. You’ll want to cut the main stem and then hang the plants to dry. Trimming and curing are the last steps, which can take up to five weeks to complete.
Congratulations! Make it through these five steps, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
You are now part of a rapidly growing hobby that is taking the world by storm. Growing your own weed is a fun, low-cost way to flex your green thumb and to cultivate your own love of cannabis – right at home.
Guest article by Alan Wood, the Weekend Gardener. Edited by Leafwell.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. Erik Fenderson, 2006-04-14.