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If you’re currently considering cultivating cannabis yourself, you probably wonder where to begin. Surely, the first stage is selecting the location. Do you prefer cultivating outdoors or indoors? Do you want to cultivate only one plant or a few of them? Which strain do you need to purchase, and what equipment is necessary? We will explain it to you in our article.
When persons are considering cultivating their own cannabis plant for the first time, they usually start looking for articles on how to set up a successful operation. Although striving for success is a good thing, actually, cultivating cannabis for your own use doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just begin with one plant.
In America, an increasing number of persons are have expressed interest in cultivating their own cannabis plant. The thing is, cannabis users are tired of having to purchase substandard cannabis. That’s why they have chosen to grow their plants.
Cultivating your own cannabis plant has many advantages. In this case, you understand where your weed comes from and treat your plant as necessary. The plant will not contain any chemical fertilizers and will be of really high quality. There will be no room for doubt and confusion.
However, cultivating your own cannabis also has certain drawbacks. First of all, it is not legal in most countries (even in those permitting a specific amount of cannabis consumption). However, it is much better for your health since you won’t have to deal with the marijuana provider you don’t know. Cultivating your own plant is usually very profitable. When you eventually harvest and consume the results of your hard work, you will enjoy not just the marijuana itself but also the amazing feeling of satisfaction that accompanies it.
Varieties of marijuana
Cannabis is one of the only annual species to have two various sexes. That is, the plants are available in both male and female varieties, and sometimes even hermaphroditic species, which possess both male and female reproductive systems.
Moreover, three main species of cannabis:
- Indica: Quite short and broad greenish plant with round leaves, which have marble-like patterns. It offers a long-lasting, all-body high.
- Sativa: It can be very tall but rather thin, with more pointed leaves free from any patterns. It offers a tremendous cerebral high.
- Ruderalis: Not so popular than the other two. Little plants, used mainly for sewing clothes, etc.
Each of the above-mentioned varieties of cannabis has its own features when it comes to using it.
One of the greatest indicators of potency for a specific plant is its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Actually, this is the substance that offers the calming, medicinal properties that most persons relate to cannabis. Overall, most cultivators prefer sativa, indica, or hybrids. Ruderalis is used less often because of its low amount of THC. Moreover, it must be mentioned that the female marijuana plants are most appreciated by the cultivators due to its high tetrahydrocannabinol content.
In general, the THC in female plants increases when the plant stays unpollinated. It will provide buds, flowers, and tetrahydrocannabinol resin, thereby making the end product way more powerful by the moment of harvest. Moreover, there are many other natural chemicals on a cannabis plant that affect the type of high you get.
Such substances are called cannabinoids, and they engage with your mental and physical functions to provide altered states of consciousness. Cultivating the plants under perfect circumstances will contribute to the top-quality THC production in your female plants. The most famous Sativa and Indica hybrids are White Widow, Gorilla Glue, Girl Scout Cookies Extreme, and Super Skunk.
There are lots of ways to find cannabis seeds; however, if you’re in America, most of them aren’t legal. Certainly, the most efficient (and the cheapest) way to receive seeds is by getting them from a person you know. This will keep you out of sight of any law enforcement agency, and the seeds will be provided by a reliable source. You will know exactly what the vegetative period or harvest time of the plant is. Receiving seeds from a fellow cultivator is a perfect scenario, but this is not always possible.
Another possibility is purchasing seeds from a dealer. Certainly, you’ll need to get access to the illegal market, and this option is actually a draw when it comes to quality. You may be able to produce some weird but amazing plants; however, some of the seeds might be inactive and won’t grow at full strength.
The next option is to visit a seed bank. It is easy to find them on the Internet, while the majority of them are located near Canada and the Netherlands, where the sale of cannabis seeds is perfectly legal. Unluckily, most Dutch seed banks don’t deliver to the USA, and there is a high risk of being deceived. There’s a low chance of being caught by the government since the product is packaged discreetly. Certainly, if postal personnel doesn’t treat the package as necessary, the seeds might end up unfit for use. If you reside close to the border of Canada, the best option for you is to get across the border and visit a physical seed bank that will be happy to serve you.
There are several reasons why cultivating only one plant can be very useful. In this case, you will be able to concentrate all your efforts on it, increasing the chance of growing a high-quality cannabis plant.
Moreover, it is more secure to grow only one plant. While the government usually arrests persons who have a large-scale cultivation operation inside their house, nobody cares about someone cultivating only one plant. The thing is, enforcement bodies have more important things to do. Moreover, a single plant is much easier to hide; it is very unlikely that anyone will ever find it.
Better still, cultivating a single plant will be much cheaper compared to other grow setups, which usually include more plants, and thus more costly facilities and resources. A single plant only requires the very minimum, so you need way less water, lighting, and nutrients. Cultivating one cannabis plant is the ideal way to start your grower’s “career” without investing a lot of funds and time and minimize all possible risks.
And yet, being concentrated on a single plant, you can cultivate a great yield that will be enough for a year.
How to begin?
Now that you know you want to grow only one plant in your house let’s see how to do it. Firstly, don’t think about how difficult it will be. It’s not as difficult as it seems— after all, not for nothing, marijuana is known as “weed.” As well as any weed, it can grow almost everywhere.
Remember that weed is a flowering plant. If you’ve never cultivated before, this means that it will grow buds only once a year, usually in autumn. The plants generally begin growing buds when the sunlight falls below a certain point.
Even though you will be cultivating your cannabis plant in the room, you should still know this as it will affect the way you adjust the lighting for your plant. Unless your plant gets over 12 hours of light exposure on a daily basis, it will start flowering— and a plant that flowers too soon will certainly give a smaller harvest than a plant that flowers on time. And if you’re growing only one cannabis plant, the size of its harvest is crucial.
Always ensure your plant has grown (in its “vegetative” stage) for at least 4- 6 weeks before trying to proceed to the flowering stage. During the vegetative stage, be sure that your plant receives about 18 hours of sunlight (or other types of illumination) every day — the more, the better. Purchasing a lamp is essential for indoor cultivation.
Even if your plant gets enough sunlight every day, it will still require the assistance of a lamp (not a common one, but a special device for cultivating plants).
Fortunately, lighting doesn’t need to be costly — and it definitely can be cheap if to have only one plant. Moreover, remember that lighting is the costliest part of the equipment you’ll have to purchase, so even if you don’t find its price attractive, remember that it is the only expensive object you will need.
The type of light you purchase will be based on the situation you have at home. If your plant is located near the window that offers perfect illumination, then purchasing a grow light will be the best option, since it will only add a few extra lighting hours after the sunset. Try to purchase a T5, a T8, or a CFL to obtain the minimum amount of light your plant will require.
Nevertheless, it will not maximize the amount of light your plant is receiving. The more light cannabis receives, the better results you will get.
Your best bet is 250-watt HID, which contains both HPS bulbs and MH bulbs. Whatever its price, it is worth it.
If your plant doesn’t get an adequate amount of light, you will definitely see it because it will start stretching and going upwards; you will see more upward growth than outward growth. This is bad for a cannabis plant since bushy plants usually grow great and powerful buds that each cannabis user dreams of.
Extra lighting information
When you go deep into the details of lighting, everything becomes more difficult. If you want to increase the light exposure, you should realize what you are dealing with.
Even though all the lamp options will probably be good for cultivating a healthy plant and receive a proper yield, various types of lamps provide various results. If you choose a VHO lamp, for example, the plant is likely to grow almost three times as quickly as a plant that is growing underneath a more “standard” kind of lamp. Using a VHO light, you will probably need to keep increasing light exposure every day since the plant will be growing very quickly.
However, a VHO lamp may be too expensive for you. Moreover, you may not have enough space to grow a huge plant. That’s why it is essential to examine every aspect before choosing a lighting system for your plant.
The perfect timer for any type of lighting is a vacation timer. Such timers are designed for use in regular household lights to create an impression that you’re home when you’re actually out of the country. Even though they were not created in order to set a timer for cultivating cannabis plants, they still work miracles. However, this is a great idea to apply a timer since it will keep things very coherent, and it won’t be difficult to remember how you treated your plant during one cultivation “season” when you think about how to modify this treatment for the next plant you will cultivate.
Humidity and temperature required
The main thing that you should remember about the temperature and humidity for your plant is that it must vary during the day (we mean the artificial “day” developed by your lighting system) and the night. In the afternoon, the temperature must be about 25-26 degrees Celcius. At night, it must be much lower.
In general, the area surrounding your plant must be comparatively dry. This makes more resin to cover the surfaces of your plant, as an excessive humidity will actually keep the leaves dry and almost resin-free. So, make sure that the temperature is not too warm when you have a dry environment since this may lead to an inadequate amount of drying out of your plant in general. It will begin to turn brown, and its roots will be unable to absorb the necessary amount of water to maintain your plant healthy.
Another reason why you have to reduce the humidity is that damp areas make plants to have wider leaves. This is explained by the fact that in humid climates, cannabis plants can respirate easily and rapidly — simply put, the moisture is pulled off of their leaves in a dry climate more simply. Thus, cannabis plants cultivated in wet climates have wider leaves, which help them respirate in spite of the moisture. Nevertheless, broader leaves aren’t good for the person consuming cannabis since they possess a lower resin to leaf surface area ratio. As you’re cultivating only one plant, these seemingly insignificant nuances can be very important for your end product.
If the room where you grow is too damp, you will have to resort to some kind of method to dehydrate it until it is reduced to a necessary moisture level. Thus, you should only apply a dehumidifier if you already have it or if you don’t mind spending more money. In general, spending over $100 on this device is too much for only one cannabis plant, so it is up to you to decide.
Ventilation is a very important aspect that requires as much attention as the other factors of cultivating your cannabis plant. Ventilation can prevent such unhealthy factors as mold and fungi that may negatively affect your plant. This is an essential factor for both one plant and a space full of cannabis seeds.
An absence of adequate ventilation can make the pores in the leaves of your cannabis plant clog. As a result, the leaf can die off. If too many leaves die, the plant will do the same in the end. After all, the leaves are responsible for absorbing the sunlight and using it for quicker growth.
This will be even more significant if you’re cultivating your plant in a little storage room. Although you will probably have to enclose it this way before and during the flowering stage, you should plan in advance and ensure adequate ventilation before beginning to cultivate your plant in there.
Ventilation is probably the most essential factor during the flowering stage, since without a proper amount of fresh air, the juicy buds may develop mold. The buds covered with mold are useless, so this will have a terrible effect on your final yield.
You can use a fan for ventilation. Make sure than the fan is pulling fresh air in from the outside. Even a fan that simply moves the air around can be quite useful. Using a fan from the first stages of cultivation helps the plant to grow a thicker stem. And the thicker and stronger the plant is, the better.
Watering is understandably essential for cannabis plants. However, the quality of the water is just as important. The latter depends on the area you live in and the way your city/village treats water.
No matter where you live, you will probably have some chlorine in your water. For instance, all water in the US is treated with a specific amount of chlorine. Meanwhile, this substance isn’t good for cannabis plants.
Fortunately, chlorine is very easy to dispose of. You just have to let the water sit for a day or more, with the container holding the water open to the air around it. This way, you will make sure that the water has room temperature. Irrigating plants with room temperature water is certainly more beneficial for them than terrifying them with ice water; thus, such process knocks off two in one day.
If your city adds much chlorine to its water, then purchasing anti-chlorine drops may be an excellent idea. Such drops can be purchased at any pet shop as they are used for the preparation of fish aquarium.
The next factor to take into account is the amount of water you’re giving to your plants. If you keep your plants in a container holding three gallons of soil, make sure to feed them with at least three liters of water. The main thing is to observe the humidity of soil. It is important that the entire soil is watered evenly. Therefore, the best option is to water a higher amount now and then. In case you feed your plant a small quantity of water, the latter will not reach the bottom of the soil (thus, the roots will not obtain any water).
With this in mind, before irrigating your plant, you must be confident that its container has appropriate drain holes at the bottom. While watering your plant, you must see the water coming out the bottom. Otherwise, it can mean that you don’t give enough water to your plant, which can cause serious health issues. However, as long as the soil has sand and perlite inside it, there will hardly be any drainage problems.
To make sure it’s time to water your plant, see if the soil is wet enough. If it is, don’t irrigate it and wait for another day or two; after all, even if the top seems dry, the bottom of the soil may still be damp. Avoid watering your plant when it doesn’t need water, as this can cause lots of problems related to excess humidity.
Germinating the seed
As soon as you have bought your seed and all the necessary tools, it is time for germination to start the growth process. There is no ideal method of germination, but it definitely can be easy and efficient.
Firstly, put the seed approximately ½ inch into the soil, fully covering it. The soil must stay humid but don’t get really wet, and the perfect temperature for it is 75 degrees. Later on, all you need to do is wait to see the small sprout starting to appear in about 5 days (this indicator can be different depending on the strain and many other nuances).
Another option for germinating the seeds is to put them inside a few humid paper towels or a sponge. After that, wait for the seeds to start sprouting. This process can last from one day to one week.
After germinating the seeds, you must plant them into the soil. This must be made as soon as you notice the small sprouts appear. Maintain the soil damp and cover it on the top.
Make sure to provide your cannabis plants with enough light. The lights must be approximately 2 cm away from the soil, and shouldn’t be moved upwards until the seedling has grown quite a lot. Some users give their young stands light 24/7 to maximize their growth, but that’s completely up to you.
The vegetative stage
The vegetative stage is the second stage of your plant’s life. During this stage, it leaves, branches, and height grow especially quickly. Its stem will become thicker, and it will grow lots of new leaves at a very high speed. This stage is essential for your plant. During it, it must absorb as much sunlight as possible. This fact will promote a healthy flowering stage. A bigger plant involves more and large buds, so you must give serious consideration to the vegetative stage.
If you need to grow a tiny plant for the private use of cannabis, one month of the vegetative phase should be enough. In some cases, users go through this stage in just 3 weeks and get the most out of their plant.
Certain breeders (particularly professionals) use training techniques to make their plants grow outwards instead of upwards, thereby increasing the growth rate without growing too large for the enclosed space that they have.
The flowering stage
In the case of indoor cannabis plants, you bear responsibility for all the growth facts. Since cannabis plants react to the amount of light they are receiving, you’ll have to modify the number of hours of light exposure— actually, it’s the number of hours of darkness that provokes their transfer to the flowering stage, but the same rule applies.
To initiate the flowering stage, you’ll have to give it at least twelve hours of light (natural or artificial) and, more significantly, twelve hours of continuous (and full) darkness. Moreover, twelve hours of light your plant receives must be very strong.
The good thing about cultivating one indoor plant is that you can place it wherever you want. In such a case, before you initiate the plant to enter the flowering stage, you must move it to a closed space. Install your lighting system so that you can give the plant its 12 hours of lighting and 12 hours of darkness. A perfect option for you is an outlet timer since it leaves no room for mistake.
This stress can cause all types of problems, including developing into a hermaphrodite or a poor-quality end product and low yield.
As a rule, the flowering stage usually lasts about 2 months. It is followed by the harvesting time.
Harvesting and curing
After harvesting the plant, you’ll have to cure the plant material in order to make it smokable (and likable). After drying the plant material by hanging it upside down in a dry and cool space for several days, store the dried plant material in clean glass jars, closing the lid tightly. Leave some extra room in the jars because additional air will be useful in the process of curing.
Your main challenge in the process of curing marijuana is the development of mold. It will occur only if the plant material is too wet when you begin storing it in jars, so make sure it is dry enough before doing it. Open the jars occasionally (first once a day, then every couple days) for a few weeks until the smell and texture seem appropriate. After that, you will be able to smoke your weed as much as you like — but make sure to store them correctly (in a cool and dry space).
There is a number of other factors you should take into account when you’re cultivating any number of cannabis plants. For example, what kind of container will you cultivate your plant in? And what kind of soil is the best for this container?
Containers and transplanting
When selecting a container for your plant, you can purchase a breathable pot and feel confident knowing it is the perfect option for cultivating a cannabis plant. The best type of breathable pot is a fabric pot. Other types of pots are also good if they possess drain holes with something beneath to keep the water that flows down and out. You should avoid letting this water sit for the long term since it could draw the interest of uninvited guests like insects or mold. As a rule, the first container used must be approximately 6 cm across (no more). A clay or a plastic pot is almost as good as a fabric pot.
Another feature of the container that you should take into account is its size. This will depend on the speed of growth of your plant and the size of the cannabis plant as a whole. We should note that transplanting will be required at some point — perhaps repeatedly. Transplanting is a complicated process, even when it is made perfectly. It is usually a shock for the plant, which means it delays the growth unavoidably to some extent.
However, transplanting is very important since otherwise, you would have to begin growing your plant in a giant pot. Although this may seem harmless to the new cultivator, it is actually highly dangerous since it is simple to give too much water to a plant that is growing in a pot too big for it. If you give too much water to your plant, all kinds of health problems can appear (thus, mold and root rot can happen due to the excess of unabsorbed water, while the lack of oxygen can be very dangerous for the plant).
One of the most widespread problems of the new growers is excess humidity. To prevent this issue, just don’t grow your plant in a pot that is too big for it — start with a small one and choose bigger pots as your plant grows. In short, consider transplanting.
Transplantation of the cannabis plant is easy in theory, but more difficult in practice. Firstly, get the bigger container prepared for the plant by filling it with soil and making holes for the plant. After that, take the pot that contains your cannabis plant, flip it, tapping the bottom until the plant and the soil pops out. There should be a chunk of soil with the ball of roots coming out without any physical exertion. Place the whole chunk into the hole in the new container. Give the plant enough water and take care of it a little more than usual, since the process can be complicated for a plant.
If you don’t like the idea of transplanting your cannabis plant, an alternative is to apply a Jiffy-Pot or a similar product. This is a container made of compressed peat moss. It can prevent any possible transplanting problems since it protects the roots until the plant has been transplanted into a larger pot. As soon as the plant is in the new soil, it will begin degrading and permitting the roots to break through it, providing a smooth and secure transition to the new pot. And don’t forget to make sure that the pot has at least 3 liters of soil.
The main thing about transplanting cannabis is to always plan in advance. Probably, depth is more significant than width, so if you want to grow a big plant, make sure that the pot is large enough in volume. You don’t want that your plant becomes rootbound in a container, do you? If the plant is rootbound, it either doesn’t let water in or out, which means that it will always be thirsty or will cause root rot or other issues.
Usually, the best choice for your soil is an organic potting soil. Other good alternatives are coco, turf, or sphagnum since they also work great for growing cannabis. The main thing is to select a soil or medium that has enough oxygen to reach the roots.
You can purchase a medium that already has a specific amount of nutrients contained in it — organic soils are usually such. This implies that you won’t have to feed nutrients to your plant until the flowering stage. If you still feed nutrients to your plants, opt for the organic option to avoid an unpleasant “nutrient burn” to your plant. Anything that contains much salt is the wrong idea (for instance, Miracle Gro).
The quality of your soil is just as significant as the quality of the chosen seed — in short, it is critical. Ensure that any soil you choose is sterilized to prevent the emergence of parasites. Fortunately, it is very easy to find top-quality soil (you can find it in the nearest garden center or even some grocery shops).
In addition to having an airy quality (which also permits the soil to drain appropriately — another good method to prevent the appearance of fungus/mold), a high-quality soil must also have a balanced pH level (about 7.0). If the soil contains too much acid, the cannabis plant will not flourish and is more likely to become male (which is not the best option). In addition to being airy enough to improve draining and oxygen access, the soil must also contain humus in it since it must preserve the water and nutrients you feed it to some extent.
Certain cultivators decided to create their own soil in order to get the ideal mixture. If you want to form your own soil, the perfect method to mix together moss and sand (1:2) and another part of pearlite and soil (1:4). Don’t forget to ensure that the pH level is balanced (you can use it by means of a pH testing kit or litmus paper). In case the pH level of your soil isn’t sufficient, add 200 g of lime per one cubic meter of soil.
If you prefer using your own soil from your side yard, you will have to sterilize it in advance. To do this, damp it and put it in the oven at 120 degrees Celsius for about an hour. But you should know that it will smell awful. Later, add some of the chosen fertilizer (one tablespoon per every liter of the soil must be enough) and mix it well.
Fertilizers and nutrients
Another mistake made by most beginners is putting too many nutrients into their young plants. Doing so, you will negatively affect your plants, and later your health, so you should avoid this.
The main thing about growing cannabis plants is always to start out slow. It’s always better to give a smaller dose than overdo. And don’t forget that you must give your cannabis plant any nutrients at all until it is about a month old.
The best way to start using fertilizer is to water it down, then gradually enhance the amount of fertilizer within your fertilizer and water mixture. If you’re not sure what brand to use for your cannabis plant, choose Rapid-Gro or Eco-Grow, since they are both widely used in the cultivation of cannabis plants. Since adding a fertilizer usually has a certain effect on the pH level of the soil, keep testing your growing medium for its pH level to make sure that it remains at a good value.
Most frequently, feeding your plant fertilizer will make the soil extremely acidic (or a lower pH value). If this is left untreated, it will end up causing negative effects on your cannabis plants (for example, poor absorption of the nutrients).
Some cultivators use the method known as leaf feeding, which must not be made until your plant is at least 6 weeks old. It suggests taking your fertilizer and diluting it in warm water and then putting it into a spray gun. Later on, just spray the leaves of your cannabis plant with the solution, and they will absorb all the necessary nutrients.
Assuming you increase the amount of fertilizer given to your plant gradually, you must be able to cope with feeding it very little fertilizer in the end. Cannabis plants are very enduring plants; thus, you just have to do what’s good for them.
Before your plant reaches at least 12 weeks, feed it only once in several days. Then, as soon as you’re ready to initiate the flowering stage, reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re feeding your plant. Primarily, you have to flush out the fertilizers fully 7-14 days before harvesting it in order to be able to consume the product afterward securely. Avoid adding any fertilizers in the last month of the flowering stage.
If you prefer everything organic, you may consider using worm castings rather than chemical inputs. Even though the first option is quite costly, it is 100% organic. Such worms are fed only with the natural materials, while their castings are amazingly rich and beneficial for cannabis plants. If you’re ready to assume the additional costs, the results will pleasantly surprise you.
Trimming is usually an optional undertaking, even though some growers worship it. It can work miracles for a plant that you wish to grow wide rather than tall. Nevertheless, as regards a house plant, it may be a great idea to consider the ways of trimming.
Thus, try to select a strain of seed that won’t require trimming at all. Read the description and feedbacks carefully to make sure that it is a shorter and bushier strain to avoid dealing with a monster plant. Otherwise, you may need to take care of your plant much more, and not many people want to dedicate a lot of time to a single plant.
If you notice that your plant has grown taller than you wish, it’s time to proceed to trimming. Just chop off the top of your plant. It must be done with the help of a razor blade, cutting right across. Such a method, known as “topping” will also is also useful for enhancing the resin amount of the new growth, as tops usually generate more resin. Moreover, topping allows accelerating the growth of branches that are further towards the bottom of the plant, which would be impossible without this trimming method.
Thank you for your attention.