Almost anyone who has a home can grow cannabis, and grow it well. My first grow was in a closet and my first plant grew buds the size of soda cans. I’m not exaggerating!
I’m going to help YOU nail everything first time, too.
Beginner to expert in one article.
Well, not quite – there’s lots of things only experience can teach.
What I promise is to get you close. Zero to hero by the bottom of the page.
You’ll learn how to set up your grow and germinate your seeds.
How to care for your plants during all stages of the grow.
I’ll show you how to harvest and how to cure your buds for optimum flavor and potency.
I will show you the path, all you have to do is walk it.
You want to learn to grow AMAZING CANNABIS and you want to learn fast, so I’m making some assumptions here…
Assumption One: You’re growing cannabis indoors. This is my area of expertise.
Assumption Two: You’re growing in soil and using water-based nutes. Don’t raise your eyebrows. This is what you’re doing.
Assumption Three: You’re growing six plants and you’re growing them in a tent. If you want to scale up or down, the basics are the same and you can find all the additional info at the Homegrown Cannabis Co.
Assumption Four: It’s LEGAL to grow cannabis where you live. If you set up a 1400 plant grow in Arkansas and end up in jail, don’t come crying to me.
Assumption Five: You’re ABSOLUTELY AMPED and CAN’T WAIT TO GET STARTED.
If you’re still on board, let’s go!
Your first steps should be choosing your space and buying your stuff.
Depending on the room you have, you can buy anything from a 24″ x 24″ x 36″ tent, to a giant 16 foot circus ring.
As I said, we are going to keep it manageable and focus on quality, not quantity – that comes later.
Our tent is going to be 4 x 4: an easy way to grow six cannabis plants.
Important! Make sure you have enough outlets to supply the tent. You might need to add an extra sub-panel to cope with the extra demand. If in doubt, ask a professional.
Here’s your shopping list. If it looks expensive, remember this: growing your own marijuana is an investment in YOURSELF.
You know that old saying: give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he can eat for a lifetime?
The same is true about growing weed.
But I would rather have weed every day than fish!
You’ve bought everything you need, now it’s time to put it all together.
My advice? Get a few friends around to help.
Depending on your friends, you might want to smoke AFTER you’ve finished.
Keep everything clean and nicely spaced.
Use the ratchet straps to hang your lights – you can adjust the height as your plants grow taller.
Tip: Ratchet straps are perfect for hanging other appliances and they make great drying lines!
My advice here is to buy the best LED lights you can afford.
Something like Photo-Bio MX would be perfect.
If you choose to go with traditional heaters or High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, you’ll need two bulbs.
Most modern lights are interchangeable, accepting both Metal Halides (MH) for vegging and High Pressure Sodiums (HPS) for flowering.
Depending on how well you can cool the tent (AC is an option) and your particular climate, you can use up to 1000 watts.
Modern HID’s are adjustable by both wattage AND voltage (110v-220v). If you decide to add more watts later you simply buy a different bulb.
You need the tent to stay below 85 degrees with the light on. Cooler is better, that’s the MAX.
You can always leave the tent open and use fans to direct cool air in and hot air out.
Hanging a thermometer by the plant tips will let you know if the lights are too close.
The temperature at the leaf tip should be 80 degrees or less.
Some growers change the light cycle to give the growing plants a rest, adjusting to either 18/6 or 20/4 (light/dark).
LEDs can be kept closer as they don’t give off nearly as much heat.
Tip: Don’t forget to use your timer. This little appliance will save more heartache and effort than pretty much anything else you will buy.
Mess up the light cycle and you could end up with hermaphrodites. Hermies lead to pollinated buds, full of seeds. Not cool!
You’re a beginner so here comes another assumption: you want a cannabis plant that’s low maintenance and easy to grow.
Many beginners choose autoflowering plants but we are growing photoperiods.
You’ll learn more and you’ll get a bigger yield with photos.
Still with me? Great!
I’m also assuming you’re growing recreationally, not medically, but these principles apply for high CBD cultivars, too.
Tip: Always buy a few more seeds than you need. If you want to grow 6 plants, buy a pack of 8. Be prepared.
Germinating your seeds is easy. I PROMISE!
What follows is Homegrown’s very own germination guide, pulled directly from the site.
This is how you germinate your seeds.
This is how you achieve SUCCESS.
This is how you get Homegrown Cannabis Co. to guarantee germination and replace ANY seed* that fails.
What you need: seeds, jug of purified or bottled water, plates, paper towels, tweezers.
1. Have everything you need in hand. Purified or bottled water, tweezers, paper towels, your seeds and a dinner plate.
2. Fold your paper towels and place one neatly onto your plate.
3. Add a little water to moisten the towel.
4. Take your seeds and place them neatly onto the towel, leaving an inch or so of space between each one.
5. Place the other paper towel over your seeds, adding enough water to keep everything moist.
6. Make sure there is no free standing water by lifting up the paper towel.
7. Put the plate in a warm dark place, a cupboard or a drawer will suffice.
8. Leave the seeds for 24 to 120 hours or until they have popped a taproot.
9. Once your seeds have a healthy taproot, they are ready for planting.
Tip: Want guaranteed success? Buy your cannabis seeds from Homegrown. Easy.
Once your seeds have popped a taproot, you need to plant them in soil.
Prepare 6 solo cups: pierce holes in the bottom and fill them with moistened soil, leaving about an inch from the top.
Make a little indent about ½” deep for the seed and gently place it in, taproot down, then cover loosely with soil.
Repeat for all six cups and create a terrarium with plastic wrap and elastic bands.
Pierce a few holes in the top and put them all under a light, preferably fluorescents or T5s. Anything but soft light at this point can exterminate young sprouts.
Standard house lights will do but make sure the seedlings are kept warm.
When the first leaves appear you can remove the plastic and watch them grow!
Tip: make sure the soil is watered BEFORE you add the seed; watering after can disturb the seed and flip it upside down.
Your plants will need a transplant within 7 to 10 days.
Beginners, you should transplant into an intermediate pot, rather than straight into the final pot.
This will help you practice the watering cycle (more on that later).
Take your 1 to 1.5 gallon pot and fill it with dry soil.
Make a hole big enough for the young plant (you’ll be transplanting EVERYTHING from the solo cup, inc soil).
Seat the plant in the hole.
Gently pack soil around so the young plant is seated without gaps in the soil.
You can now put your plants under the main LED or HID lights: 400, 600, 750 or 1000 watts and start your watering plan!
Tip: When preparing the pots, don’t pack the soil too firmly. Plus, always leave an inch or two from the top so you can water easily.
Good cannabis nutrients will always have a feeding guide. Follow it. The guide will tell you what to give your plants, I will tell you how to know when to water.
The best way to water your plants is to cycle wet to (almost) dry. Each time the moisture recedes, the roots will search and grow.
This builds a solid, healthy root ball. More root, more fruit!
Don’t forget that nutes can affect the pH of the soil.
Check your inputs and run-offs regularly. Input pH should be between 5.8 – 6.2 to maintain a runoff pH between 6.2 and 6.5
You can use off-the-shelf products to adjust the pH if necessary.
I’m not going to dive too deeply into my supercropping techniques, you can locate tutorials online. These simple tasks will improve plant health and boost your yield.
- Selective leaf pruning: remove the crowding shade leaves (anything below the first two layers) that point towards the inside of the plant.
- Branch pruning: remove lower branches that don’t receive much light. Usually the tips that don’t reach halfway up the plant. This diverts energy to the exposed bud sites and results in larger buds and colas.
- Node pruning: remove all but the top three nodes from each branch, an important step before flipping into flower. Again, reduces larfy, underdeveloped buds.
- Topping: snipping the tip of the main central branch will cause it to grow back with two tops. Lower, secondary branches receive more energy, causing the plant to grow more evenly and receive equal light throughout the cycle.
Topping multiple times is tricky, but can be used to create plants which are wider than they are tall.
Tip: Wait until your plant is growing vigorously before you use any of these techniques.
Switching the light cycle of your plants is a vital stage of the grow, and will go a long way to determine the overall yield. You can get the same yield from 1 x 5ft plant as you can from 5 x 1ft plants.
The plant will stretch to 2 to 3 times its (pre-flip) height so make sure you have room.
Flip too early: poor yield.
Flip too late: plants outgrow the tent.
When you’re ready to flower/flip, switch the light cycle to 12/12 and adjust the feeding/watering schedule accordingly.
Tip: always note the date you flipped your plants so you can correctly adjust the feeding schedule. It’s also a great way of knowing when to harvest.
At Homegrown, the flowering time of your cultivar can be found on the product page, giving you a good idea of when to harvest.
You should always judge ripeness and the exact day yourself.
One way of doing this is to mike the trikes using a magnifying loop.
Trichomes look like tiny mushrooms. They’re clear all the way through flower but grow cloudy towards harvest time.
When roughly 5 to 10% have turned amber, it’s time to harvest your plants.
Harvesting and drying is always an exciting time! Here’s what you gotta do:
- Remove all the large water leaves (leaves attached to the branches to main stem, not buds) from the plant. These can be removed 2 weeks before harvest.
- Flush the plants (refer to your feed chart). Fresh water only for 1 – 2 weeks before harvest.
- Stop using any foliar sprays for the final 2 weeks.
- Stop watering 1 – 2 days before harvest, without letting the plants completely dry.
- Prepare your drying space: dark, ventilated, cool (68 – 70°F), with only 50 – 60% humidity.
- Cut and dry the WHOLE plant: smaller pieces dry too quickly.
- When hung, let them lightly touch each other. They should dry for 7 – 10 days (2 weeks at most). Gentle air circulation is important.
Tip: never aim fans or humidifiers directly at the drying plants.
A good cure can be the difference between average weed and amazing weed.
Don’t settle for average. Throw the dice and aim HIGH!
First, let the plants dry to perfection.
Check them after 7 days and every day until you can answer all the following questions with a YES.
- Squeeze the dry buds: do they have a bit of spring left in them?
- Check the stems: do they make a snapping, cracking sound when you try to break them?
- Break off a bud: does it bring a little hempy bit of stem with it?
If it’s YES to all three, it shows there’s still a little moisture left in the plant, the perfect time to buck it, trim it and put it in jars.
BUT THERE’S ONE MORE STEP – YOU GOTTA SMOKE SOME.
Seriously, folks. Take some bud, roll it up into a joint and light it. If it stays lit, it’s a pretty good sign you can seal those buds up and let them cure.
If it needs re-lighting, allow the herb to dry out a little more before curing.
Thanks to this beginner’s guide, you can grow your own cannabis WITH CONFIDENCE.
All you have to do is follow my advice and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
This is just the tip of the Homegrown iceberg.
See you in the grow room!