How to Grow Cannabis at Home: a Start-up Guide (with pictures)
February 28, 2023
by Ma Raim
Growing cannabis at home has become an increasingly popular way to access high-quality, affordable cannabis. Whether you're a medical marijuana patient or simply someone who enjoys using cannabis recreationally, growing your own cannabis can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to obtain the products you need.
In this beginner's guide, we'll show you how to grow cannabis at home, from choosing the right strain to harvesting and drying your buds. By following these steps, you can produce high-quality cannabis that meets your needs and preferences.
Can you grow weed in Canada?
Yes, you can grow weed at home in Canada. Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2018, but the laws governing the cultivation of cannabis at home vary depending on the province or territory. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Under federal law, Canadians are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household for personal use.
Some provinces and territories, such as Quebec and Manitoba, have chosen to ban home cultivation altogether, while others have set additional restrictions or requirements.
Health Canada has set guidelines for safe and legal home cultivation, which include using good quality seeds, ensuring proper ventilation and lighting, and keeping plants out of reach of children and pets.
It's important to note that while growing cannabis at home can be legal, it's still subject to certain restrictions and regulations and should be done responsibly and with care.
Supplies Needed to Grow
Seeds or clones: You will need to acquire cannabis seeds or clones from a reputable source. Make sure to choose a strain that is suitable for your growing conditions and experience level.
Growing medium: There are several different types of growing mediums that can be used to grow cannabis, including soil, coco coir, and hydroponic setups. Choose a growing medium that suits your needs and preferences.
Containers: You will need containers to hold your plants as they grow. Make sure the containers have adequate drainage holes and are the right size for your plants.
Light source: Cannabis plants require a lot of light to grow properly. You can use natural sunlight or artificial grow lights to provide the light your plants need. You also might want to get a light timer, so you can regulate the amount of light your plants get automatically.
Nutrients: Cannabis plants require specific nutrients at different stages of their growth cycle. You can purchase nutrient solutions designed specifically for cannabis, or create your own nutrient mix.
Fans and ventilation: Proper air circulation and ventilation are essential for healthy plant growth and to prevent mold and mildew.
Grow tent: this will help regulate the growing environment’s humidity and temperature, as well as keep in light and smell.
*example of an indoor grow tent
These are just the basic supplies needed. While it may seem like a lot, these are really the bare minimum of supplies for growing at home. If you want to get more complex, you can set up a humidity monitor, temperature gauge, air filter, etcetera. However, in this beginner’s guide, we’re only gonna cover the basics. From here, you can get as complex or simple as you’d like.
Everything will take place inside your grow tent. Make sure to find a suitable location for your grow tent. It should be a space that's well-ventilated, has access to electricity, and can be easily temperature-controlled.
Assemble the tent frame: Begin by assembling the frame of the grow tent according to the manufacturer's instructions. This typically involves connecting poles and attaching the fabric covering.
Install ventilation and lighting: Once the frame is set up, install the fan and lighting systems.
Set up growing containers: Next, set up your growing containers inside the tent. The easiest substrate is soil, so if you’re a beginner, we would suggest this option. This article perfectly outlines the best soil for growing cannabis at home.
Planting the Seeds
The most important part of planting the seeds involves no soil. MAKE SURE TO CHOOSE GOOD SEEDS. Start by choosing high-quality cannabis seeds from a reputable source. Look for seeds that are the right strain for your growing conditions and experience level. This article outlines how to choose the right seeds.
Germinate the seeds: Before planting the seeds, it's important to germinate them. This can be done in several ways, such as placing the seeds in a wet paper towel or using a germination kit. Once the seeds have sprouted and have a visible taproot, they are ready to be planted. This article explains germination in depth.
Prepare the growing medium: Fill small pots or containers with your chosen soil mixture.
Plant the seeds: Make a small hole in the center of the growing medium, about half an inch deep. Place the seed in the hole with the taproot facing downwards, and cover it lightly with soil. Gently water the container.
Provide the right environment: Keep the containers in your grow tent. Your light and fan will provide heat, humidity and airflow. Cannabis seeds like a warm and moist environment when sprouting.
Water and feed: Water the containers regularly to keep the growing medium moist, but not waterlogged. Once the plants have established themselves, start feeding them with a nutrient solution designed for cannabis plants.
Monitor and adjust: As the plants grow, monitor them regularly to ensure they're receiving the right amount of light, water, and nutrients. Adjust the growing conditions as needed to optimize plant growth and yields.
*sprouted cannabis seeds
Stages of Growth
Cannabis plants have two phases of growth: the vegetative stage (not what it sounds like) and the flowering stage.
The vegetative stage is a crucial period in the life cycle of a cannabis plant. During the vegetative stage, the plant focuses on growing its roots, stems, and leaves in preparation for the flowering stage, where it will produce buds.
The flowering stage is a critical phase in the life cycle of a cannabis plant. This is the stage where the plant produces its buds.
Here are some key characteristics of the vegetative stage:
Growth: The plant experiences rapid growth during the vegetative stage. It produces new leaves and stems, and its root system develops and expands.
Light: The vegetative stage requires long periods of light to encourage plant growth. A standard light cycle for the vegetative stage is 18-24 hours of light per day, with 6-0 hours of darkness.
Nutrients: The plant needs a balanced diet of nutrients during the vegetative stage to support its growth. Nitrogen is especially important during this stage as it promotes the development of healthy leaves and stems.
Environment: The plant should be kept in a stable environment during the vegetative stage. This includes maintaining a consistent temperature, humidity, and airflow, as well as avoiding pest infestations and disease.
*Cannabis plant in the vegetative state - notice how there are no buds
The vegetative stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the strain and growing conditions. It's important to monitor the plant's growth and adjust the growing conditions as needed to promote healthy growth and prepare the plant for the flowering stage.
Here are some key characteristics of the flowering stage:
Growth: During the flowering stage, the plant shifts its focus from vegetative growth to producing buds. The plant will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than during the vegetative stage.
Light: The flowering stage requires a specific light cycle to encourage the plant to produce buds. This cycle typically involves 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day. This cycle should be maintained throughout the flowering stage until harvest.
Nutrients: The plant's nutrient needs change during the flowering stage. The plant will require less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium to support bud growth. A good quality bloom or flowering nutrient solution can help provide the right balance of nutrients.
Trichome development: Trichomes are small, resinous glands that develop on the buds during the flowering stage. These trichomes contain the plant's active compounds, including THC and CBD. As the buds mature, the trichomes will change in colour and texture, indicating that the buds are ready for harvest.
Environment: The plant should be kept in a stable environment during the flowering stage. This includes maintaining a consistent temperature, humidity, and airflow, as well as avoiding pest infestations and disease.
*Notice the beginning of the buds and the changing leaf colour
The flowering stage typically lasts anywhere from 6-12 weeks, depending on the strain and growing conditions. It's important to monitor the plant's growth and adjust the growing conditions as needed to promote healthy bud development and prepare the plant for harvest.
Harvesting the Cannabis
Now comes the part we’ve all been waiting for, but don't worry, there’s more work to be done.
Proper harvesting techniques can help ensure that the buds are potent, flavorful, and free of contaminants. Here are the general steps to follow when harvesting cannabis:
Timing: Harvesting cannabis at the right time is crucial to achieving the desired potency and flavour. The buds should be harvested when the trichomes are at their peak of development. This is indicated by the trichomes changing from clear to milky or amber in colour. The timing of the harvest will depend on the strain and growing conditions.
Preparation: Before harvesting, prepare a clean and sterile area to work in. Tools such as scissors, pruning shears, and gloves should be disinfected to prevent contamination. The plants should also be watered 24-48 hours before harvest to help flush out any residual nutrients.
Cutting: Use scissors or pruning shears to cut off the main colas of the plant, leaving a small amount of stem attached. Work in small sections and cut off the buds that are ripe for harvest. Be sure to handle the buds gently to prevent damaging them.
Drying: After harvesting, the buds should be dried in a cool, dark, and dry space. Hang the buds upside down on a drying line or rack. Avoid overcrowding the drying space, as this can lead to mold or mildew growth. Check the buds regularly to ensure they are drying evenly, and adjust the temperature and humidity as needed.
Trimming: Once the buds are dry, they need to be trimmed to remove excess leaves and stems. This can be done with scissors or specialized trimming tools. The buds should be handled gently to avoid damaging the trichomes.
Curing: Curing is the final step in the harvesting process. The buds should be placed in airtight containers, such as glass jars, and stored in a cool, dark place. Open the jars daily to allow air exchange and check for any signs of mold or mildew. The curing process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the desired flavour and potency. More on curing weed here.
Growing cannabis can be a time-consuming and delicate process, but following these steps can help ensure a high-quality and rewarding final product.
In summary, here are the essential steps:
Setup growing area: Construct your grow tent, installing the lights, fan etc.
Germinate seeds: Soak seeds in water until they sprout, then plant in soil.
Vegetative stage: Provide the plant with 18 hours of light per day, fertilize regularly, and water as needed.
Flowering stage: Provide the plant with 12 hours of light per day, fertilize with a bloom nutrient solution, and monitor for pests and disease.
Harvest: Cut off the mature buds, dry them, trim them, and cure them in airtight containers.
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