Indoor marijuana growing: There’s more than one way to go about it. Here’s a look at some of the options.
Once you have decided to grow your own marijuana, one of the first decisions to make is whether you to grow indoors or outdoors.
Preparing to grow indoors has its own set of unique challenges and benefits that you must be aware of if you want to end up with the best stash of marijuana.
This short guide article will discuss some of the basic information you should have in mind before setting up your indoor marijuana growing systems.
There are a lot of different reasons for growers to not cultivate their cannabis outdoors; from climate and weather, to legal reasons and a potentially decreased yield. Even if a grower is fortunate enough to have the law on his side, it’s always possible that someone will try to steal your precious plants. Easier than growing your own, right?
Throughout history, farmers have always had to worry about theft, and cannabis buds attract far more resourceful and focused predators than potatoes or carrots ever have.
Fortunately, growing your plants indoors offers protection against all of these hazards. No need to worry about thieves or weather or any sort of other predators. You control the environment.
Every facet of the plant’s growth can be carefully monitored and adjusted to create the perfect environment for your plants. There are several variations available for indoor growers. Hybrid systems can offer plants both natural and artificial nutrients and light. Greenhouses fall under this category, for example.
Hybrid systems can range drastically in their complexity, from the relatively high-upkeep of an artificially heated greenhouse to the simple placement of a couple pots in front of a window. The primary advantage to any of these hybrid systems is that they can use real sunlight.
Many growers swear that natural sunlight is the best source for plants, even if it’s being filtered through glass. This makes sense since most bulbs used for artificial light simply don’t offer the same spectrum as the sun.
Additionally, tall windows in a small apartment can actually be close to ideal. If the windows reach down to the floor, the plant itself can be placed on the ground.
This is better than raising it up since it will be able to absorb additional carbon dioxide, which sinks down to the ground after being exhaled by humans. Read more about marijuana grow rooms
While growing in front of a window is the simplest route, it’s not always an option for growers. Not every living space is equipped with tall windows, and even those that aren’t always a good choice.
In many parts of the world, it’s undesirable to put the cannabis plant on display. To receive light from outside, a grower has to make it possible for strangers to look in and see the plant itself.
In addition to the total control offered by closed systems, growers can also benefit from the privacy. Although it can be a bit more work, it allows to the grower to maximize the potential yield of the plant by optimizing the environment.
For these reasons, many growers prefer to use fully enclosed systems. This is especially true for larger scale or professional operations since it has the potential to be so efficient and offer higher yields.
Closed systems also allow growers to actually mutate their plants to achieve specific effects. The potency of cannabis grown indoors can be truly exceptional; with much higher ratios of the cannabinoids and other active ingredients so prized by growers and consumers.
The fully enclosed systems allow growers to saturate plants with optimum nutrients; but it also allows growing seasons to extend indefinitely. The length and cycles of daylight can be radically altered, essentially “hacking” plants so that enormous yields can be achieved. Read the article How To Build A Marijuana Grow Room
Grow room procedure
Set up properly, an indoor grow room offers everything a grower needs to successfully raise a plant from seed to sprout and beyond.
Soil, fertilizer, and water are all added at regular intervals. Following instructions on how to care for plants inside will allow growers to get great yields.
Generally, plants should receive light in regular cycles of light and darkness. Twenty hours of light exposure followed by four hours of darkness is a good rule for growers to follow; temperature in the environment should be kept at around 70 degrees.
Once the plants have reached the desired size, the light cycle can be adjusted to alternating cycles of twelve hours light to twelve hours of darkness. The increased darkness will cause cannabis to flower, tricking the plants into thinking that the seasons are changing.
Regardless of the type of system used, it’s important to remember that the genetics of the seeds used will figure prominently in the quality of the end product. Bad genes can’t grow top quality cannabis, even if conditions
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Growing marijuana can seem like a daunting task for those who don’t have experience.
The truth is; however, it can be done by just about anyone. As long as a little time and effort are put into understanding how to do it, growing marijuana is pretty easy! Let’s take a beginner’s look at how to grow marijuana.
Overview of how to grow marijuana
Before you do anything at all, you need to take a few steps in terms of research and decision making. This will make a world of difference when you start growing marijuana. Whether it’s the location of where you grow your marijuana, the kind of lights you use, the type of growing environment you should set up, or the type nutrients you should feed your plants, it’s crucial to make some big decisions before you spend any money at all.
Where should I grow marijuana?
This is the biggest and simultaneously the simplest choice you need to make right away: should you grow marijuana indoors or outdoors? There are pros and cons to each, of course, but in the end, it comes down to what makes the most sense for your lifestyle and personal preferences as a whole.
Growing indoors Growing marijuana indoors can have a lot of advantages. For one thing, it’s more private, so it isn’t out in the open for anyone to stumble upon. It’s not as expensive to set up as you might expect, and you can (and have to) control every aspect of the environment your plants are living in. If you are the type to live and let live rather than thriving in the ability to control every detail, growing indoors may not be for you.
Growing outdoors If you are specifically looking to save money, growing outdoors might be a better option. You won’t need to purchase things such as lights (since the sun is all the light your plants will need), fans, containers for your plants or the medium they are growing in. That being said, some more unexpected surprises can come up when you’re growing marijuana outdoors. Whether it’s pests such as wildlife, insects, or other animals (including unwanted human visitors), privacy and security, or pollination from male plants elsewhere, growing outdoors can lead to plenty of hurdles.
What kind of grow light should I use?
You should use a grow light that makes the most sense for your particular indoor setup. Although buying a grow light is specifically for indoor settings, it’s still equally important to think about the sun and the amount of sun exposure to your plants if they are growing outdoors. They need a minimum of eight hours of direct sunlight per day to grow the best and fastest. In general, more light leads to more (and bigger) buds at the end.
For indoor growers, you will need to choose a specific type of light. Growers use CFLs, LEDs, MH lamps, HPS lights, and more. CFLs are most commonly used by beginners since they are so inexpensive. If this is your first time, it might be a good choice. LED lights are higher in power and higher in cost (significantly) but they require less electricity than MH or CPS. The latter cost less than LED upon purchase and highly powerful but require quite some more electricity. If you have a small grow setup, however, CFLs are likely the simplest choice for you. If you feel like splurging on the very best, go for a smaller MH/HPS grow light instead.
What kind of grow medium should I use?
The type of growing medium you choose for your marijuana plants will determine exactly how you will need to care for them. There are a lot of options besides simple soil, so it’s important to do your homework and find out the pros and cons of each before choosing one.
Most beginner growers start with soil anyway, since it is the easiest option out there for the inexperienced among us. If you want to try something besides soil, you can choose between perlite, coco coir, vermiculite, and more. These are considered soilless mixes, which are a type of hydroponic growing, technically speaking. Hydroponics involves growing your marijuana plants directly in water, which can be a complicated system but a highly fruitful and rewarding one — it is said that the highest yields are achieved in hydroponics systems.
Of course, you can also go the organic growing route: composting your own soil. It takes more work but leads to great taste and yield results, plus it makes for a very wise choice for the environmentally minded.
What type of nutrients should I feed my plants?
Unless you are using a type of soil that already includes a certain amount of nutrients, you are going to need to purchase nutrients in some form to feed to your plants. Marijuana plants need different ratios of nutrients depending on what phase of growth they are in. The main types of nutrients you need to worry about are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
The type of nutrient “food” you purchase also depends on the growing medium you decided to use. Hydroponics systems will need nutrients mixtures made specifically for hydroponic setups, for example. This will help to maximize the growth of your marijuana plants, and will avoid causing your plants “nutrient burn.”
An equally important aspect of nutrients and marijuana plants is the pH level of the soil (or other growing medium) at your plants’ roots. Even the water you feed your marijuana plants needs to be pH balanced, and you should test your pH periodically and especially if your plants start exhibiting any strange symptoms. When the pH level is too acidic or alkaline, you can balance it out with a variety of methods, such as adding certain ingredients to the soil. PH imbalances can lead to plant health issues. Find more on pH levels in soil and when growing hydroponically.
Which strain of marijuana should I choose?
Now you have finally gotten to the fun part: choosing and buying the marijuana seeds to get your grow setup started.
When buying seeds, the key is to purchase them from a trusted vendor. Many Americans can buy seeds online (after checking out reviews and doing their homework as to which seeds grow best in their home climate) from vendors who ship from outside the United States. Believe it or not, no one in the United States has gone to jail just for ordering marijuana seeds from outside the US. Although shipments are always made discreetly, this can help you proceed with confidence.
Choosing a strain is a completely different issue — you will need to choose one that is easy for beginners to grow but also thrives in your climate. Check out the list of beginner strains below for more information.
How do I germinate marijuana seeds?
Assuming you bought seeds instead of clones, you are first going to need to germinate them. Do this by purchasing a starter cube and make sure it stays moist (not wet) and warm (not hot). Keep it this way, and you will see the beginnings of a young marijuana plant popping up after just a few days or up to a week.
If you don’t have a starter cube we recommend putting them in a glass of water for a few days, until they grow a little tail. This can take more than 24 hours in some cases. Make sure the temperature of the water is at 68 degrees and the PH should be around 6. When the tail is out, you can plant them.
Some people prefer to use a paper towel method instead, which involves putting seeds into a moist paper towel and within two plates to keep the moisture inside. This should take a few days to a week as well.
How do I grow marijuana plants during the vegetative stage?
The vegetative stage is when your marijuana plants are going to grow rapidly and turn into the “typical” marijuana plant that everyone recognizes. The goal of the grower is generally to get their marijuana plants to grow as fast and vigorous as possible while keeping them healthy and bushy, so they have a successful and productive flowering phase later.
An ideal temperature helps keep your plants growing strong — somewhere between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick. When you’re feeding your plants nutrients, be sure to feed them only half the recommended amount until the plants are growing extremely fast, and the only use three-quarters strength. During the vegetative phase, you won’t know if your plants will be male or female yet — which means you should ensure they are all growing quickly and efficiently. Keep the direct light on them for between 18 and 24 hours a day, or between 10 AM and 4 PM (minimum) if you are growing outdoors.
How do I grow marijuana plants during the flowering phase?
The flowering phase is the big, important stage for marijuana growers because it’s when the buds finally start forming. This means that the end is near (or so it seems), and you can soon see how successful your growing season was. If you are growing indoors, you will need to change the lighting schedule to 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Keep this consistent so your plants can transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering phase — and make certain that the “nighttime” part of the schedule includes completely uninterrupted darkness. If your plants are growing outdoors, they will transition naturally.
Before this point that you are going to want to remove the male plants from the bunch, or else they will pollinate the females (leading to seed production rather than bud growth). Male plants can be identified by their pollen sacs and the absence of white hairs (which will appear on maturing female plants). As soon as you can tell it’s a male plant, dispose of the plant immediately.
Lower the temperature to between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a more productive flowering phase. Be sure to monitor your plants closely, since they could experience nutrient deficiencies since they are using nutrients differently now.
How do I harvest the marijuana?
Once the buds on your marijuana plants are no longer growing white, new hairs, and at least two-thirds of the hairs have gotten darker, then harvest time is upon you. If you want to ensure that the amount of THC is maximized, you should wait until half to 70% of the hairs have darkened. If you want marijuana that leads to a highly relaxing high, wait until most (80%-90%) of the hairs have darkened.
The actual act of harvesting is incredibly easy. Just take scissors to cut off the plant’s flower matter, and dispose of the rest of the plant. It’s that easy!
Once you have removed the marijuana plants’ buds, the next steps are critical. You will need to dry them out properly, without attracting any mold. This can be pretty tricky, so tread carefully. Hang the plant product upside down in a place that is dark and cool and has good ventilation of some sort. Don’t let them dry too quickly.
Once they have dried out enough, you should cure them by placing the product into mason jars that close tightly. Fill them up 75% of the way, and leave in a dark, cool place. Open the jars once per day for a few seconds so the moisture can be released, and some fresh air can get in. If they seem moister than they should be, you can leave off the top for longer to avoid the development of mold. Cure the marijuana product for two weeks straight, and then start opening the jars just once per week.
Many people prefer to cure their marijuana for a minimum of 30 days, but of course, it all depends on the preference of the grower. A minimum of two weeks is a good rule of thumb in any case. More info can be found here.
Easy beginner strains
When choosing a strain to grow for your new marijuana garden, it’s important to choose one that makes sense for you — both as a beginner and as someone in your specific situation. You need to decide whether timing, ease of growth, yield, or potency is the most important aspect for your strain of marijuana. Let’s look at some of the best strains for each option.
Fastest harvest time
The quickest marijuana strains are usually an autoflowering strain of marijuana. These plants are consistently available to harvest between two and three months after germination. You don’t have to change up the lighting with autoflowering plants, and they are most often high in CBD. Strains with higher CBD are more relaxing, making them an effective medical marijuana choice.
Keep in mind that autoflowering plants require lots of attention since the timing is so short, every moment counts. Make sure your autoflowering plant comes from a high-quality breeder.
Our fastest flowering autoflower is the Super Skunk. But with just a week longer grow time you will be a happy grower with Blueberry, Amnesia Haze, White Widow or any of our other autoflowering seeds.
Easiest to grow
For many beginners, the easiest strain to grow is the most important aspect of choosing a strain. Everything else comes in second in terms of importance. This works well for those without a lot of extra time on their hands. These should be photoperiod strains (not autoflowering), as it leaves more room for bouncing back in case any mistakes are made.
Northern Lights is a favorite among beginners since they don’t smell very much, making it more stealthy than other strains. They don’t grow too tall, making them even stealthier. They also have a high yield.
Some other easy to grow strains include Blue Dream, AK-47, White Widow, Green Crack and Girl Scout Cookies Extreme.
If you want a strain that is the easiest to get a high yield without extra, creative effort, one of the following marijuana strains is going to be the best choice.
First, let’s look at Robert’s very own Gold Leaf. Its buds are gigantic and heavy, and it makes for a very strong Hybrid plant and product. It can actually get to 16 ounces or more of bud on 3 square feet if grown correctly,
Northern Lights, Sour Diesel, Amnesia Haze and Super Silver Haze are among our high yielding seeds as well. Be sure to check them out!
There are certain mistakes that beginners seem to make time and time again. To prevent you from making the same mistakes that countless others already have, let’s look at some of them.
Ignoring pH levels
When growing marijuana, you should always keep an eye on pH levels. This needs to be measured down near the roots of your plants since that is where they will be affected. Plants that have an unbalanced pH level will not take in nutrients as efficiently as possible. You should maintain pH the way you maintain other aspects of your grow room, including temperature and humidity.
Whether it’s not doing the proper amount of research ahead of time or it’s not setting up your grow plot well enough in advance, you should never just “wing it” when it comes to growing marijuana. If you do that, all you are going to end up with is time and money wasted.
Make sure you have at least three months before harvest time — because of the changing of light that comes with the seasons, this is paramount to think about. If you are growing indoors, of course, then the timing doesn’t matter as much — but you still need to have at least three months at your disposal, no matter the timing.
Overdoing the nutrients
One common mistake people make is feeding their marijuana plants way too many nutrients. Although nutrients are indeed essential for your plant to perform its normal functions, more nutrients do not equate to faster growing.
In fact, if you overfeed your marijuana plants nutrients they could experience nutrient burn. This can lead to health issues that would have been avoided if you had underfed them instead. Try starting out with half the recommended dosage of nutrients; then you can always increase from there (in small increments).
Along with overdosing your plants on nutrients, overwatering your plants can lead to a number of issues as well. This is most common with beginners because they want to make sure their plants always have enough water; but in the end, soil that is constantly wet is more prone to things like mold and mildew, or even drowning the plant (depriving its roots of enough oxygen).
It is easier to make up for underwatering than overwatering; make sure that an inch or so of the soil is dry before you water again.
Skimping on costs
There are a certain amount of costs that can be saved safely when growing marijuana plants; but that does not mean that you should skimp on prices everywhere. For example, buying cheap seeds is not a good way to save money — in fact, it’s a good way to waste money.
Growing outdoors, however, can be an effective way to cut costs; or else to opt for a soil grow setup rather than a hydroponics one. Buying certain things secondhand can also help reduce costs without lowering the quality of your setup.
If you are thinking about growing marijuana yourself, you are likely unsure or indecisive about how to begin. The first step, of course, is deciding what kind of setup you prefer. Are you going to grow outdoors or indoors? Will you grow just one plant or many? What strain should you buy, and what equipment do you need? We will cover all this and more below.
When people are first looking at growing their own marijuana plant for the first time, they generally end up reading articles and guides about how to set up a big, successful operation. While success is certainly something you should be looking for, the fact is, that growing marijuana for only yourself does not need to be a huge endeavor. Why not start out with just one plant.
Because the popularity of growing marijuana is growing, in general, the amount of interest in using a greenhouse to grow marijuana is growing as well. There are plenty of advantages to growing marijuana in a greenhouse instead of a grow room, although it comes with its own fair share of drawbacks as well, of course. In this article, we will cover some background information on greenhouses as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using a greenhouse to grow your marijuana.
Why you should consider growing in a greenhouse
The beauty of using a greenhouse to grow your marijuana plants includes the removal of the tricky complexities of an indoor grow room setup. It is also considered by many to be superior to growing outdoors, as it is more secure yet also more consistent and predictable than growing marijuana plants outdoors. It takes the best parts of the natural elements and combines it with protection against the worst parts of the elements, making it the perfect situation especially for growers that are located in northern areas.
Although they heat themselves naturally to a certain extent, greenhouses can be heated further when necessary. If you are interested in having a marijuana growing operation to supply your recreational and/or medical marijuana needs, and a greenhouse is a feasible option for you, then you should definitely consider using it.
Marijuana that is grown in a greenhouse is particularly well-known for being more potent, so as long as you grow your marijuana from seed with strong genetics, you will find yourself with a very high-quality bud at the end of the growing season. This is precisely why more and more people are switching to greenhouse growing setups instead of indoor grow rooms or outdoor setups.
Outdoor or greenhouse? It is sometimes difficult for growers to decide whether they would like to grow their marijuana plants in an outdoor setup or from within a greenhouse. This is especially the case for people who have been growing their plants outdoors with a relatively “hands off” kind of care schedule. In other words, they let nature do its thing, and their marijuana plants generally are successful without too much grower interaction.
For these growers, buying and using a greenhouse may seem like a major commitment. Why do that when you could simply let the plants practically grow themselves? When considering this question, try and think about all the negatives that come with growing outdoors. Unexpected weather changes, exposure to pests and diseases, and the even more dangerous — human marijuana thieves — could all ruin your crop any year. Wouldn’t you like to ensure that your marijuana plants are successful this year?
When growing marijuana in a greenhouse, you are more likely to encounter pests like small insects rather than deer, rabbits, pets, and birds. This will already ensure the safety of your plants far more than if they were exposed outdoors.
A greenhouse is also safer, using the “hiding in plain sight” logic. You can easily have a thriving garden of other plants while intermixing marijuana plants in with them — no one will suspect or see a thing. If you are living in a more rural area, you could even get by with growing more than just a couple marijuana plants here and there among your “regular” plants. The key thing to think about in this situation is the smell, which will be stronger.
Greenhouse growing 101
Marijuana grown in a greenhouse can be set up in one of two ways. Either you will grow the plants in separate containers or pots, or you will plant them straight in the ground. There are pros and cons for both options, but ultimately it comes down to what fits best into your lifestyle.
If you choose the container route, you will enjoy the fact that it makes it easier to move the growing plants whenever necessary. This is particularly handy if you are frequently visited by people (who you likely shouldn’t share your growing operation with), as you can simply move the plants elsewhere so as not to attract attention. Another reason to move your container-grown plants might include extreme weather coming in.
If you decide to plant your marijuana directly into the ground, on the other hand, they will fare much better when they are left alone for a longer period of time (such as a week). Of course, this is only if the soil they are planted in is high quality; if not, replace the old, poor quality soil with better quality soil. A third option does exist for some particularly innovative greenhouse growers: hydroponics. People who have tried it in a greenhouse have had big success, making it a potentially good idea if it suits your lifestyle and experience.
No matter what you do with the following information, the most important piece of advice is this: buy high-quality marijuana seeds. It is worth the extra money to rest assured you are setting yourself up for a successful growing season. If you buy cheap, poor quality seeds instead, then you simply cannot achieve the same level of success, no matter how much effort and time you put into caring for your plants.
Additionally, be sure to plant these high-quality seeds in high-quality soil. This will give your plants the perfect boost at the very beginning of their lives to build a foundation for healthy growth up through the flowering phase. If you don’t have these two elements, your plant will never reach the monster size that greenhouse plants are well-known for.
The key is to think about each individual seed as an individual investment. Just a few seeds could actually feed your marijuana needs for an entire year if grown properly. When thinking about it like that, it provides the proper motivation to prioritize the needs and care of each seed as much as possible.
One of the best things about really intricate greenhouse growing setups is the fact that it can be highly automated. In other words, it can be much easier for the grower because they don’t need to do as much day-to-day care for their plants. One such automated system is a watering system that delivers water to the plants automatically, or with little effort on the grower’s part.
You may want to consider installing some automated systems of your own if you are the type of person who enjoys planning such things ahead of time, if you have a high enough budget for it, and if you don’t enjoy the daily tasks of marijuana plant care as much as the setting up process.
Security One good way to keep your marijuana plants safe from detection if the greenhouse is not located in an inconspicuous or private location is to paint the exterior with white shading paint. You can find this at a garden center, and it serves the dual purpose of preventing the greenhouse from getting far too hot on the warmest days during the summer. When you have a painted greenhouse, people will not be able to peer inside and identify what you are growing.
An additional idea for people who just want to grow one or a couple marijuana plants is to actually grow tomato plants and use green plastic plant mesh so that they can have a secret one or two marijuana plants growing in the corner or amongst the tomato plants.
Start growing earlier in the season To truly take advantage of growing your marijuana plants inside a greenhouse, try starting the growing season early this year. This is possible because greenhouses will get much warmer than the outside temperature once the sun comes out.
When you start the growing season earlier, you have more time for the vegetation phase of your marijuana plants. When you have more time for the vegetation phase, your marijuana plants will be bigger and stronger for the flowering phase. As a result, your harvest at the end will be much better.
The key to doing this successfully is not to allow the greenhouse to get too cold at night during the early part of the season. You can do this by installing greenhouse heaters, found at your local garden center, to be run during cold nights.
This ability to lengthen the growing season for marijuana plants is one big reason why and an increasing number of marijuana growers are opting to grow their plants in a greenhouse instead of an indoor or outdoor setup. These plants have the opportunity to grow far greater in size than their outdoor counterparts, assuming the seed genetics, soil, and other care aspects are sound.
Believe it or not, some growers have even opted to grow just one big plant in their greenhouse setup — and that plant gave them hundreds of grams of high-quality buds at the end of it. If the plant starts getting too out of control, it could actually start growing out through any open windows that might be in your greenhouse, and therefore steps need to be taken to “tame” the plant. This is best done via tying techniques.
It is a good problem to have, but growing gigantic marijuana plants is not necessarily an easy thing to deal with. Properly grown, fully maximized marijuana plants cultivated in a greenhouse will be tall and extremely bushy. This is particularly true if you have been giving your plants huge amount of space in the soil for their roots, good quality soil to begin with, land lots of sun. Make sure you are prepared for the “worst.”
Using a darkening system Many greenhouse growers will opt to use what is known as a “darkening” system which, when set up correctly, should be dark enough that there is a complete blackout within the greenhouse — even during the middle of a sunny afternoon. The point of installing a darkening system is to simulate shorter days and longer uninterrupted nights, thus spurring your marijuana plants into an early flowering phase.
This is an expensive addition, but it will certainly ensure that you acquire your weed much faster than if you waited for the natural sunlight conditions to change over the course of the season. The way to “trick” your plants into entering the flowering season early is to have 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness and 12 hours of sunlight every day without fail. The darkness is the most important part of this process — you must not allow any light in at any point, even for an instant. After a couple weeks of this, you should start seeing signs of flowering.
Extending the end of the growing season A greenhouse can also be the perfect environment for manipulating the length of the end of your marijuana plants’ growing season. Many growers choose to use this to their advantage and lengthen the end of the growing season. The main reason why a greenhouse is beneficial in this way is that it keeps the air around the plants (in other words, the air inside the greenhouse) toasty warm when it is sunny while the colder temperatures of the fall are creeping in.
General good care for long term success If you are just looking to do your best by your marijuana plants, you are going to need to remember a few pieces of advice that will lead to happier and healthier marijuana plants year after year. First of all, make sure to add new, healthy, high-quality soil every new year of growing. Buying it once and reusing it over and over simply will not do.
Just like if you were growing in an indoor setup, make sure you keep your greenhouse as tidy as possible at all times. This will help keep things like pests and diseases at bay in case they do come in contact with your marijuana plants.
For the safety and security of both you and your plants, you could try using fencing that has been placed in strategic locations (keeping it as inconspicuous as possible) to keep people who shouldn’t be there away from your greenhouse. It will additionally help anyone discovering it accidentally simply by looking at or into your greenhouse, and that means better security for you.
If you are buying the greenhouse now, you can make a strategic decision about which type of greenhouse to purchase. Some of the newer polycarbonate greenhouses, for instance, are already opaque and often come with doors that have locks on them. This will keep both people and eyes away from your precious marijuana plants. You can buy any size or shape of greenhouse you like, and you will luckily find that they are relatively inexpensive.
If you are growing more than one or two marijuana plants, you are going to need to deal with the potent smell. It will be stronger with many marijuana plants packed into a greenhouse, and unlike an indoor marijuana setup, you cannot simply use a carbon filter to get rid of the smell because the humidity will be so much higher here. If it is really a problem, the only way to get rid of the small will be to extract it via an in-line ozone generator.
If you have decided on a greenhouse but aren’t sure where to go from there, rest assured that the next step is simple. You simply need to choose the type that you would like to invest in.
Is cheaper better? The short answer is no. When it comes to greenhouses, cheaper is not better. If you pay very little for a greenhouse that is inexpensive, flimsy, and portable, you will not have the best results you could. If the wind picks up, the greenhouse could actually fly away. If the heat on a summer afternoon is too much, it will absolutely roast your marijuana plants. Don’t try cutting costs in this way.
Attached greenhouses The most common type of attached greenhouses are lean-to greenhouses. Just like their name implies, lean-to greenhouses are greenhouses that lean up against the outside of your house or another building. These greenhouses are particularly efficient because they get any of the heat that leaks through the wall of your house, keeping your plants even warmer without any extra effort, and they are half the size of a normal greenhouse.
Lean-to greenhouses could be perfect for someone who does not have the lawn space for a full-sized free-standing greenhouse, or if you only want to grow a couple plants. They also have lower materials costs because one wall of the greenhouse already exists. One downfall with attached greenhouses is that they are limited in their position to where the wall of the structure is that they will be leaned up against.
Freestanding greenhouses Greenhouses that stand on their own generally come in the shape of an apex (such as a house). Their frames are often made of wood or aluminum, which brings up an important point: remember that the sun cannot shine through wood or aluminum, and therefore shade will be created. If the frame is particularly thick, there will be more shade in your greenhouse. More shade means less sunlight for many of your plants, so avoid really thick frames if you buy a free standing greenhouse.
Freestanding greenhouses, also known as detached greenhouses, have the major advantage of being able to be placed just about anywhere. They are not limited by a permanent structure like attached greenhouses are, meaning you can position them for optimal conditions. You will often hear free standing greenhouses referred to as A-frames or even-spans, given the fact that those designs are most often found on the market.
Connected greenhouses A connected greenhouse is one that includes multiple greenhouses that have been attached to each other. They work well for commercial operations so that one large space can be formed for many plants to grow. It maintains one controlled climate for temperature and other environmental elements, making the operation and energy and cost-efficient as possible.
Polytunnels Most commonly found in commercial farming, polytunnels can also be bought in a smaller size more suitable for domestic uses. Their frame is curved and made of aluminum, with a stretch of a polythene sheet draped over it so it is a solid form. This is one way of cutting the short-term costs of your greenhouse marijuana growing operation, as polytunnels are generally cheaper than other types of greenhouses. That being said, you will need to replace the polythene sheet once every three to five years.
Cold frames Serving as one of the smaller and more temporary counterparts to the other types of greenhouses, cold frames are climate-controlled and inexpensive, often made at home by the grower. It is formed by using a cheap plastic or wooden structure that is then covered with clear plastic or glass. If using glass, it should be thin plate glass; plastic should be thick so it doesn’t tear and can maintain the climate control. Cold frames are heated only by the sun — which makes them a worse choice for locations with unreliable or extreme weather.
Hotbeds If you add a heating system to a cold frame, it is now called a hotbed. Hotbeds, like cold frames, can be whatever size the grower wants them to be. Either it could be a large box that fits just one plant, or it could be a large structure that is big enough for the grower to walk and move around in. If you are looking to have a large, climate-controlled structure, however, it is often better to choose one of the above, more permanent and reliable options instead.
Sizing The second thing you need to think about is what size greenhouse you would like to go for. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb to remember is always to get a size of a greenhouse that is one size larger than the one you originally wanted to purchase. It will help you have a little extra space to maneuver in, and it can be used to store equipment and other growing supplies if you have enough extra space.
Diffused or clear coverings or panels Another aspect to consider when purchasing your greenhouse is whether to get one with diffused or semi-diffused coverings or panels or if you should opt for clear panels instead. It is usually a good idea to choose diffused or at least semi-diffused, despite what you might think is common sense.
Clear paneling allows more direct sunlight to hit your plants, a fact that is of particular importance in their earliest and most vulnerable stages of life. However, it will also keep your greenhouse a bit warmer than diffused paneling. Still, it is better to choose diffused or semi-diffused. This is because light that is being diffused is less likely to be competed for amongst the plants when they are older, and will keep any hot spots from starting to develop within your greenhouse. It will help even out the light that is hitting your plants, thus encouraging even growth, and will help your yield have a higher average yield.
Don’t forget: ventilation in the greenhouse One of the toughest aspects of greenhouse marijuana growing is keeping the temperature at a steady and healthy level. This is especially true for those who have never done any type of greenhouse growing before, as the temperature is completely different from an indoor marijuana grow setup or an outdoor grow area.
The key is to keep your greenhouse warm when the weather is cool, and cooler when the weather is too warm. When you are deciding on a greenhouse, you should, therefore, think long and hard about ventilation. Essentially there need to be vents in the glazing if you want to keep a healthy growing environment for your marijuana plants.
Measure the vents and take the combined area of all of them. If this is not equal or greater than one-fifth of the area of the greenhouse floor, you are going to need to get more vents. It is very important to maintain the entering and extraction of air in your greenhouse, or else your plants will be absolutely overheated during the hot days. An ideal greenhouse would include vents at the top (for air to leave the greenhouse) as well as at the bottom of the structure (for air to enter the greenhouse from outside).
You can have manually operated vents as well as automatic vent openers, the latter of which will provide you with a better growing experience. It is a relatively simple device with wax inside of it that expands in the heat and shrinks in the cold. This causes the vent to open and close according to the appropriate temperatures. It will let you rest assured that your greenhouse will remain the proper temperature, even without you running back and forth to open and close all the vents.
Exhaust fans are also a possibility for certain types of greenhouses, allowing for an added layer of heat defense.
There are plenty of environmental aspects you should consider when deciding where to place your greenhouse. In an optimum environment, your greenhouse will sit in a place that allows your plants to be hit with between five and seven hours of direct sunlight every day. This is best achieved by facing the greenhouse southwards. Generally speaking, more direct sunlight equals a higher yield, so think about this part carefully.
Additionally, direct sunlight as early as possible in the morning has an added benefit: it helps prevent mold from developing. In the morning, dew can easily get trapped in your marijuana plants’ buds, causing a buildup and then the formation of mold over the course of several days or weeks. If you have direct sunlight early in the morning, however, it will help keep these moisture levels down to a minimum — but of course, this needs to be combined with proper greenhouse ventilation.
Now, the actual growing part of the greenhouse marijuana setup. You will need to choose an appropriate strain, (depending on your location and climate), gather your top quality soil, and your setup is complete.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, your seeds will need to be sown in April. This allows them to be moved to your greenhouse by the middle of May. Begin growing them indoors with a propagation light, and move them outside for several hours per day to help get them used to direct sunlight. This works similarly to a person tanning in preparation for a sunny vacation, or a mountaineer doing small, high-altitude hikes in preparation for climbing a mountain with minimal negative impact.
You can expect your plants to be in their vegetation stage throughout May and June, and will start entering the flowering phase after the longest day of the year has passed. This is because the sunlight will decrease every day, and when the plant “notices” this it begins to flower in an attempt to fertilize and produce seeds.
You can expect your marijuana plants to flower for eight or twelve weeks (unless you have applied a method of lengthening or shortening one of the lifecycle phases). In other words, the harvest time will roll around between the end of September or beginning of October and the beginning of November.
Accounting for the weather If you have a climate similar to England (less sunlight, more rain), then you may want to look into buying autoflowering marijuana seeds rather than regular photoperiod ones. In case you are not already familiar with autoflowering plants, they are the type that begin flowering after a certain amount of time has passed rather than once the light conditions change in a certain way.
Autoflowering marijuana plants for climates like these are particularly useful when grown in a greenhouse. Simply choose a time when the weather is warm enough, grow them for 60 or 90 days (depending on the variety you purchased), and rest assured that they will flower properly. That being said, you can expect smaller plants. But of course, with a tricky climate like that, you couldn’t expect monster buds in the end anyway.
An additional benefit of growing autoflowering marijuana plants in a greenhouse is that, due to their shorter life cycle, you could actually get in more than one harvest during a growing season. If timed correctly, you could harvest once mid-summer and once a the normal harvest season — or perhaps you are particularly ambitious and want to try for three harvests. In this way, your greater number of harvests can make up for the smaller plants and yield.
Adding extra lighting Greenhouse lighting is considered any kind of lighting that comes from a source other than the sun. Generally speaking, this lighting is going to look similar to an indoor grow room setup. Your greenhouse may or may not need supplemental lighting, so it is important to understand the potential reasons for installing it.
First of all, extra lighting can prove useful if you need to have a longer period of sunlight for certain plants (i.e. seedlings or clones), or to keep a group of plants from flowering quite yet when the natural sunlight has gone down to a short enough time that it would naturally flower otherwise. If you are adding extra lighting due to the former, you will also need to be able to create a partition between the plants you want to give the extra light to and the plants that are continuing with the natural sunlight growth.
Another reason to add extra lighting is if you are growing marijuana plants during the off-season when the natural light (such as the short winter sunlight) will not be adequate to complete a growing cycle. The more growing cycles you can get out of a year and a greenhouse, the more harvests you will get. And that, of course, means that your pricey investments (including the cost of the extra lights, not to mention the greenhouse itself) will pay off in a shorter amount of time.
If you want to add lighting to your greenhouse setup, you should try hanging HID lights over your marijuana plants. When the sunlight has dropped below 10 hours per day, begin using the HID lights so that your marijuana plants can get their 12 total hours of light per day.
Because you are growing in a greenhouse, you are doing the more economical and efficient method of growing during the winter. This is because you are utilizing whatever sun does exist in the winter, and that means keeping your lights powered down for longer amounts of time every day. The less you use your lamps, the lower your energy costs (and bulb replacement costs) are going to be. Using that logic, it’s hard to understand why more people aren’t growing marijuana in greenhouses throughout the winter.
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The best way to ensure year-round satisfaction is to make sure you’ve protected your cannabis crop. The techniques for storage are simple but vital for combating mold, mildew, and general spoilage. If a grower’s crop is anywhere near successful, the harvest will be too large to stash in a cupboard or dresser drawer, and you’ll be stuck with the happy task of preparing at least a year’s supply of smoke for long-term storage.
Besides the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the cannabis you’re putting into your body hasn’t been sprayed with insecticide or herbicide, the reason for growing personal—use marijuana is to ensure yourself of a good supply of the kind bud until next harvest. That means putting a year’s worth of cannabis into storage, where seeds will not be damaged by freezing, buds will neither mold or grow stale (a number of experts claim that stored marijuana will actually increase in potency for the first several months—I can’t say that I’ve ever noted an increase in the stoning, but aged weed does seem to be a smoother smoke).
Marijuana has an undeniably, strong, unique smell that anyone can recognize. How many times have you been out and suddenly you were hit with it? I am pretty sure you were 100% aware of what it was you were smelling.
This odor is appealing to some, however, it can completely blow up your spot in the wrong way if the wrong people catch a hint of it coming from your grow room.
With each passing day, marijuana is becoming more and more popular worldwide as people begin discovering its medical benefits or enjoy it for a real high. We now have more people growing marijuana indoors than ever before so there is a pressing need to help growers learn to cover up the odor these plants give off. The smell while growing marijuana is what makes the practice so risky since the last thing you need is this to get the attention of people living in your area.
Remember when growing and smoking marijuana was widely considered a “hippy” activity?
Cannabis has a rich history as part of a movement that was focused on living peacefully without harming the planet or other human beings. Yet today marijuana is grown using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, not to mention vast amounts of water. Indoor growers use large amounts of electricity to power grow lights and pumps.
These practices are damaging to the environment and to your health. Who wants to smoke chemical laden buds? If you grow your own marijuana, there are many simple changes you can make to reduce your dependency on chemicals and fossil fuels.
Save you money Imagine you didn’t have to purchase nutrients, pesticides, algae tablets or mite sprays?
Keep your grow stealthy A natural grow is a stealthy grow. You are purchasing fewer products that could link you to a marijuana grow, and you will need to make fewer visits to your grow site.
Result in better tasting bud Growing naturally boosts the amount of terpenes and flavonoids in your final product. These molecules provide the rich flavors and smells of great buds.
Help the environment Growing marijuana naturally will reduce toxic runoff, conserve water and lower your carbon footprint.
There is no need to sacrifice yield to grow naturally. With a little attention to detail and some practice you can enjoy high yields without the cost or effort of growing with chemicals.
Is growing marijuana naturally the same as growing marijuana organically?
Let’s define a few terms here before we get started:
Organic This is a loaded word. Organic certification of fruits, vegetables and meats require strict adherence to federal guidelines regarding the use of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics, among other things. Growing organically is expensive and not necessarily the healthiest or most efficient system.
Natural This article is not about growing marijuana organically. It is about growing marijuana in an efficient and environmentally conscious way. By natural I mean using sustainable, renewable methods to produce high yields and potent buds without breaking the bank or your back.
Biodynamic This is another approach to farming that is worth mentioning because it is gaining popularity. In addition to using compost and natural fertilizers, biodynamic farmers use more esoteric methods. They consider the cycles of the moon to time plantings and harvests, prepare homeopathic style remedies for the Earth and work carefully to improve the soil.
There are some biodynamic principles that are useful for growing marijuana, especially the considerations for the soil. These have been incorporated into this article.
Growing outdoors vs. growing indoors
Ideally you should grow marijuana outside. The natural soil provides nutrients, the sun provides light, the rain gives the water and the entire life cycle of marijuana plants progresses naturally. This is not always possible, due to stealth concerns, climate and light cycles. After all, what if you need a crop to mature in the middle of winter?
Indoors or out, there are some things you can do to make your next grow more sustainable.
Tips for growing marijuana naturally outdoors
The two biggest environmental concerns with outdoor marijuana growing are pollution and water consumption. Excess nutrients and pesticides contaminate run-off polluting water tables, rivers and eventually oceans. Growing strains that require large amounts of water in arid or drought-stricken climates is an irresponsible and unsustainable choice. What can you do?
– Use Natural Nutrients and Pesticides – Use Nutrients Sparingly to Reduce Run-Off – Use Drip Irrigation
Or water by hand to ensure that the water goes directly where it is needed. Sprinklers are incredibly wasteful.
Use mulch A layer of leaves, straw, shavings or even stones around the base of each plant will help prevent evaporation and keep water in the soil.
Plant closely together This shades the soil, reduces evaporation and makes it easy to water just the plants you want to grow. Keep in mind that marijuana planted this way will need ample nutrients to stay healthy and produce high yields. Check out the section below on natural nutrients for ideas on enriching the soil
Water smart Be sensible about how and when you water your garden. Water at night or in the evening to reduce evaporation. Once the plants are three to four weeks old, start watering deeply just twice a week. This will encourage the plants to develop strong, deep roots instead of staying at the surface.
Choose the right strain for your climate If you live in a dry, arid climate grow a strain that evolved for that climate like Durban Poison, Power Plant or Afghan.
Tips for growing marijuana naturally indoors
Obviously an indoor grow is going to use more resources. For good yields you need grow lights, you may need a ventilation system and a hydroponic set-up as well.
There are a few things you can do to decrease the environmental and the financial costs of an indoor grow:
Use full spectrum LED grow lights Full spectrum LED grow lights are the best choice for a more natural grow. You will enjoy higher yields with less waste because the available light matches the wavelengths of light that plants can actually use. This means less light is wasted. LEDs stay cool, requiring less ventilation and fewer fans to prevent burning. They use about 50% less electricity than equivalent HID grow lights.
Choose feminized strains You should be thinking about efficiency with an indoor grow. By the time you let male plants mature to the age you can identify them you’ve wasted 3-6 weeks of light, power and nutrients on plants you’re just going to throw away.
Grow fast finishing strains Pick strains that finish flowering in eight weeks, not twelve or fourteen. Faster finishing means fewer resources invested.
Train your plants Use marijuana training techniques to take full advantage of the available light. Techniques like Sea of Green, Screen of Green or Low Stress Training all strive to help more light access the entire plant. These techniques boost yields while reducing the energy requirements of the entire system.
Natural nutrients for marijuana
Cannabis needs nitrogen (N), potassium (K), phosphorus (P) and a number of trace nutrients to grow well. Whether you are growing in soil or using a hydroponic set-up, there are natural sources you can use to provide these essential nutrients.
Using natural nutrients in soil
Growing marijuana in soil is the easiest way to provide abundant natural nutrients. Healthy soil has all the nutrients necessary for a marijuana plant to grow a beautiful crop of buds. Unfortunately, soil gets depleted over time. If you are planting in an area that has been farmed previously or you hope to reuse potting soil from a previous container grow, you will need to add nutrients back in.
The best way to improve soil is by adding compost. Compost is broken down plant material that is high in organic material. In addition to providing a rich source of nutrients, the organic material holds both water and air, providing a healthy environment for the roots of your plants.
Traditional composting Traditional composting means making a large pile (at least 3’ X 3’ X 3’) of dry and fresh plant material. You want to use about 60-70% “brown” material such as straw, hay, dead leaves or dried stems and fan leaves from your last grow and 30-40% green material. The green stuff can be kitchen scraps, grass clippings or fresh plant waste.
Keep the pile evenly moist but not wet. It will heat up to about 110°F, killing any weed seeds and providing a good environment for healthy microbes that will decompose the material. You will need to turn the pile every six weeks. In three to six months you will have a heap of rich, black soil that can be spread atop your garden, tilled in or mixed into a container.
Compost tea If you have mature compost, you can soak it in water for ten days to make a rich compost tea. This solution can be sprayed on plants once a month to boost growth. You can also make a compost tea out of fresh plant material by soaking it for about a month. This works best if the solution is aerated or at least thoroughly stirred each day.
Vermiculture If you don’t have the space for a large outdoor compost pile, consider making a worm bin in your kitchen. All you need is a plastic tub with a lid, newspaper, kitchen scraps and red wriggling worms.
The worms will digest everything from kitchen scraps to plant waste, quickly turning it into rich worm castings full of nutrients. This works much faster than traditional composting, but on a small scale. A worm bin is also a convenient and stealthy way to dispose of trimmings from your marijuana grow.
Composting in place If you are growing outdoors you can also compost in place to return nutrients slowly to the soil. This means simply leaving kitchen scraps or plant waste around the base of the plants and allowing them to break down over time. Keep in mind that this can attract unwanted rodents or pests to your garden. It is usually best to compost kitchen waste separately.
Using plants to add nutrients to soil If you are growing outdoors in soil you can use other plants to enrich the soil. Here are a few common plants you can grow throughout your marijuana garden that will keep the soil full of nutrients.
– Chamomile This popular tea herb brings up minerals from deep in the soil. It can be grown throughout the garden and easily reseeds itself.
– Borage Like chamomile, borage pulls trace nutrients from deep in the soil and makes them available at the surface. Borage also grows quickly, providing lots of green leaves that can be added to the compost pile or cut and dropped to compost in place as a good mulch.
– Clover Clover does double duty in your garden. Not only does it pull nutrients from deep in the soil to the surface where they are available to marijuana plants, it also forms a thick living mulch. This living sheet protects the soil from erosion and holds moisture by preventing evaporation.
Try planting clover around your cannabis plants in containers. They provide the same living mulch benefits, reducing the amount of water you use and stabilizing the soil.
You can also plant a cover crop before each new grow to replenish nutrients that have been used by your cannabis plants. Good cover crops to replenish the soil include nitrogen fixing legumes like alfalfa, beans or fast growing green manure plants like mustard or buckwheat that can be tilled in to boost the organic material content of the soil.
There are two types of hydroponic nutrients: synthetic and organic based. Synthetic nutrients are specially formulated to be available for uptake by plant roots. Organic fertilizer components depend upon natural microbes to break them down.
The end result of either process is the same: ions that the plant can absorb and use for growth. But the processes involved in making synthetic nutrients are often harmful to the environment. And those of the biodynamic gardening perspective would say that they also bear a less healthy energetic signature as well.
Problems with organic based nutrients in a hydroponic system Synthetic nutrients do not interact with organisms in the water, so you can pour them directly into the tank and allow it to run without changing the water for two weeks or longer.Organic nutrients do interact with organisms in the water and break down, becoming a stinky mess in your grow room. They can also clog drippers and small pipes throughout the system.It’s not just organic nutrients that have a downside. Potent synthetic nutrients easily burn plants and are not forgiving of errors.
How to use organic nutrients successfully in a hydroponic system There is a simple trick that will allow you to use organic nutrients in a hydroponic system without any problems: create a dual level hydroponic system.
This means building a set-up that allows you to add nutrients directly to the primary growing medium, which remains separated from the pure water reservoir below.The set-up actually mimics nature, as the cannabis plants roots typically absorb nutrients only in the top 1/3 of each root. The bottom of the root is for water absorption only. Some growers also incorporate natural nutrients like worm castings (from your vermiculture bin!) into a drip irrigation system.
Natural nutrient recipes for growing healthy marijuana You can purchase organic nutrients for a hydroponic or soil grow, or you can make your own compost. These methods supply nutrients to the roots of each plant. The leaves are also a great surface for nutrient absorption. Here are a few recipes for nutrient rich sprays that you can apply directly to the leaves of your cannabis plants.
– Calcium Phosphate Spray (Use a Calcium/Phosphate spray when you switch from vegging to flowering) During this stage your plants need extra help. Calcium strengthens the stems so they can support heavy buds, while phosphorus enables the roots to absorb more water and nutrients. This simple recipe from the Unconventional Farmer makes a spray that you can apply directly to the leaves of your plants when you switch the lights over. Keep in mind that this spray needs to be made at least three weeks before you plan to start flowering. Here’s how it’s made:
Gather enough egg shells to make 1 cup when crushed. Thoroughly rinse egg shells. Cook shells in a dry skillet until some shells are black (calcium) and some are white (phosphorus). Place in a jar with 5 cups of vinegar and watch it bubble. When the bubbling stops, seal the jar, let sit for 20 days and strain.
When you are ready to use the spray, mix one tablespoon of the vinegar/egg shell mixture with one gallon of water.
– Simple, Fast Nitrogen Spray This is the fastest, easiest recipe that you can use when your plants need a nitrogen boost. Some people think it is a little on the gross side, but I say take advantage of the resources at hand to grow the best buds ever. All you do is mix one part urine (yes, human urine) with 10 parts of water in a spray bottle and apply directly to leaves.
Remember, urine is sterile and very high in nitrogen. Many home gardeners use this recipe when they don’t have time to brew a compost tea. It is just as effective, much faster and a lot less work.
– Bokashi Fermented Stems A Bokashi culture is a quick way to produce nutrient rich compost tea using fresh stems and leaves (or any other plant material). Simply add the culture to a bucket of plant material and cover with water. In just a week you’ll have a bucket of nutrient rich fertilizer that you spray on the leaves or add directly to the soil.
Some hydroponic growers use this or similar nutrient teas in their soil-less systems. Keep in mind that a reservoir containing any organic nutrient solution should be changed frequently to prevent decomposition and unpleasant odors.
Beating mold and pests without chemicals
Nutrients are not the only source of chemicals applied to marijuana plants. Both soil and hydroponic growers alike face the ravages of pests and mold. Here are some tricks and techniques for dealing with common marijuana diseases and pests naturally.
Companion Plant to Repel Pests You can use other plants to fight pests for you. These easy to grow, common garden plants are perfect for combating the bugs that plague marijuana:
Cilantro Repels aphids, spider mites and potato beetles
Chrysanthemum A popular flower, chrystanthemums contain pyrethrin, a natural insecticide that kills damaging insects and harmful root eating nematores.
Dill Repels spider mites.
Foxglove Foxglove and mullein both attract the insect dicyphus which eats whiteflies, aphids and spider mites.
Garlic A delicious aromatic vegetable, garlic is the most famous anti-pest companion plant. It accumulates Sulphur, a natural fungicide and repels aphids, root maggots and snails.
Marigold Mexican marigolds are best, though any variety will do. They release a stinky chemical into the soil that makes all the surrounding plants taste like marigold, a flavor repugnant to most damaging insects.
Peppermint Repels aphids. Menthol, which is in all mint plants, repels harmful insects while attracting beneficial pollinators.
Sunflower Attracts beneficial mites and pirate bugs to eat spider mites, fungus gnats and scales.
Yarrow Attracts predatory wasps and ladybugs to eat harmful insects.
Natural pesticide sprays
You can mix your own natural sprays to repel most of the common pests that threaten your cannabis plants. Here are a few of the most effective recipes:
Chili Spray for Spider Mites Just put some hot chilies of any variety in the blender with water. Be sure to strain the mixture or it will clog your spray nozzle. Coat the entire plant, the grow medium and the surrounding area with the chili spray. Wear gloves and glasses to protect yourself from the spicy fumes.
You’ll have to repeat the process at least once as the eggs already laid by the mites hatch out.
Garlic Tea If you don’t want to grow garlic around your plants, you can still enjoy its pungent pest repelling properties by making this garlic spray. Just boil roughly chopped garlic in water and steep till cool. Strain and apply to plant leaves.
Tomato Leaf Spray Crush tomato leaves, soak in water for several days, strain and spray. This works best against grasshoppers and white flies. You can also experiment with your own pesticide spray. Common and useful ingredients include:
– Chilies – Mineral Oil – Garlic – Onions – Dish Soap (use very sparingly) – Neem Oil – Chrysanthemums – Tomato Leaves – Tobacco
Growing Marijuana Naturally is About More than Health or the Environment. Growing marijuana naturally requires a shift in your mind-set. You have to let go of many of your preconceived notions about cannabis cultivation. Start by incorporating just one of the ideas in this article into your next grow. See what happens.
Any step towards natural growing and sustainability will benefit not only you but the entire planet. Perhaps more importantly, it will make marijuana growing more readily accepted by the government and the community in general.
Right now cannabis is grown wastefully, squandering resources and generally pissing off the neighbors and communities near growers. Not only do we want cannabis to become widely legalized, we want it to be approved of so we don’t have to constantly battle for the right to grow. Be smart, grow natural and watch the world open up to the idea of widespread marijuana agricultural.
Thanks for reading. Please leave questions and comments below.
Contrary to what many new growers may think, giving your marijuana plants an enormous dose of nutrients is not going to help them be healthier. In fact, giving them too many nutrients will actually harm them, causing something called “nutrient burn,” or shortened among marijuana growers as “nute burn.”
If your plants are suffering from a nutrient burn, they will likely exhibit signs of yellowing and burnt tips on the leaves. The leaves may become crunchy and crispy and their edges will begin to curl. Depending on the type of nutrient that is causing the burn, the leaves may also have brown spots on the leaf’s edges (which generally happens with potassium toxicities).
One of the most annoying things about growing marijuana is that you have to accurately determine the sex of your plant. Many growers want to keep their female plants from being fertilized because it is the only way to ensure sinsemilla buds. These buds don’t have seeds and they will have ample THC by the time the harvest comes around. Even then, many marijuana growers just like to get the males out of the garden because they don’t produce that much THC. Determining the sex takes a subtle attention to detail and quick action. Below are a few tips for sexing marijuana plants.
1. Look at the growth patterns. During vegetative growth, every plant, regardless of sex, will start to flourish. As the plants age, however, you will begin to notice subtle differences in their sizes. Some marijuana growers have even noticed certain signs early on that can help you determine the sex. Females tend to have more complex branching when they progress from the seedling stage to the vegetative stage. Males, on the other hand, tend to be slightly taller and less filled out. Of course, the last thing you want to do is pull plants out at this early stage, but this can help you get an idea so you know which plants to watch later on. (Note: marijuana plants grown indoors under artificial light don’t usually exhibit these tendencies).
2. Males mature faster than females. This is one of the most common ways to determine sex on sight. Males will generally reach sexual maturity about two weeks before females. The males will start to grow rapidly and they will be taller than their female counterparts. They will also have these “false buds” which are actually pollen sacs. The reason the males grow taller is so that the pollen can drop down on to the female reproductive organs. This occurs whether you’re growing marijuana indoors or outdoors.
3. Males have flowers, females have pistils. Obviously, all marijuana plants have flowers at some point, but, if you can’t differentiate between male and female just by height, then flowers and pistils are good indications of sex. Those false-bud, pollen sacs will eventually open up to form little yellow or white flowers. Any female plants will not have these. Instead, they will have hairy, whitish pistils that will be sticky enough to trap the pollen dropped from those flowers. If you wait this long to identify the sex of your marijuana plants, then it’s probably too late to get any sinsemilla buds. Even so, you can still remove the male plants to make room for the continued growth and cultivation of the female plants.
4. Clone the marijuana plants to determine sex. This is really the only foolproof way to determine the sex before the plants achieve maturity. You simply have to take a cutting from any number of plants. Place this cutting into potting soil and let it grow on its own for a few days. Then, force flowering with a 12-hour period of darkness and 12-hour period of light (the clones must be separate from the host plants). Because the clones share the exact same DNA as their host, they will have the same sex. Once the clones go into the flowering stage, it will be easy to determine their sex and the sex of their hosts. Make sure you keep track of which clone came from which host so you don’t get things mixed up.
5. Identify where the plant sprouted during germination. Although it might seem a little strange, some marijuana growers have discovered a method that helps them sex the plants just after germination. If the sprout comes out of the top or bottom of the seed, it is generally a female. Side sprouts generally turn out to be male. While this hasn’t been scientifically studied, growers who have used this method report a 90% success rate. Even so, you shouldn’t use this knowledge as absolute fact. Let the plants grow a little and try to notice any distinctly male or female signs. Don’t just throw away the marijuana seeds if they sprout out of the sides. Instead keep track of your predictions so you can make an informed decision later on.
6. Sometimes, you’ll have hermaphrodites. Growers can occasionally end up with some hermaphrodites which are basically plants that exhibit both male and female reproductive capacities. These can be difficult to determine right away because they can send you mixed signals. Hermaphrodites can also come about as a result of environmental stress, making their sex increasingly hard to determine. If you start to notice flowers and pistils on the same plant, try pruning off the flowers to ensure that the marijuana plant doesn’t self-pollinate (or pollinate other surrounding females). Read more about male, female and hermaphrodite marijuana plants.
Have you had any strange or successful experiences with sexing your marijuana plants? Let us know in the comments below. Also, let your friends in one these details by sharing the article on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
For centuries, gardeners have had to deal with pests of many varieties. Whether they are birds, insects, mammals, or even other humans, cultivated plants seem to have a target on their backs. While humans don’t really eat raw cannabis, some pests certainly seem to like the taste. If left unchecked, an infestation can end up ruining your crop. At the same time, using harsh chemical products to repel the pests can be harmful to you later on. To avoid all that, we have compiled a list of some safe and effective repellents (and other safety precautions) to keep bugs away from your plants.
1. Only use sterilized soil or fertilizer. The problem with unsterilized soil is that it can contain the eggs or even larvae of some common marijuana pests. If you grow your marijuana in that soil, you will be in for a rude surprise when those eggs hatch or those larvae start to grow up. This is particularly bad for indoor growers because there are no natural predators inside your house.
2. Use natural predators. Of course, if you’re growing marijuana outdoors, you can make use of a few pest predators. Ladybugs are notoriously beneficial to have around your outdoor marijuana plants because they love to prey on larvae and other potential pests. You should also encourage birds to nest in the area because they often like to snack on some pernicious marijuana pests. Put out some bird houses or a bird feeder to get birds to come around. Just make sure that they stay away while the seeds are germinating because many birds do enjoy the taste of a marijuana seed. Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link and for more outdoor growing tips.
3. Grow companion plants. Interspersing the marijuana garden with a few naturally repellent plants is certainly a good way to keep the predators away. Although the THC that marijuana produces acts as a natural repellent in its own right, it is often not strong enough to repel all plants (especially in the early stages of life). Particularly pungent plants like geraniums and marigolds will keep many leaf-eating insects and worms at bay. You can even plant some onions to ward off bigger pests like deer or rabbits.
4. Use the urine of your pests’ enemies. This might sound like a joke, but it actually works and it’s actually feasible. Many mammals like deer have keen senses of smell and if they detect a hint of bear or puma urine, they will want to stay as far away from your marijuana plants as possible. That’s because they won’t want to enter territory that a much larger predator has been roaming around in. The same is true for rabbits and fox urine. You can buy these scents at many sporting goods or outdoor shops.
5. Build a fence. If bigger animals are a problem and the scent of their enemies doesn’t deter them, then you might need to try building a fence around your plants. Obviously, many marijuana growers don’t have this luxury and it’s really only something that people growing on private land can do.
6. Create a repellent force field around the plants. With a permethrin-based repellent, you can keep insects away from your plants without using the synthetic spray on the plants themselves. Simply spray a ring on the ground about 6 feet away from the plant. Any bugs that come into contact with the permethrin will die or just evacuate the area.
7. Use custom organic repellents. Many growers have opted for pungent, organic repellents to keep pests away from both their indoor and outdoor plants. Concoctions like cinnamon oil, clove oil, and coriander oil have all had relative success without causing any damage to the plant. You can easily spray these repellents directly onto the cannabis leaves with no fear of any adverse reaction. Of course, different cannabis strains might have different reactions to any homemade organic repellents, and you should always test the repellents on an inconspicuous section of the plant to make sure no harm is done.