The thing about growing weed, is that a lot of people who don’t know much about it will tell you growing weed is scientific and technical…It’s NOT!
A lot of ‘true blue’ growers will tell you to start simple, start with dirt and lights. Hydroponics is for experienced full-time growers who have a cashflow to draw funds from, and I would advise the same thing.
Let’s start with the basics, it is a plant, it can grow in soil. It uses solar energy, carbon dioxide, nutrients and water through photosynthesis to grow. They call it weed because it grows like a weed, especially if it has all of the 4 things listed above.
The cycles of marijuana are tied to the seasons. When growing it–keep it in the vegetative state (18-24hrs of light) to make it think its spring or summer, until it gets big and you are ready for flowering your females (more on sexing in other articles). Once you are ready to flower, start the light at 12 hours of light; this will signal to the plant that it’s fall and time to bud.
We are just going to cover what you need to get started, not harvesting, how long to grow, how to build a grow room, etc…so let’s get started
Of course, you need something to grow. Hopefully, you have obtained some seeds or have successfully cloned a plant from the stem of a mother plant. If you need seeds, ways of obtaining them include:
- Picking seeds out of shwag weed
- Ordering from an online vendor (many ship worldwide, see our “links” section)
- Visiting a vendor in person (trip to Amsterdam!) or attending an event like the Cannabis Cup
If you are using seeds, you need to germinate them before potting them in soil. Do this by placing them between moist paper towels and storing them in a dark place for 2-5 days. If you see green/white tails extending from the seeds, this is a good sign. Now you are ready to place them in soil.
See our seeds page for more detailed information on getting started.
Lighting is one of the most important things if you are growing indoors, as we are trying to replicate the sun’s output. If you don’t have the right light (spectrum and lumen output) it will take forever! If you are going to be growing indoors and want to spend some money, spend it on the lighting.
Spectrum refers to the kind of light as measured in wavelengths. Blue-green spectrum is good for the vegetative/growing phase while red-orange spectrum is good for the flowering/blooming phase. Metal halide bulbs give off blue-green light while high-pressure sodium bulbs are more red-orange. Some people buy both bulbs, but a less expensive option is to get a full spectrum bulb (whether HPS, CFL, or LED), then you have covered both phases and only need to vary the amount of time they are on.
The other thing is to make sure to get a high quality bulb with a high lumen output or else it will take forever. Bulbs are measured in lumens per watt; when it comes to lumens, the higher the better. Traditionally, the highest lumens/watt output are found in metal halide bulbs, followed by HPS, CFL, and LED. The technology is constantly improving so that it’s possible to use any of the applicable bulbs as long as they provide adequate spectrum and lumen output.
For example, there are new LED lights, make sure you get wavelength to be about 625-650 nm (nano meters), or ones that mimic daylight. They are powerful and energy efficient. The ratio of LED lighting is different 240 watts equals 1,000 watts of the old style lighting.
Old style of lightings are:
HID lighting is the most efficient way to convert electricity into light that is available to the consumer. There are two types of HID grow lights used for horticultural lighting:
HID Light Efficiency
|One 1000 watt HPS bulb
puts out as much light as
111 incandescent 100 watt bulbs.
|One 400 watt MH bulb
puts out as much light as
20 fluorescent 40 watt tubes.
The Cost to Run a Lighting System
To get the operating cost per hour for a light, take the lights combined wattage, and divide it by 1000 to get the kilowatts used. Then multiply that number by the amount your electric company charges per kilowatt hour. HID lights will use the number of watts it emits per hour, ie; 600w system will use 600 watts per hour (regardless of spectrum).
(light wattage output / 1000) x electricity cost per kilowatt hour = Operating cost per hour
operating cost per hour x hours used per month = Operating cost per month
HID Light Output
Primary Growing Area
|Supplemental Growing Area|
2′ x 2′
|3′ x 3′|
3′ x 3′
|4′ x 4′|
4′ x 4′
|6′ x 6′|
6′ x 6′
|8′ x 8′|
|1000 watts||8′ x 8′||12′ x 12′|
Plants need carbon dioxide to grow, so if your plant is in an enclosed space, you need to ensure proper air flow. If the space is not well ventilated, you can try using a small electric fan to get air circulating. If the space is really not ventilated still, you may have to resort to pumping some carbon dioxide into the room. This is an expensive and delicate operation, so be safe about it and have it on a timer or just release some a little bit at a time as it’s a poison to humans. Otherwise just breathe in the room once a day. You can be part of the ecosystem, just breathe.
Nutrients and Soil
You average plant food is enough, one of the most common errors is using too much nutrient and killing the plant. Micracle Grow is fine, get a NPK (Nitrogen Phosphorous, Potassium) that is fairly even 10-10-10.
Soil, potting soil will work just fine. make sure to put some clean gravel in the bottom for drainage, if it’s not clean you could be inviting bugs into your grow room/home.
Buy organic (soil, nutes/nutrients) when you can, and know that your are growing organic weed.