Tips for Growing Cannabis Indoors
With the passage of Proposition 1 in November 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to end the prohibition on the use and possession of recreational cannabis by adults (21 and over). While no one will be legally selling cannabis for recreational use in Michigan for several years, it is currently legal for any household headed by adults 21 and over to possess 12 or more cannabis plants in the home. As a result of this licensing gap, it is reasonable to expect a significant increase in the number of indoor home gardens planted in Michigan in 2019 and 2020.
If you are interested in growing cannabis in your home but not sure how to start, we’ve put together some tips to help you have a successful harvest:
Determining your Grow Area
A grow room doesn’t need to be an entire designated room, but can be located in your basement, in a part of a spare room, or even a closet. A grow tent can be used, allowing you to easily partition off a room. We suggest a space that is not in the way of main traffic and gathering areas as grow rooms/areas tend to be more functional than aesthetically pleasing. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind about the space:
- Having access to enough power. Cannabis growing requires a consistent humidity level, light sources and temperature control, which will require a lot of power. Depending on the size of your operation, some people opt for dedicated electric lines to ensure there is enough wattage.
- Make sure that the grow space and plants are easily accessible. You need to nurture the plants and the environment as well as make sure that you can tend to the plants easily. There is nothing more frustrating when growing cannabis to overfill the area and end up damaging your investment because there isn’t enough room to safely care for them. Not sure how much space you need? As a general rule, give your plants 2-4 sq.ft. per plant
Setting up your Grow Area
There are endless products out there used to grow cannabis. We’ve outlined the essential components necessary for every grow room.
- Choosing your grow medium. There are 3 main options for cannabis grow mediums: soil, hydroponics and coco. Different cannabis strains work better with each grow medium, so once you’ve determined your cannabis strain you can decide how you want to grow them. Also, your medium will determine the nutrients you will need to use.
Soil: most soils already come rich in nutrients making maintaining your plants easier, which is especially great if you are a beginner. There are a few downsides to using soil: plants generally take longer to grow, if there are issues with the nutrients in the soil they many not show up right away and isn’t easy to fix, and plant roots spread out should you need to have pots large enough to accommodate.
Hydroponics: is an all-water, soil-less way of growing cannabis. It is a lot cleaner way of growing cannabis and it is easier to identify and prevent nutrient issues as they are absorbed faster. Using the hydroponics method usually results in faster growing times, but because this system is more temperamental it does require someone with more advanced growing skills to maintain. Also hydroponic growing is less forgiving than soil growing
Coco: is often considered a middle ground between soil and hydroponics. It doesn’t contain nutrients like soil does, so you need to make sure you are maintaining the proper amount of nutrition as well as if you don’t mix the coco properly you can spike the pH levels of your plants and end of harming them. Plants tend to grow faster in this medium than they do in soil. Coco is also known to create calcium and magnesium deficiencies.
- Choosing your lighting. The quality of light in your grow room will be the number one environmental factor in the quality and quantity of your cannabis yields, so it’s a good idea to choose the best lighting setup you can afford. There are several different options
- High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs) are the industry standard and are more commonly used because of their combination of output and efficiency, creating a great value. They are more expensive than incandescent or fluorescent lights but produce more light per unit of electricity used. They are less expensive than LED lighting but aren’t as efficient. Because of the amount of heat they generate, a cooling system is required to maintain a productive environment.
- Light Emitted Diode (LEDs) Lights are a great way to give your plants the light they need without emitting excess heat. These lights last longer and tend to give you a better quality harvest. Initial cost and lack of plant yield compared to hid lights tend to deter growers from choosing LEDs over HID lighting systems.
- T5 Fluorescent Lights tend to be the preferred system of smaller growers because they tend to be less expensive to set up and they don’t require a cooling system. The main downside to fluorescent lights is they are less efficient and require more bulb space to produce the same amount of light as other types.
- Maintaining an effective growing environment. There is more to maintain the environment than just light and heat; you also need to consider the amount of fresh air, humidity or air dryness, CO2 levels, water pH levels and more! You want to make sure you have all the tools to properly monitor your grow environment. Check out our Growing Environment Products.
Caring for Your Plants
Properly caring for your plants will help them last longer and produce more. Regular maintenance is required to ensure that your growing environment remains optimal. Without regular care, small problems could snowball and possibly kill an entire crop.
- Nutrients. Growing cannabis requires more time and care than most other common plants, especially when it comes to nutrients. Your plants will need a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients to remain healthy and produce a quality harvest. The grow medium that you selected will determine the type and quantity of the nutrients that you will need. We suggest reaching out to a grow specialist for more information on what particular nutrients you need. If you know what you need you can browse our large selection of nutrients online.
- Watering your plants. Most people turn to tap water to water their plants. Makes sense right? Even though you use your tap water for your house plants doesn’t mean it will work for your cannabis plants. Some house waters may contain:
- High amounts of minerals that can build up in the root system and affect nutrient absorption.
- Fungus or other bacteria that can harm your plant roots
- A high level of chlorine which can destroy soil microbes
It is because of those reasons, we suggest testing and filtering your water; even testing your filter on a regular basis is necessary to ensure your filter is working properly. Also, make sure you don’t overwater your plants as that could lead to root rot (in soil). In hydroponic medium you want to make sure there is proper aeration to keep oxygen in the water and keep the water temperature below 75 degrees F.
- Pest Control. Even if you have done everything you can to seal off your grow area, pests can still find a way in and ruin your crop. This is why it is necessary to monitor your plants on a regular basis. Check out our range of Pest Control products. Preventative treatment will save you a lot of time and headache.
There is a lot to do to make sure your cannabis plants are cared for properly. To help make sure you are monitoring all the right things we’ve put together a Daily Maintenance Checklist that you can download and use as a reminder.
Cannabis plants are more temperamental and require more monitoring than most common plant. The process can seem daunting, but as you gain more knowledge and experience it will become easier. As always one of our experienced cultivators will be happy to answer any questions you have. Don’t hesitate to reach out via phone, (734) 404-6022, email email@example.com or stop by our store at 1052 Ann Arbor Rd., Plymouth, MI 48170. Happy growing!