Are you going to grow your marijuana indoors or outside? This isn’t an easy decision, as both options have their own advantages. The most important thing is to protect your plants from thieves and scavengers. Also, you need to provide warmth and light. Both indoor and outdoor grows adhere to these conditions. The choice is down to your individual circumstances. Do you want big harvests of commercial marijuana or just a small crop of medical plants? Do you have a lot of time and energy to spend researching and tending to your plants, or do you prefer something a little less high-maintenance? It’s about time to make an important decision.
To grow weed indoors you need a well ventilated room or shed without too many windows. If you take some precautions, indoor growing isn’t too risky. A big advantage of growing inside is that it has a yield potential of several crops a year. A first tryout grow does not require specialist tools. Just buy some cannabis seeds from a reputable source, and you’re good to go. Marijuana plants are just like any others – all they need is fertile earth, water and light. In a simple set up, this could mean a pot of potting soil and a couple of fluorescent lamps. As time, money or your energy levels permit, you can add more frills such as filters, hydroponic or aeroponic propagation, advanced nutrient systems, training and cropping plants and so on. But if all that scares you, then a pot of soil and a nice bright lamp is all you need to get started growing indoor marijuana!
Growing outdoors, your plants are more exposed to danger than inside. A surprise frost, a hungry rabbit, a nosey neighbor can all ruin your crop. But there are simple precautions you can take to prevent this. Use other plants to camouflage your grow, or find a secluded area for guerrilla growing. To protect plant roots from frost, drought, and pests, there are special plant pots for outdoor growing available – and you can even buy seeds for outdoor marijuana plants that are more hardy and pest-resistant. Growing outdoors, in most climates you can only harvest once a year. On the other hand, individual plants are often huge, resulting in bigger yields at lower cost. After all, you need fewer seeds, pay no electricity bills, and need no filters or fans. If the climate is right, outdoor growing is a fun, easy and cost-effective way to grow your own weed.
Without light you can’t grow crops. Basically, you need to provide 24/7 light as long as your plants are growing (vegetative growth) and then switch to 12/12 light and darkness to induce flowering. Almost any old light source will do, as long as it is not incandescent (those give off far too much heat and too little light). As a beginner, CFLs or fluorescent grow lights are probably your best bet. Of course, if you grow your marijuana outdoors you won’t need lamps at all. The sun is and will always be the best light, as long as you’re getting any where you live. A relatively new phenomenon is the use of LEDs for growing weed. Traditionally, metal halide lamps are used during vegetative growth and CFLs or high pressure sodium lamps for flowering. There are also (more spendy) switchable ballast MH/HPS lamps available.
Once you’ve decided where to grow, you need to decide WHAT to grow. The choice of different cannabis strains on the internet is almost overwhelming. A strain simply means a genetic variant. Just like you can buy cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, stripy, big, small, extra juicy, extra sweet and so on, there are also many types of marijuana. The most common terms you will hear are sativa and indica. Usually, sativa strains are taller and headier in effect while indicas are more dense and short and have a body effect. There are also special medical marijuana seeds suitable for medicinal purposes. Most seed shops will provide all the information you need regarding plant size, effect and expected yield.
One more thing to take into account is the difference between normal and feminized seeds. Regular cannabis seeds can grow into male or female plants. Male cannabis flowers look like small ‘bananas’. As soon as you spot these, pull the plant. Male plants do not produce harvestable weed. More importantly, they will fertilize your females if you don’t remove them! An easier solution might be to order feminized seeds instead. However, as a beginner, you may be more likely to stress your plants, and given enough stress, even feminized plants will grow male flowers. So make sure you educate yourself on the pros and cons of feminized seeds. Finally, you can also opt for autoflowering seeds. These do not require a switch in the lighting schedule like normal cannabis seeds do.
The right time to harvest is a matter of some debate. Usually, growers decide to harvest when about 50% of the trichomes (tiny droplets of resin) on the cannabis flowers have turned from clear or cloudy to an amber colour. Harvesting too early results in premature bud which lacks the full effect of a properly ripened flower cluster. But if you harvest too late, the THC (the psychoactive component) will oxidize and the weed will go bad and can make you feel nauseated or ill. So it’s a fine line to walk. If you err a little on the early side you generally get a clearer headed cerebral effect while waiting a bit longer results in more of a body stone. Don’t forget that you also need to cure the harvested flower clusters carefully or they will go moldy and not be as good. Cure in small batches, first hanging the buds on racks to dry, then storing in mason jars.
In almost every online cannabis shop regular as well as feminized seeds are being sold. To understand why feminized seeds are so popular, you should know that only female plants can help you to get high. The male plants are useless, at least for us smokers.
Don’t you think growing male marijuana plants is a waste of time? When buying feminized seeds, you won’t have to spend your time on removing the male plants. Your plants will all be female, as long as they’re feeling comfortable.
And therein lies the rub. It can happen that you get male plants even though you bought feminized seeds. Mostly this is due to high levels of stress your plants are enduring. Stress causes plants to produce male flowers, because they want to reproduce as soon as possible.
This might sound really weird to you if you are a newbie, but it’s entirely true. A plant can feel stress, just like a human being, for example if it’s experiencing heat or cold. Wouldn’t you feel stressed too if you’re stuck in a fridge? Also, if light conditions aren’t optimal or if you’re trimming your plants to much, you’re making your plants feel stressed.
Feminized is a bit more finicky and doesn’t give you as many options with regard to cloning and breeding. Regular is safer and more stable, but you need to be on constant watch for males. To sum it up, both feminized and regular seeds have their own advantages. It’s up to you which kind of seeds you choose. We hope this article will make your decision a bit easier.