Legalization is here in Canada and growing weed is allowed! Across Canada, households are able to grow up to 4 plants (with the exception of a few provinces, so check your provincial laws). But with our Canadian weather, I wanted to know is growing weed hard indoors? I’ve grown other plants inside, is weed really that different?
Like all creatures, plants need water and nutrients to survive. weed plants are no different than any plant so DON’T get overwhelmed! But also know your skill level! If you find taking care of a fern an impossible task, then maybe growing weed is not for you. Growing different plants, DO require varying ratios of nutrients (sun, food,water) to produce their optimal output for their species. Watermelon seedlings need different ratios to produce fruit than weed seedlings do. So what do weed plants need to produce nice buds indoors? Here are 7 DO’s and 7 DON’Ts to help decide if growing your own weed is for you!
1. D0 Pick a location that is best for your life
You can grow weed indoors anywhere you have easy access to water and fresh air. Popular locations are; closets, spare room, garage, basement, etc. To get the best yield, controlling the environment is necessary so utilizing a closed off space is easiest when creating a consistent state. A grow tent further reduces the the area you have to control, and as a bonus, helps keep any smell the plants emits to a minimum.
2. DO give your plant enough light.
Light has big impact on how much your weed plant produces. Canada’s days are short and cold during the winter, so lights are necessary. When choosing lighting, you want to keep in mind what’s best for your space. Hotter lights need venting so the cost can get expensive. There are great options for less expensive LED lights that don’t give off as much heat. Make sure the lights you decide on have are Full spectrum. 3 main types of lights are popular with growers;
- Fluorescent Grow Lights – Cheapest, but smaller yields / watt
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights – expensive to run, highest yield / wattage but runs hot so vents are required
- LED Grow Lights – cost effective to run, good yield / wattage is cooler that other options but venting is still required
3. Do give your plant fresh air.
weed plants need to breathe! Fans can circulate the air if a natural breeze isn’t available. A steady supply of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in fresh air form is what your weed plant needs to grow healthy. A Fans also help with cooling lights that throw off heat.
4. Do Grow in a medium that your plant likes
The medium you pick is really up to you! Soil is pretty popular choice because most people are familiar with using it in gardening. But there are other options available to suit what your needs are.
- Soil – popular, not as efficient as other options, can attracts pests
- Hydroponics – start can up complex and costly,
- Soilless medium like ‘Coco coir” or verticillium mix – similar to soil but made of coconut husks. No pests, faster growth than soil.
5. Do make sure that the temperature is consistent.
Warm during the day cooler at night. Seedlings like higher humidity and temperature, but as the plants get older, they flourish at temperatures slightly cooler and less humid, especially at night. It’s best to keep within 20-30°C during the seedling and vegetative stages.
When your plants start to flower, keep within 18-26°C with Low humidity and on the cooler end at night.
6. Do feed your plants the right food at the right time
All plants need food to grow, but plants don’t eat burgers so how and when should you feed plants? There are many different companies that offer plant fertilizer nutrient options for your weed plants. The packaging has instructions and also display the ratios of 3 elements; Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (always in that order) on the packaging. This is also known as NPK. Plants need different ratios of nutrients during their life cycle to stimulate growth. Nitrogen helps with making chlorophyll, which plants use to convert carbon dioxide (or CO2) into energy and food. Nitrogen is important in making healthy foliage. Phosphorus is important in making strong roots and Potassium is vital in changing sunlight into food, and keeping the plants immunity strong and pest resistant. Although there is some debate, the following ratios support the whole plant best while in its various stages of growth
N – P – K
3 – 1 – 2
N – P – K
1 – 1 – 2
N – P – K
0 – 1 – 2
7. Do Water and maintain pH needed
Make sure your providing enough water. A larger container can go longer than a day or so without watering, but new gardeners should keep an eye on their plants daily. weed roots need a slightly acidic pH to absorb the nutrients required to be healthy and produce good yield. weed plants growing in soil like 6 – 7 pH, while hydroponics or Soilless mediums like 5.5 – 6.5 pH. To check for pH you can use strips or electric tester found in the garden section.
1. DON’T starve or overfeed your plants,
There is an art to horticulture, so don’t try to jump start things by using “more” of something. Never use Miracle-gro, other growth fertilizers or ANY nutrients for that matter, without first checking the ratio of N-P-K (Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium). Miracle-gro doesn’t contain the right ratio of nutrients and can burn the roots of your plant. Making massive or sudden changes to the environment or nutrients might harm or kill your plant. Let the plant do it its thing.
2. DON’T use pots that are too small.
Size does kinda matter here. Sprouting seedlings in small containers is a good idea but they should be transplanted before their roots touch the sides of the container. If you start in a solo cup, transfer to a larger container when the leaves reach to the edge of the cup. If the roots of a weed plant become root-bound it causes a bunch of different problems, so avoid it. The general rule of thumb is about 2-3 gallon pot for every 12” of desired growth. 24” plant = 3-5 gallon pot, 36” = 5-7 gallon pot etc. The bigger the pot, the longer it can go without watering, but not too big because you don’t want to waste resources unnecessarily.
3. DON’T forget to identify male and female plants
Only female plants will produce buds, so discard the male plants as soon as they can be identified. I know it seems harsh to dispose of an entire gender, but male plants don’t bear fruit, and more than that, they will pollinate with female plants which creates less yield. So pull them out because they are up to no good! Some growers get clones or buy “feminized seeds” to make sure they are growing a female plant, but if you purchase regular seeds, the odds are 50/50 you will grow a female plant. To check if your plant is a male or female, direct your attention to a branch joint for a few differences. When the flowering stage begins, females will grow white hairs and males grow pollen sacs. Balls = compost pile … chicks rule, boys drool.
4. DON’T harvest too early… or too late!
You will notice during flowering, the buds of the weed plant will have long hairs called pistils all over it. At the end of the flowering stage, these whitish hairs will stop growing and will start turning red or brownish. weed buds are like grapes on a vine at this point. If you harvest early, you won’t get all the flavours and compounds, but if you harvest too late, the taste will be strong and the effects of the weed will be more sedative. When the pistils are about 50 – 75% red/brown, the taste will be light and the effects of the weed will be mellow. THC will be the highest compound. When the pistils are between 70 – 90% red/brown the spectrum of compounds is wider, it’s more potent and the flavour is full. This will be the ideal range you would be aiming for.
5. DON’T use heat to dry your buds
The best environment to dry weed buds is room temperature (21*C) and 50% humidity. Cut the branches and hang them upside down, or lay them on a mesh drying rack until they are dry (about 5-10 days)
6. DON’T throw away trim
When the buds are done drying and are ready to be cured (see #7) , trim away the other leaves on the branch with a pair of sharp scissors. Save the trimmings and use them for making butter or cooking with.
7. DON’T forget to cure the fruit of your labour!
Curing weed buds after they are completely dried will increase potency, enhance flavour and aroma and will keep your buds fresh longer. No one likes a moldy bud. Mason jar curing is popular and easy to do. Fill a mason jar with ⅔ weed buds and tightly close the jar. ‘Burp’ your jar by opening it several times a day and allowing it fresh air for a few mins. Repeat this process for up to 4 – 6 weeks to maximize curing.
After all the Dos and Don’ts are observed, I know there is one last burning question you want answered. How much yield will this all get me? What weight of rewards will I reap when my crop is ready to be harvested?
Well that depends on the plant strain, the amount of light the plant can get and the overall health of your weed plant. But generally for 4 plants under 600 watts hps lights, will yield about 150 grams or 5 oz per plant.