There is a lot involved when growing weed indoors. Nothing beats the experience of home-grown weed. Especially when that weed is growing indoors, away from pests, weather and nosy neighbors. Although rewarding, the process of growing marijuana indoors is complex. Only a few people will ever truly master the process. But growing weed indoors is a skill developed over time. The longer person works with a plant the better they normally become at caring for it. For those who are just getting started, here is a quick guide on how to start growing weed indoors. How to Go from Idea to Harvest in 10 Steps:
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR PLACE TO GROW Cannabis needs a clean, well lit room that is light-proof. When the lights go out, the indicator light on a power strip may causes flowering plants to become hermaphrodites. A single pollen sack can ruin an entire crop so NO light leaks. Recreational growers with 4 or less plants may find that using a grow tent or grow box is more efficient than converting a garage, bedroom or shop into a light-proof environment.
STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT There are many light options available. Florescent options are the cheapest but provide the lowest returns. HPS (High Pressure Sodium)/MH (Metal Halide) offer better canopy penetration but require a separate ballast and create massive amounts of heat. LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are cool. LED lights penetrate deeply into canopies but purchasing the bulbs can cost a fortune.
STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR GROWING MEDIUM Professional growers don't use soil from their backyard. Scientific advances in agriculture have produced a plethora of options for nutrient enriched soils. Coco-choir is renewable, biodegradable, chemically neutral and provides better aeration than soil. Ceramic marbles, hydroponic pots and more can be used instead of soil when growing hydroponic weed.
STEP 4: GET CANNABIS-FRIENDLY NUTRIENTS Plants have specialized diets that growers must adhere to if they want the best buds possible. Many companies offer nutrient supplements for cannabis with options for soil or hydroponic growing.
STEP 5: WHERE TO GET CANNABIS PLANTS Seed grown plants can present different phenotypes (visible differences). Clipping grown plants (clones) develop as exact copies of the original plant. Seeds can produce male or female plants normally but feminized seeds only produce female plants.
STEP 6: GERMINATE YOUR SEEDS / START YOUR CLONES Place seeds in a wet paper towel in a plastic bag and set in a dark place. Wait for a day or two and the seeds should begin to sprout. Put the sprouts in a Rockwool cube or seedling pot. Clones need to be rooted in seedling pots before putting them under a powerful light. Use a clone dome to hold in moisture and maintain temperature. Wait until the plants are strong enough to move into the next stage.
STEP 7: VEGETATIVE STAGE - ONLY STEMS AND LEAVES After the plant begins growing its second set of leaves, it begins the vegetative stage. 18 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness give the plant all the energy it needs to grow strong. The plant needs the darkness to do the growing and the light/nutrients for the energy to grow. A plant can remain in the vegetative stage indefinitely and a 'mother' plant only leaves the indoor grow box or room once the strain is abandoned.
STEP 8: FLOWERING STAGE - BUDS START GROWING! Once the plant is over 12 inches tall, it can be moved into the flowering stage. Auto-flowering plants will move into this stage automatically but normal plants require a light cycle shift. 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness triggers the plant to begin developing flowers.
STEP 9: HARVEST YOUR CANNABIS Cannabis flowers develop THC and CBD in small resin glands called trichomes. Trichomes start out clear and change to milky white once they hit peak potency. Brown trichomes are old but contain higher levels of CBN. During the final week or two of the plants life, growers 'flush' it. This is so that the finished buds don't hold residual nutrients which could be harmful.
STEP 10: DRY & CURE YOUR BUDS LIKE A PROFESSIONAL Flower-filled branches are hung to dry in a humidity controlled area to remove the bulk of the water. Leaves are then removed from the flowers and the stems are cut in a process known as trimming. After trimming, the flowers are stored to create even hydration levels between 50% and 70%. Growing indoors requires specialized equipment. Hydroponic growers need to accurately judge the Ph level and concentration of nutrients. PPM meters and Ph testers come in a range of prices and styles. Measuring devices, pots, watering reservoirs and a range of shears are needed to manicure, maintain and otherwise care for cannabis plants. There is also a need for pest control during each stage of the growing process. Pests like spider mites and molds can destroy a crop seemingly overnight if not caught early enough. Natural predators like mantis and ladybugs are popular methods but there is always the chemical warfare option. There are several types of seeds to choose from. Normal seeds produce male or female plants at even ratios. The plants that grow from these seeds transition from the vegetative stage into the flowering stage once the light cycle hits 12 hours on/12 hours off. Feminized seeds produce only female plants. The plants also transition from vegetative to flowering once the light cycle changes. Auto-flowering seeds can produce male or female plants at even ratios. The plants that grow from these seeds will begin flowering once they become mature, regardless of light cycle. Here is a short list of the best places for growers to find the tools/systems they need.