How to grow cannabis for the first time indoors

How to grow cannabis for the first time indoors

“Growing cannabis in tight spaces is not my usual recommendation,” says Stephen Lipton, director of cultivation at The Farm Recreational Marijuana Dispensary, an award-winning recreational facility in Boulder, Colorado, that specializes in what it calls the “craft cannabis industry.” At any given time, Lipton oversees approximately 15,000 plants across seven different facilities in Boulder County. “If you have a very tight space and it’s too hot or too humid, you’re going to have a big problem.”

Despite the hurdles, many first-time growers still choose to grow hemp indoors (it is legal in many states), and there are steps to maximize the plant’s chances of success. It all starts with plant genetics.

“For your typical closet setup, you’ll want a plant that stays short,” Lipton said. “A lot of the time it means indica. Sativas are really tall and skinny. (More on the difference between these two cannabis families here.)

While most, if not all, medical and recreational farms grow cannabis from seed, ensuring their plants are virus-free, most home growers, even those with experience, typically start with Clones – Essentially trimmed cuttings from female cannabis plants that have been rooted in separate pots.

“When most people think of cannabis — you know, what you smoke — they think of the flowers of the female plant,” Lipton said. “If you grow from seed, half of them are male. If you’re only going to create one or two plants, you don’t want to waste your time on that stuff. A clone obtained from a dispensary or a knowledgeable friend ensures that the plant is feminized and will eventually produce a bud , awaiting proper care. “You can get up to four ounces from the right plant — if you know what you’re doing.”

However, even with healthy clones, growing cannabis can be a long and arduous process – especially in tight indoor spaces. “A lot of people think growth is easy, but it’s not,” Lipton says. “You have to really be on it. Obviously not everyone achieves success.

For some people, growing cannabis is a hobby. For others, a lifelong passion. But it is unique in its broad demographic appeal. “Everyone I know is growing,” Lipton said. “There are people in their 20s who do it. I know people in their 60s. It’s a fun thing for people to do. They don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Here are Lipton’s tips on growing your first plant.

Step 1: Know your local laws

It is important to remember that growing a single cannabis plant for personal consumption is a felony at the federal level and is punishable by up to five years in prison. On the other hand, many US states have passed local amendments, allowing citizens aged 21 and over to grow a limited number of plants indoors for recreational or medical use without fear of prosecution. At present, 24 states, Guam, and Washington, D.C., have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

However, even in our most progressive countries, the law is not at all simple. “In Colorado, it’s now county-specific,” Lipton said. “When the amendment was first passed, they said you could grow six plants per person. But now, some provinces and municipalities have come out and said it’s only six per house — and there’s no pooling of plant numbers. That means you can have three plants and three flowers at any given time. time.

Another layer to consider is that cannabis cultivation in many places must be done “out of sight.” “You can’t have any odor. If it offends people in the neighborhood, that’s a problem,” Lipton said.

Step 2: Create the proper growth environment

Before anyone starts thinking about the genetics of their favorite strain, they should first make sure their apartment is cannabis-friendly. There are five main factors to consider: space, Temperature, moisturethe pH of water And the amount of light.

space

Space you will need: 3 x 3 x 5 inches, minimum.

“The bigger the space, the better. With all the lights, the tanks get hot,” Lipton said. However, tanks help growers control light pollution when the plant is in its flowering cycle — one of the main reasons home growers prefer them. On larger spaces, like living rooms, “If you have an extra bedroom, or even a basement, you can just use that and close the door,” Lipton said.

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Temperature

The right temperature you need to remember is 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The tool you should always have is a small temperature gauge,” Lipton said. “They call them hygrometers. They’re cheap and tell you the temperature and humidity.”

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Relative humidity

The proper humidity you need to remember is 30-45 percent.

“If you live somewhere humid, you may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier,” Lipton said. “In Boulder, we sometimes have to add moisture.” At home, this can be done using a reliable humidifier.

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Water pH

The proper pH you need to remember is 6.3 to 6.7.

“You’re going to need a meter that you can stick in the water and it will tell you the pH,” Lipton said. “You want a pH of 6.3 to 6.7 to water your plants. This sounds very complicated, but it’s really not. A lot of times, tap water will be around 7.8. You can use what they call pH down. This is a critical step.” “

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light

The appropriate color temperature you need to remember is 2200 thousand.

“For a cabinet setup, I recommend a 175-watt HPS light,” Lipton said. “Some people try using fluorescent lighting, but I don’t recommend it. You won’t get a very good result. Nowadays, HPS lights can go directly into your home’s outlet, and you’ll just need a timer (to set the intervals). Put the light right on top.” “It can be quite vigorous, so you’ll need to place it at least 2 feet from the top of the canopy (to prevent the plant from overheating).”

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      Step 3: Find a healthy cannabis clone

      Medical and recreational dispensaries now sell female cannabis clones, which retail for about $15. Alternatively, it is common for home growers to gift clones to their friends. “When you get a clone, someone will most likely give it to you in a four-inch pot. You skip that whole step of having to germinate the seeds. You actually get ahead 10 or 14 days before the game and you’re basically ready to plant.”

      Step 4: Plant your clone, then maintain the vegetative cycle until it matures

      Cannabis plants produce high quality (and quantity) flowers after maturity. This usually takes about a month to happen. “I recommend planting in a five-gallon Home Depot bucket,” Lipton said. “It’s really important to have proper drainage, so you want to drill some holes in the bottom. The biggest mistake people make is that they overwater and suffocate the roots. Cannabis likes to be watered and dried out before watering again.

      During the vegetative cycle, the plant must be exposed to light for at least 18 hours. Remember to open the closet door while the lights are on to prevent the space from heading north of 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

      Step 5: Launch the flowering cycle

      To understand the flowering cycle, it is important to remember that cannabis is a plant. As with most plants, it follows the seasons. To stimulate flowering — which will take 55 to 60 days to complete — growers reduce the time plants spend exposed to a light source from 18 hours to 12 hours. “You’re basically telling your plant that it’s mid-September,” Lipton said.

      He added that adherence to this timetable is essential. “Let’s say you’re on day 30 of your flowering cycle, and you walk into that closet when it was supposed to be dark and turn on a bunch of lights. You’ll cancel the whole cycle and that’s the end of it. It only takes 10 seconds.”

      Although a 12-hour interval is fairly universal, knowing exactly when to stimulate flowering is less clear. For the home grower, it’s usually a matter of space; The longer they wait to start the flowering cycle, the longer their plant will grow. A good rule of thumb: Cannabis will only continue to grow at 30 to 50 percent capacity once you reduce the light source. If the plant is growing in a closet, growers should run a flowering cycle, knowing that there should be more than two feet of space between the plant’s canopy throughout its entire life.

      Step 6: Harvest and cure your buds

      After 55 to 60 days, growers begin paying close attention to their plants’ trichomes — the small, puffy fibers that develop around the flower of the female plant. “These trichomes will go from transparent to amber,” Lipton said. “They kind of look like red hair. You know it’s harvest time when about 10 to 15 percent of the trichomes turn that color. On average, cannabis plants have a peak harvest period of five to seven days.”

      To harvest, many growers start by removing the leaves of the cannabis plant with pruning shears, followed by the buds (using shears). “We call that a violation,” Lipton said. “Gloves are also very important for sanitation reasons as well as to prevent your hands from sticking to the resin in the plant.”

      The final step involves processing the buds. “The processing is just as important as the growing process,” Lipton added. “We do a slow cure, which means it takes three to six weeks, depending on the variety.” Temperature and humidity play a huge role during treatment and must be maintained to ensure a great final product. “Our actual treatment process is somewhat confidential, so I can’t share the exact details,” Lipton said. “But it is an art form and it is critical to our success.” The reason growers cure the buds after harvest is that it creates a smoother smoke and increases its potency.


      Tyler Chen is a contributing writer for Gear Patrol.

      Sean Terman has been a member of the Gear Patrol editorial board since 2021 and has been writing professionally about gear since 2016.

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