Cannabis Cultivation Basics
Posted 6 years ago by Ian Shutts
This is not a guide on how to grow weed.
If you are reading this, it probably means you are considering the possibility of cannabis cultivation. Congratulations! Level 1 one complete. We will discuss a general overview of some key aspects of growing. Some growing methods might suit some people better than others, and we will explain why. We will also talk about what should be some of your top priorities to do it right.
Think of this as on what to expect, what your options are, and what you will need for cannabis cultivation. There are no silver bullets. And depending on where you live, it may be legal or not. You may have access to farm land or live in the city. You can be in the middle of the desert, or isolated up on a snowy mountain. So we are going to discuss general things so that when you go out and buy the gear, you will make better and more informed decisions. This information could potentially save you some money.
There are many different methods and techniques of cannabis cultivation. Don’t feel intimidated, we are just going to throw some names, so you start becoming familiar! Here is a list of a few growing methods – NFT, Ebb & Flow, DWC or RDWC, in Coco, Hempy Buckets, organic in soil, aeroponic – the list seems to grow throughout the years as innovation continues.
But let us get back to the beginning and keep it simple. Cannabis cultivation is simple! All you need is soil, seed, water, and light.
There are two main categories. Growing outdoors or indoors. Neither is easier, both have their challenges. Growing outdoors does deliver the best tasting cannabis – no one can compete with Mother Nature.
Outdoors is much cheaper in the long run as you do not pay for sunlight, soil, nutrients and with some luck – water. On the other hand, you will have to deal with bugs, bad weather, wild animals and huge temperature variances. If you are lucky with your latitude and longitude, you could potentially pull off two crops in one given year. Outdoors you can do Guerilla grows (completely in the wild) or create a farming space that is fully equipped with typical farming gear.
Indoors, you get to replicate nature in a radically more controlled way. You can precisely dial in day and night temperatures, maximize growth rates and yields, fine tune feeding, even have multiple crops a year. The cost of materials is higher than outdoors, but operating expenses are immensely higher. However, growing indoors guarantees you total privacy and control.
Growing indoors also has two main methods we can classify. Growing in soil or growing hydroponic. Growing in soil is easier for beginners, but you don’t have as much control as with hydro. Hydro, which is short for hydroponic, literally means “growing in water”. Purely water, inorganic materials, and chemical fertilizers.
The main advantage of hydroponics is complete control over plant nutrition. It is the fastest and most productive method of growing – if and only if you become good at it. The downside is that when things go wrong, they go wrong very quickly.
Growing is soil
– After materials, same operating costs as hydroponic
– organic fertilizer (harder to master)
– inorganic fertilizer (easier to master)
– It is generally not advisable to re-use soil crop after crop
– Harder to create automated feeding systems
– Significantly higher daily labor
– Much more tolerable to growing problems, like pH or nutritional deficiencies
Growing in Hydro
– Higher setup costs
– Extremely difficult and very risky to grow organically
– Inorganic fertilizers are very stable and predictable
– High use of water, but very cheap and easy to dispose
– Inorganic materials like coco, hydroton, perlite can be reused
– Creating automated systems is very easy. One person can manage hundreds of plants
– Low daily labor
If you are a hang loose type of person, do not want to spend too much of your time studying plant nutrition, just want to grow your own homegrown in a care-free chilled-out environment… the definitely go for soil and organic.
On the other hand, if you are geek that enjoys some research, to know everything about everything, like being on top of things, squeeze every last bit of performance where you can… then you will love hydro. That is not to say hydro isn’t relaxed. If done properly it is very much hands-off requiring very little daily work. If done wrong, entire crops can be lost in just a day or two. Having said this, if you find hydro appealing, it is highly advisable you get a crop or two in soil under your belt before attempting it.
In either case, you will need to find a room in which to grow.
This room will need an exhaust port so you can pump out air. As plants use up CO2 in the air, they will need a fresh supply. At the same time, when they start producing the actual female buds, they will stink up the whole place. Never underestimate the power of a female cannabis plant in full bloom. It is simply mind-boggling how far that smell can reach.
Even if you are legal to grow, you will still have neighbors, children around the block, and potential evildoers hounding after the smell. Security should always be your number one priority. Always. This exhaust is your best friend. To it, you should add a carbon filter. A good quality filter, do not go cheap on this as it will be your primary source of security. This contraption is specifically designed to thoroughly scrub the exiting air of any telltale smell as it exists your grow-room.
Your second best friend is a pH pen. Even if you decide to grow completely organic and read somewhere that you don’t need one… you do. Both municipal water and well water can have a 3 to 4 point fluctuation within any given year. That is enough to push your plant into a nutritional deficiency. A well controlled pH will guarantee a happy plant producing happy buds. Otherwise your plant will become unhealthy, and even if just temporary, it could be enough to seriously affect your final yields and quality.
These are probably the most important key point points to get started with cannabis cultivation. When you do start-up budget, things can quickly add up to values way higher than you expect. It is natural to cut back, and having to decide on one thing over another can be very frustrating. Hydro is much more expensive to get started with too. That is also why it makes sense to start in soil and organic with a quality pH pen, rather than attempt hydroponic with a bad one.
Focus your attention on mastering replicating nature indoors, rather than what gear you should buy – that is much more important than all the gear in the world. If you manage to reproduce nature’s best-growing conditions for cannabis, any growing medium can deliver you fantastic yields.