How Do I Grow Cannabis? – 3 Things You Need to Know
So, you’ve been following the news, you know the laws (and if you don’t check out our next blog), the day is here and you are excited to be able to legally partake in cannabis. What do you do next? Well, people can’t legally sell it to you so how can you possibly enjoy your newly legal hobby? Maybe you’re thinking about growing.
In a lot of ways growing cannabis is like growing any other plant. It has preferences. It has needs. There are many varieties and growers have their favorites. Like heirloom tomatoes, some varieties may take a little extra TLC but to the connoisseur the difference in final product is worth it.
Like tomatoes you can grow cannabis indoors or outdoors but there are some potential pitfalls with outdoor growth with either and a few extra with the newly legal option.
Yes You Can(nabis)!
The obvious benefits of growing cannabis indoors include the ability to control the environment and the ability to have plants growing year-round. The weather and whether you have suitable outdoor space for growing with correct sun to shade ration and good soil have led indoor growers of every crop to Blue Ridge Hydroponics for years.
With cannabis you may also desire discretion. Even though it is now legal to grow up to 4 plants per household you may not like the prying eyes of neighbors who may judge you for your crop. And you also don’t want to draw the attention of potential thieves.
So what do you need to grow indoors? The most important things are the growing medium, humidity, temperature and light. And in order to get those right you just need a little knowledge and some products from yours truly.
Growing Cannabis at the Correct Light and Temperature Level
The first thing you need to know when thinking about providing the right amount of light and the correct temperature for your plants is that the amounts differ in different stages of growth.
Generally speaking, seedlings grow best between 75 and 85 degrees. When plants are in their vegetative growth stage the upper limit remains the same but the lower range drops to 70. As for light 18 hours a day is best. Finally, when plants are flowering, they prefer a temperature range from 65 to 80 degrees and 12 hours of light a day.
Simple enough right?
But how do you control the space to keep it at the correct temperature and light exposure?
First of all, it’s important to make sure your space is set up with no light leaks so that your plants are only exposed to light when you are deliberately exposing them. If they get extra light coming from another source (like a crack around a door or window) plants do not get the simulated night and day that you are trying to provide.
If you know anything about growing plants, you probably know that the lights used to grow them are not your standard lightbulbs. Grow lights are designed specifically for indoor growing and come in 4 varieties: LED, LEC, Metal Halide/High Pressure Sodium and T5.
Each has its own pros and cons. It’s up to you (with our help if you want it ;)) to figure out which product is best for your personal set-up.
LED has the highest startup cost but is the most energy efficient, has the lowest temperature and the best light spectrum. LEC is mid-range option that requires $100 bulb replacements once a year. It produces a lot of heat. T5 is cooler than LEC but requires more bulb replacements. Metal Halide/HPS has a lower start-up cost but is also the hottest and least energy efficient.
Obviously, different heat levels coming from your lights will require different air flow and thermostat set-ups. The external temperature of both the outdoors and the rest of your home will also affect how much work you need to put into controlling the temperature of your growing space. Whether you need to heat up or cool off your growing space, we have what you need.
What Does My Cannabis Need in Its Growing Medium?
The two ways to grow cannabis indoors are in soil or water (hydroponic).
Whichever way you choose, you will need to make sure your growing medium has the correct nutrients and PH. You can get in the weeds (pun intended) about the perfect amount of each nutrient to have in your growing medium but generally the right high-quality fertilizer will balance it out for you. As for pH, generally a range of 5.8 – 6.2 is preferred though the ideal range can change based on variety and growing medium. The correct pH range makes it possible for your plants to take in nutrients.
Blue Ridge Hydroponics has all the soil, fertilizer, and hydroponic set-up equipment you will need to get your indoor garden set-up right.
Just as important as what you want in your plants is what you don’t want. And what don’t we want? Pests.
There are products available to treat infestations in your plants but the best way to go is to prevent them in the first place. Keeping your plants healthy and your pH correct goes a long way toward keeping pests away. There are also soil additives that can help as well as beneficial insects that can be added to your garden to keep less beneficial insects away.
How Humid Should the Environment of My Cannabis Be?
When it comes to humidity, like light and temperature it varies depending upon the plants stage in the growth cycle. During the seedling stage the humidity range should be between 65 and 80 %. This reduces to 40 to 70% during its vegetative state and further down to 40 to 50 % and 30 to 40 % in its initial and final stages of flowering, respectively.
You can keep your plants in the correct humidity ranges by using humidifiers and dehumidifiers. You can measure humidity with a hydrometer which measures water vapor content in the air. Creating good air flow can also have a positive effect on obtaining the ideal humidity level. For example, if your grow room has become too humid, sometimes just opening the space for a little while can create the desired effect.
Obviously, there are many ways to set up a space and every space is different so there is only so much we can go over in just over 1000 words. Our goal here was to go over the basics. But know that the friendly staff at Blue Ridge Hydroponics are always here to help you with any questions you have about appropriate products and set up for your growing projects. We’d love to help you grow!