This article will inform you of a practical way to get going with an indoor cannabis growing operation and the key components needed to get up and running. Many growers choose to grow indoors for a number of reasons:
- supply your own home-grown recreational and medical supply
- a year-round supply of cannabis regardless of the amount of daylight outdoors
- due to laws, many growers have to keep cannabis plants away from the sight and smell of law abiding citizens
- some believe indoor cannabis is a superior product, debatable
- “easier” to manipulate cannabis for breeding, flowering and your final product
It may seem easy, but growing cannabis indoors is not easy as 1-2-3, if you want to do it well. You basically have to recreate mother-earth inside a closed-off location. This requires lighting, air flow, nutrients, growing medium, security, water and a lot of blood, sweat , and tears. But don’t worry too much, hopefully, I will give you some insight and help you simplify the process of you setting up your own indoor grow operation. The best advice is to keep things simple but “ BE RESPONSIBLE “. You will be dealing with electricity, hot lamps, moving fans, chemicals and other dangerous substances found in soils and more. Always understand and know the necessary precautions to handle all equipment involved! Also consider the legal risk you are involving yourself, family and friends in regarding growing your cannabis. Check local laws and requirements before setting up a grow operation.
Cannabis Growing: Seeds
What you put in is what you get out. Starting off, one obviously has a small budget and plan put together for your grow. It’s a good idea to put pen to paper before you start. Spending a small fortune setting up an indoor grow, it would be a wise idea to invest in original trusted cannabis strains. Depending on where you are there are many dispensaries and online seed banks that sell seeds. However, it’s not uncommon for newbie growers to use seeds from their last dime bag of weed. It’s actually a good idea to use these seeds to test your new indoor environment, but if you are confident enough, go ahead and buy online.
Cannabis Growing: Growing Mediums
There are an endless variety of growing mediums, especially for indoor growing. Hydroponic growers usually choose inert mediums such as clay pellets, gravel, rock wool and many others. But using soil as a medium has a couple more benefits in itself:
- usually cheap and easily available
- the soil is a lot more forgiving than traditional hydroponic mediums
- the existing microbial life in the soil allows for good root development and general plant health
- a lot of cannabis enthusiasts prefer the more earthy natural taste of soil grown cannabis
- soil holds water
There are many good commercially available pre-made soil mixes such as Fox Farms or SoHum Living Soils. Again what you put in, is what you get out. The cannabis plant is not a picky plant and can be grown successfully in most soils and climates. But putting together a good soil mix is a key component to a happy and healthy plant. Like tomatoes, weed enjoys an acidic soil mix, a pH balance of 6 is recommended. Cannabis uses a lot of nitrogen in its vegetative state and uses more phosphorus during the flowering phase. A broad range of macro- and micronutrients are also required for optimal growing conditions.
Basic Organic Soil Recipe
- 3 parts potting soil
- 3 parts compost
- 2 parts perlite
- 1 part worm castings 1 cup Epsom salts
- 1 cup rock dust
Mulch – wood shavings, dried grass clippings, shredded newspaper
The basic organic soil recipe covers most of the nutrients needed from NPK (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to grow a small crop through the vegetative stage of the cannabis life-cycle. It is necessary to complement the soil with a broader range of slow release nutrients during both the vegetative and flowering stages.
Cannabis Growing: Electricity
Because you are growing indoors, you will require a consistent supply of affordable electricity. Depending on the size of your grow operation, both lights and fans will need to provide two vital needs of the cannabis plant.
There are a number of lights on the market to provide specific indoor cannabis plants lighting needs from compact-florescent lights, high-pressure sodiums, metal-halides through to new-to-the market technology LED. Lights are a very important feature as it needs to replace basically what the sun is doing outdoors. But a single indoor plant can be grown under as little as 20 watts of light and upwards of thousands of watts used, for example, 10 x 600-watt HPS lamps = 6000 watts. This amount of wattage could be used to grow hundreds of plants.
Fans are needed to move air in, out and around your room. You will need to work cubic feet per minute (CFM) to decide your fan size you will be needing for either passive air or active air intake. Cannabis Growing: Water
Water does not go well with electricity but is one of the last necessary components to a cannabis indoor grow. It’s vital you have a consistent supply of fresh water daily. Water needs to be well aerated, free of contaminants and sitting at a P 5.5 to 6.5. You will need a fair amount of water per plant during the growing cycle. A large female can use up to 8 gallons a day, more water during hot summer months.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to indoor growing. You will still need to make sure your grow room is free from outside light and air leaks. Cleanliness is often overlooked in grows. Keeping your grow room and cannabis plants in a clean environment is key. Consider being proactive and investing in good preventative measures for bugs and pests that will enter your room. Preparation and research is key to starting your first indoor grow. But it is exciting and challenging, with great returns on your initial investment.