Growing your own marijuana at home is easier than you think. I’m no expert, so if I can do it, you can do it! Yeah, I know you’ve heard that before but in this case it’s true. I was tired of constantly having to buy my medicine and wanted to start growing my own at home.
The hardest part of growing I thought would be the care of the plants. That’s actually the easy part! The hardest part was knowing what to purchase to start my grow. What do I need? What size this, what color that… well, here it is for you: your simplified shopping list.
Below is a collection of products one would need to start a successful Cannabis grow at home. Don’t worry, I’ll break each thing down and discuss it’s a necessity. The main thing to remember when growing your own Cannabis is to be patient, have fun, and stay curious along the way.
Insiders Tip: Keep it simple, choose a grow tent package.
Grow Tent Suggested Starter Sizes
Grow Tent Accessories
Suggested Starter Grow Lights
Grow Light Accessories
My strongest recommendation would be, start small. Does that mean you need the smallest tent you can find? Well... no.
I recommend starting with a 2’ x 4’ or 3’ x 3’ tent as this will give you more room to move around. A 2’ x 4’ grow tent will give you the ability to grow 3 - 4 plants without having to deal with overcrowding. These smaller tents can also be turned into a drying or veg tent later on if you wish to upgrade your tent.
Something to think about is where are you going to put the tent and what kind of space do you have available? Most tents have ports on their sides meaning tubing will be coming out the sides. If you have a 4’ space and you want to put a 4’ tent you will be out of luck with no room to access the in and out ports of the tent. Now let’s check the height clearance. If you have a room with a standard 8’ ceiling do you want to jump for that tall tent with the optional extension up to 7.5’? No… again let’s remember you are going to have to put this together, how hard is it going to be to fit a canvas around your frame with only a little clearance without tearing your material? Touching on height again remember we’re new at this we aren’t going to grow the tallest plants available, nice shorter “indoor” plants can produce an abundant amount of cannabis.
Now for the last question…. Do you even need a tent? Remember that old story of your buddy growing weed in his closet back in college, well yeah that totally works. You can even outfit an extra room to grow marijuana as well, the only thing you will need to remember is that you will need to control the light completely, meaning during the lights off hour you want 0 light coming into the space. Don’t forget the smell as well, as you get to the end of your grow and closer to harvest time the smell from these plants can be quite pungent and this is when an exhaust fan along with a carbon filter comes in very handy.
Grow Tent Accessories
Monkey Fans & Clip Fans
Wait why do I need fans if I have a Ventilation System? Well, these are smaller fans that go inside your tent and circulate air while helping to create a more natural environment for your plants by creating a breeze that moves the stems and leaves. Why is that important, well, strong branches hold bigger buds. This also helps move the air around inside of the tent helping to alleviate hot spots, areas in your tent that may be hotter due to the positioning of the lights and other equipment in your tent or room. Giving the plants a more even distribution of temperature makes it easier to adjust for the overall health of the room.
What the heck is a trellis, isn’t that for growing tomatoes and stuff like that? Well yeah, it is, but in fact, it’s more for training and supporting those tomatoes, works the same for weed. Now, why do I want to use a trellis net, one simple reason you will be able to grow more and healthier marijuana. You will have a few options with a trellis net as to how you can use it, mainly you will use it to help spread out the branches as they grow taller. The farther apart the branches are the more surface area of the plant is able to absorb the light making your final harvest more abundant. You can also use the trellis net for creating a S.C.R.O.G or Screen Of Green. By folding the branches down to constantly stay and grow under the netting until the net is full will create much more available weed at harvest, however, also tends to resort in much smaller nugs… but it’s a lot of them :)
Pots & Saucers
Pot’s and saucers, well that’s easy I’ll just pick up some pots and you’re good to go, right? Well yeah, that’s right, it’s easy. However here are a few tips when choosing your pots. Choose between Plastic Pots and Fabric Pots.
Plastic is easy, fill your pot with water and watch the water flow from the drain holes at the bottom. Fabric is a little harder but way better for your plant, fabric sides allow oxygen to enter the soil which the roots feed on and can grow faster and thicker. However, fabric pots may not be for beginners who are new to watering, as the fabric type can tend to flow out the sides and you need to be sure to saturate the soil completely to the bottom of the pot.
Now for saucers, are you growing outdoors? If so you are good to go, that overflow water is just going to go into the soil around the plant. However, if you are growing indoors you don’t want all that water spilling on to the floor. Get yourself some saucers and in my opinion, get yourself some Deep Pot Saucers which will allow you to water your plants more than you would normally to make sure you saturate all the soil giving your roots their best chance.
Remember that thing they tried to teach us back in school about photosynthesis… wait don’t leave yet this will help your cannabis. So photosynthesis is where plants take sunlight and convert Co2 into Carbohydrates and Oxygen. However the one thing to remember is that you are inside and most likely your plants are in a tent, not much naturally occurring Co2 happening there. Get yourself a Co2 releasing product and your plants will grow faster and healthier, and they are no maintenance, simply activate and hang in your tent.
Soil & Nutrients
Do not use MiracleGro, or really any of those standard vegetable soils you can find at the big box stores. Stick with what everyone uses and pick up some Fox Farm soil or other Organic Soil. These other big box soils contain extended-release nutrients that can mess with the ratio later on in your flower cycle. For additional nutrients, my main suggestions are to skip them the first time around.
Focus on learning how to water your plants and getting the pH of your water at a nice 6.0–6.8. Once you have your watering schedule figured out and aren’t over watering or under watering your plants it’ll be time to start experimenting with nutrients, even then look for starter kits, take a look at their recommended feeding schedule and look for something that not only you can understand and follow but one that makes sense to you. Many nutrient manufacturers are designed to be mixed with large amounts of water for 100's of plants and are expected that some of the nutrients are lost in the process. If you have a small garden only use about 75–90% of what the bottle recommends. New smaller nutrient starter packs made from water dissolvable powders are easier to use and have correct mixture measurements. Take a look at the Lotus Nutrients easy to follow feeding calendar.
This can be the hardest and most confusing part when learning to grow, don’t worry it’s way easier than you think. There are 3 different types of lighting we will be looking at; Fluorescent, CMH/HPS Light Fixtures, and LED Grow Lights. While these may seem like very different technologies they are all attempting to do one thing, replace the sun. How does cannabis grow, with light? All three grow light technologies work in the same way trying to focus on different light spectrums to be used at different times during the growing cycle. The grow cycle of marijuana is referred to as Vegetative and Flower, think of it as growing and blooming it’s simple. Now let’s think of the sun, days get longer, sunsets last longer, the color of the sky changes, well all of these things play a part in the life of our precious cannabis plant.
Fluorescent will be a great way to start and learn as there are only two light spectrums to worry about, one for Veg and one for Bloom, nice and easy. Fluorescent has a few beneficial features as they are significantly lower heat than then your standard CFM/HPS light fixture, and because of this, you can place closer to your plants. That being said you will need to keep your fluorescent lights close to the plants as their UV strength starts to fade after 11–12” (this is where the reflective sides of a grow tent come in handy reflecting the unused light around giving you better use of all available light). Fluorescent is also strongly recommended for Clones and Seedlings as the light that is put off is softer and not as harsh on the young plants.
CFM/HPS Light Fixtures
This is the standard and original method of indoor growing due to the plethora of different bulb styles, spectrums, strengths, wattages and more. However, these lights are very hot and will need a lot of additional cooling including ventilation and air conditioning. These are not a recommended option for growing at home due to both their excess heat that you will need to take care of or expect lower quality plants. Also, the amount of electricity used by these types of fixtures can cause many homeowners to rethink growing their own medicine when they get their first electricity bill.
LED Grow Lights
There are many pluses to LED grow lights with very few minuses when you look at your purchase in the long run. LED lights can tend to be more expensive and are looked at as more of an investment than a simple purchase. Do I recommend using LED grow lights, YES, do I recommend using LED grow lights for your first grow, well no, unless you got the extra money to spend I would make sure this is something you will invest not only your money but your time in. There are inexpensive LED grow light options out there however the old saying, “you get what you pay for” is true. Remember us talking about replacing the sun, well you aren’t going to do that with a $50 piece of plastic with red and blue LEDs on it, do your research!
LED grow lights are designed to deliver only the needed light spectrum of your plants, you will see many Full Spectrum lights, this is fine and in fact makes things very easy as they only put out what you need so you don’t need to worry about switching from Veg to Bloom, while others will have a switch or a setting to change the spectrum. Another huge advantage of LED lights is that the good ones will include Infrared and UV emitting LED diodes only to help promote a more natural light delivery to the plants. I think there was one more thing… OH YES, the heat, well the lack thereof. LED grow lights run very cool and often come with enough built-in cooling to keep the unit cool to the touch. This drop in heat shows the unit is using much less electricity from your home and needing way less ventilation and little to no cooling at all.
Grow Light Accessories
Shouldn’t I just get some chain or rope and hang my light with that? Well sure if you want to, however keeping the right distance of your light from your plants is very important, your light fixture will tell you the optimal distance. Yes I know you can just adjust your light every few days it’s not that hard, well you want not that hard, just get the damn Light Hangers, these simple to adjust hangers can make your light go up or down without needing to unhook or untie anything.
Is this something you have to have? No
Is this something you will never go without after you use one? Yes
The amount of time a light is on is the most important part of growing your marijuana. During the vegetative stage, you need your lights on for 18 to 24 hours. Yes, you can have them on for 24 hours however I recommend you stick with 18 hours for your first few grows. Under 24 hours of light, your plants can grow faster which can get you either larger plants or possibly an earlier harvest, however when you give your plants 6 hours of darkness this allows them to rest and recover. We do a lot to our plants from pruning to moving them around under the lights. We need sleep to recover, so do they, give your plants 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness, then change to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness during your flowering stage.
Mechanical Timers Vs Digital Timers
There are two types of electrical timers, mechanical and digital. We all know the older style round push pin timers that we grew up with during Christmas. These are fine but when making adjustments and setting multiple times to the same time can prove to be more than an annoyance. Digital timers give you easy to set times using a digital clock and buttons, often giving you the setting for different times during different days.
Grow Light Glasses
Whether you are using CMH/HPS Grow Light Fixtures or LED Grow Lights having the correct protective eyewear will go a long way in not only your vision but your ability to see the plants. Remember how these grow lights are designed specifically for your plants, well that means they are missing some of the colors we are used to seeing every day causing the plants to either to look dull and yellow under large bulb grow fixtures and bright purple under LED lights.
Keeping your plants from overheating is extremely important. You will want to keep your plants, for most strains, at a nice 86º matched with a nice 70–75º at night or lights off. A good ventilation system will help you create this healthy environment very simply and with very little need for making adjustments.
In-Line Exhaust Fan
The most important part of your ventilation system will be your in-line fan, this fan pulls the air from the inside of the tent and forces it out, which also helps pull new fresh and cooler air into the tent, usually from a lower vent on your tent. My main tip for picking your exhaust fan, don’t go overboard, a 4” fan will suit most beginners needs. Just because your tent accepts 6–8” ducting doesn’t mean you need to use that large, that most likely means they have much larger tents that also use the same port material and it is cheaper to make that way.
Whats a brushless motor?
The difference between a brushless motor and a brushed motor is that a brushed motor uses magnets to generate its power and movement, while a brushed motor uses a controller that regulates the power. What does this mean? Well, you can save some money with a brushed motor also known as a booster fan however you will not be able to control the speed of the fan as it is either an all or nothing type of setup. Using a grow tent you will want to change the speed of the fan to help tune in the correct temperature.
Fan Speed Control
There are two types of speed controls, manual and automatic. Which is best for you? After having used both I much prefer the automatic choice since the temperature moving into summer the ambient temperature of the house has gone up, which has caused the temperature of the tent to go up. However, without me needing to my automatic fan speed control has been taking care of things boosting the speed to 100% whenever my temperature rises above a set level.
Carbon Air Filter
When you first start your grow you won't really need a carbon air filter as the only smell coming from your tent or grow room will be the smell of dirt and soil, now if this smell offends you, you might be getting into the wrong hobby. Now once your well taken care of plants start to flower, they will produce that overly familiar smell we are all used to. To combat this you can attach a carbon filter before your in-line fan while still inside your tent to combat this. The activated carbon in the filter attracts and traps the smells before they ever leave your tent. Keep your home and everything in it stank free.
Ducting & Muffler
Don't forget to get your ducting, and make sure it the same size as your ports and your in-line fan, don't want to have to buy additional adapters or use a ton of duct tape. Something you may want to look at is Light Proof ducting. This ducting contains a hard black shell to not allow any light through any small punctures or thin areas of the lining. Remember light control is key to a successful grow.
Some of us may not be lucky enough to have a separate room to keep our grow tent and equipment and have a small tent in the living room or in the corner of our bedrooms. If that's the case look into a muffler. They aren't that expensive and won't need replacing unless you change the size of your fan. One of these bad boys will drop the noise in the room by -25db. While 25db may not sound like much that is comparable to standing next to a garbage disposal, and then sitting in a quiet restaurant, that's enough of a difference for me.
Do you really need a timer for your ventilation, don’t we want to keep it on all the time to keep the temperature perfect. Well, when your lights go off your ambient temperature may go down low enough to not need your system to be on. If it isn’t needed, turn it off along with your lights and save even more on your utility bill.