Can you smell that? It smells like victory, and victory it is. With Canada’s legalization of recreational marijuana now in full swing, more and more happy Canucks are wandering around with a grin on their faces. And part of the legal provisions – except for Quebec, Manitoba and Nunavut – is allowing adults in this promised land to grow four cannabis plants per household. We’re here to help the fledgling grower learn how to grow your own pot. So clear out your spare closet, let’s get growing.
Not surprisingly, weed grows like a weed. The plants can end up being massive, so you need to anticipate this. If you’re space is tight, make sure it’s easy to move the plants out to work on them. The space also needs to be light-tight. You want to make it clear to the plants when it’s night and day. Confused plants can result in male flower, which for smoking purposes is more or less useless.
When it comes to lighting, we could write a doctoral thesis with the amount of information available. (Realistically, there’s no way we could write a thesis!) You essentially have three choices of lighting type: HID (high intensity discharge), LED (light emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp). All three have pros and cons, and there are fans of each. We like to consider three factors when deciding on lighting: cost to run, how much heat will be emitted, and how much light can we count on. We want lights that run cool, draw little electricity, and provide full spectrum light for growing.
HID lights have been the grow-op standard for decades, but they tend to run hot and draw a lot of electricity. LED technology has come a long way in the last decade. But a LED rig that provides full spectrum lighting is an investment. Over the long-term, that cost might be mitigated by their lower electricity draw, but it’s a big commitment to begin with.
If you’re growing indoors, you really are the master of the domain. But walking into the garden centre can be overwhelming with the number of soil choices. Keep in mind that in one way or another, you’re going to be consuming what you grow. With that in mind, stick with organic mixes and fertilizers. Typical potting soil will be airy and dark, and rich with organic materials and nutrients. The structure of the soil is important, so if you’re trying to create your own you’ll need the right mix of sand, silt and clay, plus quality compost.
For the beginning gardener, do yourself a favour and purchase a soil that will provide all the nutrients your plants will need without the need of amendments. Horticulture really is a science, so let somebody else worry about the details for your first plants. Any garden centre will carry a complete potting soil for your needs.
Like most things, growing weed can be a casual endeavour or a complex science. But remember, pot is a weed, and it typically grows like one. You can make it as easy as putting a plant in some quality soil and giving it good light. Or you can be completely technical about it, analyzing your soils and lighting to the Nth degree. Whatever you choose, start getting your hands dirty. There’s nothing like sparking up the fruits of your own labour.