Typically, the cannabis-related news that dominate headlines are the increasing numbers of adult-use laws allowing anyone over 21 to purchase marijuana products from recreational dispensaries. However, what you rarely hear is that most marijuana laws already on the books — to include medical marijuana regulation in most states — permit qualified adults to grow marijuana plants in their own homes.
Cultivating a home cannabis crop is smart for several reasons. For one, you are aware of the quality of your bud because you put your own time and effort into creating it. For another, once your crop is mature, you will never be without a serious stash of weed, which can be essential for medical marijuana users who need reliable doses of THC and CBD. Even in conservative Oklahoma, marijuana growing at home is legal and encouraged because it is so convenient and safe.
Of course, cultivating a healthy cannabis crop isn’t as easy as tossing hemp seeds in a pot and waiting for the bud to grow. Here’s a helpful guide to the tools and techniques you need to successfully tend your home marijuana plants.
Seeds or Clones
It should go without saying that you can’t grow a cannabis crop at home if you don’t have something to start from. Right from the get-go, you have an important choice to make: seeds or clones? There is an age-old debate regarding which is the best way to grow marijuana; if you are serious about growing, you might want to do deeper research on this issue, but for now, here are some quick details:
- Seeds. It takes much more time to grow a productive pot plant from seeds, and seedlings tend to be much more temperamental, requiring more care. However, plants started from seeds tend to grow stronger and healthier, increasing crop yields. Then again, you can’t be totally certain of the traits of plants grown from seeds; you are more or less rolling the dice when it comes to cannabinoid content.
- Clones. Clones are cuttings taken from mature cannabis plants, so they have identical genetics to certain strains you can find in dispensaries. Because clones are already small plants, they take less time to grow and produce bud — however, certain genetic weaknesses can amplify over time, making cloned crops more susceptible to environmental stresses, pests, and disease.
Next, you need something to grow your cannabis crop in. Beginners are advised to grow their plants in the soil as opposed to a complex hydroponics system. Soil is much more forgiving of errors and has a much lower cost to entry than hydroponics, so it gives you a chance to get accustomed to cannabis care before investing your life’s savings in a complex cultivation system. You can get almost any potting soil for your marijuana plant, but you should also invest in a pH gauge to ensure that the soil is just slightly acidic, between pH 6 and 7.
When it comes to the actual container, you need to find a balance between three components of care: moisture, drainage, and aeration. Cannabis roots don’t thrive when soil is too moist, so you need a container that allows water to drain out — but not too quickly, or you will need to water your crop more frequently. You also need a container that provides airflow to the roots, which means the container should be made from a porous material like fabric or clay. In any case, you should use a container-sized between three and five gallons, which will give your plants enough space to grow big and strong.
Most states prohibit growing marijuana in a space visible to public spaces, so you will most likely be growing your cannabis crop indoors. This means you need to think long and hard about your lighting situation. Placing your plant by a sunny window is a good way to give it access to circadian rhythms that inspire healthy patterns of growth, but you probably also invest in a grow light to give your plants an extra boost of the good stuff. If you are set up next to a good window, you might only need a fluorescent bulb, but if you are growing in a closet or dark room, you might need to invest in a 250-watt HID lamp instead. In both cases, you should wear eye protection when caring for your plants, so you don’t stress your retinas and end up with headaches.
Finally, as your crop begins to mature, you will need a way of monitoring the trichomes, or the tiny, crystal-like structures covering cannabis plants that contain the bulk of the plant’s cannabinoids. Because trichomes are not visible to the naked eye, you will need a magnifier to help you identify when the trichrome glad heads are fully developed.
More than the tools outlined above, you will need patience and diligence to keep your cannabis crop alive and thriving. However, if you can commit to a certain level of care, you will soon have a surfeit of sticky herb to enjoy.