In last week’s post, we provided an overview of Oregon state home grow laws and proper etiquette for how to be considerate of your neighbors and housemates. This week, as promised, we’ll dive into what you’ll need to be successful while you get your first home grow off the ground. From choosing a garden location and the necessary equipment to deciding on seeds or clones, we’ll set your thumbs on a solid path to greenery.
Selecting a grow space
When it comes to choosing the location for your weed garden, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Of course, your biggest question will be: indoor or outdoor? Each comes with its own list of pros and cons, but both are fine choices. Depending on where you live and what time of the year it is, the decision might already be made for you.
If you decide to grow outdoor, you’ll want to make sure your plants are getting optimal sunlight for as many hours as possible during the day. This means your outdoor grow must be planned for a specific time of year. Cannabis has two growing stages: vegetative and flowering. During the vegetative stage, plants should be getting at least 8 hours of sunlight each day. Ideally, they’ll get upwards of 12. If this isn’t feasible for your outdoor setup, then you might have better luck indoors. Keep in mind that temperature is also a factor—i.e. 12 hours of sunlight in sub-65°F temperatures will probably stunt the growth of your plants.
Bringing your grow inside means you’ll likely have many locations to choose from. Basements, attics, garages and closets are all great options. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the spot you choose won’t be too difficult to control environmentally. Closets are a popular choice because they are sealed and easy to regulate. If you don’t have a free closet to spare and your garage or basement is a little drafty, consider getting a grow tent. Sure, it’ll up the cost of your overall investment, but the peace of mind that comes along with that extra $100-200 could be well worth it in terms of yield.
Investing in grow accessories
Some people grow their own weed for fun while others are looking for a more cost-effective way to support their cannabis needs. While accessory investments can vary from shoestring frugality to full-blown luxury, the basic needs are similar across the board. In order to successfully bring your plants to harvest, you’ll need to give them tons of light and tons of nutrients, which will vary depending on the growing medium you select for you plants (i.e. soil, water, alternative mixes, etc.). The kinds of tools you choose for your grow will determine your overall investment, but both ends of the spectrum and anything in between are great for getting you to harvest.
As mentioned above, light is of the utmost importance. One of the obvious benefits to growing outdoors is that light from the sun costs free.99. Of course, if you’re looking at an indoor setup, buying lights is an unavoidable cost. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and high-intensity discharge lamps (HIDs) are both great budget options. CFLs are cheap and easy to find, and work well for small grows. HIDs, on the other hand, are generally preferable given the fact they pack a bigger punch and produce consistently solid results. One thing to be wary of with HIDs is their tendency to run hot. If you decide to go with HIDs, make sure you’re not using more light than you need or you will feel the impact on your electric bill.
A third, much more expensive option is light-emitting diodes (LEDs). If you decide to use LEDs, be sure to invest some time into researching appropriate positioning in relation to your plants, as this setup can be trickier to navigate than one using CFLs or HIDs.
Once you’ve determined your light source, your next step will be to select your growing medium. While soil seems like an obvious choice, it’s not your only one. Soilless mixes such as vermiculite and perlite work just as well. That said, growing plants directly in water, referred to as hydroponics, is known to result in some of the fastest and most fruitful yields.
When it comes to choosing a medium, it’ll really come down to what sort of time and money you’d like to invest. At the end of the day, a good nutrient-rich soil will never let you down. Experienced growers tend to recommend starting here and moving onto a hydroponic setup once you’ve become better acquainted with the process. Besides, what really matters are the nutrients. Cannabis plants are hungry for nutrition, so if you’re going the soil route, make sure that soil is jam-packed full of nutrient-dense compost. Give those plant babies what they crave!
Seeds vs. clones
The decision to grow from seed or clone is fraught with strong opinions on either side. Seed evangelists will tell you that their method makes for stronger and healthier plants, while clone enthusiasts are certain that clones are the smoothest way to bring your plants to harvest. The truth is, both are fine options depending on what kind of strain you are growing and where/how you are choosing to grow it. For first-time growers, seeds can be a tad more challenging to work with. That said, it might benefit you to start with clones, master the process and graduate on to more challenging seed varieties down the road.