Indoor Growing Simplified
Growing is smart. Growing isn’t rocket science. Buying is expensive.
It’s a lot easier than you may think to grow Cannabis plants indoors, yes you can max out on the set up, the science and additional nutrients etc but these articles are intended for the beginner grower, the ones just wishing they didn’t have to pay so much for their now legalized pass time.
So yeh, plants want to grow… give them water, light and nutrients and they will just do it adjusting themselves and their requirements along the way if their environment isn’t perfect. If you change the light cycle to a flowering one they will flower and produce buds, how many and the quality of them is where the science comes in. We have simplified it as much as possible in this guide.
Fortunately, now we have lots of great Cannabis strains for indoor growing under LED lights indoor growing for beginners is very much a thing. The jury is out over which lighting method (LED/HPS MH) is “better” (that word is completely subjective in our opinion) but pretty much everyone would agree that a beginner should start with LED’s as they are extremely unlikely to start fires via the creation of too much heat.
Soil / Coco / Hydro
Ok now then, another concern for beginners is which way to grow, in soil / coco / hydro. Using solid requires no explanation here, using Coco means using coconut fiber just like soil but the fiber provides no nutrients you add them as you grow, hydro is short for hydroponics which means no soil, no coco, just water (or mist even) that is loaded with nutrients.
Again, for the sake of simplicity and probability of a successful grow most would agree that absolute beginners should use soil. Using soil as your growth medium means that the plant already has all the nutrients it needs available and in slow release format, the grower does not need to adjust nutrient levels and understand everything they can just watch it grow and concern themselves with maybe some additional nutrients at the vegetation and flowering stages.
As far as soil is concerned and the best kind to use Quick Grow recommends Living Soil by Full Spectrum a local Calgary company as it is formulated to have all of the correct nutrients and bacteria in all of the correct balances and is even pH adjusted, it really is set it and forget it soil that will support a plant through an entire growth cycle with no added nutrients needed.
There are three basic stages to growing plants successfully, they are – root growth, vegetation and flowering. Plants decide which stage they are in according to how much light they are getting per day. If they are getting 18 hours of light per day they will grow roots, stalks, stems and leaves as they think it is summer. If they then start to get 12 hours of light per day they will then start to use their previous growth of vegetation to produce flowers (buds in this case) as 12 hours of light mimics the fall season.
A normal growth cycle for Cannabis plants is 8 to 12 weeks to produce roughly 3 ounces of premium bud but if a grower wishes to produce more than this amount they can decide to extend “summer” for as long as they wish and keep the plant vegetating and therefore producing stems and leaves. Flowers form at the nexus points of stems and leaves so the more vegetation you do the more buds you get.
Starting Your Grow
So let’s assume you are working with minimal space in a 3X3 cupboard in an apartment so you can’t risk overflows etc., you have gone with Living Soil as your medium, seeds (rather than clones) and you have all your trays and pots etc. A 3×3 cupboard is enough room to grow four very healthy plants which is the amount any Canadian resident can grow legally. So let’s go through the basic steps of what you need to do to grow a decent crop of plants.
Germination of Seeds
The best and most easy way to germinate seeds is to place them in a piece of wet kitchen towel and fold it over the seeds, then place the wet towel into a Ziploc sandwich bag, seal it and put the package into a dark but warm place for a few days. Check on it daily and pretty soon you will start to see the seeds’ first roots emerging, now is the time to gently remove the seed and place it in it’s first pot of soil.
Seeds do not have the energy to push through soil that is too closely packed, this is why farmers till their ground before planting. The same applies here, do not press down the soil over your transplanted seeds and only put them just below the surface, they need to be able to detect light and grow towards it. Regarding the moisture in your soil obviously you do not want it to be too dry but similarly you do not want it to be too wet either as soil that is too wet will starve the roots of oxygen which is not good. If the soil sticks together when squeezed in the hand but still crumbles readily when pressed between the fingers it has the correct moisture content.
Once planted there will not be much activity on the surface but the roots will be very busy, the initial shoot that the seed puts out form two proto-leaves which create energy only (actual leaves do more than this). These first two proto-leaves will break off once the root structure is well developed and the plant has started to grow its first real leaves. From this point on, for a simple grow and if you are using Living Soil it really is as simple as watering and light cycles.