Last Updated on September, 2023 by Rob Wilson
Before you start off with your journey of growing your own weed, there are many different notions about it in your mind. However, most growers who are starting off tend to think that growing marijuana is a tough and challenging task which consumes a lot of time and effort. However, while it is true that it does require time and effort, it is not something that is too hard for a novice grower. In fact, if you know what you are doing, this is actually quite a simple process! The plant grows by itself, you just need to provide the right kind of care to it.
Over the course of this article, we aim at taking a closer look at everything that you need to know about growing weed – right from its life cycles to the different methods of growing weed, how to know if what you are growing is indeed a ‘good quality’ product.
As well as what to do after the whole process of growing is complete. We also attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about marijuana – growing it as well as consuming it! This is a one-stop destination for everything that you want to know about growing marijuana, and more specifically, growing marijuana indoors!
Understanding the Life Cycle of a Marijuana Plant
Before you start off on your marijuana growing journey, you need to understand one thing – the life cycle of the plant. These are the different stages it goes through, starting right at the seed stage and going all the way up to the time you finally harvest it to smoke that sweet, sweet bud you had been growing for yourself!
- Seed: The seed stage is the first and the most basic stage of them all! In this stage, the marijuana that you are growing is still not a plant! Here, you need to make sure that you are using only feminized seeds because these are the ones which will produce flowers. Male seeds do not produce flowers and are in fact a deterrent to growth. In order to ensure that you are getting the right kind of seed, there are two options – you can either rely on a seed bank and buy feminized seeds from there, or you can buy seeds from another grower who has separated the seeds at birth which ensures that you are getting the right kind of seeds for sure.
- Germination: After the seed stage, comes the next stage of growth – the germination stage. Here, the plant is yet to be developed, but the idea is to get the seed sprouted and have the roots come out. Seeds are soaked in water and kept in a warm, dark place for a while till you begin to see the small root coming out. This process is important and this is where many seeds tend to fail. On an average, if you are buying 10 seeds from a seed bank, about 1 to 2 out of them will not germinate. However, the ones which have germinated will then need to be taken into the next stage.
- Seedling: The germinated seeds are then planted with the root facing the downward direction and this is where your plant’s first actual phase of growth begins. Here, you need your grow lights and water, and basically all the other elements needed for the growth of a plant. This is the stage of growth where the plant’s shoot starts to develop and it emerges out of the soil. In this stage of growth, you will notice that the plant is growing in the direction of the source of light and that leaves have started to emerge. While it won’t really be a thick growth, there will be some leaves which start growing. This is also the stage of growth where you need to take maximum care as the plant is still very young and can get damaged easily.
- Vegetative Growth: This is the stage of the growth where the plant begins to take the form of what we actually know them as. The shoot begins to grow thicker and stronger, more branches begin to emerge and more leaves start coming out as well. This is the stage where you need to prune your plant too, because a thick growth might mean some lower leaves do not get proper access to light. This is the stage of growth where the marijuana plant requires the maximum amount of light, about 18 hours a day. Once you begin lowering the light, you enter the pre-flowering stage.
- Pre Flowering: Here, about 15 hours of light would be sufficient and this is the stage just before the flowering process begins. You will see that buds have begun to emerge and in this stage if you have grown any male plants by mistake, you will be able to clearly identify them and separate them as well. The pre-flowering stage is marked by continued rapid growth and the emergence of buds. Lowering the light down to 12 hours will trigger the movement from the pre-flowering to the flowering phase.
- Flowering: This is the phase of the marijuana plant’s growth cycle where the plant has fully matured and flowers have started to emerge. It is at this point that you know that you are ready to harvest soon and it is at this point that you also need to reduce the humidity levels and start providing a higher dose of nutrients as well. It is here that the taste and the final chemical composition of your harvest is largely decided. This stage requires an almost equal amount of light and darkness.
- Harvest: The final stage, where you cut off the portions that you are going to smoke and you leave them to dry for days. Here, the portions that have been cut off are cleaned and you know exactly how much ‘produce’ you’ve got from the plants you’ve grown. Post this, it is the time to smoke up that sweet, sweet bud!
Growing Marijuana Indoors vs Growing Marijuana Outdoors
When it comes to growing your own marijuana, you need to know which are the two main ways in which it is done – there’s a method of indoor growth while there’s also a way to grow marijuana outdoors. Let us take a closer look at both of them:
- Growing Marijuana Outdoors: This is the way that marijuana has been grown for thousands of years. It has been grown outdoors, under the sunlight and via water from rain. The natural periods of changing sunlight with the changing season trigger the vegetative and bloom phase of the plant and everything happens naturally. This is why September to November is usually the best time for growing weed outdoors because the weather conditions are just perfect. Here, however, there are a number of risks such as too much or too little rain can damage the plants, there’s also the risk of insects and pests, while there’s also a chance that snow might damage the plants. Furthermore, this is not an optimal method for growth everywhere because of the day-night cycles being different around the world.
- Growing Marijuana Indoors: This is something that has become the top way to grow marijuana over the past century, and this is popular because it gives you maximum possible control over the marijuana that you are growing. In this method, you need to grow your weed using artificial sources of light and air, and provide water manually. The natural light of the sun is replaced by grow lights, which (if used with the proper wavelengths) can replicate it pretty well. You can provide air using fans, humidity using humidifiers and thanks to other equipment such as grow tents and heaters and air conditioners, etc. you can actually simulate the best-case scenario where you can regulate the exact amount of light, heat, water, nutrients, air, etc. that a marijuana plant needs to produce the maximum possible yield! Hence, indoor growth has been getting rather popular of late.
How to Know You Are Growing Good Quality Weed?
- Smell: The first and the most basic indicator of a well-grown marijuana plant is the smell that comes off it! Weed has a very distinct smell which almost everyone can recognize in an instant! If your plant does not produce that smell, or if the smell is too weak, there’s a chance that the marijuana that you are growing is not potent enough. Furthermore, the smell needs to be fresh. A stale smell would mean that your efforts haven’t really paid off that well.
- The density of Buds: Another indicator that the weed that you are growing is indeed a good quality produce is that the buds are pretty dense. The denser the buds are, the better it means for your plant. Light buds could mean that there is something that has gone wrong in the way you have grown your plant. While there might be a few light buds on your plant, but having a lot of them means that something has certainly not gone the way it should have.
- Moisture in the Buds: One thing that many growers (especially those growing for the first time) might not know is that a well-grown bud is usually a little sticky and moist. The freshest of the buds that you find are sticky. This is because of terpenes, which are a chemical compound also responsible for the smell of weed. There’s usually a chance that if your bud is not as moist, it won’t even smell that much. Especially around the time when it is still fresh. A dry bud is a sign of something having gone wrong.
- Taste: Another key indicator of weed which has grown well is that it would taste well too! The taste of your marijuana plant determines a lot! A plant that has been grown well would usually have a good and strong taste and a badly grown plant is likely to taste like an after-burnt product. Some growers even prefer to use nutrients that ensure that the bud tastes well. However, too little or too strong a taste would mean that something has gone wrong while the nutrients were being provided – either too little or too much of them have gone into the weed.
- Colour and Texture: Last but not the least, the look and feel of the marijuana buds also matters a lot when you are deciding if the weed is of a good quality. Make sure there are not a lot of seeds and stem in the final product! The best kind of weed is usually very green in colour! While some shades of purple, pink and brown are also present at times, anything other than these colours (especially dark brown or black) is a strict no-no and a clear indicator of bad quality produce.
Why Should You Grow Your Own Weed Instead of Buying It?
One question that many growers tend to ask time and again is – why are we growing marijuana while there’s an option to buy it! Now that weed has become legal across so many states in the US and in many countries around the world, you no longer need to buy it from hush-hush dealers and you can actually walk into a dispensary to buy your own weed! However, there’s still a lot that is beneficial when it comes to growing your own weed. Here are some reasons as to why you should grow it rather than buying it:
- Purity During Growth: The biggest reason as to why most growers like to grow their own weed is that this ensures that the produce is pure! When you are growing your own weed, it is similar to cooking your own food – this means that you know exactly what has gone into the preparation! Depending on someone else for your weed gives you many doubts, not knowing what kind of nutrients have gone into it and there’s also the risk of the weed not being so potent or even being stale/etc. For all you know it might even have been infested by insects and pests. This gives you an assurance that you are smoking the best quality stuff.
- Lesser Costs: While weed has become legal, it has become quite expensive too! The cost of growing weed might seem high initially, but when you look at the produce, you realize that you are getting quite a lot of weed for a significantly lesser cost! Growing a couple of plants really well could last you for a really long time as compared to buying your stock of weed from a local dispensary time and again.
- Customize THC Levels: Another great thing about growing your marijuana yourself is the fact that it allows you a much greater level of control over the growth process, allowing you to also tinker with the THC levels. By providing the right kind of nutrients at the right time, you can actually ensure that the plant is getting the best quality and quantity of nutrients which would lead towards the best possible potency, giving you a good ‘high’ out of it which you perhaps cannot find in any other product.
- Privacy: Last but very important, privacy is something that plays a huge role for growers who prefer growing their weed rather than buying it. This means that you do not have to go out into a dispensary thereby no one on the street can see you and judge you for that! Despite weed having become legal, people continue to consider marijuana and weed smokers as a social taboo! This will help you get past that with ease.
In addition to these reasons, since growing your own weed means you get a lot of produce, you can actually gift some of it to friends and family and they would really appreciate this act of generosity from you as well, making you a star of your social circles!
Introduction to Growing Marijuana: Frequently Asked Questions:
Here is a look at some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to growing your own marijuana:
1. Is it legal to grow marijuana?
It is a case-to-case scenario. Growing weed is legal across many states in the US. However, the quantity of weed that you can grow differs from state to state. Some states allow consumption of marijuana for medical purposes only while there are other states which also allow recreational smoking. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with all the laws before you start getting into growing weed!
2. Why does marijuana smell so much?
The smell of marijuana is rather strong and pungent and this is because of something called ‘terpenes’. These are a chemical compound present in marijuana plants which begin to kick-in at around the late-vegetative stage. Terpenes are the primary reason for the smell and generally, it is considered that the stronger the smell, the more potent the high will be. Terpenes have another major role to play – the smell repels away insects and pests who might otherwise affect the plants adversely.
3. Can I accidentally get high while growing weed?
No! You cannot ‘accidentally’ get high unless you smoke or eat marijuana (in any form).
4. Why is a grow light important?
A grow light is important because when you are growing weed indoors, there’s no access to sunlight the way it would be if you were to grow your plant outdoors. Hence, grow lights essentially act as a replacement to the natural light of the sun. Grow lights provide all the different wavelengths that a plant needs for its growth and they also provide the warmth that plants need. Depending on how much light the plants get, their growth is also affected and when light hours are reduced, the plant can be manually made to enter the flowering stage! Hence, grow light has quite an important role to play for growers who grow their weed indoors.
5. Which is the better way of growing marijuana: indoors or outdoors?
It depends on a case to case scenario but most growers have, of late, begun to grow their weed indoors because it gives them a much greater amount of control over their products as compared to growing outdoors where most of it depends on the forces of nature!
We hope that this article helped you gain a better insight into growing marijuana. We have attempted at providing you with a complete introduction to growing marijuana, hoping that it would help new growers grasp the concepts in a much better manner. Growing marijuana has many benefits compared to buying it and growers need to know exactly what they are getting into! Do let us know in the comments or over the mail if there is something that you want us to talk about or if there is something that we might have skipped in this article!
Happy Growing! 🙂
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