For the past few years, a few areas around the world have legalized the use of cannabis. Following this news, many farmers have decided to start their weed garden as a source of income, while others have thought about creating one in their backyard. Although it might sound simple, there are many things that you need to be aware of before you do so.
1. Varieties and Strains
There are thousands of marijuana strains that you can choose from, making it a little bit overwhelming as you select one for your garden. Luckily, certain popular weed strains can be quickly grown at home, such as:
- Chemdawg – classic cannabis strain
- Blue Dream Strain – a cross between indica (20%) and sativa (80%)
- Girl Scout Cookies – large yields
- OG Kush – hybrid of indica (75%) and sativa (25%)
- AK 47 Strain – one of the most popular
- Sour Diesel Strain – one of the top-yielding, strongest, and best reliever of anxiety
- Jack Herer Strain – provides long-lasting high
- Grand Daddy Purp Strain – 100% indica, best for beginner growers
- Gorilla Glue – high amount of THC
- White Widow – results to mind-opening euphoric high and world-famous
Each variety has its own effects due to the difference in levels of THC, which is what makes users high. However, there is a specified limit for THC levels in the legal cannabis, so make sure that you do your research before planting them.
Some strains only grow by a few meters if you have specific measurements in mind. The most important is knowing which seeds are suited for outdoors and which ones are perfect for indoor conditions. When searching for your seedlings, you must make sure that you are dealing with a reputable supplier. You should ask them specific details about each variety that they are selling.
If you are residing in an extremely humid place, you must look for mold-resistant varieties. For those living in northern latitudes, you need to select strains that have a “short flowering period.” There are several specifications that you may wish to find in the seeds that you want to buy depending on the climate and location, which is why you always need to conduct thorough research.
2. Differentiating Male and Female Plants
Growing weed in your garden is extremely tricky, especially since cannabis is one of the many plants in the world that have male and female flowers on separate plants. The former produce flimsy and small flowers that are not likely to be used for smoking. On the other hand, the latter creates fat flower buds that have high levels of psychoactive compounds.
You must know how to differentiate the two because if you have males before the plant’s flower, you will end up with a seed-filled bud. Seeded buds are considered to be lower-quality cannabis and may result in smoke that is harsh and unpleasant.
When you plant the seeds, you will more or less end up with half of the plants being female and the other half as males. Before your female plant’s flower, make sure that you get rid of all male plants.
It is quite simple to determine the sex of the cannabis plant. You can observe the pre-flowers that bud out at around the fourth week of growth. During your examination, you can use a small magnifying glass since these pre-flowers are incredibly tiny. For male plants, they produce small sacs, while females make two bracts, which then grows hair-like stigma.
There are instances wherein you will get hermaphrodite plants, which have both male and female sex organs. When you get this type of plant, that means it has been excessively stressed out due to some stressors, such as:
- Bad weather
- Nutrient Deficiency
It is essential to monitor your cannabis plants when they get exposed to these stressors. “Herming out” can be a result of poor genetics. If you notice any anthers or plants with pollen sacs, you must immediately remove it from your garden before it has a chance of pollinating female plants.
3. Choosing Soil
You can either plant your seed directly in the ground, or you can acquire soil and plant them in individual pots. If you wish to do the former, you must understand its composition and test it beforehand. To successfully grow your cannabis, you need land that is rich in organic matter and good drainage.
There are three fundamental components that you must take note of:
Soil that is composed mostly of sand is easy to work with, drains well, and can quickly warm up. However, it cannot contain nutrients, especially during the rainy seasons. If you want to use sandy soil, you have to dig large holes and add fertilizer, moss, or coco coir, which can help bind the ground together. For those living in places with hot climates, you can cover the soil with mulch to increase water retention and prevent the roots from getting hot and drying up.
Heavy clay soils cannot hold oxygen well and do not drain quickly. Using this type of soil requires you to amend it heavily. You have to add large amounts of compost, worm castings, manure, or other organic matter that can provide nutrients for the growing plant. These can also increase aeration and drainage.
The best option for you is getting silty soil as a growing medium. It is incredibly easy to work with, quickly warms up, holds moisture well, drains adequately, and has a lot of nutrients.
To ensure that you get good results, you can test the soil you want to use before planting any seeds. Through examination, you will learn the complete makeup, composition, and pH of your soil. Once you learn all this, you can select the proper materials and fertilizers.
4. Basic Needs and Growing Conditions
What cannabis plants need the most is exposure to direct sunlight for at least six hours each day. It is also crucial to ensure excellent drainage. To prevent any fungal diseases from developing, you have to provide good air circulation. You can do this by spacing out each plant at least six feet apart from each other.
You also have to enrich their soil by spreading around 2 inches of compost on top of the planting area. Every three weeks until mid-summer, you must apply fertilizer with high levels of nitrogen since this can stimulate growth. After some time, you can then switch to one that contains even higher phosphorus levels to stimulate dense and plentiful buds.
Cannabis plants need to be watered a lot as they are considered to be thirsty plants. Some large varieties can even use up to ten gallons of water a day, especially when they grow in places with warm weather. You can help your cannabis plants retain moisture by adding a layer of mulch once they grow as high as your knees. Another option is incorporating water-absorbing polymer crystals into its bed. Always remember to heavily water your plants in the morning, allowing them to have enough supply to go through the day.
Pruning is another essential thing that you have to do to maximize production. Some grow as high as 12 feet or even more, but it all depends on the variety or strain that you choose to grow. If you prune your plants, it makes it easier to manage, and you get even more buds than when you don’t. You can eliminate 30 percent of each large shoot every few weeks.
When you prune, you will end up with a bushier form rather than tall ones since it can stimulate the growth of small side shoots. Remember that you cannot prune during the mid-summer since doing so will disrupt its flower production.
To determine whether your plant is ripe and ready to harvest, you need to observe the white pistils or hairs. This will turn brown once it becomes mature. If 50% – 80% of these pistils have become reddish-brown, that is a sign for you to harvest it. Another way of telling is looking at the trichomes, which are sticky and clear substance that you can find on the plant. Once it turns amber, you can then harvest these plants.
Your cannabis plant will need around two to four months to flower. It will start forming buds in the late summer and will be ready to harvest in October. Take note that during the last one to two weeks, do not add any fertilizer to avoid having any of it stored in the plant.
You can cut the buds but leave around six to eight inches of stem and take off all the leaves. You can then dry them by hanging them from their stems in a warm but shaded area for a week. Once it has dried thoroughly, it is then ready to use. Trim each bud from the stem and store in a glass jar.
Remember that the type of high you get from the marijuana will also depend on when you harvest your buds. The amount of time you give it to flower is significant since it determines the levels of THC and how developed its glands are in the plants. THC is what makes you experience the high sensation that you feel when smoking weed. As mentioned, trichomes are one of the best indicators of the plant’s ripeness. Here is a guide that you can follow:
- Clear trichome – if you harvest during this phase, the resulting product will not have much potency.
- Cloudy trichome – using weed harvested at this period will result in an energetic high.
- Amber trichome – you will experience body or couchlock high.
- Mixed trichome – users will experience a combination of both head and body high.
To properly observe and examine these trichomes, you will need a microscope or even a handheld pocket scope.
Tips on Weed Growing
- Your cannabis plant may quickly get damaged in climates with temperatures below 40°F. If you live in areas that frequently experience this, you should consider using a greenhouse or any other protective enclosure.
- Set-up a windbreak if you live in windy areas to avoid branches from breaking or excessively stressing out your plants.
- Different pests could destroy your weed garden. If deer are roaming freely around your area, make sure to build a fence around your property.
- Insects are even more dangerous since they can easily pass through gates. To increase your plant’s resistance, you must keep it healthy and strong. Also, keep it away from other vegetable crops and flowers.
- When you examine the trichomes, make sure to wear either latex or nitrile gloves since it is very sticky. You must also be gentle with how you handle the plants since you could lose THC if you mishandle it.
- Remove old leaves that may have turned yellow since the energy provided for buds could significantly decrease. However, only do this when it is near the harvest schedule.
- Remember to start flushing your plants before the harvest to remove any residual chemicals or nutrients that have stored in the flowers.
Whether you are hoping to get an income from this industry or you simply want to have an accessible source of weed, it is essential to know how to grow them. That way, you can ensure the quality of your marijuana and foresee what kind of high you can get from using it.