It’s high time to grow your own cannabis
Last July, Connecticut turned over a new leaf when it legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. Legal to possess and smoke, but not quite yet to grow. The right to cultivate cannabis plants was granted only to licensed medical marijuana (MMJ) patients, and was delayed until October. The rest of the state’s residents will have to wait until 2023.
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Why the wait? And has anyone waited?
Not I, nor have the other impatient MMJ patients who have confided to me that they had already explored their new hobby. I sowed my first two seeds symbolically on Independence Day. Until July, that same venture in home gardening might have thrown me behind bars. A Connecticut Yankee in Judge Arthur’s Court, no longer. Now the penalty for a first offense for rushing the timeline is just a written warning. I’m trembling with fear.
Patients in Connecticut are now allowed to grow six plants, the same as have MMJ patients next door in Rhode Island since 2006, and next door in Massachusetts since 2012. Patients next door in New York are on track to follow that same path in 2022. Now that it’s legal for Connecticut’s 53,700 patients, a question hangs in the air. How do we get started?
While it’s easy and cheap to trawl the hinterland of the internet for conflicting instructions, I prefer a single source with a single authoritative voice. I look to authors, and found two suitable books. The book that got me started was Jeff Lowenfels’s DIY Autoflowering Cannabis. Jeff’s book is perfect for the beginner, and most of us are beginners. The chapters parallel the steps you would follow for growing cannabis.
Shorter in height and requiring a shorter growing season than the more widely known Sativa and Indica varieties, the new hybridized strain of autoflowers is ideal for growing indoors. While you must incrementally shorten the light cycle for Sativa and Indica to spark their blooming, daylength is not an issue with autoflowers, as its name suggests. The flowers, not the leaves, are the most potent part of this herbaceous leafy green. That’s what the hippies meant by “flower power.”
A successful harvest had long eluded me. Beginning in 1987, I tried to grow marijuana in the woodlands of the Connecticut College Arboretum in which I lived. Back then, you winnowed out seeds abundant in your black-market stash. I sprouted seeds indoors, then transplanted them into garden beds I had pioneered and mixed in organic fertilizer weeks ahead of planting. This allowed time for roaming wildlife to follow their noses to dig up the fertilizer that smelled so appetizing. Rabbits grazed upon my few seedlings. Deer browsed upon my fewer saplings. Posing as a nature photographer with a tripod balanced on my shoulder, I carried in water in a backpack. Summer after summer, my plants never blossomed into flower. All I ever got to harvest was a handful of seven-fingered leaves. After five years of guerilla gardening, I gave up.
I achieved my first successful harvest of flowering buds early in September. In the midst of my second plantings, I was ready for a second book to keep me going. Published just in time in late October, that book is Ed Rosenthal’s Cannabis Grower’s Handbook. Ed’s earlier Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, first published in 1974, has been revised in several editions. For 2021, his 736-page magnum opus was updated, enlarged, and retitled, Cannabis Grower’s Handbook. “Marijuana” hails from the dark times of pot prohibition. “Cannabis” belongs to the happy times of plant liberation.
If you have any questions or problems, Ed’s encyclopedic tome has the answers and solutions. Yet, the first-time grower should not buy Ed’s new book. Not yet, anyway. You will barely know where to start reading, so will not likely know how to start growing. The weakness of Ed’s book bolsters Jeff’s book’s strength.
In preparation for my third crop that I will sow this spring, I will be reading parts of Ed’s exhaustive texts this winter. And meanwhile I will be enjoying the harvests from my first and second crops.
Mark Mathew Braunstein of Waterford provided in-person testimony in support of Connecticut’s medical marijuana bills at seven of the eight public hearings held from 1997 until its passage into law in 2012. You can read his many articles and editorials about cannabis and medical marijuana at www.MarkBraunstein.Org
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Expert Tips for Growing Your Own Cannabis
Cannabis is being legalized across states and is popular among its consumers. The cannabis industry is not lagging, not while the business is booming at such an early stage, and projections are showing that more is yet to come. Many entrepreneurs have tapped into the business, bringing in very innovative cannabis products. Furthermore, as it is, very many people are able to use cannabis for recreation legally. So, if you are thinking of growing cannabis, you are thinking right. Here is how to do it.
Growing weed is easy; in fact, you could plant and leave it in your backyard, and it would grow. However, you want to produce high-quality marijuana, and this is why you will need to put a little work and money into it. First, depending on your available space for this operation, decide on the type of planting that would suit you.
Do not worry about the space too much, though; with the advanced innovations, designs like vertical and horizontal cultivation rooms would maximize your available space. Seek to know the processes that will take place in that space to lay out all the necessary equipment for the next stages. If possible, tour sites where cannabis has been grown successfully or view completed journals to have an idea of what to expect.
Setting Things Up
If you are growing your cannabis outdoors, then you do not have much hustle, long as you pick the right seeds for outdoor growth and provide the plant with sufficient water. However, if you are looking to have more privacy and control of your plant, you need to think about the medium that your plant will grow in; soil or water.
Hydroponics would require a lot of hands-on knowledge and keenness for success, while with soil, you would only have to think about temperatures, ph, and lighting. Cannabis prefers fertile loamy soil. You can add nutrients to your soil by adding manure or purchasing commercial soil.
LED lights are popular among weed growers. LED lights are easy to set up, unlike fluorescents, and have easier penetration. Experts at https://growlightinfo.com/ give excellent advice on how to choose the correct glow lights for your cannabis farm. Consider the temperatures of your growing space, taking into account that temperatures are meant to rise when the glow lights are on. LED lights also come along with a cooling system that pushes heat away from the plant. Water is, of course, an essential requirement for growth.
Choose the best seeds for quality marijuana, starting with your personal favorite. If you are looking to grow forward to growing buds, then be on the lookout for feminized seeds. Pick the darkest seeds during selection. If you want to grow an Indica plant, that would have generally large and stripped seeds, unlike Sativa, whose seeds are smaller and without a pattern. Selectively pick where you buy your seeds; you want to acquire them from people who have grown them over time and understand each seed’s generics, needs, and qualities. Store them in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Germinate The Seeds
Germinating your seeds is the next step. You could take the seeds straight to the medium, straight into the soil. You will avoid transplant shock if you do this. Or, you could germinate the seeds on a moist (water and enzymes) paper towel. After some days, your seeds should sprout. Usually, it takes not more than a week-long as you kept it moist, warm, and with sufficient air.
The Right Pot
After the germination phase, it’s time to pot the seeds. The pots you are using should have holes at the lower side to drain runoff water and for aeration. These holes prevent the plant from drowning and root-rotting.
Details And Nutrients
If you planted in soil, you would need to check on the soil ph., using limestone or peat moss to make adjustments. Aside from that, you need to ensure your soil is moist but not too wet. If you are growing your cannabis hydroponically, you will need to do a daily check on your plants.
Ensure your plant is supplied with necessary nutrients and good bacteria and check on the roots; they are highly essential. Make sure they do not rot. Bear in mind, as you feed your cannabis with nutrients that it has different nutritional needs at different growth levels.
Failure to take this into account would hurt and potentially kill your plant. The cannabis seed is usually with enough nutrients to make it through the first stages of growth, and most nutrients at this point would only prove detrimental. Let it grow till it needs the nutrient supplement, usually when it is preparing to flower.
Too Much Of Anything Is Poisonous
You have come a long way to this point; here are things you need to be cautious about for satisfactory progress. One, do not overwater your cannabis. When lighting the room, you have to do it strategically.
Too much light would generate too much heat causing a rise in humidity and eventually leading to low yields. Same way, some overfeed their plants with nutrients and fertilizers. Instead of doing well, this would either kill or reduce the quality of the marijuana.
Some people overcrowd their growing spaces, perhaps hoping to increase their yield. This is, however, counter-productive. It makes it hard to move around the area, making it hard to maintain the crops as there is no room to allow pruning or watering or room for individual attention for a plant.
Dealing With Pests
Some spray their crops with pesticides that cause an imbalance within the plants in the attempt to prevent attacks by pests. Instead, it is better to start the war against pests only when you have come across some and pick the right pesticides and dosage. Any natural option rather than heavy chemicals is preferred.
Pruning And Cloning
To produce the most flowers and buds, prune your cannabis plant. Shed off all tiny branches that would produce small buds. By this, your plant can focus on the main stems. Also, now that you have chosen to take this path, consider cloning your cannabis. Cut a stem from a female mother plant, dip it in growth hormone and place it in a medium. It will grow to be just like the mother plant, which is an assurance of continuity.
There is so much more to know when it comes to growing cannabis, which you will learn along the way. After reading this article, you at least know where to start. As you keep learning, know that there is no set formula for your venture, feel free, and grow.
How to Legally grow Cannabis at Home
Growing cannabis inside your own home is one of the most rewarding experiences a cannabis enthusiast can have. Today, we look at all of the tools you need – minus the seeds – to begin growing cannabis at home.
Before You Begin, Understand California’s Cannabis Cultivation Laws
It is legal to grow recreational or medicinal for personal use, but there are restrictions. You can’t grow your own cannabis and begin selling it to family or friends – that’s a big no-no. But, you can cultivate up to 28.5 grams of cannabis for personal use, but you can’t carry that amount around with you outside of your home. You can grow up to six plants on your property as well, but it’s best that you do so indoors, because it’s illegal to grow cannabis in an area that is viewable by the public. Checkout this linkto learn more detailed information about California’s cannabis cultivation laws.
The Right Grow Space
When planning to grow cannabis indoors, you must select the right room for the job. Before delegating your home-grow to a small closet, it’s important that you think of square footage in cubic feet, how much ground area a plant will occupy, as well as how much vertical space it covers – we call this a canopy.
One indoor cannabis plant typically grows between four and five feet high in a three to five gallon bucket, and can be three to four feet wide. Your cannabis canopy needs to be large enough so that one plant can comfortably grow four to five feet vertically, and occupy about nine to 16 square feet on the ground. You can comfortably grow two plants in a large closet if ventilation is strong, but if you plan on growing more than two plants, we suggest picking an office, second room, basement or attic space (if it’s tall enough) for your home grown cannabis.
Before you begin your grow-at-home project, ask yourself a few questions about your potential grow space:
Does this space have good ventilation? Does this space need much home construction to make growing cannabis possible? Is this space large and tall enough for one to six cannabis plants? Is the room light-leak proof?
By answering these questions, you can get a better understanding of how well-equipped any space is ready for cannabis cultivation.
High Quality Lights
The quality of lights can dictate the success of your indoor cannabis crop and there are numerous types of lights that work well for cultivating cannabis at home.
The main types of light used for cannabis cultivation:
HID (High Intensity Discharge)
LED (Light Emitting Diode)
HID lights are the go-to choice for large scale, legal cannabis producers because of their efficiency, light output and value. HID lights are also the light-of-choice for vegetable producers because they produce a large spectrum of light. But, HID lights produce a lot of heat, and can be expensive, which is why we don’t recommend them for small-scale homegrown cannabis.
LED lights are great for cultivating cannabis at home because they use less electricity and create less heat than HID setups, and they ultimately last a lot longer than HID lighting. Well-designed LEDs generate a fuller spectrum of light and come in many sizes that are accommodating to growing cannabis at home. LEDs can be costly, so be prepared to invest a couple hundred dollars for a solid LED setup.
Fluorescent bulbs are another good option for growing cannabis at home because they’re inexpensive, don’t require a cooling system, and illuminate a decent spectrum of light. Unfortunately, fluorescent bulbs aren’t nearly as efficient as LEDS or HID lights, and produce far less light than LEDs and HID lights. If you plan on selecting a fluorescent light for your cannabis cultivation, then we recommend using high-output (HO) T5 bulbs.
Like any other plant, cannabis needs clean air and CO2 to thrive, so ventilation is pivotal to the health of your indoor cannabis plants. Constant air movement helps branches grow stronger, prevents stunted growth, and assists in temperature control. Proper ventilation requires an air exhaust, an air intake, and air circulation.
For exhausting air, you can use a large set of windows or an exhaust fan near the top of the room. It is important to have your exhaust somewhere near the top of the room to help move hot air out of the room.
You’ll also need to intake fresh air to help your cannabis plants breathe. Try to bring in cool, fresh air from the bottom of your room with a small box fan or vent to help keep the room cool and full of healthy air.
Finally, you’ll want constant air circulation in the room to help mimic airflow that the plant would experience outdoors. We suggest one or two oscillating fans to fascilitate a gentle breeze on your crops.
Pre-Fertilized Soil is Best for Beginners
For new cannabis green thumbs, soil is the best medium for growing cannabis indoors because it the most forgiving and is packed with nutrients. Any high quality gardening soil will work, but we like organic, pre-fertilized soil, also called “super soil.” If you choose to plant your cannabis in soil, stay away from soils that contain artificial extended release fertilizer, like Miracle Gro. When shopping, try to find soil that is pre-fertilized with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Copper, which are the primary nutrients your cannabis plant needs.
Cannabis plants are incredibly sensitive to overwatering and can easily suffer from fungal root diseases. The amount of water you use largely depends upon the size of your plants and their containers. Adequately watering cannabis plants will vary by region and temperature, but a good rule of thumb is to water your plant until the soil is fully moist and then wait until it dries to water again. To check and see if your plant needs water, stick your finger a few inches into the soil. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water. However, if there is still moisture in the soil, then wait another day and check again.
Visit Mission Cannabis to Learn More about Cannabis
If you have any question about cannabis, CBD products, or the industry at all, then visit our dispensary. Our team of budtenders are the leading cannabis experts in San Francisco, and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have. Together, we can help find the right products for you so that you can safely enjoy cannabis.