Do you want to grow your own cannabis? If so, you are not alone.
Cannabis cultivation is more popular than ever across the United States thanks to adult-use and medical cannabis reform victories.
Cultivating your own cannabis saves money, it’s a very rewarding activity, and helps you know exactly what goes into the cannabis that you consume.
How hard is it to cultivate cannabis?
The answer to that question depends on your expectations.
Cultivating decent cannabis versus cultivating award-winning cannabis
One of the most important aspects of home cultivation is tempering your expectations. Many aspiring growers make the mistake of assuming that they will be immediately producing world-class cannabis despite a lack of experience and often a lack of serious effort.
Producing monster harvests of upper shelf cannabis is very difficult to do. It requires many years of refining cultivation techniques, quite a bit of equipment, and an extensive knowledge of what plants need to eat in order to reach their top potential.
On the other hand, producing a reasonable harvest of decent cannabis without too much effort or expense is very doable.
Many aspiring growers think that growing cannabis is ‘just like growing a weed.’
Some truth exists to that simple claim, in that a cannabis plant will grow as long as it has some sunlight, soil, and water. However, it will not grow well.
If you want to produce a harvest that is desirable enough to consume, it will take some effort and some upfront cost. Just know that it will be worth it as long as you keep things in perspective.
How much time do you have to dedicate to cultivating cannabis?
Cultivating decent cannabis is not as easy as putting a seed in a plastic cup, keeping it on a window ledge, and providing some water every now and again.
In order to produce a decent harvest, it’s going to take some initial prep work, some ongoing maintenance, and a big push at the end to harvest and either clean up or prepare for the next crop.
Exactly how much time depends on many factors, not the least of which is how many plants are involved in the endeavor.
Starting your garden pursuits with a serious evaluation of how much time you have to allocate to cultivation is vital.
If you have significant free time on your hands, time won’t be an issue, but if you are a busy person and you want to grow, you will benefit from creating a cultivation calendar to map out the availability in your schedule.
A cultivation calendar will help make all of this seem much more manageable:
Set aside a weekend to get your garden area organized and to round up any gear you will need. From there set aside at least a half hour to an hour every day to tend to your plant(s).
Set aside another weekend around harvest time for trimming and clean up and/or to re-prepare your setup for another crop.
If you want to experiment with cannabis growing, here are the essentials
Below is the bare minimum that you will need to harvest a cannabis plant outside. The same items apply for indoor gardens, with the exception of the need for a quality light source:
- Strong genetics – find a clone of a strain that flowers early
- Quality soil – the more nutrient-rich the soil, the less the need for any inputs throughout the growth cycle
- Clean water – use PH balanced water that is free from chlorine (many cities add chlorine to their water)
- Ample exposure to light – cannabis plants needs at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day, but preferably more
- Stable climate – avoid extreme temperatures (70-75 degrees is ideal)
- Bug and disease prevention – be proactive and use inexpensive organic prevention methods
Arguably the easiest way to grow is by putting an established clone in a 5-10 gallon container full of nutrient-rich organic soil.
Keep it outside during the growing season (May to October) when it’s warm and sunny and bring it in at night when the temperature drops.
The container method allows you to put the plant(s) in the sunniest part of your yard and to artificially cut the sunlight time down in order to get your plant(s) to flower earlier, which is a concept known as light deprivation.
Planning ahead of time is important
I can’t emphasize enough that the more you plan things ahead of time, the easier things will go. Do as much research as you reasonably can about cultivation with a heavy focus on what nutrition cannabis plants need throughout the growth cycle.
Learning more about super soils is one of the smartest things that you can do. A properly crafted super soil results in no need for the application of additional fertilizers during the growth process, just water.
Some grow supply stores now carry premixed super soil, which obviously makes life way, way easier. Research what options exist in your area.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Of course, if you just want to grow for the fun of it to see what happens, there’s nothing wrong with just jumping into it and going with the flow.
But if you want to harvest one or more plants and have a crop that you can be proud of, the more prep time you can commit to the better off you will be.