Being a new grower can be very overwhelming since there are so many different components, methods and brands out there. Although there are many different opinions and techniques on the best practices, here is a general introductory guide to help beginner growers get started.
What You Will Need & Best Practices:
Grow Tent, Closet, or Room (One That Can Provide Complete Darkness)
Your grow area of choice will depend on what space you have available and how many plants you want to grow. For example, a small closet can grow 2-3 plants, a standard 4’x4’ grow tent can grow up to 6 plants, while a room can run a whole grow operation of 20+ plants.
There are many options of grow lights out there ranging in the type of light, amount of light output, spectrum of light, drivers and chips used, wattage and energy efficiency. During the vegetative stage, you want a PPF of 400-600 µmol/s, and during the flowering stage you want a minimum PPF of 1000 µmol/s, but the higher the better. Shop our LED lights here or check out our article “How To Choose A Grow Light” to get more insight on which light you should choose.
Carbon Filter, Inline Fan & Duct for Ventilation
Carbon filters and inline fans are used in grow set-ups to reduce the strong odors and emissions for fresher air.
Humidity is an important factor to monitor when growing. During the vegetative stage you want your humidity level to be around 60-70%, while in the flowering stage you want it to be lower around 50-60%.
Temperature is also an important condition to consider in order to maximize plant growth and yield. During the vegetative stage you want your temperature to be around 21-28°C, while in the flowering stage you want it to be lower around 15-22°C. Depending on the natural temperature of your grow area, the amount of cooling you will need will vary.
Temperature & Humidity Monitor
In order to monitor the humidity and temperature levels, you will need a monitor to have in your grow area.
Fans are crucial to help distribute all of the fresh air coming in and keep it circulating in your enclosed area. It also helps to prevent spider mites since they love heat and stagnant, non-moving air.
For growing cannabis, you want to have the light turned on and off for certain hours each day. You will want to use an automatic timer that will turn the light on and off for you, so you do not have to do it manually every day. During the vegetative stage, you want the light on for 18 hours and off for 6 hours. For the flowering stage, you want the light on for 12 hours and off for 12 hours. Buy VOLT’s digital timer here.
Cannabis Seeds or Clones
You will obviously need your cannabis seeds or clones in order to grow. Seeds are much easier to come by, but you will have to germinate them first. Clones are cuttings from a female plant, so you can just start growing them immediately, but they are much harder to get.
The standard pot size for one cannabis plant is 3 gallons. You can use plastic containers with drainage, or fabric containers work great as well.
Cannabis grows best in loam soil, which is a mixture of sand, silt and clay soil with added organic compounds and a nearly neutral pH. It can be more expensive, but the outcome is worth it.
Nutrients & Supplements
There are supplemental nutrients you can add to your plants and soil to help optimize the health of your plants. There are blends of nutrients you can get that are specifically targeted the vegetative and flowering stages of growth that you can add to the soil throughout.
Organic insecticides are used to prevent harmful bugs, such as spider mites, off your plants. As long as the insecticide is all-natural and safe it is great to use as a preventative measure to protect your plants.
pH Measurer and Up & Down Balancers
A critical component of growing is balancing the pH of the water you pour into the soil. The optimum pH to guarantee nutrient solubility is around 6.0-6.5. Use the up and down balancers to ensure your water is at the optimal pH.
It is also important to measure the temperature of the water you are using. If the water is too cold, the roots will stop growing and will not absorb the nutrients. If the water is too warm, it can delay the plant growth and even cause rotting. The ideal temperature is 15-20°C.
You also need a water can to water the plants daily with ease.
Trellising is a framework that physically supports cannabis plants during growth. It helps to provide spacing and airflow for the plants to grow more fully and sturdily. A trellis could be made of a variety of materials, such as plastic, wood, bamboo or rods.
Trimmers are necessary for topping and pruning your plants, in addition to harvesting the buds. Topping is when you cut off the top of the main central stalk of a leaf in order to redirect nutrients to all the smaller side branches, making your plant bushier. Pruning is when you cut off leaves or branches that are dead or hidden from the light so the plant can focus more nutrients and energy on the fruitful leaves.
Twine, String or Hangers
Once it is time to harvest your plants, you will need to dry them out by cutting the base of your plants and hanging them upside down. You can use string or hangers with clips to hang the plants.
Airtight Smell-Proof Jars
After you harvest your cannabis buds it is important to cure them in jars to achieve maximum quality and potency. Curing is when you store your buds in airtight jars and open them once a day to air them out. In order to avoid moisture and bacteria, only fill up the jars 50-75% and make sure the jar is not too big.
You will want a scale to see how much you yielded and to divide out your buds.