By April Veinte

Marijuana use is becoming less taboo and users are becoming savvier.  As more states adopt laws legalizing recreational use, we will begin to see the introduction of more home growers.  Initiatives like California’s Prop. 64, allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes.  NOTE: Other tax and licensing provisions of the law will not take effect until January 2018.

If you are one the recreational marijuana users that is interested in cultivating the plant at home, here are some easy steps to follow:

Pay attention to lighting and space:

Growing cannabis inside requires the use of powerful artificial lights to replicate the effect of the sun. Metal halide (MH) lights, are your best option for growing plants indoors.  The bulbs produce a blue-ish white light that is generally better for your plants.  Depending upon the vendor and amps, MH lights can be costly and certainly more expensive than fluorescent lights.  When shopping for supplies, remember that HID (high intensity discharge) lighting require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light.  Some reflectors are designed for use with MH or HPS lights, while some new designs can accommodate either light. In the beginning of your home growing adventure, start small.  Mistakes will be less costly, and it’s easier to monitor one plant.  As a rule, more plants require more equipment.  As your skill and grow space increase, slowly incorporate more plants.  Also keep in mind, cannabis plants can double in size during the early stages, so make sure you have enough head space.  Most importantly, keep your space clean and light tight.

Plants need fresh air to thrive:

You will need a steady flow of air in your grow room.  This can be achieved by using an exhaust fan near the top of the room to remove the warmer air, and a filtered air inlet on the other side of the floor.
Ensure that temperatures are comfortable for the plants.  When your light bulbs are on, your temperature “sweet spot” is between 70 and 85 degrees.  When your lights are off, the optimal temperature is between 58 and 70 degrees.  Some cannabis varieties (generally Indica strains) grow best under lower temperatures, while Sativa strains tend to like higher temperatures.

Timing and monitoring:

After selecting the lights and climate control equipment, automate their functions with a basic timer.  The timing with the light/dark cycle is important.  Keep your lights on for 16-20 hours while the plants are in vegetative growth, then switch to 12 hours of light per 24 when you are ready for them to bloom. Keep your plants on the same schedule everyday so that they don’t get stressed.

Feeding and watering:

Growing high-quality cannabis flowers requires more nutrients than other plants.  In the beginning, it is a good idea to use pre-fertilized soil.  When watering your plants, pay attention to the chlorine and macro-nutrient levels in your water.

After gaining experience and finding the routines and methods that work for you, it will just become an easy part of the daily process.  Spend time figuring out what works for you and enjoy the time that you dedicate to caring for and cultivating your plants.  For more in depth growing tips and tutorials, visit YouTube, it is a great resource for new growers.

Until next time, stay irie friends!

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