In this article we will talk about how to grow marijuana at home, the tricks and secrets for starting a home-made micro cultivation. Specifically we will tell:
- What types of seeds to use
- The vegetative phase and the flowering phase
- Soil substrate
- Coconut as a substrate
- Nourish and fertilize
- How cuttings are created
- Growing cannabis at home: beware of blaze
- The new laws on the subject
Spring makes everyone want to garden : there are those who love aromatic plants, those who prefer hydrangeas and those who - thinking of a flower garden - only have in mind hectares and hectares of marijuana plants ready to be dried .
Whether you have a green thumb or not, if you smoke weed you've probably considered planting it and watching it grow at least once. And you did well:
Growing cannabis plants allows you to save money and know exactly what the weed you are smoking contains , dedicating yourself with passion to an outdoor project.
You don't have to be an expert to attempt the feat and plant your cannabis seeds , because marijuana is a robust plant that doesn't require too much attention.
It will need plenty of water and light, not to be exposed to too intense cold and heat and to maintain a constant humidity level.
Growing outdoors makes things a little easier, whether you are taking care of two marijuana plants or whether you have decided to grow more: the light is that of the sun and you will only have to worry about providing the plants the water they need .
If, however, you don't have an outdoor space away from prying eyes, you will have to opt for indoor cultivation , in land or in water. Cultivation in soil is identical to outdoor cultivation, with the difference that you need to pay close attention to the tops and you need to prune the plants so that the artificial light from the lamps hits them all evenly.
Growing in water is by far the least suitable for the home grower, because it requires special equipment, which you shouldn't buy if you are approaching growing for the first time.
What type of seeds to use?
Seeds are a topic we could talk about for hours and hours. The seed is the starting point, it is the matrix of your plant and if you are able to choose good genetics, you will certainly reap excellent fruits.
Choosing good quality seeds is the first step towards first-rate harvests .
But how to orient yourself in this jungle of genetics, aromas and future terpenes? There are techniques and tricks developed by expert growers that will help even the most inexperienced home grower.
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A careful visual examination is already a good way to evaluate the quality and characteristics of a cannabis seed. Some aspects are perceptible even to an inexperienced eye, while others are details that need to be known.
- Good quality seeds usually have very dark shells . Superior genetics can manifest themselves with gray and black streaks : if you see them it means that you have purchased an excellent seed.
- Healthy seeds shine ! Try placing the seed under a strong light source: if they look shiny as if they were sprinkled with wax it means you're good to go.
There is also a small stress test which usually proves to be an excellent litmus test. A good seed must be solid , so crush it between thumb and forefinger and plant it only if it resists pressure .
An old, low-quality seed won't last , a grower's word! A light seed, on the other hand, is not necessarily of poor quality: when the seeds are green or white it means that they are young and unlikely to germinate.
If you have decided to grow your cannabis indoors, we recommend purchasing seeds of autoflowering varieties . They are the best choice (for beginner growers) because they allow you to avoid complicated light cycles and easily harvest good quality weed.
These plants can adapt to the smallest spaces and are sturdy and hardy when growing.
Vegetative phase and flowering
The vegetative phase is the moment in which the cannabis plant transforms:
a delicate-looking seedling from a few weeks earlier will become a real tree in a short time. The seed has opened, revealing a small sprout that will grow, becoming stronger, until it fills with increasingly larger leaves, through which the plant will take in all the light it needs during photosynthesis. The stem will gradually become more solid, will fill with hairs, preparing to support future flowers.
Many novice growers think that the vegetative phase is unimportant and that flowering is the highlight of the plant's growth. They're wrong.
The growth path of the plant is a cycle , and if one of its phases has not gone as expected, the others will inevitably be affected too. A plant grown without stress develops better than one that has experienced a bumpy path, and produces more impressive harvests.
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The optimal growth of a cannabis plant is guaranteed by the stability of some parameters: it is important that the soil in which the roots develop is suitable for the genetics you have chosen , that the light intervals are regular , that the plants are placed in a correctly ventilated environment and that water and nutrients are supplied in the correct quantities .
These factors must be carefully monitored to avoid risking unpleasant surprises. If, for example, you forget to water your plants and don't provide nutrients in the correct amount, your crop will certainly suffer.
Starting the flowering period in indoor cultivation is the responsibility of the grower, who will have to modify the light cycles to imitate sunlight at the end of summer. You will have to go from a cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness in the vegetative phase to a cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness , perfect for encouraging the production of flowers and their maturation.
To enter the flowering period, the light temperature will also need to change , just as sunlight changes as the seasons change. To encourage flowering, it is necessary to switch from a white spectrum light to an orange spectrum light at around 2700 K , which simulates the summer sun.
It is very important to read the plant's signals and not intervene on the light cycles before you are sure that it is ready to produce and ripen the flowers. Acting too soon could cause severe stress to the plant, exponentially increasing the risk of hermaphroditism .
For the same reason , we must be careful to avoid light pollution , so as not to cause stress to the plant and prolong the transition time to the next phase.
If you choose to grow indoors, we recommend using autoflowering cannabis seeds, which are one of the most popular growing solutions. As the years pass and cultivation techniques evolve, autoflowering seeds have excellent organoleptic qualities and guarantee decent harvests.
The maturation times are very similar to those of outdoor cultivation, but indoors the flowering phase is prolonged , because the light from the lamps is much weaker than that of the sun.
Times and advice
Up to now we have given you general information, useful for getting an idea of how cannabis cultivation works and what things you absolutely need to keep under control.
Now we want to give you some technical advice , useful for those who are already cultivating or for those who want to be sure to start with a good culture to be able to better manage errors.
When we talk about soil substrate we are referring to potting soil . However, to grow cannabis in the best way it is not possible to rely on common universal soil, even if it were the best on the market.
The cannabis sativa plant, in fact, needs composted, soft and light soil capable of guaranteeing excellent water drainage. The best option is to buy a completely organic but already nutrient-rich soil and enrich it yourself.
You can create your own completely natural super soil , knowing exactly what it contains. Since it is an excellent mixture, if you prepare it in large quantities, it will also be useful for the vegetable garden and other plants.
The substances necessary to obtain good soil are few and easily available in a nursery or online:
- organic matter (for example moss or coconut fibre)
- natural compost of your choice
- inert material to promote drainage and aeration (perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay)
The organic matter will help keep the soil well-drained . To make it even more draining by increasing the ventilation of the plant, therefore its breathing capacity, we will use inert materials. Perlite and vermiculite are the best to add to the super soil mixture, while with expanded clay you can create a layer of about 2 cm at the bottom of each pot to avoid annoying water stagnation.
To prepare the soil it is best to use a large, large pot. It is advisable to mix the three parts together (organic matter, compost and aggregates) by inserting them in equal parts into half of the container.
You will then need to fill the other half with soil, mixing carefully to distribute each individual part. Vermiculite can be useful for the formation of "friendly bacteria" , which help the marijuana plant in its growth. Even guano, approximately 5% diluted in the entire compound , can be useful for feeding these bacteria, which prove essential in synthesizing nutrients for our cannabis seedlings.
Once it has been carefully mixed, the soil is ready to be placed in the pots and host your seedlings to make them grow healthy and strong. It can be stored in an airtight bag for a month , then it will be very dry and will need to be reworked. So prepare enough for the cannabis plants you plan to plant.
I recommend, no more than two unless it is legal marijuana, which we remember, must have THC levels lower than 0.2%.
Coconut as a substrate
Let's start with the substrate : not all substrates are the same and some are easier to manage than others. Soil is best for inexperienced growers, while water requires much more skill and time.
Coconut, on the other hand, is an excellent substrate , which guarantees perfect aeration of the roots, but it has a significant drawback. It contains no nutrients and requires the use of exogenous nutrients.
It guarantees an excellent start, because the roots develop very quickly thanks to the abundance of oxygen contained in its fibres, but it requires extra attention.
It tends to absorb nutrient salts that are supplied to the plant, which may stop absorbing nutrients properly. In this case it will be necessary to rinse the substrate , giving the plant more water than necessary, so that the unabsorbed water "rinses" the coconut fibers.
Nourish and fertilize
Throughout the growth phase of marijuana plants it will be necessary to continue to monitor them and feed them with the right fertilizers, sources of macro and micronutrients. The best choice is to use a natural organic fertilizer and absolutely avoid chemicals.
On the market it is possible to find ready-made organic fertilizers. The most convenient are those in liquid form . During the vegetative phase , the plant will mainly need nitrogen, while during the flowering phase it will need phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
The advice is to dilute the fertilizer in plenty of water , halve the doses indicated on the package and administer it to the plants approximately every 3 weeks. Excessing it, out of a desire to accelerate growth, could damage our marijuana plants by burning their roots.
For the more experienced, there are easily available natural substances that can provide plants with these nutrients:
- Ox blood , rich in nitrogen
- Bone meal , rich in calcium and nitrogen
- Natural phosphate powder , for phosphorus
- Epsom salts , rich in magnesium
- Wood ash , rich in potassium
- Crushed eggshells , rich in calcium
- Honey , is a natural growth stimulant
- Molasses (rich in all these nutrients together)
- A glass of red wine diluted in one and a half liters of water once a month to accelerate growth.
About a month after flowering, it is advisable to stop fertilizing the plant and continue with water only.
Make cuttings if the harvest went well
If your business is going well, we recommend creating clones of your plants, to grow continuously without needing new seeds.
A cutting, or clone, is in fact the genetic copy of a plant , a "daughter" plant that preserves the genetic age of the mother, together with its behavior, flowering period and flavor.
It is a very clever system to never be left idle, but it can prove to be a double-edged sword: until the plant is harvested you don't know if it will be of good quality or if it will have a good flavor or a good dose of active ingredients, although when purchasing certified seeds you should have very detailed descriptions of the flowers and their effect.
Creating clones serves to select the best specimens and invest in them , without risking losing specimens with a particular genetic composition.
Cuttings can be taken when the plant has reached 2/3 of its maximum height, from well-structured branches, equipped with at least 3-4 well-marked nodes. To obtain stronger and more vigorous cuttings, you need to take them from the upper part of the plant.
Growing cannabis at home: beware of blaze
As you well know, growing light cannabis in Italy is legal as long as you are growing seeds registered in the European Seed Register and take care to keep the tag for one year . Growing "traditional" cannabis, however, is not yet.
Okay, some of you have decided to rely on the latest ruling of the Supreme Court and want to try growing two or three seedlings.
Know that the potential risk of falling into administrative crime exists. And above all, know that sooner or later, if it is good, the ganja will vape . If you live in a detached house the problem does not arise. If you have friendly neighbors or quiet neighbors, the problem is less serious, but the smell is really strong, it could spread up several flights of stairs.
At home it is always better to opt for indoor cultivation. Placing marijuana plants on balconies or terraces, unless they are very isolated, is not a great idea.
For indoors you will certainly have purchased a grow box and created an adequate ventilation system, necessary to create the acceptable temperature for the plant in constant contact with the lamps.
To enhance it, you could use activated carbon filters , which absorb most of the cannabis odor thanks to the carbon's ability to retain certain molecules.
Both the ventilation system and the filters have a cost. Saving on filters can mean making a wasted investment, it's better to make sure that the filters are top quality.
Another trick could be to set up the grow box in the innermost room of the house. Bear in mind that you will be busy with your seedlings a lot, so the grow box will often be open. This is why an interior room can be the best solution . Even better: if your bathroom is equipped with a fan, you could place your indoor grow there to also benefit from additional ventilation.
If you decide not to buy a grow box, but to use a wardrobe, know that there is no going back. To make a homemade grow box, you will need to make a round hole in the top of the cabinet to accommodate the ventilation system. Furthermore, the inside of the wardrobe will be entirely covered with a white plastic sheet which serves to better reflect the light. However, consider that a wardrobe will never be as airtight as a grow box and you will need to have a certain amount of dexterity and the right tools.
So do the math carefully to understand whether the most convenient solution for you is a ready-made grow box or a DIY box.
Finally, you could use scented herbs and incense to diffuse around the house to counteract the penetrating aroma of cannabis. Here are some solutions:
- holy pole
- white sage
- blue sage
In December 2019, the world of growers received some crazy news. The Court of Cassation established that to integrate the crime of cultivation, the conformity of the plant to the botanical type "Cannabis" and its ability to produce narcotic active ingredients is sufficient, but that:
«cultivation activities of minimal dimensions carried out domestically must be considered excluded, as they do not fall within the scope of application of the criminal law, which, due to the rudimentary techniques used, the small number of plants, the very modest quantity of product obtainable , the lack of further indications of their inclusion in the narcotics market, appear intended exclusively for the personal use of the grower".
In Italy the concept of home cultivation has never fully taken hold, despite the Court of Cassation having pronounced itself in positive terms several times in the last 10/15 years.
This statement from the supreme court, on the contrary, seems to reintroduce the notion of "domestic" cultivation considered not to be criminally relevant, unlike "entrepreneurial" cultivation. With the reasons for the sentence, in which the Court expressed its opinion on the reasons that led to the decision, the nature of this decision as a precedent was clarified.
We advise you not to get caught up in easy enthusiasm and to launch yourself into cannabis cultivation, because the ruling has already been highly opposed by conservatives. We will have to wait some time to understand if Italy is going in the right direction, as it seemed to have started to do in 2018 with the legalization of light cannabis.
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