Cannabis, it’s in most simple description, is just a plant. In order to maximize a harvest, like any other fruit, vegetable or other agricultural good, it takes time, planning, the correct tools and the know-how to pull it off. The rules for growing cannabis are many, depending on where you live. Not sure where to start? Here’s the simplest way to develop your “green thumb” in the gardening scene.
Know the Rules
Before you get started with anything, you need to know your city and state laws regarding home cultivation. While some areas do allow cultivation, some are limited by number of plants, area of growth or may be only allowed to be grown by caregivers. Not to mention that if you rent, you may put yourself at risk as a tenant. Check your leasing agreement first before proceeding.
Choose The Right Cultivation Area
There are two simple choices when growing cannabis—and it all starts with choosing whether you want to cultivate your cannabis indoors or outdoors. There are pros and cons to either of these growing locations.
Indoors: Cannabis plants need a lot of light, and this means that if you plan to grow at home, you’ll be shelling out a hefty fee on your electricity bill. You also need a dedicated room or closet in your house (most choose the garage) in order to do this, so space can be limiting. Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide extra materials such as pots and soil. Proper ventilation or an odor control strategy is also necessary as well, in order to both prevent your home from smelling like cannabis, and also preventing that aroma from bothering nearby neighbors.
Outdoors: While this is the more natural way to grow, it also can put you at risk. If you plant cannabis in your backyard, you should try to keep your plant hidden from anyone who might be able to see into your yard. Whether it’s a nosey jogger passing by, or someone looking to steal your plant/harvest, it’s best to keep it away from the public eye. While being outdoors is great, this also means that home growers will encounter issues with pests. It helps to be familiar with which pests are prominent in your area, and how you can get rid of them naturally, or with safe pesticides.
Start Off Slow
It’s much easier to tend to a garden of one or two plants, rather than multiple plants. That way, you can invest money slowly into your growing experience without breaking the bank. Provide all of your attention to just a couple of plants, and pay close attention to how it flourishes (or doesn’t) depending on your cultivation methods.
Learn How to Prune
Like with any plant, the right kind of pruning can help increase your harvest, especially if you’re growing in an enclosed space. Beginning pruning immediately by cutting unnecessary lower branches, cutting off any dead leaves, or even the top of plants (in some cases).
For some gardeners this is common knowledge, but soil is imperative when growing anything. Invest in high-quality soil that drains well and retains water. (This may vary depending on whether or not you choose indoor or outdoor cultivation.) Also keep in mind that soil does contain nutrients for a few weeks after planting, but you will need provide additional nutrients regularly to ensure that your plants are healthy and thriving.
For a more in-depth look at cannabis cultivation in various regions, times of year, and a multitude of techniques, check out CULTURE’s exclusive column, Growing Culture, written by Ed Rosenthal.