Many folks believe that the only way to cultivate marijuana (the flowering buds of the cannabis plant) is to grow it indoors under high lumen producing lamps. We’ve been conditioned into thinking this way after decades of clandestine grow operations. Some of us forget that cannabis has been growing outdoors quite happily under natural sunlight for millennia.
In terms of the existence of the cannabis plant, growing indoors is a very recent phenomenon. It was started in the 70’s in Holland to keep cannabis grows from the prying eyes of law enforcement who were legally obliged and encouraged to eradicate cannabis plants. Lights gave the growers a god like control over their garden resulting in the incredible array of strains we see on today’s market.
There is no denying that cannabis grown indoors under optimum conditions results in dense and potent marijuana buds beyond compare. There is also no denying that those with very serious medical conditions would find it hard to meet their daily cannabis requirements with one or two small plants grown in their yard over the summer. This is why there will always remain a need for professional growers.
Most of us don’t need one or more grams of pot a day. Maybe we need a small amount to spice up a weekend meal and movie or to share with loved ones. For these people, growing indoors would create more problems than it would solve.
Making it economically viable
The main issue is the expense of setting up and running an indoor grow operation. Using basic economics you would need to grow way more potent marijuana than you actually need to cover costs. You will then have a distribution problem. You could sell to dispensaries but this takes things to the next level. Do you want to be a full time cannabis farmer? Or, you could turn to the black market. Do you really want to be a criminal?
One has to wonder, is all this high tech really necessary?
Now that laws around the world are relaxing towards those growing for personal consumption we find that we are literally able to move our grows out of the closet and into the natural sunlight where they belong.
It is increasing likely that where you live it is not a criminal offence to grow at least one adult female cannabis plant. Always be sure to check your local laws before importing or germinating a seed.
Once you know the legal limits you’ll need to buys some seeds
Buying quality genetics in the form of seeds is one of the most important factors in growing your own cannabis. A plant is only ever going to be as good as its genetics. You can’t get better than the maximum potential held within the seed no matter how green your fingers are. A full discussion on seed selection is out of scope of this article but here are some broad strokes to help you at least choose the best type of seed for you. On my website there is more information on seed buying.
Without wishing to upset any botanists out there you can argue that the cannabis plant species has three subspecies; sativa, indica and ruderalis. Sativa and indica and their hybrid strains are those typically grown indoors and sold in dispensaries, coffee shops and by your local dealer.
Leave sativa and indica to the professionals
Sativa and indica cannabis strains are photosensitive. This means that they will flower after a decrease in light. Allowing a grower to keep the best female plant in a permanent state of vegetative growth, commonly referred to as a “mother plant”. Cuttings or “clones” are created by slicing off branches as they grow. This technique allows the grower to then flower out the clones by decreasing the hours of sunlight the plants receive.
In nature, a decrease in the number of hours of sunlight means that summer is drawing to a close and fall is upon us. If you are an annual herb like cannabis then that’s the time to flower, pollinate and produce your seeds for next year’s crop. Sensing this decrease in hours of light the female clones flower. These flowers are harvested, dried and (if you are lucky) cured before finding their way into your stash box. As they came from one mother plant the grower can maintain a consistent supply of cannabis. This is what the professional growers do. Like any profession they have invested a lot of expense and time in perfecting their operations. They provide a consistent and quality product.
Autoflowering cannabis for the casual grower
The third subspecies, ruderalis, is not photosensitive. Ruderalis plants start to flower automatically over time, which is a lot sooner than the arrival of fall. As the energy is directed into flowering early the end result is a compact plant. Expert breeders have created strains that keep this automatic flowering trait. They are known as “autoflowering”. Autoflowering, as the name suggests, flowers automatically as the plant matures. They are the perfect choice for the casual or hobby cannabis grower wanting to produce their personal supply. The short and bushy nature of autoflowering plants enables growers to keep their grow low key.
Autoflowering seeds have taken Europe by storm and are starting to become increasingly popular in the US.
Some autoflowering varieties can start to show signs of flowering after only a couple of weeks. People who want to grow at home do not need to control the amount of light the plant receives to induce flowering, handy for those with a busy life. Autoflowering cannabis is therefore perfect for the casual grower who has a pot tucked away in the greenhouse, on a roof terrace, balcony, yard, or even in a sunny windowsill or conservatory.
A more rounded high
Typically autoflowering cannabis has a lower THC content than non autoflowering strains and is naturally higher in CBD. This suits casual and seasoned consumers who are put off by the anxiety or paranoia induced by some strains high in THC. CBD takes off the edge off high THC strains and helps combat anxiety and give the recipient a full rounded cannabis trip.
Over recent years all the major seed companies have their own range of autoflowering strains There are even seed banks selling only autoflowering cannabis seeds. Expert breeders are combining their most popular cannabis strains with ruderalis genetics to give the consumer an almost unlimited choice.
Go for it!
If the legal climate is right for you, then it is possible to grow your own plants at home with limited costs and time investment. You just need to scale back your expectations (in terms of yield and potency) and commit a little time to learning the life cycle and growing requirements of the cannabis plant.
A casual grower should seriously consider autoflowering cannabis seeds. Your plants will be smaller and less potent than sativa/indica hybrids, but they will cost pennies per gram instead of 10’s of dollars. For the majority of people, the results will be satisfying enough to relax in the evenings after a hard day’s work or to push the reset button over the weekend. Nothing is more satisfying than getting high from your own home grown, dried and cured cannabis buds. It’s also healthier as you know exactly what nutrients the plant was fed with (I grow organic), what pests and diseases it had and how they were treated.
Growing your own cannabis naturally is an educational, fun, and rewarding hobby. It’s better to find that you suck at growing cannabis after investing in only a seed, rather than finding out after being busted for a clandestine grow operation in your basement.
If this article piqued your interest, then keep an eye out for more tips on growing your own cannabis naturally from Percy Grower.