Grow your own cannabis: Getting started (part 1 of 5)
In this series of Colorado Seed Inc. blog posts we will be sharing some tried-and-true techniques to set up a productive home grow.
- This post will cover some cannabis genetics basics, as well as some legal considerations when it comes to growing in Colorado.
- In part 2, we will look at factors to consider around grow space, growing medium, and the containers you choose to grow in.
- In part 3, we will discuss CO2, nutrients, pH, scent control, and environmental control devices.
- In part 4, we will look at lights and temperature.
- Finally, in part 5, we will outline ventilation, humidity, root health, and water.
We will go into more detail about particular topics, such as various ways to ventilate your grow space or train your plants, in future posts. Follow us on instagram @coloradoseedinc or find us on Facebook to stay tuned about new posts over the upcoming weeks.
There are many techniques you can use to grow cannabis successfully, but starting with good genetics is the first step. Understanding what strains are available and experimenting with different strains is key.
You might find that different techniques suit your needs better than those outlined in our posts, but using high quality cannabis seeds ensures the best starting point for your home grow project.
Should I buy feminized or non-feminized seeds?
Feminized seeds ensure that all of your plants will be female, while non-feminized seeds make breeding possible. Without male and female plants you can’t produce your own seeds, or crossbreed different strains to create new strains. If you prefer feminized marijuana seeds to non-feminized, take a look at Colorado Seed Inc.’s new feminized seed line.
What’s involved in cultivating cannabis?
With the right equipment, techniques, and consistent monitoring, cannabis seeds will yield a beautiful, finished product in 3 to 5 months.
To start, growing cannabis involves either sprouting seeds or purchasing clones, allowing the plant to develop strong stems and healthy leaves in the vegetative stage, changing the amount of light the plant is receiving to trigger the plant to start flowering, then determining the perfect time to harvest the plant.
Once the growing phase is accomplished, we move on to trimming the leaves off of the resinous flowers, drying the flowers so they burn well and won’t mold in storage, and finally, curing the dried flowers, which preserves the plant’s unique terpene profile (which make it smell and taste so good) and also helps to make the flower less harsh to smoke by helping to further break down chlorophyll (the green pigment found in all plants that is needed for photosynthesis).
What are landrace strains?
To cultivate cannabis successfully, it is helpful to understand how cannabis evolved and where it grows naturally. Cannabis is thought to have originated in Central Asia, possibly in the Himalayas. It is speculated that as cannabis was spread around the world by people and/or migrating animals, it adapted over a long period of time (possibly centuries) to other climates, and was bred by humans to have certain characteristics. These strains of cannabis are called landrace strains, but you can also think of them as indigenous strains. They tend to have particularly stable genetics and phenotypes between plants without much variation. These plants are well suited to particular environmental conditions, and understanding the genetics in your seeds will help you grow a better crop.
How different are sativas vs. indicas when growing from seed?
Indicas: Indica strains such as Hindu Kush and Afghani are indigenous to the Afghanistan/Pakistan region which has dry, hot, and sunny summers, and a growing season that isn’t as long as other parts of the world. Indicas are better suited to be grown in Colorado because of this.
Sativas: Sativa strains originate from many parts of the world, including Jamaica, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America. A few of these landrace sativas include Colombian Gold, Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison, and Lamb’s Bread. These are tropical, subtropical, warm, balmy, and/or equatorial climates that have longer growing seasons. This makes sense, as sativas tend to have a longer flowering period than indicas; 60 to 90 days for sativa versus 45 to 60 days for an indica.
Research the genetics in the seeds you purchase to better understand the history of the cannabis you are cultivating.
What’s in a name?
There are hundreds of slang terms used to refer to cannabis. We hear people call cannabis by names such as marijuana, marihuana, weed, pot, grass, reefer, bud, green, hemp…and so many more. Whether you cultivate cannabis, grow weed, farm marijuana, tend a few pot plants, or simply smoke green, it all refers to the same fascinating plant; this is, besides the word hemp. Hemp is different from cannabis genetically, and has a very low THC content. Hemp can have male and female plants just as cannabis does, but it is the female plants that are harvested. Male hemp plants do not live long after they release pollen.
A note on legality
Keep in mind that although cannabis is now legal to grow in several states, every state has different restrictions about how many mature (flowering) and immature (vegetative) plants you can grow at one time. A Colorado resident over age 21 is legally allowed to grow up to six plants in total, with as many as three cannabis plants flowering at a time. There are varying restrictions around the state about how many plants are allowed per household, regardless of how many residents over age 21 are in the household. For example, in Boulder County only 6 plants are allowed per dwelling unit regardless of how many residents age 21 live there, versus Denver County which allows up to 12 plants per dwelling unit (but only 6 plants per resident). Furthermore, landlords have no obligation to allow you to grow cannabis in a rented apartment or home. Check your lease agreement or ask your landlord if you are not sure if you can legally grow cannabis on the property.
Our next post, part 2, will cover growing space, grow tents, growing mediums, and containers. Thanks for reading and happy growing!