How is cannabis grown? If you’re lucky enough to live in a region where growing your own cannabis is legal but you’re not sure where to start, here at GB The Green Brand we can show you how to grow weed so that you don’t have to depend on the black market or cannabis associations. If you follow our tips and tricks, within a few months you’ll have your very own cannabis.
We’ll show you how to grow weed step by step with this easy guide, helping you to understand your plant as if it were your friend. The key is identifying any possible issues and fixing them before they can appear; not knowing what’s going on can often lead to a ruined crop.
There are two ways to grow cannabis; outdoors, where the plants get their energy from the sun, and indoors, which is when the plants are kept indoors under lights that are specifically used for growing cannabis. We’re going to have a look at both of these methods; the main difference is that feminized outdoor plants start flowering at certain times of year when the light changes, and with indoor plants you can control the lighting to the point where the plant starts flowering whenever you want them to.
We’re going to start with germinating cannabis seeds, going through all of the important points including how to cure your buds after harvesting them.
- Germinating your seeds
- Root cleaning
- Harvesting and drying
- Curing the buds
- 1 How to Grow Weed | Germinating your Seeds
- 2 How to Grow Weed | Cannabis Vegging Stage
- 3 Transplanting to Flowering Pots
- 4 Pre-flowering
- 5 How to Grow Weed | Flowering
- 6 The fattening stage
- 7 How to Grow Weed | Cleaning the roots
- 8 How to Grow Weed | Harvesting and drying your marihuana
- 9 Curing your marihuana
How to Grow Weed | Germinating your Seeds
To successfully germinate your seeds, you just need to essentially sandwich your seeds between damp (not dripping) sheets of kitchen paper between two plates or in opaque Tupperware. In 24-48 hours your seeds should have popped and the root should be visible. Once you can see the root, it’s time to move your seeds to small pots so that they can begin growing. If you want more information on how to germinate weed seeds, make sure to check out our post.
Once you have a solid root system and your plant has started to grow, you should move it to a larger pot, around 3L. Here we have a picture of what our plants looked like before moving them to a bigger pot.
How to Grow Weed | Cannabis Vegging Stage
After germination, your plants should be transplanted to bigger, 3L pots, where they’ll have enough space to grow out their roots. They should be in these pots for about a month. During this time, you should begin adding growth fertilizers to the water that you feed your plants. These fertilizers are rich in nitrogen, which is where your plant will be getting most of its nutrition from during that first month. The first few days you must be careful with your fertilizer dosage; if your fertilizer says to use 2 to 4ml per L, then you should use 2ml the first few days and 4ml in the last days of growth.
For indoor growth, your plants should remain in this state for 21-30 days, depending on the cannabis strain. For outdoor growth, you need to take into account that your plants will continue growing until summer starts, and that they must be transplanted once a month following this order; 3L, 7L, 11L, 30L. 30L is the largest pot you should be using up to a month before they stop growing, or you can also move your plant straight to the ground after the 3L pot if you have the space.
Transplanting to Flowering Pots
Once summer begins, or once the growing stage of your indoor plant is over, you’ll need to move your plants to flowering pots. Cannabis plants need to grow out a lot of roots when they’re in this phase, so that they can stretch and open their branches wide, allowing for light to reach the entire plant. If you don’t transplant them to flowering pots, the leaves will begin falling off early and the plants won’t flower properly.
The pot must be more or less twice the size of the last pot used during the growth stage, so if you ended an indoor growth phase with a 3L pot, you should transplant the plant to a 7L pot and so on. If you have an outdoor plant that’s finished the growth period in a 30L pot, then you’re going to want to move it to a 50L pot.
If you’re harvesting indoor plants, apart from transplanting them you must also change the lights from from 18h on and 6h off, to 12h on and 12h off, which is what causes the plants to start flowering.
Now is when you should start giving your plants nutrients that act as a flowering stimulant, so that they can produce as many flowers as possible, greatly increasing your yield. Use it along with your growth fertilizer until pre-flowering starts.
You used to have to wait until your plants began pre-flowering (showing their sex) to find out if your plants were male or female, and many growers still do this, although you can buy feminized seeds that are 100% female if you don’t want to go through the effort of having to get rid of male plants.
At this stage, your plants should grow quite a lot within just a few days, opening up so that all of the flowers and leaves can get as much light as possible.
Once the pre-flowering stage begins, you’ll be able to distinguish the plant sex at the at the bottom of the plant where the branches are close to the trunk or stem. If you can see two hair-like strands, then you know that your plant is female and also that it is starting to flower. If the plant has little balls at the bottom, it’s a male plant and unless you want the rest of your plants to end up filled with seeds, you need to remove it straight away.
Once you see the pre-flower start, you should switch out the growth base fertilizer for a flowering base fertilizer during the rest of the flowering stage, along with the flower stimulant until the first flowers appear.
How to Grow Weed | Flowering
Once you can see little white hairs forming on the buds of your branches and on the central eye of the plant, you know that it’s flowering. Flowers will begin appearing all over the plant, and thanks to the flower stimulator you should have a greater quantity of flowers, meaning a more productive future.
You should always use your flowering stimulant along with a flower fertilizer, which is rich in phosphorus and potassium, which is what your plants need the most during the flowering phase. Once the flowers have stopped taking shape and fattening up, you should stop using the stimulator or Booster, as it is frequently called. Continue using the flowering base, and you should also start using nutrients rich in sugars, which will make your buds denser, thicker, stronger and more resinous. Both products should be used until you reach the next phase, which is the fattening stage.
The fattening stage
Once it’s been about 40 days since changing your lights to 12h, or a month or so of outdoor flowering, you should see that your plants now have some pretty good flowers, full of white pistils on thick strings of bud. This is when the flowers on your plants begin growing fatter so that pollination is easier, but in doing so they consume a high quantity of their favorite nutrients, phosphorus and potassium.
Here we have a picture of our plants from the day that we started with the fattening and flowering fertilizers.
Fattening fertilizers tend to have a high concentration of PK, with the most potent ones surpassing an NPK of 0-50-30. These products should be used once a week, but there are weaker ones that can be used almost every time you water your plants. The fattening product should be used like so; you should water using flowering fertilizer and sugars, and then next watering should be done with flowering fertilizer and the fattening product. Then, you should stop with the product and start with the next phase; washing the roots. You must keep in mind that at this stage there should still about 15 harvest days left.
It’s important to wait it out and let your plant grow during those last two weeks, because that’s when your plant will get denser and thicker. If you harvest your plant too soon you could lose a lot of bud density, so it’s always better to wait a bit than to cut your plant too early.
You should wait for two more weeks of flowering than your seed packet indicates, because seed vendors don’t usually figure in the 10-15 day difference required with indoor plants. The dates given for outdoor plants tend to coincide perfectly, because they’re made for planting in the northern hemisphere, right where we live! (Spain, by the way)
How to Grow Weed | Cleaning the roots
When your plants can go on no longer, when they hardly have any white hairs and the ones that were there are brown, it’s time to flush the roots so you can harvest your plants with the minimum amount of fertilizer residue. It can be done many ways; at this stage you may need to adapt to the needs of each of our plants.
Some plants may take on a lot of water, whereas others might not. In the case of plants that are still taking on a lot of water when you harvest, the best thing to do would be to plop them in a bathtub and wash them until the water that comes out of the plant is practically clean, meaning you’ve cleaned away most of the fertilizer residue. If you have plants that hardly take on water, you should keep watering them with just water for 10 days every time it dries up. If you flush these types of plants with too much water you may end up causing rot in the flowers.
How to Grow Weed | Harvesting and drying your marihuana
Once the soil is dry after being washed, or it has been fed just water for 10-15 days and you’ve let it dry completely, you should move on to cutting your plants down so you can dry them and smoke them.
Remember, the soil must be completely dry when you harvest your plants just in case there is still too much humidity inside the flowers themselves, which could cause the plant to go bad if they aren’t dried properly. This can cause the flowers to rot from the inside out and you might not even catch it until you go to smoke it.
Moving on, once the soil is completely dry, you can do two things; you can cut the leaves off of the plant one by one and try to leave your plant as clean as possible, or you can just harvest it as is and dry it with all of the leaves included. Depending on where you plan on drying your plant, you will have to use one method or the other. Once you’ve harvested, congratulations! You now know how to grow weed!
If you plan on drying your plants in a cold area, somewhere where it’s humid at nighttime, or somewhere you’ve already dried plants and you know that they dry too slow (more than 15 days) then you should remove all of the leaves from the plant before you start drying it in order to remove excess humidity.
On the other hand, if you plan to dry your plants in a warm or dry zone, where it might dry too fast (less than 15 days) then you should leave all of the leaves on the plant, causing the drying time to increase, which is necessary; if your flowers dry too fast they won’t get rid of enough chlorophyll which can leave a weird taste in your flowers.
Find an adequate place to dry your plants. All you have to do is hang your entire plant upside down, with or without leaves, on a string or cord (like a clothesline) and avoid heavy breezes, excessive light and heat, because all of these things directly affect the resin and the quality of your cannabis.
Curing your marihuana
Now that you know how to grow weed, you’re going to need to know what to do once your weed has been grown. While your plants are drying, you should keep an eye on them to see how they’re progressing, because if the bud dries up too much it will lose a lot of flavor and you won’t be able to cure it right. Curing is simply getting rid of the chlorophyll in the buds, so that it loses that intense green color and becomes slightly yellow. By curing your cannabis, it will lose that chlorophyll-green taste and you can get the most out of its terpenes.
To cure your marihuana you must wait until it appears to be completely dry, with some humidity still present in the trunk. By touch you can tell that it’s dry, but if you bend the branch and it doesn’t make any cracking sounds, that’s how you know that your marihuana is ready to be cured. Now, you can put it into a glass jar or a wooden box and begin the process.
Once you’ve put your marihuana in a closed space like a glass jar, the humidity will expand through the jar equally, and the buds will get soft again. Little by little, the humidity will start killing off the chlorophyll, but it won’t be strong enough to damage the weed. This step requires some careful thought, because if you’re a beginner it might take a while to know when to cure your marihuana and it can depend on the strain too.
To know if your plant is too humid, or if a day in a glass jar won’t be enough, take it out of the jar after a day. If, when you take it out, it seems recently harvested, and too soft, you should remove it completely from the jar and air it, for about another day. If it’s only slightly more soft, then that is what you’re looking for. The humidity is killing the chlorophyll, so you should only open the jar for about 5 minutes, let it air out, and close it again.
Your cannabis might smell strange for the first few days, but don’t worry about it, it will get better every day. Every day you should open the jar for about 5 minutes until the day when you open the jar and the buds are crispy again (this takes about a week to 10 days). This means that it’s ready to be left in that jar for two weeks. When you eventually open it, you’ll see that the end result is much different from weed that has only been dried, and you can start smoking and enjoying your own weed. You’ll have the best weed around!
If you’re still having trouble figuring out how to grow weed properly, make sure to check out the rest of our posts!
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy