Starting Your Own Home Grow
With the growing number of states legalizing cannabis, people more and more are wanting to take control of their own medicine by growing at home. Starting out can seem like a series of overwhelming choices to make with large expensive purchases.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to new home growers out there. Entire grow kits can be purchased to your exact specifications. Tent size, light source type, soil or hydro and a myriad of other options are just a few of the choices you have when selecting your first grow kit.. Let’s take a look at the basics and what you should consider when choosing your own grow kit.
Why Grow Your Own?
If you live in a state where cannabis is legal in some form, you may find that the cost of cannabis could really have an affect on your monthly budget. Prices fluctuate based on quality and supply. If you are treating an ailment with cannabis and need larger quantities, it’s much more cost effective to grow your own. For example, by following simple growing techniques and under the right conditions you can cultivate a pound of cannabis in 3’ x 3’ space in just a little over 3 months. That should be more than an adequate supply for the average user for many months.
You also have the added benefit of using the whole plant from your harvest. The trimmings (or shake) are the remaining leaves and plant matter trimmed away from the cannabis buds after harvesting. These trimmings can be used to make tinctures, edibles or concentrates. Since you have control of your own harvest, you can get the benefit from the whole plant rather than just the choice buds from the top colas for purchase at a dispensary.
Now this post is not about cultivation, we actually wrote an entire guide to that which you can purchase here https://thestonermom.com/grow/. Since you have made the choice to cultivate your own cannabis, you have the power to ensure there are no pesticides, un-natural nutrients used, mold or any other things that may compromise your health from consumption. Furthermore, you are no longer reliant on what is available at the dispensary. You can tailor make your grow to what suits you best. Sativas? Indicas? Hybrids? Whatever works best for you. There are several quality seed banks available that ship worldwide with amazing strain selections. I recommend The Vault! Check their site out to see their amazing selection.
The very first thing to consider when starting your own grow is where to do it. From large scale home grows in your basement to closet sized grows, there are options available for any size. Make sure you have a space where you can run power to. This is actually the most crucial part of any grow. You may have a prime spot in the corner of the basement with no outlet nearby. Make sure you can get power to the area with an extension cord or if you are extremely handy, run power to the spot you want to use.
Grow tents have been the staple of home grows for decades. They provide the optimal space for maximizing light, containing smell and providing total darkness for your plants. They also come with a variety of access points and can be water tight on the bottom for any unplanned water spills that may occur.
Since you have an idea about where you are going to have your indoor grow, look for a tent that has access that works with your space. Look at your options and visualize how it will work for your space. My 3’ x 3’ grow tent fits in a cubby in a room in my basement and has only one front access point. I chose my tent for this space based on there being one large zippable door that would open and velcro to the side while I was working inside the tent.
Make sure you purchase your grow tent from a reputable resource that stands behind their product. Grow tent zippers can break leaving you with a non functioning tent with a door that will not close while you are growing. This can have a profound impact on your grow. One online resource that is easy to navigate with a wide variety of tent options is hydrobuilder.com. Most unopened packages can be returned up to 30 days from purchase. Some opened packages can be returned with a 20% stocking fee, make sure to enquire if your purchase can be returned prior to your purchase. I have purchased from hydrobuilder.com in the past and have found their customer service to be exceptional and their selection of products to be unmatched.
Now we all know I am a big fan of Black Dog LED. I won’t get in to all the different pros and cons when it comes to lighting. If you would like to view different lighting options available, once again I would check hydrobuilder.com . I would only ask you to consider a few things when making your lighting purchase.
HPS lighting (or metal halide lights with bulbs) can give off a LOT of heat. You will need to figure out how to mitigate that heat, possibly with a portable AC unit which can add more cost to your grow. I would also argue that in a confined space a metal halide light can be a fire hazard. They are less expensive, but maintaining temperatures and safety in a home environment can be a challenge to a new grower.I would recommend LED lighting or Compact Fluorescent lighting when starting out. Much safer and easier to keep your space cool.
In the holy trinity of growing, air movement is the third most important thing when setting up your indoor grow. You will absolutely need an exhaust fan that goes inside of the tent connected to an air filter and ducting that pushes air to the outside of the tent. The exhaust fan will pump all of the hot air from the inside of your tent to the outside. I have had many situations where my ducting came undone from my oscillating fan and the inside of my tent was around 20 degrees hotter than it should have been. Exchanging inside air for outside air is crucial for any grow.
Another essential item is a fan (or pair of oscillating fans) which are important to keep air moving inside of your tent. There are several fan options available. The most popular are oscillating fans that attach to the poles of your tent. Here is an example of a popular pole mounted oscillating fan.
When starting out I would always take the easiest (and most familiar) path to learn. Soil is readily available and relatively hassle free. When choosing a soil type, make sure you get one that contains perlite. Perlite promote good drainage and we definitely don’t want our roots sitting in stagnant water. You want your water to feed the roots and drain out of the bottom of your container.
Speaking of containers, you can choose anything you are most comfortable with. I prefer Smart Pots (a fabric pot) because they allow a lot of air into the soil and have great drainage. I would also purchase a riser and saucer for your pots to go on. The riser allows the container to sit off the ground about 2 inches so water can run out. The saucer will collect the run off water where you can vacuum up with a wet dry vac.
Choosing Your Grow Kit
Now that you know the primary components of an indoor grow set up, you can start piecing it together. There are many online shops that offer tents, lighting and much more. However, the most convenient way is to purchase an entire grow tent kit so you have the majority of everything you will need to start your own grow.
Most grow kits don’t come with every single thing you need to get started. This leads to multiple trips to Home Depot and your local hydro shop for smaller, but essential items. One online grow tent kit creator I found that pretty much covers every basic accessory you will need is the hydrobuilder.com custom kit creator tool.
This particular kit creator takes you through each step to creating your perfect grow tent set up and provides you with many options along the way from tent height and cost, to essential accessories you will need like a timer, nutrients, trimmers and light hangers. You can go as deep as you like in this configurator and find a tent kit that will accommodate your ideal space and budget.
I went through this grow kit creator and configured my kit to a 2’ x 2’ space. Right away I was pleased to see I had options not only with the brand of grow tent, but also the height. I went with a 5’ tall tent during my selection process. I chose a higher end 300 watt LED grow light, 3 gallon containers x4 (with risers and saucers), light hangers, a timer, an oscillating tent pole fan, an exhaust fan with ducting and filter, a thermometer, botanicare nutrients starter kit, a ph meter, trimmers, and a drying rack for when I harvest. The total cost came to $935.90 before tax and shipping.
All in all this is a good beginner’s setup with most everything you will need to get started. As with every grow kit, there are items you will need to get on your own. I would absolutely purchase a power strip, an extension cord (or 2), a 5 gallon bucket (or 2) for mixing nutrients in, a microscope for viewing trichomes , some latex gloves some mason jars for curing and zip ties for holding things in place.
Starting your own indoor grow is a very rewarding experience and I swear nothing is better than your very own flower that you grew with your own hands. Don’t forget that you can also cultivate federally legal hemp to create your own CBD rich creations right in your own home.