by Kathy Goff
This column is dedicated to patients that want to grow their own marijuana. I will be discussing the basics of personal growing and will take questions for you readers. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, so let’s see if we can help.
The first thing to decide is where you are going to grow your marijuana. You can legally grow 6 plants and 6 seedlings per licensee. You will need to decide whether you want to grow indoors and/or outdoors. There are pros and cons for both. This time of year you will be growing indoors.
OK, you are growing indoors. Will you grow in soil or water? Are you going to grow plants, from seeds or cuttings, to plant outdoors in the Spring or to flower and produce buds before Spring? You can grow in a closet, under stairs, spare room or any other space that you can control the environment. A traditional grow tent system is often used because they include a light with timer, air flow system and air filter to eliminate odors.
When designing your space, take into account the amount of room your plants will need, the equipment (tent, lights, fans, air filters, etc.) plus enough room for you to work. Cannabis plants can double or even tripe in size in the early stage of flowering so be sure you have enough room.
Once you identify a space, then it is time to think about lighting. The better your light, the more you will harvest. Where and how are you going to hang your light? Grow tents have a bar at the top to hang a light. If you are growing in an open space, you will need to mount your light(s) so that they can be lowered and raised. What light to choose is a personal decision.
Two types of lights are LED lights and HID lights. LED iLight-Emitting Diode) lights last much longer, use little electricity and don’t generate much heat. The best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light. They are on the expensive side, so do some research and read product reviews before purchasing.
HID (high intensity discharge) are cheap to buy but use lots of electricity and produce a lot of heat. Two main types of HID lamps are: metal halide (MH) which produce light that is blue-ish white and are generally used during vegetative growth. High pressure sodium (HPS) produce light that is more on the red end of the light spectrum and are used during the bloom stage. In addition to blubs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light.
I suggest that you contact Lucky’s Grow Supply in OKC or Skunk Grow Supply in Tulsa for further information on lights. I use (2)1000W LED lights with a veg and/or bloom settings. I like LED’s because they don’t get hot and use little electricity. You will need to determine what wattage you want, even when purchasing a grow tent system.
You need a timer on your grow light(s) when growing the plants. In the veg stage, the plants receive 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness. Your lights need to turn on and off at the same times every day or risk stressing your plants. For the bloom stage, the plants need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. It is crucial that your grow space be light-tight. Light leaks during dark periods will confuse your plants and can cause them to produce male flowers instead of buds.
Your plants need fresh air to thrive. This means that you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow space. You can use a box fan or a small clip-on circulating fan to move the air around your plants. This helps stop mold from growing and keeps certain very small insects from invading. Grow tents use an exhaust fan near the top of to remove the warmer air and a filtered air inlet on the opposite side near the floor to bring in fresh air.
Once you have made these decisions, the next step is to get started growing. I will discuss growing in the next column along with answering your questions. Send your questions to HerbageGroMama@gmail.com