If you’re one of the thousands of Californians who’ve started using cannabis regularly this year, now is the time to consider whether you’d like to grow your own plants. There are many benefits to growing at home, especially if you have the right space for an outdoor plant or two. There’s no need for expensive lights and fans, all that’s required are pots, soil and seeds or clones. The outdoor grow season begins in June when the daylight hours are at their maximum. So, now is the time to get your prep work done. To give your plants the best head-start possible, be sure you start with these four things:
- High quality seeds or clones. There’s a huge difference between a seed developed by a cup-winning genetics company and one you saved from a bag of shake from college. These companies spend massive resources to create seeds that will grow into potent, hearty and healthy plants. Scientists focus on enhancing desirable traits (flavor, disease-resistance, etc..) and reducing less-desirable ones (poor yield, low potency). Go ahead and grow some free seeds if you can get them but don’t be surprised if you don’t get the results you want.
- Organic soil. The best outdoor cannabis is grown in rich, organic soil. Organic means there are no harmful, unnatural additives mixed in. Chemical fertilizers and nutrients should not be used as they can have serious health repercussions when the cannabis is consumed. There are many pre-mixed, cannabis-specific potting mixes on the market. There are even strain-specific mixes created by specialty producers although they can be hard to find. Ask around your local cannabis dispensaries and see what they recommend for local resources.
- Fabric or air pots. Seasoned growers use fabric “smart” pots or air pots (plastic pots with holes on the sides) because they provide excellent air circulation to the roots which helps the plant develop faster, especially during the vegetative state. The constant exposure to air also prevent bound roots and root rot which can occur in pots with poor drainage. The only downside to these two types of pots is that you’ll need to water twice as often to maintain the proper soil moisture.
- Exposure: Outdoor cannabis plants require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight plus an additional 5-6 hours of indirect light to thrive. Make sure your chosen grow space meets these requirements. You should also take privacy into consideration. Although cannabis is legal and most casual home growers won’t come close to meeting the maximum number of allowed cannabis plants, nosey neighbors and curious teens can still cause problems. Don’t make your home a target. Keep your plants out of sight and remember, more plants = more smell!