If legalization has you partaking in cannabis, “green” thumb home growers may be wondering how to get high off their own supply.
But how does someone even go about growing their own cannabis? Whether indica or sativa, growing dispensary-grade cannabis with THC levels of more than 20 per cent will take time, experience, and most importantly, trial and error. Certain aspects will need to be dialed in according to the grow environment, and each stage has its own set of requirements, but this guide will give you a quick introduction on each stage of the growing and cultivating process.
1. Germinating Your Seeds – When growing marijuana, the germinating stage is by far the shortest in the process, only taking a few days to a week. First, we need to ensure the seeds are mature enough to be planted, checking that they’re hard, dry and a shiny brown, not soft, white or green. Keep your seed in a dark environment until a root shoots downwards.
2. Your New Baby Seedling – At about the three-week-ish seedling stage, two rounded cotyledon leaves will grow out from the stem as the plant unfolds from the seed. These initial leaves are responsible for taking in sunlight needed for the plant to grow.
The seedling growth stage is fragile and plants should receive at least 18 hours of sunlight, moist soil, and mild humidity to grow rapidly. Because the seedling has such a small root system, it’s also important to not drown it by overwatering. As roots develop, the stalk will rise and you’ll begin to see the first iconic fan leaves grow, at which point your cannabis plant can be considered a seedling.
3. The Vegetative Growth Stage – Taking around eight weeks, this is easily the most transformative stage yet. After being replanted to a larger pot, the growth of a cannabis plant soars. Its stem becomes thicker and grows taller, it produces more leaves and branches, and its root system becomes more established to prepare for flowering.
If you didn’t know when you planted it, you should be able to tell if your plant’s strain is sativa or indica; sativa plants are lanky and don’t have as many leaves, while indica plants are shorter and denser.
4. Almost there: Pre-flowering – Once your plant has reached the short, one- to two-week pre-flowering stage, you’re able to start determining the sex, at last! (Though it does get easier the longer the plant flowers.)
Female plants will have two pistils (this contains the reproductive parts of a flower) growing on the buds (flowers grow above these leaves, one cluster on each side).
Males will have small green sacs full of pollen on the node areas. Once the plant starts receiving less light per day, from 18 to 12 hours, its growth will halt and it will enter the flowering phase.
5. Finally, Flowering – The last stage of the growing process is flowering, and this stage usually lasts for around eight weeks. Cannabis requires periods of 10 to 12 hours of complete darkness per day to completely enter the flowering stage. You’ll know your plant is ready to be harvested when the colours of the pistils on the cola buds turn from white to reddish orange and the trichome heads turn from transparent to milky to opaque and finally amber.
6. Harvesting – Don’t get too eager once your plants are all grown – first we need to harvest and dry the cannabis to prevent fungus and bacteria from growing. Once it’s time for harvest, cut down the plant into smaller branches to ease the drying process. The pieces should be strung and hung upside down in a cool, dark room for one to two weeks.
All that’s left now is to enjoy your own home harvest!
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