Growing cannabis – A step-by-step beginner’s guide

Growing Cannabis in the UK is the wish of many people. In Canada with a prescription you can grow up to 4 plants, it’s becoming legal across more states in the US. President-elect Joe Biden is believed by many to be a supporter of the adult use of medical marijuana. In time the UK may follow suit. But how do you start growing cannabis? Do you need a grow tent? A grow room? What are the barriers to growing cannabis outdoors?

So buckle in, we have a lot of ground to cover. 

Note: Growing weed or cannabis for medical or other reasons is at the time of writing illegal in the UK.

Where it is legal, growing cannabis is a fun and inexpensive way to get high-quality bud without having to break the bank. Plus, you’ve made it yourself so you don’t have to worry about someone using harmful chemicals in your bud. Like all gardening skills though, cultivating a fine cannabis yield is a skill you will have to devote a whole lot of time towards. But there’s no reason to feel intimidated as it’s a fun and worthwhile activity to engage in. Plus, think of the payoff. 

Cannabis seeds

Trying to figure out how to grow weeds from seeds can be something of an uphill battle. Generally speaking, the number of choices you can make are practically innumerable but practically speaking cannabis seeds can be seen in three choices – Indica, Sativa, and hybrid. 

As we mentioned there are quite a lot of additional sub-categories that you could make in terms of CBD-rich medical cannabis or auto-flowering hybrids that must also be considered. Ultimately though, what you want is high-grade marijuana that is high in THC and low in CBD. You don’t want to dismiss CBD completely out of hand as it can be crucial to getting a powerful effect via the entourage effect.

Hybrids aren't often misrepresented but the traditional hybrid set-up is the Indica-Sativa blend. There are, obviously, quite a lot of other hybrid variations; CBD-rich strains or custom breeds that equally represent all strains. CBD-rich strains are increasingly popular in recent years with people embracing the health craze that they seem to represent. 

Cannabis seedlings

How to grow weed in the UK?

Cannabis legislation is spreading like an unfortunate fire inside cannabis grow tent across the U.S. Canada, and even many countries in Europe are beginning to look at their own legislation regarding the matter, hopefully, we can soon answer the question ”can I grow cannabis for my own use”, with a resounding yes!. With all these things going on it makes sense that you’d be starting to think about growing cannabis UK. There is a number of reasons why you would think of doing that. By growing weed you can potentially guarantee the quality, you can monitor your dosage, you can experiment with new scents and tastes, 

Growing cannabis

Before we get into the various ways of how to grow weed UK or differentiate between indoor growers and outdoor growers, let’s have a look at some of the main fundamentals you need to know before you start growing cannabis.

What are the bare-bones basics you need to know before you can start growing cannabis to a quality standard?

  1. Light– Seems pretty obvious, hopefully, but might as well start with the most basic thing we can think of. In order to get the most out of your cannabis grow yield, you need to be getting a quality amount of light onto your crops.
  2. Medium– How to grow cannabis depends on the medium you use? The obvious answer is probably soil but there are more options than that. There are neutral mediums that depend entirely on nutrients such as coconut coir, rock wool, or perlite. Hydroponic systems or deep water cultures don’t use mediums at all. The root is suspended and gets the nutrients directly from the nutrient mix.
  3. Air– Unsurprisingly, cannabis plants need fresh moving air. Outdoors seems like the best place to be able to get some fresh air but growing cannabis indoors will require a method to avoid using stale air being circulated.
  4. Water– Much like any living thing, cannabis needs water in order to survive and thrive. If you plan on growing cannabis outdoors and your locale has regular amounts of rainfall then likely you won’t need to worry about this too much. But if you’re growing cannabis indoors, or live in a pretty dry climate you’ll need to seriously consider this aspect of your cannabis growth.
  5. Humidity– Outdoors cannabis growth means you won’t have a whole lot of control over the humidity levels your cannabis crop is exposed to. But on the plus side, having to deal with varying and changing climates means that your plants will need to learn to adapt which in turn will make them stronger. If you’re growing cannabis indoors you'll obviously have far greater control and a far greater responsibility to keep on top of it. Balanced humidity makes for a healthy pest and mold-free environment.
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Hydroponic system 

There are as we’ve mentioned a lot of options for a medium for growing cannabis UK. But a hydroponic system is, in our opinion, a really worthwhile investment. A good hydroponic system can make all the difference in growing cannabis in a far shorter space of time than a traditional soil method. 

How to grow cannabis with a hydroponic system? To begin with, let us blow your mind with some plant facts. Plants don’t need soil to grow. Whoa! Yes, it’s true. They don’t need soil but what they do need is the minerals that are dissolved within soil when it is watered. So a hydroponic system can support a cannabis plant by replacing the nutrients that would have been otherwise provided by the soil. It is far more efficient in exposing roots to the nutrient solutions and can keep the roots better aerated.  

Why is this so good?

Constant and continuous exposure to the right amount of water and nutrients means that the plant can spend a lot of time focused on growing weed to its maximum potential. This means that the yields from hydroponic systems can often far exceed what would normally be gotten from a regular-soil based set up. But that obviously depends on the amount of care given to the crops over time.

Cannabis Plant

Growing cannabis indoors

You’re here because you want to be an indoor grower or are interested in growing cannabis indoors. There can be a myriad of reasons for getting into this crazy hobby, whether it's saving money and time, or your health, personal safety, or just to have a consistent supply. Well we’ve got some tips for you to get you started. 

Now before you start, it's important to be aware of all local laws that might be in place against such extracurricular gardening times. Cannabis, as you know, can be a contentious issue for many so it’s important to consider any implications that may arise from growing cannabis UK. Even if you’re in a state or country where growing marijuana is legal you want to be considerate of those who may take some for themselves. Therefore, discretion is the best course of action in these matters. 

If you want to grow cannabis indoors for privacy reasons it can be surprisingly cheap and easy to maintain your hydroponic system. This is especially important for indoor growers if they don’t plan on growing pot for a big yield. With an indoor grow tent you have greater control over literally everything that goes on inside. Environmental factors that might normally be a concern are completely nullified by growing cannabis indoors. 

So what space might work best? A very good question. You can grow your cannabis in any number of available spaces. As long as you have access to fresh air and water virtually anywhere is a possibility.

  • A spare room
  • A garage
  • A Grow tent (of course)
  • A spare room
  • Even inside something as small as a computer case

An important factor to consider when growing cannabis indoors is the temperature of your space. It’s important to consider the temperature both before and after the grow lights are turned on and when you start growing pot, is that the temperature will increase dramatically after it’s turned on. Even if you’re using LED grow lights. These can be important at all stages of growing cannabis indoors. 

Most common mistakes

By far one of the most common mistakes for first-time growers of cannabis is to conduct experiments. Now controlled-experiments are one thing, but spur of the moment inclinations can kill your plants and cost you a lot of time and money. 

If you’re planning on conducting any off-the-cuff experiments be sure to do some basic research on Google on what you want to do and see if anyone has any experience. This could save you time and effort and may even offer an insight you wouldn’t have considered. 

Cannabis Industry

Growing cannabis outdoors

Growing weed or growing cannabis outdoors can be cheaper to start off with because you don’t have the same initial indoor growing problems to consider when setting up your grow space. The problems, however, come in when you start growing cannabis outdoors because unlike with a grow tent you can’t set up everything exactly as you would like. There are quite a number of things to consider when growing cannabis outdoors which we’ll try to cover now. The most obvious, of course, is the environment but there are many others that you might not have even thought about before now. If you think you live in an environment that would be harsh for cannabis growth, do some research before going all-in on that avenue. 

    • Consider your climate

Hopefully, this is something of a no-brainer but temperature is incredibly important for growing cannabis outdoors. It is absolutely essential to have a good working knowledge of your local climate so that you can get the optimum amount of growth from your cannabis. Cannabis is a highly adaptable crop to most weather types but it can be extremely susceptible to extreme conditions. 

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For example, if you’re in a climate with sustained temperatures above 86°F your plants will eventually stop growing. And on the other hand, crops that are exposed to temperatures that are below 55°F for long periods of time will also be damaged or stunted. They could even kill your crops outright. 

Similarly, heavy rains and intense winds can cause physical damage to plants and reduce the yields you are likely to get. Whenever there is excessive moisture in the air, there is a danger that your cannabis plants could become moldy, particularly at the flowering stage. 

On top of that, you need to understand how the day lengths change throughout the year and what the increased or decreased amount of sunlight could mean for your bigger yields. At some times of the year, you might only have 14 hours of sunlight while at others it could be far more. This is a crucial and perhaps underappreciated aspect of growing cannabis outdoors because you’ll need to utilize these changes in order to have your cannabis flip from vegetative to flowering states.

Learn more about: How Hemp Oil helps with Climate Change

  • Location, location, location

Choosing the perfect spot for growing cannabis outdoors is one of the most important decisions you’ll make on your journey to having the perfect cannabis yield. There’s a balance that needs to be struck where your plants receive as much direct sunlight as possible. Then when the season changes and there is less sunlight throughout the day your plants will be triggered into the flowering stage. 

Having a steady breeze is also really important especially if you’re growing your plants in hotter climates. If you live in an area with a lot of high winds, consider planting near a windbreak of some description like walls, fences, or lots of shrubberies. 

And last but not least we come to the issue of privacy. You’re going to want to have a lot of privacy and security measures in place to deal with prying eyes. Most growers want to conceal their crops from judgemental neighbors and sticky-fingered thieves. Tall fences and large bushes are great for keeping the neighbors out without being too aggressive about it. Well, if you topped either off with barbed wire that’d probably do the trick. 

  • Genetics can be a strain

Like seemingly everything else on this list choosing the right strain to grow in your garden can be well, uh, a strain. Sorry. But the success of your plants can really come down, did you choose the right cannabis strain or not? If you’re living in an area where a lot of good cannabis has come from, the chances are that you’re already aware of the best strains for that area. 

The first question you have to ask yourself is whether you’re going to go the route of seeds or clones. There are some advantages and disadvantages to both so you’ll need to weigh up the options for yourself. The main disadvantage to growing weeds from seeds UK is that there is no guarantee as to what you’ll end up with. You may not know that seeds need to be feminized. Only female seeds are capable of producing buds so they’re the most important ones. 

If you get yourself some seeds you might have a bit of a mixed bag and you’ll have to root out the males before you can really get started. Which can naturally be a bit labour intensive. 

Clones are another option for growing marijuana outdoors. Acquiring them really depends on the legality for wherever you’re living. Some growers also choose not to use clones because they find them to be less sturdy as seeds. 

  • Toil in the soil

Quality soil, what’s it made of? You’ve walked across it your entire life but have you ever stopped to really look below your feet? We’ll assume not. Soil is made up of three basic components in varying ratios – soil, sand, and silt. You have options of planting directly into the ground or getting your own soil and putting it in pots. You’re going to want high-quality soil for growing marijuana that is rich in nutrients. Good soil might be expensive but it’s well worth the return on your investment. 

There are a couple of choices on what kind of soil you want to use. Below we list a few options for high-quality soil that are available to you. 

  • Heavy soil

  1. Drains slowly 
  2. Doesn’t hold oxygen as well
  • Sandy soil 

  1. Easy to work in
  2. Drains easily
  3. Warms Easily
  • Silty soil

  1. A medium of the sandy and heavy
  2. Easy to work with
  3. Warms quickly
  4. Holds moisture
  5. Rich in nutrients
  • Fertiliser 

It may not surprise you to learn but cannabis plants need a helluva lot of nutrients in order to grow to their maximum ability. These nutrients come from their soil in the form of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. All of them largely depend on the composition of your soil. You can purchase nutrient solutions that cater specifically for cannabis plants from your local grow shop or online. The problem with them is that they are often expensive and because of their synthetic make-up can be damaging in the context of growing cannabis outdoors.

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Aim to start off with fertilizers that are relatively inexpensive and easily available wherever you are. If you do it correctly, you can mix in a few of these products with your soil amendments so that they can then provide enough nutrients for the entire life of your plants.

You may also like to read: Hemp Cleans Toxic Soil and Produces Clean CBD

  • Protecting Your cannabis plants

As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, if you’re planning on growing cannabis outdoors then you are somewhat limited in certain things like your environment. You need to be extra vigilant about protecting your cannabis plants in these conditions.

Growing Cannabis

What’s a cannabis grow tent?

You might have come across a cannabis grow kit, which includes a cannabis grow tent that is best described as something akin to a portable grow room. Now while it might be referred to as a cannabis grow tent they can actually grow a wide variety of crops, not just cannabis plants. Much like your ordinary run of the mill tent, a cannabis grow tent can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even varies in the material that is used. 

Depending on the variables we mentioned a decent grow tent can provide ample grow space whether you are a hobby grower or someone engaged in more large scale production. Grow tents can also be really good for coordinating and organizing your crops. Perhaps you just want one grow tent to be for mother plants or sick plants, or maybe you’ve got a staging grow room for all of your yields. Whatever your method, a grow tent can be a fantastic solution to whatever needs you have. Many of them come with a heavy-duty zipper and LED grow lights which are perfect for plant growing. 

So you’ve been thinking about getting a cannabis grow kit but you’re not sure. Well, let’s look at the benefits of getting a grow kit. What are they?

  • Easy installation

Finding the perfect space to grow your cannabis can be tough, impossible in fact. You have to have the lights in the correct place, holes need to be in the correct spot for ventilation. On top of all of that, it needs to be light proof. But if you get yourself a cannabis grow tent you can eliminate all of that nonsense. 

  • Energy efficient

A grow tent is incredibly energy efficient and one hundred percent light proof. Each bit of light is contained and utilized, saving you a ton of money and giving you the maximum supply of light. They are also extremely spacious and air efficient. 

  • Versatile

Yet another benefit of having a cannabis grow tent at your disposal is how versatile it is. Each one is quick and easy-to-assemble, and incredibly durable. On top of that, you can set one up wherever you want.

  • Smell

Let’s face it, combating the smell of cannabis can be difficult. It has a very distinctive odour after all. A good grow tent though is completely airtight and has special features, like an extractor fan or carbon filter to get rid of the smells that plants can give off. Nothing but pluses from that. 

  • Great for beginners

Becoming a cannabis cultivator is hard enough as it is, so any little helping hand is more than welcome. With the efficiency and simplicity of a grow tent, you have a level of control over your cannabis flower yields that make your chances of success that much higher. 

Growing Cannabis

Do you need a cannabis grow kit?

If you’re going to grow the finest cannabis you can, you're going to need the finest ingredients and equipment. So the question then is do you need a cannabis grow kit? Growing cannabis UK couldn’t be easier than it is today. Whether you want to use a grow room or an indoor grow kit, the materials are available with only a few clicks on the internet. But high-quality cannabis cultivation is as easy for the intrepid beginner as it is for the more experienced grower. The only difference is time. 

A good quality cannabis grow kit can be the be-all and end-all of a cannabis-connoisseurs kit. It can also be a stepping stone to a much larger and more productive growth. The best cannabis grow kit is a complete work of art if it has a grow light, tools, nutrients, and accessories you need to turn your saplings into big-time plants. 

For anyone looking to buy their medical cannabis you can do so through approved dispensaries in the UK, mainly they sell imported flower from Canada which has been approved and received the necessary licenses from the NHRA and the home office.

Michael Quinn

Michael is a 27-year-old Chemistry graduate from Stoke-on-Trent, England. When he’s not writing he’s travelling to music venues across the country with his sound-system

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