Starting your own home-grow can be intimidating, that's why we have provided this helpful guide to all of our fans to help navigate all the difficult and confusing decisions to make while growing for the first time. This guide will be geared toward novice growers with little to no experience, for more experienced growers we recommend sticking with the set up your are comfortable with. By the end of this guide you will have all of the information you need in order to set up your grow for either clones or plants from seed.
01 Where to Grow
It is a commonly held belief that Cannabis grown indoor is better than sun-grown flower; at Eighth Brother, we couldn't disagree more, we believe sun-grown flower has a special quality to it that just can't quite be achieved growing indoor. For the purposes of this guide we will be giving tips for an indoor grow so that we can limit as many variables as possible for first time growers and yield more consistent results. Note that growing outdoor may be illegal in certain jurisdictions, please always check your local regulations before doing anything with cannabis.
For beginners, we suggest doing a small grow indoor with about 6 plants. We do not recommend attempting hydroponics if your are inexperienced. Make sure your area is out of reach of children, away from nosey neighbors, and safe from predators (rats, gophers, birds, pests). The environment in which you choose to grow will affect your final product substantially. If you live in an area with extreme heat or cold we recommend doing an indoor grow to be able to better regulate temperatures (extreme temperatures can kill your plants). Make sure you can control the humidity in your grow area; too high humidity can cause mold, too low and your plants will dry out.
02 Selecting Your Substrate
Substrate? What's That?
Substrate is the medium you are going to be growing your plants in. Soil, rock wool, coconut coir, peat moss, clay pebbles, and perlite are all examples of commonly used cannabis substrates.
Our recommendation is to pick up some soil from your local hydroponics store. The best soil for marijuana plants is a well-draining mixture, rich in organic matter, and has a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. The ideal soil composition includes a mixture of and other soil additives compost. To make it easier on first time growers we suggest just starting with a mixture from your local hydroponics store. Some popular products are: Canna Terra Professional, Plagron All-Mix, and Biobizz All-Mix.
03 What Type of Lights?
What Type and When to Run Them?
Which lights are best for growing cannabis is a hotly debated topic within the growing community. For the purposes of this guide, we will only recommend the most affordable solutions, ignoring some of the more expensive options. We will cover a few different options for lights
-The most budget option for grow lights will be your standard Florescent light bulbs; these work but they do not have the full-spectrum of light or necessary power for cannabis plants to hit their maximum yield. We only recommend this option for shoestring budget, if you can spend absolutely $0 on lights. These lights are cheap; they will have high heat output, limited light spectrum, and they will be affordable to run 24/7, but your plants may not reach the same size as with other options.
-The next option we would recommend is basic LED (Light Emitting Diode) Lights. These will be slightly more expensive but are commonly found and you may already have them on hand. These lights will have a similar light spectrum to florescent lighting but will have far lower heat output and will be more affordable on your electric bill.
-The #1 option we recommend for your first grow is using LED Grow Lights. These lights offer the best of both worlds as they are made specifically for indoor farming. They have a more full spectrum light output to make your plants grow happily, they have low heat output so they won't dry your plants out, and they are still very affordable to run in terms of electricity. These lights have the added benefit of not burning off your humidity, while traditional lights burn much hotter making difficult to maintain a stable humidity. These are the most expensive lights of the three so if you don't mind spending the extra cash these will definitely yield you the best results.
04 Nutrients... Do I Need Those?
I'm Not a Biologist, Where do I Start?
Picking your nutrients can be one of the most intimidating parts of doing your first grow. Don't worry though! With our guide your won't need a degree in botany to decide what type of food to feed your baby plants.
Picking the right nutrients is difficult, that's why we are here to help guide you as you get everything ready for your first grow. There are many different types of nutrients available on the market, in this guide we will focus only on affordable environmentally friendly solutions that will be easy for a novice to execute.
When looking at nutrients there are commonly two types: Organic and Inorganic.
Organic is going to contain living organisms and composted material that is nutrient rich and ready for your plant to absorb.
Inorganic nutrients are commonly minced minerals that are artificially created; these can have negative impact on soil composition and surrounding environment.
We recommend using avoiding the use of nutrients until well out of the seedling stage, using organic nutrients rich in nitrogen during the vegetative state, and using nutrients higher in phosphorous and potassium during the flowering stage.
There are many nutrients that are available commercially. HGV and Athena Salts are some of the most affordable options.
It is also important to not add too much fertilizer during growth and to not add any nutrients or fertilizer during the last week of growth to flush the nutrients out of the plant and improve the final product’s flavor.