By Bruce Coetzee and Léon Cornelissen
It’s easy to be lulled into buying specific products to grow your indoor cannabis, yet cannabis is a plant, and it wants to live just as much as humans do! It can thrive in a large variety of environments and make use of many different types of nutrients.
This series of articles will try and guide you to building your own indoor, semi-automated, cannabis grow area. With a bit of common sense, and a burning desire to smoke your own herb, we will embark on this amazing journey together. We will be trying innovative and different methods to challenge the norm in terms of needing expensive equipment and products to achieve the results you require. For instance, with lighting, we will be looking at alternative lighting that will not cost you an arm and a leg if you are unable to afford some of the current products on the market. We are firm believers in the value of experience that comes about only through trial and error.
So, before we get started, lets mention what we believe is one of the key elements in growing cannabis (either indoors or outdoors) in one simple word: Patience! This is your mantra and will serve to guide you when facing challenges during your growing experience.
About the article and its authors:
Both of us (Léon and Bruce) have prioritised DIY and stealth while growing our own medicine and our combined experience of 35 years covers a variety of growing methods. The aim of this article and others to follow will be to document and record our progress of the growing process within our indoor grow setups that we will construct using innovative self-built solutions. Essentially, we are going to show you OUR method of doing things…cheap, sustainabe and rewarding!
Here are the topics we are going to discuss:
- Pros, cons and process of growing indoor cannabis
- Housing, lighting, environmental control and growing mediums
- Nutrients and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Harvesting and usage
Pros, cons and process of growing indoor cannabis
Growing cannabis requires patience and dedication. There is a process the plant wants to complete, and your role is to facilitate this process. Indoor growing has distinct advantages over growing outdoors. There is significantly less chance for pressure from pests, the chance of theft is decreased drastically, the environmental conditions are more stable, and this allows for growing throughout the year. All these aspects make indoor seem incredibly attractive…but what is the downside to indoor? Are the cons enough to prevent us from growing indoor cannabis?
Ultimately, growing indoor cannabis is the future of growing cannabis, so the cons absolutely cannot outweigh the pros. Let’s face it – paying money to maintain your indoor growing area, purchasing all your equipment and building your setup will be worth the amount of top quality bud you will be harvesting. A semi-automated setup will drastically reduce the amount of labour needed to grow your plants, which in turn increases your reward-to-effort ratio and will ultimately be one of the most beneficial aspects of your growing setup. It is reasonable to assume that reducing the amount of human interaction will reduce the amount of human errors occurring, so automation is definitely beneficial.
Bananas used for homemade organic nutirents, banana tea.
Pallet salvage, will be used to build grow room
The first stage of the plant is the seed phase. You need to germinate the seed and plant it successfully, and as soon as the plant has broken through the surface of the soil the plant is considered to be germinated and the seedling stage starts. The seedling stage is a vulnerable stage, and it ends when the plant produces its first set of 3 finger leaves. Following the seedling stage is the vegetative growth stage, a time when the plant experiences rapid growth. Vegetative growth can be controlled with photoperiod cannabis plants (it flowers due to it experiencing a dark period exceeding 12 hours), but auto-flowering plants will initiate the final stages of their lives automatically. The flowering stage continues until the trichomes develop and cannabis is usually harvested when the trichomes are either milky/cloudy white, or when the trichomes are mostly amber in colour. After you harvest your plant, you will need to dry and cure the plant before smoking your bud.
The process of growing cannabis is simple. You plant a seed into a medium, it grows through its various life stages and you harvest the plant when its flower is at the peak of its maturity/potency. The beauty of cannabis is you can harvest bud when the THC is at its peak, or you can wait until all the trichomes (which contain THC) are amber and you have bud with a more sedative effect (as well as a slightly higher yield in weight). To show you exactly how simple this process is, Léon and I will run two separate DIY setups. Each setup build will be documented, and the setups will be discussed during the process. I will grow using autoflowering seeds and Léon will use regular seeds in his setup. We strongly encourage the re-use of materials in constructing your indoor grow setup. Half the fun is seeing how far you can push your imagination! To provide some substance to our series, we will document most aspects of our respective grows, and we will show you the good…as well as the bad.
We look forward to sharing these details with you in the articles to follow, we discuss lighting alternatives and the indoor grow setups in the next issue.
Léon and Bruce