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How To Grow Weed: Beginner’s Guide To Growing in 2020

Growing Marijuana The Right Way: A Step-By-Step Guide

This guide will teach you everything you need to know grow healthy cannabis plants with massive yields and picture-perfect buds.

Whether you’re a first time grower or a professional looking to take your grow op to the next level, we’ll show you the tried & true process used by the world’s largest and most successful growers.

In the updated and expanded 2020 guide, we’ll walk you through each step of setting up your very own marijuana grow operation:

Growing marijuana is a rewarding hobby and can offer a great business opportunity as well. By the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll know how to grow cannabis indoors like a professional, allowing you to get better and bigger yields than you’ve ever imagined at surprisingly low cost.

We’ve taken methods from traditional hydroponics and combined them with the latest technologies and methods used by the best professional grow operations to get you started growing the right way. With professional equipment and an easy, step-by-step process, you’ll be able to produce buds with quality beyond your wildest dreams. We’ll show you secrets previously only known by the inner-most circle of top-tier professional growers around the world to grow magazine-quality buds. When you see your first harvest, you simply won’t believe your eyes.

You will learn

  • How to set up an indoor grow room using the principals of professional grow facilities
  • How to pick the right grow equipment
  • How to pick the right strain for your grow
  • How to start your plants from seeds or clones
  • How to give your plants everything they need in terms of light, nutrients, water and airflow at each stage in the growing cycle
  • How to care for your plants and spot potential issues early so your plants stay healthy
  • How to speed up the growing growing cycle while maintaining high bud-quality
  • How to pick the right grow equipment
  • How to harvest, dry and cure your marijuana buds

Growing like a professional will allow you to

  • Experience the beautiful evolution from seeds to full-blown, magazine-quality yields
  • Know how to scale your production from a single plant up to as many plants as you’d like – event to the size of a medium or large commercial production in a professionally designed grow room
  • Impress your friends and customers with beautiful buds that create the exact effect you desire

If growing beautiful buds excites you, continue on to Chapter 1 below!

Also, feel free to ping us with any questions about starting or optimizing your production in the comments below. We love working with new growers and are happy to help and offer advice based on our experience setting up some of the largest grow operations in the industry.

Hydroponics: Growing Marijuana in 2020

Growing outdoors requires less investment up-front, but can leave your plants at the mercy of environmental conditions and mother nature for better or worse. With an indoor hydroponic production on the other hand, you are in full control of every factor that will impact the quality and size of your harvest. Creating a professional-style grow room will allow you to influence all factors that limit or accelerate the growth of our plants, and master the art of maximizing yields and producing picture-perfect buds.

From choosing the best grow lights, to learning the ins-and-outs of hydroponics and setting up a well-designed growing space with proper ventilation and environmental control — this guide will show you what you need to know. Setting up the infrastructure for hydroponics takes a bit more time and investment at the start, but trust us, you’ll be very glad you did once you see your final yields.

Planning Your Business

If you’re planning to grow for personal use only, you can skip this section and continue on to Chapter 1 below.

Planning to grow marijuana as a business? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

As with any business, you should start by researching the market circumstances and legal considerations in the area you plan to operate. Your business will be very different depending on your goals: Do you want to grow medical marijuana or recreational? At what scale? And in what state?

What will your team and setup look like? How many people will be involved? How much is the investment for setting up the grow room? How much are the monthly costs for water, electricity and other supplies? Can you grow in your house or do you need a commercial area? How will you be distributing your weed buds?

If you are considering growing marijuana as a business – treat it like a business. Do your research beforehand. Identify your target customer and how you’re going to reach them. Research the balance of supply and demand in your market — your work will be much easier in a market that is supply constrained, so that may influence where you decide to set up your grow. What are the financial and legal risks and how can you manage these risks? Are you willing to take a legal risk or not? A business plan can help you structure your thoughts as well as forecast your cashflow.

By the way: you do not have to have prior experience in growing weed to get started. What it will take is your genuine interest in taking good care of your plants and your ability to work hard, study hard and make changes on the way according to your learnings. It’s not rocket science, but it needs dedication and passion. And you can do it, too.

Getting Started

When starting a cannabis business you will want to choose the right seeds first. Depending on the effects you want to achieve, you will choose different strains. This major choice (medical vs recreational) will largely determine the market you will be operating in.

After deciding on the results you are hoping for, you will then research the right plants for you and purchase seeds. With the seeds starts the lifecycle of your plants. From now on you will do everything you can to optimize water, airflow, nutrients and light.

Because we know that starting an adventure like this can seem overwhelming in the beginning we have created this practical guide for you. Our goal is to walk you through all steps needed to start out and grow like a professional. We cover infrastructure as well as plant care. We help you to select the right strains as well as harvesting them at the right time. We share all our knowledge and secret tips from years of experience.

Growing weed includes various aspects of gardening as well as business. There is great opportunity in the market for medical usage as well as CBD right now. If you are acting smart 2018 could be your chance.

This guide includes 11 chapters of in-depth information on growing cannabis the right way, with tips that will make you a pro. With every phase of your plant’s lifecycle described, you’re about to learn the best practices and secret growing hacks of the masters.

How To Grow Weed Like A Pro in 2020

Are you excited to learn more and get started? Yes! We are too! Get started now by clicking the big green arrow to continue to Chapter 1:

If you’d like to skip straight to another section, use one of the quick links below:

Step 1: How to Select the Best Marijuana Strains for Your Production

Before choosing your marijuana strains you should reflect on what kind of results you are looking for. The buds may vary greatly in look, smell and effects. Read more >>>

Step 2: Setting Up Your Grow Room

An indoor production, whether starting with a single grow tent or a full scale commercial facility is the perfect opportunity to start your marijuana production empire. In this chapter we’ll cover the 6 most important factors for successfully growing hydroponics. Read more >>>

Step 3: Mastering The Art Of Cannabis Propagation

The art of growing cannabis can be divided into two main skill sets: The skill of replicating known genetics and the skill of creating new genetics. There are two different approaches to you need to know about for starting new weed plants: growing from clones, and growing from seeds. Read more >>>

Step 4: Environmental and Ventilation Systems For Healthy Cannabis

In this piece we will study how use your ventilation system to create the perfect conditions for your plants. For your hydroponic systems to prosper you will need fresh air, ventilation and exhaust air set up properly. Naturally your plants would grow in a soft breeze and warm climate. Read more >>>

Step 5: Selecting the Best Grow Lights for Your Marijuana Production

Lights are essential because they largely determine your plants’ grow cycles, their photosynthesis and therefore their health and their buds. Lighting is the food of your marijuana plants. When first creating your grow room make a blue print to decide what system for water management, light and air flow you want to use. In this piece we will discuss the details about lighting. Read more >>>

Step 6: How to Manage Water in a Hydroponic Grow System

While a hydroponic might seem a lot more complex than growing outdoors or using soil at the first glance it will only take you some time to learn and study but it will be far less work when set up. Your plants basically live off light, water and nutrients. We have discussed grow lights before, so today we will be looking into the science of water management to improve your yield. Read more >>>

Step 7: How to Use Nutrients to Maximize Your Yield

To take your growing operation to the next level, we will discuss the main ideas and best practices for hydroponic nutrients today. Your plants need the best light, water, and nutrients to grow and flower. The better you take care of them, the more they will reward you with great yield. There are some principals to follow when using nutrients. Read more >>>

Step 8: Taking Care of Your Plants While Vegging

After the process of propagation, small and fresh baby plants have now started to grow. You might have used a special growth medium or a plastic dome to grow them initially. Now you have brand new marijuana plants to take care of. It is time to find their spot in your grow room and start improving their health, strength, and shape. Read more >>>

Step 9: Taking Care of Your Plants in the Flowering Stage

The flowering stage is the moment we all have been waiting for. For you, as a professional grower, this is the most important part of growing marijuana. Let’s discuss how you can take care of your flowering cannabis and grow the best yield ever. Read more >>>

Step 10: Best Tips for Harvesting Cannabis

It’s time to harvest your cannabis. You have grown your plants from seeds. You have taken care of their lights, their water supply, and their nutrient levels. You have given them the best care and optimized your indoor production to create the best environment for your plants. Your small plant with a few leaves has matured into a full-blown plant with heavy buds. Congratulations, you have come far. Read more >>>

Grand Finale: Drying & Curing Cannabis – Climax of Your Cannabis Production

After many weeks of taking good care of your plants, the moment of truth has arrived. You’ve picked the perfect time for harvesting and you’ve started cutting down your plants. In the process of manicuring, you will be removing all the leaves from your plants. Now, all you are left with are your buds. Read more >>>

See the best pro tips distilled from 10,000 hours of professional growing experience. We'll teach you how to grow weed like a professional. Become a Master Grower. This guide will walk you through: Selecting Cannabis Strains, Grow Room Setup, Cannabis Propagation and Cloning, Selecting Grow Lights, Vegging and Flowering, Nutrients, Harvesting, Curing and more.

How to grow marijuana indoors: a beginner’s guide

Congratulations, you’re interested in growing your own cannabis plants for the first time! But before you flex that green thumb of yours, understand that growing marijuana indoors presents a unique set of challenges for the new hobbyist, and the sheer volume of information available on the subject can be overwhelming.

Our clear, easy-to-digest guide to indoor growing will help even first-time growers get started.

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Benefits of growing weed indoors

  • High-quality weed: Although it’s more resource-intensive than growing outdoors, you can control every aspect of your environment and what you put in your plant, so growing indoors will allow you to dial in your setup to grow some primo weed.
  • Adaptability: Live in an apartment or a small house? You can grow weed practically anywhere, even folks who don’t have a backyard or a lot of extra space.
  • Multiple harvests: Unlike outdoor growing, you aren’t tied to the sun and the seasons. You can let your plants get as big as you want, flip them into flower, harvest, and then start another batch right away. You can grow whenever you want, even straight through winter.
  • Privacy and security: Even in legal states, you may want to conceal your crop from judgmental neighbors and definitely from potential thieves. Growing indoors allows you to grow discreetly behind a locked door.

Step 1: Designate a cannabis grow room or space

The first step in setting up your personal cannabis grow is creating a suitable space in which to do it. This space doesn’t even need to be a typical room—it can be a closet, tent, cabinet, spare room, or a corner in an unfinished basement. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your equipment (and plants) to fit the space.

Start small…

When tackling your first grow project, you’ll want to start small for multiple reasons:

  • The smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up
  • It’s much easier to monitor a few plants than a large number
  • Your mistakes as a first-time grower will be less costly

Remember, most new cannabis growers will experience setbacks and lose plants to pests or disease. A failed grow of two plants will put a far smaller dent in your wallet than a lot more plants.

…But think big

When designing your space, you’ll need to take into account not only the amount of room your plants will need, but also your lights, ducting, fans, and other equipment. You’ll also have to leave enough room for you to work. Cannabis plants can double in size in the early stages of flowering, so make sure you have adequate head space!

If your grow room is a cabinet, tent, or closet, you can simply open it up and remove the plants to work on them; otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you leave yourself some elbow room.

Cleanliness is crucial

Make sure your space is easily sanitized; cleanliness is important when growing indoors, so easy-to-clean surfaces are a must. Carpeting, drapes, and raw wood are all difficult to clean, so avoid these materials if possible.

Keep it light-tight

Another crucial criterion for a grow room is that it be light-tight. Light leaks during dark periods will confuse your plants and can cause them to produce male flowers.

Other variables

When deciding where to grow your cannabis, keep the following variables in mind:

  • Convenience: You’ll need to monitor your plants carefully. Checking on them every day is important, and beginners will want to check in several times per day until they have everything dialed in. If your room is hard to access, this crucial step will be difficult.
  • Temperature and humidity concerns: If your grow space is already very warm or very humid, you’ll have issues controlling your grow environment. Choosing a cool, dry area with ready access to fresh air from the outdoors is highly recommended.
  • Stealth: You’ll most likely want to conceal your grow from nosy neighbors and potential thieves, so be sure to pick a place where noisy fans won’t garner any unwanted attention.

Step 2: Choose your cannabis grow lights

The quality of light in your grow room will be the number one environmental factor in the quality and quantity of your yield, so it’s a good idea to choose the best lighting setup you can afford.

Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular types of cannabis grow lights used for indoor growing.

HID grow lights

HID (high-intensity discharge) lights are the industry standard, widely used for their combination of output, efficiency, and value. They cost a bit more than incandescent or fluorescent fixtures, but produce far more light per unit of electricity used. Conversely, they are not as efficient as LED lighting, but they cost as little as one-tenth as much for comparable units.

The two main types of HID lamp used for growing are:

  • Metal halide (MH), which produce light that is blue-ish white and are generally used during vegetative growth.
  • High pressure sodium (HPS), which produce light that is more on the red-orange end of the spectrum and are used during the flowering stage.

In addition to bulbs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light. Some ballasts are designed for use with either MH or HPS lamps, while many newer designs will run both.

If you can’t afford both MH and HPS bulbs, start with HPS as they deliver more light per watt. Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts, but run hotter, are less efficient, and harder on your bulbs. Digital ballasts are generally a better option, but are more expensive. Beware of cheap digital ballasts, as they are often not well shielded and can create electromagnetic interference that will affect radio and WiFi signals.

Unless you’re growing in a large, open space with a lot of ventilation, you’ll need air-cooled reflector hoods to mount your lamps in, as HID bulbs produce a lot of heat. This requires ducting and exhaust fans, which will increase your initial cost but make controlling the temperature in your grow room much easier.

Fluorescent grow lights

Fluorescent light fixtures, particularly those using high-output (HO) T5 bulbs, are quite popular with small scale hobby growers for the following reasons:

  • They tend to be cheaper to set up, as reflector, ballast, and bulbs are included in a single package
  • They don’t require a cooling system since they don’t generate near the amount of heat that HID setups do

The main drawback is that fluorescent lights are less efficient, generating about 20-30% less light per watt of electricity used. Space is another concern, as it would require approximately 19 four-foot long T5 HO bulbs to equal the output of a single 600 watt HPS bulb.

LED grow lights

Light emitting diode (LED) technology has been around for a while, but only recently has it been adapted to create super efficient light fixtures for indoor growing. The main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would. The benefits are that LEDs last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which can lead to bigger yields and better quality.

Unfortunately, there are many shoddy LED lights being produced and marketed towards growers, so do some research and read product reviews before laying down your hard-earned cash.

Induction grow lights

Induction lamps, otherwise known as electrodeless fluorescent lamps, are another old technology that has been recently adapted to suit the needs of indoor growers. Invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s, the induction lamp is essentially a more efficient, longer-lasting version of the fluorescent bulb. The main drawback of these fixtures is their price and availability.

Step 3: Give your cannabis plants air

Plants need fresh air to thrive, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, easily achieved by means of an exhaust fan placed near the top of the room to remove the warmer air, and a filtered air inlet on the opposite side near the floor.

You’ll need to ensure that temperatures remain within a comfortable range for your plants, between 70-85°F when lights are on and between 58-70°F when they are off. Some varieties of cannabis (generally indica strains) prefer the colder side of the range, while others are more tolerant of higher temperatures.

The size of your exhaust fan will depend on the size of your grow space and amount of heat generated by your lighting system. HID systems put out a ton of heat, especially if they aren’t mounted in air-cooled hoods. People who live in warmer regions will often run their lights at night in an effort to keep temperatures in their grow down.

It’s advisable to set up your lights, turn them on for a while, and then determine how much airflow you’ll need to maintain a comfortable temperature for your plants. This will allow you to choose an exhaust fan suitable for your needs. If the odor of cannabis plants in bloom will cause you problems, add a charcoal filter to your exhaust fan.

Alternately, you can create a sealed, artificial environment by using an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and supplemental CO2 system, but this is quite expensive and not recommended for the first-time grower.

Finally, it’s a good idea to have a constant light breeze in your grow room as this strengthens your plants’ stems and creates a less hospitable environment for mold and flying pests. A wall-mounted circulating fan works well for this purpose — just don’t point it directly at your plants, because that can cause windburn.

Step 4: Pick your climate controls and monitors

Once you have selected your lights and climate control equipment, you’ll want to automate their functions. While there are sophisticated (and expensive) units available that control lights, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels, the beginner will generally need a simple 24 hour timer for the light and an adjustable thermostat switch for the exhaust fan.

The timing of the light/dark cycle is very important when growing cannabis; generally you will have your lights on for 18 hours per 24 hour period while the plants are in vegetative growth, then switch to 12 hours of light per 24 hour period when you want them to bloom. You need your lights to turn on and off at the same times every day or you risk stressing your plants, so a timer is essential. You can use a timer for your exhaust fan as well, but spending a few extra dollars on a thermostat switch is a much better option.

With the most basic models, you simply set the thermostat on the device to the maximum desired temperature for your space and plug your exhaust fan into it. Once the temperature rises to the level you set, it will turn the fan on until temperatures fall a few degrees below the set threshold. This saves energy and maintains a steady temperature.

Since you’re probably not spending most of your time in your grow space, a combination hygrometer/thermostat with high/low memory feature can be very handy in keeping tabs on conditions in your room. These small, inexpensive devices not only show you the current temperature and humidity level, but the highest and lowest readings for the period of time since you last checked.

Step 5: Decide on a cannabis grow medium

Growing indoors means you have many different media to choose from, and whether it’s good old fashioned pots full of soil or a rockwool slab in a hydroponic tray, every medium has its benefits and drawbacks.

Here we’ll examine the two most popular methods and the media they employ.

Soil is the most traditional medium for growing cannabis indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer (like Miracle Gro), which is unsuitable for growing good cannabis.

A very good choice for beginners is organic pre-fertilized soil (often referred to as “super-soil”) that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients, if used correctly. This can be made yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other components with a good soil and letting it sit for a few weeks, or it can be purchased pre-made from a few different suppliers.

As with all organic growing, this method relies on a healthy population of mycorrhizae and soil bacteria to facilitate the conversion of organic matter into nutrients that are useable to the plant. Alternately, you can use a regular soil mix and then supplement your plants with liquid nutrients as the soil is depleted.

Soilless (aka hydroponics)

Indoor growers are increasingly turning to soilless, hydroponic media for cultivating cannabis plants. This method requires feeding with concentrated solutions of mineral salt nutrients that are absorbed directly by the roots through the process of osmosis.

The technique for quicker nutrient uptake leading to faster growth and bigger yields, but it also requires a higher order of precision as plants are quicker to react to over or underfeeding and are more susceptible to nutrient lockout and burn.

Different materials used include rockwool, vermiculite, expanded clay pebbles, perlite, and coco coir, just to name a few. Commercial soilless mixes are widely available that combine two or more of these media to create an optimized growing mix. Soilless media can be used in automated hydroponic setups or in hand-watered individual containers.

Step 6: Pick a container

What type of container you use will depend on the medium, the system, and the size of your plants. A flood-and-drain, tray-style hydroponic system may use small net pots filled with clay pebbles or just a big slab of rockwool to grow many little plants, while a “super-soil” grow may use 10 gallon nursery pots to grow a few large plants.

Inexpensive options include disposable perforated plastic bags or cloth bags, while some choose to spend more on “smart pots,” containers that are designed to enhance airflow to the plant’s root zone. Many people grow their first cannabis plants in five gallon buckets.

Drainage is key, as cannabis plants are very sensitive to water-logged conditions, so if you repurpose other containers, be sure to drill holes in the bottoms and set them in trays.

Step 7: Feed your cannabis plants nutrients

Growing high-quality cannabis flowers requires more fertilizer, or nutrients, than most common crops. Your plant needs the following primary nutrients (collectively known as macronutrients):

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)

These micronutrients are needed as well, albeit in much smaller quantities:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Copper

If you aren’t using a pre-fertilized organic soil mix, you will need to feed your plants at least once a week using an appropriate nutrient solution. These nutrients are sold in concentrated liquid or powder form meant to be mixed with water, and generally formulated for either vegetative or flower (“bloom”) growth. This is because cannabis has changing macronutrient requirements during its lifecycle, needing more nitrogen during vegetative growth, and more phosphorus and potassium during bud production.

Most macronutrients are sold in a two-part liquid to prevent certain elements from precipitating (combining into an inert solid that is unusable by the plant), meaning you’ll need to purchase two bottles (part A and part B) for veg, and two bottles for grow, as well as a bottle of micronutrients. Other than these basics, the only other nutrient product you may need to purchase is a Cal/Mag supplement, as some strains require more calcium and magnesium than others.

Once you’ve purchased the necessary nutrient products, simply mix them with water as directed by the label and water your plants with this solution. You should always start at half-strength because cannabis plants are easily burned. It’s almost always worse to overfeed your plants than to underfeed them, and over time you will learn to read your plants for signs of deficiencies or excesses.

It’s important to get a pH meter so you can check the pH level of your water when mixing nutrients. Cannabis prefers a pH between 6 and 7 in soil, and between 5.5 and 6.5 in hydroponic media. Letting the pH get out of this range can lead to nutrient lockout, meaning your plants are unable to absorb the nutrients they need, so be sure to test your water regularly and make sure the nutrient mix you are feeding your plants falls within the desired range.

Step 8: Water your cannabis plants

Most people won’t think twice about the water they use on their plants; if you can drink it, it must be fine, right? Well, it may not be an issue, depending on your location, but some water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals that can build up in the root zone and affect nutrient uptake, or it may contain fungus or other pathogens that aren’t harmful to people but can lead to root disease.

Additionally, some places may have high levels of chlorine in the water supply, which can be harmful to beneficial soil microbes. For these reasons, many people choose to filter the water they use in their gardens.

The most important thing to remember during this phase is to not overwater. Cannabis plants are very susceptible to fungal root diseases when conditions are too wet, and overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by the beginning grower.

How often you water your plants will depend on the medium used, size of the plants, and ambient temperature. Some people will wait until the lower leaves of the plant start to droop slightly before watering.

As you gain experience and knowledge, you will alter your grow room and equipment to better fit your particular environment, growing techniques, and the specific strains you grow, but this article will give you a solid foundation of knowledge to get started on the right foot.

And remember, growing marijuana is a labor of love, so spend a lot of time with your plants and have fun!

This post was originally published on June 6, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 2, 2020.

Our indoor cannabis growing guide will help simplify the process for you into clear, easy-to-digest sections to help the first-time grower get started. ]]>