What should I consider when starting a marijuana grow?
The canna-industry has exploded over the past few years due to the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis. With the rules starting to lax more and more people are starting to think about growing their own cannabis. It’s a big commitment but not a hard one. If you use our grow guides a beginner can defiantly successfully grow cannabis either indoors or outdoors.
The secret to success starts with a series of decisions you must make. What strain of cannabis do you want to grow and where to get it from? With many unscrupulous sellers of seeds online how do you know where to start. What kind of buzz are you looking for and do you want a strain that is easy and forgiving to grow? These are just questions you need to answer and I’ll guide you along the way to picking the absolute best strain for beginners.
Believe it or not there really are strains that are best for beginners. These strains are easy growers, less finicky then other strains. Just because these strains are great for beginner growers doesn’t mean that they are excellent strains. Most of the 5 strains we recommend in this article will knock your socks off with potency.
Space to Grow
Your grow space is your playground, it’s where you’ll spend countless hours tending to your beautiful cannabis plants as they grow and mature. Setting up your grow space with grow lights, fans and carbon filters are some of the engineering challenges you’ll be up against. You can learn all about this in our Beginners guide to growing cannabis.
Your grow area is where you play god. You control the weather and environment to provide the best possible conditions for your cannabis plants. The area which you grow your cannabis directly affects the way your plants can grow. You must understand how your plants will grow. How tall will they get, how much stretch will you experience in the flowering stage. This is important because your grow area usually has a height restriction.
If you are growing in a grow test or closet you likely have between 60” and 80” inches of grow height. The physical thickness of your lighting takes up space as well as the safe operating distance from your plants. For example, if you were using an LED grow light with a thickness of 3 inches and a safe operating distance of 18 inches you’ve already lost 21 inches of grow height. Add the height of your pots which are generally around 6 inches tall and you are up to 27 inches of used space. If your maximum grow height is 60 inches, then you’ve only got 33 inches left for your plants growth. That isn’t very much space for a cannabis plant.
This means you need to choose strains to grow that are shorter on average than other cannabis strains. You may also need to invest time into training your plants to maximize the cola’s and minimize your plants height during the growing stage.
You can do a lot of things to try and grow better cannabis. You can experiment with lighting, soils and nutrients, even light exposure and access to carbon dioxide. The list goes on and on, but the most important factor in determining the quality of your cannabis is the strains genetics. If you choose to work with high grade genetics backed up by awards and hype, you’ll end up with plants that are just that much better.
One of the important issues you need to think about when choosing your strains genetics is grow space. Do you have the room for a Sativa or a strain that is Sativa dominant? Or do you have limited grow space and grow height, if this is the case an Indica-dominant plant will be the best option because of its tendency to grow smaller and shorter. Other benefits of an Indica-dominant strain are that its growth cycle is generally a few weeks shorter.
Seed banks and seed stores generally offer Sativa’s, Indica’s and hybrids which are combinations of the two genetics together. When breeders mix and play with genetics you end up with extreme new strains of cannabis. For example, by mixing Sativa and Indica in the right combination will create a plant that is short and squat while still containing a large fruity Sativa yield. The geneticists that bread this example strain focused on growing small plants that contain large cola’s, how great is that?
There are a myriad of modern day strains because of this genetic god playing which is great news for growers. You now can grow a great variety of strains. We are focusing on the top 5 strains for beginners in this article so later we’ll discuss these top strains in detail.
It’s time to learn about some more magic which can decrease the complexity of your first grow significantly. The magic comes in the form of Feminized Auto-Flowering Seeds. Imagine growing seeds that do the extra complicated work for you. These little babies do just that! There is no need to worry about changing light cycles, or deciding when to change light cycles. With Auto-Flowering seeds the plants know when to change over to flowering and they do so without any intervention from the grower. Even more exciting is the fact that Auto-Flowering seeds are generally feminized which as well means you never get any male plants which you need to try and identify and then destroy.
Unique qualities of Auto-Flowering Plants:
- Auto-Flowering plants are ready to harvest in the shortest amount of time of any strains. The genetics in these strains has made them ready to harvest in less than 3 months, Some strains in as little as 10 weeks.
- Auto-Flowering plants don’t need a regular period of light. Most plants need their photoperiod adjusted at flowering time to 12 hours of light per day. With Autos there is no need to play around with time adjustments. You can leave your lights on full time if you want to help manage heat or run them 18 hours a day to increase growth speed. There is no need to adjust your light times to get these babies to flower.
- Auto-Flowering strains generally contain more than 1% of naturally occurring CBD. CBD makes buds relaxing with an anti-anxiety effect. This makes Auto-Flowering strains a great choice for medical cannabis patients looking for a more relaxed experience. There are also Auto-Flowering Strains that have been specifically bready for higher THC as well which provide the user with more of a psychedelic experience.
Flowering time on these Auto strains can be as short as 50 days and as long as 85 days depending on the genetic makeup of the strain. Regular strains (non-auto) take between 75 and 90 days depending how long you vegetate the plant for. Our top 5 strains contain strains that consider size limitations.
This is where the real fun begins, and you get to get your hands dirty. Learning to grow cannabis is a very hands on experience. You don’t have to go into this blind though. There are incredibly simple and detailed grow guides available to you.
Techniques for growing cannabis can involve training which is the low stress control over which a plant can grow. Plants can be manipulated with techniques such as tying plants down, topping, screening, fimming and mainlining. These are advanced techniques and not recommended for beginner growers. Training your plants can manipulate both the size of the plant as well as the number of colas (buds) the plant contains. Once you are experienced enough to try these techniques you will see incredible gains in the yield your plants will produce.
Strains for Growing with CFLs
Many beginners will not want to make a major investment in proper grow lights to start out and this leaves them with growing with CFLs. I really do not recommend this unless absolutely necessary. Compact Florescent Grow Lights do not provide the growing power needed for most strains to really thrive. It becomes and increasing issue at flowering time, as your buds will be small and contain less THC due to the lack of light power. Growing with a CFL is possible, I’ve done it as a test and I see people on boards all the time showing of their CFL grows.
Growing with CFLs will require you to have small plants because the light generated isn’t strong enough to penetrate deep into the plant canopy. So, a plant with the genetics to be small is required. That’s possible because of genetics, there are specific strains that do not grow tall, which are perfect for this type of grow.
You are still going to need to train your plants if you are growing with Compact Florescent Grow Lights so that they will have more colas on a flatter plant. We’ll tell you the perfect strain for this growing situation later on in this article.
Are you Looking to get High or Stoned?
The strain you choose to grow will of course have a huge effect on the type of buzz you get. Are you looking to be high, stoned or somewhere in-between? Are you a day time user that requires an alert energetic buzz or are you a night smoker looking to sleep or are you looking for pain reduction? It could even be possible to grow a low THC strain that produces high levels of CBD.
What Are CBD Strains?
CBD strains provide more medicinal value because they have been bred to contain high levels of the cannabinoid CBD. While these strains were breed for higher levels of CBD they also lowered the levels of THC with the possibility of growing strains that produce no THC at all. These pure CBD strains are known to be used in children with severe seizer disorders. CBD is known to be an extremely important medicinal discovery which has the ability to treat dozens of medical disorders.
Beginning a marijuana grow is exciting but can also be overwhelming. Remember to consider your grow area conditions as well as the strains medicinal benefits, as well as all the hard word it is going to entail, and you’ll do great with your first grow.