Growing marijuana is equal parts science and art. The botany of marijuana is one of the best- understood aspects of the plant, and perfecting techniques is both a hobby and a profession for some of the world’s best growers.
With legalization slowly blooming in Canada, professional growers working for licensed producers (LP) are bringing years of experience to an industrial level. One of those growers shared some of his tips and secrets with us.
For the past year, Owen Barduhn has worked as the processing lead at Solace Healthcare, an LP based in South Western Ontario. On top of this, Owen has plenty of experience growing marijuana at home.
Look to Cannabis Master Growers for Tips & Advice
While Owen is an expert grower, he had to learn from someone. For Owen, Jorge Cervantes was that person. Jorge has helped growers for decades. At first, that meant informational pamphlets detailing how to grow marijuana. Today, you can find a lot more detail on Jorge’s YouTube channel.
Another reputable source Owen cites is the Canadian grower Remo Colasanti, who also sells soil nutrients and other products to help the plant grow.
“Those guys are actual, reputable sources and great places to start,” says Owen.
Resources like Cervantes and Remo are valuable to new and experienced growers alike. The best way to learn about growing cannabis is to do it yourself, but these two men have nearly a century of experience growing marijuana between them. For very specific problems a grower might run into, and for foundational knowledge, resources like Remo and Cervantes are invaluable.
Once you’ve got a base knowledge of growing marijuana plants, it’s time to think about equipment.
Marijuana Growing Equipment
“When it comes to equipment, Amazon is very, very good,” says Owen.
What’s great about Amazon for buying growing gear is there are hundreds of options for virtually every piece of equipment. While it’s generally a good rule that top-of-the line equipment will make your grows easier, that’s not always true.
Since the Canadian climate isn’t well suited to growing marijuana outside, you’re probably going to need a tent to house your plants. The price of tents range from a couple hundred to several thousand dollars depending on size and quality. “The only real difference in tents is durability. So, if you’re careful, cheap tents work great and can still last a long time,” says Owen.
Once you know what size you need, it’s probably safe to go for the cheaper option. The same is true for fans. While it’s nice to have a fan with a bunch of different settings, it’s not necessary, especially for a beginner grower.
Not every bit of equipment needs to be top of the line, but that’s not true for every piece of the puzzle. Lights are probably the most important part of any cannabis growing setup, and where most of your budget should go.
Ultimately, it’s impossible to set out a total guide for every piece of equipment you’re going to need. However, the basic pieces you’ll need to start growing cannabis are a:
- Set of lights
Which Marijuana Strains Should You Choose?
Once you’ve got your hardware in order, it’s time to figure out what kind of marijuana you want to grow. Of course, this involves knowing what strains work best for you, but there’s a bit more to it when it comes to growing. Different strains involve different levels of care.
More complicated strains need to have the pH levels of the soil and conductivity of the water carefully monitored. Every strain requires soil nutrients, but some work with simpler regimens than others.
“For beginners, I would definitely suggest an autoflower strain,” says Owen. Usually, marijuana plants rely on periods of darkness to know when to flower, but this isn’t true for autoflower plants. “Autoflowers help because you can just leave the lights on. It uncomplicates the process a little bit,” says Owen. When choosing your seeds, look for “auto” in the strain name.
It’s good for new growers to experiment with different strains, but the more you grow a strain, the better results you’ll get out of it. “It comes down to growing the same strain over and over again, and figuring out what it likes,” says Owen.
Where Most Cannabis Growers Go Wrong
For new growers, it’s easy to get obsessed with their plants. As much as cannabis plants require attention and care, it’s a pretty resilient species. “A lot of first-time growers get too into their plant,” says Owen. “For me personally, I wanted to make my plant look pretty, and that’s just not necessary” he says.
There’s also a tendency for marijuana growers to over-water their plants. The good news is most nutrient companies have guidelines for how to grow, and how often to water, and for most strains following these basic instructions will work just fine.
New growers’ best bet is to invest in some decent equipment, and then follow a guide from a nutrient company like General Hydroponics or Remo Nutrients. At different times during a marijuana plant’s life, the electrical conductivity of the water and the pH level of the soil vary, but these companies specifically work to keep all of the levels in the right area.
Like anything else, growing cannabis takes time to master. Today, with the help of nutrient companies and legalization, it’s never been easier to take the first few steps to becoming a master grower.
After a few grows, you may be ready to experiment with different strains or nutrient regimes. But follow these guidelines, and you should have a reliable, usable cannabis plant in three to five months.
Know the Marijuana Laws in Your Area
One thing the Ontario government has made clear is that it will come down hard on people who don’t follow the rules of legal cannabis—this is especially true for people growing. As the laws stand now, each person is allowed to grow four cannabis plants at a time, no taller than one meter. For most people, this is plenty, but the penalties for growing too much marijuana are steep.
People growing too much cannabis could be looking at up to 14 years in jail. It’s unlikely that the government would throw the book at someone who’s only growing one plant over the limit, but these laws can vary further from province to province.
If future growers are waiting for legalization before they get started, they should take a look at the laws in their area, just to be sure they stay inside the legal boundaries.
Photo credit: Brett Levin