When I started growing weed five or six years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. My first plant was a shrub, about a foot tall with a washy high. Before my second attempt, I picked up some tips, acquiring better seeds and adding compost to the soil. Soon, I learned you can’t grow good weed without developing a deep connection to all things green.
By the time I planted a third season of weed, my small patio was a jungle of plants, a lively mix of jasmine, roses, cacti, mini-palm trees, ferns, tomatoes and many more. I loved taking care of them, spending time with them, learning plant rhythms and what made them happy or sad. Soon I noticed when they were happy and healthy, so was I. The same is true of growing weed.
By which I mean, it’s possible to develop a relationship with a plant. I have an ex, also a grower, who used to talk to his plants, sit with them for hours, have long conversations. I thought he was nuts still I started copying him, sneaking out to my patio late at night to sit alone with my four tall plants. Up close and personal, you realise each plant has its own personality and preferences, and how you care for it absolutely affects the high.
That third year, a new neighbour compromised the life of my glorious plants by threatening to call the police. Rather than deal with unnecessary grief, I moved the plants, two to a friend’s garden, and my ex took the other two. His two did not survive. My friend cut the buds off the two I left in her garden before they reached full bloom. All in all, it was a fucking disaster. Such are the joys of growing weed at home.
CAN YOU GROW WEED AT HOME?
Different countries have different rules for homegrow. I have a friend in Ireland and local police raid his house a few times a year because they found plants in his home in the past. Sadly, most countries follow Ireland’s zero-tolerance model but that’s changing. Here’s a list of countries that allow homegrow:
In Spain, homegrow is allowed as long as the plants are hidden from public view and there’s no more than four to six, depending on the size. There are lots of grow shops dotted around the country where you can get the necessary materials, including clay and fertilisers.
Technically, it’s illegal to homegrow in Holland but growing five plants or less in a private space is decriminalised. Much like Spain, as long as the homegrow is for personal use and hidden from public view, local police will turn a blind eye. However, grow more than five plants and risk confiscation of plants or criminal charges.
In September 2018, the law changed in South Africa, permitting the possession, consumption and cultivation of cannabis for personal use. Again, there’s a limit on how many plants you can grow, err on the side of caution, grow six or less.
Uruguay was the first country in the world to federally legalise cannabis, under the leadership of President Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica, a man who is basically a legend in the world of cannabis. Remember his 2014 interview on VICE, The Cannabis Republic of Uruguay, a classic! Uruguayans who want to grow have to register with local authorities.
As we all know, federal law does not permit homegrow in America but a number of States do allow limited grow for medical and personal use. Those States include Alaska, California, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Michigan and South Dakota. For a full list of which States allow what, click here.
Luxembourg is one of the first countries in Europe to allow homegrow of cannabis, but again, there are limits. No more than four plants and can only be grown on private property, out of public view.
Ah, Malta, I love you. Thanks to the country’s forward-thinking Equality Minister, Owen Bonnici, it’s now legal to grow and consume cannabis for personal use in Malta. Bonnici’s aim is to keep users out of the criminal system. It’s allowed to carry up to 7grams and grow up to four plants at home. Other EU countries, including Germany, France, Italy and the UK, are now looking to follow Malta’s lead.
Thailand, a nation with a decades-long history of growing covert cannabis, is the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise cannabis. They legalised cannabis for medical use in 2018, and for personal use in 2022. Under the new rules, you can grow at home as long you notify local authorities first. If you plan to grow for commercial purposes, a license is required.
In October 2018, Canada was the second country in the world to legalise cannabis with the passing of The Cannabis Act. The Act permits households to grow up to four plants, however some provinces, namely Quebec and Manitoba, dipped out, causing ongoing grief for users. It’s like the restrictions put in place by these provinces will be overturned in the future.
In 2021, Mexico legalised cannabis for personal use. Anyone who wants to grow at home has to apply for a permit from local authorities. An individual is allowed to grow up to six plants, with eight allowed per household.
HOW TO GROW WEED AT HOME
No matter where you are in the world, the most important thing for growing weed at home is a private space, ideally a secluded garden with lots of sunshine. To get that connection to nature, outdoors is best, imo, but not always possible.
On top, the quality of seeds matters. Personally, I’m a fan of Dutch company Sensi Seeds, but there are lots of seed companies out there, and is likely best to pick one near to you. Feminized seeds need more care and take longer to grow, about six months. An auto will grow to full size in three months.
Every part of the grow process demands attention to detail. This pays off in the end because it’s how you learn the rhythm of your plants and get the best high. Growing your plant includes four stages: Germination of seeds (3 – 10 days), Seedling (2 – 3 weeks), Vegetative (3 – 16 weeks), Flowering (8 – 11 weeks).
When it comes to harvesting your plants, expert grower Russ Hudson advises harvesting in the morning before the sun comes up or lights come on in order to preserve the plant’s terpenes. When curing your plants, hang them in a dark room with zero humidity and lots of air.
HOW TO GROW WEED INDOORS AT HOME
For expert tips on growing indoors at home, here’s some advice from Sandy Serna of High Roller Horticultural Services. Over to you, Sandy: “Becoming a home grower is a learning process. Don’t worry about the mistakes, these details you will improve upon on the next run. Just the freedom of growing allows you to be able to cultivate a strain that works for you.
You will spend the most money with the initial set up. Though it might be pricey, some people really need to be honest on how much they are spending on their medicine. A home grow when done correctly should be paying for itself within a year.
Building a contained area can save you money if you are handy. One can be pieced together with items on hand, a trip to the hardware store and an amazon order. If you are looking for a complete grow tent a small 2X2X4 kit it will cost you $150. A larger version 4×4 tent will set you back around $550+.
Inside the tent, it’s all about keeping the environment contained and stable. It all comes down to temperature and humidity. Keeping the environment in balance will keep mould, diseases and insects at bay. One of the most important investments for your grow will be your lighting.
Lights that come with grow tent kits might not be the best quality and might go out on you when you most need it. Look for quality lights with more than 1-year warranty. Save your lesser quality lights for back up. Grow lights generate heat and can crisp the top of the plants, which stresses the plant. Always keep plants at least 12 inches away from the light.
A fan helps with stagnant air and allows for natural drying out of the pots. This light air movement supports the plant in gaining vigour. Remember temperatures fluctuate when lights are on or off. A fan helps with cooling the air when the light is on. “Mom’s” & “Vegetative Stage” plants can have the same light schedule, therefore be in the same tent.
Many new growers overlook introducing CO2 into their grow tent or many just don’t want to deal with tanks. CO2 is shown to create greener stronger plants, higher yielding in less amount of time. A “mushroom bag” is a natural way of increasing CO2 levels to your tent.
This “mushroom bag” hangs in your tent naturally releasing CO2. Note, some bags needing replacing once a year. Media-Soil is great media for home growers to start with. Soil acts as a buffer so if your ratio of nutrients is off by a bit, the plant won’t be affected as much.
If you feed once a day or more than once a day, you do want to look out for run-off coming out underneath the pot. Not having run-off could cause the nutrient salts to accumulate allowing for the electrical conductivity to rise. That could lead to a nutrient lock out in the plant. Which could be remedied by flushing it with pH 5.8 water. Though it might take some time for the plant to recover. The goal is keeping your plants happy and stress free.
Some growers seasonally place their grow tent in the basement in the summer, and in the attic in the winter. Also make sure you have a carbon filter to keep the odours down. Not to deter security it’s more to repel people, you don’t want to bring any unnecessary attention to your new hobby.”