How to Grow Weed Indoors with a Hydro System
Learning how to grow weed might be the most rewarding journey a marijuana user can choose to embark upon. It can be difficult or even intimidating to take those first steps towards acquiring this awesome skill, but those initial troubles pale in comparison to the amount of joy and excitement growing your own weed will give back to you.
This is because once you figure out what it takes to grow weed, you’ll be guaranteeing your own cannabis independence. That is, the ability to use any kind of weed you want, when you want it, without having to worry where you can get it and how much it will hurt your wallet.
Know Before You Grow
I’m asked plenty of questions about how to grow weed, but I also get numerous equally important questions having to do with why a person should begin their own grow. In my opinion, most anyone who even considers growing should absolutely pursue it to the fullest. However, if you’re still on the fence about it and need more information before you pursue such a venture, here are some of the more popular questions people ask me.
If you have a question about growing weed that isn’t listed here, be sure to ask in the comments section at the bottom of the page and I’ll respond in kind.
- How to Succeed in Growing Weed
- How much money can I save by growing my own weed?
- What are some of the benefits of growing weed?
- What does it cost to start growing?
The following are basic growing concepts you’ll want to have a good grasp on prior to beginning your grow. In most cases, you’ll want to read this section before you buy any equipment, so that you’ll have a solid idea of what you’re looking for and what your specific needs will be in your particular situation.
One of the first things you’ll need to decide is what growing system and medium you’ll be using. The two most popular growing methods used by growers are soil and hydro. Though a lot of the concepts discussed at this site will be applicable to both soil and hydro, I focus primarily on hydro grows because that’s the only method I have experience in.
The reason I chose to grow with hydro was mainly because the general consensus is that overall grow times are decreased. Decreased grow times means you can do more grows, which in the end means more yield. Keep in mind, growing with a hydro system definitely comes with it’s challenges as well.
The main thing that really defines a hydroponic system is that it provides nutrients to your plant through the water source rather than in its growing medium like soil. This can essentially leave the roots exposed to the elements, which means more efficient absorption of nutrients but also greater vulnerabilities to the environment.
The hydro system I use is called Bubbleponics from Stealth Hydroponics. In this system, the plants are housed in a lid and the roots hang into a tank underneath, which I fill with water. I got this system because it’s simple, straightforward, and effective. My results are proof enough that it really is a great way to get excellent hydro weed yields.
- Read more about Hydroponic Systems
What you do for lighting is most likely the most influential factor in how much weed you can grow. Light provides all the energy your plants need to grow and become productive. The more light you can offer to your plants, the more potential they have to become massive buds. Obviously there are a lot factors that affect overall grow success, but surely the most important one is your lighting setup.
There are a few different ways to provide lighting for your grow, all with their specifics pros and cons. These lighting systems are compact fluorescent (CFL), light emitting diode (LED), and high-intensity discharge (HID). You’ll have to decide which lighting option is best for your case.
I’ve chosen to grow with HID mainly because it currently offers the most bang for the buck at this time. I do think in the future that this might change and eventually LED will most likely be the best way to go, but for now, HID systems are relatively cheap and have a lot of efficient lighting power behind them, which will lead to gargantuan yields.
- Read more about Grow Lighting
Seeds & Clones
To begin your grow, you can use either seeds or clones. Growing from seeds is nice because there is really a limitless selection of strains available out there, so you can basically get any kind of weed you want in the end. Clones can also be used to start a grow, but it’s not as easy to acquire clones and cloning yourself requires two growing areas.
I’ve only ever grown from seeds, but cloning is definitely something I’d like to do in the future because it saves a few weeks in the growing process and guarantees the same genetics as the plant being cloned. This means if you have an amazing plant, you can create an endless amount of cannabis copies.
As far as seeds go though, the seed bank I’ve been using lately is Nirvana Seeds. They have a great selection of strains, fair prices, a ton of seed info, and a superb delivery and support system. There are a lot of seed banks out there though, so if you are looking for something in particular, you’re sure to find it if you look long enough.
When buying seeds, I always suggest buying feminized seeds rather than a standard mix. Even though feminized seeds tend to cost a little more, they are actually a much better value because you don’t get any males. The last thing you want to do is spend weeks growing your plant, only to have to rip them out when you move into flowering.
- Read more about Marijuana Seeds
Nutrients & pH
There are only a few aspects of growing weed hydroponically that are absolutely critical, and your choice of nutrients along with pH balancing definitely fit into that category. Luckily, once you have a process in place to take care of these things, they are actually quite easy to manage.
It’s pretty self explanatory why you need to give your plant essential nutrients. That is, without nourishment, no life form can survive — marijuana obviously included. I use a system called the Flora Series by General Hydroponics. I have been using this lineup for about 5 grows now and the results have been nothing short of bud-tacular. Like anything with growing, there are many alternatives but this particular set of nutrients has been a real champ for me.
Balancing your system’s pH levels goes hand in hand with nutrients because the main goal of balancing your pH is to keep your nutrient solution in the critical range that offers your plant access to the essential nutrients it needs such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. pH balancing is more critical in hydro grows than soil grows, so you will definitely want to understand what to do if you want juicy buds exploding with THC.
- Read more about Nutrients & pH Balancing
Marijuana is an extremely resilient plant that can survive and even sometimes thrive in harsh extremes. That being said, you don’t want to stress out your plant more than is necessary and a stable environment that’s friendly to your plant will go a long way towards increasing overall yield and potency as well as reduce overall vegetative and flowering times. The less stressed your plants are, the better.
So what kind of environment does cannabis prefer? Well, it sort of depends on the strain. For instance, sativas prefer a slightly higher climate than indicas. Overall though, your plants are going to want a stable temperature, good air circulation, and an appropriate level of humidity.
- Read more about Growing Environments
Below is the basic process you’ll want to follow to start growing. It’s meant to help lead someone who hasn’t ever grown anything in their life to their very own collection of homegrown green beauties. This is the exact same process I use for all my grows, so you can be confident that it works in practice and not just in theory.
Equipment and Room Setup
If you’re just starting out and are a first time grower, the very first thing you have to do after you’ve committed to start your own grow is plan it out. With a plan, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to take step towards your goals of marijuana independence.
A lot of the decisions you make about where you grow are going to depend on your particular situation. Some people have a high priority on odor control and stealth growing, while others are much less concerned about this. Some people have hot spots in their house that they’ll want to avoid or other areas where humidity is extremely high such as in a dank basement.
Choose the correct area to grow and have a solid plan and you’ll be increasing your chances of succeeding dramatically. Push it by the wayside and you’re accepting future frustration and unnecessary risk.
Germination and Planting
After you have all your equipment setup and your supplies ready to go, it’s time to begin the actual growing. I have only ever grown from seeds, but clones are always an option if they’re available to you, in which case you can pretty much skip on to the vegetative section.
Germinating activates the seed by hydrating the inner walls of the seed and giving the seedling access to the nutrients within the shell. There are a couple different germination methods, all of them are pretty easy, and seem to have similar overall success rates. The particular germination method I use is just soaking my seeds in warm water for 72 hours in an enclosed mug until the taproots are exposed at which point I begin planting them into my system.
For planting, I use rockwool as the primary growing medium. Rockwool provides a stable structure for your seedling to develop its early root system while allowing water to drain freely, so your plants don’t drown. I then use hydroton pellets to hold the rockwool in place and make sure the seedling is in stable ground.
There are two main phases for growing weed and the first is the vegetative phase. This phase basically begins when your seedlings pop outside of their growing medium and show themselves to the world. Now that your plant has access to light, it’s going to be absorbing more and more energy as it quickly expands in size.
In the first week, your plant will primarily be focused on developing a complex root system, so it has plenty of exposure to water and nutrients. After that though, growth above ground will really start to accelerate and your plants can grow a foot or more a week. This is definitely one of the most exciting things to watch when growing your own buds.
The primary purpose of this phase is to develop the overall structure of your plant and provide a robust system of leaves, roots, and sturdy stalks to support your buds, which will be arriving shortly after you switch into flowering.
After your plant has reached about 2/3 the size you want it to be, it’s time to switch it into the flowering phase. Your plant will continue to grow in size during this phase, but it won’t be as dramatic as during vegetative because most of the energy your plant expends will be used to develop your buds rather than the other parts of your plant.
This phase can last anywhere from 8-14 weeks depending on your strain and also what kind of development you want in your trichomes. During this time, you’ll be following a basic weekly process to keep your plant maintained and healthy, but you can also use more advanced techniques such as topping and lollypopping during this time to dramatically increase end yields.
When you’ve decided that the trichomes in your buds have reached the maturity level that you desire, it’s time for the best part of the grow: the harvest.
If you’ve made it all the way to harvest, then you’re now a successful grower. It took me 2 failed grows before I finally succeed at making it to harvest, but since then I’ve been able to harvest buds every single grow I did. This just goes to show that growing weed is a process that can be repeated and improved upon once you understand the steps involved.
After you cut the plant down and clean up the branches, you’ll want to first dry your weed out. This is especially important if you smoke your weed, but a little less so if you’re cooking or vaporizing it right away. If you plan to store your buds at all though, you must dry them so that they aren’t overrun by mold due to excess moisture.
After drying, you should also cure your buds, which basically means to let them ripen a little bit and draw out the last bits of moisture that are left in the buds, branches, and leaves. After curing, buds can be stored for at least a year but more likely up to a few years and still be just as potent and effective as when you began curing in the first place. Some even claim that the longer you cure, the more potent it gets, but buds never last long enough around here for me to confirm that.
- Read more about Harvesting, Drying, and Curing
Once your buds are cured and have reached their pinnacle of perfection, it’s time to finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is the life.
Now rinse and repeat — and never pay for your high again!
These are the chronicles of my past grows and are meant to help illustrate the practical part of growing. The thing is, not every grow is the same and just when you think you have it down, something can happen that you didn’t quite expect. I try to cover all the various issues I run into, my thinking on how to solve a number of growing problems, and testing of techniques that I haven’t tried before to help increase potency and yield.
If you want unique advice from an experienced grower, you’ll find lots of it here in these journal entries.
- Grow 2 – Week 14 (Harvest)
- Grow 2 – Week 8
- Grow 2 – Week 7
- Grow 2 – Week 6
- Grow 2 – Week 5
- Grow 2 – Week 4
- Grow 2 – Week 3
- Grow 2 – Week 2
- Grow 2 – Week 1
- Grow 1 – Week 12 (Harvest)
You can’t grow a single bud if you don’t take action, and you can’t take action if you don’t feel confident in what you’re doing. Nothing is more powerful and a better motivator than information, and this is exactly what these grow guides are going to give you.
Growing Elite Marijuana – $57
This is considered by many to be the bible of growing marijuana. This is actually the only guide I own, and I purchased it immediately after I failed for the second time. Needless to say that since I bought it, I haven’t failed a single grow. If I had got it from the start, I would have saved myself some serious frustration and headaches. It’s been a lifesaver for me and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a wide understanding of growing.
- Get my full review of Growing Elite Marijuana
Growing Marijuana 101 – $20
This guide was written by me specifically to teach people the process I use to grow my own weed in as much detail as I can think to include. I do my best to leave no stone unturned in teaching you how you can grow weed like me and have a hydro system popping with dense, frosty buds.
Also, when you buy this guide, you’ll have direct access to me via email and you’ll be able to ask me any question you might have as you begin your grow. The point of this guide is to make sure you succeed, and nothing can help guarantee success like your own personal grow mentor.
Go to the Growing Marijuana 101 info page to learn more about this guide and how it helps support THC Digest!