How to grow weed: Grow Guide for Beginners
Welcome new growers; we are happy you are here. While you make your way through the wonderful world of cannabis cultivation, we will guide you through the process of proclaiming your own homegrown weed.
Learn the basics of growing cannabis. This Grow Guide tells you, plain and simple, how to grow weed, step by step, from seed to harvest. After reading, you will know what to do with your weed seeds, what equipment you need, and how to successfully grow your plant. Finally, you will learn when and how to harvest your own homegrown weed.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is specifically designed for anyone who wants to grow weed for the first time. If you have grown weed before and want to improve your skills, read our Advanced Grow Guide.
Learning how to grow weed for beginners
Step by step, you will read how to grow a healthy cannabis plant with full buds from the seeds you have received. The growing process is explained from the germination of your weed seeds to the moment you can finally smoke your own harvest.
Germinating the seeds
You have received your weed seeds. The seeds are currently in dormant mode and must be awakened from their deep slumber. This is called germinating. Germination is done by giving the seed water and warmth, which will kick-start the growing process. Germination is successful when the seed has a root of about 1 cm (0.4 inches).
This is what you need to germinate the seeds:
- Kitchen paper
- Room temperature
- A dark place
- Patience and caution
Planting the seeds
After germination, the seedlings (the sprouted seeds) must be moved to a pot with soil to start the next phase of the growing process. These steps are followed regardless of whether you want to grow indoors or outdoors.
This is what you need when planting the seedlings:
- Seedlings (the germinated seeds)
- Light-proof flower pot (at least 15 liters/4 gallons)
- (Organic) soil
- Pen or pencil
- Plant sprayer
Growing and blooming
The young weed plant is now ready to grow into an adult plant and will have to be transplanted to its final place of growth. This can be indoors or outdoors.
Choosing for indoor or outdoor growing
Growing cannabis plants can be done indoors as well as outdoors, but the process and final results are slightly different.
Below are the differences and advantages.
- Indoor growing
- Not dependent on the weather/climate
- High investment due to material costs
- Lower yields
- More control and therefore easier to grow
- Suitable indoor space required
- Outdoor growing
- Grows are only possible during growing season (May to October)
- Higher yield
- Less material needed
- Consideration of odor spread to neighbors
- Higher chance of mold and diseases
When you decide to grow indoors, you will need a suitable space and materials to ensure a successful indoor grow.
This is what you need when growing cannabis indoors:
- Indoor space with a power supply
- Lights and timer
- Potting soil
- Watering can/plant sprayer
- Pruning shears
- Grow tent or kit (optional)
Choosing the space and materials
The space in which you are going to grow cannabis plants must have enough room for the plants in question. As a rule of thumb, there should be a distance of about 60 cm (2 feet) between the plants/pots.
There are also complete grow kits that you can place in the space. These are fully equipped with lamps, fans, filters, a thermometer, and a pH-meter. More about choosing the right lamps, pots and other materials can be found in our ‘Growing Weed Indoors Beginners Guide’.
With outdoor growing, you need fewer materials because the outdoor environment will provide those for you! Light and warmth are delivered to you for free by Mother Nature.
This is what you need for outdoor growing:
- Pots (optional)
- Potting soil
- Pruning shears
- Windscreen (optional)
- Greenhouse (optional)
- Watering can
Choosing the location and materials
After you have completed step 2, the plants can be moved outside, during the spring. You can either repot the young plants into larger pots or put them directly into the ground. Want more information on the proper pot size? Read our guide on 'Choosing the Right Pot size for Cannabis Plants' (in case you are growing autoflower seeds, we also have an Autoflower Pot Size Guide).
Choose the location carefully. Preferably a spacious spot in the garden, but a greenhouse is also a very practical place to grow your plants. Such a sheltered outdoor location offers multiple advantages because it protects your plants from excessive rainfall and heavy winds.
If you do not have the option to shelter the plants from rainfall, and you live in a climate where it rains all the time (we know how that feels), then make sure you have good drainage. You can opt for drainage systems, but there is an alternative solution that is simple and cheap. Drill three holes in the bottom of the pot, about 1.3 centimeters (½ an inch) in diameter. Cover the bottom and the holes with a layer of gravel or LECA. Fill the remainder of the pot with (organic) soil. This way, the excess water will not stay at the bottom of the pot, as this can cause root rot.
The plants also need nutrients in order to grow. Therefore, prepare your growing space by using organic soil. As a supplement, you can add organic fertilizer, but make sure you do not add nutrients too early (starting at week three).
After three to five months, your plants are ready for harvesting. This depends in part on the variety (sativa or indica) you have grown and whether you have grown your plants indoors or outdoors. Sativa plants are usually ready for harvest after they have been flowering for about ten weeks. Indica plants are somewhat faster and can be ready for harvest after eight weeks of flowering. It can differ however from strain to strain, so we would recommend always checking the flowering time on the product page in question.
This is what you need when cutting cannabis plants:
- Rubber or latex gloves
- Branch or pruning shears
- Bowl or tray
- Rope or string
- Magnifying glass (optional)
Ready for harvest?
To be sure whether your plants are ready for harvest, keep your eye out for the following signs:
When the leaves turn yellow, but the buds are full and healthy, this is a signal that the time for harvesting is fast approaching.The color of trichomes
Another trusted method is to take a peek at the trichomes, you will need a magnifying glass for this. Trichomes are minuscule white-colored droplets that are found on the buds of female cannabis plants. As soon as these drops have turned amber-colored, you can start harvesting.Harvesting at the right time
The moment when you start harvesting is important for the final quality. If you are too early, this can affect your yield. If you are too late, the effects of your buds will be diminished.
Read our article 'When To Harvest Cannabis Plants?' for more insights about the right timing for harvest. If you are cultivating an autoflower strain, you can also read our guide on 'When To Harvest Autoflowers'.
After you have cut and trimmed the branches, they must dry. They still consist of about 75% moisture, and while we understand it is hard to wait, you cannot smoke wet weed. The aim of drying is to reduce the moisture content to about 10%.
This is what you need to dry your homegrown weed:
- A small dark room
- Rope/cord, pegs
- Rotating fan
Duration of drying
Drying weed seems a simple task at first, but for the best result, you will have to pay close attention to temperature and humidity. If you dry the buds too quickly, there is a chance that the outside is dry, but the core is not. Drying too slowly can lead to mold, and trust us, you don’t want to smoke moldy weed. As a rule of thumb, we use a drying period of about two weeks.
Weed drying is done by hanging the branches on a rope in a small, dark space. A space that is preferably no larger than 5m2 (54 square feet). The reason for this is that the temperature and relative humidity (RH) are much better to regulate in a smaller space.