Expert tips for growing cannabis indoors
As the grounds freeze and leaves fall from the trees, cannabis farmers have buttoned up their outdoor gardens. However, the beginning of sweater weather doesn’t mean the end of cultivating cannabis plants. Instead, hobby gardeners are bringing the seeds and clones indoors. Though some indoor gardens consist of high-tech rooms built for crop steering, there are ways to grow in many spaces.
There are some aspects of the space to button up before popping seeds in the closet. GreenState spoke with Kurt Kinneman, owner of Kinnektion Farms and horticulture engineer at AI Grow, about what it takes to start producing flower from the comfort of home.
“The bare minimum is having a light and growing media like an amended soil mix that has all the nutrients your plant will need during its life cycle,” Kinneman shared. “Or you could use a hydroponic medium like soil or coco coir and feed your plants the nutrients they need throughout their life.”
Indoor cannabis grow essentials
These are the essentials for small-scale indoor cultivation, along with a closed space that keeps the natural light and environment separate from the plant. If it’s grown like a houseplant, cannabis won’t flower with dense, juicy, trichome-covered buds. Weed needs a change in its life cycle to trigger flowering, the appropriate light spectrum, nutrients, and resources to grow your own.
Kinneman recommends a growing tent as a simple, low-cost environmental control option. Growing tents from hardware stores and online retailers in various sizes and amenities. The mylar tents can take up a corner of the bedroom, walk-in closet, or office–anywhere with enough space.
These tents are an excellent option for getting started inside thanks to a low startup cost. Complaints about growing tents often have to do with environmental concerns like heat from the lights, humidity due to lack of airflow, and moisture from condensation.
Kinneman recommends outfitting the setup with an LED to reduce heat, sharing that these lights increase output in his garden. Not to mention these light systems are more energy efficient than high pressure sodium lights.
The cultivator says that a grow tent, an LED light, an exhaust fan with a carbon filter, a pot, and amended soil are all a seed needs to become a jar of weed. A good sensor hung at canopy level to monitor the temperature, humidity, and CO2 can help a grower manage the other grow tent issues.
Even with this expert advice and a sensor, most will run into quandaries on their first journey from seed to flower.
Expert solutions to manage indoor grow environment
One indoor cultivation company seeks to be the sounding board for these cultivation quandaries. After years of fine-tuning the indoor growing process, followed by years of developing the ideal unit, Green Goddess Supply introduced The Armoire.
The Armoire is a bio-chamber technologically tailored to grow cannabis and fit seamlessly into modern home decor. The unit requires a higher cost up-front than build-it-yourself growing tent systems. The company also sells a grow tent kit. However the team developed The Armoire to offer a minimal maintenance indoor home growing option that could produce high yields.
Green Goddess Supply CEO Eric Robichaud spoke with GreenState about developing the unit. Robichaud not only helped develop the product with expert grower and Green Goddess COO Vince Bitetti, but he is also a prolific Armoire grower.
“Growing cannabis can be tricky and difficult. Most people often fail on their first (second, and third!) attempt, which is precisely why we designed our solution– a combination of specialized hardware and our own grow protocol, to all work together to make it super simple for the casual home grower to grow without complexity,” Robichaud shared.
The light was a main concern for the unit, much like Kinneman describes with grow tent solutions. Heat builds up quickly from hot lights in a small space, which can quickly impact plants. If the space gets freezing cold or starkly hot, the plant could die or just produce a poor crop. “Balancing all this is difficult,” Robichaud said.
To help maintain this balance, the company developed its own 13-spectrum, high PAR LED light—the “unicorn light,” as they call it. It comes with The Armoire but is also available for purchase separately to be used in growing tents. The unit has a knob built in to control photosynthetically active radiation which deters pests, another common issue with an indoor plant setup.
Avoiding and controlling pests
Those growing in a tent, closet, or Armoire should take some measures to clean and prepare the space to avoid bugs.
Kinneman warns that pest issues can happen fast.
“The more times you grow in the same area, the higher chance you have of pest and disease populations infecting your plants. Cleanliness is one of the most important things in maintaining a growing environment.”
Cleaning the space from top to bottom between every growing cycle is essential. Selecting genetics that are designed to thrive inside will also set a plant up for success. These strains often withstand and maybe even deter certain pests. There are also preventative measures.
“Using an essential oil blend like Ed Rosenthal’s Zero Tolerance or Mammoth Microbes CannControl can help keep pests and diseases at bay and ensure your plants stay healthy throughout their life cycle,” Kinneman shared.
Indoor cannabis cultivation advice for hobby growers
These indoor cannabis cultivation experts agree that keeping a close eye on the environment, choosing the right genetics, and taking measures against pests are three essentials for healthy plants. It is a bit more complex than growing a pot plant in an open space.
Having control of the light cycle isn’t possible if the plant is growing like a Monstera deliciosa (the formerly viral Swiss Cheese Plant) in the corner. This method will also stink up the space and more easily draw in pests. Robichaud also warns against going hydroponic.
“Don’t even think about hydroponic solutions for home use, especially if you’re new to it,” Robichaud explained. “That’s a lot more complicated to manage and has a lot of maintenance issues involved. There are home-based hydro kits on the market and I constantly hear horror stories from customers because the lines clog up with scale (think about the maintenance of an aquarium at home) and backup and ruin floors, etc. Keep it simple and stick to soil.”
Another tip that simplifies the process, especially for beginners, is to opt for autoflower seeds. Robichaud describes this seed option as more forgiving than feminized seeds. Due to breeding, the plants often grow smaller and finish faster. Clones can be another option, but be sure the source is trustworthy so as not to transfer pests, heavy metals, and other undesirables out of the garden.
The quickly setting sun doesn’t need to stop hobby growers from popping seeds and planting clones. A growing tent, specialized bio chamber like The Armoire, or properly cleaned and outfitted closet are great spaces to grow nugs in legal states like Alaska, Minnesota, and more.
Don’t be scared to get started. These experts and libraries of cannabis cultivation books can support the hobby grower along the way.