Grow Your Own, Part One: Starting a Garden

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As cannabis use becomes more accepted throughout the world, many women are often faced with the prospect of growing their own supply, rather than relying on a private dispensary or other provider.

Creating an indoor garden can seem overwhelming for a first time grower; however, do not let this deter you. This article is the first in a series which will detail the entire process, from seed germination to the design and building of a personal grow cabinet, through trimming, and finally to harvest.

Through careful planning and implementation, any lady can create and grow her own fabulous cannabis garden.

The first, and possibly most important element in the creation of any garden is seed development. Seeds can be ordered online or obtained through local sources and must be stored in clean, dry containers.

Two types of germination that have proven successful are the “paper towel” and the “water” method, both of which are easy and quick. To utilize the paper towel method, simply take a clean plate, place a paper towel on it, mist it with balanced pH water and place the seeds on the towel, leaving plenty of room between seeds. Place a second paper towel on top, misting that layer as well, then place a second plate upside down on top, sealing out light. Using plastic bags instead of plates has also been proven effective. Seeds require darkness and heat to germinate, so store the plates or bags in a dry, fairly warm environment, such as the top of a refrigerator. Be careful to not overheat them and mist often, never allowing the towels to completely dry.


Germinated cannabis seeds

Once the seeds have been covered for at least 24-48 hours, the hull will crack and a little tail will emerge. At this point, they have germinated and are ready to be planted.

The second method of seed germination commonly used is the “water” method. Simply put, this involves adding seeds to a clean container of water, stirring them a bit and letting them sit for a few days in a warm environment. The seeds will initially float; however, as their hulls begin to break and they start germinating, they will sink. Just like with the paper towel method, once the tail appears, the seeds are ready for planting.

pH testing kit

pH testing kit

pH balance is important and should be tested often using either visually with a testing kit (pictured at right)  or digitally with a pH tester pen. The pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is, and it is a good idea to initially test the water you are using for either germination method, adjusting if necessary.   Solutions with a pH of less than 7 are known as acidic while higher numbers are considered basic or alkaline.  When growing cannabis in soil, the water and soil supply should stay within the range of 6.5 to 7.0 and from 5.5 to 6.0 when growing hydroponically.  This series will focus on growing in soil. Measuring and adjusting pH levels is fairly simply, with the right tools.  For example, products such as these  will ensure accurate readings and enable the gardener to make necessary adjustments with relative ease.  More detailed information on pH testing will be available in upcoming articles.

SeedStarterA small seed starter kit such as the one pictured at left is ideal for transferring newly germinated seeds. They are inexpensive, reusable, and come with a plastic dome, which is important in the development of seedlings.

StartingMixStart planting with an organic, quality soil mix such as the Jiffy pictured at right, by placing enough soil in each section to fill about two thirds. Tamp the soil lightly and water gently, allowing the soil to absorb the water. Using either a finger or a pencil, create a well and insert one seed, tail side down. Cover with additional soil, again tamping gently to ensure the seed is well covered, yet not crushed. Water again lightly, and place the dome over the tray.

Place the tray in a well-lit area, not in direct sunlight, and mist often. Keeping the dome over the seeds creates humidity, which will assist in development. Once the seedlings emerge from soil, leave the dome off a few hours a day and completely off once plant is large enough that its leaves touch it.

With some love and attention, your seeds should take off and be ready for the next step, transplantation, which will be the subject of the next article in this series.