As caregivers or as recreational users, more people are beginning to develop at-home grow systems to cultivate their own strains of cannabis.
If you’re interested in growing a lot of weed for those purposes, then working out a “continuous grow cycle” might be the trick. But as experienced cannabis cultivators will admit, getting a pound of pot on a quick, 8 week cycle is a complex, intricate operation. Because it is no longer unusual for the average at home cannabis “florist” to grow large quantities of marijuana, many are on the lookout for the secrets to successful grows at home. Maintaining a healthy and thriving home grow operation for large production is more challenging than simply acquiring the right equipment.
According to expert growers, it takes obtaining optimal space, timing, and plant size.
First, begin with the right raw materials. In order to get your marijuana production line running smoothly you need to have a consistent and reliable source of cuttings.
Choose your mothers carefully, then love them dearly
If you can make the connection, there’s often some enterprising team who specialize solely in selling cuttings. They probably run a multi-mother set-up of the most commercially viable strain for the area, and that’s all they do. Put your order in in plenty of time and wait for pick-up. For obvious reasons, purchasing your mother plants is a preferred choice for large scale grows at home. If you can make the connection, there’s often some enterprising team who specialize solely in selling cuttings. While you may lose out on cost and selection, buying your mothers saves you the risk of selecting your own clones, and you have a higher chance of obtaining great plants.
Growing your own, on the other hand puts you in control. Even for a recreational grower, choosing your own strain has the joy of growing something different and the possible serendipity of hitting a variant jackpot.
Timing is everything
One of the biggest factors in getting production weights in and available is timing. Budding plants will ALWAYS take in the region -of 7-9 weeks, but to maximise the amount of cannabis produced per year you need to keep those harvests coming in every 8 weeks. Every day your flowering room is not flowering is “dead space” representing negative equity. To avoid this you need to have a separate vegetation area where you take clones, and grow them on ready to go into flower almost immediately that you crop. Take cuttings from your mother plants 3 weeks before you are due to harvest and this way you will have them nicely rooted and ready to go once you harvest.
Finally, careful attention to the size of plants is essential to maintaining a strong continuous grow op. Cultivating a pound every two months requires realizing that when growing indoors, small is best. How many plants you use, and therefore how short a growth stage you give them, is up to you.
Logistics of a continual cycle cannabis grow
OK so we admit it, its just a tad more complicated embarking on this kind of enterprise than it is throwing a few seeds in the soil outdoors and hoping for the best. But whether you are thinking of growing to produce cannabis oil for serious illness, to self-provide for a large smoking habit or even (heaven forbid!) for sale, then the cost and effort is well repaid. In order to get your timings right, you need to have not one, but three grow areas:
Big enough for 2 to 3 mothers, this needs to be around 80cm x 80cm. You’ll need extraction and air flow as per standard but she can cope with low level lighting – say a 250W Metal Halide HID grow lamp or a 200W LED grow light (with veg spectrum preferably). This room doesn’t tend to generate enough smell to warrant a carbon filter.
You’re going to want to need 30 successfully rooted clones to fill your flower room with a sea of green grow. Taking cannabis cuttings is actually quite easy, and you want to time it 3 weeks before your flowering room is due to finish.
The post above lists everything you need to take good cuttings, and your cuttings room won’t need much in the way of light (CFLs are great): use minimal extraction to encourage high humidity (or get a mini-mister machine), consider a carbon filter with extractor ONLY if you double use the space to dry your last crop in before taking the next run of clones.
NOTE: you can combine your mother and cuttings room in the same area.
Be realistic about the size of this room. An experienced grower with all the add-ons and a plant he is familiar with can get half a kilo from a 1.2m x 1.2m tent and a 600w HPS grow light. But to ensure you easily get a pound of weed you really need to think of a 1.5m x 1.5m tent with a 1000w light or 2 x 400w HPS lights. Remember this is your moneymaker and get the best kit you can afford to. Certainly you are going to need a decent carbon filter to cope with all the lovely aromas!
Seriously, consider hydroponics. I know there’s a lot to be said for growing naturally in compost, but you are looking maximise yield, and for this hydro has to be the way to grow. Why? It enables you to give nutrients, oxygen and water direct to the roots, you have a quicker reaction time to issues and its easier to correct mistakes. There are many different types of hydroponic growing available from the simple NFT tray to the almost hands off IWS systems. Read around and choose one that you think you will be able to get along with!
Final tip? You’re moving away from the personal grow, so whether for your own medical use or for sale, security is of utmost importance. Take this enterprise seriously and consider it as a job not a hobby. Invest in a book to be kept in the room (if they’ve got that far well you are kind of scuppered anyway) and make notes of dates, observations, what nutrient schedule you’re using and how it works etc. Trust me you’ll find it useful 2 months, 6 months, 3 years down the line ..
Final tip. If you’re growing for yourself, security is of utmost importance.
[Updated, originally published 2711. 2017]