Growing cannabis doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it is easily possible to do it on a tight budget and still produce a high-quality personal stash with one or two plants. So don’t fret or be intimidated by costs – you don’t have to spend three month’s wages setting up your grow!
Though there are many companies and experienced marijuana growers who thrive on expensive equipment and extensive grow spaces, these are not requirements for growing healthy, potent cannabis plants. In fact, there are many budget-friendly ways to set up a cannabis grow that will still produce bountiful buds and very stony heads.
Outdoor is, without a doubt, the cheapest choice for growing cannabis. Everything is provided by nature – all you need to do is keep an eye on things and supplement the cannabis with feed if necessary. It can also be a good idea to mix in some high-grade soil mix into the grow location, but it all depends on budget. If you have a good spot to grow and the climate of your zone allows it; the only costs that you will have are the seeds and time.
if your climate isn’t ideal for cannabis, you can still successfully grow outdoors. Building a simple hoop house allows you to increase the temperature, reduce the climate impacts, control the length of the season, and still produce quality buds for a low cost. Hoop houses are the cheapest form of greenhouses, and they’re generally built with 2x4s, PVC, and plastic tarp, allowing you to customize the shape and size to fit your needs. Just be attentive to the temperature in your hoop house by “burping” (i.e. opening up the sides) it as needed and by installing high-velocity fans to keep fresh air moving through the enclosed space.
Because your costs will be minimal, don’t skimp on quality soil. Do your research and talk to grow supply stores in your region to find a product that will help keep your plants growing strong. Alternatively, you can “build” low-cost soil by adding amendments, which can save you money while letting you customize a blend for your garden specifically.
You’ll also need to provide an adequate water supply to keep your plants happy. The cheapest way to water your plants is by hose, while a more expensive method involves installing a drip system.
Depending on your soil quality, you may need to introduce additional nutrients for a larger, healthier yield. As the buds gain weight, you may also need to invest in garden stakes and trellising to support the branches.
Indoor growing is by far the more expensive option, but it gives a great deal of control and discretion. Here is a rundown of what you will need to make an indoor environment. The following list contains both bought equipment and DIY equipment – it’s your choice to make!
You can easily find used grow tents around, but here is where you can get creative! Spare unused closet? This can be your new grow space. It doesn’t need to be professionally made, you can customise and optimise it by buying some light reflective material, maximising the amount of light available for the plants. White paint can be another idea, and can be very efficient on a budget. Don’t use any gloss paint or metal foil, as they are ineffective at reflecting light. It is also a good idea to try and plug up any light leak you notice.
Making sure you have quality genetics will go a long way in keeping your plants healthy, even if you use lower-quality products during the later stages of growth.
Automatic genetics are also something that will help you save. In many cases, autos begin flowering just 2-3 weeks after germination. What’s more, the flowering cycle is not dependent on hours of light like photoperiod strains. Ultimately, your auto will rush from seed to harvest in an impressive amount of time, saving indoor growers some hard-earned cash. We currently offer over 30 different autoflower strains in our store. These will ensure you get your desired yield within an appropriate timeframe.
By far, the most cost-effective grow light is the sun. Its powerful UV rays provide deep penetration (which encourages the growth of dense buds) and its seasonal photoperiod removes the need for timers to switch the grow phase from vegetation and flower. Furthermore, naturally occurring sunlight minimizes (or eliminates) the cost of electricity associated with maintaining a grow operation.
Of course, using the sun as your cannabis light source is best for those of us who actually experience an outdoor grow season. In regions that experience extensive cold seasons, greenhouses and cold frames can be an easy solution (albeit a bit of an investment at first).
LED lights have dropped significantly in price over the last ten years, now running as low as $50 for some models. Not only that, but LEDs are also significantly cheaper to run and maintain than traditional HID lighting systems (and they don’t require a ballast to keep them from overworking an electrical source). LEDs also produce minimal heat (seriously, you can touch them even after they’ve been on all day) which reduces the need for cooling systems and nearly removes the risk of burnt leaves.
You want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your lights. Reflective walls will help light bounce around the room and get to every part of your plant. This will probably give you greater yields while using the same number of lamps.
The easiest solution for this is to buy a grow tent. You can get one for as little as €100, like the Apollo Horticulture grow tent. These are all usually airtight and water-sealed. They are extremely practical setups and can fit discreetly in almost every household.
Despite their many benefits, LED lights do not offer the same level of light penetration that the sun does, which means that the buds may be a bit fluffier when grown under this light source. For this reason, many growers use LEDs as supplemental lighting alongside other light sources like HIDs (for indoor grow ops) or in greenhouses to extend outdoor grow seasons. However, advances in LED lighting mean they can now be used as stand-alone lighting systems – they are no longer only for secondary purposes.
Like the light system, a good soil will cost you a little bit more in the beginning, but it will be better for your plants and will save you money in nutrients. Saying this, if you are stretched, you can still get results from standard soil. Be careful brining in soil from outdoors, as this can contain pests.
When growing cannabis, there is no need for filtered or otherwise “special” water; tap water is more than sufficient for cannabis plants. For best results, though, we recommend letting tap water sit out for 24 hours so pH levels can settle, and the water temperature can balance out to a reasonable temperature.
However, there is an even better water source that’s both cheaper and more nutritious for plants: rainwater. That’s because rainwater forms around dust particles in the air, often dirt but in rural areas it might form around manure (i.e. fertilizer) which which is especially rich in nitrogen. Plus, because rainwater is free of chemical treatments like chlorine, the water can absorb deeper into the soil. And because chlorine blocks nutrient absorption, keeping it out of the watering cycle can boost nutrient uptake and encourage better plant growth.
But if you still find yourself needing extra nutrient supplements, try to use ones made specifically for cannabis. This is important as you’ll be consuming the plant’s yields. If buds are grown with harmful chemicals, your cannabis can end up really hurting your body. In case you find yourself using a generic fertilizer, make sure it’s intended for edible products like vegetables or fruit. This will inform you that it’s ok to light up your bud after feeding it the product.
Vertafort has some great options that are super cheap. You dissolve a tablet in 3-5 litres of water to create the booster mix. This will feed as many plants as you can with the water. They have tablets both for the vegetative and the flower stage. Don’t be fooled by the marketing of other expensive brands who claim only their products can do the job. As long as you understand what you’re looking for, you’ll find cheap options. Don’t start before doing all the necessary research.
Air Circulation And Heat
The grow environment of a cannabis plant affects its health and cannabinoid production and should therefore not be ignored – even when money is tight. Air should circulate through both intake and exhaust fans, and a carbon filter should be used to control the odor.
Your lights are constantly releasing heat. On top of that, your plants will transpire on a daily basis. So it’s important you keep bringing fresh air into your grow room, and stale air out. This means you need both intake and exhaust fans. You can buy cheap second-hand fans on eBay for as little as €10, and you can make your own carbon filter to keep the smell to a minimum.When you simulate night time, your room or closet will begin to cool down. For this, you’ll need extra heating. During the day, your lights might produce enough heat, but at night, the grow room cools down drastically. So much so, it can be very unhealthy for your plants. Purchasing extra heating equipment may seem like a lot, but you’ll realise how beneficial it can be when it’s needed.
As you can see, as long as you take into consideration the needs of a cannabis plant, growing doesn’t have to be expensive. If you opt for indoors, then costs can be as low as €100 or so to set up -as long as you are crafty. Once set up, you are over the initial hurdle! As always remember, growing should be fun so enjoy it!