Cannabis Gardening: To Grow or Not to Grow?

Cannabis gardening can be a fun and rewarding hobby.  But it is not for everyone.  Read on to determine if growing marijuana is right for you, and if so, to determine which type of cannabis gardening is right for you.

If you have a medical marijuana card or live in a adult use marijuana state, you go to your local dispensary and buy some cannabis.

But suppose you don’t live near a dispensary.  Or you don’t want to, or can't afford to, pay the dispensary prices.  Or you’re just plain not comfortable going inside.

All are great reasons for taking up the rewarding hobby of cannabis gardening AKA cannabis cultivation.

Before you jump right in though, take a deep breath.  There are a few things to think about before adding cannabis cultivation to your life.  

What cannabis gardening has in common with pet goldfish

Growing marijuana can be a lot like winning Goldie the goldfish at the State Fair. It’s fun and interesting at the start.  You're enthused for a few weeks.  Then the next thing you know you forget to feed her or clean the aquarium and Goldie is belly-up in her fishbowl!

Neglect your marijuana plants and you just might end up flushing them too.  

Cannabis cultivation takes time, energy, and a little luck as well, if you expect to grow dispensary quality buds.  

Dispensaries buy from growers who do this for a living. It was most likely a hobby for them too in the beginning, then they got good at it and decided to pursue it full time.  

If you’re about to do your first experiment in cannabis gardening, you don’t need to go to the same fuss and expense of the professional farmer, just as a home vegetable gardener doesn’t need a tractor to grow a few tomato plants.

Once you know you want to give cannabis gardening a try, the first question to answer is, will you grow cannabis indoors or outdoors?

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Outdoor Cannabis Gardening Considerations

Growing outdoors requires no more growing skills then growing tomatoes, so if you can do that, you’re halfway there.

If you enjoy outdoor gardening as a hobby you will enjoy outdoor cannabis cultivation as well.

Here are some things to consider before you get going:

  • Do you have enough time to devote?  You will be planting in April or May and harvesting in Sept or October.  Will you, or someone you trust, be around to care for the cannabis garden during that entire time?
  • Do you have the right space? The ideal outdoor growing space gets a healthy dose of direct sunlight.
  • Can you keep it safe?  The most difficult part about growing cannabis outside is keeping your garden a secret from the worst predator of all, the cannabis ripoffs, an invasive species that will devour entire gardens in a single night or when you’re away from home.  Yes, I am talking about thieves here.

Indoor Cannabis Cultivation Considerations

Growing marijuana indoors is a bit more tricky. Not only do you need a green thumb, you need to create an entire indoor ecosystem.

You’ll have lights and timers in a sealed room (except for air filters and vents).  Indoor cannabis gardens require almost daily monitoring to be successful.

Hobbyist indoor growers are part McGyver and part Martha Stewart. An entire new industry of hydroponic stores is thriving to support indoor gardening activities, be it hydroponic or soil growing, so look for one near you if you do decide to go this route.

In the meantime, consider these indoor growing questions:

  • Do you have enough time?  Each indoor crop takes at least 3 to 4 months to complete, time in which you or someone you trust will needs to watch, care for, and monitor the garden.
  • Do you have the right space?  An indoor garden must not be disturbed during its dark cycle, as allowing light into the room for even a few seconds and seriously negatively impact your plants.  You need a well ventilated room that can stay undisturbed or a specially made grow tent.  You also need a room away from nosy visitors or kids.  Just like an outdoor garden, your indoor cannabis garden is still subject to being ripped off, although it is not quite as vulnerable.
  • Do you have enough electricity?  You will need to insure your indoor grow has adequate electricity to handle the higher loads of lights and fans.  With today's state-of-the-art LED grow lights, this is not as big an issue as it once was, and modern indoor marijuana grows consume far less power then the metal halide lights of old.
  • Do you have enough money?  Maintaining an indoor grow is significantly more expensive that outdoors.  Be prepared to spend well over $1000.00 to build it and get it up and running.  Then you will have additional ongoing costs for nutrients and a somewhat bigger electric bill.  Budget and plan accordingly.
  • Do you like to tinker?  Indoor cannabis gardens need constantly monitoring, testing, and tinkering.  If you are more a set it and forget it type of person, an indoor garden may not be right for you.

In the upcoming months we’ll be posting step by step articles on cannabis cultivation and how to grow dispensary quality buds at home.

So, ask yourself those questions and if you find you do in fact have the time, desire and passion to grow your own, we’re behind you 100%.

If you answered no to most of these questions, cannabis gardening may not be right for you and we're afraid your garden will go the way of poor old Goldie.

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About the author 

Mitch Mandell

Mitch Mandell is the publisher of Senior Stoner, a partner in Z-Dog Media, and a long time cannabis enthusiast and cultivator. Prior to entering the world of publishing, he had a long career in advertising, working for some of the country's top agencies.

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