Growing Cannabis: A Multipurpose Plant for Your Garden

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Given its use in historical medicines, textiles, and culture dating back to 8000 B.C. to it’s outlawing in the United States in 1937, cannabis is truly an interesting plant. Not only does it produce the cannabis species that gives the popular recreational and medicinal drug marijuana, but also the hemp species, which yields diverse materials like papers and clothing as well as building materials and food products. Hemp is the source of the popular CBD oil, a product considered to offer a large range of health benefits without the psychoactive properties of marijuana’s key ingredient, THC.If you would like to grow a cannabis plant, consider these tips for making your small-scale cannabis plant growth successful. While many people find success growing cannabis plants indoors, it is also possible to grow them outside in your garden. When you choose outdoors, you don’t have to worry about the increased electricity bills from running high-strength grow lights in your home.

Seeds

Select your cannabis seeds based on what is legal in your area and based on the reputation of the strain. Some plants will naturally remain small and bushy, while others will grow and spread out. Know what size of plant is likely to result, and choose your seeds that way.

Another significant factor to consider is what needs you’re trying to meet with this plant. Are you hoping to grow a means of harvesting CBD oils to improve your health or hemp to grow fibers for use in crafting or building?

Seasonal Guide

Aim to give your cannabis plants 12 hours of daylight and 8 hours of direct sunlight; delay planting until this can be accomplished. There is a reason why indoor cannabis plants need such intense grow lights. Most varieties are direct-sun-loving plants and heavy, continued exposure to sunlight isn’t just a suggestion. It’s a must for any appreciable growth. Start to pay attention in September to when the amount of sunlight dips. If you sowed your seeds in late Spring as is ideal in most areas, the waning weeks of the summer season is likely to be the right time for harvest.

Growth Cycle of Cannabis Plants

Many of the choices made in the growth cycle of cannabis plants have to do with the sex of the plant: only female plants produce the buds most coveted in the marijuana plant. If a person is specifically trying to grow for marijuana use, they will select seeds that were definitely female.

Tip: If you purchase seeds and are worried that any are male, it might be worth isolating the seedlings until you’re able to determine the gender of any plants.

The plant will go through the seedling stage, where a few leaves grow, then the “vegetative phase,” where the stem grows stronger, and then a pre-flowering stage and a flowering stage. Finally, at a very specific time which will change depending on what exact variety you’re growing, you’ll clip the base of the plant, separate larger branches, and dry the plant.

Soil Preferences

When evaluating your soil to test its fitness in growing a cannabis plant, an ideal pH to plant in falls between 6.0 and 7.0, slightly alkaline. Autoflowering cannabis strains do well in a half and half blend of coco noir and soil that mixes sphagnum peat moss and perlite. The lightness and good drainage these additives provide will help cannabis seeds thrive. Many growers recommend amendments of nutrient pellets that release slowly into the soil. For other varieties, look up your specific strain to discover if a particular amendment, source of organic material, or fertilizer is considered best for that particular variety.

Speaking of the soil, plan to keep the soil moist, since cannabis plants are quite thirsty. Even if your area gets reasonable rainfall, you will likely have to supplement by watering the plants, preferably early in the hottest days so that the water doesn’t immediately evaporate off in the sun.

How and When to Harvest

Pay close attention as soon as the flowering phase of your cannabis plants has concluded. Some symptoms may appear that indicate it is time to harvest: first, the plant may turn red, while the stems may also broaden out. The buds will grow darker brown because of the resin inside them, and leaves may begin to turn yellow or die back. Any of these signs can be a clue that it is time for your harvest season. Many sativa plants, for instance, will be ready between 8 and 10 weeks after harvesting. Waiting too long to harvest, if your cannabis is for consumption, can cause an unpleasantly pungent flavor.

While different uses will merit different methods, one way to harvest your cannabis is to support the top of the plant by securing a string or wire at the top and cut at the base of the plant. This wire or string can then be suspended indoors for as long as necessary to dry out the cannabis, often 10-14 days.

As long as your cannabis variant plants are legally grown based on either being no-THC hemp or being grown in a legal area for marijuana plants, you can make them a thriving part of your garden. If you find that you love this in your garden and enjoy its many uses, also be aware that the sale of certain cannabis products or materials may be illegal in your community. Even though you may have grown it yourself, this particular plant isn’t quite as cut and dry as growing fresh apples to add to a pie for a local bake sale.

Be aware that some varieties can have a pungent odor, so plant them somewhere that the downwind area won’t mind a little smell!

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