You’ve finally made the decision to grow your own cannabis under lighting inside. Now you need to know how to get a big yield in a small space. Here’s how to grow big buds indoors:
A plant’s natural habitat is outside in nature with full sunshine beaming down and roots planted firmly into the soil. The checks and balances of wind and rain, coupled with prime planting conditions, result in huge and strong weed trees laden with heavy buds.
Indoors, a whole different set of criteria apply.
Since there’s not nearly enough light, you must add it. Oscillating fans and watering wands duplicate wind and rain. Above all, understanding how to control the environment is the differentiating factor between the fruitful indoor pot producer and the ones who never seem to get it quite right.
Frigid cold or searing heat does serious damage to sensitive plant tissues. A bone-dry humidity level or overly moist atmosphere can cause serious problems quickly and, many times, plant death is the result. Even those that don’t perish are never the same again. If you plan to cultivate cannabis without considering how to maintain a proper growing environment inside, you can expect diminishing returns.
Maintain temperature at 70 to 80°F.
Keep humidity between 40 to 60 percent.
A good thermometer/hygrometer combo will let you know your temperature and humidity levels at all times so you can act accordingly to maintain them.
Light Control And Options
Indoors, you are recreating the summer and fall seasons by using a timer on your lighting. The “summer,” or vegetative stage, requires 18 to 20 hours of light per day, and the “fall,” or flowering stage, needs 12 hours of light and 12 full hours of darkness in order to trigger the plant to build buds on its branches.
A typical vegetative time is three to four weeks, and flowering generally takes around eight to nine weeks so plan accordingly. Always fit in a week to dry and a few weeks to cure as well into your schedule. The best indoor growers keep copious notes and use a calendar to ensure their timing is right.
HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights such as MH (Metal Halide) and HPS (High-Pressure Sodium) are most indoor growers lighting of choice—and for good reason. A variety of wattages, from 150, 250, 400, 600 to the mighty 1000-watt versions, make HID’s versatile and unmatched in their ability to deliver the essential lumens needed for plants to thrive inside.
A mixture of the two spectrums is ideal, but the prevailing wisdom is that MH bulbs are better for stacking nodes during the vegetative stage and HPS more closely mimic the golden-red glow of autumn sunshine. 400 to 600-watts can cover a 3’ x 3’ to 4’ x 4’ footprint, while 1000-watts will light a 5’ x 5’ space properly.
Moving air around your grow space, as well as removing the warm, spent and smelly air, is essential to successful indoor farming.
Oscillating fans should ensure that all growing leaves wiggle in the wind, without getting completely blasted by a constant excessive breeze. An exhaust fan, located near the top of your grow space pulls air through an activated charcoal filter in order to clean it before setting it free.
Pulling more air out than you have flowing in creates negative pressure, ensuring a fresh supply of CO2 and also won’t let odors escape through any cracks. Be sure to turn off oscillating fans before any spraying or foliar feeding to avoid getting liquid on your light bulbs that can deteriorate or break from contact with droplets.
Low-Stress Training (LST) Increase Yields
Instead of topping, pruning or clipping growing shoots, which can slow growth and requires significant recovery time, try a technique called Low-Stress Training or LST for short. LST means using string, wire or weights to bend and pull down the top branches so that primary light reaches more surface area. This means that what would have been lower branches get more light and air circulation and, as a result, fill out better.
Not only does LST result in bigger yields, the technique also allows you to control the height and shape of your plants. This is a godsend for those with small spaces doing “micro-grows.” Manipulating your branches into the desired shape can help you maintain a level canopy which also results in a bigger harvest of nice-sized buds.
The key to LST is to minimize stress on the plants by bending branches gently to avoid breaking them. New growth is easier to bend than old growth so start the bending process when plants are young. You’ll also need to factor in a couple of extra weeks of vegetative time, but the resulting increased yields will be well worth it.
Indoor Yielding Grow Tips
Rotate your plants a quarter turn every day to ensure all leaves get sufficient light.
Secure your lights using strong adjustable hangers so you can easily keep the bulbs at optimal levels.
Leave tap water out overnight to dissipate the chlorine before adding your nutrients and applying to your plant’s roots.
Air-cooled HID lights remove much of the heat at bulb level and can be hung lower than non-cooled ones.
CO2 enrichment using a tank, generator or other carbon dioxide provider can increase growth rates and yield significantly.
Give roots room: Larger containers for your grow medium will result in bigger plants with higher yields. Use at least one gallon per week of vegetating times, and you’ll harvest more abundantly.
Support growing branches: Even well-grown sativa tops will sometimes overwhelm their own ability to hold themselves up. Use a trellising system or attach branches to plant stakes.
Now that you’re well on your way to getting started growing pot indoors, remember that part of your job is to stay out of the plant’s way and let them do their thing. Over-watering and over-fertilizing are the two biggest mistakes that novice growers make, so try to create a balance instead.
Lift your containers when they’re fully watered and when they’re not, so you can get an idea of when they need another feeding. Raise nutrient dosages incrementally and keep experiments isolated to one or two plants. Above all, stay curious and enjoy the ride. Nothing’s better than consuming cannabis that you created yourself!