After living in the UK for nearly all my life, then moving to Amsterdam and finally the alleged freedom of Spain, there are many factors to consider when you’re growing weed but want to stay off the radar. In Europe, the laws on growing cannabis are not so clear, and there is still a grey area that many of us who use cannabis for recreational and medicinal use fall in.
America has shown the world many examples and benefits of legalizing marijuana, but even with this huge surge in the cannabis industry, there are still many obstacles to consider—whatever the size and intention of your grow. Below are some handy tips that will help keep your growing game as discreet as possible.
The Dutch named the earliest crosses of loud plants Skunk for a good reason. Loud genetics can stink a room out in veg, and during flower, there is gonna be a real dank smell. It is key to ensure that you have adequate ventilation inside your growroom. The correct way to do this is to work out the length x width x height of your grow space, then multiply that number by 20 CFM (cubic feet per minute) to work out the amount of air exchange needed for your plants to operate at full capacity.
Carbon filters can have a difficult time functioning as they should during higher temperatures. You should check to make sure your temps are not above 76 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are working in large spaces and are concerned you are not pulling enough air through each hour, then you can add two smaller-sized intake fans to replace a bigger one, which may not have been as efficient. The benefit is that you can place both filters in different parts of the upper part of the room, still clear the same amount of air with no issues and also help cool the room down quickly.
This is something that is often not considered by the overzealous grower who fills one room with lights, plants, carbon filters, fans, hydro systems and pumps—not realizing that the vibrations and constant buzzing may be traveling directly to a neighbor living above or below or on either side of you. What is more worrying is that the neighbor will hear these unwanted sounds for 18 hours per day, which can become a constant nuisance and enough to warrant a call to the police. In some scenarios, the noise from the growroom may be heard just by being too close to a window or front door.
Using foam mats is a great way to kill the buzz of sound, and acoustic ducting also helps silence any noise. Some things, such as carbon filters and intake fans, should stay on at night to keep the canopy moving and things fresh. You will also need to keep hydro systems running full-time and an air stone bubbling away at the nutrient solution, so there are many things to consider if you’re new to growing and live in an apartment or in a house with others.
Right now, there’s still a stigma attached to the cannabis user, and its one that the non-smoker may never understand. That being said, it can lead to a world of suspicion from neighbors and can turn you into the talk of the street without even knowing it. Obviously, there are a number of reasons why you may not have a good relationship with nearby residents, but this can do more harm than good. So it is a good idea to make small talk with your neighbors to find out if there are any unwanted smells or noises they’ve noticed. They may even be willing to inform you of any suspicious activity from your house while you are away.
A good neighbor can be the difference between a knock on the door from the authorities and a heads up about any gossip that may have arisen about your involvement with growing cannabis. Whether your grow is legal or illegal, it’s something that should always be treated with the utmost discretion.
Exposed garbage is a good way to leave clues about your activities to anyone who has the opportunity to see your trash. This can entail empty nutrient bottles, empty pots, empty soil bags, plastic water bottles, stems, roots, fan leaves or seed packaging. So, disposing of your waste properly is very important.
A good idea is to create a compost pile that you can allow to break down in your own back garden. A compost pile can help dispose of the used coco, soil, root mass, leaves and stems. Cannabis is excellent for compost as the plant is full of nutrients that it has extracted from the earth or grow medium. If you are a real organic grower, then adding to the compost pile every so often can create a super-charged medium that will be perfect to put in the ground for next year.
When disposing of plastic bags and bottles, try to dispose of them correctly at a local disposal. This way they are gone, and you do not run the risk of someone seeing a large trash bag of nutrient bottles.
Recently there has been a large increase in the number of UK growers who have been caught stealing electricity. They now face criminal charges, as well as being personally sued by the electric company in question. If you are going to grow for your own personal use—and to cover the initial costs of what you would pay each month for high-grade buds—then there should easily be a balance to the amount of electric you can safely cover each month. Unfortunately, these growers who have no choice but to steal electricity give innocent growers a bad name.
Traveling To The Location
You may have your grow in the comfort of your own home or close by, or you may have a plot of land that has been growing some outdoor plants all year that are ready to harvest. Either way, being vigilant about your surroundings is always key to keeping stealth. It can look suspicious if you are traveling to and from a grow house and your general visiting time is around an hour a day. You will also be transporting nutrients and grow medium to the premises, so be careful not to have anything exposed and make sure to pick the right times to move in and out during the day.
Another scenario might be that you are working with an outdoor light deprivation tent and must show up every night to close the cover, so the tent is emerged in darkness. There is only so much you can do in these instances, but the important thing to remember is to try and keep an eye and ear out for any unwanted attention or prying eyes.
Growing At Night
There are many benefits to growing cannabis at night time. Apart from generous cool temperatures, another advantage of growing at night is that everyone else is asleep. During the day, your growroom should be silent to some degree, and then at night, all systems can go. This is a good way to grow and know most ears will not be aware that there is a carbon filter blowing air out close by. Setting your timers for lights to come on during flowering at 10 p.m. until 10 a.m. can offer the coolest temperatures, especially during the hottest parts of the year when day time temperatures can be somewhat challenging.
Finally…Tell No One!
This is the one that often gets growers caught. A good tip is to think, “loose lips sink ships,” and the fewer people who are aware of your project the better. The last thing you need is for your growroom to be the talk of a group conversation as one friend bloats his ego to his other friends. Avoid taking pictures, also. Even though it may be tempting to have a daily or weekly update, the images on your phone can lead to more trouble further down the line if they come into the wrong hands.