Just about anyone who has spent much time consuming cannabis, either recreationally or medically, has had the same thought: What if I just grew my own?
There are many reasons to grow your own cannabis. After the initial investment in seeds and equipment, growing your own can save you some serious cash. It also allows you to know exactly where your cannabis came from and what went into growing it, and with all the certainty in our world today, what could be better than being able to ensure you have your own supply come hell or high water?
While you may have the impression that growing marijuana is a simple affair, it can be more complicated than you think. The good news is, other people have already done the hard work of figuring out the best ways to grow cannabis. And we’ve done the work of finding the best how-to growing guides out there.
Here are our top five:
Format: Free e-book
Best For: Those who want access to expert assistance if needed
ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com is one of the world’s largest and most popular online seed banks and offers an exhaustive guide for beginning and veteran growers about which seeds grow best when, where, and how.
It’s no wonder then that the downloadable digital growing guide is a popular option for would-be growers, with more than 750,000 readers according to the company.
The 73-page ebook is free and downloadable as a PDF, and includes a comprehensive rundown of everything you need to know for indoor or outdoor grows, including lighting, feedings, and how to control your soil, CO2 levels, watering, and much more.
The guide also includes tons of pictures to walk you through growing, but perhaps its best feature is that it gives you access to experts from the company’s grow support forum, as well as the grow journals compiled by fellow growers.
One thing to keep in mind though, if you do download the ILGM guide, your inbox will feature daily emails from the company, some of them quite prolific. You can always unsubscribe whenever you want.
Best For: Those who want a comprehensive textbook on all things cultivation
“Marijuana may not be addictive, but growing it is,” Ed Rosenthal.
If you’re looking for a weed cultivation sherpa, then why not go with a veteran? Ed Rosenthal has been growing weed and helping out growers — both novice and real green thumbs — since growing cannabis was the type of thing that would make you a guest of the state for longer than a full grow cycle, and the author can tell you personally what that’s like.
A long-time legalization advocate and one of the co-founders of High Times magazines, Ed Rosenthal also spent years writing the magazine’s cannabis column “Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered.” Over the years he has also penned a number of books on growing marijuana and this one is the gold standard of his collection.
This 500 page tome is part of the official reading list of Oaksterdam University (where Rosenthal is a member of the faculty) and after the forward by Tommy Chong it covers topics ranging from the ins and outs of how marijuana works on your body, a Cannabis Sativa 101 of sorts, and practical sections on photosynthesis, light, carbon dioxide, water, nutrients, temperature, space and yield, and much more. And all of that with full color photographs throughout.
The first edition was published in the 1980s, and since then it’s gone through a number of revisions to keep up with the times.
Best for: Beginning Growers
There’s no shame in admitting it — growing cannabis may be a bit more complicated than you thought. This book simplifies things for beginners of all types, in a simple, easy-to-follow format that covers just 144 illustrated pages.
The book was written by Danny Danko, the senior cultivation editor at High Times, author of the magazine’s “Dear Danko” growing column, and creator and founder of the magazine’s “Seed Bank Hall of Fame.” In other words, this is a book for beginners written by someone who is definitely not a beginner.
It’s the perfect size for a non-intimidating introduction to the world of cannabis cultivation and gives readers an easy run down of how to set up a grow room as well as all the essentials from genetics and seeds to germination, cloning, harvesting, and cultivation hiccups such as fungi, molds, and pests. It also includes a primer on cannabis strains, direct from the same man who for the past 15 years has selected the strains for High Times’ annual Top 10 Strains of the Year.
And why illustrations? As Danko puts it “I think many of the concepts are easier to understand from simple illustrations,” adding “I seek to simplify the process down to its essential elements and drawings convey that better than photos.”
This is the essential, step-by-step guidebook full of “bona fide cultivation techniques that work every time.” It’s geared towards novice growers who don’t need — or want — a hardocre technical guide, and don’t want to feel like they need a degree in botanical sciences to reap their very own homegrown harvest.
Format: Mobile app
Best For: Tracking your grow from seed to harvest
Visuals: User-generated photos
This cannabis growing app puts the know-how and experience of a veteran grower in the palm of your hand. The company says it allows growers to track the progress of their gardens from seed to harvest, so they can “grow smarter.”
The app is an online grow journal of sorts where users can track unlimited gardens for free, organizing and tracking their operations on a day-to-day basis. It comes with an integrated pest management program to prevent and track pests, feeding protocols to help you keep your plants fed, and an environmental variables tracker for inside and outside grows.
It also allows you to take photos to keep your one time-lapse look at your grow, and also share the pics with other users of the app – and get encouragement or advice (if you want).
In addition, users can access the troubleshooting garden problems section of the app, as well as its extensive knowledge base whenever they need it.
For those who are looking for a how-to introductory guide to walk them through growing, this may not be the ideal choice. But as a guide and digital manager for your marijuana grow, it’s a great way to not do it on your own.
Best For: Those who want a thorough guide to outdoor and indoor grows
Dubbed “the bible” by readers and fans, this title spans a breadth and scope that is arguably biblical, at just over 500 pages with more than 1,100 full color photographs illustrations.
Originally published in 1983, “Marijuana Horticulture” has sold more than 500,000 copies in English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish, helping a virtual United Nations of cultivators grow their own cannabis. This guidebook describes itself as “the most complete, thorough, and comprehensive cultivation book available on the market today,” and features more than 300 contributors from the world of cannabis.
The chapters range from an intro to the life cycle of cannabis to subjects ranging from flowering to harvest, grow rooms and greenhouses, lights and electricity, pests and predators, and guerilla gardening, to name just a few out of (very) many.
Author Jorge Cervantes, a pseudonym for George Van Patten, is a world-renowned expert on all types of cannabis cultivation and spent a decade writing the “Jorge’s Rx” cultivation column in High Times. He has also published a variety of cannabis books including the Cannabis Encyclopedia.
His approach is to present simple and effective horticultural techniques to create high-yield grows in closets, backyards, basements, you name it. His work is extensive, exhaustive in its coverage, but not destined to go over the head of all but the most skilled growers.
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