For thousands of years, hemp has grown naturally: in the fields, in the mountain valleys, off the ocean shores, or in the rugged foothills of the Himalayas and Hindu Kush. During this time, some varieties have adapted to survive in arid steppes, while others – to the humid equatorial climate. The only thing that cannabis has not been able to do fully is adapt to the cool and damp climates of Northern and Eastern Europe. And the conditions of large cities are not very conducive to agriculture. However, even in such conditions, it is possible to find an opportunity to get generous yields of cones without problems and stably.
Why we choose indoor ground
The main advantage of indoor growing is gaining complete control over the growing environment. First of all, it is temperature, the main enemy of northern cannabis growers. It, like the humidity of the air, is regulated mainly due to the correct selection of lamps and changes in the ventilation intensity. Luminaires heat the box, and the ventilation system delivers portions of cool and dry air. Internal fans circulate to keep the environment from stagnating. Otherwise, you may encounter mold and mildew.
Also among the indisputable advantages of indoor is the ability to manually set the time of the beginning of flowering of photoperiodic varieties. In this way, the grower can shorten the growing season if his goal is to get the harvest as soon as possible, or vice versa – to extend the growing season. For example, to give cannabis to recover from stress or illness, or simply to get a larger plant, and therefore a larger yield. A separate topic is mother plants intended for cloning, which are permanently in the growing season.
Another plus is easy access to plants at any time of the day or night, in any weather, regardless of being busy or feeling unwell. No matter what happens, there will always be a few minutes to check if everything is normal with your charges. And if something is wrong, then it can be fixed right away, without waiting for a minor nuisance to develop into a serious problem.
Three directions of indoor cultivation
It would be nice, of course, that our capabilities coincide with our desires … But while this is still not the case, you have to measure your plans with life circumstances. It is especially difficult for those whose passion for botany does not find support from family members. They have to encrypt themselves even in their own room so as not to arouse suspicion among conservative relatives. In this case, only stealth grow is available – growing in a grow box (usually of the minimum size), disguised as a piece of furniture or household appliances.
Those who live in a separate apartment and can afford a full-fledged grow box are in more favorable conditions. Subject to certain security measures, they can provide themselves with everything they need without much effort and cost. True, this already requires certain financial investments, but mostly one-time, at the initial stage, with the purchase of all the necessary equipment.
The luckiest ones have a whole room (storage room, workshop, warm garage) where you can place a decent plantation. Just before you fully use it for planting cannabis, you should think: do you need it? After all, an increase in the number of bushes will unambiguously lead to an increase in total costs, and the stock “for 10 years ahead” is unlikely to come in handy. If only because over time, marijuana loses its properties (a two-year-old crop is unlikely to please with the effect). Is it better to grow it in small quantities, but regularly so that you always have fresh and tasty buds available?
When it comes to covert (or covert) cultivation, the issues of camouflage come first. Most often, for this you have to sacrifice the amount of the crop obtained in one cycle, because a mini or micro box is much easier to hide from prying eyes. But due to the miniature size of the equipment, its cost is reduced.
As a case for stealth box, improvised household items are used. It can be a bedside table or a small cabinet, an old refrigerator or the case of a computer system unit (in the latter case, we get another advantage – the noise of a fan or reflections of light penetrating outside will not arouse suspicion).
For lighting cannabis, household LED lamps, ECL or low power phytolamps with an E27 base are used – inexpensive and readily available. Ventilation is provided by a computer cooler (almost silent) or a household hood (noisier, but cheap). All automation, if any, can be controlled by a conventional daily timer.
Full-size grow box
A full-sized grow box or grow tent is probably the best option for home growing. It has enough space to cultivate several cannabis bushes (or one large one), and there is room for it even in the smallest apartment or room. At the same time, the harvest is always enough for both yourself and your friends.
However, at first, you will have to spend money, especially when buying a grow tent (but it has a plus – if it is not currently in use, the grow tent can be disassembled and removed – and it will not take up space, and in terms of security it will not compromise). If you make a growbox with your own hands (and this is not very difficult), then the main costs will fall on light and ventilation with a charcoal filter – you cannot do without them, especially in an apartment building.
Further, along the way, the costs will be already small. The purchase of seeds, substrate and fertilizers is fully paid off by the first harvest. Of the current expenses, perhaps only the payment of electricity bills will be significant. And then if you use LED lighting, they will be small.
Not everyone can afford such a luxury, and not everyone needs it. However, for your own needs it is quite possible to plant a couple of bushes somewhere in the winter garden or greenhouse, provided that there is one. If you set yourself the goal of fully using the premises, then even with a small area (say, 4-6 m²), the costs will be very sensitive. In addition to powerful light and ventilation, automatic climate control may be required to maintain an even temperature and humidity.
In addition to the financial costs, there is a growing risk that the landings will be discovered. Even in a private house, where it would seem that everything is safe, a signal can give a suspicious sharp increase in electricity consumption. In the United States, for example, at the height of the anti-cannabis campaign, drug police monitored these moments. And the British use thermal imaging helicopters to track greenhouses in attics. Finding a grow room in an apartment building will be even easier. When cultivating more than 7-10 hemp bushes, even the best carbon filters will not cope with the smell.
What you need for home grow
Despite the fact that the methods differ significantly from each other, globally for indoor growing in all cases, the same is required:
Growing volume. Whether it is a stealth box disguised as a system unit or an equipped grow room, it should not let in smells and light. The walls (or walls) are covered with reflective material for the most efficient use of the luminaires. There should be enough room in the room for the plants to grow and care for.
The ventilation system provides the required amount of fresh air and should not release the aromas of flowering marijuana bushes from the grow box. Inside the box, air must circulate so that no stagnant, windproof zones are created. In small stealths, the volume of air should be completely replaced twice a minute, in large ones – once every 3-5 minutes.
The power of the luminaires depends on the size of the grow box. When using HPS lamps, you can make a start in calculations from 400-600 W / m², for LEDs – 250-500 W / m². Light, roughly comparable in brightness to the sun, gives a luminaire with a power of 1000 W / m².
The potting soil or growing medium must be biologically sterile. In the closed space of a grow box, parasites and pests are much more dangerous than in a garden or vegetable garden. Using natural soil from your garden or flower bed is the worst option for a home grower. The optimum pH values for soil are 6.0-7.0, for inert substrates (for example, coconut) – 5.5-6.5.
Automation is a great way to take some of the routine off your shoulders. Even the simplest mechanical timer will properly do your work twice a day, turning lights and ventilation on and off. In advanced climate control systems, the automation takes into account the temperature and humidity of the air, accordingly changing the ventilation intensity.