How to Grow Weed on a Budget: Indoors and Outdoors
Growing cannabis doesn’t have to be a huge investment. With the right tips, you can reduce the cost of your cannabis grow room/garden and grow top-shelf weed on a budget.
Explore our in-depth guide to growing weed on a budget.
Growing cannabis on a budget can seem outright impossible to the uninformed. The cost of setting up and running a grow room, plus feeding and caring for your plants, can easily seem out of reach for the hobby grower. However, there are, in fact, many ways you can reduce the cost of your next grow-op to suit your financial constraints. In this article, we share our top tips for growing cannabis on a budget, both indoors and outdoors.
General Money-Saving Tips for Cannabis Growing
Cutting the costs for your next grow can be a lot easier than it might seem. Below are a few simple tips to help you save money when growing weed, indoors or out.
Choose Your Seeds Wisely
While it might seem counterintuitive to buy seeds when you’ve got the chance to grow bagseed for free, investing in quality cannabis seeds from the get-go has the potential to save you money (and stress) in the long-run.
When you buy seeds from a respected seed bank, you’re paying for guaranteed quality. Established seed banks have teams of dedicated breeders and growers constantly working to improve their genetics. That means, after germinating your seeds, you can rest assured the plants in your garden will grow strong and healthy (given the right care, of course) and reward you with good yields of top-shelf bud.
Buying autoflowering seeds is another great way to save money. Today’s auto strains have the potential to produce great yields and excellent buds, with the potency and flavours to stand up to any photoperiod strain. If you’re a budget grower, make sure to go auto for your next grow.
Grow From Clones
The cost of buying new seeds after every harvest can add up, especially if you’ve got a big garden and grow several plants at a time. Cloning can offset some of those costs, giving you the opportunity to reproduce your favourite strains without having to invest in new seeds every time.
Keep in mind, however, that cloning also comes at a cost. In order to get good results, you’ll want to take your clones from a robust, healthy mother plant, which you’ll need to keep in constant vegetation. Keeping a mother requires space, a constant 18/6 light cycle, and plenty of fertiliser. But, in return, you’ll get the opportunity to take numerous clones from your mother every few weeks, potentially for years to come.
Note that, over time, the yield potential of mother plants tends to go down. To deal with this, most growers renew their mother plants every 6–12 months. In general, we recommend buying seeds, keeping the healthiest plant from your seeds as a mother, and cloning it for 6 months before repeating the process. This will help ensure you’re always working with healthy plants.
Use All Parts of the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is an amazing plant with tons of uses. Unfortunately, many growers forget that at harvest time. The stems and leaves many growers misprize post-harvest can be used to make tea, cannabutter, infused cooking oils, lotions and topicals, and much more. Make sure you hold onto these parts of the plant next time you harvest to reduce the waste of your grow-op.
Reuse and Recycle
Let’s be honest; chances are you’re going to conduct more than one cannabis grow in your lifetime. Hence, make the effort to reuse and recycle as many of the products/tools you use in your grow room as possible. Some obvious grow tools you can reuse include:
- Pots: Unless they are broken, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to reuse your cannabis pots for multiple grows. Just make sure you fully sanitise each container before planting a new specimen.
- Soil: Quality soil is one of the biggest costs of a cannabis grow room/garden. Luckily, you can reuse old soil pretty easily. Just know that you’ll need to supplement some new material into your old soil to boost its nutritional value and structure.
- Hoses, pruning shears, gardening gloves: If you’ve got gardening equipment you use for other plants, don’t go out and spend more money on extra tools for your cannabis garden. Simply sterilise your tools before each use (where necessary) to avoid spreading pests and disease from your cannabis plants to the rest of your garden, and vice versa.
- Try composting: If you want to take things a step further and save even more, consider composting the organic waste from your house (such as vegetable scraps, paper, and cardboard). Composting is very simple and, while it takes some time, produces an excellent, nutrient-rich growing medium for your plants. Best of all, composting is virtually free. All you need is a compost bin (any old bucket, bag, or pot can work), time, and some composting worms (technically optional; composting without worms just takes a little longer).
How to Grow Cannabis Indoors on a Budget
Growing cannabis indoors is generally more expensive than growing outdoors. In order to achieve healthy plants in a room or tent, you’ll need grow lights and fans to recreate the conditions cannabis naturally flourishes in outdoors. Below, you’ll find a list of ways to cut the cost of setting up/running an indoor grow room.
Build a Grow Room Out of an Old Cupboard or Closet
Rather than forking out top dollar for a grow tent, consider transforming a spare cupboard or closet in your house into a grow room. Just remember that you’ll want to cover the walls of whatever space you use with a reflective material (white plastic or Mylar film work best). This will reflect more light onto your plants, making for a more efficient grow room.
If you’re really short on space, consider building a micro grow room using an old computer tower.
Build Your Own Grow Tent
If you haven’t got a cupboard, closet, or old computer tower to refurbish into a grow room, consider building your own grow tent using basic materials like PVC pipe and panda film.
If you’re not the DIY type, try shopping around for a budget tent online. There are many grow tents on the market for as little as €50; just don’t expect them to be packed with features or have the best build quality, but they should last you at least a couple of harvests.
Utilise the Right Lighting
There are a ton of lighting options on the market, and finding the right solution for your grow room can be quite a task. If you’re growing on a budget, however, we generally recommend investing in a quality LED lighting panel.
While LED lights come at a higher outright cost than HID lights, they are much more efficient and cheaper to run, making them more cost-effective in the long-term. Not only that, but LEDs tend to run much cooler than HIDs, which is an important factor given the spatial limitations of most indoor budget growers.
Ventilate Your Grow Room
Ventilation is something growers shouldn’t skimp on, regardless of their budget. Extractor fans help pull old, stale air out of your room/tent so it can be replaced with fresh, oxygen-rich air from outside, while oscillating fans help keep air moving throughout your grow room. Both are super important for supporting the growth of your plants and keeping your room/tent free of pests and pathogens.
To reduce the cost of your ventilation system, make sure you buy an extractor fan with a m³/h rating that will ensure the correct air circulation. m³/h (cubic metre per hour) is an indicator of how much air an extractor can pull out of a space every hour. For proper ventilation, you’ll want to invest in a fan with a m³/h 70 times higher than the volume of your room/tent. This is because the average number of air exchanges required in a grow room is around 70 per hour.
For example, if you’re growing in a tent that measures 1m × 1m × 2m (with a total volume of 2m³), invest in an extractor fan with at least 140m³/h. You’ll want the smallest possible extractor that can effectively maintain an optimal, consistent temperature in your indoor garden. The smaller the extractor, the less power it’ll use, and the more money you’ll save.
Properly ventilating a small indoor grow space isn’t rocket science, but it’s essential nonetheless. If you can avoid the occurrence of pests, plagues, and inferior results for little money and effort, why not make your life easier?
Pro tip: We also recommend outfitting your extractor fan with a carbon filter to help reduce the smell of your grow-op.
Keep Temperatures Down
If you’ve followed our recommendations up until now, you shouldn’t run into any issues with heat. Remember to use small oscillating fans to move air around your plants and keep old, warm air from getting trapped inside the room. You can also opt to run your grow lights during the night if you live in a very hot area.
Choose the Right Growing Medium
Soil is by far the most budget-friendly growing medium. If you want to further cut the costs of your grow-op, consider making your own super soil using compost, vermiculite, and organic fertilisers. As mentioned earlier, remember to reuse your old soil, if possible.
Grow With or Without Nutrients
While most growers opt to feed their plants with chemical fertilisers, there is a strong trend towards organics in the world of cannabis cultivation. In general, we always favour using organic fertilisers as they work with the soil to slowly deliver nutrients to plants.
Today, there are plenty of organic fertilisers on the market, and many of them come at a similar cost as their non-organic counterparts. However, using organic fertilisers might actually lower the cost of your grow-op in the long-run.
Want to reduce the costs of growing cannabis? In this article, we share our top money-saving tips for growing cannabis both indoors and outdoors.
How to Grow Cannabis Hydroponically
Last updated: April 24, 2020
Using hydroponics to grow cannabis is not as complicated as it seems, but all the new terminology and techniques can be a bit overwhelming for beginners. For those who take the time to learn the system, the benefits are profound.
Hydroponics offers a way to grow cannabis without the fear of soil-borne illness, which is a common killer for the beginner grower’s plants, and increases the yields by as much as 25% when done correctly. There are quite a few things to understand before jumping directly into a hydroponics grow, so let’s go over the basics:
Finding a Good System
There are a few different ways to go about a hydroponic system. DIY systems are just as popular as ones on the market, but they all go about things in a similar manner.
The gist of it is that the roots of the plant grow into an inert soil, such as perlite, and come into contact with a nutrient solution via a couple of different methods.
Photo by BiW99 on Pixabay
Reservoir or Deep Water Culture
This method involves allowing the roots of the plant to dangle directly into a nutrient bath reservoir. An aquarium bubbler is placed into the reservoir to constantly aerate the water. Algaes are sometimes allowed to grow in this reservoir to add additional nutrients and enable filtration of the tank.
Ebb and Flow
Ebb and Flow is probably the most popular beginner method and widely available for sale from a lot of different manufacturers. The way it works is pretty straightforward. A nutrient solution is pumped onto the growing medium the roots are entangled on—Rockwool is very common for this— and slowly drains into the reservoir.
This is kept on a timer and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the plant.
Unlike the previous two methods, both which are variations of a liquid nutrient bath, this one uses a spray to get nutrients to the roots. Triggered by a timer, the nutrient aerosol is sprayed a few times a day onto the dangling roots of the plant. The roots grow quite long because of this and it allows for a lot of oxygen to penetrate them easily.
In fertile soil, a lot of the essential minerals for growth are already there for cannabis to use; however, with hydroponics systems, you need to add these yourself. Solutions come pre-prepared to resolve a lot of the guesswork, but knowing what these specific elements are can help understanding in the long run.
The main ingredients needed for a healthy plant are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These come in different blends at different percentages, depending on the stage of growth the nutrients are recommended for.
Featured Image Credit: Pxfuel
As the plants absorb the water, the tanks reservoir will slowly lower and need to be refilled. The water should be brought back up to level, without adding any more fertilizer or nutrients to the mix. The water is evaporating, but all those compounds are not and will remain in the water at an appropriate level.
Once every two weeks, the whole system should be cleaned out to avoid gunking and other nasties that may have built up, which is when you should add more nutrients to the mix.
How to Begin
Set up your reservoir basin without nutrients and ensure that everything is in working order before adding plants and nutrients to the mix. This helps figure out any problems down the line by cutting variables during tests.
Now, add the nutrients to the solution, and if needed make sure air will be getting into the water via an aquarium bubbler. Run that, make sure everything in working order, and check the balance of the water.
Featured Image Credit: MasterTux, Pixabay
pH is the measure of acidity in a medium. Certain plants like different levels of acidity to survive with cannabis enjoying a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Before adding plants to the nutrient bath ensure that the pH level is between these numbers.
After all of this is done then the plants can finally be added to the set up without issue.
Lighting systems for hydroponics are pretty similar to any other grow. The only thing to consider is the amount of humidity within the room will probably increase due to water evaporation.
LEDs or well-cooled HPS systems are ideal for this, as it can get downright steamy in an enclosed hydroponic set up if the temperature is off. Other than that, the general rules of 18 hours on and 6 hours off apply throughout both seedling and vegetative stages, with the 12 hours on and 12 hours off kicking in once it’s time to flower.
In general, a hydroponic grow won’t differ from a standard grow in most ways, aside from considerations needed to keep the tanks full and the room from getting too wet.
Make sure to check the water pH levels at least a few times a week, as you add more water to the system this will change over time. Nutrients as well can have a significant impact on the balance of the water and should be counteracted to ensure healthy plants.
Hydroponics are a joy and can create massive yields. Hopefully, this helped pick apart some of the details of the process.
Featured Image Credit: BiW99, Pixabay
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How to Grow Cannabis Hydroponically Last updated: April 24, 2020 Using hydroponics to grow cannabis is not as complicated as it seems, but all the new terminology and techniques can be a bit