The Wonders Of Micro Growing – High Quality Cannabis In Tiny Spaces
You probably thought about growing your own weed sometimes, but concluded that it’s too much of a hassle? Look no further, micro growing has everything you’re looking for and more.
As cannabis and its cultivation is more popular than ever and it seems that trend won’t stop soon, we see more and more people wanting to grow their own cannabis. Most beginners to growing don’t have the necessary experience or knowledge to start a full-blown indoor or outdoor growing operation, so they opt for a simpler option – a micro grow. Take a couple of seeds and plant them in a cupboard or a similarly small space, trying to get the best possible results of it – or in other words – micro growing. It is a natural way for beginner growers to get that needed experience and to experiment with no fear of ruining a big and expensive operation. This article will cover the basics of micro growing and the differences between it and a standard indoor grow, so let’s get started.
THE BASICS AND THE DIFFERENCES
Micro growing would best be described as a process of growing a small batch of cannabis in a limited space, trying to get the best possible results. That being said, micro growing is a type of indoor growing, just smaller in proportions. The main difference between a micro grow and a usual indoor grow is exactly that – the amount of space. Due to the lack of space, all the other basic aspects of cannabis growing – light, water and air supply, soil, the choice of strains – differ slightly from your regular indoor grow. Almost any space you imagine can be used for micro growing, from cupboards to computer cases. The main idea (and challenge) is to create the optimum conditions for your plants to thrive in that space.
CHOOSING A SUITABLE STRAIN
When it comes to micro growing, choosing the right strain is very important due to the limited space available. One of the things to watch out for is the height of your cannabis strain. Sativas grow higher and more slender than indicas, which tend to be short and bushy.
Furthermore, during the flowering phase sativas undergo a 200-300% increase in height, while Indicas increase only by 50-100%, which shows that indicas are more compatible with micro growing.
Another reasonable option would be autoflowering strains. No matter what the conditions, autoflowering strains stay small due to their genetics (a great many of them even smaller than indicas) and aren’t dependent on the light regime, which means they will have a shorter harvest time.
Most plants you see occupy the same volume beneath the ground as above. The reason behind this is because the root system is vitally important to a plant, being the part of the plant where it takes up nutrients and water. The amount of space occupied by a plant’s root system has a great influence on the plant’s size. We can use this correlation to our advantage as micro growing is concerned. The volume of the pot you use to grow your plant in is directly related to how large the plant will grow. To give you an impression:
- Around 12 liters and more: average plant height
- Around 5 liters: height of plant up to 60cm
- Around 2-3 liters: height up to 24cm
- Around ½ liter: height up to 13cm
A thing to note is that due to the small quantity of soil your plants will need more fertilizer and water than regular plants.
You can’t grow cannabis at all without light and you can’t grow good quality cannabis without proper lighting. Choosing the optimal lighting for your micro grow is an important decision and you have a variety of lamps to choose from – fluorescent tubes, CFL (energy-saving lamps), HPS, HPI and LED bulbs. When choosing a lighting you got to keep an eye out for the wattage and the heat the lighting produces. When it comes to wattage, an average of 400W is required for a square meter.
HPS and HPI lamps are the go-to lightings of indoor growers because of their high light output and 400W is lightweight for this kind of lamps. But, the problem with this kind of lighting is that it produces excess heat, which especially won’t help with your micro grow. Due to the lack of space things get very hot very quickly and your plants will be in danger of drying out.
But, fear not, this is one of the reasons we have fluorescent tubes and CFLs. They are very similar and both have a great light output, don’t dissipate much heat and are available in different light colours. You can help your cannabis plant with different light colours – a plant in the vegetative state needs more blue light, while a flowering plant requires more red light.
And at last, LED lamps. A good choice for micro growing, because they have a wide light spectrum and virtually don’t heat at all, but they come with a hefty price and may not be suitable if you’re planning a certain budget.
AIR AND WATER SUPPLY
As with light, your plants can’t live and grow without water and air. Having a good and clean ventilation and water supply system is a necessity for any grow, including micro grows.
The movement of air is necessary to a grow, because CO2-rich air is quickly depleted and that is a requirement for your plant’s photosynthetic process, which causes new plant cells to grow. The heated air due to the lighting needs to get out of the grow too, as it dries out the plants. Usually, table fans are used in indoor grows, combined with ventilation systems, but that is probably not practical for your micro grow. A neat solution is a computer fan. You put one at a low point that will act as your intake fan and put another one in a higher position to act as an exhaust fan. This way, as heat rises, the hot air will come out first, replacing it with cooler and fresher air. Don’t forget to use some kind of filters on the fans which will help you battle unwanted pests and odors.
Watering your micro grow becomes tricky after a while, as the plants become bushier and expand in width. You will need to use a small water system or make the grow accessible from the side to water your plants from the bottom. Don’t forget that plants in micro grow need more water than plants in regular grows, as they have less root space.
It was mentioned before, that space is the main difference between micro growing and a regular indoor grow. This lack of space usually calls for shorter and bushier plants, which is shown in the choosing of the right strain. There are other ways to influence a plants growth, such as various growing techniques: topping, super cropping,screen of green (ScrOG) and low stress training (LST).
Topping is the process of cutting off the very top of the plant, which stimulates the plant to grow new secondary branches. This way, the plant grows in width and not height, growing in a bush-like shape and creating more buds. Super cropping (or HST – high stress training) on the other hand, requires you to break the stem of the main branch. This technique needs to be done carefully. You need to break the stem in such a way, that the plant thinks it is gone for good and starts growing side branches, but not completely, so that the main branch can recover and grow to a smaller height.
The ScrOG technique requires you to put a mesh wire screen between the soil and the light source. Once the branches grow through the screen, you can tie them to the screen to force them to grow horizontally, hence the name. With ScrOG you manage the height of the plant and all the tops get the same light. LST is a somewhat similar technique, where you tie your plants higher branches to the soil, forcing the plant to grow side branches and more colas, with the end result being a higher yield in a smaller space, perfect for micro growing.
Beginner growers need to know that a micro grow isn’t a worthy substitute for a real indoor or outdoor grow. But, it is perfect as a starting point to develop that green thumb and to learn about the important things you need for a good cannabis grow. Feel free to try out and experiment with new strains, techniques and instruments, as long as you treat your plants with care. The whole process of growing a plant is a reward in itself, not to mention the harvest, so what are you waiting for?
3 GREAT STRAINS FOR MICRO GROWING
1. ROYAL DWARF
Royal Dwarf truly is a miniature cannabis specimen that can remain at tiny sizes of 40cm tall when trained in the ways mentioned above. This plant was bred for one reason and one reason only: stealth. Growers can easily cultivate multiple Royal Dwarf plants in their home without a single suspicion being raised. She can easily be grown within modified kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, boxes, and computer towers. Small LED lights can also be used within these tiny spaces to avoid giving off too much heat. Royal Dwarf is essentially the autoflowering version of the legendary Skunk, and was made using a Skunk strain along with a specific ruderalis cultivar. She offers stimulating but subtle sativa highs fuelled by THC quantities of 13%. She can therefore be smoked all day long whilst allowing the user to stay on top of their game and not get too high. Her small yet compact flowers offer sweet and citrus tastes.
Royal Dwarf will be ready to harvest a mere 8–9 weeks after seeds have been germinated. Plants grown indoors will provide yields of up to 200g/m² and won’t exceed 70cm in height. Plants grown outdoors within garden beds or guerrilla grow spots will produce harvests of 30–80g/plant and reach heights of between 50–90cm.
You want to start your own cannabis grow? Micro growing is a perfect way to start learning about growing cannabis and experimenting on your own terms.
What Is Micro Growing Cannabis?
Growing your own cannabis has been gaining a lot of popularity, people who can’t find good quality flowers or don’t want to deal with dealers are starting to grow their own. Even though it may seem super hard and expensive, having your own growing space doesn’t need to be hard at all, you can grow like a pro indoor, even in smaller spaces.
A micro cannabis grow consists of scaling down a grow tent, the only difference being the amount of space available. This results in a fully functioning indoor growing space that can fit in a small closet, a homemade grow box or even smaller spaces like a computer case or a cupboard.
1. Cannabis growing conditions
Just like in all other growing setups, you will have to provide a good environment for your plants to grow, this can be a bit hard when dealing with small spaces but it’s not impossible.
For your plants to grow properly, you will need to provide and maintain a relative humidity in between 60-50%, a temperature ranging from 18-25°C and 18hs of light for autos and photos in the vegetative stage, and 12/12 for photoperiodic strains in the flowering stage.
Despite being smaller, the growing space needs to have everything a normal-sized growing space has, so you won’t need to spend too much but you will need the basics.
There isn’t a big difference when growing in a small space, obviously you’re limited by the space you have available so you’ll have to choose the genetics wisely and perform plant training but other than that, it’s basically the same.
The challenge when micro growing cannabis is to be able to provide and maintain a good growing environment for your plants, this can be difficult when growing in small spaces but it’s not impossible, you most likely won’t get it right the first time but after making minor adjustments it will work like a charm.
3. Main requirements
Providing the needed amount of all these elements is crucial if you want to have a successful harvest, you will not need to spend too much or buy super expensive equipment but remember that when growing indoors you are responsible for controlling the environment your plant grows in so these things are obligatory.
Micro growing setups are usually homemade, it doesn’t really matter the material or size of the grow box as long as you provide everything your plant needs and that is:
Light is a key element in plant growth, obviously you won’t need a high-intensity light fixture but you will need to provide the appropriate amount of light for your plants to develop.
You cannot grow cannabis without light, that’s a fact. It doesn’t matter what kind of light you use either an LED or light bulb, now, light bulbs emit heat but can be near the plants while LEDs don’t emit much heat but can bleach your plants if they’re too close to the plants so depending on the growing space you will have to choose one or another.
Because of the limited space, you won’t have a lot of plants so you can also use fluorescent tubes and CFLs but remember to provide at least 400w per m 2 and have in mind that when using light bulbs you have to use white lights in the vegetative stage and yellow lights, almost all LEDs are full-spectrum so you won’t need to worry about this if using LED fixtures.
It’s essential you provide a wide light spectrum if you want to get dense buds so make sure you take extra caution before buying the lights.
Ventilation and Air exchange
Like said above, plants need CO2 to perform photosynthesis. There are around 400PPM of carbon dioxide in the air we breathe so there’s no need to provide more than what’s already available but you will need a way to exchange air.
Because the space is limited and you don’t need and can’t fit an exhaust fan, you can achieve this just by having the door open or a couple of holes for the air to naturally circulate, this way you avoid having problems.
If you don’t make sure the air is exchanged several times a day, your plants will not be able to grow properly because they need CO2 to perform photosynthesis.
You will also need a small fan to help the air circulate, this will not only help exchange air but will also prevent bugs and make your plant’s branches and stem stronger.
Plants need macro and micronutrients to grow properly, if the medium is sterile and you don’t feed your plants, they will start to show nutrient deficiencies and can stop growing at all.
Because the pots are usually smaller and contain a smaller amount of soil (or the medium of your choice) you will have to water more often and maybe divide the nutrient dose you would give once in two or three, this will help your plant absorb it easier because the medium can only hold a limited amount of water.
Have in mind that you can grow photoperiodic strains but you can have trouble controlling their height so if you’re a beginner grower it’s better to start with autoflowering plants so you don’t risk ending up without a harvest.
Appropriate pot size
As you may know, the size of a plant is a reflection of the size of the roots so using smaller pots is necessary in smaller growing spaces, because the pot is smaller and will have less medium, you will have to water and feed more frequently.
Even though the size can vary from strain to strain, here’s a chart to help you have an idea of the approximate plant size for smaller pots:
|Pot size||Plant height|
This will also keep the branches shorter but depending on the strain, your plant can develop a lot of branches that you will have to control with plant training techniques if needed.
4. Choosing the strain
Because of the limited space, you will have to choose the right genetics so you don’t have a problem further into your plants growth cycle.
In this type of setup autoflowering strains are ideal, although some strains grow taller than others, so you have to be careful and pay attention to the information the breeders give.
For example, if your growing space is tall and narrow you’ll be better with Sativa-dominant strains, Sativas grow tall and skinny and are better for this kind of grow space whereas Indica-dominant plants grow short and bushy and are better suited for shorter and relatively wide.
5. Plant training
When growing cannabis in a limited space, plant training is essential. There are a lot of plant training techniques that not only allow you to control the size your plant will have and even out the canopy but also help improve yields.
In small growing spaces there are a couple of growing techniques that are recommended:
Tying down branches
The tie-down method is fairly easy but you won’t be able to grow more than 2-3 plants in a limited space, this is because tying down the branches allows you to control the height by training your plant to grow to the sides.
You can also use high stress training techniques like topping or fimming but to effectively perform these techniques you need a bit of experience, HST techniques are not recommended with autoflowering strains but can be used with photoperiodic cannabis so you have to know what you’re doing so you don’t risk your harvest.
By choosing the better-suited strain for the space you have available you won’t have a problem, and if it grows a little bit more than what you expected, you can use any plan training technique you find appropriate.
Screen of green (aka Scrog ) consists of having a trellis net on top of your plants, this will not only allow you to control height but will also open up the branches so your plants have more airflow in the buds and also allows the light to reach deeper.
A sea of green (aka Sog ) is the most appropriate technique for this type of cannabis grow, it consists of having a lot of plants, growing small and not producing too much individually but will add up to a lot after harvesting all of them.
The plant training method you use will depend on the space you have, remember you don’t have to use just one, you can combine (for example) the Scrog method with the tie-down method to reach the desired height and structure.
6. In conclusion
You can grow cannabis in any space as long as you provide the basic elements a plant needs, it doesn’t matter if it’s a huge or a tiny growing space.
If you have experience with this type of growing, please feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comment section below!
Even in a smaller space, you can grow like a pro. Micro growing is for those who want to grow good buds stealthy and in a small discreet growing space.