Why Start Indoor Growing In Canada?
Here’s why you should consider indoor growing in Canada if you aren't already…
- Year round harvests
- Consistency in crop
- Control over growing environment
- Control over flowering (if using photoperiod strain)
- Decreased risk for pests
Equipment Needed To Start Indoor Growing In Canada
The amount of equipment you need to start your indoor grow can seem quite overwhelming and costly at first, however, most growers that do their research and plan well are able to make their money back after a few harvests. If you invest in a good grow at the beginning you can save a lot of money for yourself in the end growing your own cannabis.
Below I have created a list of the basic essentials for growing. I have also included links to some great products and personal favourites.
To grow indoors you will need:
- A designated grow space (Gorilla Grow Tents)
- Scissors and shears ( my top two picks - straight blade and angled)
- pH meter
- EC/ppm meter
- pH adjuster (pH up/ pH down)
- Lux meter
- Lighting timer
- Surge protector
- Grow lights
- Oscillating fans
- Inline fan
- Carbon filter
- CO2 enhancer
- buckets/measuring cup
- Jewellers loupe/microscope
- Garden stakes
- Seedling starter kit (super sprouter propagation kit & heat mat )
Choosing Your Grow Space
Cannabis can be grown anywhere you have access to water and light
- Spare room
- Grow tent (BEST CHOICE)
- Grow box
When deciding on your growing environment it is important to consider airtightness, air movement, air exchange, light proofing, climate control, as well as safety and fire prevention.
In my experience grow tents are the best choice for beginner growers. Grow tents are cheap(long-term), effective, and will save you a lot of trouble down the road with controlling your environment. A good grow tent is light proof, has reflective interior walls, contains built in options to vent heat, a place to hang your lights, and waterproof floors. This environment will help your cannabis thrive and make growing easier for you!
Once you have decided on your grow space it is important to consider these factors: Air filtration, ventilation, CO2, and Lighting.
I recommend the gorilla grow tent, I have included a link in the equipment list above.
Air Filtration System
Cannabis plants can get quite smelly. Whether you are worried about people knowing you grow or you just don't want the smell in other areas of your house, make sure to invest in a good carbon filter. Carbon filters have many benefits; they not only capture the strong aromas produced inside the tent they also capture contaminates while allowing clean air to pass through, stopping pathogens from entering your grow tent.
Check out the AC Infinity duct carbon filter
Stagnant air can cause serious problems for indoor grows, this is why ventilation is important. Inefficient ventilation can cause increased temperature and humidity which can lead to issues such as bud rot. You should be replacing the air within your grow space at least every 3-5 minutes when the lights are on, and even more if you are struggling with heat or humidity. Not only do you want to be circulating fresh air into your tent you also want the air within the tent to be continuously circulating.
Your ventilation system can be set up a number of ways, above are the most common configurations. While any of these methods will work the preferred method is to have the fan & filter inside the tent as it ensures the fan is securely fastened to the tent frame reducing noise, and vibration. It is also just as important to consider the positioning of your oscillating fans within your tent. When placing your fans you want to make sure you have air movement above and below the canopy. You want to make sure there is a slight breeze throughout your whole tent, if you notice any spots where the wind is too strong or the air is stagnant you may need to reposition your fan.
CO2 is critical to the growth and development of plants. Without an adequate amount of CO2 plant growth will become significantly slower. It is important to maintain optimal CO2 levels throughout the entire life cycle of the plant, especially during the growth stage and first 6 weeks of flower.
If supplementing CO2 in your grow space it is extremely important to make sure you are carefully monitoring and regulating it. If you are only adding small amounts of CO2 you do not require a sealed grow area. Concentrations in the 1200-1500 ppm range can be achieved with a sealed, closed loop system. It is important to have oscillating fans to assist in the even distribution of CO2 throughout the grow space. For beginner growers interested in supplementing CO2 I recommend trying TNB Naturals - CO2 Enhancer, not only it is all natural and 100% organic it also provides significant amounts of CO2 (up to 1200 ppm in a 12 ft x 12ft x 12ft area) while eliminating the need for dangerous propane burners and extra regulator equipment.
Lighting System For Growing
Any grow lighting can be used if you know how to control your environment, and adjust it accordingly. This is something that can take time to learn. For most beginner growers I recommend using LEDs especially when growing in a tent as they do not emit much heat making it easier to control temperature. Not only that but LEDs are the newest and most advanced type of lighting on the market allowing you to create custom light spectrums. Recently as these lights have become more reliable for producing high yields they have also become more affordable. They are great for growing as they fit in many different sized spaces, use low levels of electricity, and produce very little heat compared to other grow lights.
When setting up your lights make sure you also have:
- A surge protector - This will help protect your device and outlet from any damage a power surge may cause
- Lighting timer - All grow lights should be on a lighting timer, this helps you control the photoperiod for the plant and ensures it is consistent throughout the different growth stages.
There are generally two mediums that you can use to grow indoor cannabis: soil and soilless(hydroponics). Both are great choices and can yield great results. For beginners I recommend growing in soil. It is arguably the easiest way to grow and some swear it produces the best smelling and tasting buds compared to hydroponics, just make sure to invest in a quality soil (I really like budmud). While hydroponics provides a lot more control over nutrient intake, there is also less room for error as there is no soil acting as a buffer. For more experienced growers this control can result in bigger and better harvests.
Soil For Your Plant
Your plants can only grow as big and healthy as their root system and grow medium allows. This is why it is important to invest in your grow media and pay close attention to its nutrient availability.
What to look for in good soil:
- Slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6-6.8
- No “extended release” or “slow release” nutrients as it can have an effect on budding during the flowering stage
- If not cannabis specific soil it is paired with cannabis specific nutrients
- A good soil mix contains ingredients such as: coco fiber, perlite, compost, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish meal, bone meal, blood meal, kelp meal, peat moss, pumice, composted forest humus, humic acid, sandy loam, rock dust, Mycorrhizae fungi, etc.
Soilless growing is very similar to growing in soil with added nutrients, just without the soil buffer. It uses an inert medium like coco coir, perlite, vermiculite, or rockwool. These mediums contain no nutrients so you must hand water all the required nutrients your plant needs. Many growers find the transition from soil to soilless fairly easy. Both growing methods are very similar, the only downside with hydroponics being there is little to no room for error when it comes to nutrient feeding. With the right nutrients soilless growing can be just as easy as growing in soil and even provide faster growth and increased yields.
If you have never grown cannabis before I recommend starting with soil before transitioning to soilless. This will allow you to fine tune your skills with some room for error, then once you feel comfortable you can take your skills up another level to hydroponics.
Unless you are using a super soil tailored to all your cannabis plant needs, you will most likely need to supplement your cannabis plants with nutrients. Make sure whatever nutrient you are using it is specific to cannabis and the media you are growing in.
A good cannabis nutrient system contains everything your plants need throughout their life cycle. Generally they are very easy to use, you just have to follow the directions and feeding schedule. The feeding chart is the maximum amount to provide your plants. If you are using a new product start with half the recommended amount and work your way up; paying close attention to any signs of deficiency or toxicity. The feeding chart should be your starting point, every plant is different so it is important to be flexible and adjust accordingly to the plants needs.
Once you have a good nutrient system you must make sure the root system is able to take them up! This is done by maintaining the right pH level (This will vary depending on the grow media). The easiest way to maintain pH is to regularly monitor your media's pH as well as pH test and adjust your water before feeding. Paying attention to pH can result in better buds and healthier plants. There is no exact number for pH but rather ranges: soil 6.0-6.8 and hydroponics 5.5-6.5.
It is important to choose genetics that are best suited for your grow environment and have your desired traits. For beginners I recommend an indica dominant strain as they flower faster, grow more compact, and produce great buds. Sativas are also great plants but height and flower time can make them slightly more challenging. If you can't decide on just one strain you can grow multiple at once you just have to be mindful that they may require slightly different feeding/water schedules, and pruning techniques.
Knowing the genetics you are working with can really help you fine tune your grow for the best results! If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact us.