Getting Started


“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.”  – Thomas Jefferson

Guide to Grow Cannabis at Home

In this article we discuss the fundamental of growing Marijuana at home.  We address all the frequently asked questions:

  • Where can I get good Marijuana Seeds?
  • What Strain of Marijuana should I grow?
  • What kind of Soil should I use?
  • Should I use fertilizer? If so, how much and how often?
  • What kind of equipment do I need?
  • What kind of lighting is best?
  • How do I know when its time to harvest?
  • Do you have any special tips for a beginner on growing MMJ?


Are you legal to possess, grow and use Medical Marijuana?


First things first.  If you want to grow medical marijuana legally in California, you’re going to need either a recommendation for medical marijuana from a licensed medical doctor or a cultivation permit.  With a Doctor’s recommendation and Grower’s Authorization patients can cultivate up to 99 plants / possess 8 oz. or more of MMJ. Patient recommendations and cultivation permits can be obtained here.


Check out local Marijuana Ordinances


Also, it is a good idea to go online and check out the latest ordinances and news concerning medical marijuana at your local town hall or county website. With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.


Focus, Grasshopper


“I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats.” – Eckhart Tolle


Let’s put our mind to the task.  It is not difficult to grow Marijuana and it’s also not difficult to mess up as well.  Marijuana is not called a weed for nothing.  Hemp can grow wild everywhere south of the 40th parallel basically. There are varieties (strains) that are bred for semi-arid, moderate, subtropical, mediterranean and tropical climate zones.


This means when you pick a strain to grow, the herb will grow best when you emulate the climate it’s genetics are adapted for.  The take-away.  You can grow a big fat palm trees in LA but in San Francisco they’re skimpy and skinny. Beginners should pick a variety that is described as robust or grows excellently in and outdoors.


What kind of Weed do you like?


Check out the advertised cannabinoid profile before choosing a strain.  Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients of Marijuana.  THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive but is highly medicinal.


Beginners, start with established, time proven strains. “Newer strains tend to be less stable and hardy. You’re more likely to be surprised at how the plant grows, how it reacts to its environment, and how buds form. New strains often don’t match the pictures you see in the strain pics listed next to them.” –


Do you want high THC? Do you want balanced THC:CBD?  Do you want weed that picks you up or glues you to the sofa? Do you hate getting high, but need potent medical effects?  Then high CBD low THC is strains are for you.  In any case, for your first grow, just choose a strain the seams to fit your needs and is known to grow easily, without the fuss and muss.
Do you have a Green Thumb?


Have you grown flowers or vegetables? If so, it’s going to be easy to grow pot.  If you haven’t much experience, then you need to read over – the 10 dumb things to do when growing pot – and say aloud, three times – .  Having followed our instruction set, the odds are greatly in your favor; you’ll soon be the proud parent of some fine weed.


“May I a small house and large garden have; And a few friends,And many books, both true.”
? Abraham Cowley
Cannabis is a flowering plant which bears its fruits (buds) once a year, every fall, when daylight hours grow shorter.  So when you grow indoors, you place the pot in the sun for 12 plus hours every day and when it’s near time to harvest, you give them less light and the plants start to flower.  So don’t mess up and cut off the light supply to your precious Herbs in their infancy, otherwise they will blossom prematurely and the harvest will be a big disappointment. Do it right and you’ll have ounces of bud, not grams.
What Kind of Soil should I use in Weed Cultivation?


Ask a friend to recommend a good local gardening shop that has good potting soil.  Inspect your soil, check out the soil, look for wood chips and foreign matter like plastic. If there is crap in your soil reject it;  because iit is crap soil.  You can add 10% peat (sphagnum) to good effect.  You want to stir up the soil so air can get to the root system.  If the soil is hard, your plants can’t breathe carbon dioxide (CO2).  In fact, pumping in CO2 can bump up yields by 40%. You can use soil with guano (bird shit) or sea kelp mixed in as fertilizer.  It is kind of cool that guano is an organic fungicide too, which is good because you don’t want mold and fungus anywhere near your plants.  We don’t recommend you use much, if any artificial nutrients in your first grow, except maybe a little aged manure.


At the end of the day; without getting fancy, any good potting soil will work fine.


Seed Selection:  See Further Reading Section at the end of this article for a Comprehensive list of Cannabis Seed Suppliers.


Growing Healthy Seedlings is the Key


Cannabis plants start as seeds, how about that?  Seeds require water or humid conditions to germinate. The seeds also need nutrients to grow properly and survive infancy.


Soak your seeds in non-chlorinated water at about 65-70 °F (18-21°C). Observe daily until the seeds enlarge, split open and a tiny root sprouts out.  Seeds should sprout in 3 days to a week.  Interestingly, the seed knows which way is up.  The root will always grow down and the stem up!  Go figure.  Germinated seeds can remain in water for a week or so without problems, but don’t push it, 14 days is the max. After that, your green thumb will start turning yellow.


“Feminized Marijuana Seeds Normally, if you were to buy regular seeds, around 50% would turn out to be male and the other 50% would produce female plants.  Buying feminized seeds increases your chances of growing a female plant from 50% to 95%.” –


In this case, you can tell a book by its cover, a good looking seed usually means good sexy buds. Depending on the strain, the seed size will vary.  Indica strains tend to have large seeds with stripes, while Sativa cannabis seeds are generally smaller in comparison, with tiny markings.  Good cannabis seeds are hard and dark brown with spots or mottling. Avoid choosing pale, green, cracked or weak looking seeds. The eye can often tell – sick looking seeds don’t usually germinate or if they do, the offspring is scrawny.

Start your Engine – Get your Pots


Fill several small pots halfway to the top with your chosen organic potting soil. Plant your seeds by making a ½-inch hole in the soil with your pinky and drop a seed in. Don’t add fertilizer to the seed.  Don’t add fertilizer to the seed.  Did we say don’t add fertilizer to the seed?  We emphasize this point because this is the most common way to destroy your seed.


Fertilizer will burn the seed and if you plant grows at all, it will probably be mutated.  Cover the seed in it’s hole by burying it gently with soil.  Don’t pack the soil tightly. Just put it to bed, like putting a blanket on a baby.  In a week, the sprout will continue germinating and pop it’s stem out of the soil while growing several root offshoots.  Your baby is born.

You want to keep the soil moist early on.  But don’t drown the plant, don’t make a mud bath. Use a plant spray bottle to moisten the soil daily.  A plant without water is like a bodybuilder without food.  It is good to avoid placing infant plants directly in front of a fan or beside a heater.  This will cause rapid dehydration, which is bad, bad, bad..  Again, too much water causes the roots to drown and fail to absorb oxygen and carbon dioxide, the other plant foods. Too much water also is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and fungus.  So if you figure out the difference between moist and wet, then you’re in business.

Without a good source of light, it is impossible in theory and in practice to grow a good crop of marijuana.  In so called “vegetative” stage, the first eight weeks of growth, plants need 18 to 24 hours light.


The formula for nature’s wonder that is fundamental to the existence of life on the surface of this planet; photosynthesis.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand you need supply water, air and sun to a plant and it will produce sugar. The sugar is then synthesized into cellulose or fiber that makes up most of the plant material. From there the plant makes other substances like terpenes, oils, sterols, cannabinoids, THC, CBD and the rest.


To understand exactly how it all works in detail, you actually, really need to be a rocket scientist.  Functionally, all the grower really needs to know is that the plant requires the right nutrition to grow well, not too much and not too little…. and how to adjust the growing conditions – like an alchemist – to produce fat buds, potent in herbal medicine.


Photosynthesis – God’s Equation


Water + Carbon Dioxide + Light = Sugar       Sugar + Sugar = Cellulose


A good light source is essential.  We recommend LED lighting for indoor growing.  Each plant can have its own white 5 watt LED bulb placed a few inches above the seedling.  These lamps are very energy efficient and don’t give off much heat so dehydration is not an issue – as is the case with other lighting.  So do not use bulbs that get hot.  The ambient temperature should be about 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don’t go hotter or cooler. Don'[t feed the seedlings (add nutrients) until about a week after the seedlings have popped. (broken soil)


“Recent advances in light-emitting diode or LED technology have caught the attention of leading cannabis cultivators.  The lights create energy savings while producing better cannabis, making them ideal for large scale grows or smaller home grows.” –
When the seedling pops, check that the lighting is a few inches above the plants and see that the soil is moist.  Spraying water on once a day is fine, but twice a day is even better. 7 days after the seeds have popped, and the leaves have just begun to form, you can add nutrients to the soil. Use one quarter of the recommended dose prescribed on the label for a houseplant. Move up to a half dose when the leaves are fully formed.
“The only one (nutrient) that adequately fed my marijuana plants, was easy to use, and didn’t smell like an outhouse…was Iguana Juice.” –

Having a good start is the key to growing great Pot.  Healthy infants become disease resistant – well bud endowed adults.  If you have good soil, seed and the right conditions, it is very likely your Weed will be very health after 3 weeks of life. Now it’s time to watch it grow baby.
When the leaves start to form
Your plants will start to grow rapidly, from 3 to 6 inches per week.  If the leaves look burned, then you’ve probably applied too much nutrient.  In this case, stop adding nutrients completely.

You can transplant your plants into bigger pots when the roots start to grow out the bottom pot-hole.  Rookies however, are advised to plant in a large pot 15 gallon and avoid transplanting, initially. If the pot is not big enough for the root system, the marijuana will stop growing.   If you are comfortable transplanting, a 1 gallon clay pot is idea for raising the seedling.


Triggering the Flowering Cycle
After the “vegetation stage” a plant is usually ready to be triggered (flower, grow buds, then harvest) after 2 months plus or minus a week or two.  The seed supplier can usually provide information regarding expected plant size and keys to harvest optimally.


Once your decide your Herb has developed enough where she can produce ample flowers, it is time to change the lighting schedule from 18-24 hours (on)  down to 12 hours on and 12 hours off.  You can get a timer you plug into the wall socket that sets to 12 hours on and 12 hours off.

During this phase, you want to double up the lighting intensity during the half day on phase, but make sure you have complete darkness in the following 12 hours of night.  This scheme is found to produce maxim fruit/bud for most varieties.  Remember to use all LED lighting or you’ll dehydrate and overheat the plants.  Not good.
Doubling up on this important growing instruction:


“During the dark cycle, it is extremely important that no light enters the plant space. Any light leaks can disrupt the plant’s flowering and cause stress or confuse the plant, forcing her to hermaphrodite (creating seeded flowers) or severely weaken yield and quality.”


When to Harvest


The hardest part of growing weed is knowing the right time to harvest. There is a strong tendency for new growers to harvest too early due to excitement. Premature harvest results in lower yields and potency.  If you’re getting too impatient, just pull off a bud that looks “done” and test the potency yourself.  Then wait a few more days and retest.  Observe and take your own notes. In fact, this is probably the best exercise a novice grower can do.  You’ll be in touch, up close and personal,  with all the growth phases of the plant.


“The beginning of the harvest window opens when your plant has mostly stopped growing new white “hairs” or pistils and at least 40% of the white hairs have darkened and curled in. Harvest when 50-70% of hairs have darkened for highest levels of THC. Harvest when 70-90% of hairs have darkened for a more calming, anti-anxiety effect as some THC turns to the more relaxing CBN. ”


In closing, of course, there are volumes more to learn about growing weed, but you know what?  If you hone and master these simple, time proven techniques presented here, you will grow one hell of a crop of medicinal weed.  Believe it, 100%


MMJDOCTOR:  We provide patients with Medical Cannabis recommendation letters that allow California residents to grow, possess, use and transport MMJ.   You can talk to our doctors 7 days a week 11 am to 7 pm. Click here to schedule your online appointment.


The point of this article is to supply a novice with only the essential information needed to grow a decent crop of weed.  We strongly suggest you follow our guide and produce your first couple of crops before engaging in more “advanced” techniques.  So, grasshopper, having grown some bud, you’re real, and can move onto bigger and better things, such as reading the Marijuana Grow Bible. (see further reading below).




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