Six Methods to Grow Weed
Do you find that your favourite strains are always sold out in stores? Or that you want to know the exact source of your bud? It might be time to start growing your own weed.
Growing weed is actually quite fun! You get to watch a strain grow from a tiny seed to a big bushel of dank nuggets. The process is therapeutic, and so are the results. A single plant can produce a whole pound of weed – but very few newbie growers are going to get that big of a yield their first try.
Over the years, growers have experimented with different growing methods in order to maximize their yield. Check these methods out before you start planting your seeds. They might just be the secret to getting more bud out of your plant and into your joints.
Before you germinate your seeds, you should have a plan for where you are going to plant your cannabis. (Check with local laws for limits on outdoor or public growth.) While most growers choose to plant cannabis indoors or outdoors in soil, there is another option. You can grow marijuana with hydroponics by using nutrient-rich water instead of nutrient-rich soil.
Farmers and growers have been using hydroponics for years to grow vegetables, flowers, and other plants. It can be a more sustainable option to using traditional soil and can contribute to a larger ecosystem. (Fish can be added to a hydroponics system to provide nutrients and survive off of the growing plant.)
We won’t go into the details of hydroponics on this post, but know that it’s an option to explore. Plus, you have an excuse to buy some fish! Alternative methods to hydroponics include using plain old dirt, coco fiber, or aeroponics.
Low Stress Training
Once you plant your seeds and watch them grow, you’ll notice sets of leaves developing throughout the plant. Marijuana plants, specifically sativas, grow vertically. The top sets of leaves will get more sun and more energy than the bottom sets, and this can limit your yield. Beginner and advanced growers alike use a growing method called low stress training to increase the plant’s potential and overall yield.
Low stress training is pretty simple. All you need to do is gently bend the plant until the sets of leaves are all on the same level. This gives all of the leaves more exposure to the sun and increases the possibility of a thick bud. A simple string can be used to keep the plant in place.
It’s good to start low stress training (LST) when the plant has 3-6 sets of leaves.
If there is low stress training, is there high stress training?
Low stress training is a good beginner growing method because it doesn’t cause any damage to the plant. High stress training does work to increase yields, but it may also cause damage to the plant if you’re not careful.
High stress training methods are essentially different forms of pruning the plant. If you’ve worked in a garden before, you are probably familiar with this process. When you prune a plant, you cut off some of the offshoots of the plant. This allows more nutrients and energy to go to the main offshoots and produces thicker, denser buds.
Marijuana growers use a few different methods to prune their plants and train them to producer thicker nugs. Topping is a typical place to start. It’s easy – all you need to do is cut off the top of the plant (above the fifth node.) This will allow the plant’s lower nodes to get more sun, get more nutrients, and grow more heartily.
The idea behind FIM is the same idea behind topping. FIM stands for “F*** I missed.” Rather than making a clean cut at the bottom of the plant’s offshoot, you cut off about 75%. The idea behind FIMming is that the offshoot will split into more offshoots and produce an overall thicker plant.
If you’re new to growing marijuana, try topping first. In order to support your plant after FIM, you should buy a trellis.
Lollipopping is another form of pruning that takes the opposite approach to topping or FIM. Rather than cutting off the top offshoots and creating a wider plant, growers create a “lollipop” by cutting off the bottom vegetation of the plant. Lollipopping leaves the plant looking completely bare at the bottom, with just one stalk supporting the upper growth. This is another method that will require a trellis or extra support – the plant will topple over without it.
Growers like this method because it sends nutrients and energy to the top of the plant, which is getting the most sun exposure in the first place. If your plants stand straight up and didn’t undergo any low-stress training, this might be a useful pruning method.
Defoliation takes a similar approach to lollipopping. Growers who use the defoliation method don’t cut off any offshoots of the plant – they just cut off the leaves and any growth that is not producing bud.
If you’re new to growing weed, this method can do more harm than good. It requires special knowledge of the plant’s anatomy and extra care compared to traditional pruning. But keep this in mind as you experiment with different growing methods.
Experiment and Learn More About Growing Weed
Some growers use multiple methods on a single plant to produce high yield. Others don’t use any special growing methods and just let the plant do the work on its own. These are your plants. Feel free to experiment with different growing methods and see what works best for the strains you like to grow and the environment where you grow your plant.
These growing methods are just the tip of the iceberg. Beginner marijuana growers have a lot to learn about this plant and how to maximize their yield. Check out our ultimate guide to growing weed in Canada for more information on how to get started.