Growing cannabis is a very beautifull hobby (or job). you are working with “god’s creation” and learn a lot about biology and the way nature works. Next to that, the final product is something every cannabis enthousiast can appreciate. The fact that prices in dispensaries, coffeeshops or on the streets can be quite high is another reason for people to grow their own.
However, growing cannabis isn’t easy at all and just buying a growing tent + lights doesn’t automatically mean your grow will be succesfull. All the information you find on the web can be quite overwhelming for a beginner but once you know the basics and work your way through your first grow, you will be able to understand it better. With this guide you’d be able to start growing cannabis conform your budget, possibilities and desired yields!
First of all:
there are some basic things you need to know before you can start. To grow good cannabis and create the right environment, you will have to know what a cannabis plant actually needs to grow and stay alive:
Light- Almost every plant needs light to stay alive and fullfill processes that will make growth possible. Light is a very important factor in the growth of buds (quality) and yields (quantity).
Grow medium- Cannabis plants need something to grow in like soil. The roots need the right environment to grow and consume important nutrients. Soil isn’t your only option!
Air- Cannabis plants need fresh air to delevop properly. Make sure you have a nice flow of fresh air in your growing area.
Water- Just like any living creature on this planet, plants need water to survive.
Nutrients- Next to water, your plant will use certain nutrients to improve it’s growth and bloom. It;s possibly to add them to your water manually.
Temperature- Certain plants need a certain temperature to perform well. Just like humans, cannabis plants could die when exposed to too high/low temperatures. Perfect temperature for cannabis: around 20°C at night and 26°C at daytime.
Make sure you can offer your plant all of these things before even thinking about starting a grow.
1. The location of your cannabis grow
Indoor cannabis grow
Growing your cannabis indoor does have it’s benefits. You are able to fully control the climate, don’t have to worry about storms/hard wind and you are able to grow any time of the year. But remember: Your plant fully relies on you, so if you forget something or don’t provide enough of an element, they could get unhealthy and even die.
Growing your cannabis indoor can be done in many different ways. Using a different lightning, soil or size of the growroom will make a difference in how much you have to invest, yields and quality of your bud. However you might be surprised if I say that you could start growing indoor pretty cheap (especially when growing just a few plants).
Before, we talked about all the elements you need to have to start growing. When growing indoor you just need a place that has water and a fresh flow of air. Almost any place in a house is alright as long as it has a good temperature as this is quite important for healthy plants. Depending on where you live you might need to work incognito. Then it’s the best to choose a room without windows. (basement could work if it isn’t too moist in there)
you only need to think about where you want to grow in. Here are some examples:
- Grow tent
- Using a spare room
- Home made growbox (Find out how to build one)
- Plastic barrel
Outdoor cannabis grow
The succes of an outdoor grow highly depends on the climate in your particulair area. Warm and sunny climates are perfect but it’s not impossible to grow cannabis in colder areas (when choosing the right season). Growing outdoor has its pro’s and con: You don’t have to buy expensive lightning, pay lots of electricity and build a growroom. However you still have to worry about animals and insects eating your plants, stealth, thiefs, pollination and humidity/mold.
One important aspect of growing outside is choosing the right strain. Certain strains are outdoor proof and able to resist colder and moist weather. Others are sensitive for moist or the cold and should be grown inside. This could also depend on your area.
There are 2 ways of growing outdoor:
- One is in your garden/private area which makes it better to control them. If there is stormy weather coming, you are able to put them inside for a while. Next to that you can watch them closely every day and check them on diseases or bugs. It’s easier to take care of them and water them.
- The other option is starting a guerilla grow. This means that you are going to look for growing spots right in the public. However, not in bussy areas of course. Most guerilla growers are going in the forrest or farm areas to find a spot where they can grow in peace. Guerilla growing also offers some benefits but it also have some negative aspects.
2. What kind of medium are you gonna use?
Growing your cannabis can be done on multiple mediums. The most common medium of course is soil. However there are also multiple other mediums with their own benefits that all need different care and water requirements. Here is a list of options:
- Soiless mix (Anything you can grow in except pure soil. Think about: Coco coir, vermiculite or perlite. (Technically this is some kind of hydrophonic medium)
- Hydrophonic/In water (Known to get some of the fastest grows and biggest yields)
- Aeroponics (Growing with roots suspended in misty air)
- aquaponics (Using an aquarium with fish as growing medium)
When your a beginner grower, we recommend to start with normal soil or a soiless mix. This makes it more easy to set up your grow and you learn how tyo water a plant properly. Mediums like hydrophonic are a bit harder to set-up and maintain.
There are many different kind of soils and choosing the right one is essential to keep your plants healthy. So what kind of soil should I get?
To begin with: Always make sure that the soil you get has organic additions. Remember, you are growing a product that will be consumed, so any chemicals or additives that your plant will consume, will eventually end up in your body. A great option which is also very effective is making your own compost and use this as soil (or buy pre- composted soil).
If your rather like to use pre-mixed soil , pay attention to the additions. Cannabis uses lots of nutrients and minerals but they have to be the right one for the plant to stay healthy. A common mistake is soil with slow released nitrogen. Multiple soil brands offer this feature which may be very good for vegetative plants/phase but it really backfires on bud growth. It lower the yields and could give the buds a bad taste.
Another aspect of good soil is the fact that it needs to be “airy”. The roots needs some amount of oxygen and the water needs to drain well. Light ground with lot’s of air will offer this. Another great way to improve the drainage of your soil is using perlite.
Perlite can be found in almost any gardening store and is ment to improve the drainage of any soil. It looks like little white rocks often can be seen in pictures as small white dots all over the soil. Some pre-mixed soils already have these in them but when mixing yourself we recommend to mix around 30% perlite in 70% soil.
Next to finding the right soil, choosing the right pot is also very important. The size, colour and material can influence the growth massively. Read our article on how to find the right pot!
3. Choosing the growlight that suits you!
Lightning is a very important aspect of a succesfull grow. The better your lights are, the bigger the yield and better quality. But what exactly is a good light and what kind of lights should you use? Well that depends on multiple things like budget, where you grow and electric costs. In this part we show you the options you have when it comes to growing lights:
For outdoor growers there is one light thats free, powerfull and very effective to grow cannabis with: The Sun! Depending on where you live you can take full advantage of this free light source but it’s required to have the possibility to grow outside. If it’s not legal to do in your area or you have cannabis hating neighbours, it might be a good idea to look for other ways to grow. We don’t recommend to grow cannabis behind a window as the lighting coming through is just too weak.
HPS (High pressure sodium) light
These lights use a technique where sodium is being pressured in the bulb while connecting it to a certain volatge. This will result in a very bright yellowish light source. Lot’s of commercial growers use these as they are pretty cheap to buy and produce enough light to grow proper cannabis.
However there are some negative aspects when using HPS: First of all the power usage is pretty high with these lamps. Make sure you are not “over lighting” your growing space because this will cost you un-necessery money. Next to that these lights produce lots of heat which makes it easier to detect for law enforcement and harder to create a good environment (depending on the temperatureswhere you live). It also requires a front panel for the light to work safely which cost some money and experience to install.
The burning hours of a HPS light varies around 8000-10.000 hours. This makes it possible to use the same light for +- 7 grows which is quite good.
LEC (CMH) Light
LEC (Light Emitting Ceramic) or CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) lights are around for quite a while now. This type of lighting is very similair as the HPS lights as it also works under pressure, need it’s own front switch and produces lots of light! Users report that the results of their grow were VERY good when using this type of lights.
However CMH lightning has some major benefits compared to HPS:
- The colour spectrum is way more suitable to grow plants with which is noticable on the quality of your product.
- They produce the perfect UV levels for a plant.
- Lower costs on energy (better energy efficiency. Some energy, more light)
- They emit way less emi (electric magnetic interference) Then HPS which makes it less detectable.
Household light (CFL’s and household LED’s)
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (mostly known as CFL’s) and household LED’s are the types of lights that people use to light up their house. So they are not really ment to grow plants with as they mostly don’t offer the right colours spectrum and intensity.
However it could be a great way for starters to learn about growing and lights. I personally started with using CFL’s and it will do the trick eventually. The positive thing is that they are very cheap and easy to find (almost any home depot store will have them).
These type of lights or often used for micro grows in computers, containers,closets or space buckets. They don’t produce much heat or use lots of electricity and a few of them could produce quite some intensity for your plants.
Last years there is a newer trend on growing lighting: LED’s. More and more growers are turning to these powerfull and very effective lights. They are look very modern and shine bright purple light. These appearences makes LED’s attractive for growers.
Next to the visual part, LED’s offer quite some benefits compared to other lights. Next to the fact they have put a lot of research in LED’s and growing plants, it’s possible to create the perfect colour spectrum thanks to the difference in the colours of individuel LED’s. Another nice aspect is that some of the LED growing lights have the possibility to switch from “grow light” to “flower light” (the colour spectrum changes to the plants needs).
Probably the biggest benefit of LED’s is the extreme low amount of electricity it uses. It uses less then half the electricty compared to a HPS while the light intensity and results are the some or even better.
However it’s sometime pretty hard to find the right information about LED growing lights as you have many different lights and some brands use misleading information to promote their lights. Luckiliy there are some brands that have proven their quality and are already known under growers. A great tip is to read grow reports from other LED growers and compare their results/lighting.
4. Get yourself some seeds/clones!
Now you have set-up everything to start growing, it’s time to get yourself some gifts of mother nature! However for some people it isn’t that easy to get some high quality genetics. Depending on where you live it’s possible to order them on the internet. In some other places you just need to know the right people to obtain some clones.
If possible, we recommend to order them on the internet from a well known seed bank. This way you’ll have some guarantee in quality and gender (feminized). It’s also possible to read some experiences and reviews about the strains some seed bank has to offer (to see other people’s results). Too bad ordering seeds online isn’t 100% legal everywhere, however we have never heard about someone getting in big trouble fro a few seeds. Just check the laws in your area!
A few high rated seed banks:
If you don’t want to take the risk, there is another great option to get some plants: Clones! Clones can be made quite easily and if you know other growers with nice genetics, it’s not a big deal for them to cut one off. You can take multiple clones of just 1 plant so technically your multiplying the amount of plants.
Just be aware of the fact that the first side branches (lowest) are the best quality clones as they will root way better and have “newer” doses of hormones. Clones taken from the top of the plant contain older hormones and have a harder time to root properly.
What strain should I get?
To choose the right strain, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I grow indoor/outdoor?
- Growing autoflower or photoperiod?
- How high do I want them to get?
- Do I grow for medical or recreational use?
- Do I want quality or quantity?
- Do I want Indica or sativa?
- What kind of taste do I like?
Once you have a better sight in the answer of these questions, it’s easier to find a strain that suits your needs! Most seed banks have a webshop or catalogue with comprehensive descriptions about the characteristics of that certain strain. This will also help you to choose the right strain.
5. Growing on: Nutrients and the right PH
Next to a nice flow of water every now and then, your plant will need some nutrients to help it grow and evolve. Sometimes, these nutrients are being added to grow mediums like soil but most times you need to add them to the water you’d be giving your plant. These nutrients comes in many different bottles and brands. Choosing the right one depends on multiple factors like: Strain, medium, and your personal experience. However make sure that your nutrients are ment for consumption as you don’t wany any harmfull chemicals in your smoke. Thats why we also recommend to buy nutrients from a known brand which is ment for cannabis types of plants.
Next to that there are multiple nutrients that are ment for different phases of your plant:
The growing phase of your plant requires quite some nutrients as it’s the phase that will give your plant it’s strength and height. If your plant won’t got the nutrients it need in this phase, it will lag behind and eventually it will be noticable in your final yield. Make sure not to start too early with grow nutrients as seedlings are very vulnerable and overfeeding could damage them. Just start with a little root stimulator (addition) until they are big enough.
The nutrients that a plant mostly needs in it’s growing phase are N (=nitrogen) and MG (=magnesium). When you read the ingredients of these bottles you’ll see that the levels of these chemicals are higher in grow nutrients then bloom variants. Next to that, fresh air is also a very important factor to provide your plant’s needs in growing phase.
When your plant starts it’s blooming phase it goes thourgh quite some changes. The appearance changes drastically but also the need for certain nutrients changes compared to the vegatative phase. Thats mainly because your plants stops to grow and starts to evolve which leads to a different kind of metabolism in the plant. Not feeding your plant in this phase wil result in low yields and less trichomes (or cannabinoids) but also yellow leaves (because the plants takes it’s nutrients out of them).
Next to ordinary bloom nutrients, there are some great additions like bloom stimulators and boosters that you can add to make your buds more dense, heavier and more cannabinoids. (Make sure not to replace an addition with your general nutrients. Only add them when needed)
To find out how to recognize the start of the blooming phase, we recommend to take a look at step 8
The chemicals P (=phosphor), K (=potassium) and N(=nitrogen) are mainly important in the blooming phase of the plant. These will take care of the bud and cannabinoid production while your plant consumes lots of it! You will see a increase of these chemicals compared to “grow nutrients” of the same brand line.
If you are not able to use nutrients exclusively for cannabis, make sure to compare the ingredients of yours with well known brands on the internet. We found out that nutrients originally ment for tomatos, are doing pretty well with cannabis! (especially in the blooming phase)
Next to what we call “general nutrients”, there are additives that you can add to improve certain aspects of your grow. Depending on their task, the right elements are added and will give just that little extra on top of the main nutrients. Sometimes these additives contain enzymes or other elements to improve the micro-life in your soil. Other times it contains some extra elements to boost your plant in a particulair stage of their growth. Some growers even use natural products/plants as an additive which can be quite effective.
Often these additives mess with your PH so always check the PH-levels of the water after you have added an additive. If the PH is off track and it needs to change, you could get something called PH+ or PH-. Most nutrient brands offer these bottles that are nothing else then some liquid that will decrease/increase the ph levels of your water (more about this later!).
PK 13/14: This additive is well known and used to improve the size and densitiy of the fruits/nugs. It’s a mixture of 2 macro nutritional elements: Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). These elements can also be found in general nutrients but in the flowering phase, your plant requires way more of these and they improve multiple processes like: Metabolism, sugar production, water transport and energy transfer.
Cannazym: This poduct contains enzymes which are substances that improve/ promote reactions in living organisms. This particulair product helps to break down death root material and encourages the right micro-organisms in the soil. Why is this important? Well, in a healthy root system, roots will die and new ones will grow throughout the growth cycle of your plant. These dead roots will attracts lots of pathogenic organisms that will multiply quickly and will damage the healthy roots (wich are very vulnerable). This process causes stress to the entire plant and effect new growth as the roots lose their function and less nutrients/water will be taken in properly. (more about this product)
One thing we do recommend is that you should use nutrients of the same brand line. These brands often have sets of nutrients that fit each other in terms of the needs of the plant. An example is the “Canna Terra line” . This line offers everything you need from regular nutrients for the growing and blooming phase to soil thats made to work perfectly with these nutrients. Some beginner sets from Canna also offer additives like PK13/14 (for dense, evolved nugs) and Cannazym that turns dead root material in usefull nutrients. Next to these kind of nutrient sets there are also brand lines available for certain grow mediums like coco or hydro.
For beginners we’d recommend to buy one of these starter-sets.
The right PH and “hardness” of your water
After all this talk about nutrients, you are still not done as to giving the right mixture of water. There are 2 important things left that could mess with the health of your plants if not done properly. First of all you need to check the tap water that you are planning to use:
To be sure if your tap water is okay for your plants, you need to test it’s “hardness”. The “hardness” of your water simply describes how much extra stuff is in your water like metals, minerals and other impurities. This is different per area but in some places the water is way to hard for plants. If you are want to know how hard your water is, you have 3 options:
- Contact your local water supplier and ask them about the stats of the local tap water. They should now it perfectly.
- Visit an aquarium store and ask them to test your water. They often have a quite reliable testing gear and know whats up.
- Test the water yourself with a TDS-meter or EC-meter (More info!)
We measure this extra stuff in PPM (Parts per millions) and a rule we use is that if your water is under 200-300 PPM of this stuff, it’s ok to use for growing purposes. Make sure it’s not much more then this because if you add nutrients, this number will increase even more eventually cause nutrient burn. If the tap water in your area contain too much PPM you could use purified water, bottled spring water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. However you probably need to add some extra supplements to the water to make up for the missing minerals normally found in water (for example: Cal-mag)
The right PH levels are very important for a plant. Too high/low PH levels can cause major problems with the absorbtion of nutrients which off course is catastrophic for a cannabis plant and it’s growth. However, in the beginning of my growing career, i’ve always used water that wasn’t tested for PH levels and never got problems. I guess I was just luckly but most people will start seeing nutrient deficiencies and leave problems pretty quickly. So measuring PH is a MUST!
It’s also pretty common that the vegatative phase of your plant goes perfectly but once the flowering starts, the nutrient/PH problems will become visible. Thats because cannabis plants tend to be more picky/vulnerable in their flowering phase. However this does not mean that you don’t have to test the PH in the beginning, on the contrary you need to have a healthy plant (with right PH) from the start to avoid problems later on.
How to test my PH levels?
Testing you PH is very easy and can be done quickly once you got the hang of it. First of all: get yourself a PH meter or testing kit (not expensive and available on most websites/gardening stores/aquarium stores).
Then get yourself some tap water and add the nutrients you’d normally do (Nutrients and additives may change the PH so always test after these have been added). After testing watch for these levels:
Growing on soil: 6.0 – 7.0 PH
Growing on hydrophonics: 5.5 – 6.5 PH
Make sure your water is always in the range of these levels!
Adjusting the PH Using PH+ or PH-
If you found out that the water has the wrong PH and want to adjust it, there is the possibility to use something called PH+/PH-. This is a safe liquid without that you can add to your water to higher or lower the PH. This might be tricky at first but after a few times you will get the feeling for it!
- Start with adding nutrients/additives to your tap water until it’s perfectly mixed (Nutrients may change the PH so always add them first!).
- Gently shake/stir your mixture so the PH is the same everywhere in your water container.
- Test the PH with your meter or test kit. and find out the exact PH level of your mixed water.
- If the PH is too low/high adjust it by adding some PH+/PH-. You want to get in the right range for your growing medium so if the PH of your water is too high, add PH-. If it’s too low, add PH+. Keep testing it until you are in the right range.
- Once you got the right PH, it’s time to water your plants!
- Keep testing it every time your mix or water your plants!
The amount of PH+/PH- you need to add can be very different depending on your situation and brand. Most bottles come with instructions which can help you start but it’s mainly just trying out and re-testing the water. After you while you know how much you need to add to adjust an X amount of water.
6. Start germinating your seeds!
(if you choose to grow with clones, go to step 7)
The start of every seed-based grow is the germination of the seeds which can be done in multiple ways. Germinating isn’t very hard but you’ve got to be carefull as cannabis seeds are very sensitive for too high ph-levels. Thats why you shouldn’t touch them with your bare hands very often as this could lead to the failure of your germination.
To “activate” the germination the seed has to be in contact with water for around 24-48 hours. So it’s important that you put them in a very moist place and keep it moist untill the first root comes out (and even after that). The amount of time varies per seeds, some will be ready to planted in 24 hours and others take up to 3-4 dys before they show any sign. The 3 most common ways of germinating are:
- Using a glas of water and put the seeds in there. Make sure to keep them floating and leave them in a dark, not too cold place. After a while you will see the seed breaking open and the first root coming out. Now you can plant them in the soil
- Another populair way is wetting some tissues or cotton whool and put your seeds between them. Now place this “package” on a plate and wrap some plastic foil around it. Puncture a few small holes in the foil and leave the plate in a dark space. Now wait a while and check up on them every now and then until they are ready to plant!
- The most easy but a little risky option is to place them directly into your soil and keep it very wet! Eventually the seed will break open and start to find it’s way up. The risky part is that some soil dries out pretty quickly which could damage the young sprout. So if you choose this method, make sure to check on the soil a few times a day and keep it very wet!
7. Vegetative phase
After germinating your seeds/cloning your new plants, they will start to grow. The first weeks of the plant’s life, it only grows in size and won’t produce any flowers or cannabinoids. We call this phase the “Vegetative Phase”. It’s very important to keep your plant healthy and provide it with the right nutrients to keep their grow on schedule and avoid a decrease in yield.
Tip: The first week after your plant sprouted, it loves a very moist environment. Using a germination box/sprout tray will help you to keep them in the right humidity.
To keep your plant in it’s vegetative phase, you need to provide it with the right amount of light-hours. In nature, a cannabis plant will stay in its Veg. phase as long as they get around 18 hours of light a day. Once the days get shorter, it will slowly turns itself to the Flowering phase. So when growing indoor, make sure that you keep giving your plants 18 hours of light until they reach the desired size. The time of changing light hours in combination with the capacitiy of your pots will decide how big a plant will get in the end (next to it’s genetics).
The growing phase is the perfect time to try some cultivation techniques (Low stress training). Examples of these techniques are topping and fimming. This is done to increase yields and is very fun to do. You can read more about it on our website or simply google: Topping/Fimming cannabis.
However for your first grow we recommend to let the plant grow naturally and leave this aside. This will help you understanding how a plant grows and works.
Next to that it’s important to know that you shouldn’t do low stress training on autoflowers!
8. Flowering phase
The second and last phase of your plant is called the Flowering phase. This is the time that you plant will start to produce trichomes and buds. For me personally it’s the most fun phase of the growth cycle. However before your plants starts to flower, you’ll need to know and do a few things:
- Changing the light schedule
- Changing your nutrients
- Lowering the humidity
To give your plant the “start sign” of the flowering phase, you have to lower the amount of hours that your plant is being exposed to light. It’s in the plants DNA because in nature, the plant starts to produce flowers at the end of the year (when the days turn colder and shorter). You have to re-create this natural scene or your plants will never enter their flowering phase (because they still think it’s summer).
Next to that, you have to add different nutrients to your plant because the forming of the buds will require different chemicals then the vegatative phase of your plant. Read more about this in the Nutrients section of this guide.
Next to photoperiod plants, there are autoflower strains. These will start the flowering phase automatically regardless of how many hours of light they get.
In this stage, the gender of your plant will be very easy to spot. As growers we mostly want the female plants as they give us the product we want (bud). Male plants only offer pollen sacs that are only usefull to grow new seeds (once they polinate a female plant) make sure to get out all of these on time! It’s recommended to buy feminized seeds instead of general ones.
Female: To recognize a female plant, you need to keep awatch on it’s hairs (pistils) that grow out of calyxes in the branch joints. After a while you’ll get more and more of these calyxes building on top of each other forming buds. Every calyx will have one pistil so eventually you’ll see more hairs coming out and you can be sure this plant is a female.
The production of these pistils shows you when the blooming phase starts.
The male cannabis plant is recognizable by it’s pollen sacs that are visible once the plant hits puberty (start of flowering phase) in it’s branch joints. As you can see in the picture, unlike females, these sacs won’t have any hairs (pistils) and look slightly different.
9. Time to harvest and dry your nugs!
For most growers this is the best part of the grow. Harvesting the fruits you have worked hard for sure does feel good. However you need to know exactly how to do it the right or you might ruin all your efforts. The first part of harvesting i off course finding the right moment the start harvesting. A cannabis plant keeps evolving and it’s up to you to find out when you should start cutting.
- First of all, keep watching the “hairs” or pistils on the buds. Once they start turning brown/orange you are getting closer to the perfect harvest moment.
- Once 40% of these hairs have changed colour and starts to curl in, you have entered the first harvest phase. Buds that cut down now will result in a light, speedy effect because the cannabinoids and especially THC aren’t fully developed in the plant’s trichomes.
- When 50-70% of the hairs have turned brown. The THC levels of the buds are the highest they will get and will result in a powerfull mental energetic high. I personally think this is the best moment.
- Once 80-90% of the hairs have turned brown, quite some THC has turned into the cannabinoid CBN. This will result in a more heavy, couch-lock high which makes it better for sleeping and anti-anxiety uses.
Choosing the right time to harvest can be quite difficult for a beginner grower. If you want to be more sure of the right moment, you could get a small magnifier or macro lens and keep a good watch on the trichomes. These will tell you exactly when the time is ready! How? find out in this article!
Found the right moment to harvest?
Then it’s time to cut them down! Get yourself some good scissors and take some time for this job because it takes some work (especially with big yields). Cutting down your plant isn’t really hard, make sure you get of all the leaves, then you have 2 options: It’s possible to cut the entire branch off that is holding your nug so you are able to hook them on a rope later on when drying them. If you are planning to dry them on a net (better in moist, moldy areas), you can just cut the nugs from the branch. These nugs will dry quicker because you leave out the stemps which contain quite some water.
In between the nugs you will find smaller leaves that you could take of before drying the nugs, however some people claim that leaving them on untill the nugs are dry will result in a better taste of the product. We think it’s easier to cut them off when your buds are still full of moist instead of dry. Thats up to you!
Drying your nugs
Drying your buds properly is an art and will decide how good your stuff is going to taste/smell. Amazingly good grown cannabis can be ruined by drying it the wrong way pretty easily so make sure to keep these this part in mind!
The slower you dry your cannabis, the better. Why? Well because once you start drying, you also start the curing process. Never quick-dry your buds in a microwave or above a heater. This will result in very bad tasting nugs that’s really unpleasant to smoke because it burns terpenes and even cannabinoids that you’ll need for a proper taste.
The perfect temperature to dry is around 70°F (21°C) as this temperature improves the curing processes. Next to that, keep the area at a humidity of around 50%. You can adjust these levels by using fans, heaters and (de-)humidifiers. If your buds looks soggy/wet and it stays that way, you need to add some air flow by placing a fan. However don’t aim them directly on your buds because this might cause them to dry too quickly. So use fans with caution!
Like told above, you are able to leave as much stem as you want. The more stem the slower it dries because of the moist in it. Depending on this you can use a robe or net to dry them but make sure to never place them on something flat like a piece of cardboard for example. This will cause wet spots around your nugs which could result in mold.
Now keep drying untill the outside of your nug feels dry enough and the stemps easily snap off. This could take up to +-7 days depending on your environment. When your buds already feel dry after 3 days, it means you have been drying to quicky but don’t worry: Your stuff could still benefit from the curing process (it might takes a little longer).
Once you are able to easily break the nugs of the bigger branch, they will be perfect to start curing. Sometimes they might seem to look/feel overdried but as long is these bigger branches are still bendy, there is still enough moist in the nugs to cure. This moist is required for the curing process but make sure the outside of all the nugs are dry enough as this is where moulds could form.
This is the moment some growers say they are finished and try their product. However there are still lots of bad stuff and chemicals in your buds that you want to get out to improve the quality of your product.
Thats why we cure our cannabis after drying:
10. Curing your nugs
To give your final product a finishing touch, we recommend to “cure” your dried nugs. This process will increase the taste and smell of your product massively and is worth it’s time. Once you start curing, you simply activate 2 processes:
- The last bit of moisture will be diveded equally over the buds (after drying)
- Breakdown of natural sugars and Chlorophyll in cannabis (which will improve the taste/smell)
Sugars that are left in your buds will eventually lead to a pretty sharp, not too smooth smoke which makes it very un-attractive. Next to that there is a terpene called Chlorophyll that’s present in your fresh dried nugs. By curing your buds you will break down this terpene and reduce the “grassy” raw taste.
The curing process isn’t really hard to do. You just need some nice glass jars, a hygrometer and some time (as it could take weeks to optimize the taste/ smell properly). The tricky part is choosing the perfect moment to start and stop curing based on it’s humidity levels. But don’t worry: In this article we’ll explain in detail on how to cure your buds perfectly!