How To Grow Weed On A Budget, Both Indoors And Outdoors
Growing your own cannabis is one of the most gratifying experiences a stoner can have. But so many of us are limited by the high-cost the whole operation can entail. But recent developments in the industry have brought this price down! Here is how to grow your weed very inexpensively, both indoors and out.
Growing weed has been associated with costly procedures for a long time. When many people think of cultivating cannabis, they automatically imagine expensive lighting setups, nutrients, humidity and temperature controllers, as well as €50 for a cannabis seed. But fear not, this is far from what the current market has to offer.
Nowadays, you’ll find machines that grow cannabis from start to finish without you even knowing it’s there. And with the appearance of such advancements in growing technology, this brings down the price and boosts the availability of more conventional growing methods.
There are several factors that go into growing cannabis. We’ll be examining how you can save the most money on your grow operation without sacrificing quality. Because if you’re looking to grow shitty weed, it will be super easy to do on a budget. The hard thing is growing cannabis you actually feel proud of when smoking with your friends. Let’s explore each of these essential variables, and see where we can save some money.
One might be inclined to think that the first step to saving money is to acquire cheap seeds. But one would be wrong. This is actually where you should invest the most. Making sure you have quality genetics will go a long way in keeping your plants healthy, even if you use lower-quality products during the later stages of growth.
Automatic genetics are also something that will help you save. In many cases, autos begin flowering just 2-3 weeks after germination. What’s more, the flowering cycle is not dependent on hours of light like photoperiod strains. Ultimately, your auto will rush from seed to harvest in an impressive amount of time, saving indoor growers some hard-earned cash. We currently offer over 20 different autoflowering strains in our store. These will ensure you get your desired yield within an appropriate timeframe.
Within our autoflowering seed catalogue, we feature our great, award-winning Royal Dwarf strain. Not only is this an inexpensive strain, costing you €5.00 per seed, it will also be very easy to grow. Easy in the sense that you won’t need a very big space. It’s called “Dwarf” for a reason. It’s a very compact and short strain, but will still produce up to 200g/m² indoors.
GROW ROOM ESSENTIALS
Now that we have our seed taken care of, we need to set up our grow space to properly receive and nourish it. Growing indoors will always be more expensive than growing outside, so we’ll mainly be looking into what an indoor grow room needs.
Lights are one of the most important variables when growing cannabis. Without light, your plant will not grow, period. Indoor lighting setups have to mimic the energy produced by the sun, so they can be quite expensive, especially when growing multiple plants. But there are still ways you can save on these. One of the best options is to buy used lamps, they’ll do just fine. You’ll only need new bulbs. Lamps and reflectors can be found on eBay and similar sites, and will likely perform as well as newer models.
LED lights will be a great choice if you want to save on electric bills. These, however, will probably be the most expensive option outright. Fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, are cheaper. But they’ll consume much more energy and you’ll have to change bulb types when moving from the vegetative cycle to flowering. You can get the EnviroGro 4, which will cost you anywhere between €90-120. This is definitely a great option for the vegetative cycle.
HPS lights will be your third option. These have a full UV spectrum but don’t last very long. And on top of that, they release a lot of heat. This means you’ll need more fans to cool down your room. iPower Digital Dimmable System is a great choice as it comes with a cooling hood. This will help reduce the heat it emits, but with the extra cost of purchasing the inline fan. These systems cost anywhere between €130-250.
AIR CIRCULATION AND HEAT
Air circulation is essential to maintain a healthy environment. Your lights are constantly releasing heat. On top of that, your plants will transpire on a daily basis. So it’s important you keep bringing fresh air into your grow room, and stale air out. This means you need both intake and exhaust fans. You can buy cheap second-hand fans on eBay for as little as €10, and you can make your own carbon filter to keep the smell to a minimum.
When you simulate night time, your room or closet will begin to cool down. For this, you’ll need extra heating. During the day, your lights might produce enough heat, but at night, the grow room cools down drastically. So much so, it can be very unhealthy for your plants. Purchasing extra heating equipment may seem like a lot, but you’ll realise how beneficial it can be when it’s needed.
You want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your lights. Reflective walls will help light bounce around the room and get to every part of your plant. This will probably give you greater yields while using the same number of lamps.
The easiest solution for this is to buy a grow tent. You can get one for as little as €100, like the Apollo Horticulture grow tent. These are all usually airtight and water-sealed. They are extremely practical setups and can fit discreetly in almost every household.
We’ve covered the necessities of your plant’s environment. Now let’s go through what your plant needs directly. You’ll obviously require a dedicated space. You can use a closet, an entire room, or purchase a grow tent. This will depend on your budget and what you currently have at your disposal.
Being that you want to save money when selecting a medium, soil will be the best option. This is the cheapest and simplest option. You might not even need a lot of extra nutrients depending on the type and quality of your soil. You can also make your own manure or worm castings at almost no extra cost.
But if you still find yourself needing extra nutrient supplements, try to use ones made specifically for cannabis. This is important as you’ll be consuming the plant’s yields. If buds are grown with harmful chemicals, your cannabis can end up really hurting your body. In case you find yourself using a generic fertilizer, make sure it’s intended for edible products like vegetables or fruit. This will inform you that it’s ok to light up your bud after feeding it the product.
Vertafort has some great options that are super cheap. You dissolve a tablet in 3-5 litres of water to create the booster mix. This will feed as many plants as you can with the water. They have tablets both for the vegetative and the flower stage. Don’t be fooled by the marketing of other expensive brands who claim only their products can do the job. As long as you understand what you’re looking for, you’ll find cheap options. Don’t start before doing all the necessary research.
SETTING UP A BUDGET OUTDOOR GROW-OP
When growing outdoors, there are few factors you can actually control. Therefore, make sure you don’t underspend and buy poor-quality soil. Even if you have perfect genetics and the ideal nutrient supplements, if your soil is too cheap, your seed will not grow. You won’t be spending more than €100 on soil and considering what’s in question, this isn’t a whole lot.
When it comes to water, the cost will depend on where you live, but this shouldn’t be too excessive. Making sure you’re using quality soil will also guarantee the proper amount of water is being both absorbed and drained.
If you decide to use an external nutrient supply, the cost will depend on how informed you are. If you can make your own worm castings, you probably won’t need any extra macronutrients, but it will depend on your time, resources, and quality of soil.
But when it comes to growing indoors, there will be additional costs. As mentioned above, there are some materials that one cannot go without when growing indoors. The closet/tent you use, paired with lighting, heating, and air circulation equipment are integral to your crop’s success.
Once you make that initial investment, growing more plants will only become cheaper. If you can grow outside, do it. You’ll save money. However, many argue that indoor weed is of a higher quality. While proponents of each method with argue their side, indoor grow-ops allow more much more control over your plants’ environment than the great outdoors.
But hey, at a low-cost or not, you’re growing cannabis. So have fun and remember to learn from your mistakes. Learning means that your next crop will be cheaper; and the next one, hopefully, cheaper than that. Good luck with your next harvest!
Growing cannabis isn't reserved for the rich ones. Everyone can do it! Learn how you can start growing your own flower for much less than you thought.
Tips for Growing Cannabis on a Budget
Monday August 5, 2019
T hough there are many companies and experienced marijuana growers who thrive on expensive equipment and extensive grow spaces, these are not requirements for growing healthy, potent cannabis plants. In fact, there are many budget-friendly ways to set up a cannabis grow that will still produce bountiful buds and very stony heads.
Cannabis Lighting on a Budget
By far, the most cost-effective grow light is the sun. Its powerful UV rays provide deep penetration (which encourages the growth of dense buds) and its seasonal photoperiod removes the need for timers to switch the grow phase from vegetation and flower. Furthermore, naturally occurring sunlight minimizes (or eliminates) the cost of electricity associated with maintaining a grow operation.
Of course, using the sun as your cannabis light source is best for those of us who actually experience an outdoor grow season. In regions that experience extensive cold seasons, greenhouses and cold frames can be an easy solution (albeit a bit of an investment at first).
For those with limited outdoor space, time, or start-up budgets, indoor LED lights are another budget-friendly lighting option. LED lights have dropped significantly in price over the last ten years, now running as low as $50 for some models. Not only that, but LEDs are also significantly cheaper to run and maintain than traditional HID lighting systems (and they don’t require a ballast to keep them from overworking an electrical source). LEDs also produce minimal heat (seriously, you can touch them even after they’ve been on all day) which reduces the need for cooling systems and nearly removes the risk of burnt leaves.
Despite their many benefits, LED lights do not offer the same level of light penetration that the sun does, which means that the buds may be a bit fluffier when grown under this light source. For this reason, many growers use LEDs as supplemental lighting alongside other light sources like HIDs (for indoor grow ops) or in greenhouses to extend outdoor grow seasons. However, advances in LED lighting mean they can now be used as stand-alone lighting systems – they are no longer only for secondary purposes.
Cheap Watering Tricks
When growing cannabis, there is no need for filtered or otherwise “special” water; tap water is more than sufficient for cannabis plants. For best results, though, we recommend letting tap water sit out for 24 hours so pH levels can settle, and the water temperature can balance out to a reasonable temperature.
However, there is an even better water source that’s both cheaper and more nutritious for plants: rainwater. That’s because rainwater forms around dust particles in the air, often dirt but in rural areas it might form around manure (i.e. fertilizer) which which is especially rich in nitrogen. Plus, because rainwater is free of chemical treatments like chlorine, the water can absorb deeper into the soil. And because chlorine blocks nutrient absorption, keeping it out of the watering cycle can boost nutrient uptake and encourage better plant growth.
Cheap Grow Mediums
Soil is the most common grow medium and also the most budget friendly. In-ground soil is obviously the cheapest option but will likely have to be amended with things like peat moss and compost. To avoid the risk of cross-contaminating an indoor grow, in-ground soil should not be used indoors. Better soil options for indoor grows include products like Fox Farm Soils or, for a more DIY approach, equal parts of peat moss, worm castings, and perlite.
Some hydroponic grow mediums, though a bit pricier to start, can be reused throughout multiple crops provided that they are sufficiently flushed and dried between uses. In fact, the entire hydroponic setup can be more budget friendly than soil grows thanks to its reduced water consumption and more efficient growth. Though hydroponic gardening takes a bit more practice – and a bit more pocket chance – it could be a better long-term solution to a budget cannabis grow.
Cannabis Ventilation Hacks
The grow environment of a cannabis plant affects its health and cannabinoid production and should therefore not be ignored – even when money is tight. Air should circulate through both intake and exhaust fans, and a carbon filter should be used to control the odor. Fortunately, you can pull all of this off for relatively cheap; a few strategically-placed $10 fans and a $20 DIY carbon filter is all you need.
The Best (Cheap) Sources for Cannabis Seeds and Clones
The cheapest cannabis seeds you can use are good ol’ bag seeds. If you have them, there isn’t much reason not to plant them unless you’re strapped for space and time (because you don’t know if bag seeds will be viable and female), but if that isn’t an option, you can always buy seeds online or from a dispensary for as low as $5 each.
Don’t worry if that price seems high, though! If it grows into a strong plant (especially if it’s a female plant), you can take a clone from it to create a whole new plant with the exact same genetics. Cloning cannabis allows for the cultivation multiple generations of cannabis plants from a single, five-dollar seed.
Another option is to purchase a clone from a store or to take a cutting from a friend. Remember, though, to clean and quarantine any plant from an outside source by dipping them in a diluted pest solution, transplanting them into a more long-term grow container, then leaving them away from all other plants for about a week. This will give you enough time to monitor its health and remedy any concerns without contaminating a sanitary grow space.
Growing your own cannabis doesn’t have to be expensive. Aside from a few simple necessities, the setup is actually quite affordable. Best of all, once a solid system is in place, the expenses drop significantly. Happy growing!
What do you do to save on cannabis growing expenses? Tell us in the comments below.
Abby is a writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace designed to connect cannabis writers and creatives with businesses in the industry. She has been a professional cannabis writer since 2014 and regularly contributes to publications such as PotGuide and M&F Talent. She is also the Content Director at Fortuna Hemp, America’s leading feminized hemp seed bank. Follow Abby on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
There are many ways to effectively grow a cannabis plant and not all of them require a lot of money to maintain. Learn more about growing marijuana on a budget and how you can have a successful harvest without breaking the bank.