The Ultimate feminised cannabis seeds grow report Antonio Fernando SCROG LED SANlight

Without doubt the most cost effective way to enjoy cannabis is to grow it yourself from cannabis seeds rather than buy it from coffeeshops, dispensaries, social clubs or dealers. However, in recent times even growing your own cannabis has become increasingly expensive, especially as electricity costs have sky-rocketed in the post-Covid world. But with a little thought and planning, you may be able to reduce cannabis cultivation costs.

Our money-saving tips may require you to consider a few changes to the way you grow cannabis, but the savings could be vital for those concerned about spiralling cultivation costs.

What is the average cost of growing cannabis?

HiFi 4G feminised cannabis seeds grown with SCROG

Electricity is now by far the biggest ongoing cost to indoor cannabis growers. Prices have increased dramatically especially since the Ukraine war. Many Europeans are being quoted electricity prices up to €1 per kilowatt hour (“kW/h”). No-one really knows where energy prices will finally stabilise or when/how each national Government will consider limiting (‘capping’) consumer energy costs.

For growers, a kilowatt hour is the amount of electricity taken to run a grow room consuming 1000W for 1 hour. A typical cannabis grow, whether using autoflowering cannabis seeds or feminised seeds, tends to take around 1400-1500 hours. If your indoor grow room uses 1kW of energy then a full grow cycle would cost €1400-1500 in electricity costs alone at a tariff of €1 per kW/h. Growing cannabis has never been more expensive. Then there are all the other costs to consider, such as nutrients etc.

Best tips to save energy and reduce costs

Some of our top tips are focussed on reducing energy costs, but there are some other tips that may also help you minimise ongoing running costs, though some upfront investments may be needed.

Grow stable high-performing cannabis seeds only!

Auto Banana Blaze stunning autoflower cannabis strain with red coating

When tightening the financial belt it may be tempting to consider some more affordable cannabis seeds. Actually, Dutch Passion wouldn’t disagree with that – there are several top quality strains that are affordably priced such as Critical Orange Punch & Auto Critical Orange Punch, Banana Blaze & Auto Banana Blaze, Auto Euforia and others that are proven budget performers.

But some growers take the opposite view, and prefer to buy and grow premium quality cannabis seeds, feeling that the extra cash is more-than-worth the quality improvements.

For commercial growers, a premium strain with 25% THC levels and a throat tingling terpene profile may command double the price of an ‘average’ strain.

Those lucky enough to have contacts that can reliably supply pest/disease-free cannabis cuttings (clones) will be able to grow without needing to buy any cannabis seeds at all!

Dutch Passion High-THC cannabis seeds

LED grow lights draw about 25% less energy than HPS

Most serious, quality focussed pro-growers have already upgraded from ageing HPS to modern LED grow lights. Not only will your cannabinoid and terpene profiles improve, but you may be able to run your LED with less electricity than your HPS required.

A grower with a 1.2m x 1.2m (4 ft x 4ft) indoor grow tent might typically use a 600H HPS light. But this could be replaced with an LED which could give similar results with a lower power draw of perhaps 400-500W. This automatically reduces your main cost (energy) by around 25%.

Remember, you will also reach new levels of potency and a richer terpene content with LED. If your grow room is your passion, now is the time to consider upgrading to LED. The financial pain of the upgrade cost will be mitigated by slightly lower running costs and superior bud quality.

One secondary benefit of upgrading to LED is that your grow room will be inherently cooler with less radiant IR heat thanks to the optimised LED light spectrum. This may mean that air conditioning costs can also be lowered/eliminated for those that need it.

Some growers have simply stopped growing cannabis indoors during the summer months in order to avoid the double-whammy of combined energy costs for lighting and air con, instead preferring to grow in cooler months.

Select an electricity tariff with cheap overnight rates

Autoflower cannabis plant light schedule

With electricity costs being the main enemy of the indoor grower, any efforts you can make to reduce your energy consumption will produce cost savings. There are still some energy providers that offer special (often overnight) low cost electricity tariffs at a fraction of the normal peak-rate prices.

It makes sense for growers to swap to such tariffs where possible, and adapt the ‘light on’ period of their grow cycle to the cheap-rate pricing.

Those with the cash to invest in solar panels will be in the privileged position to generate their own electricity for free during sunlight hours. If you can afford solar panels it makes sense to use as much of the free power for your grow room – typically meaning that you will need your ‘light-on’ period to match the hours when your daytime solar output is maximised.

Those with extra cash to spare may be interested in buying a house storage battery which will allow the grower to store self-generated electricity (or cheap rate overnight electricity) for later use. But it’s also fair to add that few can afford such investments in the midst of a financial squeeze.

Autoflower cannabis plant light schedule

Optimise your light placement to get optimum results

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If your grow light is hung too far above your plants, you are missing out on useful extra light energy which will increase yields. When electricity is expensive it makes sense to get optimum results and hang your grow light at the correct hanging height for the corresponding growth stage.

Most serious light manufacturers are able to provide detailed advice on the best light/canopy distance and recommended power setting for seedlings, plants in veg and plants in bloom.

How many cannabis plants per square meter?

Recycle extracted grow room warm air back indoors

In the days of cheap energy, it was often considered ‘best practice’ to vent stale grow room air outdoors. But with energy costs reaching all-time highs many are rethinking this approach and venting waste air back inside their home. This isn’t entirely risk free and will rely on impeccable carbon filter performance and perhaps a home free of regular visitors. Some may even engineer a double carbon filtration system, perhaps using an additional tent/room to contain the secondary carbon filter.

Cannabis grow room ventilation guide

Consider growing cannabis outdoor or in a greenhouse

With electricity costs reaching all-time highs, more people than ever are considering growing cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse/poly tunnel. Choose the finest quality cannabis seeds and you won’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality/potency either.

Using the suns free energy for outdoor/greenhouse growing is becoming an increasingly attractive option. Even for die-hard indoor growers who have never considered guerrilla growing before. It’s far easier than you think with very few costs other than your cannabis seeds. Our expert guide to outdoor cannabis growing is recommended reading to anyone flirting with the idea of a low cost outdoor grow.

29% THC levels on outdoor autoflowers recorded by licensed cannabis producer

Maximise yields with these cannabis growing techniques

The two priorities of most growers are to maximise yield and optimise quality. Less experienced growers often simplify the grow by cultivating plants in the natural way, without training or special grow techniques. But more experienced growers may feel more confident to try training their cannabis plants to improve yield.

Several low stress and high stress cannabis training techniques are possible, with varying levels of risk and complexity. But one thing they all have in common is a loyal band of low stress training (LST) / high stress training (HST) devotees who improve their yields with these methods.

One other option is to consider growing cannabis with the sea of green method (SOG). This involves using large plant numbers, often tightly packed in small containers with minimal veg growth time. This can mean a faster grow cycle and lower energy costs as a result.

The extra plant numbers compensate for the smaller average plant size/yield, though many home growers are reluctant to use high plant numbers for understandable security/paranoia reasons.

The SCROG method (Screen of green) is another option for the grower keen to maximise yields. The aim is to create a level canopy of buds, all bathing in the optical sweet spot. Extra work is required to train your plants, but the results can often be branch breaking yields when done well.

SOG vs SCROG, which is best for your grow?

Learn how to get faster and heavier crops in hydroponics

Auto Ultimate DWC by Mr Ganjamoto (1/3)

Hydroponic cannabis growers often get faster growth and heavier yields than those growing in soil. However, the demanding levels of precision and control tend to deter many from attempting hydroponic (soil-free) cultivation. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of hydroponics, our expert guide is essential reading.

Hydroponic cannabis grow guide

Use the minimum number of nutrient options

Aside from energy costs, nutrients are often one of the major expenses for growers. Especially when the grower opts for the full range of nutrients and supplementary additives. Although not a popular option, some growers may find they can shave some costs from their nutrient bill by opting just for the main ‘essential’ nutrients.

This might mean using just the basic grow and bloom nutrients alongside perhaps a PK boost. Although you may prefer to have the full range of macronutrients, the costs soon add up and not all are absolutely essential in every case.

Some of the major nutrient brands also have numerous other additives including growth/bloom boosters, enzymes, beneficials etc. If you have found that some of the optional additives offer only marginal benefits, you may opt to skip them and reduce your nutrient bill.

Best cannabis nutrients and feeding schedule

Make full use of the trim and waste after harvest

Many home growers spend so much time growing, chopping and trimming their harvest that they lack the time/motivation to fully utilise the waste left after harvest.

This is understandable given the busy lives most of us have. But with a little additional effort you can produce top-grade cannabis extracts from the waste.

Often the waste (trimmed leaves, fluffy buds that you didn’t want to keep etc) is dried. Then it can be used to create hash. Others prefer home-made solvent extractions, allowing the production of cannabis oil, shatter and other cannabis concentrates. With electricity costs at all-time highs, there has never been better justification to look into getting maximum value from your crop.

What to do with weed stems, stalks, leaves and roots

Get maximum bang for your buck!

Auto Skywalker Haze plant big compact massive hybrid buds.

Cannabis growing is getting undeniably more expensive. It may be difficult to dramatically change your ongoing costs, but we hope our tips offer food for thought. Remember, growing your own crops from cannabis seed is always more cost effective than buying buds from someone else.

Dutch Passion continue to offer regular sales and generous special offers throughout the year. So if you plan to buy cannabis seeds it’s worth keeping a close eye on the latest cannabis seed deals offered on Dutch Passion.

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