The First Time Grower.  A beginners guide to greenhouses

Each year more and more people grow their own weed, if you have never grown marijuana before then one of the easiest and cheapest ways to start is in a greenhouse.  No complicated equipment  is needed and even complete beginners will get great results with good seeds and a few basic rules. 

This weeks blog will describe the basic principles of how to grow top quality weed quickly and easily in a greenhouse/polytunnel.  Although there is a lot of detail that we could go into, we will stick to the basic points.

Greenhouses offer the plants an environment which is often warmer, safer and a little more controlled than outdoor growing.  They effectively give a longer growing season by protecting against the worst of the wind and cold.  Greenhouse heaters protect against early/late season cold nights and are a way of keeping greenhouses warm in cooler climates.  Paraffin heaters can also be used, but may lead to extra condensation.  If you can, get a greenhouse with ventilation pane’s to help circulate air and prevent overheating on the hottest days.  Greenhouses come in a wide range of sizes and prices, some garden centres offer cheap second-hand ones.  The lowest cost plastic-covered ‘tent-style’ greenhouses start at ~ 30 €uro’s.  A 3-pack of quality feminized seeds is just over €20 for varieties such as Frisian Dew, Passion #1, Durban Poison etc.  So it is not at all expensive to get yourself prepared to harvest a great stash of quality weed this year.  Mediterranean growers have a growing season sunny enough and long enough to grow the widest choice of strains and can get 3 AutoFem crops in a year.  Polytunnels are more or less the same principle as a greenhouse, and are also popular with cannabis growers.

Selecting your seeds
.  You have 2 initial choices, traditional feminized seeds that will be ready to harvest normally around October in the northern hemisphere.  Or you can grow AutoFem seeds which will be ready to harvest 70 days after the seed sprouts.  Both will give you great weed, but normally you might expect a bigger harvest from a traditional feminized variety.  There is plenty of information about AutoFem’s on our website, they even grow well in places as cool as northern Russia.  For many people AutoFem’s have made it possible to grow outdoors or in greenhouses for the first time, for these people AutoFem’s have been a dream come true.  We have been working with AutoFem’s for five years and any initial disappointments we had with them have been replaced with some really impressive results we are seeing now.  The hard part is deciding which particular variety to grow, but that is also the fun part.  You can try Indica’s, Sativa’s, legendary varieties, just enjoy them and build a collection of your favourites. 

Planting your seeds.
  Growers in cooler climates often germinate their seeds indoors to give them a good start.  Plants are at their most vulnerable when young.  But many growers in warmer countries will simply start them in the greenhouse.  Greenhouse growers fall into 2 main categories.  Some growers plant their seeds in plant pots and others will root their plants directly into the greenhouse soil.  Marijuana will grow well in either situation.  Plants grown in containers have the advantage that they can be moved if there are unwelcome visitors or bad weather, but they will need regular watering.  Plants grown in the soil obviously can’t be moved but will be OK left on their own if you are away for a week.  Plants grown in soil also have the potential to grow very large.  We have seen a few occasions when the cannabis plant has outgrown the greenhouse, it’s a nice problem to have I guess.

Shaman, top quality skunk/purple hybrid. Mainly sativa,  potent  and great growth potential.  Here the grower had to remove the greenhouse panel.  The soil quality and warm greenhouse allowed Shaman to thrive

Preparing the soil. The best growers take their soil quality very seriously.  Poor quality soil can be easily dug out and replaced with good quality compost from the garden centre.  Or it can be enriched by digging in plenty of manure and fertilizer (blood/fish/bone-meal, guano etc) a few months before the plants are planted in it.  Whether you are growing in containers or growing directly into the ground it is important to get a good quality soil for dramatic improvements in your results.  Many growers add 25%, or more, of material such as Perlite or coco-fibre to help aerate the soil.  The main beginner’s error is over-watering and over-feeding.  We have seen thousands of self-sufficient home growers get absolutely superb results on their first grow, and you can too.  Many of the specialist ‘ready-mix’ grow soils can seem expensive but give great results and are the most convenient option for the new grower looking for a hassle-free first grow.

Cleanliness.  Greenhouses should be given a good clean every year; this will help keep the free of pests and diseases which could affect the plant. 

.  Modern polycarbonate greenhouses have a frosted, opaque appearance, allowing your crop to be private.  But other plants can be grown alongside to provide camouflage.  Or greenhouse ‘whitewash’ can be used.  Serious marijuana growers often build their greenhouse deliberately in a sunny spot which has been designed to be completely private.  For best results position the greenhouse to get as much sunlight as possible.

Once your plant is ready to crop it is chopped down, dried and cured in sealable containers.  Greenhouse grown pot is great tasting, and if you get quality seeds then you are in for a treat.  Just look after the soil and water them when they need it, avoid overwatering.  Consider liquid feeds later in flowering, you can get good quality products from companies like Canna, Plant Magic and others you will find on the internet or at your local hydro store.  For those growing in containers it is easy to make up a feed and pour it into the plant container.  For plants that are rooted in the ground larger volumes of feed mixture may need adding to ensure it reaches the majority of the root system.

The seeds are just a few euro’s each and greenhouses can also be bought for affordable prices.  Once you have made that investment you will have a satisfying new hobby and all the free pot you want for your recreational or medical purposes.  So if you have never grown your own pot before, growing in a greenhouse is an easy and great way to start.  Good luck in 2012!

Dutch Joe

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