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How to grow weed at home without equipment or with minimal equipment

how to grow weed at home without equipment

As almost every indoor (and most outdoor) grower will attest – growing weed can quickly become a pretty expensive hobby.

Sure, you will save money in the long run, but the initial set-up costs often see new growers shelling out hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to get started, and it can take a good while to see those costs recouped.

But what if you don’t have the budget for all that fancy equipment? Can you still grow weed at home without breaking the bank?

You sure can!

Understanding the Basics of Cannabis Cultivation

At its core, growing weed is simple enough.

All you really need is a couple of seeds, some light, a decent growing medium, and some nutrients.

If you are one of the lucky ones blessed to be living somewhere that allows outdoor cannabis cultivation and has the right climatic conditions to do so, then you’re already at an advantage. All you need to buy are the seeds, find the perfect outdoor patch that gets as much sun as possible, and you’re off to the races.

But for those of us who live somewhere where the weather isn’t ideal or have limited outdoor space, indoor growing is the way to go.

Significance of Choosing the Right Weed Strain

Now this is one point that simply cannot be overlooked, although in this crowded market, it can often be hard to navigate. When restricted by a lack of budget and equipment, going with a strain that thrives in your local climate is the smartest choice

If you’re growing indoors, you have more leeway to go with almost any strain that catches your eye, but you still need to keep an eye out for strains that do well in the conditions of your chosen grow space – especially if you are trying to keep the costs down.

Choosing the right strain
Choosing the right strain.

For example, if you have a small closet grow that lacks proper ventilation, choosing a strain that is prone to mold and mildew is a recipe for failure. The same goes for tall Sativa strains, or strains that require a long flowering time if you are limited on space and electricity costs.

What does it mean to grow weed without equipment?

Technically speaking, you can’t really grow weed without any equipment at all. But what we mean by “without equipment” is growing without the costly and fancy machinery that many indoor growers invest in.

This includes things like grow tents, expensive lighting systems, automated watering systems, and specialized nutrients.

DIY Techniques for Indoor Marijuana Growth

“Doing It Yourself” can lead to massive savings when setting up an indoor weed grow space.

A simple Google search, for a quick stroll through your local hydroponics supplier isles, will show just how expensive a lot of the “cannabis-specific” equipment can be. But, with a little bit of resourcefulness and creativity, you can find alternative options that work.

Lighting is a good place to start. Top-of-the-line LED or HID lighting options are anything but cheap, and for good reason. They are extremely effective. But if you’re starting on a budget, there are some alternatives to consider.

For ventilation, instead of investing in an expensive fan and filter system, you can use a cheap household fan and DIY carbon filter.

Tents are great, but why waste your money when you can easily line a cupboard with aluminum foil or just paint the walls white?

Let’s continue this next…

The 5 Necessities for a Cannabis Plant

Every single weed plant needs a few non-negotiables. If you have the budget to buy the best, then that’s what you should do. But for the rest of us, scrapping around for materials – the following is a good starting point.

Air Circulation

Air circulation is often the first thing to be overlooked when trying to save a few bucks, but do so at your peril. Poor air circulation leads to stagnant and humid conditions that are perfect for mold, mildew, and pests to thrive.

We need to make sure that there is a fresh supply of CO2 being supplied to the grow room or tent and that hot old air is being removed. A good way to do this inexpensively is by using an oscillating fan – these can be found for relatively low costs, just make sure that you have a couple in your grow space.

Light

The obvious one. The lighting rig is one of the biggest outlays, but it doesn’t have to be!

We need to give our plants enough light to allow them to grow. This is where the most money can be saved, but also where you will have to make the biggest sacrifice – yield.

Cannabis plants need a lot of light, so if you’re trying to save money on lighting equipment, consider building your own LED panel. If this isn’t an option, you can always opt for lower-wattage bulbs and just add more of them.

Temperature

Weed plants are surprisingly fickle when it comes to temperature ranges, and this leads back to choosing the right seeds for the right conditions.

Some strains thrive in cooler climates, others need a lot of heat. But for the most part, a mild and stable temperature range between 70-80°F will do the trick. Look to build your grow room in an area that already has a stable temperature year-round. If you need to boost the temps up a little, a cheap space heater can help. If it’s already above the necessary range in your grow room, proper ventilation and airflow can help cool things down, and a “DIY AC” is easy enough to throw together in a pinch.

Water

Always one of the cheapest parts of the grow, but an important one.

Getting too complicated with water can lead to a lot of expenses and waste. For most home growers, simply filling up a watering jug from your tap will do the trick, especially if you are growing in soil (which you should be if you are trying to keep the costs low).

If you do go down the hydroponic route, expect to have to shell out for a pH tester (cheap) and a pH adjuster (also cheap), but you know what you should skimp on? A proper TDS or EC meter.

These are invaluable tools that will help you determine the nutrient levels of your feed water and really are must-haves for all non-soil growers.

Nutrients

Leading back to our last point – if you are looking to grow as cheaply as possible, then soil is definitely the way to go. Soil is the perfect medium for growing cannabis as it provides everything that the plant needs already, and there are no complicated charts or containers of different fertilizer combinations needed.

Of course, if you want to get the most out of your plants, investing in a proper nutrient line can make all the difference, but don’t worry too much if you can’t afford it. A simple organic compost or fertilizer mix can work wonders for your plants.

What are the bare essentials when it comes to weed growing equipment?

Let’s stick to indoor growing here, as we have already covered outdoors.

Growing weed indoors essential equipment
  • A grow space with a stable temperature and humidity range
  • A light source – can be as simple as a household CFL bulb
  • Air circulation – fans work best, but even just opening a window can help
  • Water – no need for fancy equipment here, just make sure it’s pH balanced (if you can) and free from any harmful chemicals
  • Nutrients (optional) – if you’re on a budget, stick to soil and compost
  • Seeds – the most important part, make sure you get good quality seeds that are suited to your growing conditions.
  • Pots – can be as simple as plastic cups or plastic buckets, just make sure they have proper drainage holes.
  • Tools – for trimming and pruning
  • Some form of ventilation – to control temperature and humidity levels
  • A timer – to ensure consistent light cycles for your plants.

With these essentials, you can get started on growing your own cannabis without breaking the bank.

Cannabis grow equipment you can survive without

While the above essentials are necessary for a successful grow, there are some items that you can do without, especially when trying to save money. These include:

  • Fancy lighting systems: as mentioned before, homemade LED panels or lower-wattage bulbs will do the trick.
  • Carbon filters and fans: if you have good air circulation and proper ventilation, these may not be necessary.
  • CO2 generators: while it can enhance plant growth, it’s not essential for a successful grow.
  • Expensive nutrients and additives: as stated earlier, a simple organic compost or fertilizer mix can work just as well as expensive nutrient lines.
  • Hydroponic setups – Hydro is great and will almost definitely yield more, but for the most part, it is not necessary when trying to keep costs low.
  • Specialty cannabis products – These days, you can find a lot of products specifically marketed for growing cannabis, but often times they are just gimmicks and not essential to the growth process. Stick to the basics!

Growing Weed at Home – Controlling Temperature

Temperature control is an issue that every grower will run into at some point, no two ways about it. But with the right set-up, and the right planning, you can keep your grow room at a stable temperature.

As mentioned before, cannabis plants thrive in temperatures between 70-80°F, but it’s important to maintain this range consistently throughout the entire grow cycle. Fluctuations in temperature can cause stress on the plant and lead to stunted growth or even death.

To control the temperature of your grow room, consider the following tips:

  • Keep your grow room well insulated – this will help maintain a stable temperature.
  • Use reflective materials like Mylar or white paint to keep heat from escaping and to evenly distribute light.
  • Invest in a cheap hygrometer to constantly monitor the temperature inside your grow space.
  • Consider using LED lights instead of high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, as they emit less heat and can help control the overall temperature of your grow room.
  • Utilize ventilation and air flow techniques to keep the air temperature consistent. This could mean using fans or opening a window to keep that fresh air flowing.

Role of Watering in Growing Marijuana without Equipment

Fancy automated watering systems can make a huge difference to the final harvest and take much of the burden of remembering to water off your hands. But for those on a budget, hand watering is the way to go.

The most important thing when it comes to watering is being consistent. Make sure you water your plants at the same time every day (just after the lights go out is a great) and give them enough water to keep the soil moist but not soggy. You want to see about 25% of the water you put in come out through drainage holes.

DIYing a simple watering can or jug will do just fine. If you are growing in organic soil, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the pH, but grabbing a cheap pH tester is still a good idea in case you run into issues down the line.

Can you grow Weed without Nutrients?

No, just like all living things, weed plants need the right nutrients in the right concentrations.

But if you are planting your seeds in good quality soil, then you shouldn’t need any expensive additives or nutrients. In fact, too many nutrients can actually harm your plants.

Unearthing the Power of Homemade Nutrients for Cannabis

Soil and compost contain the full variety of nutrients to sustain your plant’s growth for the entire growth cycle, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into deficiency issues at some point. Not to worry, your household compost scraps will make a great fertilizing solution. You can also use simple organic amendments like blood meal, bone meal, and fish emulsion to give your plants a boost.

Just remember, less is more!

Growing Weed without Lights

It just can’t be done. If you don’t provide light to your weed crop, you simply won’t have a weed crop.

The sun’s natural light is better than any artificial light, but if you live in a cold climate, or have privacy concerns, then the sun may not be an option for you. In that case, you will need to provide some sort of lighting, and if you want decent buds, a cheap LED panel is probably the best bet.

Knowing When and How to Harvest Your Homegrown Weed

The best way to know when your juicy buds are ready for the picking is by closely examining the state of the trichomes. This cannot be done with the naked eye, as they are too small. You will need to buy a jeweler’s loupe (not great) or a mini-USB microscope (much better).

Most growers like to wait until about 30% of the trichomes have transitioned from cloudy to amber before they chop, and this can only be seen with an aid.

If harvest time is upon you, you will also need a good pair of smallish scissors to use for trimming. Most growers like to buy a set of nice trimming shears, and they will make life just so much easier, but you can get away with using a pair you already have lying about. Just make sure they are sharp.

Curing Your Harvest: The Final Stage of Marijuana Cultivation

Curing is another often overlooked area by newer growers, but it is just as important as any other step in the process. Cannabis curing will enhance the flavor, aroma, and potency of your buds.

To cure your harvested weed, follow these steps:

  1. Trim off excess leaves and hang branches upside down in a cool, dark place.
  2. After 5-7 days, when the stems easily snap instead of bend, transfer the buds to an airtight container.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place and open the containers once a day for the first week to release any built-up humidity.
  4. Continue opening the containers every few days for the next 2-3 weeks until buds are fully cured.

Some strains need longer curing periods, and some not so much. Either way, leave your buds in their curing jars until you are ready to enjoy them. This will ensure maximum flavor and potency.  So remember, don’t rush the curing process! It’s worth the wait.

Responsible Storage of Home-Grown Marijuana

Once your buds are cured and ready for consumption, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their potency and flavor. Here are some tips for responsible storage:

  • Store in a dark, cool place – heat and light can degrade the quality of your buds.
  • Keep away from moisture – excess moisture can lead to mold growth.
  • Use airtight containers – this will help maintain the freshness and potency of your buds.
  • Label your containers – this will make it easier to keep track of the strains and ages of your stored buds.

You also want to make sure that the buds are stored in an area that is well away from anywhere that children might be able to access. Keep them out of reach and preferably locked away for safety. Responsible storage not only keeps your buds fresh, but also ensures the safety of those around you.

Conclusion

Growing marijuana without equipment is definitely possible, especially if you live in a warm climate and have access to natural light. With proper watering, nutrients, lighting, harvesting and curing techniques, you can successfully grow your own cannabis at home without breaking the bank on fancy equipment.

Just remember to be consistent, buy the right seeds for your specific needs,  use quality soil and compost, and don’t rush the process – patience is key when it comes to growing weed!

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Sam North

Sam North is a content writer with a passion for everything cannabis. After working multiple seasons on weed farms absorbing the ins and outs of cannabis cultivation and culture, he decided to transition into a role that would allow him to work from anywhere, anytime. Sam now writes for multiple weed publications. He has extensive experience with a wide range of canna-agriculture styles, from smaller artisanal farms to large-scale commercial operations, and is here to share his knowledge to give you all the best chance of cultivation success. About this Author

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