Many people who aspire to grow cannabis (#GrowYourOwn) have a similar worry: not having the space to grow healthy plants. Most people think you need a whole room or lots of yard space to successfully grow weed, but it can be done in a space as small as a closet or computer tower! In this article, we cover how to set up micro-grow spaces to produce high-quality flowers.
Since the cannabis industry is growing as time passes by, a lot of enthusiasts are riding the tide by trying to grow their strains and plants. Few people have the luxury when it comes to space in growing and also the knowledge to grow plants on a large scale. The term “Micro” simply means small, while micro-growing means a cultivating process that only caters to a small number of cannabis plants in a limited or restricted environment that is small is space and resources. This can be an ideal method for those aspiring growers that want to develop and experiment on new strains that they can call their own, this method may help them to spend as little resources as possible, lessening the potential losses if the growing fails. Thus, this is an avenue for growers to experiment and practice.
Since the operation of micro-growing is minimal and uses only a tiny amount of spaces such as a closet or a very small spare room, the cultivator must consider keeping things simple, compact, and functional. With this informative guide, you can simplify and maximize the variables that you need to consider in making your micro-grow efficient.
What Is Micro-Growing And How Does It Differ From Regular Cannabis Growing?
While the name is self-explanatory, some may wonder what micro-growing is, exactly. Well, as you might suspect, it involves growing a small number of cannabis plants (oftentimes just one) in a confined space. Micro-growers often have both vertical and horizontal space limitations to consider.
This, of course, is quite different from a standard cannabis growing operation. Non-micro personal and commercial growers enjoy more growing space, both vertically and horizontally. They could have dozens, even hundreds of weed plants, with plenty of strain variations between them.
Now, sure, that makes regular growing sound nicer. In some ways, it is; but you know what those growers also have? Piles of bills from maintaining their plants, and sore hands and bodies from tending to them all day. Micro-growers face a far lighter burden, and their operations are far more sustainable.
Selecting the right micro-growing setup
So, does it sound like micro-growing is for you? Perfect! Now it’s time to think of what setup you’ll be working with. This, of course, depends entirely on your available space and personal preference. Each will have its own set of advantages over the other, so don’t worry about which is “better” or “worse”. That being said, let’s look at each of the most popular methods.
Growing Weed in Your Closet
Growing weed in your closet is, of course, the most classic micro-growing method. The trend likely started before the term “micro-growing” even entered conversations, and we can see why. Most people have closets in their homes, whether big or small, and virtually all of them can be cleared out and customised to house cannabis.
First off, you don’t want to overthink the lighting. Since it’s a confined space where the light will be close to the plant(s), a small, moderately powerful full-spectrum light emitting diode (LED) grow lamp or a lesser powerful compact fluorescent lights (CFL) could enough lighting, especially for beginners (more on lighting below).
Then, as far as your growing medium, you’ll have a choice between soil and a hydroponic system. The latter is more expensive, obviously, but it’s a good bit convenient, and you won’t have to worry about watering! But, you’ll still have to deal with changing out the water and maintaining its pH level. Soil works just as well, though, so don’t stress out about draining your bank account. So, really, it’s up to personal preference.
After you get all that in order, along with getting your nutrients, you’ll need to get a vent fan. You’ll be fine with one roughly 10–12cm wide.
While you’ll want to keep the door completely shut, you’ll need to have the fan venting air outside of it. Not only will this keep your plants healthy, but it’ll ensure you can control the odour. You can either cut a hole big enough for it, or fit in a vent tube with the fan itself sitting outside of the closet. You’ll be fine either way, but growers who want to minimise the size of the hole prefer the latter.
Lastly, when your plants have successfully reached full maturity, get a small drying box or tent ready. Just ensure your drying space is cleaned with hydrogen peroxide beforehand, and maintain a temperature of 20ºC (68ºF) with 50% relative humidity.
Growing Weed in a Computer Tower
If you thought a closet was confined, growing cannabis in a computer tower will blow your mind. Some companies even offer modified ones that are made for discreet growing, but a bit of online research will prepare you to easily set up your own.
As far as lighting, LEDs will be your way to go, especially considering the space. They’re small and powerful, so you won’t have to worry about buying too many. They’re energy-efficient, too, so you won’t have to deal with an inflated energy bill.
Similar to closet growing, you’ll have the choice between soil and hydroponic growing. A hydroponic system in a computer tower may sound dubious, but so is having to water your cannabis plants manually.
Your next issues to tackle are odour control and air filtration. Starting with the former, control odour by lining the interior with duct tape and/or introducing a gel cube inside. To handle the latter, just outfit your PC with, well, PC fans! You can find ones that are optimised to fit your tower, so you won’t have to worry about making holes.
Lastly, the drying method is the same for this and the previous method. Get a small drying box/tent, clean out the drying room, and enjoy smokable cannabis in no time!
Growing Weed in a Stealth Grow Box
Closet and computer tower setups can be pretty sketchy, we’ll give you that. That may not put off many, but we understand if you want to run a more refined operation. For those people, we recommend utilising a stealth grow box.
Note that there are many different types of grow boxes out there, but only a few are specifically designed for stealth. If you opt for another, you may find yourself dealing with excessive noise that’ll blow your cover. Make sure you carefully read the product description of any grow box you’re considering.
As far as light, grow boxes will usually be outfitted with their own. If they’re not, just go with some LEDs. You also won’t have to worry about choosing between soil and hydroponic systems, as grow boxes will be outfitted for one or the other.
They’re also fitted with odour-absorbing gels and/or carbon filtration systems, so the smell will be less of an issue. It’ll come with a fan system as well, so you just have to make sure you pick a model with quieter ones. Don’t get fans that are too weak, though, as heat will be the main issue you face with growing boxes.
Naturally, this will be one of the more expensive options on this list, but it’ll be worth it. You won’t have nearly as much of a headache setting things up, and you’ll know it’s optimised for what you’re trying to do.
Growing Weed in a Small Grow Tent
Similar to grow boxes, grow tents are made to house developing cannabis plants. You’ll be able to find them in any size, and there are cheap and expensive options alike. Really, it’ll come down to a balance of budget and desired quality.
It won’t come with lights and fans, but it’ll be designed to fit them with ease. As a result, they’ll often end up cheaper than grow boxes overall. As we suggested for the other setups, LEDs will work perfectly, as they don’t run too hot and often come with a switch to tailor the light spectrum to the stage of growth. Your choice of growing medium will also come down to personal preference.
Odour control, as with the other factors, won’t be included with the grow tent, so you’ll have to get some gels for the inside.
Other than that, we’d just say you should try getting one with waterproof flooring, and consider options with tool pouches for convenient access.
Selecting the right lighting
Lighting is an important factor that needs to be worked on to ensure that your cannabis plant grows properly and healthy. There are a lot of arguments as to what specific lighting should be used for a micro set up. For a micro-grow setup, excessive lighting, heat, and lighting that is very close to the plant cover can seriously damage the plant and even cause it to wilt. The majority of the lighting systems that you can find are specifically made or calibrated for large scale setups. Thus, these systems produce too much heat that your micro setup cannot handle.
Luckily, the excess heat can be reduced by the use of proper ventilation and cooling methods, however, this can only be used to a certain extent, so it means it’s not a perfect fix. Thus, micro-growers are left with a few options, read on for the list of effective lighting for a micro grow setup:
This lighting system has stood the test of time and has continually served its purpose effectively for indoor growing setup, this system provides a large amount of heat that will surely supply your plant’s needs. As a reminder, only use an HPS lamp that will not exceed 250 watts because it will toast your plants. 250 watts or lower are the best for 1.5 meters or lower sized growing areas. Please take note that excess heat can cause stress to the plant, if the current HPS setup you have does not help the plant to grow exponentially, try a combination of LED and CFLS, these types of lights do not generate too much heat.
These types of lighting are commonly used in offices which are also known as fluorescent tubes. CFLs do not produce a lot of heat, however, they are less effective than HPS bulbs and they can be placed nearer the plant covers. The good thing about these lights is that they are very low priced. These lights are specifically used in the vegetation phase of the plant and eventually must be changed as the plant needs a different heat requirement at every stage. Take note! A blue light gamut is effective at the vegetation phase while red light gamut is good for the blooming stage.
The LED lighting industry has become a major player that provides a lot of product offerings. This solves the excessive heat production of conventional lighting setups. LEDs provide a wider light gamut and also provide a variety of colors that HPS and CFL can, however, it does not provide a lot of heat. However it is not budget-friendly, its utility advantages come with a price since LEDs are not cheap, so this setup is not for a super tight budget.
For more information about lighting, see our cannabis lighting guide.
Important Factors in Micro Grow: Water, Soil and Air
Proper ventilation is very important when cultivating the cannabis plants, this can reduce the possibility of having cannabis mold that can destroy the quality of the weed. The best thing that you can use to manage the airflow or ventilation is computer fans, these fans can be managed with the use of the computer. These fans can be easily set up, they are small which will not take up much space, they are also silent and efficient when it comes to electricity consumption.
You may also set up an exhaust fan on top of the growing area and leave an intake valve or opening at the bottom part of the setup. This type of setup will enable the plant to have proper ventilation, the exhaust fan will expel the heat coming from the lighting while the lower valve will allow fresh air to enter, the combination of the cool air will give the plant the necessary CO₂ levels it needs. If you still have an extra budget, you can add an intake fan on the lower valve to make the set up more effective.
Also, consider the humidity level on your grows area, your cannabis plant may or may not require a lot of watering regularly.
Your soil choice is also important for the optimal growth of the plant. The soil should be rich in nutrients and must absorb and drain water well. Any soil that turns out to be muddy or has clay cannot be used.
The Right Selection of Strain
If you are a newbie in the industry, you must know that not all strains or varieties of cannabis are suited for the micro growing scale. The majority of the sativa strains can exponentially grow very tall that cannot work on a micro-grow setup, these often double their size when in the blooming phase.
The best strain that can be used is the autoflowering and indica variety. It is very seldom for these strains to double their size even when in the blooming phase. Even though it is small in size, it is still bushy which allows it to produce a lot of yields. Also, the growth cycle of these strains is faster compared to others, which can enable you to gain your capital back and perhaps give you profit as well.
These are the simple tips and considerations if you are into developing your micro-grow. There are still many things that need to be considered, but we do hope that you got the basics. Now it is entirely up to you on how you will develop your setup even more.