The Wonders Of Micro Growing – High Quality Cannabis In Tiny Spaces
You probably thought about growing your own weed sometimes, but concluded that it’s too much of a hassle? Look no further, micro growing has everything you’re looking for and more.
As cannabis and its cultivation is more popular than ever and it seems that trend won’t stop soon, we see more and more people wanting to grow their own cannabis. Most beginners to growing don’t have the necessary experience or knowledge to start a full-blown indoor or outdoor growing operation, so they opt for a simpler option – a micro grow. Take a couple of seeds and plant them in a cupboard or a similarly small space, trying to get the best possible results of it – or in other words – micro growing. It is a natural way for beginner growers to get that needed experience and to experiment with no fear of ruining a big and expensive operation. This article will cover the basics of micro growing and the differences between it and a standard indoor grow, so let’s get started.
THE BASICS AND THE DIFFERENCES
Micro growing would best be described as a process of growing a small batch of cannabis in a limited space, trying to get the best possible results. That being said, micro growing is a type of indoor growing, just smaller in proportions. The main difference between a micro grow and a usual indoor grow is exactly that – the amount of space. Due to the lack of space, all the other basic aspects of cannabis growing – light, water and air supply, soil, the choice of strains – differ slightly from your regular indoor grow. Almost any space you imagine can be used for micro growing, from cupboards to computer cases. The main idea (and challenge) is to create the optimum conditions for your plants to thrive in that space.
CHOOSING A SUITABLE STRAIN
When it comes to micro growing, choosing the right strain is very important due to the limited space available. One of the things to watch out for is the height of your cannabis strain. Sativas grow higher and more slender than indicas, which tend to be short and bushy.
Furthermore, during the flowering phase sativas undergo a 200-300% increase in height, while Indicas increase only by 50-100%, which shows that indicas are more compatible with micro growing.
Another reasonable option would be autoflowering strains. No matter what the conditions, autoflowering strains stay small due to their genetics (a great many of them even smaller than indicas) and aren’t dependent on the light regime, which means they will have a shorter harvest time.
Most plants you see occupy the same volume beneath the ground as above. The reason behind this is because the root system is vitally important to a plant, being the part of the plant where it takes up nutrients and water. The amount of space occupied by a plant’s root system has a great influence on the plant’s size. We can use this correlation to our advantage as micro growing is concerned. The volume of the pot you use to grow your plant in is directly related to how large the plant will grow. To give you an impression:
- Around 12 liters and more: average plant height
- Around 5 liters: height of plant up to 60cm
- Around 2-3 liters: height up to 24cm
- Around ½ liter: height up to 13cm
A thing to note is that due to the small quantity of soil your plants will need more fertilizer and water than regular plants.
You can’t grow cannabis at all without light and you can’t grow good quality cannabis without proper lighting. Choosing the optimal lighting for your micro grow is an important decision and you have a variety of lamps to choose from – fluorescent tubes, CFL (energy-saving lamps), HPS, HPI and LED bulbs. When choosing a lighting you got to keep an eye out for the wattage and the heat the lighting produces. When it comes to wattage, an average of 400W is required for a square meter.
HPS and HPI lamps are the go-to lightings of indoor growers because of their high light output and 400W is lightweight for this kind of lamps. But, the problem with this kind of lighting is that it produces excess heat, which especially won’t help with your micro grow. Due to the lack of space things get very hot very quickly and your plants will be in danger of drying out.
But, fear not, this is one of the reasons we have fluorescent tubes and CFLs. They are very similar and both have a great light output, don’t dissipate much heat and are available in different light colours. You can help your cannabis plant with different light colours – a plant in the vegetative state needs more blue light, while a flowering plant requires more red light.
And at last, LED lamps. A good choice for micro growing, because they have a wide light spectrum and virtually don’t heat at all, but they come with a hefty price and may not be suitable if you’re planning a certain budget.
AIR AND WATER SUPPLY
As with light, your plants can’t live and grow without water and air. Having a good and clean ventilation and water supply system is a necessity for any grow, including micro grows.
The movement of air is necessary to a grow, because CO2-rich air is quickly depleted and that is a requirement for your plant’s photosynthetic process, which causes new plant cells to grow. The heated air due to the lighting needs to get out of the grow too, as it dries out the plants. Usually, table fans are used in indoor grows, combined with ventilation systems, but that is probably not practical for your micro grow. A neat solution is a computer fan. You put one at a low point that will act as your intake fan and put another one in a higher position to act as an exhaust fan. This way, as heat rises, the hot air will come out first, replacing it with cooler and fresher air. Don’t forget to use some kind of filters on the fans which will help you battle unwanted pests and odors.
Watering your micro grow becomes tricky after a while, as the plants become bushier and expand in width. You will need to use a small water system or make the grow accessible from the side to water your plants from the bottom. Don’t forget that plants in micro grow need more water than plants in regular grows, as they have less root space.
It was mentioned before, that space is the main difference between micro growing and a regular indoor grow. This lack of space usually calls for shorter and bushier plants, which is shown in the choosing of the right strain. There are other ways to influence a plants growth, such as various growing techniques: topping, super cropping,screen of green (ScrOG) and low stress training (LST).
Topping is the process of cutting off the very top of the plant, which stimulates the plant to grow new secondary branches. This way, the plant grows in width and not height, growing in a bush-like shape and creating more buds. Super cropping (or HST – high stress training) on the other hand, requires you to break the stem of the main branch. This technique needs to be done carefully. You need to break the stem in such a way, that the plant thinks it is gone for good and starts growing side branches, but not completely, so that the main branch can recover and grow to a smaller height.
The ScrOG technique requires you to put a mesh wire screen between the soil and the light source. Once the branches grow through the screen, you can tie them to the screen to force them to grow horizontally, hence the name. With ScrOG you manage the height of the plant and all the tops get the same light. LST is a somewhat similar technique, where you tie your plants higher branches to the soil, forcing the plant to grow side branches and more colas, with the end result being a higher yield in a smaller space, perfect for micro growing.
Beginner growers need to know that a micro grow isn’t a worthy substitute for a real indoor or outdoor grow. But, it is perfect as a starting point to develop that green thumb and to learn about the important things you need for a good cannabis grow. Feel free to try out and experiment with new strains, techniques and instruments, as long as you treat your plants with care. The whole process of growing a plant is a reward in itself, not to mention the harvest, so what are you waiting for?
3 GREAT STRAINS FOR MICRO GROWING
1. ROYAL DWARF
Royal Dwarf truly is a miniature cannabis specimen that can remain at tiny sizes of 40cm tall when trained in the ways mentioned above. This plant was bred for one reason and one reason only: stealth. Growers can easily cultivate multiple Royal Dwarf plants in their home without a single suspicion being raised. She can easily be grown within modified kitchen cupboards, wardrobes, boxes, and computer towers. Small LED lights can also be used within these tiny spaces to avoid giving off too much heat. Royal Dwarf is essentially the autoflowering version of the legendary Skunk, and was made using a Skunk strain along with a specific ruderalis cultivar. She offers stimulating but subtle sativa highs fuelled by THC quantities of 13%. She can therefore be smoked all day long whilst allowing the user to stay on top of their game and not get too high. Her small yet compact flowers offer sweet and citrus tastes.
Royal Dwarf will be ready to harvest a mere 8–9 weeks after seeds have been germinated. Plants grown indoors will provide yields of up to 200g/m² and won’t exceed 70cm in height. Plants grown outdoors within garden beds or guerrilla grow spots will produce harvests of 30–80g/plant and reach heights of between 50–90cm.
You want to start your own cannabis grow? Micro growing is a perfect way to start learning about growing cannabis and experimenting on your own terms.
10 Fast-Growing Cannabis Flowers for Impatient Gardeners
Growing cannabis can be an arduous process. Beyond the space, materials, and nutrients needed, time and light are the most essential ingredients in the cannabis cultivation equation. But what if you’re impatient or short on time? Is there a way to speed up the growing process?
Historically, black market growers would seek out or hybridize strains to harness attributes that catered to their surreptitious needs. These plants would usually be short and stalky with larger-than-average yields, and in some instances they would be autoflowering (such as a ruderalis hybrid). They were designed to be fast-flowering for both a quick turnover and so they could be easily relocated from time to time.
The fast-flowering cannabis strains listed below are now emerging for professional and hobby growers to utilize. They’re perfect for novice growers as well as set-it-and-forget-it growers who want to squeeze out a harvest with little time to spare. The list includes a mixture of both photoperiod and autoflowering varieties so you can find the perfect plants for your setup.
Wondering if you can legally grow in your state? Check our state-by-state guide to home cultivation laws to find out.
Photoperiod Strains That Grow Quickly (7-9 Weeks)
Lowryder is a hybrid strain that was inbred for nine generations by Joint Doctor Seeds to give it a dwarfed size. Growing no more than 16 inches tall, it’s the cannabis equivalent of a bonsai for the discrete grower’s windowsill or balcony. Lowryder’s small size comes from a species of cannabis ruderalis crossed with Northern Lights #2 and then William’s Wonder. Consumers, be patient with this strain: its medicinal and cerebrally stimulating effects have a slow but powerful onset. A mild earthy aroma radiates from the small, conic buds which autoflower in a short 40 to 45 days. Lowryder is a stalwart plant that can survive in harsh, colder climates, making it a popular strain in northern regions like Finland and Canada.
Critical Kush from Barney’s Farm is a mostly indica strain that blends together two famed cannabis staples, Critical Mass and OG Kush. Aromatic notes of earthiness and spice usher in a calming sensation that relaxes the mind and body. Critical Kush pairs a staggeringly high THC content with a moderate dose of CBD, making this strain a perfect nighttime medication for pain, stress, insomnia, and muscle spasms. Growers cultivating this strain indoors will wait 50 to 60 days for Critical Kush to complete its flowering cycle.
Early Girl is the wallflower of cannabis strains since its introduction in the 1980s. Lovingly preserved by the breeders at Sensi Seeds, this strain is lazy and relaxed, nothing over the top. A 75/25 indica-dominant hybrid, Early Girl is a good one for those new to cannabis who would like relief from stress. Also a great strain for novice growers, it’s compact, resilient, and has a particularly short flowering time of 7 to 8 weeks. Early Girl grows especially well outdoors, but won’t put up a fuss if she’s stuck inside.
OG Kush makes up the genetic backbone of West Coast cannabis varieties, but in spite of its ubiquity, its genetic origins remain a mystery. Popular myth maintains that Chemdawg and Hindu Kush parented OG Kush, passing on the distinct “kush” bud structure we see in many strains today. However, we can’t be sure because OG Kush first came from bag seed in the early 90s. The earliest propagators (now known as Imperial Genetics) are said to have brought the seeds out of Florida to Colorado and southern California, where it now flourishes. There are many different phenotypes of OG Kush, some of which include Tahoe OG, SFV OG, and Alpha OG.
OG Kush is cherished for its ability to crush stress under the weight of its heavy euphoria. It carries an earthy pine and sour lemon scent with woody undertones, an aroma that has become the signature of OG Kush varieties and descendants. With OG Kush, patients most commonly cite improvements in migraines, ADD/ADHD, and stress disorders.
Superglue is a hybrid strain bred by Seedism Seeds. A cross between Afghani and Northern Lights, Superglue inherits indica growth patterns along with a sweet caramel and pine aroma. Superglue brings calming relaxation to the mind and body, but leaves you functional and energetic enough for social activities or a productive afternoon.
Autoflowering Strains That Grow Quickly (7-12 Weeks)
Red Dwarf is a rarer strain of cannabis that is an autoflowering plant. This trait comes from its cannabis ruderalis genetics, which is a third variety of the plant that’s usually not bred due to its lower THC content. The wonders of selective breeding from Buddha Seeds have resulted in seeds that grow to adulthood in an incredibly short six weeks. This strain’s squat, small plants are easy to grow in smaller spaces, making it a popular choice for growers who want something simple and fast. Indica-dominant, Red Dwarf will eventually make you sleepy, but not without some relaxed euphoria first.
Hobbit by Kannabia Seeds is a resilient autoflowering variety with sweetness and strong elemental resistance. This strain has a sweet aroma that has been described as “strawberry candy” and an equally sweet smoke with latent earthy notes. Hobbit deftly combines stimulating Haze elements with a pervasive body buzz that is lightly weighted while remaining pleasant and functional. Many growers covet this autoflowering wonder for its quick 65-day flowering time and above-average yield.
White Ryder is Riot Seeds’ attempt to create a ruderalis version of White Widow by crossing Buddha Seeds’ White Dwarf against Lowryder. By blending two stout, autoflowering plants, Riot Seeds created a potent indica-dominant hybrid that finishes in under 80 days and can easily be hidden from view. Enjoy this flower for anti-anxiety and sleep-inducing effects.
Purple Cheese is an indica-dominant autoflowering hybrid that combines Purple #1, Blue Cheese, and Lowryder. Bred by Auto Seeds, Purple Cheese was designed to have a sweeter, less cheesy flavor than its Blue Cheese parent. It does, however, inherit a tight bud structure and a high CBD profile. With a palatable fruit aroma, Purple Cheese delivers powerful full-body effects best suited for night owls or patients treating pain. Colder climates will bring out this hybrid’s purple hues, and for best results, growers should keep this autoflowering variety between 50-80 cm in height.
Royal Haze (or Royale Haze) by Dinafem Seeds is a mostly sativa strain bred from Skunk, Haze, and Northern Lights genetics. Taking after her Haze parent, this sativa inherits a spicy citrus flavor and buzzing, energetic effects that keep you alert and productive throughout the day. Outdoor growers will appreciate her flexibility and resilience even when the temperature drops, although her 10-11 week flowering cycle demands a bit of patience.
An autoflowering rendition of Royal Haze was bred by Royal Queen Seeds, who mixed Amnesia Haze, Skunk, and a ruderalis strain. Its effects are similarly energizing and cerebral.
These fast-flowering cannabis strains are perfect for novice growers as well as set-it-and-forget-it growers who want to squeeze out a harvest with little time to spare.