Cannabis is a remarkable plant, it can be grown in a wide range of conditions and in a large number of different substrates from natural soil to synthetic materials. It can be grown indoors, outdoors, in a greenhouse or polytunnel. But what about people with hardly any free space, how can cannabis be grown in very small places?
“Micro growers’ is the name given to people that have mastered the art of growing cannabis in really small places. No space is too small, people successfully grow cannabis inside PC cases, behind the sofa, in the small cupboard under the stairs and even under the bed. Cannabis is versatile enough to grow in very small places, all you need to do is supply the right conditions and follow a few basic rules.
The best grow lights to use in small places.
Perhaps the first rule of micro growing is to understand that things need to be done a little bit differently. A 600W HPS light produces too much heat to be used in small places, growing in a small place means that you will need to consider other lighting options. You need to make sure that your plants can grow reasonably close to your light. Some of the new compact fluorescent light bulbs are pretty powerful and allow the plants to grow within a few centimetres of the light. This helps allow you to create a compact grow room where all the space is used. One of the issues with a high powered traditional sodium light is that cannabis suffers heat stress if it gets within e.g. 30 cm of the light. Compact fluorescent grow-lights are often 100W-200W, they are not expensive and can be bought from many grow shops. They can be bought in Blue-spectrum light which is good for veg and red spectrum which is good for flowering.
LED is a low-heat lighting technology which can be used to grow cannabis in small places. Be careful not to use too much LED light, some of the modern LEDs are now just as powerful as HPS and can ‘bleach’ the plant leaves/buds if they are too close.
HPS lights can be used in small grow spaces, the most common HPS lights used in micro-growing are the low powered HPS lights such as 100W – 250W versions . Obviously these will not allow you to grow a 2 metre monster with 500 grams of buds. But remember the micro grower is looking to produce a small plant. Small plants do not need massive grow lights, in fact smaller lights will make it easier to keep the grow compact and it minimises the amount of heat that you need to deal with as well as simplifying the design of your micro grow box.
Favourite types of small scale cannabis grows.
The only limit is your imagination. An old fridge can be bought cheaply and converted into a small grow box, you just need a few basic DIY skills to install a grow light and an air-extraction point. Many people have converted an old PC case into a grow box. A PC case is best used with either LED or compact fluorescent bulbs which do not require much space. PC cases also have in-built fans which can be used to allow ventilation. One of the advantages of small scale indoor cannabis growing is that people would never guess you have cannabis plants growing inside a fridge, an old TV cabinet, a converted wardrobe or an old chest of drawers. If you prefer you can also buy small grow tents which are less than 1m tall, normally these are designed for growing small cannabis seedlings. Small purpose designed grow tents may not be as stealthy as an old fridge, but small grow tents are ready to use immediately and come with all the necessary points for electrical supply and air extraction.
Controlling odour is one of the difficult aspects of small-scale growing. Normally the golden rule of indoor cannabis growing is that a carbon filter is absolutely essential, no exceptions allowed. However, micro growers often do not have the space to use a full size carbon filter and extraction fan combo. A small cannabis plant does not create the same powerful stench as a tent full of mature 1.5 metre Skunk plants, and some micro growers take the risk of growing without odour control if they have a well ventilated room for their micro grow. Some micro growers try to manage without a traditional full size fan/filter combination, even though this can be risky. Other micro growers find imaginative ways to use small carbon filters, or they will adapt carbon filters designed for removing smells from kitchen ovens.
Growing your plants.
Growing in small containers (e.g. 1-2 litres) of soil is often the easiest way to cultivate small indoor cannabis plants. Hydroponic techniques are often too complicated and require too much space. By growing in a small container the plant will remain a small size, restricted by the available root space. However, the plant may still grow too tall and may require regular tying down to prevent excessive vertical growth, regular tying down is sometimes essential to keep the plant small enough to fit inside your micro grow room. This can be fiddly work, but it can be one of the requirements of micro-growing.
Which types of cannabis to grow – auto or photoperiod?
Both autos or photoperiod varieties can be grown in small areas. Some micro-growers prefer to work with autos since they allow more flexibility, for example the best quality autos from the better seed banks can be grown under 24 hours of light from start to finish. This can make it simpler for the grower – no timer switch is required to turn the lights on and off. However, plenty of self-sufficient micro growers also work with photoperiod varieties and get great results. Indica varieties are often the best, they grow into short stocky plants and are more suitable for micro-growing than a stretchy sativa. Some micro growers like to grow photoperiod varieties, often they grow them under 12/12 light from start to finish to keep the plants as small as possible.
What can you expect to get from micro growing?
A lot depends on the type of grow conditions you can supply. The harvest quantities may be small from a short plant, but the quality of the cannabis should still be good, especially with quality original genetics. Lots of people grow successfully in very small places, they get good quality cannabis and often they can grow continuously by starting new plants as soon as they harvest a mature plant. Even if you have a small growing area you can still produce your own top quality cannabis. If you are planning a micro grow then do some research on the internet, you will be surprised at how many people have made a success out of it.