The best LED grow lights in the market today are about 75-80% more efficient than traditional HIDs, which, along with their compact size, low heat and power consumption and high durability make them top candidates for growing marijuana indoors.
Whether you are a professional marijuana grower wishing to shift from traditional lighting to LED lighting or an amateur hobbyist who wishes to grow the plant in his closet, you need to follow some basic steps to ensure a high and satisfying yield. What are these steps?
Marijuana can be grown using both hydroponics and traditional soil. The latter is advisable for beginners, and hence, we have confined ourselves to this method in this article.
Choosing Your Grow Room
If you’re new to marijuana growing, you would want to choose a grow room that is secluded and even concealed, given the societal disapproval surrounding the growing of the plant.
Ideally, choose a room that is dry all year round, does not have too many windows (which you will need to board up anyway) and comes with sufficient circuitry to support the electrical needs of the LED lights (and any other equipment you may wish to install).
Marijuana produces a rather thick foliage, so it is ideal to consider them in the category of plants that require decent amount of space to allow the LED light to reach the entire leaf surface. Divide your grow room into grids depending on the number of plants you wish to grow.
Choosing Your LED Grow Light
Once the grid is ready, decide how much luminosity you would require per grid unit. Ideally, a few grid squares should be left for growing mature marijuana with LED grow lights, while a few should be left for smaller plants.
Many amateur growers make the mistake of exposing infant saplings to 1000W or higher LED grow lights, causing them to wither away under the high luminosity.
Once you have decided the luminosity needed, purchase one LED grow light or more to cater to it.
Mind you, there is no direct relationship between the rise in wattage and the rise in luminosity (as there is in case of HIDs), so scaling up the power may not give proportionate increase in light output.
Instead, read LED grow light reviews in detail before purchasing a certain product. Further, choose grow lights that can be easily dimmed and come with separate LED bulbs for red and blue lights.
Once you’ve chosen the LED grow lights, install them in a manner that allows for some flexibility with regard to moving them in case priorities change. Make sure there are no hanging wires, nor any wires criss-crossing on the floor.
Choosing The Soil And Pots
Marijuana grows best in organic soil that is rich in lignite, bat guano, worm castings, Epsom salts and rock phosphate.
Once you have mixed them in a decent proportion, you will be required to find pots that can hold the soil. Choose smaller pots for saplings and larger ones for the mature plants.
The First Few Weeks Of Growing Marijuana With LED Grow Lights
Place either seeds or small saplings in the pots and keep them under the blue LED grow light.
Moisten the soil about twice a day, but ensure that there is no standing water in the pot. Standing water is conducive to growth of fungi which may ruin the crop.
Also, observe the plants at regular intervals of 6 hours or so to ensure proper functioning of the LED grow lights.
Maturing Marijuana Plants
As the plants gradually mature, they will develop a thick foliage. About 2-3 weeks into the growth cycle, transfer them to bigger pots and place them under a more powerful LED grow light/s.
Since only the top canopy gets the light, it is futile to have leaves near the base. Trim these off and keep removing them as the plant grows taller and the canopy widens.
Further, make sure that the plant leaves are well spaced out and are receiving the lighting adequately. If any are not and cannot be positioned to receive it, they should be removed at the earliest.
About 1-2 months down the line, when you have a nice thick canopy, you can consider trying out the SOG (Sea of Green) or ScROG (Screen of Green) techniques.
The latter is easier, involving using a string mesh to spread the leaves in a spacious manner. When the new branches arise or older ones extend, they should be bent further to ensure sufficient space for all.
Harvesting Your Cannabis
When your plant is about a month and a half old, start checking for thin white crystal-like items on the external surface of the buds. These are trichomes, and actually produce the resins needed.
Examining under a microscope, figure out whether they are clear (unripe), milky or cloudy white (ripe) or amber( disintegrating). Avoid turning the trichomes a dark shade of amber, as this will produce a less potent cannabis harvest.
Once you’re ready to harvest, begin flushing out excess nutrients about a week in advance.
This allows the plant to consume its reserve nutrients, which should not be present in the leaves prepared for the smoke.
Once signs of nutrient deficiency start to show, cut off the LED grow lights and start cutting the stems in V-shaped configurations. Cutting them in this manner helps in drying them.
Once you’ve dried the stems, cut out the relevant plant parts (buds/leaves), dry them again and prepare yourself for a satisfying smoke!