Growing cannabis can come with its own unique set of challenges, from dealing with pesky plant pests and problems like mildew, to purchasing new equipment that won’t raise red flags in less-than-legal states. However, if you take a look around your house and particularly in your kitchen cabinet, you might be surprised at the simple household items you already own that could help tackle common cannabis-growing issues.
While problems with your grow are never welcome, the surprising upside of using at-home found objects rather than store-bought items means you know exactly what you’re putting into your grow, every step of the way. So the next time a simple problem pops up, why not try one of these DIY fixes!
Problem: White, Powdery Mildew
Mildew is a pain to deal with, because it’s life-threatening for your plants and can be dangerous for growers and consumers as well. Ingesting plants that have this fungal disease impacts the taste of your bud and can be a real health risk, causing illness including respiratory infections and lung diseases.
DIY Solution: Apple Cider Vinegar & Baking Soda
There are many homemade fixes you can find right in your kitchen pantry that will solve the common problem of white, powdery mildew. In life, apple cider vinegar seems to be the quick-fix solution to everything, and it’s no different when it comes to your cannabis grow.
Attack your powdery mildew problem with a mixture of two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and one quart of water. Don’t overdo the vinegar, as too much will burn the plants. Spray your leaves fully with the liquid, 2–3 times a week. Baking soda (and its chemical cousin potassium bicarbonate) also make for a powerful punch when it comes to combating powdery mildew. Check out cannabis pioneer Ed Rosenthal’s recipe that combines baking soda — and milk!
If you’ve had powdery mildew in the past and want to ensure it stays away for good, consider spraying neem oil (something I keep in my bathroom cabinet as it also helps with poison ivy rashes) on your young plants. While neem oil might not be as effective at combating a full-blown case of fungus, it will prevent it from even starting in the first place.
If your marijuana plants are under an all-out fungal attack, check out our complete guide to stopping powdery mildew on your plants for more information.
Problem: You’ve Run Out Of Nutrients
Before it was time to reorder or restock your nutrients, you’ve suddenly found yourself in that annoying predicament in which your vitamin stocks are completely depleted. Is there anything from around the house that you can feed your plants in a pinch to keep them healthy and strong until you’re able to hit up your nutrients provider? Why yes, yes there is.
DIY Solution: Eggshells And Urine
While not the long-term fix for administering your plants the essential nutrients and minerals they need to thrive and survive, there are a number of household items that can substitute for nutrients on the fly. The next time you make an omelette, don’t toss those eggshells! High in calcium, eggshells can easily substitute as a cannabis fertilizer by crushing and adding them to your plant’s soil, or by adding the shells to boiling water to make a tea.
If you’re a bit of a sweet tooth and happen to have molasses in the pantry, you can use it to make your soil nutrient-rich. If all else fails, and you’re absolutely out of everything, use your own urine. Yes, diluted urine — which is rich in phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium — does indeed make for a decent stand-in fertilizer when it comes to the crunch.
However, these life hacks are not a permanent nutrients solution, and you should always ensure you have ready access to good-quality, cannabis-specific nutrients.
Problem: Ran Out Of Cloning Solution
What happens when you just have to make a clone right this second and can’t get to the store or wait for your delivery to ship? Believe it or not, there is a life hack that will provide you a positive result.
DIY Solution: Make Your Own Cloning Gel
A common household plant holds the secret to this quick fix. Slice right into an aloe plant leaf and dip the tip of your clone into the fresh, nutrient-packed, viscous liquid before planting it. You can also make a “smoothie” out of aloe leaves and a little water. Let the tips of your clones soak in it for a couple hours before planting.
Problem: Need New Potting Plants
As you keep cloning and growing, you’re going to want more containers or indoor housing solutions for your plants. If you’d rather not splash out on a grow tent, grow box or fancy, store-bought containers — or are worried that the purchase of these items could alert authorities that you’re a cannabis grower — this is one area of growing where you can save on costs by cutting corners with a clever life hack.
DIY Solution: Space Buckets
Yes, there are a ton of amazing products out there aimed at small-scale cannabis growers. Many of these devices have awesome gadgets and gizmos, and are great for more experienced or adventurous cultivators. If you’re just starting out, or wanting to expand without investing your savings in ancillary systems, homemade planting buckets are very easy to use, and chief among them is the Space Buckets revolution.
In a nutshell, Space Buckets are not just a flexible and adaptable indoor gardening solution, but an entire DIY gardening movement that even has its own dedicated Space Bucket subreddit.
These self-contained and enclosed grow chambers can easily be made by stacking multiple plastic containers (typically a 5-gallon bucket), one in the other, and affixing your lighting and airflow systems to said bucket with wires, tape or zip ties. While the grow chamber is sealable, it’s easily opened for maintenance or to access the plants inside.
While you may not have access to every item on the Space Bucket list, once you do purchase parts, you’ll be able to make many configurations that should last over several harvests.
And remember, the best way to unearth new and inventive cannabis cultivation life hacks is to share the information, so make sure you share this post with your cannabis community, and happy hacking!