Confessions of a Beginner Marijuana Grower: How Much Does It Cost to Grow a Marijuana Plant?


Posted by Gary Anderson | 26940 views
By Gary Anderson

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Saving money growing marijuana makes cents, but may not make sense.
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" Some call marijuana a “weed,” but it doesn’t grow like a weed—it needs your attention and care. "

For many of us who start growing marijuana, we get schooled early on the fact that growing potent marijuana takes skill, time, and investment.

Some people think marijuana is an easy-to-grow weed so all we do is plant the seed, add water and light, and then in a few weeks we harvest and toke the weed we need.

But you can read my series of “Beginner” marijuana cultivation articles to see what happens when a lack of knowledge, investment and materials leads to inevitable marijuana cultivation problems.

It’s like playing a guitar or learning to write computer code- when you first start out, you make mistakes and have to gain knowledge. You’re going to stumble.

With a marijuana grow op, the stakes are higher and different, because you’re dealing with a living thing that is either going to get what it needs, or it’s going to get sick and not give you the large harvest you want.

My first plant was a Hawaiian Snow x Chocolope plant that grew strong and fast during veg phase and for the first couple of weeks of bloom phase.

I was growing in Fox Farm soil that had been slightly amended with an organic 2-2-2 supplement, providing only water and light. I was not adding nutrients to my water.

In the second week of bloom phase the plant started showing signs of nutrients deficiencies. The first deficiency was sulfur. Then came deficiencies of calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

I was operating with a mindset that said don’t spend any money or much time on this, let’s see how cheap you can grow and still get good bud.

But I was forced to buy Epsom salts, which cured the sulfur deficiency. Then I got some sample packs of Roots Organic Bloom dry mix. The plant still had problems.

I got General Hydroponics calcium-magnesium, and some Fox Farm Tiger Bloom and Big Bloom. I also flushed the root zone. But nothing fixed the problems. The plant limped along. The bud development was weak and slow, and my leaves were telling me that the plant was in trouble.

Even though I had started out with the slacker attitude of not doing much work, and not spending hardly any money or time on my grow, the problems caught my attention and obsessed me.

Why? I don’t like to fail. I don’t like to be ignorant. I don’t like to start something and see it fall apart.

My marijuana plant was like a daughter to me by then, and I was watching her waste away before my very eyes!

All that kind bud I was counting on, it was slipping away. I had believed I was going to escape paying $400 an ounce for my buds. That I was going to spend a few dollars on Fox Farm Ocean Forest, a container, a T5 light, and grow several ounces of kind bud.

I wasn’t going to spend hardly any money on hydroponics nutrients or hydroponics gear, but I was still going to grow a lot of hard THC nugs that would get me very stoned.

Speaking of marijuana grow lights, one thing I did wrong is I kept on using the T5 as my only indoor grow light.

I had a “warm” T5 high output bulb meant for bloom phase, and as the outdoor weather got cold, my plant was getting hardly any sunlight and more and more T5 light.

But as I got several weeks into bloom phase, and was discussing my crop problems with the hydro store guy, he suddenly asked: “Are you still using only the T5 and sunlight?”

When I said yes, he explained to me that not only was my marijuana plant starving of nutrients, it was starving of light too.

So far, I’d spent less than $140. I wondered if my emphasis on spending as little money as possible might have been self-defeating.

I would stand there looking at my poor marijuana plant, feeling guilty for what I’d deprived it of, and angry that unless I spent money on a stronger grow light and figured out how to feed the plant right, I was not going to get a successful harvest.

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Photography by Copyright, Gary Anderson, 2012
Article by Gary Anderson, on Sep. 24th 2012

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