Confessions of a Beginner Marijuana Grower: Finding the Right Place for Growing Marijuana
Posted by Gary Anderson | October 08 2012 | 14926 views
By Gary Anderson
Choosing a place for growing marijuana takes thought and knowledge.
(Click to enlarge)
When I stepped back and had my Tiger Woods moment after I harvested and smoked the first marijuana plant I ever grew, I knew two things for sure: I had to learn how to do growing marijuana properly, and I wanted to avoid the mistakes I made in my first marijuana grow.
I embarked on a home study program about growing marijuana, and the first thing I tackled was what I considered a crucial fundamental—where should I grow?
Here are the places I considered, and what I learned about each one:
Growing marijuana in a closet: A nice little closet is where many of us start growing marijuana indoors. There are even books with the words closet and marijuana in the title. If you’re growing in an apartment, a closet might be the only place you’ve got. I tried closet growing using CFL, T5 high-output, or a 400-watt HID grow lights, and had problems such as heat, venting, humidity, air movement, not enough space, and lack of headroom. My plants stretched, and the buds were airy. I feel that closets are good for starting seedlings and clones, tiny Sea of Green gardens, or a couple of motherplants. But if you’re wanting to spread your wings as a marijuana grower, you need more room than a closet can give you.
Growing marijuana in a bedroom: You have more square feet, more venting potential and higher headroom. Be sure to remove or cover the carpet or wood floors; add some odor control and venting. But what are you going to do about the bright light emitting from the doorframe? What are you going to say when someone asks you why that one bedroom is always off limits? And remember that infrared radar can detect heat from a bedroom wall, or an attic above a grow op bedroom. Growing marijuana in a regular-sized bedroom can give you some seriously large harvests, and you can use the bedroom’s closet as a clone factory or motherplant chamber.
Growing marijuana in a basement: For a long time, basement growing has been the favorite location of choice for many indoor marijuana growers (except for those who live in places where basements aren’t standard building features). Thick walls, few if any windows, a cooler environment in summer, concrete floors (some with drains), natural gas hook-ups for C02 generators, and enhanced security. Yay for basements! It’s hard for anyone to see infrared leakage when you grow in a basement). What’s the downside? Humidity, molds, and mildews. Basement floors too cold for your marijuana roots. Your water heater and furnace are likely in your basement, so if you need service on them, you might have to break down and hide your grow op. I love basement growing, but I’ve got one complaint: carrying grow equipment and supplies up and down basement stairs isn’t so fun.
Growing marijuana in an attic: Every attic grow I’ve seen has been a disaster for one reason or another. Heat is the obvious problem (think very high venting and air conditioning bills) but how about falling through a ceiling, tripping over electrical wires, falling down the ladder, generating lots of heat that can be seen by infrared detectors, polluting your crops with attic insulation like fiberglass or cellulose, falling down the attic stairs, fighting with rats, raccoons and other critters that love your attic more than you do. This is not to be confused with growing marijuana in a loft, which can be an ideal situation because it’s out of the way and generally not seen by casual guests or other visitors. Lofts can have heat problems, but otherwise, they’re sweet for marijuana growing.
Growing marijuana in a garage, shed, outbuilding, or commercial building: These have good potential, especially if you retrofit them by building a professional grow room inside and adding upgraded electrical support and load capacity. Some people use a generator in these situations, to avoid wires going from your main panel to your outbuildings. The big problem with this approach is ensuring security. It’s harder to monitor out-areas, and because they are on an external wall or separated from your actual house, they can be broken into more easily. It depends on how much land you’ve got, and how much privacy on that land, whether a garage, shed or outbuilding is secure. If you’re growing in an industrial warehouse or similar commercial space, you’ve got all the odor, electricity, and logistical problems that other indoor marijuana growers have, but you have a commercial landlord too, and other tenants are nearby. It’s a recipe for security breaches.
Growing marijuana outdoors: One of my grower friends was proud of his eight foot high security fence because none of his neighbors could see into his back yard where he grew several seasons of tree-like marijuana plants, harvesting an average pound or two per plant. He claims that before he started growing, he studied air traffic maps and spent a lot of time outdoors looking up at the sky to determine that no planes or copters would fly above his property. But he didn’t count on the cable installer who climbed up a utility pole behind his property and saw his plants. Busted. The rule is- if your plants are outdoors and have enough sun hours to grow properly, they can be seen from above. One way to solve this is with an opaque greenhouse, which is like an outdoor grow chamber. However, the opaqueness limits sun, and greenhouses require venting, climate control, and other equipment. You also have a hard time with greenhouse security- if somebody wants to break into a greenhouse, it’s pretty easy.
Growing marijuana in pre-fabricated indoor grow chambers or tents: This is worthy of an entire article so I won’t go into detail right now other than to say some grow tents and grow chambers are sturdy, provide all the spaces you need for venting, and are made from safe materials. Others are cheap pieces of s**t that off-gas poison and can’t hold an HID reflector. But even if you have the perfect pre-fab grow chamber, you still have to figure out where it goes: basement, bedroom, closet?
You’ll note that I haven’t talked about growing marijuana in buried railroad cars or other large containers converted into grow ops. I am a medical grower, not a commercial grower, so I am unfamiliar with those kinds of massive grow ops.
The basic questions you have to ask yourself about where to grow marijuana are specific to your situation. But generic fundamentals are always important…
You want a grow space with enough height and square feet so you can grow large plants if you decide to, or at least to make it worth your while.
Don’t worry, if all you have room for are short plants, that’s ok for closets and other limited spaces.
More fundamentals: air movement, venting, adequate electrical outlets and load capacity, a floor that can’t be damaged by water, and privacy.
You don’t want to choose a rotting, stagnant, infected grow space that’s likely to transfer pests or diseases to your marijuana plants.
Safety first: when you contemplate where in your home or apartment you’re going to grow marijuana, ask yourself whether or not guests will see or smell the grow room.
Is the grow room out of the way, or is it in a place where a child, a repairperson, a nosy relative, or anyone could “mistakenly” open the door or just get curious?
I can’t tell you exactly where you should be growing marijuana, but as a beginner grower who found that using a combination of outdoor sunlight and an indoor T5 closet wasn’t good enough, studying locations was part of my early coursework on becoming a professional marijuana grower.
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Monday, 08 October 2012
Photography by Copyright, Gary Anderson, 2012
Article by Gary Anderson, on Oct. 8th 2012