Ever wanted to grow weed, but didn’t know where to get started as a beginner?

Maybe you are thinking about growing good weed yourself. High five to that! I want to help you get there quicker

My name is Travis, and I’m the founder of Smokey Okies Cannabis. My passion is genetics, and all the cool varieties that have been created by the great breeders of past and present.

I am also big supporter of the home grow movement. And the beautiful thing about living in the information age is that you can do it too! Part of our mission at Smokey Okies is to pass on what we have learned.

In this series, we will provide grow tips and other information. To get started, let’s take it from the top and cover the basics in this first article.

The Two Light Stages of Cannabis (And their respective Light Cycles)

Let’s start with the light cycles. If you are brand new to cultivating, then you need to know that cannabis is a photoperiod plant, meaning it has two distinct periods or phases of growth.

The first stage is called the Vegetative Period.  This is where the plant grows but does not bloom or produce flowers. It just grows taller. It remains immature (no flowers or buds).

When growing outdoors, the vegetative period occupies the late spring and summer months, where sunlight occupies more and more of the day. Think about how the sun starts rising a little earlier every day, and sets a little later. During this time, your plant will grow and grow.

The second stage is called the Flowering Period. This is where the plant stops growing bigger, and instead focuses its energy on producing fruit or flowers. When growing outdoors, there occurs a point in Autumn where there the sun eventually sets so early that there is more darkness than light in a 24 hour period. This increased darkness is what triggers the flowering stage.

How to Mimic the Light Cycles to Grow Indoors

So if you want to grow indoors, how do you mimic the Summer and Autumn? By using light timers and different lights.

Let’s say you are growing in a tent. You will place your clones or seedlings in the tent. You do not want to flower these plants yet, because they are too small and do not have the root base to produce decent flowers. First, they need to veg!

So in order to create a vegetative period inside your tent, you need to have more hours of light than darkness per 24 hour period. We recommend 18 hours of light, and six hours of darkness.

Because your plants are small, immature, and new to this world, you don’t want to hit them with a heavy HPS light just yet.  A fluorescent bulb works just fine (and is better on your electric bill!).

The vegetative period is a great time to train and prune your plants. After your plant is about a foot tall, you will notice quite a bit of growth in different branches and leaves. You should prune all the leaves at the bottom to keep everything off the dirt.  You may also top your plant at this time, which we will discuss later in future articles.

You can veg (i.e. use the 18/6 light cycle) for as long as you want, but your plants will only get taller, they will never produce bud. So when you are ready for flower, it’s time to switch light cycles.

Switching to the Flowering Period

When it is time to flower your plants, you will need to change light cycles. At this time, we recommend 12 hours on, 12 hours off. You will also want to beef up your light by using an high powered sodium (HPS) or a high powered LED light.

You can titrate the wattage up over the first couple weeks, in order not to shock or stress the plant. So if your veg lights were 300 watt or 500 watt, start off your flower lights at a higher wattage, but wait a week or two before bumping all the way to 1,000 watts.

How do you know when to switch from Veg to Flower?

If you are growing outdoors, nature does this for you. If you are growing indoors, then you get to decide when your plants should start flowering. But how you decide all depends on your goals and what you want.

When you flip into flower, your plant will double or triple in height. So just know that whatever size plant you end with in veg, you will double or triple that in flower. For now, use this as your guide of how long to keep a plant in veg. Be very mindful of height limitations in your grow space, whether in a tent or a room or a garage. You don’t want your plant growing into the lights!

I hope this was helpful. In the next article, we discuss how to start your marijuana garden with seeds and clones.


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