Tips for Growing in Limited Space

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Growing cannabis with limited space
December 07, 2020
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There are two ways to look at growing marijuana in tight spaces. One is that it is a limitation simply because you do not have another choice. Such a thought can surely evoke negative sentiments, and that is not a good feeling. On the other hand, it can also be a personal choice. Growing a plant or two is all that is needed.

“Micro-growing,” as some people call it, should not be the reason for low-quality harvests. You can think of it as producing the most buds using the least equipment, materials, and plants. Once you understand how to maximize small growing areas, it is still possible for a couple of plants or two to reach their full potential.

Look around your house. Even if you live in a small studio-type apartment, you can always find a little space to grow marijuana. At a minimum, you need 2′ x 2′ x 4′ – that is only 16 cubic feet. For so long, you thought it was impossible. Let the thought of harvesting those luscious buds sink in for a while, and keep reading.

How Can You Boost Marijuana Quality and Yields in Tight Spaces?

Many people, especially beginners, associate high-quality buds and yields with spacious grow rooms, state-of-the-art equipment, high-quality materials, and superior growing techniques. When presented with a small space, the mind’s perception is that it is an impossible endeavor. Even if one pushes through, the results are either unsatisfactory or disastrous. But there are plenty of ways to negate the space limitation – the one glaring disadvantage. You only have to know what to grow and stick to the fundamentals – maintain the perfect environment and coax the plants to be their best.

1. Grow Room

Marijuana grown indoors

Before deciding on anything else, the first thing you want to do is to make sure that you could provide the following:

  • Size. As mentioned earlier, you can grow marijuana as long as you can provide 2′ x 2′ x 4′ growing space. You can buy a compact grow tent for convenience or use an existing part of the house. Usually, that would be an unused closet or cabinet.
  • Electrical. Within the growing space, you will be using artificial lights. Most likely, you are also going to need other equipment requiring electricity – an exhaust fan is one. Hence, you will need to have provisions for the electrical wires and sockets – all adequately insulated and grounded to avoid short-circuiting and fire.
  • Sanitation. Make sure that the growing area is clean and comfortable to keep sterile. Marijuana plants are susceptible to pathogens and pests, no matter how much they have evolved or bred to have resistance. Think through all the routine tasks and make sure you can keep the space tidy. For example, does runoff water drain properly when you irrigate, and can you remove the standing water?
  • Ventilation. When you choose to grow in a cabinet or cupboard, you need to make sure there are ventilation provisions. Fresh air should come in while warm air is expelled. Not only do you need to keep the temperature in check, but an adequate air circulation also helps in controlling moisture level. More importantly, carbon dioxide – which is essential to photosynthesis – gets used up quickly. Bringing in the air from outside replenishes CO2 so that the plants could continue producing sugars and grow.

2. Genetics

Cannabis phenotype

Every square inch counts when space is a premium. It is why in micro-growing, you think of genetics. In particular, choose to grow strains that are small or have a compact structure.

Indica Feminized Seeds

Between the two prominent cannabis species, Indica seeds are generally the better choice. By nature, they are also small enough plants to grow at home even with tight space.

Here are a couple of legendary Indica strains that you should consider.

CRITICAL KUSH

  • Genotype: Indica hybrid
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • THC: 20%
  • Flowering Time: 7-8 weeks; Late September to early October
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Uplifting and euphoric
  • Medical: Depression and stress
  • Buy Critical Kush Feminized Seeds

NORTHERN LIGHTS

  • Genotype: Indica hybrid
  • Height: 3-5 feet
  • THC: 18%
  • Flowering Time: 7-9 weeks
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Psychedelic and couch-locking
  • Medical: Pain and stress
  • Buy Northern Lights Feminized

Sativa Feminized Seeds

Not everyone is a fan of super relaxing, potentially couch-locking strains. If you prefer euphoric cerebral stimulation, then choose Sativa seeds. The old landrace species are tall plants, with some reaching more than 12 feet. But breeders over the decades have created varieties that produce a profound mental experience while growing like Indica.

Try any of these strains:

AMNESIA HAZE

  • Genotype: Sativa hybrid
  • Height: 2.5-4.5 feet
  • THC: 22%
  • Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Energizing and psychedelic
  • Medical: Depression and fatigue
  • Buy Amnesia Haze Feminized Seeds

POWER PLANT

  • Genotype: Sativa hybrid
  • Height: 3-5 feet
  • THC: 15-20%
  • Flowering Time: 7-9 weeks; Mid-October
  • Yield: Heavy
  • Effects: Happy and creative
  • Medical: Depression and stress
  • Buy Power Plant Feminized Seeds

Autoflowering Seeds

Autoflowering seeds have come of age. Several decades ago, the first generations were largely abandoned projects because they lacked potency and yields were notoriously low. But some breeders and ingenious enthusiasts persevered, and with active collaborations sharing knowledge, modern autos are giving their photoperiod kins a run for their money.

Lowryder is the first real auto that broke the barrier, ushering in a new generation of overachieving strains. It is an incredibly small plant that you could even grow by the windowsill. Breeders all over the world have used this plant to produce auto-flower seeds of classic strains.

LOWRYDER AUTO

  • Genotype: Hybrid
  • Height: 1-2 feet
  • THC: 14%
  • Life Cycle: 9 weeks from seed to harvest
  • Yield: Light
  • Effects: Upbeat and creative
  • Medical: Stress and depression
  • Buy Lowryder Autoflower Seeds

Here are other auto-flowering strains you can try. These are among the best photoperiod strains you can buy. The advantage of growing them from auto seeds is their short life cycle. For practically the same time that it takes photoperiods to flower, these small marijuana plants reach harvest period from sprouts. You save several weeks that photos need to go through the seedling and vegetative stages.

NORTHERN LIGHTS AUTO

  • Genotype: Indica hybrid
  • Height: 3-4 feet
  • THC: 18%
  • Life Cycle: 8-9 weeks from seed to harvest
  • Yield: Light
  • Effects: Euphoric and relaxing
  • Medical: Insomnia and depression
  • Buy Northern Lights Autoflower Seeds

GRAPEFRUIT AUTO

  • Genotype: Sativa hybrid
  • Height: 2-3 feet
  • THC: 19%
  • Life Cycle: 8-9 weeks from seed to harvest
  • Yield: Light
  • Effects: Energizing and happy
  • Medical: Depression and stress
  • Buy Grapefruit Autoflower Seeds

3. Lighting

The heart and soul of marijuana cultivation is light. Outdoors, the sun provides the complete spectrum of colors needed for the plants to thrive. On the other hand, you have to provide artificial lights when growing indoors. When growing indoors, choosing the best grow lights is extremely important. The best choice, in this regard, is HPS lamps (MH + HPS). In recent years, though, full-spectrum LED lights have made a significant stride. Fluorescent lamps, mostly for germination and seedling stages, are only used if there is no choice.

Regardless of which type of light you eventually choose to use, be wary of excessive heat in the growing area. Also of utmost importance is monitoring the upper canopy’s proximity to the lamps. Make sure it is not too close, which may cause a burn or heat stress.

Fluorescent Light

In a very tight space, your only choice might be to rely on CFL or T5 lamps. Although not ideal, marijuana plants can still grow and reach full maturity with only this light type.

One advantage of using CFL is that they do not emit as much heat as HID lamps. Hence, they can be positioned closer to the plants – a necessity in tiny growing areas. Its small size gives you the flexibility to better position it to provide the best illumination. T5 uses a little more energy than CFL and is used if you train the plant to grow flat with a broad structure.

HID Light

The gold standard remains HID lights. MH, which emits bluish light, is used during the vegetative stage. Once the plants enter the flowering period, HPS is used. Its reddish light is perfectly suitable for bud development.

HID lamps are powerful, but they do generate plenty of heat. Needless to say, you have to make sure that there is adequate ventilation. The vertical space is also a consideration.

For 4 to 6 plants, you might better off using 600 watts – but that also requires a generous space. That is not possible in tight spaces where you can only grow 1-2 plants.

As a minimum, you should provide 6,000 lumens or about 50 watts of light per square foot. Hence, for a 2′ x 2′ growing area, 250 watts is more than enough. If in case you have a bit higher vertical space (a little higher than four feet) and a 3′ x 3′ area, resist the temptation of choosing 450 watts. Instead, you can augment the grow room with LED or CFL lamps. This way, the entire lighting system will not produce excessive heat.

LED Light

From simple LED lights that you can use as a substitute for T5 or CFL lamps, you also have the option to go for the higher-end full-spectrum LED lamps. The plethora of choices are endless. And because they come in various forms, shapes, and sizes, it is easy to find a suitable one for tight spaces.

LED produces way less heat than HID. That is incredibly beneficial in micro-growing because they can be positioned closer to the upper plant canopy with little chance of causing heat stress or burn. Remember, every inch (as it pertains to height) counts.

Although LED lamps are not likely to cause burns, they may cause bleaching, impairing growth. For a small space, use around 270 watts and no more than 360 watts.

4. Temperature and Humidity

The only difference between growing in a large area and tight space is the number of plants you can grow – and which strain. When it comes to temperature and humidity, the figures are the same. You should still follow the recommended optimum range throughout the life stages, making necessary adjustments, especially on the moisture level. Anything less than ideal can compromise the final yield and the quality of the buds.

A tight space does provide some challenges – one of which is keeping the heat down and maintaining the proper moisture levels. With limited space to maneuver, circulating air in some areas may not be possible – unless you place tiny fans to help move the air.

5. Training

Cannabis Plant Training

You pretty much do not have a choice here. Not that training marijuana plants is a hassle. The work entailed is not that challenging. But the rewards at the end of the endeavor far outweigh any effort you exerted. Already, you have a tight growing space, limiting you to only 1 or 2 small strains. The least that you can do is coax the most THC and buds out of them.

Topping

Topping is the simplest form of training that nearly every home grower practices. It is applicable in micro-grows as well. When you cut off your cannabis plant’s tip, it encourages the plant to grow side branches. Not only do you control its height, but also increase the bud sites for higher yields.

Screen of Green (SCROG)

Besides topping, you can also put the plant under a mesh screen, where a bud pokes through each hole to form an even canopy – this is known as the Screen of Green (SCROG) Method. It eliminates buds in untrained plants receiving inadequate light. Imagine a horizontal layer of buds from one plant alone. That is maximizing yields.

Low-stress Training (LST)

Low-stress Training (LST) is another technique that you can use to encourage the growth of more lateral branches. This simple training method, which entails tying parts of the plants, is one you can perform smoothly but results in excellent yields.

High-stress Training (Super Cropping)

Super cropping is the most aggressive form of training, and one reserved for experienced growers. It involves deliberately injuring plants to trigger a hormonal response that results in bigger, denser, and more potent buds. One thing to remember is that it should never be performed on auto-flowering strains.

6. Pot Size and Soil

Cannabis plant pot size

For many growers, the size of the plant is the determining factor in choosing the pot size. Time and again, you have been told not to use a pot that is too small for the plant, or else you end up with a short plant. Considering that there is limited growing space, you can flip the idea and use it to your advantage.

A typical marijuana plant requires around 12 liters of soil. Since you already know or planned the size of the strain you are growing, the soil amount you need to raise a plant up to a certain height is as follows:

  • 1/2 liter: Up to 13 cm
  • 2-3 liters: Up to 30 cm
  • 5 liters: Up to 60 cm

As you can see, you can somewhat manage the height of plants by using smaller pots, containing fewer soils.

There is one downside to small pots. It stores fewer water and nutrients, which means you have to do frequent watering and feeding. Now, keep in mind that the fertilizer you are using comes with the manufacturer’s recommendation based on regular size plants. It means that you have to reduce the concentration of nutrients when preparing the mixture.

You can make your life simpler, though, by using super soil. Since you are growing only 1 or 2 plants, it does not make sense to make yourself. You are better off purchasing premixed super soil. It offers you numerous advantages. But the main ones are that it has enough nutrients that should last throughout the growth stages. Beneficial microorganisms not only helps with nutrient production and availability, but they also help protect the plants from pathogens. Many growers also swear by the buds’ overall quality regarding potency and having a clean taste.

Micro-grow in Tight Spaces for Best Marijuana Buds

No matter what you do, a tight space does impose limitations on the potential of plants. Nonetheless, that should not discourage you from growing marijuana. Some of you who previously thought it was impossible due to lack of space may not be thinking otherwise.

During the planning stage, consider all the points raised here and the tips provided. These are invaluable resources that you can take advantage of and be guided accordingly. Incorporate them into your plans, and you would be set up to grow and harvest buds successfully. After your first project, you will realize that there is more to micro-growing than meets the eye – and the results are just as pleasurable as having a large space.

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