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What is a Micro Grow & How to Do it Yourself at Home

A small plant sprouting out of the dirt.

If you’re interested in growing cannabis at home, but you’re not quite sure you’ll have the space for an optimal grow – a micro grow may be the right choice for you. It quite literally means a small grow, and many people are able to grow in cupboards, closets, and small rooms.

With the increase in information available about growing cannabis, and better accessibility of premium supplies like high quality lighting, autogrow, and feminized seeds, marijuana micro growing is becoming increasingly possible and more feasible for both beginner and expert cannabis growers.

Similar to micro brewing in the beer industry, micro grows allow growers to produce small batch, high quality bud for both personal and commercial use. If you’re looking to experiment, or simply have a smaller space, it is totally possible to produce quality cannabis from a micro grow with the right tools and conditions. In fact, many people prefer this method and produce fantastic results with marijuana micro growing. 

You want to start with a trusted and reliable source for seeds, and, depending on your goals, you may want to consider autoflower or feminized seeds to ensure a high yield for your harvest. Buying from a trusted seed source will ensure all or at least most of your seeds produce plants and that your strains are genetically superior. 

You will also want to look at how much space you have for your micro grow. Is it a shorter, or taller space? Will you be able to fit lights, and a fan? This will help you determine if Indica or Sativa strains will work best in your set up and which materials to buy.

Indica plants tend to grow shorter, and much bushier in shape, whereas Sativa grows taller and leaner. So if you have height available, Sativa may work well for you, but if you only have a height-restricted space like a closet, you could pick an autoflower Indica for your micro grow. But either way, you want to make sure you have enough space to accommodate the type of strain you have chosen.

The strain you pick will also influence your feeding, and lighting materials and schedules. And with a smaller space, you will have different considerations for humidity control and lighting. Regular sunlight will not be sufficient to support growth even for a micro grow, so investing in purpose-built LED or HPS lights will help your plants grow as large and healthy as possible in their small grow space. 

You will want to start like you would with any grow: germinate your seeds. Place them in a glass of water for 18-24 hours in an unlit, warm space. When the seeds have sunk to the bottom, you can pour out the seeds and place them on a paper towel, making sure the paper towel is moist but not soaked. Check on them every 4-8 hours so they don’t dry out, still making sure not to soak them. Keep the seeds in a dark and warm environment for about 2 days. 

Your seeds will then develop tap roots (about an inch) at which time you can remove them from the paper towel and put them in a mixture of high quality soil. Micro grows can be more difficult with a hydro set up, so most growers tend to use soil when growing in a smaller space. 

The difference when it comes to humidity for marijuana micro growing will also depend on the size of your space. If you can’t fit a small fan, make sure there is some ventilation of the space. Whether you have some holes poked in a box, or a door left ajar, make sure you have air flow otherwise your plants will not develop properly and you run the risk of spoiling your crop.

As your plants are growing in a smaller space, you will also want to focus on their nutrition by introducing fertilizer. Plants will grow strong and healthy with the right fertilizer and feeding schedule. Most fertilizer brands will include a feeding schedule, easing in and increasing towards the flowering phase. 

Depending on whether you have chosen an Indica or Sativa strain for your grow, you will also want to follow a structured lighting schedule that allows for just under half a day of darkness, and over half a day of light at the beginning, closer to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to start the flowering phase (approximately 2 weeks in).

For a regular grow, you would often replant your plants into larger pots, but many mico growers use much smaller pots to contain the size of the grow. Instead of a 5 gallon pot or grow bag, you can opt for a smaller pot option (2 litres or a half gallon) to suit the size of your grow space.

The size of your pots and plants will also determine your watering, so make sure to gauge water to the size of your grow. You may also still want to tie down primary branches as they start to get large. This will promote enhanced growth for the secondary stalks as your plants begin to flower.

As you near the end of the growing period, it is an important time to keep an eye on your plants. Check on them every few days, and reduce humidity to a range of 40-50%. Monitoring humidity, especially in a small space, can help make sure you don’t have mold destroying all the hard work you have put into your micro grow. Even if you are growing without fans, be sure to pay special attention to the humidity levels of your micro grow.

As leaves begin to yellow around the eight week mark, you can also tie up any tall branches that cannot support the weight of the hanging buds. This will help your small plants still reach their optimal growth size. Hemp rope is a good option to help support your plants at this stage.

When your buds have grown to full size, it is time to cut. Hang your plants upside down, and remove the large leaves. Make sure you are using sharp scissors for all of your harvesting and trimming. Garden shears or sharp, clean kitchen scissors will work fine depending on the size of your plants.

Hang your harvest in a dark, humidity controlled space, ideally with a fan, dehumidifier, or air conditioner. Again, making sure you have air flow no matter how small your space.

After 5-7 days, with the humidity around 50%, you will be ready to trim your micro grow. 

Make sure to use clean, glass jars with airtight lids to store your cannabis. When stored properly, you can enjoy the effects of your dried cannabis for 1-2 years. 

Though you may produce less bud with a smaller grow, you can absolutely achieve the quality and perfection of any indoor grow, and sometimes growers find intuitive ways to enhance a micro grow with the extra attention to detail you can give a smaller operation.

Regardless whether you are producing your stock to sell, or to enjoy on your own, a micro grow may be your new favourite way to grow cannabis after giving it a try.

Mac Jackman