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On A Budget
6 min

How To Grow Weed On A Budget Indoors And Outdoors

6 min
Growing Seedshop

Your first cannabis grow doesn't have to break the bank. Cannabis can be grown cheaply and efficiently, giving you a good idea if the hobby is for you.

Growing your own weed will always be cheaper than buying from the weed man or a dispensary, but if you're not careful, you could still spend more than you have to. Marketing experts are paid very well to design flashy ads and colourful labels. Their only goal is to separate you from as much of your hard-earned cash as possible by convincing you their expensive product is the only thing that's standing between you and bigger harvests, denser buds, or more THC.

The truth is that you can easily grow weed on a budget indoors and outdoors by following some, or all, of these common-sense tips that old-school growers use to keep their costs down.

GENERAL TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHILE GROWING WEED

General Tips To Save Money While Growing Weed

To start, let’s review some general ways you can save some serious cash, no matter how you choose to grow your weed.

BUY HIGH-QUALITY, LOW-COST SEEDS

Bag seeds are practically free, but the genetics won't be the best. Nearly all commercial growers strive for perfectly seedless cannabis because it sells for much more than seeded weed. So, if you find seeds in your purchased herb, it probably came from a hermaphrodite, and you don't want that in your garden. A single female pollen sac on one plant can seed your entire grow.

Instead, look for affordable seeds from reputable breeders with classic names and proven reliability. Trendy hybrids almost always come with higher price tags, and they don't guarantee a better harvest. After all, virtually all modern strains were created using a handful of landrace strains that were improved and refined through selective breeding in the 1970s and ‘80s. New hybrids are usually just remixes or special phenotypes of the same old thing.

Royal Queen Seeds, for example, has been breeding seeds for decades, and they're frequent winners at Spannabis and other well-known cannabis competitions. A 10-pack of their Special Kush #1 won't set you back more than €30, averages a respectable 17% THC, and has a proven track record for reliable production.

Special Kush #1view Product

SAVE MONEY ON SEEDS BY CLONING

Learn to clone your plants so you only need to buy new seeds when you want to try new genetics. Purchasing a healthy clone is usually more expensive than buying seeds, so you'll still want to start off with a good pack of beans.

Before your young plants start to flower, cut off some of the smaller branches near the bottom to practice your cloning techniques. They'll sprout new roots faster than if you take the tops. Don't worry if your first or even second set of cuttings don't clone successfully. It takes practice to get right, but it doesn't cost much to keep trying.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT

Many a first-time grower has harvested their bud, dried it to perfection, then threw away all that precious trim while preparing their big, frosty buds for the final cure. Don't forget that you can use almost the entire cannabis plant.

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Buds are obviously the best part, but there are plenty of trichomes on most of the smaller sugar leaves surrounding the actual flower. Use these to make concentrates. Some growers also use the larger fan leaves and stems to make topical salves and ointments.

RECYCLE AND REUSE

Take a look at the things you throw away each day and think about how they could be repurposed into grow supplies. Still buying drinks in take-away cups complete with a plastic lid and straw? That makes a perfect mini-greenhouse for sprouting a single seed or rooting a clone.

Don't want to spend a fortune on expensive nutrients just because they have a fancy picture on the front? Turn your kitchen waste into compost. It's easy to do, free, and they don't call it black gold for nothing. With a little work and no extra money, you could turn trash into the best organic fertiliser in the world.

Keep Epsom salts around for relaxing baths? Your cannabis plants will love them too. This cheap, all-natural mineral can cure both magnesium and sulfur deficiencies when properly used. With a little research, you can find even more ways to feed your plants without spending a lot of money.

TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN GROWING OUTDOORS

Tips To Save Money When Growing Outdoors

Outdoor growing is certainly cheaper than indoor by comparison, but expenses can stack up here too if you’re not careful. Here are some ways to ensure a high-quality, affordable outdoor grow.

GROW WITH AUTOFLOWERING SEEDS IF YOUR CLIMATE ISN'T CANNABIS-FRIENDLY

Outdoor grows are the best way to save money as long as you live in a climate that's conducive to cannabis plants. That generally means fairly early springs, summers that aren't too dry or too wet, and dry-ish autumns without a hard freeze before mid-October.

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If those conditions don't describe your neck of the woods, you can still grow outside. Just grow with autoflowering seeds in large pots. You'll harvest smokable buds much earlier, and you can move your plants under cover if necessary during extremely rainy periods.

Autoflowering Seedsview autoflowering cannabis seeds

INVEST IN GOOD SOIL

Most of what you need to grow good weed outdoors is totally free. The sun won't jack up your electric bill, you'll have plenty of airflow without spending anything on fans, and most of the water will come directly from the sky. However, soil quality is another matter.

If the soil is rocky, full of red clay, or otherwise barren, buy enough high-quality potting soil to give your cannabis plants a good foundation to grow in. Avoid regular potting soil that already contains nutrients, especially the time-release kind. It only adds to the cost, and you won't know if it's good for what you're growing. Mixing in a good, home-made compost is better and cheaper.

Make sure the soil will absorb water, but also drains well. If drainage is a problem, perlite and vermiculite are cheap soil amendments that will solve the problem.

SAVE TIME & MONEY GROWING IN HAY

If you have access to cheap or free hay bales, you can use them to grow cannabis outdoors without doing a lot of prep work. Simply cut a hole in the top of the bale, put in some potting soil, plant your seedling, and water. There's no need to dig, and the hay acts as a natural wick to keep the roots moist. As the sun and water break down the hay, it will start to decompose, releasing nutrients to feed your plants.

TIPS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN GROWING INDOORS

Tips To Save Money When Growing Indoors

Realistically, indoor growing is bound to be more expensive than outdoor—but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank.

STICK TO THE ESSENTIALS

Make a list of what you think you need, then start eliminating any unnecessary equipment. Do you have a closet you can turn into a grow room? For the cost of a small can of white paint, you can cross a grow tent off your list.

Choosing between LED and HPS lights? A good LED light might be a little more expensive than HPS lighting, but it's cheaper on electricity, it reduces the need for exhaust fans, and modern LEDs grow some truly beautiful and potent buds.

Here's a list of the essentials along with approximate prices from Amazon:

  • Grow tent: €50–100 (or closet: €10 for white paint)
  • 600–1000W LED lighting: €50–150
  • Fan for air circulation: €30
  • Thermostat/hygrometer combo: €7
  • Timer for lights: €10

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GROW IN SOIL

Hydroponic farming is very cool, but growing in soil is more forgiving for beginners and much cheaper. Buy cheap nursery pots, plastic drip pans to capture spills, and a good-quality soil similar to what we recommended for outdoor grows.

DON'T GO OVERBOARD ON NUTRIENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Again, stick with the basics. It's cheaper and will usually keep your plants healthy from the seedling stage on through to harvest. Ignore the fancy labels and go with a feed that supports foliage growth during veg and flowers during bloom.

Anything from 20-20-20 to 20-5-10 (N-P-K) will do well to start. Drop the nitrogen (the first number in the magic nutrient equation) during bloom and go with something more along the lines of 5-10-10.

Homemade compost is cheap and works great. Most bloom boosters and soil amendments are expensive and unnecessary. Don't make the mistake of overfeeding to boost growth or bud production. This will only burn your plants and waste your money. Feed lightly unless a specific cannabis plant is a known heavy feeder.

Do invest in a pH test kit and make sure that any liquid feed is around 6.5 pH. This will only set you back about €9 for a liquid kit with a test vial, and will solve almost all of your mistakes growing in soil.

TRAIN YOUR PLANTS FOR BIGGER YIELDS

Natural sunlight rips through the plant canopy to evenly distribute light to all levels of the plant. Not so with indoor lighting. To maximise yields, train your plants so that all the bud sites get adequate lumens. Depending on your preferences, and the plant's, this could include screen of green (ScrOG), topping, pruning, super-cropping, mainlining, or any combination of techniques.

As a bonus, some methods like super-cropping and mainlining encourage cannabis plants to uptake more water and nutrients than they would naturally, resulting in higher overall yields. Training costs little more than your time, but it pays off big at harvest time.

Train Your Plants For Bigger Yields

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY NEED FOR INDOOR GROWING

Other Things You May Need For Indoor Growing

You don't need any expensive electronic controls or a fancy CO₂ system to grow good weed indoors, but you may need a few more items than the essentials listed above.

If you do everything right, the sheer weight of the buds may be too much for your plant's branches to support all the way to harvest. They may just bend, but they could break and reduce your final yield. To prevent this, a support system may be necessary. Simple garden stakes are cheap and easy to use. Insert them in the pots while the plants are still small so that you don't damage the roots. Then, tie the branches to the stakes using twine as the plant grows.

Odour control is a necessity for growers who need to be discreet due to legal or other reasons. If you need to filter the air to prevent detection, you'll need to make sure your grow space is airtight, then install a carbon filter, ducting, and an exhaust fan. This can often be the most expensive part of the grow, but it's possible to make a DIY filter using activated charcoal sold for aquariums and ducting/fans found at home improvement stores to keep the costs down.

SAVE MONEY ON YOUR NEXT CANNABIS GROW

With a little thought and planning, you can easily grow weed on a budget indoors or outdoors. Shop around for the best prices on cannabis seeds, soil, lighting and other essential equipment while brainstorming ways you can reuse what you already have on hand. You'll soon be saving a substantial sum compared to what you were spending on weed before you decided to create your own herb garden.

Laura

Written by: Sherry
Featuring as a regular guest writer, Sherry lives in the wild heart of the American East Coast. Based at her family farm, she has developed a deep respect for cannabis, continuing to master and hone its cultivation.

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