Legalization has been an ongoing experiment in public policy, but one of the more interesting new privileges given to Canadians is the ability to grow their own cannabis at home.
Federal laws say we’re all entitled to grow at least one, and up to four, cannabis plants within residences — though Quebec has enshrined laws that challenge this, banning all person cultivation.
For those of us who can grow legally — or our Quebec friends who chose to cultivate an outlaw image alongside a few stalks of cannabis — the process of getting started can be intimidating. There is a glut of information about what it takes to get up and running with your own small garden, and the equipment required can leave newcomers to growing scratching their collective heads.
To help with this, Grow put questions to David Bernard Perron, VP Growing Operations at The Green Organic Dutchman, an Ontario-based licensed producer that specializes in growing certified organic cannabis.
“I began working in greenhouse production in 2001,” he told Daily Hive through email, “I eventually took a role as a lead agrologist within the cannabis industry.”
Currently, Perron oversees a 150,000-sq-ft facility in Ancaster, Ontario and will soon oversee the currently-under-construction 1.1 million-sq-ft facility in Valleyfield, Quebec as well.
Growing cannabis “can be a little overwhelming,” he says. But to make it easier, he put together a quick list of the basic equipment you need to work that green-thumb effectively.
1. Tent or Liner
Growers need to make the inside of the room or tent as reflective as possible to maximize light output, while ensuring that no outside light can penetrate into the room or tent — a mandatory step for seedless flowers. This requires a grow tent or a room liner. Grow tents and liners are typically made of canvas, mylar and/or black and white poly film. The films create a separate environment that will help keep bugs and mould out.
Where to buy: Tents can be found online, while mylar and poly film at most hardware stores.
Price: Small tents start around $30 and go up from there depending on size and quality while rolls of reflective mylar typically start around $50.
2. Grow Light
If you’re growing indoors, you need something to replace the sun. There are lots of options here (HPS, CMH, LED, DE, etc).
Where to buy: Hardware stores, lighting sellers and various headshops.
Price: Lights can reach into the thousands of dollars range. The cheapest option will be LED or compact fluorescents, which will start around $40 for a low end model.
3. Extraction Fan
Vital for keeping temps down and supplying the plants with the “fresh air (C02) they need to thrive.”
Where to buy: Commonly found online or in hardware stores.
Price: Varies depending on size, runs from $50 to several hundred.
4. Carbon Filter
A necessity for anyone in an apartment building, or simply doesn’t want their entire house to smell like pot. They vary in size.
“When plants enter the flowering phase, they start to give off a strong odor,” says Perron. “Carbon filters are the answer.”
Where to buy: Amazon, head shops, certain hardware stores.
Price: A decent model will start around $160 and go up depending on size.
5. Circulating Fan
“Again, if growing indoors, you need to have an alternative to the wind/air movement.”
As much as fresh air is important, so is keeping that air moving. For four plants, nothing massive is required.
Where to buy: Any houseware or hardware store.
Price: Start around $30.
This may seem obvious but it’s still a requirement. Future plant-parents require containers to grow their brood. They come in lots of formats (plastic, fabric, wood, etc), as well as pots, vs raised beds, each offering their own strengths and drawbacks.
“I’d encourage you to use something recyclable and environmentally friendly in any decision that you make.”
Where to buy: Almost any garden supply store will have numerous options.
Price: Pots can start at under $10 depending on size, raised beds run between $20 to $300.
7. Grow Medium
Cannabis can be grown using a variety of different mediums, including hydroponically, in soil or using a soilless medium. Perron recommends soil.
“TGOD is one of the few LPs in Canada who grow in living organic soil and we’d heavily encourage it to others for its natural elements. Let’s allow mother nature to do what she does best.”
Price: Soil and non-soil mediums run for around $20, hydroponic setups start at around $300 for very small rigs and can easily reach into the $1000s.
8. Filtered Water
PH levels in water can potentially harm a crop. The simplest solution is filtered aqua.
Where to buy: Garden stores (Yes, again. We’re getting fried on green tomatos, y’all) and online.
Price: A simple and quality water filter will cost around $70.
There are also a variety of at-home kits that create a one-stop option for consumers. A basic set up that contains all the above equipment starts at around $900 and skyrocket up from there.
“Certainly cannabis is challenging but that’s also where the fun is,” Perron says.
The hardest part, he says, is controlling and maintaining the environmental conditions and matching the specific levels of water and nutrients desired by individual varieties. These are “core fundamentals for large and small growers.”