Homegrown Medicine: How To Grow Cannabis In Your Garden

by | Mar 16, 2024 | Agriculture, Farming, Garden Sheds, How to, Sponsored Content | 0 comments

With so many medicinal benefits, growing cannabis for personal use is likely to be legal across Australia in the near future. At the moment, only ACT residents can legally grow up to two plants per person (maximum of four per household).

Already doctors can prescribe CBD oil (sourced from the cannabis plant) and as the research deepens, the restrictions around its production and use will ease.

You can buy cannabis seeds in Australia now to prepare for the changes when they come and read on for a 101 on growing cannabis in your own garden.

Cannabis Products

What is cannabis?

Weed, marijuana, pot, grass, dope; just a few of the many names for cannabis, a flowering herb from the Cannabaceae family.

Thought to be native to central Asia, cannabis is a psychotropic type of hemp. The plant contains several cannabinoids (chemical compounds), with THC and CBD the most sought-after. THC is responsible for most of the psychoactive effects that create a ‘high’, whereas CBD has no intoxicating effect and forms the basis of most medicinal products.

The species has separate male and female plants, with females forming bud-like growths, which contain the most cannabinoids. Feminised seeds have been developed in order to save growers the task of identifying and removing the less-useful male plants.

The medicinal benefits of cannabis

Over the past decade or so, the medicinal benefits of CBD oil have become accepted by the medical community, and in parts of society. It is highly regulated, but it is available in Australia as a prescription drug.

Cannabis, particularly CBD oil, can be used to treat conditions such as depression, chronic pain, arthritis, epilepsy, negative side-effects of cancer treatment, and anxiety.

Ask your doctor before using cannabis as it can negatively interact with other medications and may not be suited to all medical conditions.

Choosing the right cannabis seeds for your garden

Contrary to popular belief, we’ve actually been growing different types of hemp in Australia for the majority of the 21st century, with cannabis plants being cultivated to produce hemp fibres for fashion, textiles and even materials production.

But unlike hemp plants which contain less than 0.3% THC, cannabis plants that are cultivated for medicinal purposes come in literally dozens if not hundreds of other cultivars. And with hundreds of cultivars to select from, it can be challenging to choose the cultivar that suits you and your garden best.

Different strains act on different parts of the body, so choose a variety that suits your needs. For example, Blue Dream is great for managing pain and inflammation, whereas Northern Lights helps with fatigue and insomnia.

If you are looking for the medicinal benefits without the psychoactive properties, there are also low THC, high CBD cannabis strains, such as White Widow.

How to grow your cannabis: a step-by-step guide

Now that you have the right seeds for your climate or the growing conditions available in your garden or home, the next step is to start sowing your seeds! This is easier than you may think, especially if you’ve selected auto-flowering seeds rather than photoperiod seeds.

Regardless of what type of seeds you’ve invested in, it’s also worth considering the time of year you’re looking to plant your seeds if you’re looking to cultivate them outdoors rather than in a controlled greenhouse environment. Depending on your location, sowing your seeds in early spring is ideal, as cannabis plants need warmth and light.

With that, let’s begin outlining a step-by-step guide for growing cannabis at home.

Step 1: Prepare your seeds and soil

Cannabis seeds have a hard outer shell, so to help your seeds sprout faster, soak them in water for up to 48 hours. This is not essential, seeds will still germinate without soaking.

Like most plants, cannabis likes a nutrient-rich, well-draining growing medium. A mixture of garden soil or potting mix (not clay), coir or peat, and well-decomposed compost, manure, or slow-release fertiliser provides a great start for your precious seeds.

Step 2: Planting time

At the germination stage, cannabis plants enjoy temperatures between 25 – 30oC and need 16 hours of daylight. Getting your seeds started in a warm, well-lit area inside (or in a greenhouse) makes it easier to maintain the right temperature.

2 – 3 weeks after planting, you can move the seedlings to their permanent home outside. They are happy when temperatures are 20- 30oC, and they are getting 18 hours of light every day.

Step 3: Keep your plants happy with regular feeding, trimming, and monitoring

Once your seeds have been planted, all that’s left to do is monitor their growing conditions, nutrient availability, and keep them as happy as possible. Applying a nitrogen-rich fertiliser every few weeks will encourage leaf production, but once your plants start budding stop fertilising.

During the leaf growth stage, trim off new shoots to create a bushier plant. Stop pruning after 9-10 weeks to allow ‘flowers’ to develop.

And finally, cannabis plants hate soggy feet. Overwatering your plants will rot the roots and your precious plants will die. You can buy soil moisture monitors or water when the leaves are looking a bit sad and limp. Remember – overwatering can be even deadlier than underwatering, so be sure to keep an eye on your soil moisture readings.

From here, just repeat your maintenance for the next few weeks to months until your cannabis plants start producing flowers! Once those blooms come in, you’ll finally be able to harvest and reap the benefits of all your hard work.

Harvesting and storing

Up to five months after planting, you should have mature plants with flower-like clumps, called colas. Use a magnifying glass to look at the shiny ‘hairs’ covering the cola, and when the resin drops appear to be cloudy or orange, it’s harvest time.

Cut the colas with a 15 cm stem, clip off the leaves and hang the cuttings in a dry, dark area that is well-ventilated. This will prevent mould from forming and ruining your crop.

You can choose how long to dry, or cure, your harvest. A longer cure leads to a more intense smell, flavour and strength. Anywhere between one week and three months is typical but it really comes down to your personal preference.

Over the centuries, humans have turned to herbal remedies to heal the sick. Cannabis is no different, and growing your own brings the joy of seeing your hard work pay off with the added medicinal bonus. So even if it is not yet legal to grow cannabis where you live, you now have a handy how-to guide to put to use when the time comes.

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