If you want to grow high-quality organic cannabis but do not have enough space for growing it outdoors or for setting up a growing room, then micro growing is what you need.
Basically, it is the way to get a large harvest from the smallest growing space. It is not easy, and it differs from regular marijuana growing, but it definitely has its own benefits. Whether you are looking for a pure organic product, or you do not have enough funds for a big growing room, or maybe you just want to experiment and find out what it is, in this article, you will find out everything you need to know about micro growing.
When growing outdoors, you can put aside worries about air, temperature, and humidity. At least, if the climate and time are good for growing. When growing cannabis indoors, you are the one who is responsible for creating all of the conditions, but then you can have your own marijuana whenever you want, regardless of the climate, weather, or neighbors that may not like it that you have such an unusual garden in you backyard.
So, the biggest advantage of growing cannabis indoors is that you can control and monitor the growing process. However, the same thing can be your main headache if you do not have enough space or time for doing this. This is where micro growing comes in handy.
Micro growing allows you to grow a small plant according to the available space. You can use pretty much anything as a growing box: it can be a part of the desk, an old fridge, an old speaker, or even just a cardboard box. Whatever you find can be optimized for creating the best conditions for your plant (or ever several plants). The trick is to get the maximum from that space and let your cannabis grow happily and successfully within the limits of the micro growing space.
Once you already know what you will use as a growing box, it is time to find the perfect strain for your situation. Choosing the strain, you need to pay attention to the strain's height. Sativas are usually not good for micro growing, as they tend to grow up to 300% of their height after switching to the flowering mode. That is why you should try to look among indicas and indica-dominant hybrids. Here are some of the strains that are relatively short:
If you take an ordinary strain, then you need to be careful with the time of the activation of the flowering phase. You can do it by shortening the light time from 18-24 to 12 hours. By this point, the plant should take about half of the available space, so it has more place to grow further.
Auto-flowering strains are a good option. They are even shorter than their ordinary sisters, and they do not depend on the light regime. However, choosing an auto-flowering plant, you will not be able to control the plant's height with the light; it will require you to apply certain growing techniques.
There is a trick in growing a short cannabis plant. It is not only about the leaves and branches, as the root system is vitally important for a healthy plant as well. When growing outdoors, cannabis can develop as many roots as there are leaves above the ground. But using micro growing, you cannot allow the plant to use so much space in a flower pot.
If there is an option, try to choose clay pots as they allow the roots to breathe and save them from overdrying. The volume of the pot depends on the expected height of the plant:
- plant of up to 5 inches―a pot of about 0.5 liters;
- plant of up to 12 inches―a pot of about 2 or 3 liters;
- plant of up to 24 inches―a pot of about 5 liters;
- usual plant with average height requires a12-liter pot or even more.
Because of the relatively small pot, your plants will need more fertilizers than usual plants, as well as more water. We would recommend you to go for the organic fertilizers—it will make the final product purer and healthier.
The smaller the flower pot, the more water the plant requires. That is why you should expect to water your cannabis more often than usual flowers.
Sometimes, it is not so easy to get access to the ground since the plant may grow very bushy, so we would recommend you either to use a small hydro system or to water the plant from the bottom. You can buy bottom watering pots in any flower store, or simply put a smaller pot with holes in the bottom inside another, bigger pot, which has a solid bottom so the water cannot go out.
You will also need air, especially if you install HPI light bulbs that provide a lot of heat. A regular table fan is not always a good option as it may be too strong for the small box. You can use several small computer fans which will help the hot air leave the box and fresh air get inside.
Regardless of the size of your growing box, you must install a lamp. Lighting is essential for growing healthy cannabis, so it is very important to find the right choice for your project.
First of all, you need to make a choice between fluorescent tubes, CFL, HSP, HPI, and LED bulbs. It would be better if you covered the inside of the box with reflective paint so that the light can reach even the back of the leaves.
HSP and HPI lamps are very common for growing rooms, however, they are not the best choice for a small growing box. These lamps provide very good light, but they also become very hot and require a certain space in between the lamp and the plant. And in most cases, extra space is exactly what you cannot afford if you are using a growing box.
Fluorescent tubes are a nice choice as they provide a good light output. Choose the number of bulbs according to the formula: 400 watts per square meter. CFL are pretty much the same, though they have a different design, and the VSA is built in.
Another good choice is LED light: it provides a wide light color spectrum, it does not heat, but it costs significantly more than other light bulbs.
If you are not using auto-flowering strains, it is better to get a lamp timer, so you can switch from 18 to 12 hours of lighting when the time for starting the flowering phase comes.
Since there is no bonsai cannabis available in the stores yet, you have to make your usual plant as short as you can in order to fit it the space you have. Therefore, you need to apply one or a few growing techniques to your plant so that it can grow in a bush-like shape.
The simplest thing you can do is to apply topping or FIM techniques. They are pretty much the same, it is only the size of the cut stem that differs. With topping, you need to cut off the very top of the shoot, including the buds above and maybe an inch or so of the stem. With FIM, you pinch just the upper buds, leaving the stem more or less undamaged.
By removing the top of the plant, you will stimulate other secondary branches to grow more intensively. However, if you already have a bushy plant, but the branches are growing too high, you can apply another technique which is called “super cropping.” It is also known as “high-stress training” or HST.
For performing super cropping, you should not remove the stems of branches but bend them until they snap. If you bend the stems too gently, they will recover in a couple of hours. If you bend them until they fall apart, you will lose precious leaves and energy of your plant. That is why you need to perform this technique carefully and bend branches just enough to break them but leave them alive. In a week, all branches will recover and keep on growing horizontally. Plus, the secondary branches will also start to develop and become stronger.
You can also use the Screen of Green technique. It requires a wire screen in between the ground level and the light source so that you can bend the young green shoots along the screen and let the plant grow horizontally.
Whatever you choose for your micro growing project, remember that it cannot completely substitute the usual indoor or outdoor growing, so think of it rather as of an experiment. You can make it as cheap as you want, and as small as you want, experimenting with different techniques, instruments, and strains. In any case, if you are careful enough with your cannabis, the plants will give you a well-deserved reward.