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What Is Micro Growing Cannabis

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JoshuaHolt JoshuaHolt
Added 20 November 2020

What Is Micro Growing Cannabis?

Indoor growing has become increasingly popular over the years, but some people simply don't have the space to set up. Fortunately, there is a solution to every problem and that's why we want to talk about micro growing. This article introduces the basics behind small scale operations and how you can get started with tiny cannabis plants in a very limited space. 

What Is Micro Growing?

Micro Growing Cannabis

Micro growing is basically the same as regular growing but everything is scaled down to fit into an undersized space. Many newcomers to the growing scene may prefer to start out this way to get a feel for the process before going all out on a huge indoor grow. Cannabis plants can be grown almost anywhere; small tents, your bedroom cupboard, or even computer cases. 

You may not have as much freedom with the strains you grow but there are still plenty of cannabis plants that can be trained to fit snug wherever you put them. Depending on the size of the space this becomes more or less of a challenge. Either way, we must focus on providing the correct environment so that our ladies have a comfortable space to live in. 

Cannabis plants are able to produce decent yields even when there isn't much room to grow. With the proper set up, control and maintenance of such a space, it's possible to reap a nice little harvest without breaking the bank. 

Tip: It helps to have some understanding of stress training or other methods of keeping your plants small before diving in with micro growing. We discuss a few options further down the article. 

Benefits of Micro Growing Cannabis

Growing Cannabis In A Limited Space

Not everyone has the extra space to run a full-sized grow, so micro growing can offer huge advantages. With all the techniques and equipment we have available, growing high quality weed in a small space is actually very easy to do, even for beginners. Micro growing also serves as a great way to keep your hobby stealthy and hidden from prying eyes. 

Benefits of micro growing cannabis:

  • Ideal for beginners looking to try out cannabis growing
  • Inexpensive compared to large scale grows
  • Compact and manageable
  • Easier to keep plants hidden
  • Less risk with the law (depending on country)

How To Setup a Micro Grow

Although micro growing is similar to conventional types of grow, there are some aspects that do differ. The space is the most obvious challenge here, which means everything you set up is based around the size of the area you have available. 

Your Space

Micro Growing Cannabis In A Cupboard

Your space determines how big you can realistically grow your seeds or clones. Straight away this gives you an indication of how you could best manage the plants. The amount of pots, as well as their size needs to be carefully considered so that no space is wasted. On the other hand, you want to make sure you don't overcrowd them or you may come across difficulties with watering or airflow. 

Consider that your pots and the light will take up a fair share of the space. There needs to be enough spacing between the lights and the tops of the plants, and pots can be slightly separated, if possible.  

Light-tight boxes can be built to suit your needs as a micro grower. Think about the mess involved with growing weed and be careful not to ruin furniture or parts of your house. That old cupboard that has been in the family for years might not be the best spot if you plan to drill ventilation holes somewhere. Any grower who has dealt with DIY grow spaces might have experienced something like this before.   

Choose The Right Strain

Small Cannabis Plants Can Deliver High Yields With Training

If you're growing in a very limited space, it makes sense to choose strains that do not stretch heavily. Indicas or Autoflowers are often the best choices because they stay relatively small compared to Sativas. Most likely you will want a compact structure that does not branch out heavily and handles training well. Strains labelled as mold or pest resistant tend to be well suited to environments and practices that test their hardy nature.

Pots

The size of the containers you plant in directly affects how large the plants are able to grow. The larger the pot, the larger the plant, and vice versa. Bear in mind the strain you're growing will also make a big difference to how well it handles being compacted into a small space. Small pots are best for a micro grow to avoid the plants potentially filling your space too quickly.  

Indeed, smaller pots may need watering more regularly as the soil cannot hold as many nutrients. Make sure your pots aren't too big otherwise you may get issues with overwatering.

Suggestions for micro grow pots:

Pot SizePlant Size (without training)
3-4 litres35-50cm
5-7 litres50-70cm
8-10 litres70-110cm

Tip: Choose small pots to prevent plants from growing too big. 

Lighting

CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) Are Commonly Used In Micro Grows

We recommend using CFLs or LEDs for micro growing due to their low heat output. Heat can accumulate very quickly in a small space, so it helps to choose lights that stay relatively cool

You want to be able to place the lights as close as possible to the tops of your plants so that no space is wasted and enough light is being distributed to the edges of the grow area. If you have space, you can also place extra lighting facing the sides of your plants so that every angle is exposed. 

Ventilation

Small Fans Can Be Installed In A Micro Grow

Whatever the size of the grow space, the ventilation you install needs to draw in plenty of fresh air. The air should be replaced in the space at least once every 2-3 minutes. For very tiny grow rooms, even computer fans can be used. Circulating the air can be achieved using small oscillating fans, which are also available for purchase and come in a range of sizes. 

At the very least you should have an exhaust fan. As stale, humid air is drawn out, fresh air is pulled in to replace it. Always place your exhaust at the top and the inline low down. Remember, hot air rises. 

Tip: Make use of a hygrothermometer so you can monitor temperature and humidity in the grow space at all times. 

Growing Techniques

Example Of Micro Grow Set Up

If you're very limited in height, then you will probably need to apply some stress training to keep a low canopy. Larger spaces may allow you to leave plants to grow without training. How you grow is entirely up to you but training can help you maximise efficiency, meaning yields are likely to be larger if applied correctly.

Training Techniques for Micro Growing:

    • SOG (Sea Of Green) - This method isn't particularly stressful for your cannabis plants but it counts as a training technique. Sea Of Green involves growing multiple plants in small pots, which are flipped into flower after only a week or two in vegetation. The smaller the space, the earlier the plants can be flowered. Some growers make the switch after just 3 - 4 days with the intention to produce a single cola. Works best with clones and produces decent yields per meter squared. 

    • Topping - Topping is considered a high stress technique (HST) and requires removing parts of the plant. Topping breaks apical dominance because the new growth of the main stem is snipped off, forcing the plant to put its energy into the next two branches underneath the cut, which develop into two main colas. Often used along side LST to control final plant shape. 

    • LST (Low Stress Training) - A simple to perform technique which requires you to tie branches down, preventing them from overextending vertically. Ideal for creating bushy plants with an even canopy. A great way to improve production by allowing you to place lights closer to more top buds.

You can also look into super cropping, mainlining, or ScrOG for more ideas about manipulating plants to fit in a small space. 

Micro grow by donnythechef from GrowDiaries.

Conclusion

Micro growing is an extremely fun hobby to get involved with, especially when you don't want to invest a lot into the practice. There is plenty to learn and you can experiment freely without the worry of destroying a whole crops worth of huge cannabis plants. 

If you have any tips on micro growing, why not help a fellow grower out by leaving a comment. Sharing information can help everyone become a better grower!

External References

Night Interruption Lighting Equally Effective As Daylength Extension In Retaining The Vegetative State Of Cannabis Mother Plants. Crop, Forage & Turfgrass Management. - Whipker, Brian & Cockson, Paul & Smith, James. (2019)

Apical dominance. Current Biology. - Barbier, Francois & Dun, Elizabeth & Beveridge, Christine. (2017)

Bonsai: their forms and planting techniques. - Mewar, Deepak & Joshi, Udit & Negi, Ruchin & Dhyani, Ajay. (2020). 

Evaluation of the Effect of Topping on Cannabidiol (CBD) Content in Two Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Cultivars. Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca. Horticulture. - Folina, Antigolena & Kakabouki, Ioanna & Tourkochoriti, Evangelia & Roussis, Ioannis & Pateroulakis, Harry & Bilalis, D.. (2020).

This article was updated November 2020.






Comments

Athos
Athos

Forget CFLs, regular screw in LEDs are 3 times more efficient. Just remove the plastic dome and you are good to go.