How to convert a regular garden into the perfect place to grow cannabis

Published Apr 17, 2019 01:52 p.m. ET
Photo Credit Chris Young

For those who are just learning how to grow weed, it can be a daunting task to decide exactly how and where to do it. Hollywood has a history of showing high tech facilities growing marijuana using hydroponics operations or rows of high-quality grow lights that are producing massive amounts of plants. This is why most people are hesitant at first to consider growing marijuana for themselves, which is unfortunate because cannabis is an incredibly easy plant to produce, develop, and even breed once you learn the essentials and build some confidence in your abilities. Today we will teach you how to turn a regular old garden bed at home into a thriving and ideal space for growing marijuana plants.

To start, you will require an area that measures no more than 4 feet by 4 feet to ensure easy access if needed to your marijuana plants. Typical vegetable gardens tend to be separated by rows that the grower can walk between. When you grow marijuana that isn’t necessary since you won’t need access to the lowest and most inner branches until harvest time. The very first step that you will need to perform will depend on the space you are trying to convert.

  1. If you have a pre-dug garden bed that is full of tiny mountains from last year’s veggies, or just barren with some weed growth than this part is easy. Take a measuring tape and measure out an area that is 4 feet by 4 feet. This will provide you enough space to grow up to four marijuana plants quite comfortably. If more is needed than it is recommended to have a separate additional garden bed for every four plants, you wish to raise. Mark the area using a shovel, spray paint, or whatever you have handy so that it’s easy to distinguish from the surrounding areas.

  2. For those who are starting from scratch, the idea is still the same, and there will just be a little more physical labor required. If there is grass present than even the roots should be removed for the best results. Often a sidewalk edger will work perfectly to cut out a grassy area with little to no stress. The grass can then be rolled up and removed to expose the soil underneath.

  3. Pull the weeds from the growing area and remove any remaining rocks or other possible dangers like broken glass or garbage that might interfere with the cannabis roots.

  4. Rototilling is the most recommended way to break apart aged and solidified dirt to make a better base for your garden that will allow the roots of your marijuana plants to establish themselves with ease. If you do not have access to one, then there is always the old school alternative of using a shovel and digging the entire area up by hand. Even if the garden was tilled and planted in the year prior, one winter can harden the soil even on the surface.

  5. Inspect the type of soil that is present in the area. Is it nutrient rich? If so, then you might be just fine leaving the dirt base as is. If it isn’t then you may want to consider removing some of the soil so that it can be replaced with a super soil that will help your cannabis to thrive.

  6. Now you will need to prepare a super soil recipe that is equipped with all of the essential nutrients marijuana plants need to flourish. Here is one of the most tried and true super soil recipes for cannabis that is certain to give you excellent results. You will need to combine the ingredients six weeks in advance of needing them as they require a period of settling to allow the good biological systems to evolve. This mixture will produce enough soil to cover roughly 4-5 square feet of cannabis garden.


  • 4 bags of nutrient-dense vegetable safe garden soil (1.5 cubic feet each)
  • 1 pound of bonemeal (fish)
  • 15 pounds of worm castings
  • 2.5 pounds of bat guano
  • 2.5 pounds of blood meal
  • 1 pound of bonemeal
  • 1 cup of oyster shells
  • 1 cup of kelp meal
  • 1.5 cups of alfalfa meal
  • ¼ cup of Epsom salt
  • ½ cup of dolomite lime
  • 1 cup of Azomite
  • 1 tablespoon of humic acid (powder)


  • Combine all the ingredients inside of large buckets or containers and allow the mixture to sit for six full weeks before it is added to any garden.
  1. Once your super soil has had time to rest and activate it can be added by the shovel full into the tilled dirt. It will mix in with the surrounding areas and add an efficient boost to any cannabis that is grown in it for the next year.

  2. The final part of this process is growing marijuana, is deciding exactly when to plant in your prepared garden. When you produce cannabis indoors the time of year doesn’t matter, since the lights, temperatures, and humidity are all well controlled. The problem is that a marijuana plant requires relatively strict amounts of light to cycle through the growing process at a pace that allows it to reach its fullest potential in size and potency. Some cannabis strains can grow quite quickly and don’t have to be planted at the beginning of the season, but for the rest starting as early as possible but not so soon that frost kills them is the key to a successful harvest. Ideally, you will want the temperatures outdoors to remain above 55 F at night and require 12 full hours of sunlight during the first stages of growth.

Tips and tricks

Though these guidelines are a perfect starting point for those who are just learning how to grow weed outdoors, there are other things to look out for that might not be so apparent to beginners.

  • Cannabis plants have the fascinating ability to remove toxic substance from the earth they are grown in. This is great except for the fact that they are then stored in the marijuana flowers that you want to consume safely. Never produce marijuana plants in an area that has had a chemical spill of any kind, or it will eventually find its way into your product.

  • Another critical component to growing these plants is lighting, and we don’t just mean the amount of sunlight you receive in a day. If there is anything blocking the sun from efficiently reaching the marijuana plants, it can massively stunt their growth and your overall harvest. Try to keep cannabis gardens away from trees or other large planets that might cast a shadow over them.

  • The last professional tip we must share with you today is to water the garden plots very well. Almost to the point of flood the night before planting. This will help to soften the soil allowing for the perfect soft bed for seedlings to establish a root system. It will also help to release the essential nutrients in the super soil that was added earlier which will provide a hearty boost to your cannabis crop.


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