How to grow a marijuana plant for free

Published Jun 10, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Yarygin

Buying all of your cannabis can get expensive really quickly, but a lot of people hesitate over the idea of growing their own because they’re afraid of the investment, commitment, and potential to fail, leaving them spending hundreds of dollars year after year on something that they could be getting for free. Cultivation is work, but it’s relatively easy and we’re going to show you why it doesn’t have to cost a single penny to grow a nice healthy marijuana plant.

1. Make your own organic soil

The nutrients that are in the soil that you use will greatly impact the overall health of your marijuana plant, so you don’t want to go digging up any old dirt for this task, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a fortune on store-bought alternatives. In fact, it is really simple to mix up your own super soil using regular dirt and the product of natural compost alongside a small amount of manure for an extra kick, and it isn’t hard to find all of these things for free.

2. Pick a pot or plot

Some people think that they need to buy big fancy pots that are designed perfectly for a marijuana plant, and though some of them offer unique benefits such as a rip away ability that protects roots, you can use almost anything in place of them, as long as they’re big enough to house the plant's root system. In most cases, a 2-5 gallon pot should be enough to do the trick, or if it’s the right time of year, you can just clear out some space in the old vegetable garden out back and put a plant or two there for free.

3. Search for free seeds

Cannabis seeds can sometimes cost more than an entire professional grow setup, depending on the type that you want to grow, but there are many different ways for you to get seeds for free, so this is truly an unnecessary expense unless you feel that specific genetics are important. Instead, you could wait until you get one in a bag of bud that you buy, ask some friends if they’ve got any extras, or sign up with seedbanks that will send you free samples as a thank you for subscribing, and then you can save yourself a fortune.

4. Create your own nutrients

Just like it is with the super soil, you can always create your own nutrients. Of course, they won’t be as precisely measured or manufactured as the store-bought versions, but if you do it right, your plants will love it, and it won’t have to cost you anything. Some growers will scatter small bits of manure on top of the soil, so that it feeds the plants as they’re watered, whereas others will take it to the next level and steep things like banana peels to extract the nutrients they need into a liquid form, and both options are completely free.

5. Forego the grow lights

A lot of people assume that you need those expensive LED grow lights in order to turn a successful crop, but the truth is that all your marijuana plant need is a sufficient amount of light. How it gets it really doesn’t matter in the end, as long as the quality is there, and this is easily replicated by sticking your plant on a windowsill that garners a fair amount of sunshine throughout the day, or if you are stuck on buying a light, then you can try picking up an old second-hand light ballast and replacing the bulb with an LED one that will be strong enough to do the trick for a fraction of the price.

Will the results be as good as what you’d expect from an expensive set-up?

Cannabis is a fascinating species that holds up relatively well under a variety of different conditions, so as long as you do your best to nourish your plant, it should do quite well regardless of your lack of investment. Of course, there are benefits to having all of the best tools that might result in a more bountiful harvest, but if you can’t afford it, there is no reason to waste your hard-earned cash growing cannabis.

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