A (Grow) Room of One’s Own – It’s Easier Than You Think!

uncle-sam-garden-cannabis-weed-memes-700x460When it comes to pot legalization in DC, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: the new law is confusing. Weed is legal to buy – but not to sell. It’s legal to smoke – but not in public, or in public housing, or on federal land.  The only totally safe way to enjoy your weed is to just grow it yourself.

Growing your own not only gets you out of having to depend on your dealer, who takes six hours to text you back and always ups the price once you get to his house, but it’s also super cheap in the long run. The initial outlay of equipment will cost you a few hundred dollars, but if you grow just two or three crops you’ll come out way ahead, especially if you’re a clean shaven square who was getting charged “this guy might be a cop” rates.  Here are the basic steps. (All these supplies can be purchased at various supply stores around the District:  I’ve heard good things about Hydro-City and Capital City Hydroponics.)


First, you need seeds. You should probably buy them from a reputable seller, but it is possible to grow plants from the seeds you find in weed that you buy. Though if your dealer is giving you sacks of weed loaded with seeds, he must think you’re a total square and not deserving of basic respect. If I were you I’d narc him out.

The type of seed you buy will determine what kind of weed you end up with. There are three basic kinds of weed: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Indica is considered the more “laid back” strain of weed, giving you a “body high.” If you like to smoke and then immediately lose all capacity for thought and movement other than slowly running your hand back and forth over the upholstery of your sofa while whispering, “duuuuuuude,” then indica is for you. Sativa is known to be more of a “head high,” so this is the strain for you if you like smoking and then immediately realizing that everyone hates you, you’re a fraud, all the decisions you’ve made in life have been the consequence of passive conformity and not independent thought, and that society is just a thin crust of shared delusion overlaying the molten lava of total anarchy. (I’m not a big sativa fan.) Hybrid strains can sometimes be fantastic, but sometimes can just be a combination of the worst of each strain. (“Duuuuuude these Doritos taste incredible but I don’t really care because life is meaningless and over in the cosmic equivalent of an eyeblink.”)


All you really need is a spare room or a garage, even a walk-in closet. You can get a “grow tent” to keep everything nice and contained, but you don’t have to. (I’m assuming you’re not the lucky person who lives in this place.)

You can grow pot plants in soil, or hydroponically. Hydroponic weed is more potent than regular weed, and the plants grow fast, but go ahead and google “how to grow hydroponic weed” and you’ll quickly realize that you have a better chance of extracting your own wisdom teeth than growing hydroponic weed your first time out of the gate. So yeah, let’s go with soil. You can buy regular potting soil, or you can make super-enriched soil by using compost made from kitchen scraps, which is actually really easy and will produce much better weed. Google “how to compost” or just start dating someone who went to a college that “doesn’t believe in grades,” either way you’ll quickly learn everything there is to know about composting.  As for what to grow your plants in, you can just use five gallon buckets or planters from Home Depot or any gardening store.


Pot plants need a ton of sun; ideally you’d be growing your plants outside, but clearly that’s not a good idea unless you like to stay up all night with a shotgun on your lap. So you’re going to need some grow lights. As you might assume, a light that can reproduce the intensity of the sun uses a good bit of electricity; an average grow light uses about the same amount of power as a refrigerator. And unless you’re only growing a plant or two, you’re going to need multiple lights. Plus fans to circulate air and dissipate heat from all those bright lights. Some growers have to rewire their houses just so they can handle the demands of a full pot-farmin’ setup without burning the house down. Though a house full of pot plants burning down does sound pretty cool. They’d be getting contact highs half a mile away.

Experts say you should time the lights to go on and off to mimic the sun rising and setting, though I’m skeptical; do pot plants sleep? I doubt it. Why not just leave the lights on all the time and grow freakishly large plants?  What could possibly go wrong, aside from electrical fires and sunburned marijuana plants?


So assuming that you’re able to successfully grow the plants to maturity, how long is it going to be before you get to harvest and smoke your bounty? A while. Four to five months, depending on various factors. There’s not only the growing that needs to be done, but then you have to harvest and dry the marijuana, which takes a week or two, and then you have to cure it, which takes up to an additional month.  It’s a long process, to be sure, but at the end you’re going to have so much marijuana that every time you smoke any of it, all you’ll be able to think about is if that noise in the hallway was robbers getting ready to kick your door down and take your massive stash.  Enjoy!

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