Growing cannabis at home is more popular than it’s ever been. It’s partially due to cannabis’ growing acceptance throughout the world, but it’s also due to the availability of tools which allow growers to produce their own top-quality bud. There are so many tools to help you grow now, that you can end up spending more time, work and money growing marijuana than if you had bought it.
Today, I want to show you a few tips that you can utilize to keep growing your cannabis at dirt cheap prices. This way you end up with bud that tastes better, smells better, is more potent, and costs less than bud from a dispensary.
If you’ve ever gone into a hydroponic store - the term ‘hydroponic store’ is a misnomer as many of them sell an equal amount of soil products - you’ll know there is an insane amount of nutrient systems available. Luckily, many of the ones sold today will work just fine and the prices aren’t vastly different from each other if you only use the base nutrient line.
The problem comes in when you have to throw out your nutrients before you get a chance to use the whole bottle. Many nutrient lines come in 32oz bottles which can take multiple grows with multiple plants to use up. However, if you get nutrients that can last a long time after they’ve been opened, that will ensure they will last long enough for you to finish the bottle.
Fox Farms nutrients work great, and they’ll last as long as two years when stored properly. General Hydroponics Flora Trio is another nutrient line (that happens to be my personal favorite) and all three bottles can last 5+ years when stored properly. Whatever nutrients you end up using, just make sure to check that they can last at least 2 years. This will give you more time to go through the typical 32oz bottles that many nutrient lines are sold in.
Money Savings: $18 - $30
To be frank, many supplements are unnecessary. Some claim to do things that are very difficult for a hobbyist grower to measure. On the other hand, some supplements can be the thing that saves your garden from impending doom! If you’re going to use a supplement, make sure that you know what it does and that it’s actually solving a problem you have. There’s nothing wrong with trying out new stuff or being on the fringe of growing technology, but if money is tight, then you want to make sure you’re only investing in something with tangible benefits.
When I talk about supplements with ‘tangible benefits’, I mean that they do a specific job where the benefits seem obvious to the user. For example: it might be tough to tell if a supplement that claims to ‘make bigger buds’ is working because you don’t have a basis for comparison. However, if you’re using a supplement that claims to fight off root rot (like Hydroguard), or claims to add calcium/magnesium (like CALiMAGic), you’ll know whether or not it’s doing what you paid for purely by the results.
Money Saved: $125 - $200 for full supplement systems
When used properly, CO2 (in non-bag form) can make for dramatic increases in yields. The problem is that there are a bunch of limiting factors in the way before you actually see any benefits of using CO2. You need a sealed room, high temps, and lots of light; basically, if you aren’t perfecting every other aspect of your grow (training, lights, temps, humidity, etc.), CO2 won’t do you much good.
That being said, CO2 can noticeably improve a grow. Its CO2 bags/buckets that aren’t doing much to improve grows.
I think of CO2 bags like weight loss pills: The idea is appealing and the price usually seems great for such a huge reward. Additionally, CO2 bags have the deadly advertising combination that makes suckers of so many of us: the promise of maximum gains from minimal effort. We all love things that make our lives easier while also requiring little-to-no work on our part!
Plus we all know plants like CO2, so it could only be helping right? Well, it might be helping! It just isn’t helping enough to pay for its $30 - $70 cost.
The problem is that these bags don’t make enough CO2 to make a difference, and most home setups aren’t bright enough to get significant yield improvements from CO2 anyways. The vast majority of growers will get much more return from plant training and/or upgrading their lights and saving that CO2 money for the next batch of seeds or nutrients. Again, it’s not that CO2 bags are bad; they just don’t provide obvious tangible benefits.
Want to learn to use CO2 the right way? Click here to check out our page on the topic!
Money Saved: $30 - $70+
For those who haven’t heard of these, a ‘grow box’ is essentially a rigid grow tent with lights, ventilation and other amenities included. It’s meant so that growers can make one purchase and start growing immediately provided they already have seeds or clones.
Grow boxes aren’t inherently a bad idea; we’ve seen plenty of growers DIY their own worthwhile grow boxes. However, many grow boxes - specifically ones made to sell - are designed to attract growers, but not necessarily to help them grow and harvest plants. These grow boxes are usually sold to new growers at alarmingly high prices while also giving growers unrealistic space expectations.
This means that growers are left with an expensive product that isn’t suited well to growing cannabis and it won’t grow nearly as much as they thought it would when making the purchase.
For example, I went to Google and found a ‘12-plant grow box’ for a cost of $1,700. Compare that to my setup at a total cost of about $950:
- Grow box area: 2.5’ x 2’ x 5’
- My tent: 4’ x 4’ x 7’
- Grow box lighting: 150W HPS
- My setup: 600W HPS
- Grow box nutrients: 6 months worth for $220 (not included in original price of $1,700)
- My setup: 2+ years worth for $35 (included in $950)
These are just a few attributes that fail to justify the high cost. And remember I mentioned those ‘unrealistic space expectations’? This grow box is supposed to fit 12 “large” plants in a 2.5’ x 2’ area. Divided amongst 12 plants means each plant will only have 7.75” x 7.75” to itself for its entire life cycle. While that’s technically possible, it would be an absolute headache for a beginner to manage as opposed to a set-and-forget solution.
If you’re considering getting a grow box, try spending a few minutes pricing the parts separately. Not only will it be a better deal, but you’ll most likely end up with something of much higher quality than what you would have purchased.
Money Saved: $250 - $1,500
Plant training costs close to nothing - maybe a couple dollars for some twist-tie - and dramatically increases yields. Plant training is a fantastic way to save money when growing, though its benefits aren’t as apparent as the other methods above.
Training takes time. Time to learn, time to try out, and time to apply on all of your plants.
But if you’re willing to invest a little time during the vegetative stage to train your plants, you will see returns in the form of undeniably larger yields. In fact, training is probably the best way to increase yields without having to alter your setup or buy new equipment. Some advanced training methods - such as ScrOG and Manifolding - are capable of producing twice as much bud than the same plants grown in the ‘Christmas tree’ shape (called ‘apical dominance’).
And all that extra bud converts into money saved! How? Because you don’t have to grow as often when you get bigger yields! And every day you don’t have to grow is another day you aren’t paying for electricity/nutrients/water/etc. to grow...not to mention getting back the time you would have spent.
In short, we grow more buds with the same amount of supplies and then we get a break from the costs of growing. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Money Saved: $40 - $300 per month
Do you have some good methods to save money without sacrificing quality in a grow? Let us know!