With most types of gardening, you can get everything you need, soil, fertilizer, tools, solid growing advice, and the plants themselves, from one spot—a nursery. Cannabis, however, is anything but one-stop shopping.
Deciding to grow is a big decision in and of itself and finding the right resources to nail the experience can be challenging. Plus, if you’re growing indoors, you’ll have even more factors to think about.
Here’s what to consider when looking for your cannabis supplies and a tribe of mentors.
Get Plants or Seeds at a Dispensary First
In case you’re not aware, the only legal place to buy clones or seeds is from a dispensary. Seed banks exist outside of the US and can sell them for “souvenir purposes,” but it is illegal to bring seeds into the US and Customs will seize any cannabis seeds that they find in packages or on a person.
Though you’ll find plants or seeds at the dispensary, even dispensaries that carry them are few and far between. But you won’t always find the most adept growers at dispensaries. They won’t necessarily be knowledgeable about grow practices, or if they are, they may not be eager to share tips. It’s just the way it goes in the cannabis world. Get your goods from the dispensary and keep shopping for everything else.
Find a Hydroponics or Grow Shop
Yes, hydroponic refers to indoor cultivation but no matter where you’re growing, indoors or out, this is the place you need to find.
Here’s what a hydroponics or cannabis grow shop offers:
If you find a really good grow shop, this is the place to ask your questions, much more so than the budtenders at a dispensary. Find the employees who grow—and most probably do—and ask them everything.
These people will know your local climate and the local pests. They can recommend varieties that do particularly well in your region, and they likely deal with other home-scale grows.
If you’re growing outdoors, you’ll need to think through soil amendments, like ones heavier in nitrogen for the early part of the season, and ones higher in phosphorus once your plants start to flower.
You’ll also need to decide whether you’re planting in-ground or using containers. A grow shop will undoubtedly stock lightweight felt containers—go-to’s in the cannabis world. Cheap and easy to move around, they’re a great choice, but by no means the only way to go.
Indoors, there will be many other considerations, including grow medium, light setup, ventilation systems, tenting, and potentially water filtration. Check out our primer on indoor growing for more information. For everything else, grow shop employees should be able to answer any other questions you have.
Don’t panic at the many bottles of chemicals that likely line several walls of the shop. If you’re growing outdoors, you really don’t need much more than old-fashioned compost. Indoors, you can still opt for organic practices and be less reliant on synthetic chemicals. If you do want to use nutrients, staff can help you sort out a regimen.
A great hydroponics or grow shop will also help you with everything you need from harvest through storage. They’ll have supplies for your drying room, including hydrometers to monitor temperature and humidity.
They’ll have specialized scissors to choose from when it’s time to trim your weed. They’ll have gizmos and gadgets for catching kief should you want to make hash. You’ll be able to find tools that can help you monitor moisture once your weed is jarred, and of course, they’ll have plenty of storage vessels, from vacuum sealing to locking stainless-steel tubs.
Support a Local Business
Yes, you can get all of these supplies on Amazon, and you can read up on Leafly, but we cannot stress how helpful it is to find a solid brick-and-mortar shop to fill in the gaps of information for your first grow or subsequent ones.
As the cannabis industry booms, there are more and more chain operations. We urge you to seek out the mom-and-pop grow shop in your area. These are staffed by people who have believed in cannabis cultivation even when it carried much more risk than it does today. They’re a dedicated, knowledgeable bunch, and they deserve your support!