With the recent legalization of dagga for personal and private use / cultivation, more and more people are interested in how to grow dagga themselves. While the laws are still up in the air in terms of how much one can grow, what defines personal use, etc; it’s pretty clear that growing one or two plants for yourself is not an offence you’ll likely be punished for.
With such a great climate in South Africa, it makes sense for most to grow outdoors, since so much of the work is done for you. However, it can be incredibly beneficial to grow indoors too, depending on your intentions for growing.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of both indoor and outdoor growing, so you can decide what works best for you. We’re going to break down the different aspects of each one, and look at the requirements to see if you’re a grow-tent person, or all-organic mastermind.
There is no simple way to answer this question. One could say, “outdoor growing is easier, and indoor growing produces better flower”, but that would be glossing over so many important aspects of growing, and the nuances of each environment. You have to decide how to grow weed yourself, to best suit your needs and resources.
There are so many factors that fall into place when weighing up these two options, mostly skill and monetary ones. Outdoor growing is often recommended for new growers as all the work around light, soil prep, and watering is done almost entirely by nature. However, many are in the school of thought that first-timers should dive in the deep end with an indoor grow as they’re more in control, even if certain aspects of indoor growing can be very confusing.
It’s also important to remember that growing a plant requires dedication – it’s a 6-8 month process and can run you up quite a bill if you’re picky enough about how your grow is going. It’s not a project you can leave in the middle of, and only attend to when you like. If you treat it as such, you’re certainly going to be disappointed by your yields.
Now, let’s break down these two topics further and take a bit of a deeper look at the requirement for each one.
The main benefit of growing weed indoors is that you have full control over the plants. In a way you’re playing god, controlling temperature, humidity, lighting, watering, and all the little factors out of one’s control growing outdoors. This allows for utmost control during growing, allowing you to replicate the perfect environment from strain to strain, phenotype to phenotype.
With control like this, you gain the advantage to easily correct environmental issues, control when your dagga plant goes into flower (and for how long it flowers, to a degree), and you’re a lot more likely to end up with picture-perfect buds – a very important factor to some.
The main downside of growing indoors, on the other hand, is the amount of equipment you need. You’ll need a tent or grow closet, lights appropriate for all the various stages of growth, soil ready for indoor grows or possibly a hydroponics / aeroponics system, nutrients and possibly a watering system if you’re going aeroponic or hydroponic. You’ll also need ventilation, enough money to foot the electricity bill for your operation, as well as some kind of failsafe to prevent any issues to do with having water, heat and electricity in a contained environment within your house.
This may all seem a bit daunting, but it’s really not as scary as it seems. There are some great guides out there on growing weed indoors at home, however it’s quite a lot more of an undertaking than growing outdoors.
The main reason people grow outdoors is either for the natural / organic element, or because it’s plain-and-simple easy. Growing outdoors, the sun provides light, the wind provides ventilation, and just about any soil can be ready in a matter of weeks to suit the types of weed grown in South Africa.
Growing outdoors also develops more terpenes than growing indoors – there’s not enough research done to say why, however it’s clear that growing outdoors certainly develops more unique characteristics of taste and smell, when compared to growing indoors. This isn’t to say that the aroma of a strain won’t come through when grown indoors, it’s just that an outdoor grow is more likely to give each individual plant its own more unique, characterizing flavour.
It’s a great way to do your first grow (just throw a seed in a hole and water it). However, because of your lack of control over the weather and elements, the results can vary greatly. This is the main downside to growing outdoors. You’d be more likely to want a quality starter seed, as a bagseed grown outdoors will likely not go as far as one grown indoors.
We’ve seen many growers doing everything right in terms of the process, with great soil and nutrient/watering plans, and strong seeds – only to have their crop ruined mid-season as they didn’t realise their back garden didn’t get adequate sunlight during the later stages of summer. It’s these little nuances that make outdoor grows challenging, yet also keep it interesting.
While the act of legalization itself has occurred, there isn’t yet much regulation or control over the industry, and what can be labelled a certain way / how labelling works. As such, there are a number of seed banks that have popped up locally in recent months claiming to sell certain genetics. There are currently, however, no surefire ways to ensure the genetics you’re getting are what is listed on the box.
As such, it’s best to order in seeds from a country where things are legalized in a regulated manner. Ordering from somewhere like Amsterdam, Colorado or Ecuador. You’ll want to look for well-renowned, well-reviewed seed banks such as Dinafem, Dutch Passion, Sensi Seeds or Flying Dutchmen. Simply take a look at their online review and Google Reviews, and try and ascertain as to whether or not they’re the ‘real deal’.
The easiest way to find seeds, however, is to ask a friend or find your own. As soon as you’re smoking on some bud that you’re enjoying, save a seed or two! While once again they’re not always the genetic they claim to be, it’s a nice way to build up a little collection of lucky stars. The one thing you can be sure of is that the bud produced will be one that you genuinely enjoy smoking.
At this point you should be well-informed enough to decide how, when and where you’re going to grow your weed. The next step would be to ready your supplies and get to it!
If you’ve decided to, we put together a guide on the simplest way to grow outdoors in South Africa. It covers everything you’ll need to get started, as well as all the ins and outs of the process. We’ve also got a guide on picking a grow tent for indoors should you choose to go that route.
Whichever method you choose, just remember to try and enjoy it, and that it’s just a plant. A failed grow can always be done over, and while depressing, really isn’t worth pulling hair over. To avoid this, we recommend growing indoors and outdoors side-by-side, simultaneously and year-round!