For many prospective growers, the budget is a real issue when thinking about setting up a marijuana grow room. People seem to think that growing marijuana requires a lot of money to get started, but this is not the case if you know exactly what you need.
In this guide, we will show you how to set up a basic grow area with less than $100 and build from there. Of course, the more you spend on improving your crop, the best results you will get. Cheap indoor marijuana growing can become an investment with incredible returns if done properly.
In this article, we will look at some of the cheapest marijuana growing setups and maximize the profits of your investment by growing ounces of potent flowers and spending less!
The Cheapest Solution: Grow Marijuana Outdoors!
Growing outdoors is the single cheapest solution for an almost hassle-free experience. You don’t have to find a grow room, you don’t have to purchase grow lights and you don’t have to worry about ventilation and odor. Plus, as widespread legalization is now becoming a reality, stealth methods are becoming a thing of the past.
By growing outside you are effectively reducing your costs to almost nothing. The only things you actually need to buy are:
- High-quality seeds
- A good soil mix
- Some containers
- Miscellaneous organs like thermometers, pH meters etc.
Growing Marijuana Without Grow Lights
Natural sunlight is far better than the best grow light. Marijuana is designed to grow naturally without human interference and is especially adapted to utilizing sunlight.
On the other hand, this level of convenience comes with a very important trade off: Your plant will be exposed to all environmental factors, such as temperature fluctuations, diseases, pests and bad weather conditions. All these factors can hamper your final yield by stunning plant development (at best) and turn all your plants into males of hermaphrodites (at worst).
If you live in an area that doesn’t experience extreme climates and have access to an outdoor area that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight per day (such as a balcony or a porch), we’d say go for an outdoor grow. It is by far the cheapest marijuana growing method available. However, if you want more control over the final yield and the development of your plant, we suggest investing some more to build your own private grow area.
COST BREAKDOWN OF GROWING MARIJUANA OUTDOORS:
Seeds: $10 per seed on average (prices differ from strain to strain)
Containers: $20 for 5×5 gallon pots
Quality grow soil: $15
pH meter for soil: $10
Mason Jars (for curing): $15 for a 5-pack
TOTAL COST: $70
The Anatomy of A Cheap Marijuana Grow Room
Although indoor marijuana growing is certainly not a cheap hobby, the costs are scalable. That means that you are free to experiment with more basic setups before you feel comfortable shelling out more money for upgrades.
Think of it this way: If you wanted to start playing guitar, you wouldn’t go for the 1968 Fender Stratocaster straight off the bat. It makes more sense to get something far cheaper until you know how to play. Things are pretty similar to marijuana growing. Start small, make mistakes, learn and make incremental upgrades after each harvest.
Basic Requirements for a Marijuana Grow Room
Before we go into more detail about the individual components of your grow room, we need to look at the bigger picture.
An adequate grow room will need to be:
- Covered with reflective material
- Reasonably sized
As long as these minimum requirements are met, you are ready to go. A good quality grow tent will usually do the trick as it meets all the criteria and comes in all shapes, prices, and sizes. However, it is a shortcut that will set you back at least $50 for a small-sized unit. Still, it is a solution that might pay off for itself in the long run.
Light proofing your grow room is especially important. Control over the light intake of your plant is the primary advantage of an indoor grow. Absolute darkness during the flowering stage can mean the world for your plant and will play a crucial role on your final yield.
As your plant grows, you need to mimic the passing of the seasons from spring to autumn. Therefore, a plant that is vegging should get at least 18 hours of light, whereas in the flowering stage it should get at least 12 hours of total, pitch-black darkness. As you will probably won’t be able to do that manually every day for 3 months, a time switch will be your best bet.
Ventilation and Temperature Control
Maintaining a steady airflow in and out of your grow room is also very important for the health of your crop. Marijuana, like all plants, “breathes” carbon dioxide which breaks down into oxygen and glucose. So there will need to be a constant intake of fresh air in your grow room.
The air that comes in must inevitably be circulated. So, you need to make sure that there is also a force that keeps it moving. Consider using a small fan or an air extractor to keep things moving and maintain an acceptable temperature. Grow lights tend to generate heat and that can accumulate fast if the air has nowhere to go.
While this is not exactly necessary, it will help you make the most out of your grow lights. A reflective coating will help distribute the light more evenly around your plant and reach tricky areas, like behind the canopy. This reflective material could be anything from mylar, orca grow film or simply white paint. Each one has a different level of light reflectivity, with mylar usually being the best. Tin foil is an especially bad idea, as it reflects light unevenly and can cause problems.
Regardless of whether you live in a legal state or not, the strong odor of flowering marijuana overpowering your house might not be an ideal experience. Therefore, you must make sure that air gets out from just one spot. If you are using an air extractor, be sure to mount a carbon filter or use an odor-eliminating gel next to your grow room.
Cheap Grow Tents
Bear in mind that all of the above components are part of a complete grow area, with all the bells and whistles. You can live without many of the parts we mentioned above, and we will list some recommended grow setups below.
Planning out a grow room can be a hassle when you’ve never done it before. Cutting holes for air extraction, coating the walls and making sure that everything is under control are challenging for the first-timer. Besides, it is far easier to control the climate of a small tightly enclosed space than the one of a whole room.
So, if you have some extra money to spend, we recommend buying a mid-end marijuana grow tent. It will save you a ton of time and frustration.
What to Look For in A Marijuana Grow Tent
Most of the grow tents available on the market today come together with pots, holes for cables and chains for your grow lights. However, dealers often tend to overstate the size of their units. For example, you will often see that a 2’x2’ (60cmX60cm) grow tent can accommodate 4 smaller plants.
While this is technically true, you will have a hard time fitting four plants and yourself in such a small space. So, if you decide to get a grow tent, go for something bigger than what you actually plan to grow. Think of it as purchasing a tent for a camping trip: You might need space for two, but what about the luggage and convenience?
Also, you need to check the build quality and the quality of the zippers. Check the reviews and see what other users have to say about them. The market is currently booming, and the competition is forcing companies to create amazing products for knockdown prices.
Cheap Marijuana Grow Lights
The lighting setup of a marijuana grow room is one of the cornerstone aspects. The choice extends from the type of grow lights, to how many you need, to how you place them in your grow room.
Since budget is our ultimate concern, we will focus on the cheapest choices (listed from cheapest to most expensive):
- Compact Fluorescent Lights
- High-Pressure Sodium Lights
- (Budget) LED lights.
CFL lights (the cheapest grow lights)
Fluorescent lights run cool and consume little energy. However, the main drawback is that you will have to keep them really close to your plant to see any results, plus they lack the power to fuel a high-yielding flowering period. Nevertheless, they are extremely cheap and you can easily manipulate them according to your needs.
Expect to grow about 30 grams of dry marijuana per 100W of CFL lights.
These grow lights offer a perfect middle ground between raw power and price. Also, they produce UV rays that are necessary for the flowering stage of marijuana growth. However, these advantages don’t come without costs. And those costs will be visible in your electricity bill.
HPS grow lights are extremely strong, meaning they will quickly build up the heat of your grow room. Be sure that you have adequate means of controlling the temperature to avoid plant problems. On average, you can expect about 90 grams of dry marijuana per 100W of HPS lights. Not bad at all.
LED lights (the most expensive choice)
LED grow lights seem like a great all-rounder as they run cool, they run on the full light spectrum and they last for many years. They also tend to save a lot of money in energy costs in the long run, but they are not as powerful as HPS grow lights.
A low-budget LED grow light will get you a unit of dubious quality. You can find fixtures starting from $75, but they usually come flooded with issues. Also, bear in mind that in most cases manufacturers don’t list an accurate power output of their grow lights. You might think you are paying for a 1200W LED grow light, but in some cases, this calculation is off by more than 60%!
On average, a LED grow light will get you about 60 grams per 100 (true) watts.
Cheap Marijuana Grow Room Setups
We’ve prepared three templates of grow rooms for you, starting from $100. All of the recommended setups should be enough to get you through a whole grow from seed to harvest. Feel free to mix and match according to your budget and personal preferences!
The Basic Setup
1x High-Quality 125-watt CFL light: $50
2x 5-gallon pot: $10
1 x High potting soil: $5
3 x High-quality seeds: $30
The Grow Tent Setup
1x Grow Tent: $70
1x 150W HPS grow light (complete kit): $70
1x Exhaust fan: $50
1x Time switch: $7
2x Potting soil: $10
5x High-quality seeds: $50
The Serious Grower Setup
1 x 600-watt HPS complete kit: $120
1 x 500m3 carbon filter: $60
1x Exhaust fan: $50
1x Fan controller: $50
1x Time switch: $7
10x 2-gallon pots: $10
3x Potting soil: $15
10 x high-quality seeds: $80
These suggestions are based on current market prices of the components on Amazon. Bear in mind that many dealers also offer great deals on complete growing kits, complete with nutrients, pots and hydroponic systems. It’s worth taking a look at these as well.