Micro And Stealth Cannabis Growing
If you don’t have the space for more than a few plants, considering a cannabis micro grow is a good call. You only need a couple square meters to get started, whether that’s in your closet, dresser or out in the garden. Even though a micro grow is a small operation, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a lot of work! You’ll have to pay special attention to detail, taking into consideration the lighting, environment and strain.
How Does Microgrowing Work?
The focus here is on microgrowing, which in itself is a stealthy way to grow your cannabis. It works by growing in a confined space and adjusting the essentials for your plant to grow healthily: water, food, air and light. Microgrowing is perfect for a few plants in a small space like a closet. To maintain a discreet operation and keep plants small, the grower needs to pay special attention to the wattage of the lights, the amount of fertilizer used, soil vs. hydro growing and strain. Your main objective is to create and maintain optimal conditions for your cannabis plants to flourish in a restricted space.
Tips And Tricks For Stealthy Growing
If you prioritize stealth, indoor growing is your best option because you control the odor and sound – and of course, your plants aren’t in view. Outdoor growing can be risky for several reasons. If you choose to do it off your property, there’s the chance that the grow could be discovered or destroyed by strangers. If you decide to grow outdoors in your own garden and want to stay under the radar, you’ll have to train your cannabis to stay bushy and out of sight by pruning and topping the plant. There are also strains that are less smelly, such as Northern Lights or Blueberry. Other plants like lavender, honeysuckle, and jasmine can also cover up the smell of your cannabis plants.
Indoor growers, on the other hand, have to deal with these issues in another way. You’ll have to control the odor of your plants with filters and duct fans in the grow room, and possibly use odor neutralizers like candles and diffusers for main living areas. Fans are also noisy; the smaller or higher quality the fan, the quieter it will be. Insulating the grow space with egg crate material or foam can also help with reducing noise. Finally, be discreet with your waste; consider tossing your cannabis-related garbage on trash day.
Overall, be smart, attentive and quiet! Indoor grows remain more easily undetectable, especially when you consider the options for discreet grow boxes.
Low Odor Cannabis
What Space To Pick For Your Micro Grow
The ideal space to pick for your indoor micro grow would be a grow tent. These typically have vent ports for fans and fresh air already built in, are lined with reflective material on the inside and are generally good at keeping bugs out. If you’re looking for something more discreet than a grow tent, it’s popular to transform your closet into a micro grow space. This can be easier than setting up a tent, since you only need to install fans and lights, and line the walls with reflective material before you get started. Otherwise, stealth grow boxes are also a clever way to hide your grow from curious eyes. Many are disguised as a bedside table or dresser, or are even hollowed-out PC towers converted into stealth micro grow boxes, which are great for hiding light and disguising the sound of fans.
Save Space With The Right Strain
Choosing the right strain is important for microgrowing. Sativas are taller, more slender plants than Indicas, which are typically short and stocky. Watching out for height is essential, because plants can burn if they get too close to the lights. Keep in mind that plants grow exponentially during the flowering stage, which should be accounted for in the vegetative stage and while planning your grow space. If size could be a problem, an autoflower micro grow is right for you! Autoflowering strains have a short vegetative stage (3-4 weeks), which means they don’t grow very tall before they begin to flower. Our recommendations for autoflowering strains? Why not try Royal Dwarf Auto if you’re looking for a Sativa, or Auto White Widow if you’re more interested in some Indica vibes.
Aside from choosing a shorter strain, there are also training methods for keeping plants short like topping and low stress training, which we’ll touch on later.
Managing Your Medium: Soil Or Hydro?
You can control the potential size of your plant by how much soil you give it. The root system in cannabis plants is essential for the plant’s development, since that is where it gets all of its nutrients and water. Use this to your advantage! For example, an average plant needs about 12 liters (3.17 gal) or more of soil. Reducing the amount of soil to around 5 liters (1.3 gal) will result in a shorter plant of up to 60cm (2ft), while halving that amount of soil will lead to a plant of 24-30cm (0.8-1ft) in height. If you’re going to be using less soil, make up for that in extra fertilizer and water your plants to keep them healthy!
Using a stealth hydroponic grow box can decrease the amount of space you need, but requires more materials. The biggest downside to hydroponic systems? Honestly, maintenance. The water reservoir needs to be cleaned out regularly, otherwise you’re at risk for moldy roots that destroy the plants. Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity, because mold thrives in hot, moist conditions.
The Ideal Lights For Microgrowing
If you want your cannabis to grow, you’re going to need light. The better the lighting, the better the quality of your cannabis! We recommend using either LEDs or CFLS (compact fluorescent lamps), as they don’t give off as much heat as other bulbs. When deciding on your light setup, keep a close eye on the wattage and heat produced. Ideally, you should have around 100W of light per plant.
LEDs are perfect for growers with limited growing space, although LED tubes can be a little pricey. They produce a little heat, but this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you’re within the recommended wattage and ventilate your space. If your light is too strong, it won’t burn your plant, but the intense light can actually bleach the leaves and diminish growth. Somewhere between 270-360W should be perfect for a micro grow using LEDs.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), both bulbs and tubes, are great because they’re energy-efficient and super bright without giving off a lot of heat. You might not get the same yield as with LEDs because of the limited light strength in comparison, but the option for different light colors makes up for these shortcomings. Cannabis in the vegetative stage likes more blue light, but requires more red light in the flowering stage. Using different CFLs for different stages gets the job done!
Plants Also Need Their Vitamins and Minerals!
Since you’re working with fewer plants, you’ll have to scale down the amount of plant food you use. You should first calculate the water-to-nutrient ratio recommended by your feeding chart, then divide that by half. Your plants are supposed to stay small in a micro grow, so they won’t need nearly as many nutrients as a larger plant would. Here’s a tip: you’re giving your plants too much nutrition when their leaves get yellow and wilted (also known as nutrient burn). Don’t fret – you just need to scale down your nutrients by 25% and then gradually increase after that if necessary.
Environment Control: Heat, Humidity, Pests
When it comes to environment control, the most important ways to manage it concern the filtration, air flow and temperature. Air circulation is vitally important to growing cannabis, because carbon dioxide is quickly used up and needs to be replenished so that the plant can continue to develop. There are many types of fans available, and it’s recommended to place the intake at a low point in your grow space, and another higher up as an exhaust fan. Heat rises, and the hot air needs to be pushed out of the space to avoid drying out the plants, maintain an appropriate temperature and keep the humidity in check. Heat from the lights can be dangerous if your plants get too tall and get scorched, so stay diligent in your maintenance! Make sure to also include filters with your fan setup to keep dust, mold and pests away from your precious plants!
There are several ways to keep your cannabis plants as small as possible. Aside from autoflowering strains, which are usually small, and hydro systems which eliminate the space needed for soil, you can also train your cannabis plants to grow differently. You can influence plant growth by topping and low stress training, for example, to not only keep them at a desired height but also to potentially increase yield. These techniques mostly involve bending or trimming the top of the plant, thus exposing lower branches to more light. Check out our article on low stress training (LST) and high stress training (HST) methods to learn more.
High Yielding Strains
Sometimes, The Smaller The Better!
Stealth microgrowing setups are great for growers who don’t have a lot of space or would simply like to keep their plants hidden safely away. Do you have any recommendations for stealth micro grow boxes? The PC box is a clever way to keep your cannabis hidden, but if you have any other fun ideas, feel free to share in the comments below!
Stealth and micro growing is great for growers who don’t have a lot of space. It might seem like a small operation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a lot of work
Stealth Growing: How to NOT get Caught Growing Weed
by Sirius Fourside
If you’ve ever gone to a forum for advice on growing cannabis, you’ll know that there is no shortage of opinions on what you can do to become a better grower.
Learning new tips and training techniques give you an edge in growing and help you increase your yields. However, there is one thing that I consider to be the most important part of advancing your growing knowledge…
NOT GETTING CAUGHT!
No matter how good you are at growing cannabis, if you get caught and end up in jail, you’ll be in a place where your skills are useless and wasted. Even if growing cannabis is legal where you live, there are still thieves and nosy neighbors you don’t want to learn about your garden.
But fret not! We’ve compiled this easy-to-read list of tips to help keep you out of the sight and minds of people who could ruin your life just for growing a plant.
Remember, the only thing better than increasing the potency and yields of your harvest is making sure you get to keep said harvest.
Let’s get into some tips for Stealth Growing – keeping your grow “under the radar” of other people.
First, the mantra: “No smell, no sell, no tell”
There are a lot of ways to keep you and your grow safe, but this is the heart of it all.
- No smell – No one should be able to smell your grow or smell cannabis on you. This makes you an easy target for police and marijuana haters
- No sell – Statistically, people who are growing cannabis strictly for personal use deal with far less legal trouble than people who sell their cannabis. This even applies in places like Colorado where it’s legal within the state
- No tell – Having fewer people know about your grow reduces the chances of you getting busted by law enforcement or burglarized by thieves. I know it’s hard not to show off your awesome growing skills, but this one secret that needs to stay a secret. In fact, telling someone about your grow is the easiest way to get yourself in trouble. Remember, if you can’t keep your own secret, how can you expect them not to tell someone else?
Growing Indoors vs. Outdoors
There are benefits to both of these growing methods, but when it comes purely to stealth, indoor growing is the way to go. Indoors, you can completely control smell and sound, plus your plants are out of view. Outdoor growing has one potentially major problem that indoor growers are pretty much safe against… people wandering by. This is especially problematic when the plants are being grown on your property. Many outdoor growers have been busted by nosy neighbors, city/utility workers, or just bad weather (floods have revealed hidden outdoor grows, for example). If you can grow indoors, you’ll make yourself that much harder to find.
It’s more stealthy to grow indoors – no one can stumble upon your plants
In the vegetative stage, some plants have a cannabis smell from the beginning, but most strains tend to make a clean, fresh smell akin to the gardening section in a home improvement store. But once plants get bigger and especially after flowering kicks in, the smell can range from tame to “WHAT IS THAT SMELL?!”
Luckily, this can be easily corrected with several products like carbon filters for in the grow room, or odor neutralizers for living spaces. Some growers use diffusers or candles to help cover up smells on an emergency basis. Additionally, you can try growing cannabis strains that are known for having a more neutral smell (like the ones listed below). The goal is to make sure that the smell stays within your grow space, and doesn’t find its way into your living areas.
Important Note: Odor neutralizers with perfumes should not share the same air as your plants, meaning they shouldn’t be placed in your tent with your cannabis or the perfume smell might get onto your buds. Check out this PSA for more info.
Low Odor Marijuana Strains – Strains known for producing low/non-marijuana-like odor:
- Blue Mystic
- Master Kush
- Jack Herer
- Auto Duck is an example of an auto-flowering strain that is great for stealth growing due to its smell (or lack thereof) and a unique shape that doesn’t look quite like cannabis leaves
- Northern Lights Auto
Note: Smells are usually more intense when the environment gets hot and humid.
Low odor strains definitely aren’t fool-proof, but they can help make things easier. These are just a few examples of strains that are known to have a relatively low or neutral smell, but there are many others. Learn more about researching strains.
“What’s that smell?”
When buying any kind of electrical device, look up reviews on the product to make sure it runs quietly. A low-quality exhaust fan or air pump will cause people to be suspicious since they make lots of noise and typically run all day and night.
Exhaust fans and air pumps of especially low quality can raise even more suspicion by vibrating. This can make your grow noticeable through multiple walls!
Tips for quiet operation
- Use stealthy devices known to be quiet – it often helps to get quality equipment
- Don’t get a fan that’s way too powerful for your space, as bigger fans are noisier
- Install your exhaust fan inside your tent instead of outside, and try to hang it as opposed to letting it sit on something. Hanging your fan from the inside of my tent (which you can easily do with rope ratchets, large zip ties or even bungee cord) will reduce the amount of fan noise greatly.
- Keep the path for ducting as straight and short as possible. Extra bends and length will increase noise because of the air moving through the ducting, as well as because it makes your fan work harder.
- Use insulated ducting to help keep sounds inside
- Make sure your cool air intake hole is big enough. Your intake hole(s) where you get air should be near the bottom of the grow space and in total about 4x as big as the exhaust hole. If the fan is having trouble getting enough air it will run louder (and it’s hard on the fan)
- Use something that reduces sound around the outside of the fan, like egg crate material or foam. If there is foam between the fan and the place where it’s mounted it will help reduce vibration. Some people will also use an insulated box around the exhaust fan.
- Be aware of where the noise is going. Keep fans away from shared walls, the entrance of the room, near windows where sound projects, etc
To the outside world, it should appear as if you’re doing everything as normal. As paranoid as it sounds, you should assume that anyone who sees you doing growing related activity will know what it is and report you.
- Move any growing equipment at night so you’re less likely to be seen. It’s also a really good idea to cover any growing equipment you’re transporting, for example in black trash bags. This way, no one can see exactly what it is you’re moving
- Be careful about what you throw in your trash. On the rare occasion that I do throw cannabis trash (like stems) in a trash can, I usually cover it in food trash or kitty litter so no one will want to go through it. Also, throwing away your cannabis-related trash on the day trash is picked up means there is minimal time for a snooping person to find your secret garbage.
- Make sure nothing stands out. Pick a couple of days to walk around your house at a few different times of the day to see if anything stands out as suspicious. Example of something suspicious: Super bright yellow light (HPS) coming from a window at 11:00pm. Learn how to make a stealthy exhaust system.
- Be a good neighbor! A lot of people think of cannabis growers as criminals. When you continue to act like the intelligent, well-mannered, amicable person you are, your neighbors naturally become less suspicious.
- Don’t look like a stereotypical stoner. There’s nothing wrong with wearing Rastafarian colors or pro-cannabis clothing, and it’s your right to dress and act as you wish. Just remember that police, nosy neighbors, and marijuana haters are more likely to ‘judge a book by its cover’ and harass a person based on their clothing… regardless of how unfair that is.
A Google search for “house fire marijuana” will yield stories for events in at least 7 cities (in the first 2 pages alone) where people have accidentally burned down their cannabis, their home, and everything they own in electrical fires. Most electrical safety mishaps can be prevented with a few healthy habits:
- Only purchase quality equipment. Quality parts mean fewer failures, which means fewer fires started. Fire is bad.
- Keep water and other liquids below waist level and electrical equipment above waist level. Even if this isn’t always possible, it will help to accomplish the real goal: keeping water and electrical devices separated.
- Clean up all spilled water. Having a few towels or a roll of paper towels handy makes this a breeze.
- Get a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)These are made to interrupt power when they sense a problem with the flow of electricity. These devices can also save you from being electrocuted, so they’re definitely worth the investment.
- Don’t overload your circuits. If you live in an older house, you probably don’t want two 1000w HPS lights and high powered exhaust fans running from one room unless you know how much your circuits can take. Sticking only to what you actually need will help you in this department. For example: for indoor growing that’s strictly for personal use, a single 600w HPS can keep most people in constant over-abundance all year, every year.
- More Electrical Safety Tips (including how to figure out how much electricity your circuits can handle)
Technology and the way we communicate changes so rapidly these days, that many of us aren’t aware that we now do things that give away a lot of information about what we do. You don’t need to be a computer wizard, but these terms will definitely help you maintain your privacy in the digital age:
- Proxy: Many websites track your computer information and where you are. Proxies trick those websites into thinking you’re in a different place. Here’s a free site to try: http://www.vpnbook.com/webproxy
- Anonymous Search: I love Google and use it often, however, they do track information about searches. Google is still safe to use for normal use, but for things pertaining to cannabis, try a search engine that doesn’t track information, like https://duckduckgo.com/.
- Exif data: Exif data is a little chunk of information that comes attached to pretty much any picture you take nowadays. This can be dangerous if the picture is taken on a device with GPS (such as a smart phone), because the data will also include the location where the picture was taken. Follow this link for text instructions on how to remove this data from your photos.
Know the Law
In the U.S., many states have their own laws on how marijuana is treated. Some states will send marijuana users to jail for years, some will give them counseling, others will just give a fine, and some do nothing at all.
However, it’s important to remember that marijuana is still illegal according to U.S. federal law, as well as the law of most countries. In fact, cannabis is still classified as ‘Schedule 1’ with the US federal government; Schedule 1 is the highest (worst) classification a drug can have, and cannabis shares the classification with hard drugs like Methamphetamine and Heroin. Although this classification is obviously motivated by reasons other than public safety, it’s important to remember that you can still be prosecuted and jailed just the same.
It’s imperative that every grower spend at least a little time making sure they know the laws that apply to them to help minimize the risk of being prosecuted. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Learn where in the world it’s legal to grow cannabis
- U.S. residents, see NORML’s page for detailed up-to-date marijuana laws state-by-state: http://norml.org/laws
- Outside of the U.S., get the basics at Wikipedia’s page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis
This is a lot of information, and it still only barely scratches the surface of what it takes to grow stealthily. Over time there will be more pitfalls to watch out for, but growing your own cannabis has actually gotten easier and safer over time.
If you have quick, easily digestible tips to share, feel free to contact us.
What tools do you need for Stealth Growing?
Quiet Electronic Devices – Get devices that work without making noise:
- Silent Air Pump(for hydro)
- Low-noise Water Transfer Pump(for changing your reservoir when growing with Hydro/Bubbleponics/DWC)
- Cloudline – Very Quiet Exhaust Fans (though expensive and HUGE)
- Soler & Palau – Pretty Quiet Exhaust Fans (also expensive and big, a little less quiet but more powerful)
- Duct Silencer (these can help muffle the noise by about 50%, but it won’t make it silent; works best if you can put one before and after the fan, though you can use just one on the exit side for pretty good results)
- Carbon Filter (learn more about how to use carbon filters correctly)
- Odor Neutralizers like ONA, diffusers or candles (for use in living areas, not the grow room)
- Read the full tutorial on how to control smells
- DuckDuckGo.com – A free search engine that doesn’t track you or what you search for
- Tor Browser – Browse anonymously!
FOR SERIOUS GROWERS ONLY
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I thought I already knew it all, but after I went through this grow bible, I discovered that there were still lots of little pieces of information I could use to increase my yields and grow even more potent buds! I have gone back to it for new ideas.
Let’s get into some tips for Stealth Growing – keeping your grow “under the radar” of other people.