DIY cannabis: Alberta man offers tips for the budding home grower
Ardrossan man launches educational website for the first-time home grower
If you've ever grown a tomato plant, you won't have a hard time growing cannabis.
A local private cannabis grower says the two plants aren't that different. With the proper soil, sunlight and nutrients, Tom Neumann says anyone can grow their own fresh supply of cannabis at a fraction of the price of products sold by licensed producers.
Albertans will be legally allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household starting Oct. 17, but Neumann has been legally growing medical cannabis for personal use at his home near Ardrossan for three years.
He wants to teach other Albertans how to grow their own weed through his new website, The Grow Show.
"It eliminates trial and error for people," he said.
"It's really not that hard to grow. We just want to help people to be able to access cannabis as medicine, and that's really where it's stemming from."
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Neumann says there are many websites that provide information on growing, but they can be confusing for new growers, and plants grow differently depending on the climate.
His website will feature livestream demonstrations and tips for new growers including where to buy seeds, and what nutrients and lights to use.
Neumann started growing cannabis after his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He found cannabis from licensed producers "average at best," so the couple applied for a licence to grow their own. They wanted to keep costs down and ensure quality and freshness.
'People need to know how to do this'
Growing cannabis indoors costs under $1 per gram, Neumann said. Growing it outdoors costs 50 cents per gram. He has a licence to grow each way. Cannabis sold by licensed medical producers runs on average about $8 per gram.
Four of Neumann's outdoor plants yield about four pounds of dried cannabis, he said. That's about 1,800 grams. For plants grown indoors under a 400-watt light, he can end up with 60-90 grams of dried flower.
"It's quite dramatic," he said. "If four [plants] is the limit, people need to know how to do this."
It's really not that hard to grow. We just want to help people to be able to access cannabis as medicine.- Tom Neumann
Neumann says he has grown about 400 plants of eight different strains over the years. He says sharing his knowledge about plant growth through his website and livestream could prevent viewers from making common mistakes that could lead to an inferior product.
"There's a lot of things that people freak out about cannabis — mould, it's going to make my house stink, all these different things. In a simple soil grower, peat moss-type soil, you don't have any of those issues."
Growers can adjust lighting and water levels as a plant grows, but the secret to success starts with the seeds, Neumann says.
"The real key is buying quality genetics," he said. "That is really, at this point, the secret to growing good cannabis."