Growing therapeutic plants at home is becoming increasingly popular among patients and enthusiasts around the globe. People are educating themselves every day, not just on the bounty of benefits to be derived from the plant itself but on cultivating their own crops in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
In today’s article, we’ll take an in-depth look at home growing in Europe. We’ll answer key questions about how to start a legal grow op, including:
- Is it legal to grow at home in Europe?
- How much can I grow at home?
- How do I start a small indoor grow room?
- What home growing equipment will I need?
Let’s jump right in.
Laws Of The Land: Is It Legal To Grow In Europe?
When it comes to home cultivation in Europe, the current laws are as disparate as the landscapes. In some countries, running a grow op at home is fully legal and regulated; in other countries it’s decriminalized, which means you could still technically be charged an administrative fine if caught.
Here’s a closer look at home growing laws in a few European countries.
- In Belgium, the cultivation of one plant at home is decriminalized.
- In Ukraine, the cultivation of up to 10 plants is decriminalized.
- Spain protects its citizens’ rights to privacy, which includes home cultivation and consumption. There are no specific regulations regarding the amount that may be grown.
- Citizens of the United Kingdom may grow at home if they obtain a cultivation license from the Home Office.
- In the Czech Republic, home cultivation of up to five plants is considered a misdemeanor, and growers can be punished with an administrative fine. Growing more than five plants at home is a much more serious offense.
Before starting a home grow op in Europe, it’s critical to research the laws and regulations in your home country and local jurisdiction. In some cases, it could be easy to assume that home cultivation is allowed, based on the country’s other drug policies. In Portugal, for example, the possession and use of all drugs is decriminalized — but cultivation is still a highly illegal offense.
It’s worth noting that the countries that do permit home growing require it to be exclusively for personal consumption. Growing your own therapeutic plants at home and then selling them will almost certainly get you prosecuted.
Now, let’s get into the specifics of growing big buds indoors at home.
How To Start A Legal Grow Op In Europe
Once you’ve decided to start a legal grow op at home, the next step is to start planning and preparing your grow space. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on growing indoors.
Although it may seem daunting at first, setting up a small indoor grow room isn’t as difficult or expensive as many people think. In fact, your indoor grow room doesn’t have to be a room at all — it can be a closet, cabinet or just a corner of a room.
There are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind as you select your grow space:
- Power and water: Your indoor grow op will be much safer and more efficient if you set it up near sources of electricity and water. The risk factor increases dramatically if you have to run extension cords and water lines throughout your home just to power the equipment and feed your plants.
- Environmental stability: Plants crave homeostasis, which means they thrive best when temperatures and other environmental factors remain stable, so avoid setting up your grow in areas that get too cold or too hot. Depending on the number of plants in your grow, a small grow tent is an excellent way to maintain a stable environment.
- Ventilation and circulation: Your plants will need a constant supply of fresh CO2, so make sure your grow room isn’t prone to holding stuffy, stale air.
- Sanitation: Consider the cleanliness of the space in which you choose to grow. Is it easy to keep the area clean and pest-free? Rooms with carpeting or rugs and lots of drapery are generally not ideal grow spaces, as they can easily harbor dirt and unseen critters that can potentially damage your plants.
Home Growing Equipment
Once your small indoor grow room or area is selected, you’re ready to gather your grow op equipment. The basic components you’ll need are light, growing medium, water, proper air and environmental control, and nutrition.
Let’s take a closer look at these elements.
- Light: LED grow lights are very popular, but they aren’t the only option when it comes to recreating sunlight for your plants. You can choose from metal halide, high-pressure sodium, fluorescent or induction lights. If you’re growing five plants or fewer, one 1,000-watt light is sufficient. To automate your light and dark cycles, connect a 24-hour timer to the light switch to ensure the lights turn on and off at the same time every day for each photoperiod. This is essential for homeostasis.
- Growing medium: The growing medium boils down to two choices: soil and soilless, also known as hydroponics. Both have their advantages; if you’ve grown vegetables in a garden before, you may already be comfortable with soil. If you want to try your hand at hydro, we recommend beginner growers start with a deep water culture (DWC) system.
- Water: This seems simple enough, but water quality plays a big role in the overall health of your plants. Tap water often contains unwanted elements like chlorine and dissolved minerals, which can negatively impact nutrient uptake and beneficial microbe life in the root zone. For this reason, we recommend using filtered water, and a reverse osmosis water system is ideal, particularly if you’re growing hydroponically.
- Air and environmental control: It’s essential that your plants get a steady stream of fresh air and a healthy supply of CO2. You can achieve this with a filtered air inlet on one side of the grow area and an exhaust fan at the top of the other end. Additionally, a clip-on fan can help keep the air circulating. As for environmental control, you can keep temperatures within their ideal range by using a thermostat switch that can activate the air system as needed. Keep tabs on the humidity level with a hygrometer, and keep the pH in the proper range with a pH meter. All of these elements should be monitored and balanced for optimal results.
- Nutrition: Last but not least, your plants will need quality nutrients to grow to their full potential. The primary components of plant nutrition are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), but there are other secondary and micronutrients that play critical roles as well.
When it comes to feeding your plants, a proper feeding schedule will be critical to your success. Here at Advanced Nutrients, we’ve designed nutrient starter kits that are perfect for beginners and their legal, small grow room. One of the best perks of growing with Advanced Nutrients is our Grower Support hotline, which you can call whenever a question or concern pops up and speak one-on-one with a real growing professional.