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Ready, Set, Grow: How to Start a Legal Grow Op in Canada

In October 2018, Canada made history when it became the first G7 nation – and just the second country worldwide – to legalize recreational use and home cultivation. Under federal law, Canadians are allowed to grow up to four plants per household for personal consumption, as long as the seeds or seedlings come from a licensed source.

In this article, we will explore exactly how to start a legal grow op in Canada, including tips on how to set up a grow room, so you can start enjoying the benefits of home cultivation.

Let’s get growing!

How To Start A Legal Grow Op In Canada: First Things First

The first step in starting a legal grow op in Canada is to ensure that you are, in fact, legally authorized to home grow within your particular province or territory.

Home cultivation is legal at the federal level, but Canadian provinces were given the discretion to ban home growing for personal use. Two provinces did just that – so, unfortunately, if you live in Manitoba or Quebec, you will not be able to start a legal grow op. Additionally, those who live in Nunavut will need to check the laws of the local territorial government.

Residents of other Canadian provinces would be wise to look into provincial and local regulations as well, as some provinces have put their own specific guidelines in place regarding home cultivation. This resource from the Canadian government allows you to research the home grow rules in your particular province. Additionally, be sure to check into your homeowner association or strata rules, as they may have guidelines in place regarding home growing.

Four Plants Per Household In Canada

Canadian federal law permits the cultivation of four plants per household. This means you can grow a total of four plants per residence, not per resident. This is a critical distinction. The only exception is for those holding a medical cultivation license.

It’s also important to remember that seedlings count as plants. For instance, if you were to germinate seeds while you still had four mature plants that had yet to be harvested, you would be out of compliance with federal law. You must wait until the crop of four mature plants has been completely harvested before sprouting new seeds.

The only exception to the four-plant-per-household rule is licensed medical patients. To gain a medical cultivation license, you will need to submit an application to Health Canada that includes documentation from your healthcare provider. If approved, you will receive a registration certificate that designates your cultivation limit.

Now that we understand the laws of the land, let’s dive into the specifics of starting a legal grow op in Canada – including the small grow op setup, home growing equipment and indoor growing techniques.

How To Set Up A Grow Room

You can certainly choose to grow your four plants outdoors, but many people may not have that option. So, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on indoor home growing.

The first step in setting up a grow room is to understand that it doesn’t have to be a dedicated room – it can be a small space inside a room, such as a closet, cabinet or cupboard. Alternatively, you can set up a small tent in the corner of a room. A 4-by-4-foot grow tent is an ideal size for growing four plants.

Here are a few key factors to consider when choosing your indoor grow spot:

  • Environmental control: It’s important to choose a space in which you can easily keep temperatures in an ideal range. Upper-floor rooms and attic spaces are typically not the best, as they tend to take in and retain too much heat.
  • Access to water and electricity: Keep in mind that your grow op will need water and electrical power. Running excessive extension cords and cables throughout your home can cause unnecessary hazards, so choose a spot that’s close to water and electricity sources.
  • Cleanliness: Maintaining a clean grow area is critical not just for plant health but your health as well (you don’t want to consume plants that were grown in a dirty environment). Pick a spot that is easy to clean and sanitize, and avoid areas with carpeting, rugs and drapes, as they’re hard to clean and can harbor harmful pests.

Home Growing Equipment

Once you’ve determined a good grow space, it’s time to stock up on home growing equipment. The good news is that you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars to grow four plants at home; you can easily get the necessary equipment for less than $1,000.

Let’s break down the equipment and supplies you’ll need to get started.

  • Genetics: In other words, the seeds or seedlings from which you’ll be growing. Remember: In order to have a legal home grow op, you can only procure seeds or seedlings from a licensed source.
  • Grow tent: For an indoor small grow op setup, a grow tent will likely be your best bet. A 4-by-4-foot tent will offer plenty of room for your four plants while allowing space for you to work around them.
  • Light: Lighting is one of the most critical – and costly – parts of your grow. There are plenty of options, including high-intensity discharge (HID), fluorescent, LED and induction, and each type has its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, LED lights last a long time, use less electricity and create less heat than other types of lights, but they’re also more expensive than most other types. As far as wattage, you’ll need no less than 600 and no more than 1,000 watts for four plants in a 4-by-4-foot grow tent.
  • Medium: When it comes to your grow medium, there are two main categories – soil and hydroponics. We recommend soil for beginners, as it is typically more forgiving than a soilless medium. However, if you are interested in hydroponic cultivation, there are several types of media to choose from, such as rockwool, perlite and coco coir.
  • Ventilation: It’s critical that fresh air moves freely through your grow, so you’ll need a filtered air inlet, as well as an exhaust fan to get rid of warm, stale air. You’ll also want to keep air circulating with a fan – a small clip-on fan will work just fine for a small indoor grow op.
  • Climate controls: To maintain a stable grow environment, you’ll need equipment to automate your light and exhaust fan. You can spend as much as you’d like on high-tech control and monitoring systems, but if you’re just looking for the essentials, an adjustable thermostat switch to control your exhaust fan and a 24-hour timer for the light will do the trick.
  • Nutrients: Of course, your four plants won’t be able to grow without proper nutrition. The three main building blocks of plant life are the macronutrients NPK – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Your plants will also need a range of secondary and micronutrients for optimum growth.

Add in plant containers or pots and six-inch ducting for ventilation, and you’re ready to start your legal grow op.

A Word On Water

Along with proper nutrition, your plants will need plenty of water. But regular tap water just won’t do – especially if you’re going to be growing hydroponically. Unfiltered tap water can contain compounds like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium that will throw off the balance and pH of your plants. This is why we recommend a reverse osmosis water system for hydroponic growing.

Start Your Legal Grow Op In Canada With Advanced Nutrients

If you’re ready to launch your legal grow op and begin cultivating your four plants in Canada, check out Advanced Nutrients for your plant nutrition needs. We have a range of nutrient starter kits for beginner growers that will help you get off to a great start.

If you have questions along the way, you can always contact our Grower Support hotline to speak with a real growing professional.

And, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to receive more free articles to help you make the most of your legal grow op in Canada!


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The Advanced Nutrients Team

Since 1999, Advanced Nutrients has been committed to educating the community and bringing the most up-to-date knowledge to the forefront of grows across the globe. Every article you read here has been curated by Advanced Nutrients’ industry experts, so you can continue raising your bud weight… and your reputation.

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Over time, components within the nutrients settle on the bottom of the bottle. When you pour a bottle without shaking it, you can potentially be pouring out an unbalanced solution. Shaking up the nutrient bottle ensures you are pouring the right blend into your reservoir, giving your crops the nutrition they need.

Usually, it’s not a problem. But some products are incompatible with each other and can damage your plants when they’re used together. For example, bloom boosters with high PK numbers or low-grade silica products can destabilize your nutrient mix and cause nutrient lockout.

Nutrient manufacturers design their products to be used with each other. In doing so, they include specific portions of each nutrient in each product, so crops receive the right nutrition through each stage of the grow cycle. When you stick with one manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about inadvertently destabilizing your nutrient mixture. One example of why you need to stick with only one manufacturer’s products is Advanced Nutrients’ pH Perfect line. These products are designed to keep your crops’ root zone within a specific pH range. When you use them alongside products from another manufacturer, we can’t guarantee your root zone will maintain its optimal pH level.

Yes! If you’re growing with Advanced Nutrients products, you can use our easy nutrient calculator to generate the correct nutrient chart for your crops in seconds. Check out Advanced Nutrients’ nutrient calculator here. Another great resource is our library of free custom-growing recipes. Try our expert grower-tested nutrient schedules here.

You can also download our official BudLabs app to generate nutrient schedules and receive real-time notifications for specific tasks, including feeding your crops. Upgrade to BudLabs Pro to maintain profiles on an unlimited number of crops.

If you are a grower, visit this link to find the closest Advanced Nutrients Authorized Retailer. If you are a retailer, visit this link to identify our official distributors.

Our greatest passion is growing great cannabis—and helping other growers do the same. That’s why we offer complimentary cultivation support 24/7 from Monday to Friday and from 9 AM until 7 PM PST on Saturday… With the same level of advice licensed producers would pay consultants tens of thousands of dollars to unlock.
Just call 1-800-640-9605 or email support@advancednutrients.com. For Spanish-speaking growers, email spanishsupport@advancednutrients.com.

Yes! If for any reason you are not absolutely thrilled with the results you achieve when you use our products, just bring the unused portion, along with your original sales receipt, back to the place of purchase within six months, and ask for your money back. Find out more about our Grower Guarantee here.

Advanced Nutrients has spent many thousands of man-hours developing a technology that automatically balances your pH for you — putting it in the “sweet spot” and holding it there for one week.

And the technology is so “smart” that it can account for many of the aforementioned variables in your grow room. Our proprietary pH buffering agents and stabilizing mechanisms became the foundation of a new system aptly called pH Perfect® Technology. Learn all about it here.

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