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Different strokes for different folks, as the old saying goes, may not be more relevant in any business than it is for cannabis. There are continuous choices to make and that is beyond the usual how, when and where. What heating, what drying, what additives, what light, what SOPs, GACP. Hell, some people even have to decide what country they want to cultivate in. 

But right in the beginning, just after you have decided the “where”, you have to decide the “how”. This may be one of the SOPs most important decisions you will make in your whole life. We’re not saying that you can’t change your mind later, we’re just saying that if you make the wrong choice, it may set you back a few bucks and a few years. So, in keeping with our willingness to make you the smartest cannabis person on your block, let’s have a look at different cultivation methods, their pros and cons and how it is wise to make the right choices for your needs.

There are lots of ways to skin a cat and there are also lots of ways to cultivate cannabis. The way you choose to cultivate may be a reflection of your personality (are you old skool or a technology lover) or your needs (“I want to be a small cultivator” versus “I want to have a huge crop”) or even how much you love Mother Earth (that one is self-explanatory). 


If you come from a place with even half decent weather, this is the most traditional way of doing it. You plant the seed, it comes up, you treat it well, you harvest it. Weather permitting and if you’re a three-plant cultivator, this is your safest, cheapest and easiest bet. Depending on why you cultivate, it is also suitable for huge crops as it’s been done for more than a thousand years. This is the favourite method of legacy cultivators. As with any crop you cultivate outside it is susceptible to the whims of Mother Nature, who seems to be getting more fickle by the season. This means that total control is not in your hands. You may have a disappointing crop, or you may have a zinger. As far as selling it for medicinal purposes this is more or less a no-go. It mostly limits you to one crop per year which means that you can pay the kids school fees, but it’s more of a subsistence farming thing than a huge commercial enterprise. On the plus size of course, there is exposure to natural sunlight, microbial biodiversity and increased space. This increased space results in healthier, stronger plants that gives a better yield. Sun-grown cannabis is also less susceptible to mould and mildew than indoor cultivating. 


Aeroponics means that you are cultivating your cannabis with air and not using any soil, hydroponics means that you are cultivating exclusively with water, again not using any soil. Your farmer great-grandfather is most probably turning in his grave, but that’s the price of progress. Basically, the only difference between the two systems is that aeroponics provides crops with much stronger and healthier root systems. Both these systems are expensive, takes a high grade of expertise and is high maintenance. The main disadvantage is that there is very little room for mistakes such as a pump failure or lack of feed solution quality. A lot of things can go wrong and the margin for error is really small. Like we said, it takes a lot of maintenance and a lot of expertise. There is also the chance of micro-organisms that are water-based or air-based that can creep in rather easily. Furthermore, production is limited compared to field conditions, if a disease appears, all plants in the system will be affected and without soil to serve as a buffer, if the system fails plant death will occur rapidly. 

That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you have the money, the expertise and the manpower, this system will serve you very well. It is obvious that these systems can be put up anywhere, including small space like garages and spare rooms. It uses a lot less water than any soil-based cultivation and you are growing in a sterile environment which minimises or even excludes the need for pesticides. Because the plants are smaller (lack of sunshine and all that) you will need less space for the same amount of plants than cultivating outside and because you can recycle the water, you will use a lot less of it. Because these systems are not bound to the weather outside you can cultivate any time of year and have more than one crop per year. Because of the tight control and monitoring, this may also be safer for the consumer. 

If you have the capital and you are cultivating for the medicinal market, this is probably your safest bet.  

Indoor soil

When you think of cultivation, do not be surprised if a picture of soil pops up in your head. It’s the most logical of associations. As with any other indoor cultivation, growing indoor in soil means that you become responsible for everything the plants need to survive – light, heat, water and fertiliser. It also means that you have total control over the situation. Soil acts as a buffer making issues easier to rectify. If there is a nutrient or pH problem, it can be fixed without too much damage to your plants. Soil is also a very basic way of cultivating. This means that you do not need the manpower or expertise that you need with more specialised forms of cultivation. Not that a chimp can do it, you still need to know what you are doing, but it is most definitely easier than some of the other methods. Cultivating in pots also means that you can move things around, should the necessity arise, it’s cheap (well, compared to other indoor cultivation obviously) and if you want, you can keep it totally organic.  

As is usual with any good news, there are disadvantages though. It takes up more space than other indoor cultivation because of the pots full of soil and there is the possibility of pests that can creep in both with the water, the soil or even the air. This is one of those realities that any cultivator of any produce has to deal with. Ironically enough you will also be using more water than other indoor methods, weird but true. Also remember that you will have to pay for light (and the electricity bill) as well as water and other incidentals associated with cultivating indoors. 


Rockwool is a rock-based mineral fiber comprised of basalt rock and recycled slag. Basalt is a volcanic rock and slag is a by-product of the steel industry. The minerals are melted and spun into fibers. Originally designed as insulation material, it is becoming increasingly popular for people to cultivate cannabis in. For some people this is sacrilege, for some it’s a new door.  

We’ll start with the “new door” people: It prevent pathogens from multiplying, it helps seeds germinate and facilitates good drainage. Because it’s created with heat it is sterile on arrival and because it’s not organic, it helps to protect against microbes. If your plants are ever in a situation that they need to be replanted, you literally take the cube that it’s growing in and put it in the soil. There is no need to remove anything. The chances of you doing this is slender, but it does serve as a back-up plan of some sorts. It’s also easy for the roots to move through the rockwool. Even though we have never heard of roots struggling to get through well maintained soil, this should come as good news for those who like to do as little as possible. Lastly, because of what it is made of, it serves as good drainage. 

Those who do not like the usage of rockwool, have a few criticisms that you should take into consideration. It is not very environmentally friendly is the first point that they will usually mention. There is a chance that it can shift the pH balance, so it is something that you will have to keep a steady eye on. Critics also mention the fact that it’s quite expensive and that algae can build and that the fibers are dangerous when they get airborne.  

Your choice. 

If you need any more information, please contact us for a consultation or a query