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A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Cannabis In A Space Bucket

If you don’t have much room or money but still want to grow a little weed, a space bucket might be the way to go. You can build one yourself from cheap materials you can find at most hardware stores. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in this increasingly popular micro-grow technique.

A space bucket combines all the key elements of a grow room into a small, self-contained environment. It contains room for at least one small cannabis plant as well as lighting, fans for ventilation, and a power supply. The typical space bucket is made from a standard 5-gallon (19-litre) bucket, but the final design is only limited by your imagination and available space. Think storage totes and waste bins if you want to expand your options.

WHY GROW WEED IN A SPACE BUCKET?

Growing weed in a space bucket has three primary advantages: low cost, small footprint, and total control.

LOW COST

Space buckets are cheap to make. You could easily spend €1,000 or more to build out a grow room, but this micro-environment will only set you back by a tenth of that. Most of the items you’ll need can be found around the house or purchased at any store that sells household items.

SMALL FOOTPRINT

Space buckets take up very little space, making them perfect for apartments, dorm rooms, or crowded houses. If you have an empty corner in your closet, a little space in the garage, or even a small spot under the kitchen sink, you can grow weed in a space bucket. Camouflage your bucket by surrounding it with other storage containers and hiding the wires if you keep it in an area where other people frequent. No one should be able to see the lights once the bucket is sealed, but they might be able to hear a low hum from the fans.

TOTAL CONTROL

Most space bucket growers do so because they like to challenge the limits of what they can do in a small space. Sealed micro-environments give you total control over the grow, and that comes with both advantages and disadvantages.

A little mistake that could be easily corrected in a large grow room could be enough to kill your plants in a space bucket. But, if you can maintain consistency in lighting, feed, and pH levels, you could experiment and see what a small change to one aspect of the grow will do.

To do this, set up at least two space buckets to grow the same strain under different conditions. You could train differently, flip one to bloom early, or try different nutrients. Soon, you’ll know which method was better. Keep what works best for your next space bucket project or integrate your newfound knowledge into a bigger grow.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SPACE BUCKET

You can purchase a pre-made space bucket, but the whole idea behind this concept is to do it yourself. Here’s how you make a basic, starter space bucket.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

A) 2 x 5-gallon plastic buckets
B) 1 x 5-gallon plastic bucket lid
C) 180W full-spectrum LED grow light
D) 2 small fans
E) Power strip
F) Timer
G) 4 x 6mm bolts with nuts and washers
H) 1m of thin rope
I) Spray glue
J) 1 tube silicone sealant
K) Permanent marker
L) Measuring tape
M) Mylar film
N) Duct tape
O) Rotary tool
P) Drill
Q) Screwdriver
R) Razor blade
S) Safety glasses

INSTRUCTIONS:

MAKE THE DRIP TRAY

1. Measure 8cm up from the bottom of one bucket and draw a horizontal line.

2. Put on the safety glasses.

3. Use the rotary tool to cut along the line.

4. Set the bottom of the bucket to the side for now.

5. The bottom of the bucket is your drip tray. The top part will be the top of the space bucket.

DRILL DRAINAGE HOLES

1. Turn the other bucket upside down.

2. Drill 12 holes evenly distributed across the bottom for drainage.

3. Remove the handle.

4. This is the bottom of the space bucket. It sits on top of the drip tray.

ADD BOLTS AND SLOTS TO LOCK THE TWO BUCKETS TOGETHER

1. Drill 4 holes in the bottom section of the space bucket. They should be 4cm from the top rim and spaced evenly apart.

2. Insert a bolt in each hole and tighten using the nuts and washers.

3. Put the top section on the bottom section, allowing it to rest on the bolts.

4. Mark where the bolts are, then draw up 4cm and over 4cm to form an L-shape. They should all point in the same direction.

5. Use the rotary tool to cut on the L-shaped mark to form a 6mm channel.

6. Put the top section on the bottom.

7. Line up the bolts with the channels so that the top drops down over the bottom.

8. Twist to lock. Pick up using the handle to make sure you have a secure fit.

MAKE CUTOUTS FOR THE FANS

1. Separate the top and bottom sections.

2. Remove the cover from one of the fans.

3. Use the fan cover to mark the cutout and mounting holes on the bottom section. This should be about 8cm from the top rim.

4. Put on safety glasses.

5. Use the drill to make the mounting holes.

6. Use the rotary tool to make a cutout for the fan’s output.

7. Repeat for the top section.

ADD LED LIGHTING TO THE LID

1. Find the mounting holes on top of the LED light.

2. Cover the top of the LED light with a piece of paper. Trace the positions for the mounting holes, power cord, and fan intake.

3. Use the paper as a template to transfer the positions to the bucket lid.

4. Put on safety glasses.

5. Use a drill to create openings for the mounts and electrical cord. Use the dremel tool to create a larger hole for the fan intake.

6. Remove the top lid from the LED light. It should screw off or pop off.

7. Remove the screws intended to hold mounting cables.

8. Insert each screw through a washer, then through the bucket lid, through the top of the LED light. Tighten with a nut.

9. If possible, flip the fan around so it blows out of the bucket.

10. Reconnect the LED light to its lid, now attached to the bucket lid.

INCREASE REFLECTIVITY, ELIMINATE LIGHT LEAKS

1. Using the spray glue, line the inside of the buckets with Mylar film to increase reflectivity.

2. Cover the outside of the buckets and drip tray with duct tape to prevent light leaks.

3. Do not cover the bottom of the bucket with the drain holes.

4. Once everything is covered, cut through the tape and Mylar with a razor blade to re-open the fan cutouts.

CREATE A SEAL BETWEEN THE TOP AND BOTTOM BUCKETS

1. Use duct tape and rope to create a seal that runs between the bottom bucket’s rim and the 4 bolts.

2. Lock the top to the bottom and check the fit.

3. Continue adding duct tape over the rope one layer at a time until the gap is closed and no light will be able to leak out.

INSTALL THE FANS

1. The intake fan should be mounted on the bottom bucket.

2. Insert the fan body so that the grill is on the inside of the bucket.

3. Insert the screws and tighten as much as possible to prevent air leaks.

4. Repeat to install the exhaust fan to the bottom bucket, making sure that the grill points outside the bucket.

5. Use the tube of silicone to seal any gaps between the bucket and fan housing.

PLUG IN AND TEST

1. Assemble the bucket.

2. Plug the fans directly into the power strip.

3. Plug the LED light into the timer. Plug the timer into the power strip.

4. Plug in the power outlet and make sure everything is operating as expected.

ADD CANNABIS PLANTS AND GROW HERB

1. Add a pot with a small seedling.

2. Set the timer.

3. Feed and water as needed until harvest. On average, you can harvest about an ounce (28g) per grow from this type of setup.

SPACE BUCKET MODS AND HACKS

The steps above explain how you can make a simple space bucket. It’ll only take you a few hours, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or materials, and it works.

But this isn’t the only way to do it. That’s the beauty of space buckets. You take the idea, then customise it to make it your own. There are virtually no limits.

Here are some things that other space bucket masters have done:

• Use storage bins for enough width to grow multiple plants.
• Stack more buckets or use trash cans for more height.
• Use a drip system to convert it to hydro.
• Add a stronger exhaust system to the top with a carbon filter.
• Add supplementary lighting below the canopy with CFLs or LED strips.

POINTERS FOR GROWING WEED IN A SPACE BUCKET

Growing cannabis plants in a space bucket isn’t too different from a traditional grow, but there are some things to consider.

It’s better to go from veg to bloom a little too early than waiting too long. That’s because you need to keep your plants on the smaller side if you want them to survive until they’re fully mature. Cannabis can stretch by up to 200% once the light schedule is switched to 12/12 to force bloom. You should also choose indica strains over sativas and use a variety of training techniques to keep your plant’s size in check.

Instead of planting directly into the bottom of the space bucket, use a separate pot so you can easily lift it out if you need to for any reason. It’ll also keep your space bucket cleaner so you can start a new grow immediately after you finish a harvest.

Don’t be disappointed if your yield is smaller than expected. Most first-timers get somewhere between ½ and ¾ of an ounce. Regular space bucket growers generally get about an ounce per grow, but the all-time record is a little more than 3oz (85g).

Remember that increasing the size of your space bucket will almost always mean adding more lights. Don’t go too tall. If you do, you can obviously grow a taller plant, but the light won’t reach far enough into the canopy to increase the yield. Instead, you could end up with a lot of fluffy popco rn buds instead of big, heavy nuggets.

SPACE BUCKET SUMMARY

Space buckets are an interesting DIY project that challenges growers and allows them to push the boundaries of what’s possible on a smaller scale. They can produce a small amount of dank buds using minimal resources, but final yield is not what growing in space buckets is all about. It’s more about learning how to completely control every aspect of a micro-environment to learn what maximises potency, flavour, resin content, or any other desirable trait. Whether you use that knowledge to improve your next space bucket project or carry it over to a full-sized grow is up to you.

A space bucket is a fun but challenging way to grow weed in the smallest space imaginable, and at a very low cost. Find out how to do it.

The Bubble Bucket

(1) Get two 5-Gallon buckets with lids. (Wash it out with bleach)

(3) Cut a hole in lid of bucket so the net pot sits in neatly all the way down.

(4) Cut a hole in the lid about 2cm in diameter near the rim (the pump hose goes in here).

(5) Use Black gaffer tape to wrap the pot so it is light proof. (If light gets in alga will develop in the water. This is not good.) Wrap the lid as well.

(6) Get a fish-tank pump and air-stone.

(7) Get your medium together – rockwool, clay pebbles etc.

(8) Get the Nutrients and Mixes together.

Figure 9.17 – A close-up of the net pot and lid by Strawdog.

Simply mix your nutrients together in the second bucket. Set the air-stone in the center on the bottom of the first bucket and hang the air pump somewhere above the water level on the wall of your grow room. Use the hole in the lid to feed the airline through. Fill the bucket up with the nutrients to a level were the net pot just touches the solution. Turn on your air pump for 24 hours a day. That is it. The pump will send air through the tube to the air-stone and it is released into the water. The air bubbles the solution causing it to splash at the surface wetting the roots and feeding the plant. Check the bubbler everyday to see how much your plant has drunk. Let your roots get air everyday by letting a root zone form. Let the solution level drop an inch below the net pot. The net pot holds the cutting in rockwool and the rockwool is surrounded by the clay pebbles. Do not constantly top up your reservoir, it is sometimes better to let the water level drop 1 gallon and then replace that gallon. Once a root mass has develop the plant will grow like no other.

Figure 9.18 – A close-up of some early roots and underside of the net-pot. Picture by Strawdog.

Basically this set-up is just bubbling the nutrients solution with the pump. The pump sucks in air from the room and this air contains Oxygen that the roots need. As the unit bubbles the roots get air, nutrients and water. The plant loves this and thrives.

When you want to change your mix you may have a spare bucket that is the same shape and size. Simply swap the lid over with the plant, root-mass and air-stone into the new bucket. This is a great little system that comes highly commended.

Figure 10.1 – Outdoor night shot of a flowering Cream Sodica Cannabis Plant. Picture by X3n0. Plant by Breeder Steve.

Many a smoker will say that the best cannabis they ever smoked was outdoor cannabis. This says a lot about natural sunlight and the outdoor environment. If you live in a climate that is warm enough for tomatoes to grow outdoors then you have the climate to grow some good weed. As an outdoor grower you may either choose your own back yard or a guerrilla grow in a woods or field. We have discussed this in a previous chapter before, so we will not go into what the two types are here.

When you have found a plot that suits your needs you can then start to prepare your plot. Seeds that are planted in untreated ground will have a low germination rate. Also you need to think about when to grow. The months of March and April are very good times to start your plants because when your plants are mature and begin to flower it should be about August to September which is just about the time daylight hours start to decrease. So in April you want to find your grow spot. Try to remove as many weeds as possible during your grow plots preparation and do not leave heaps of earth around for people to notice. Carry the earth away in bags if you have too. You can then simply sow your seeds in the ground. Do not burry them too deep, a 1/2″ to 1″ is fine. You may choose to add some pre-made soil to the patch which you have bought from the store. Again, find a soil with a NPK value where N is higher than P and K values. This is helpful because you will find that bag soil does not contain living masses or potential living masses such as weeds. Even though you may have treated your outdoor soil patch it may still contain seeds or spores from weeds and other plants. You will most certainly have to weed your outdoor area nearly every week during the initial stages of the grow.

Figure 10.2 – Notice how in this picture that the area has been cleared of major weeds. This plant has little to no competition. Picture by Slowhand.

After you have sown your seeds simply sprinkle some water over them. That is all you need to do. It is that easy. You do not need to adjust the soil pH yet or feed the soil. What you have done should be fine for starting seedlings.

If Mother Nature does not provide water for your plants then you need to draw water and feed your plants when they need it.

Some outdoor growers have got some cute ideas. Some growers germinate their seedlings indoors and place them into pots. They cut away the base of a pot and hold the bottom in using a piece of cardboard and sticky tape. They then go to their grow area and clear away the weeds. They then dig small holes and place the pots into the hole, removing the piece of cardboard before doing so. They then cover the edge of the pot so the pot can not be seen anymore. The roots will grow down through the hole in the bottom of the pot and into the surrounding outdoor soil. This method has the advantage that the seeds have already germinated. If you are a really cute grower then you will consider cloning all females and growing these in pots before transplanting the pot and plant to the hole in the ground outdoors. Amazing or what! You will have all female outdoor plants!

It is also a good idea around the second week of vegetative growth to spray the area with some pesticide.

Cannabis growing is really fun because the more you know, the more tricks you will invent by yourself to get the most out of your yields. Some of the best cannabis growers are very exotic with their grow methods. A number of people have even tried outdoor hydroponics to get their plants to grow bigger and better.

When growing outdoors you need to keep your plants in good shape and free from any unwanted predators that may find your top cola and leaves to be quite tasty. We will talk about this in the chapter about pests.

1 Get two 5-Gallon buckets with lids. Wash it out with bleach 3 Cut a hole in lid of bucket so the net pot sits in neatly all the way down. 4 Cut a hole in