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Harborside Harborside Academy Cannabis Cultivation Harborside’s Indoor Cannabis Grow Guide: “Grow What You Know”

Harborside’s Indoor Cannabis Grow Guide: “Grow What You Know”

Welcome to the world of indoor cannabis cultivation with Harborside’s guide. If you’re stepping into indoor growing for the first time, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive into the basics of indoor cannabis cultivation and equip you with the tools you need to start your journey.

Cannabis Genetics: A Quick Overview

Before you sow your first seed, let’s understand the different types of cannabis strains:

  • Sativa Strains: Sativa strains flower over a longer period and grow tall and thin. They prefer high temperatures and yield smaller harvests.
  • Hybrid Strains: These strains have a varied flowering period and diverse growth patterns. Many hybrids are high-yielding and combine traits from both Indica and Sativa strains.
  • Indica Strains: Indica strains flower quickly and grow short and bushy. They are high-yielding and prefer lower temperatures.
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Sativa Strains


Flower for a longer time


Usually grow tall and thin


Produce smaller yields


Thrive in high temperatures

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Hybrid Strains


Flowering times vary


Show a wide range of growth patterns


Many of them yield high


Blended traits of Indica and Sativa

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Indica Strains


Flower for a shorter time


Usually grow short and bushy


Produce larger yields


Thrive in lower temperatures

Kickstart Your Indoor Growing Journey


We recommend these three California-based companies that create soil blends specifically for cannabis:


Begin with a 1-5 gallon pot with a saucer for water drainage. Here are some pot types you can consider:

  • Air Pot: This pot type helps avoid root-bound plants, resists overwatering, but needs watering more often.
  • Basic Pot (clay, plastic, etc.): You can easily find these in most stores and they are simple to make.
  • Fabric, or Smart Pot: These pots provide more oxygen to the roots, dry out faster, and are excellent at dissipating heat.

Grow Tents

Grow tents are simple to set up and dismantle, and they ensure complete darkness for night cycles. We suggest the brand Secret Jardin.

Pruning Shears

You’ll need a reliable pair of pruning shears for tasks from pruning lower leaves to manicuring your harvested cannabis. We recommend Fiskars and Chikamasa.


Different types of lights can be used for indoor cannabis cultivation:

Metal Halide (MH) light bulb

Metal Halide (MH)


MH lights offer a broad light spectrum, suitable for vegetative growth, but have a low red output.

High Pressure Sodium (HPS) light bulb

High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)


HPS lights emit mainly red/orange/green light spectrum, suitable for flowering, and offer more watts per light than MH.

Fluorescent T5 light bulb

Fluorescent (T5 bulbs)


These are less expensive, create less light per watt than MH or HPS, and yield lower harvests.

LED lights



LED lights have the highest upfront cost, emit less heat, and perform best in a tall space.

PH Measurements

Before feeding your plants, always check the pH of your water. The correct pH creates an ideal environment for soil microorganisms and helps prevent diseases. We recommend the test kit from General Hydroponics.

Different types of lights can be used for indoor cannabis cultivation:


Proper airflow is crucial for indoor cannabis cultivation. You can use an exhaust fan (size depends on heat generated by the lights, more efficient but more expensive) or an oscillating fan (easy to find, shouldn’t be aimed directly at plants).

Further Guidance

For more information on indoor or hydroponic growing, check out our other guides, or visit these expert sites:

Local Gardening Supplies

For those of you in and around San Leandro, CA, we highly recommend Hydro Garden Delight as your go-to source for all your gardening supply needs.

We appreciate your trust in Harborside. Since 2006, we’ve been committed to supporting growers like you on their cultivation journey. Thank you for choosing us.