Top Growing Mistakes of First-time Cannabis Cultivators
Growing cannabis is an exciting and rewarding hobby. That said, it is easy to make mistakes. Newbies can avoid some of the more common flubs by being well-researched and prepared.
While growing cannabis is pretty easy, it isn't as easy as just putting seeds in the ground and praying for a big, heavy, powerful crop. Even outdoor growing takes practice. Beginners can expect a fairly steep learning curve, in the beginning, if they intend to become a pro at hobby growing.
That said, it is certainly worth the practice and the patience. And luckily, there are some common mistakes which even beginners can avoid. Do your research before you begin. You will save time, money and stress.
EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES THE FIRST TIME
That said, no matter how well you prepare yourself, expect some errors. There is no such thing as a perfect beginner. Take notes during the growing process on everything that works and does not. When you repeat the experience, you will be glad you did.
The top mistake to avoid at this point? Don’t announce that you are even considering this endeavour. This includes telling your friends and (equally bad) announcing your new agricultural experience on social media. Even if you live in a place where grows are legal, you are opening yourself up to potential problems. Security is one of them.
It may sound a bit basic, but preparing your grow space and selecting materials is crucial to your eventual success. You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money. Most of your expenditure at this crucial time is research and preparation.
This starts with selecting the right kind of seeds. This is a research project in and of itself. Do not be tempted to use seeds from the bottom of your last stash bag. Why? They are often duds, male or even hermaphrodite and will not give you what you need.
The easiest way to ensure you will have high-quality plants is to buy your seeds from an established and reputable seed outlet. This way you will also get a better understanding of what kind of plant you are about to grow, what it needs, and how to get the best results.
PREPARE YOUR GROW SPACE
One of the most important preparations you can make is not only selection of but prepping your grow area. If growing inside, you will need to make sure the room has the right equipment as well as ventilation. If you are growing outside, you will have to consider everything from the amount of sun available to the plant to hiding it from outside eyes.
Grow space also impacts the kinds of plants you should think about cultivating. If you want to grow sativa or sativa hybrids, you should also plan for plant growth. Sativa breeds grow taller and thinner than an indica plant. You don’t want a sativa grow room, in other words, with a low ceiling.
This is also the period where you should determine what kind of growing method you want to use. This means soil-based versus hydroponic. This alone will determine your shopping list, as well as downstream expenses.
If growing indoors, assume you will also need some kind of switch or timer based lighting. You should also think about how you want to germinate your seeds. This can be done several different ways. Experienced growers have their own techniques, but starting out can be confusing. Do research on whether you want to sprout your babies from soil, using water, or with a grow kit.
MANAGE THE PH LEVEL
Many beginners underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced pH level in their soil. In fact, this balance between acid and alkaline is one of the most important aspects of creating and maintaining a healthy grow environment for your plant. If this balance is off, your plants could not only be unproductive. They could also die. The pH level determines how much of certain kinds of nutrients your cannabis plant’s roots can absorb. If the pH is correct, then the plants can absorb any kind of nutrient they need. The healthy range of pH for most cannabis plants is between 6.0 and 7.0. Hydroponically grown plants require a range of 5.5-6.5.
DO NOT OVER WATER OR OVERFEED
Despite the fact that you no doubt want your plant to get exactly what it needs to breed a heavy yield, go slow here. It is super easy to overwater and or overfeed your plants. Part of the difficulty here is that store-bought nutrients do include feeding schedules.
New growers often try to follow all the instructions on nutrient products. Don’t, as they are very rarely made with cannabis in mind and can be way to strong. If you go only by written instructions, you will end up giving your plants much too much of the nutrients you want to feed them.
One rule of thumb to follow for those who are just experimenting is that less is more. Begin feeding your plants about ¼ of what the instructions tell you to add. If you are maintaining the right pH level, your plants will communicate clearly what they need and when. Try to use no more than half of the amount recommended on commercial grow supplements.
Overwatering is also a very common mistake of new growers. It can also happen when you place your plant in a container that is too big for it. Most new growers tend to add water to a container to make sure all the soil is damp. However, this can often mean that the roots become sodden and cannot absorb the right amount of oxygen. This will also deprive the plant of needed nutrients.
Signs of overwatering? Droopy plants.
Luckily, this is one of the easiest beginner mistakes to correct. The best way to determine if it is time to water again? Press your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If it is dry, it is time to rewater.
MAKE SURE YOUR PLANTS GET ENOUGH LIGHT
Growing schedules are extremely important to maintain, especially for plants grown indoors. The intensity of the light is also extremely important. As many indoor growers invest in a lighting system, this is a research project for the planning phase.
Also be aware that unless you choose a highly efficient grow light (including LEDs), you may see a much higher than anticipated energy bill. The more energy efficient light riggings, however, can be quite expensive to buy. This is also one of the biggest expenses facing novice indoor growers. Do your research extensively before buying anything. Also, make sure that the lighting will fit into your grow space.
KEEP YOUR GROW ROOM SPOTLESS
Cannabis plants are plants first. This means they can be susceptible to diseases, pests and contamination. Even indoors, cannabis plants are susceptible to both bugs and mould.
This means that canna farmers have to be fastidious about cleanliness. The grow space needs to be kept as clean as possible. This means sanitizing both your tools and pots. It means washing your hands before you touch anything in the grow room or using gloves. It also may mean investigating other strategies, such as growing companion plants.
DON’T HARVEST TOO EARLY
As excited as you might be about seeing the budding flowers on your carefully nurtured plant, have patience. Harvesting your buds too early means that you don’t get the full potency, and left with a sub-par stash. You can find out the perfect times to harvest here.
Written by: Marguerite Arnold
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