For the experienced home grower with a good cultivation method it’s easy to grow cannabis at home, but for the less experienced cannabis grower it can be tricky to guide a crop all the way from seed to harvest. Nutrient deficiencies, knowledge gaps and technical issues can all converge making it difficult for the rookie cannabis grower to get good results. But if you can avoid the most common mistakes you will find it much easier to get consistent results.
The best seed companies supply fresh seeds which should have germination rates of 90-100%. If you buy some seeds and find that none of them germinate you may need to look at your seed germination method. Some people germinate their seeds between sheets of wet paper towel in a sealed plastic bag. The plastic bag prevents the paper towel drying out. Others simply pop their seeds in the growing medium (soil/coco etc.) and keep the medium moist until the seeds germinate.
If you are new to cannabis then research the best seed germination methods and perhaps practice with some less expensive vegetable seeds until you feel confident. Cannabis seeds should be stored in a cool place such as the fridge where they will remain viable for many years.
Soil is a great growing medium, popular with both rookie growers and experts alike, but soil can be over-watered and that creates problems for cannabis plants which like a certain level of root aeration so that oxygen can penetrate the root mass.
Cannabis roots do not like permanently sitting in wet soil, they also like periods where the soil partially dries out. Many new growers tend to over-water their soil, which slows down plant growth and root development. Try to monitor the weight of the growing container and only water the soil when necessary.
The requirement for minerals and nutrients increases steadily as the plant matures. If you over-feed your cannabis plants the roots struggle to deliver the correct levels of nutrition. Over-fed plants often have crispy brown leaf tips. Over-feeding cannabis actually slows down plant development and may restrict the final quantity and quality of the harvest. Try to start nutrient concentrations at low levels, increase slowly and steadily. If you suspect over-feeding, back off immediately and consider flushing your plants with water.
Few growers thrive on complexity and technology. Usually those that do have been growing for many years and love the challenge. For the rest, technical complexity such as measurement of ph and EC (EC is the ‘electrical conductivity’ of nutrients, a measurement of nutrient concentration) is something to avoid wherever possible. If you are growing in large containers of soil, then you may be able to manage without pH and EC measurements. But if you are serious about growing in coco fiber or hydroponics then it becomes more of a necessity.
The good news is that it’s not complicated. Learning how to use and calibrate your pH/EC meter is straightforward and your local grow shop (or YouTube) will explain all you need to know
Indoor growers should aim for temperatures around 25ºC. Make note of the fact that temperatures persistently above 30ºC reduces growth and potency, while cold temperatures below 20ºC can make it difficult for the plants to grow healthily. Try to maintain a steady grow room temperature and your plants will thank you for it.
Some of the new grow light technologies, especially those made with the latest LED technology, are extremely powerful. Get them too close to your plants and they will simply become over-loaded with light and will not grow. If you are lucky enough to be growing with the latest LED then follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for hanging height and avoid LED light burn.
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a local clone fairy with a selection of elite cuttings, then you will need to grow from seed. Cheap isn’t always best when it comes to seeds and the price difference from the different suppliers is usually only a few euros per seed. As you probably won’t be buying that many seeds, buy the best seeds you can afford from a seed bank you can trust and do plenty of online research. Many new growers often start growing with autoflower seeds which have a reputation for being fast, easy and convenient.
Any serious indoor grower HAS to use a carbon filter to control the grow room smell. Smelly grow rooms are the most common reason for unwanted attention. Also, make sure the connections and pipework are all in order.
Any leaks (e.g. between your exhaust ducting and your carbon filter) will allow aromatic, unfiltered air to be extracted from your grow room.Keep it QuietMany new growers are so excited about their impending harvest that they inadvertently let slip a few details about their latest grow. Despite the temptations, try to keep your grow a secret. People sometimes get jealous, or have a loose tongue themselves.
Most grow shops stock a baffling array of nutrients. For your first few grows, try to keep things as simple as possible. Buy only the essential nutrients, and try adding extra ones only as your skill and experience improves.
Your local grow shop owner is usually a great source of knowledge. Usually the grow shop owner doesn’t want to hear every single detail of your grow, and they may be reluctant to delve into too much detail, but so long as you speak in general terms they are usually very happy to help give advice and recommendations on everything from tents, to nutrients and other points such as grow medium options.
And remember, every successful grow you make is an additional experience to boost your confidence and ability for future grows. As you become a more experienced grower you will usually notice the quality and quantity of your harvests steadily improves. What’s more, cannabis growing is great fun: many home growers find cannabis cultivation to be stimulating, exciting and rewarding.
Written and published By Dutch Passion In Weed World Magazine Issue 135