As legalization spreads across the nation, it is opening up a whole new world of possibilities. These days, there’s a fantastic choice of different strains of cannabis that you can buy either online or from dispensaries. But best of all is the opportunity to grow your own crop. Not only can it save you a small fortune, it also gives a great sense of pride that makes the end result when you roll a joint taste all the better.
Little surprise, then, that so many weed lovers are turning their hand to horticulture. However, enthusiasm and inexperience can be a dangerous combination, and it’s often the case that the first harvest doesn’t quite go to plan. Here, we explore some of the most common elephant traps and provide some hints on how to avoid them.
We’ve all heard of “that guy” who found some seeds in his stash and planted them to grow a beautiful cannabis crop. But then again, we’ve also heard of Jack and his famous beanstalk. They are both nice stories but nothing more. To grow a cannabis plant that will yield a good harvest of buds, you need to start out with good quality cannabis seeds from a proper seed bank and save the fairy tales for when you’re sitting around the campfire sharing that joint. It’s the most fundamental thing of all, and without a good seed, all that follows will be for nothing.
There are plenty of things that can lead to a sad and scrawny cannabis plant if you don’t pay attention, such as making mistakes with the lighting, watering or nutrition. But before we get into those, the most common stumbling block of all is letting the pH go too high or too low. Keep it as close as possible to 6.5, or to 6.0 if you are using hydroponics instead of soil. There are some gadgets that you can easily manage without, but a pH kit needs to be right at the top of your shopping list before you even think about planting your seeds.
We get it, you love your cannabis seedlings as if they were children and you only want the best for them. Here’s a newsflash, going too heavy on the nutrients will do about as much good as feeding your kids McDonald’s twice a day. It’s a mistake that almost every novice grower makes, and it’s not helped by the fact that the nutrient sellers encourage you to feed, feed, feed, so that they can sell you more and get rich while you are staring at your damaged crop in dismay. Whatever amount they recommend, start at about 30 percent and take things from there. Your plants will love you right back for it in the long run.
We apologize for causing any childhood flashbacks there, but first-time growers can be like five year olds, in that they get it into their heads that flushing is only necessary in exceptional circumstances. Admittedly, it is one of the more contentious topics, and what really needs to happen is for someone to carry out some double-blind studies and put the matter to bed once and for all. However, the weight of opinion is that flushing cannabis plants with water is not just an emergency measure to combat nute burn and that every plant benefits from a detox, especially in the final stages before harvesting.
We could write an entire article on rookie mistakes that people make with grow lights. Understood, they can be a daunting proposition, but one of the most frustrating, yet surprisingly common, blunders is to spend lots of money and effort on installing some great kit and then to position it wrong. If lamps are too far away, the lights won’t do their job and the plants will grow thin and scrawny. Too close and you’ll just burn them. Devote some time to researching the Goldilocks zone so that they are positioned just right.
There’s nothing quite like seeing those buds appear, and it’s completely understandable that you’re impatient to get your hands on them. But try to be patient. Harvest too soon and the crop will lack potency, and all that effort will end in anticlimax. As a general guide, indica plants take around eight weeks and sativa 10 weeks from initial flowering, but no two plants are identical. You’ll know the time is right when the leaves are just starting to turn yellow and the pistils are taking on a reddish color. Read up on your strain of choice to help identify the optimum moment.
Legalization has been a liberating experience. In years gone by, home growers operated in a secret world, constantly fearing discovery. But here’s a word to the wise - Just because you can now legally grow some plants at home, there’s no need to broadcast the fact that you are doing so to the entire neighborhood. For one thing, not every neighbor will necessarily share your enthusiasm, but more to the point, those plants are worth a lot of money. That's something that so many of us can forget! And if your plants disappear, there's very little that you can do to get them back.
OK, you've got the basics down now and it's time for you to take action! We will look forward to hearing about how you well you succeed~