Top 10 Mistakes When Growing Cannabis And How To Avoid Them
Nov 19, 2014
Categories : Cannabis cultivation
In the beginning, growing cannabis can be a daunting task. Amid pH values, fertilization schedules, lumen outputs and soil quality, it’s easy to forget about the basics. Essentially, growing cannabis isn’t rocket science. It sure is a skill that improves over time, but once you avoid the most common mistakes, your plants are ready to thrive.
Here are the Top 10 Mistakes When Growing Cannabis And How To Avoid Them:
10. Talking too much
Seriously, keep quiet. The more people know about your grow, the more easily you run into problems with neighbors, or worse, the cops - so consider well with whom you share your secret. Keeping quiet becomes even more difficult when your girls develop into magnificent queens and you’d like to share your joy with the whole world.
9. Not getting the basics right
Cannabis isn’t called „weed“ for no reason - it is a very resistant plant that will grow well once the basics are met. But with easy access to information - web forums, books, websites, etc - it’s easy to get lost in advanced techniques and esoteric recipes. Before getting into pruning, scrogging, cloning, etc. make sure you’ve got the basics covered: temperature, light, pH, air flow and soil quality.
8. Going cheap on the genetics
If you have spent 900 Euros on grow equipment, don’t cheap out on the seeds. Freebie seeds are great, but they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your grow. Superior genetics are available now more than ever before, and to save money when going big, you can always take clones.
7. Using small containers
Wether indoors or outdoors, your plants need root space to grow. Once they get root bound, no more grow happens and the plants won’t be able to express their full magnificence. The minimum is a 10 liter pot, but that’s on the small side. Use 15 - 20 liters to give them enough space, or even better, plant them straight into the soil when growing outside.
6. Don’t set and forget
Growing cannabis is active work. Your plants depend on you to take good care of them. Check on your plants daily and make sure the basics are right: light, temperature and air circulation. Look for wilted or discolored leaves, check below the leaves, and spot deficiencies or pests early. Keep the grow area clean and listen to the plants.
Some pruning is healthy and can induce more vigorous growth, but pruning too much can over-stress and even kill them. The plant is in shock after pruning and pauses vegetative growth for a few days to recover - prolonging the overall growth cycle. For starters, only trim out the lowest branches that will just develop tiny buds anyway. Simple topping isn’t difficult either, but unless you’ve mastered the basics and got a few grows under your belt, better stay away from fimming, lollipopping and other exotic techniques. Never trim during the flowering stage as it can weaken the plant.
4. Not understanding pH
Incorrect pH is one of the primary reasons for nutrient deficiencies in your grow operation. Use a pH test kit to check the pH of the water you water with and the pH of the root zone. Always check pH after you've added any nutrients, and be ready to adjust the pH to the proper levels. Aim for a range between 5.8 and 6.5 as some nutrients are absorbed better at different pH values. If you use a fertilizer kit like the Biotaps pH testing isn’t necessary.
Too much water is much worse than too little. Soggy soil can rot the roots and kill the plant. Soil should always be slightly moist to the touch. Use well draining soil with perlite and containers with holes in the bottom to ensure proper soil moisture.
2. Harvesting too early
Once the buds are covered in resin, resist the temptation to go ahead and harvest. In the last two weeks the buds still mature and add a lot of weight, so by harvesting early you are ending up with lower quality and quantity. To find the right moment, use a 100x pocket microscope to check the trichomes (small drops of resin on the flowers). For the highest THC levels, harvest when most trichomes have turned cloudy, and only few amber.
Out of all mistakes, over-fertilization goes down as the one error that must have wiped out the most plants. More fertilizer doesn’t mean more bud - it’s about finding the right amount and proper balance. You can always add more, but once you have given too much, you’re in for some serious flushing. On the bottle label manufacturers often recommend more than what is actually needed, so to be on the safe side use just 50% of the recommended amount. You can always add more after a few days.