You’ve finally decided to grow your own weed – congratulations! Growing marijuana is fun and rewarding – there’s no doubt about it. So, fasten your seatbelts as you’re in for an exciting ride. It can be bumpy at times, but that is normal for new growers. For some, though, it can be a steep learning curve. If you make mistakes at first, don’t beat yourself up over it, it’s only natural.
It’s good to remember that master growers and breeders were beginners once upon a time, too. They also had challenges during their early days.
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Today, there are tons of online resources and guides for growing cannabis at home. The information is literally at your fingertips. Make good use of it and don’t waste it.
1. Not Preparing or Researching Beforehand
Cannabis cultivation is pretty straightforward, but you do have to understand some fundamental basics. Don’t dive straight into growing without any prep work or research. That’s a recipe for failure.
Being well-prepared increases the success rate of the growing operation. When growing marijuana indoors, there’s the equipment and the grow room itself to think about. This calls for budgeting and planning. If you’re growing cannabis outdoors, you need to factor in the general climate where you are growing and any seasonal changes which may impact your grow. If you end up growing too late in the season, for instance, the plants may not reach full maturity by winter. In this case, you need to be aware of the local weather and climate and stick to a suitable outdoor growing calendar.
Adequate planning will also help you avoid problems. And if they do pop up, you’ll know how to cope with them. Rapid action could very well be the difference between the life and death of the plants.
If you don’t know where to start, Kyle Kushman – a master cannabis cultivator and breeder – can help you out. Check out his Grow Your Own series of articles and videos for expert tips on how to grow the best marijuana – from germinating seeds to harvesting and processing the buds.
2. Using Poor Genetics
We understand that you’re all hyped up to grow your own cannabis plants. But it doesn’t mean that you should settle for seeds with bad genetics. If you do, you’ll just end up wasting time, effort and resources. To be sure, get your seeds only from a trusted seed bank like Homegrown Cannabis Co. With over 400 in-house genetics – all of which are produced from stabilized plants – you’re guaranteed to find at least one marijuana strain that suits your needs and preferences. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. Browse the collection of cheap weed seeds, which includes around a hundred different buy 1 get 1 free weed seeds so, this way, you’ll save precious bucks without skimping on quality.
3. Using the Wrong Soil
Cannabis plants need soil to grow and thrive. Sorry to break it to you, but the standard soil from your local garden center won’t cut it. If you want to grow and harvest the purest and cleanest buds, you need to invest in a high-quality substrate. Doing so will also help you avoid many problems further down the road.
Sadly, many beginners overlook the importance of soil quality. It plays an extremely important role in your plants’ grow cycle by supplying the roots with nutrients, water and air. It also provides structural support and facilitates maximum root growth and expansion.
Your soil needs to be light, friable, well-draining and water-retentive so it can perform its tasks. It should crumble easily and retain its texture both when dry and wet. If the soil has the right structure and consistency, the roots can readily grow through it, water can drain properly and oxygen can reach the root zone.
Many marijuana growers consider loam as the holy grail of soils. If it isn’t readily available to you, you can also use other types, such as sandy, silt and clay. You’ll just have to amend it beforehand, making sure it is neither too dense nor too loose.
4. Not Maintaining the Correct pH Balance
You’ll come across many units of measurement as you dive deeper into your marijuana growing journey. The most important, though, is the pH level. It’s something even beginners should not ignore.
The pH determines which nutrients the roots can absorb. In general, cannabis plants thrive in a slightly acidic environment of pH 5.5 to 6.5. Anything outside of this range can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Eventually, the plants might turn sickly and unproductive. In the worst-case scenario, they may actually die.
Preparing for and preventing these problems from occurring is essential to all growers as failing to do so can mean that your plants produce very little or nothing and therefore you have just wasted the money you spent on those high quality weed seeds . To avoid these problems, check and adjust the pH level before watering and feeding the plants. Since the pH often fluctuates, you also need to monitor and alter it as necessary. To make your life easier, consider investing in a good quality digital pH meter.
Overwatering the plants is something every new grower has done at one point. Unfortunately, this mistake can be fatal. Mostly, it occurs when you use too much water or water too frequently. Using a compacted medium and/or having poor drainage can also cause it.
If you overwater, the root zone has a hard time absorbing the oxygen it needs to function. Not only do the roots fail to deliver nutrients and water, but they also starve and start decaying. As a result, the plants struggle to carry out vital processes. If left unaddressed, the plants could die.
A common symptom to be on the lookout for are leaves appearing swollen, drooping, and curling inward. The newer growth areas may also start turning yellow. Thankfully, Homegrown Cannabis CO. has a handy guide on everything you need to know about cannabis leaves .
Irrigate the crops only when the top inch of the soil feels dry. When you do, the water should not pool on top or take too long to drain out. If this is the case, you probably have a drainage issue. Consider amending the soil with perlite and other lightweight materials.
Remember, when in doubt, water less frequently.
Beginner growers tend to be overzealous not only when watering but also when feeding the plants. Doing so will not boost growth in any way. Instead, it could lead to nutrient burn – otherwise known as fertilizer or root burn. It causes the leaves to appear scorched, become crunchy, and start curling under.
Cannabis plants have specific nutrient requirements – and it varies depending on the growth stage. You need to stick to that and adjust the nutrient mix as necessary. Also, be aware of the telltale signs of nutrient-related problems so you can rectify it as soon as possible.
As a general rule of thumb, start only with 1/4 of the recommended dose. If the plants show signs of nutrient deficiency, gradually increase the strength in small increments. In most cases, half-strength is more than enough to nourish the plants. Always check the strength of whatever nutrient mix you buy or even make your own nutrient mix to better suit the needs of your marijuana plant.
7. Harvesting Too Early or Too Late
Okay, so you’re almost at the end of the growing journey. There’s probably no room for error at this point, right? Sadly, no. There’s still the danger of harvesting the colas at the wrong time, which can compromise your months of hard work.
If you harvest your cannabis plants too early then you may prevent the buds from reaching their full potential which can result in less potent effects. Conversely, a late harvest runs the risk of degrading the cannabinoids and terpenes. If THC breaks down into CBN, the high produced is not only weaker but will also have a narcotic quality. The smell and taste may be more unpleasant as well.
There are many signs which tell you it’s time to harvest. The large fan leaves, for one, will start yellowing. Additionally, around 70-90% of the pistil – the hairy filaments found on the flowers – will darken. Originally white, they will eventually change into a deeper orange or bronze shade.
Perhaps the most reliable way is to note the trichome color. Simply hold up a magnifying tool over the tiny, crystalline, hair-like outgrowths covering the leaves and buds. In the early flowering stage, the glands will appear translucent. Once it turns cloudy or milky white – like plastic – then the nuggets are ready to be harvested.
8. Not Flushing
Flushing means giving cannabis plants only plain water instead of nutrients. Some growers consider it as an emergency measure – especially when dealing with nutrient problems. It cleanses the medium, washing away the excess minerals, salts, and other substances that may interfere with nutrient absorption.
But flushing is not limited to that. You should also perform a pre-harvest flush – usually a couple of weeks or so before the collection period. Doing so forces the plant to use up the leftover nutrients and chemicals. As a result, the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the bud dramatically increases.
Make sure to flush at the right time. If done too soon, the plants may starve and be more prone to pests and diseases. If done too late, on the other hand, some impurities may still be left behind. Ideally, you should begin once the leaves, pistil, and trichomes begin changing color. Keep flushing until harvest time.
9. Ignoring Security
Just because cannabis cultivation is legal in your state doesn’t mean that you can flaunt your plants to the rest of the world. It’s not only due to the stigma which still surrounds cannabis- there are actually rules set in place. For one, the growing site needs to be hidden from the public eye. You also have to keep it gated and locked up to prevent the access of minors.
Make sure you’re always updated with the latest marijuana laws in your area. The last thing you want is to invite the attention of the cops or your nosy neighbor. On a related note, we know you’re proud and excited, but don’t blab about your newfound hobby. You never know who’s going to find out. Better safe than sorry.
10. Disregarding Safety Concerns
Aside from security and privacy, safety is another important consideration.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of stories in which the grow rooms got burned down due to faulty electrical wiring and other hazards. Not only will you lose the crops but you will also put yourself and anyone else around you at risk. If possible, have a professional set up the grow room and install the electrical system. No one has to know that you’re growing weed. Also, keep the area clean and orderly, ensuring that open water, heat, and electricity are away from each other at all times.