CANNABIS CULTURE- Breaking into the marijuana business can be one of the most lucrative decisions you ever make. As legalized recreational marijuana usage soars in the US and internationally, the need for growers increases exponentially each day. If you’re just starting out as a new grower, there are many things you can consider and prepare for that will improve the likelihood of a successful first grow.
Instead of starting out blind and navigating unexpected hurdles, do a little research and planning ahead of time; it might just save you time and money.
Before you dive into the specific problems to work through, remember the most important aspects of beginning your grow; patience and experimentation is key. While cannabis crops grow quite fast, you can’t expect a crop that has learned to evolve over hundreds of years to show changes overnight. Be patient and diligent and you will see the results you want. Don’t expect every crop to respond identically to the one that came before it.
With that in mind, here are 5 common problems that new growers may encounter and how to prepare for or avoid them altogether:
- You went to big too soon
This is the most important tip on this list. For beginners, the most important thing to master is the basics first. There are thousands of weed blogs with tips for growers of every experience level; you name it, growers have tried it. While it may have worked for them, it’s important to recognize that no one grow is the same and that learning to adjust to problems that arise is the mark of a great grower.
As a result, mastering the basics will make all the difference in your grow. Once you have the basics down, you can experiment and play around as aggressively as you want with the confidence that if something goes wrong, you’ll know how to deal with it. Don’t try out every tip you read and certainly don’t try to go too big on your first or even second and third grows.
- You’re grow isn’t well ventilated
This can seem obvious but cannot go overlooked. Having great air flow and therefore air quality is essential to great plant health. While of course much easier to accomplish outdoors, the reality is that many people opt for indoor grows for a more controlled and discrete environment.
For a smaller grow, an oscillating fan may be all you need to keep air moving. Larger grows with particularly hot lights will need an exhaust system. Deciding what is best for your particular yield is a tip that many first time growers have yet to master. A good rule of thumb is that for grows that are over 3 plants, set up an exhaust system and fan. Educating yourself on how to set up an exhaust system for your grow is essential for all beginner growers.
Other things to consider: even if you have an exhaust system, an oscillating fan generally can’t hurt; plants enjoy a good breeze and the air movement will help keep pests away. BUT, when using an oscillating fan, don’t point it directly at plants as this can damage your leaves.
- You’re using the wrong lights
Even the most inexperienced grower knows using just any old lights won’t work in a grow room. But what beginners often don’t realize is exactly when to switch up the lights in your grow to make the biggest difference.
Good rules of thumb for each kind of bulb:
LED: LED lights are great for smaller yields as they are easy to setup and generally won’t get so hot as to burn your plants.
Flourescent Bulbs: Flourescents are great for the very beginning stages of your plant’s life. Since there is little chance of burning your budding young plants and they are cheap and easy to install, opt for fluorescents at the very beginning and for cloning.
Metal Halide: Halide grow lights are good for vegetative stages of your plant. These lights produce the highest yields per watt of electricity and are the go-to plants for pro users and for the later stages of your crops development.
HPS: HPS lights are similar to Metal Halide bulbs but are ideal for the flowering stages of your plant’s life. They produce light that promotes budding; profession grows in particular definitely need HPS lights for their final stages.
- You experimented on your whole crop
As a beginner, there are little changes that can make a big difference, for the good and for the bad. If you test something on your entire crop and it doesn’t work, it can result in losing an entire crop.
In order to avoid this, never test anything new on an entire crop, especially if your crop is larger. Whether you want to test a new nutrient or light schedule, start on just part of your crop and wait a few days or even longer to see the results before translating that change to the entire yield.
- You neglected the drying and curing process
Many beginner growers focus so much on the cultivation process that the treatment of their buds after harvest is less than ideal; no matter how much you’ve mastered cultivation, if you neglect your drying and curing steps then your product will suffer.
Controlling the climate of your drying space is just as important of controlling it during cultivation. Make sure the drying environment is not too humid or too dry.
A good rule of thumb is to dry buds until the outside of the flower is dry and smaller stems snap off instead of bend but the larger stems still bend. Put the dried buds in jars to control their curing process; fill the jars about 75% of the way, leaving room for air at the top, and taking the lid off for a period of drying if the buds start to get moist inside the jar.
There you have 5 things that beginning growers do wrong and how to avoid those mistakes before you make them and master your first yield. Remember; be patient in your first grow and master the basics so that every yield after can be that much better!