Cannabis Growing Overview For New Growers
Growing cannabis from photoperiod feminized seeds or auto-flower seeds can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, but it also requires careful attention to detail to ensure a successful harvest. Here’s a step-by-step grow guide on how to grow cannabis from germination to harvest below, but first lets go over the mistakes beginners often make when growing cannabis. Being aware of these pitfalls can help you avoid them and improve your chances of a successful harvest. Here are some of the most common cannabis growing mistakes made by beginners:
1. Overwatering: One of the most prevalent mistakes is overwatering. Cannabis plants need moist, but not waterlogged, soil. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems. Water your plants when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure proper drainage in your containers.
2. Poor Soil Choice: Using low-quality or improper soil can hinder plant growth. Invest in high-quality potting soil or create a well-balanced growing medium with appropriate amendments. Cannabis prefers well-draining soil with good aeration. Many home grows make their own DIY organic soil, and others use cannabis friendly potting soil like Happy Frog, Roots Organics, Recipe 420, Dr. Earth’s, among others.
3. Inadequate Lighting: Not providing enough light or using the wrong type of lighting can result in weak and leggy plants with poor yields. Research the specific lighting needs of your cannabis strain and invest in quality grow lights if growing indoors. Consider starting with LED or a CMH 315. There are 100’s of grow lights marketed to home growers, including brands like KIND LED, HLG, Fohse, Mars Hydro, Spider Farmer, and many more. Some grow lights are as easy as turning them on and having a VEG phase button, and FLOWER phase button. If you’re growing with a CMH 315, then there are no buttons. Just screw the bulb into the ballast and connect it to the outlet or timer. Grow lights are heavy pieces of equipment that will hang in a grow tent or grow room, so enlisting some help to hang them is recommended.
4. Nutrient Imbalances: Overfeeding or underfeeding your plants can lead to nutrient imbalances, which can manifest as nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Follow a nutrient feeding schedule designed for cannabis and monitor your plants closely. New growers should always follow the feeding recommendations on the fertilizer label, but also consider using slightly less than the recommended dose.
5. pH Imbalances: Cannabis plants thrive in a slightly acidic pH range of 6.0-6.5. Failure to maintain the proper pH can lead to nutrient uptake issues and nutrient lockout, affecting overall plant health. This is especially important for hydroponic systems including grows using ProMix or any other soilless medium.
6. Inadequate Ventilation: Poor air circulation can promote the growth of mold and mildew, and even pests. Use fans to ensure proper ventilation in your growing space, both indoors and outdoors. Grow tents and grow rooms without exhaust fans are a recipe for a disaster.
7. Ignoring Pest and Disease Control: Failing to monitor for pests and diseases can lead to infestations that are difficult to manage. Regularly inspect your plants and implement preventive measures, such as Organocide sprays. You can even consider using beneficial insects, which are good bugs that kill bad bugs in your garden.
8. Harvesting Too Early: Harvesting at the wrong time can significantly impact the quality and potency of your buds. Learn to identify the optimal harvest window by examining the flowers look and appearance, as well as the pistils and trichomes. Most strains require around 60 days to flower until full maturity.
9. Inadequate Drying and Curing: Rushing the drying and curing process can result in harsh-tasting buds with diminished potency. Properly dry and cure your harvested buds in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space around 50-60 RH and 60-75 F. Too much heat causes terpenes to dissipate, resulting in loss of aroma and effects. Too much humidity results in buds that take too long to dry. Most people take around a week of drying in a proper environment before they start smoking. Some people will dry for a week or 10 days or so, and then cure for a few weeks, even a few months. It’s up to you to experiment and see what you like best. There’s also a product that dries and cures your weed called Cannatrol.
10. Not Learning from Mistakes: Many beginners make mistakes, but the key is to learn from them. Keep a grow journal to track your progress, note what works and what doesn’t, and make adjustments in subsequent grows.
Before You Start Growing Weed
1. Legal Considerations: Make sure you are aware of the laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation in your area.
2. Choose a Suitable Location: Select an appropriate location for your grow, whether it’s indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse. Ensure good ventilation, light, and privacy.
3. Gather your growing supplies:
– Photoperiod feminized cannabis seeds
– Containers or pots with drainage holes
– High-quality potting soil
– Nutrients (specifically formulated for cannabis)
– pH testing kit and pH adjusters
– Light source (if growing indoors)
– Timer (for controlling light cycles)
– Fans for air circulation
– Pruning shears
– Trellis netting (optional)
– Watering can or system
Germination phase takes about 1 – 2 weeks.
Your cannabis seeds should sprout in a cup of water in a dark space within 1-3 days, and then after you plant the sprout, it should take a few days to sprout. Don’t overwater during this time. In fact, you don’t need to water your soil but 1x a week at this phase of growth.
1. **Prepare Seeds:** Soak your cannabis seeds in a glass of water for about 12-24 hours. This will help soften the shell and promote germination.
2. **Plant Seeds:** Plant each seed about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in a small container with moist, well-draining potting soil. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
3. **Create Ideal Conditions:** Place the containers in a warm (70-80°F or 21-27°C) and dark location. Use a humidity dome or plastic wrap to maintain high humidity around the seeds.
4. **Wait for Sprouting:** Seeds should sprout within a few days to a week. Once they have sprouted and developed a couple of sets of leaves, you can move on to the vegetative phase.
Vegetative or VEG phase takes about 4 – 8 weeks.
1. **Lighting:** For indoor growers, use 18-24 hours of light per day. Outdoors, ensure your plants receive at least 18 hours of direct sunlight.
2. **Temperature and Humidity:** Maintain a temperature range of 70-85°F (21-29°C) and a humidity level of 40-60%.
3. **Watering:** Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Be careful not to overwater, as cannabis plants are susceptible to root rot.
4. **Nutrients:** Start with a balanced, vegetative-stage nutrient formula and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust the pH of your nutrient solution to around 6.0-6.5.
5. **Training:** Optional but beneficial, consider topping or using Low-Stress Training (LST) techniques to encourage bushier growth.
Flowering or Bloom phase takes about 8 – 12 weeks.
1. **Lighting Change:** Switch to a 12/12 light cycle (12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness) to initiate flowering. Indoors, maintain a consistent light schedule, and ensure complete darkness during the dark period.
2. **Temperature and Humidity:** Keep the temperature between 65-80°F (18-27°C) and reduce humidity to around 40-50%.
3. **Continued Nutrient Care:** Transition to a flowering-stage nutrient formula. Monitor and adjust pH as needed.
4. **Pruning:** Remove any large fan leaves that block light from reaching lower buds.
Harvest phase is the final phase of cannabis cultivation.
To determine the best time for harvest, examine the trichomes on the buds with a magnifying glass. Harvest when most trichomes turn milky white with a few amber ones. The pistils will be red or orange or brown and be withered.
Cut the plants at the base and hang them upside down in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated space. Allow them to dry for 7-14 days until the branches snap rather than bend. It depends on the temperature and humidity of the environment, and how thick and dense your buds are.
Trim the dried buds of excess leaves, and manicure them to your desired appearance. You can trim them before they dry, or after. Growers choice!
Lastly, curing helps you improve flavor. Place the trimmed buds in airtight jars and burp them daily for the first two weeks to release excess moisture. Continue to cure for at least 2-4 weeks.
Remember, cannabis cultivation requires patience and attention to detail. By following these steps and continuously learning and adapting your techniques, you can achieve a successful cannabis harvest.