Cannabis is growing in popularity at a rate we’ve never seen before. Whether for recreational or medical purposes, more people start using the plant for the first time every day.
However, there’s more to cannabis than just smoking and vaping. Several marijuana enthusiasts have started growing the plant themselves. Whether it’s to develop a greater understanding of the horticultural aspect to cannabis or just to save money and ensure a plentiful supply, growing your plants can be an enriching experience.
There are many pitfalls you’ll have to avoid if you want a successful growing operation. First-time growers, in particular, should do plenty of research before planting their seeds.
We’ve looked at five of the biggest problems that face first-time growers and shared some useful tips on how to avoid them.
1. Getting the Temperature Right
Cannabis is quite a hardy plant in many respects. However, it is native to warmer regions and will not flourish in cold weather.
Different strains will do better in various weather conditions. Traditional Kush strains, for example, can tolerate colder temperatures than most other strains, as they are native to colder mountain regions. Haze strains, on the other hand, need especially hot surroundings to flourish.
It’s much easier to control temperature conditions when you grow your plants indoors. However, if you live in an area with reasonably good weather, there’s no reason not to grow outdoors.
If you want to learn more about the right temperature for your growing project, check out an expert’s guide to cannabis.
2. Exposing Your Plants to the Right Amount of Moisture
As is the case with temperature, the ideal amount of moisture for cannabis growth varies from one strain to another. However, cannabis generally isn’t a thirsty plant.
If you’re growing outdoors, you may not have to water your plants at all. Even if you’re growing indoors, you should only have to water your plants every couple of days. You should learn how to examine your soil to gauge whether your plants need to be watered.
While it’s essential to make sure your plants stay hydrated, you don’t want to overdo it. Overhydration can kill plants, as can overfeeding. Moreover, know that excess moisture can lead to the onset of mold if you don’t remove it quickly.
3. Pest Control
Pests are one of the greatest threats to outdoor cannabis grows. Dozens of different pests can affect cannabis; the most relevant ones will depend on the area you live in.
Aphids are perhaps the most common cannabis pest. These are tiny insects that come in many different colors and can be found in most places on earth. Moreover, they are also called greenflies. To make sure aphids aren’t affecting your cannabis plants, you’ll need to check them regularly and get rid of any you find with some form of natural pest treatment (chemical-based treatments generally aren’t safe for use on cannabis plants).
You should also be vigilant about the presence of mold on your cannabis plants. If you let the water settle on your plants for too long, mold can quickly set in. The best way to avoid this is to position your plants so that they get a gentle breeze or, if you grow indoors, keep your fans on.
4. Picking the Right Strain
This is where you’ll have to put the most research before you start growing cannabis. Picking the right strain is essential for several reasons; different strains have different psychoactive effects and various health benefits, so you should pick yours carefully to make sure it does exactly what you want it to.
Researchers aren’t individual why different strains have such diverse properties. However, they believe that the levels of other cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN, may be of relevance.
Strain selection also makes a big difference to your growing operation. As noted above, some strains have a greater tolerance for low temperatures and excess moisture than others. If you live in an area where the climate is unfavorable for cannabis cultivation and you want to grow your weed outdoors, you should pick a strain that tolerates your weather well.
Some strains are also lower-maintenance than others. If you’re a first-time grower, you should look for a strain that isn’t too difficult to yield.
5. Installing Equipment Correctly
If you’re growing your cannabis indoors, there are several pieces of equipment you’ll need to acquire before planting your seeds. These include;
- A growing tent
- Heat lamps
- Thermometers and hygrometers
- A humidifier and a dehumidifier
You should be sure that all of your equipment is suitable before you’re due to start growing, as it’s much easier to address a problem before your seeds are in their pots.
Make sure your electrical equipment is properly installed. Because cannabis is still heavily regulated in many areas, some growers are reluctant to seek professional help when setting up their lighting and heating systems. However, poorly installed electronics are a serious safety hazard, so you should always try to consult with someone trustworthy if you’re not familiar with electrical devices yourself.
Getting the Most Out of Your Cannabis Grow in 2020
The science around cannabis is developing at a lightning pace. The weed that would have been considered “top shelf” at the turn of the century looks average (at best) today. Better information, looser regulations, and broader access to growing equipment mean that almost anyone can build their cannabis. If you want to give it a try, nothing is stopping you. Approaching the above issues correctly will have you well on your way to a great first grow.
Lisa D. is a content specialist focused on fitness and cannabis.