Growing season for outdoor marijuana plants is fast approaching. Whether you are a first time grower or an experienced cultivator, there is a lot to prepare and also a lot to know to make sure that your growing efforts will pay off with an abundance of healthy, bud filled plants.
Experienced growers will have their tried and true methods that have proved successful for them in the past, but if you are a first time grower, there is a lot to learn.
Common mistakes by the first time grower will be made along the way, but I offer here a few helpful suggestions for the first time grower that will hopefully help you to produce a healthy and abundant crop to harvest come fall time.
First time growers frequently:
Over water their medium based plants
When you pot your plant, judge its weight dry by hefting. Then, water the plant thoroughly, until water runs through the drain holes. Heft it again. When your pot feels as nearly as light as it did dry, its time to water again.
Overfeed their plants
As Mr Soul says, beginners rarely under do anything. When all else fails, follow the directions on the fertilizer bottle. [ dont follow GH’s instructions! Use @ 1/4 their recommended strength] Click Here for more information
Over analyze their grow
A first grow is like a first born child: you pay attention to every little thing that happens. Further, you worry at the first sign something may be wrong. Pay attention to what happens in your grow, but do not try and find a remedy for every yellow leaf. Frequently, the remedy of flushing your medium causes more problems than it solves. Be responsive when things go wrong, but be conservative in your remedies.
Overspend on grow supplies
New growers frequently commit themselves to unrealistic and expensive first grows. It is much more efficient to learn to grow and then invest in high end equipment rather than the other way around. Most experienced growers don’t have room for all of the grow paraphernalia they aren’t using.
Try the search engine first. Chances are good that any question you can think of has been asked and answered before.
Talk about their grow
Don’t tell anybody that does not have to know. How can you expect anybody else to keep a secret that you cannot.
Don’t Over water
Overwatering kills marijuana plants. Water once the top few inches of the soil dries out.
Hydroponics is harder to over-water than soil, due to the abundance of water roots.
Don’t Tell People
Why? They will only be jealous. People love to feel important and that is why they will tell other people; because others will listen to them.
Keep it to yourself.
Touch/kill Germinating Seeds
It can take up to 10 days for a seed to sprout. The paper towel method is not recommended because you must handle the seeds when transferring them from the paper towel to your growing medium.
Grow seeds from seeded marijuana (hermaphrodite seeds)
Unless you are prepared for possible disappointments don’t use “unknown” seeds. This is why people buy seeds from seed banks.
Self-seeding MJ is produced from hermaphrodite plants or a very stunted and late flowering male the grower did not notice. Flowered hermi seeds will produce tall late flowering females coupled with early flowering males.
Fertilize after first 2 spiked leaves appear.
Start with 25% of recommended label strengths and work your way up. If the leaves suddenly twist or fold under, leach and spray with pure water for several days!
Don’t fertilize your plants every time you water! (Soil)
A common watering schedule is to fertilize at full strength, then water at half or quarter strength. This prevents excess salt buildup, leaf and root burn. In addition, don’t water at full strength if the medium is too dry — root burn can occur.
As a precaution, leach the plants with lots of pure water every 2-4 weeks.
Under-fertilizing is less common. If you prefer to give the plant ‘just enough nutrients’, use a organic soil mixture with blood meal and bone meal or some slow release fertilizer with micro nutrients.
Don’t Start with Clones
Start with seeds. Bugs are a pain, as are plant diseases. Many growers are able to grow indoors without pest problems for years. Another grower’s cuttings are almost guaranteed to have diseases &/or pests.
Don’t Harvest Too Early
25% of the weight will form in the last 2 weeks. Begin flushing with 100% pH’d water when the pistil are 25% brown. Harvest when the plants have totally stopped growing and the white pistils are at least 50-75% brown.
*NOTE: Outdoors if security is a factor make your own call on when to sacrifice the fields. Also take buds continuously in case of thieves.
Q. Can marijuana grow in a northern climate?
Marijuana plants can grow anywhere corn can grow. All it needs is three growing months – seed to harvest. 2 if started indoors!
Q. Why do I have to buy seeds? Why can’t I use my own that I picked from my own stash?
Most people desire, and want to be guaranteed, certain characteristics in their mature female plants. The seeds from any weed will all grow into something different. This is unprofitable and inefficient. As opposed to knowing the single set of requirements for your entire crop, you must provide a different set of requirements for each of your plants.
Q. What is better for a new grower – hydroponics or soil? (Learn More)
I believe the all around “better”, more convenient setup is soil. Hydro makes plants grow faster, but won’t make your buds more potent than soil. Hydro should be attempted after you have a few successful soil crops under your belt.
If you are starting from seed and growing for personal, soil is the practical growing medium. If the crop is started with clones and is commercial, a hydroponics setup is more practical.
Q. Why are my seedlings stretching?
Low light conditions. They also need a gentle wind. Plants will also stretch when subjected to conditions of high humidity.
Q. What kind of lights should I use? (Learn More)
Cheap 4 ft. cool white fluorescent tubes : for germination/seedlings
Q. How far should the lights be from the plants?
Fluorescent: tips of leaves almost touching bulbs
400 watt halide : two feet away from seedlings and one foot away from grown plants
1000 watt halide: four feet away from seedlings and two feet away from grown plants
Q. How often should you water?
Once a week or once every two week for soil and twice a day with a hydroponic flood and drain system.
*When top 2 inches of the soil dry out.* Occasionally provide periods of extra dry and wet soil.
*Allow 10% extra water to drain out of the bottom of the tray.* This will prevent toxic fertilizer build up.
Q. How long do your seeds last? What’s the best way to keep them?
Seeds can last over 5 years if kept cool and dry. They may last up to 10 years if sealed and frozen, but fewer will germinate.
I found that these are the most common mistakes that new growers make, however I am sure there are some I did not cover. Feel free to comment below with any suggestions that may help our first time growers to be successful.
Also check out these other articles on growing marijuana!!