10 Quick Tips To Help You Grow Better Weed
We may not be the world’s best growers, but we’re passionate about cannabis cultivation, and over the years, we’ve learned a few things that may help you in your growing journey. In this article, we’ll run through a few quick tips that you can incorporate into your cultivation to ensure better results.
1. Choose Good Genetics
Arguably the most crucial decision of your grow journey comes down to the genetics you opt to use. While there is value in learning to grow with cheaper seeds, once you have the basics down, you should quickly move into high-quality genetics if you want quality flower. We, as growers, need to remember that plants are, in many ways, just like any other living being, and the DNA the plant possesses is what ultimately sets the ceiling for quality.
In the same way that our genetic makeup limits us, so does a plant’s. If you have an inherent tendency for a disease, for instance, no matter what you do in life, you can never shake that predisposition. For plants, if the genetically inherent expressions are unfavourable, no matter how good your environment is, you can only have so much influence over those expressions through the environment.
A good seed is not always expensive, but in most cases, you don’t get many reliable seeds at a steal. The main reason for this is that cheap seeds are typically the result of white-label projects where the true genetic lineage of a strain is a mystery or the result of enthusiastic pollen chuckers who cross two plants together and hope for the best without much testing being done. While not always the case, more expensive seeds are often more money because of the amount of work involved in breeding and testing.
If you’re unsure what defines good genetics, check out our article 10 Tips for Buying Cannabis Seeds
2. Get To Know Your Grow Medium
Each growing medium is different, and learning yours is essential. Not just how much you need to feed but the rate at which it dries, how hot it is, and the best pH and EC to water (to name a few). Some growers tend to try various mediums, hopping between each one, hoping that it will be the one that finds them instant success. Instead, spend time mastering one medium before moving on to the next. It’s useful to have experience in various mediums, but if you keep switching up your grow style you’ll be handicapping yourself.
3. Less Is Sometimes More
Despite what the nutrient manufacturer says on the packaging, less can often be more when growing cannabis. More feed does not directly equate to a better plant and, in many cases, increases your odds of harvest plants that didn’t meet their full potential. Of course, it goes both ways, and underfeeding can also cause problems with your yield and overall flower quality. However, it’s more common to see beginner growers overfeeding than underfeeding.
4. Learn Your Lineages
Too many growers end up relying on inaccurate sources of information as their basis for strain knowledge. Leafly, for instance, is not a good representation of facts, and the same goes for many of the other online strain database sites that are riddled with everything from inaccuracies to pure fiction. Spending some time listening to podcasts from reliable breeders and cultivators can go a long way in understanding what you are growing.
For instance, when you start growing, and you hear “Chemdog” you may not immediately know that the name can refer to several different cuts of Chemdog (Chem D, Chem 91, Chem 4 etc). And the only way you’d know otherwise is by nerding out a bit. In the process, you may also learn about what to expect from the strains in how they grow, and they smoke. This can really help you in dialing in your grows before you’ve even run them out yet. Just knowing that a particular line may be prone to a certain condition can help you take care in preventing it.
5. pH Can Still Matter In Soil
Despite what you’ve heard, pH shouldn’t just be ignored simply because one is growing in soil. There are certain growing styles where pH matters far less, and those tend to be larger pots of soil (50L+) or living soil beds where there is a thriving soil food web and microbes are effectively playing a role in your feeding. In these cases, microbes are very efficient in bringing balance to the situation.
However, even though microbes are still present and beneficial in small pots of soil, in many cases, the role they play is slightly different than in larger living soil areas. Smaller pots of soil rely on more direct uptake from the plants, and something like a 5L container of soil can have a hard time handling severe pH fluctuations. In some areas of South Africa, we see tap water at over 8.5pH; adjusting your pH can have a noticeable impact in these cases.
6. Be Patient (aka. “Two More Weeks”)
At this point, it’s become a meme on grow forums – but there is a tendency for newer growers to harvest too early (something that I’ve been guilty of too). The two more weeks adage is recommended because cannabis flowers can often look mature before the cannabinoids are at their best. This isn’t the case for everyone, and there are growers who have the opposite problem, where they leave their plants just too long before harvest.
However, it’s more common than not to experience early harvests in new growers. Be patient when flowering out your females; give them adequate time to mature and for both the terpenes and cannabinoids to fully reach their pinnacle. The idea of looking at stigma (also known by many as pistils) to indicate maturity has its own flaws, as some cultivars, specifically those with landrace Sativa influence, will show white pistils up to harvest.
Nonetheless, if you’re unsure whether your plant is ready or not, consider giving it a bit more time so you are sure. Specific strains or cuts demonstrate this to growers routinely. The GMO cut, for instance, runs pretty long, and most people take her down at day 75-78, but those who have grown her out a lot have realized that a lot of that garlic funk in the profile comes out when the plant is pushed past 80 days, with many growers recommending she be taken to 85.
7. Stay On Top of Your IPMs
Before you read any further, ask yourself an honest question about good your IPM practices are. Many growers think about pesticides and fungicides when they have a problem, but for good pest management, you need to be treating your plants before the problem becomes visible. Spider mites may easily go undetected in a larger garden, and the best way to ensure your plants are safe is to spray some preventative insecticides routinely. We recommend avoiding the dodgy stuff. Keep your IPMs as natural as you can, which is quite an easy task these days with things like Neem, Sulfur, Pyrol, etc.
Whether you choose to spray on a schedule or when you feel the time is right, don’t wait until you see a problem before you start working with your IPMs. By then, it may be too late…
8. Include Sulfur In Your Arsenal
Okay, it may not make you a better grower, but it will make you a happier one. A Liquid Sulfur is a sulfur solution that is mixed with water and can be used as both an effective powdery mildew preventative control or as a pesticide. This naturally occurring element is an extremely effective powdery mildew control, especially when used routinely in your grower. It coats the leaves in a residue that prevents the mold spores from anchoring into the leaf. I’ve tried a lot of remedies for powdery mildew over the years; Sulfur has been the most effective.
9. Balance Your Feeding & Lighting
A common problem for newer growers is trying to figure out how much to feed their plants, and the answer isn’t always straightforward. The amount you need to feed depends on how much energy they are using. If you have a 100W light in a 4×4 tent, you won’t need to feed them much at all, as their metabolism will be slow. But under 1000W of light, the opposite would be true. The huge amount of light would have them seeking more nutrition to maximize their growth.
When you increase or decrease your lighting, adjust your feeding schedule accordingly. You don’t need to make huge adjustments in most cases, as light-intensity changes are typically mild. But this is something you should keep in mind. It also works inversely, and if you have a tendency to underfeed your plants, either lowering your environmental lighting or increasing your feed can help you.
10. Invest In Environmental Control
Whoever said growing is cheap must have grown outdoors because growing good indoor flower is anything but affordable. Environmental control is a luxury that most of us can’t afford, at least not in a broad way. Ideally, we would all have the money to run airconditioners throughout our grows to dial in our environments. However, there are some essential tools that I would recommend putting as a priority. Outside of the obvious extraction fans and oscillating fans that every tent should have, I would recommend buying a good dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers can prove extremely useful in preventing molds and mildew. Powdery mildew and botrytis are both related to humidity in conjunction with insufficient airflow. Having a dehumidifier in your room where your tent is can help lower the ambient humidity to a range that is more suitable for growing. This is especially true for rooms that may get more humid, something that garages often suffer with.
For small rooms, you may be able to get away with a 10L dehumidifier, but for garages or larger rooms, I’d recommend opting for something close to 20-25L. These dehumidifiers will typically be capable of reducing the humidity in your room in just minutes.
If you can afford it, an airconditioner will also provide amazing benefits to both your summer grows and your drying process. Being able to dial in your dry will allow you to retain more terpenes and ultimately make your weed noticeably better.