Growing a successful cannabis crop requires knowledge, time, investment, and attention. If you want to optimize your plant yield, it’s wise to plan and inform yourself about possible challenges you might incur. Today we’ll discuss some of the basics of plant cultivation to help you get started.
Knowing what kind of product you want will help you choose seed selection. Seed selection significantly impacts your product’s result because certain strains may be higher in CBD or THC. After you’ve narrowed down which seeds will grow the ideal plants for your desired outcome, you should consider your growing environment—looking for hearty plants that grow prolifically in circumstances you can provide. Pay attention to what environment they thrive in. Some strains grow better indoors. Some grow better outdoors. You might need to consider what water they need, if you need an automatic irrigation system, and if you need consistent temperatures or humidity levels. Some strains are less resistant to pests but might sacrifice in other areas like potency or flavor. Start with research, talk to other growers and find out what they are using and why. Building relationships with other growers can help you grow by leaps and bounds as you begin to grow.
There is more to starting seeds than simply tossing them into the dirt. Seeds are your first expense; even quality seeds will not provide a 100% germination rate. Part of growing is expecting losses. However, understanding the best ways to grow cannabis will help you get started on the right foot. Start by understanding what makes an excellent cannabis growing medium. Before you begin researching advanced hydroponic setups, we’ll start with growing in soil because this is what most cultivators choose.
Essential features in great soil:
Texture: Light, airy texture is essential. When soil is dense or contains large pieces of organic material (like wood chips), It can be challenging for plants to sprout. However, roots can grow in a light, airy texture with easy access to oxygen.
Drainage: Of course, all plants need water to grow, but cannabis is a plant that does not like to sit in water. Whatever growing medium you use will need to provide good drainage, so it has access to water but isn’t sitting in overly moist soil.
Water Retention: Although cannabis doesn’t like “wet feet,” its roots don’t thrive when sitting in water, and soil that is too loamy isn’t optimal either. The soil should be able to hold water and nutrients for a reasonable period so the roots can absorb what they need.
Optimal pH: No matter what you’re growing, the pH of the soil will matter. Simple soil tests can let you know your soil’s pH. Ideally, your soil should be around 6.0 (slightly above or below is ok, but if you’re finding yourself at one extreme or another, your yield will suffer.
Nutrients: Unamended soil tends to produce less than ideal yields. Most store-bought soil is treated with enough growth material for 3-4 weeks. Soil explicitly made for growing cannabis will typically already contain nutrients. Regular nourishment to your ground will keep your plants well fed and thriving. A good rule of thumb is to look for organic fertilizers with a 5-5-5 ratio to continue to develop healthy soil.
It’s also possible to source ready-made cannabis substrate from a reputable brand. But as you learn more many growers create their own by sourcing raw materials.
If you are growing outdoors, you’re going to look for a sunny patch of soil that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight in a day in areas without risk for chemical cross-contamination. You’ll need grow lights if you’re growing indoors to ensure a more controlled environment. Most experts would say to do your research to find a good balance between cost and yield. A popular option is Compact Fluorescent Lights. Growers like them because they fit standard light sockets and are widely available. These are best for seedlings. High-Intensity Discharge lamps are used for vegging and flowering. They are affordable but use a lot of electricity and produce lots of heat. LEDs are a good rival for HID lights. They have a higher initial cost but use much less energy.
Of course, airflow is essential to plants. If you choose to grow indoors, most grow lights will produce at least small amounts of heat. The combination of many lights can lead to a scorching environment; a quality airflow system can help keep your plants healthy and robust. Airflow prevents mold growth from stagnant, humid air. It strengthens the stems by enduring gentle breezes, and it can even deter some pests like mites and fungus gnats and can even prevent bud rot. The setup of your space and the level of heat produced by grow lamps will determine the amount of airflow needed for healthy plants. Most growers aim for a gentle breeze without overly stressing or damaging your plants. Fans are a great option.
Preventing Mold and Pests
Mold, mildew, and pests are some of the biggest problems growing cannabis. Educating yourself on tale-tale signs of pests and checking your plants daily will help. Also, taking steps such as bringing a dehumidifier into your grow space when your plants are in the flowering stage can significantly reduce your chances of mold and pests. This is because plants release more humidity during this stage in their lifestyle. You can easily prevent this excess humidity in your grow space with the right tools at the correct times, and untreated can leave a perfect breeding ground for pests and mold.
When You’re Ready, Make Sure To Choose a Quality Testing Lab
Growing cannabis is a specialized skill. The more you grow, the more you’ll learn. The best way to increase your yields is to ask lots of questions and build relationships with other growers and professionals in the cannabis industry. Finding a quality testing lab can help as well. At Lux Leaf, we are heavily invested in the success of growers; we work hard to get you fast, accurate results so you can make quick decisions for the health of your plants. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!