Let me start by saying... mistakes aren't bad.
Actually, they make us better.
With that being said, there are some common mistakes that growers make.
Should you be aware of these mistakes prior to growing?
Let's talk about them.
I think the most common mistake when growing cannabis is OVERWATERING. Many of us have been through stages where we have overwatered. Maybe you're using new soil, maybe the top layer of soil seems dry or maybe your moisture meter shows the soil is dry. Whatever the case may be, overwatering your plants can be harmful to growth, but there's no reason to panic. When overwatering and over-saturating soil, you're essentially drowning your roots. Roots need oxygen in order to survive and work at their highest potential. There’s 2 main rules I like to follow when going to water your cannabis plants;
Is the top 1-2 inches of the soil dry?
Are your pots significantly lighter than they were after you watered them?
Both of these methods take experience in order to understand and master. When checking the soil moisture with your finger, either lightly till the soil or just insert your finger 1-2 inches down. You should be able to feel the moisture on your finger. I go by the rule that if I'm questioning whether I should water, I DO NOT WATER. You should be fully confident that the soil is dry enough for you to water it. In my personal experience, I would much rather under water my plants than overwater them. The second way to check is to pick up your pots to test the weight. This is much harder as it takes some time and experience to understand the weight of your pots at different moisture levels. Pick up the pot when it's fully saturated and then everyday lightly lift the pots to feel the change in weight. I recommend using both of these methods in order to determine when to water your plants. Now, if you're looking to grow in a living soil bed that you cannot pick-up, there is another rule I like to follow: 5% - 10% water by volume. If you're growing in a 30 gallon container, the most water your plant should ever get is 3 gallons at 10% water by volume. For example, I grow in a 3x3 Living Soil bed that is approximately 70 gallons. The most I have ever watered my bed is around 5 gallons which would be just over the 5% mark. When growing organically we look to keep an adequate moisture level and this can be a tough concept to master. But by using these methods I have seen great success in plant and soil health in my garden.
To sum it all up, watering is one of the things that doesn't seem too tricky until it becomes a problem. Following these rules above has led me to success from my past of overwatering. Be patient and know you can always add more, but once the water is in there you cannot take it out.
Now what I see to be the most important mistake and learning curve when starting to grow your own cannabis is rushing/overthinking. This can be applied to almost every aspect of growing but let’s focus on a few. First, we all know how exciting it is when you are about to start growing cannabis for the first time. Rushing and not gathering all the necessary equipment is a mistake people tend to make. Growing cannabis is no walk in the park, so ensuring you have all the sufficient equipment to get started is extremely important. You might think you don't need that exhaust fan or humidifier, until the problem arises. Something so little like this can be a limiting factor to growing healthy plants. This can just be one of many scenarios. Having patience and building your equipment over a few months or even a year is the best way to start growing. There's so much content and information on the internet with which you can really set yourself up for success. Now, another mistake people make related to rushing is overthinking. When walking into your grow space and observing a problem, a panicky situation can arise quickly. You'll immediately start researching only to find the symptoms you're having can be a very wide variety of issues. Reverting back to part 1 of overwatering, people sometimes think their plants are droopy because they are under watered but the sad reality is the plants droop whether they are overwatered or under-watered. This is where that rushing comes into play and you may go ahead and water not knowing the pots are actually oversaturated.
We can go over hundreds of instances where you may panic, rush a decision or constantly overthink a decision you made. The main takeaway from this is that the garden is great at telling you there is something wrong. Take a step back. Understand how forgiving cannabis plants are and that rushing decisions and overthinking is going to cause more harm in the long run.
OVERLOOKING GROW CONDITIONS
Lastly, one of MY biggest mistakes when I started growing. Most of us are so focused on soil, water, nutrients, the best light as so on, we tend to overlook our environment. As much as the things I've listed are also very important, the grow environment is such a detrimental factor when it comes to cannabis plant health. VPD (Vapor Pressure Deficit) is one of the charts that it is very important to follow. Your plants calls have areas called “stomata '' that drive transpiration releasing water vapor into the air. When in target VPD range, this allows for maximum CO2 to be absorbed from the atmosphere. From my personal experience as soon as I started to focus on dialing in my grow environment, everything else came together. There are so many products out now that allow for automation and tracking of the temperature, humidity, VPD and even CO2 in your grow space. The sooner you focus on your environment, the sooner you can focus on other factors in your grow .
When starting to grow cannabis it's inevitable that you will run into some issues. Having problems in the grow isn't special to new growers, it happens to everyone. Understanding issues before they arise is the best way to be ready for any situation that comes your way. When dealing with a problem make sure to do 2 things;
Take a step back
Don't rush a solution
Cannabis plants are extremely resilient.
I'm not a perfect grower. These common mistakes are just based on the early stages of my journey growing cannabis. No matter where you are we all deal with different issues, we all have different struggles.
If you have any issues in your grow space head over to the community section and show us what's going on in your grow. We're here to support and help anybody through their challenges when growing cannabis.
Until next time.