Many people will opt in growing their first cannabis crop this year and to help them along their way I have decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
These questions I have seen repeatedly on forums, websites and the likes and thus decided that it’s time that we simply make one solid list trying to answer most of them. Of course, I surely won’t be able to answer all of them, but hopefully these answers will help clarify any doubts you may have before growing your own!
So let’s just jump right into them shall we?
How important are cannabis seed genetics?
Genetics does play a role in cultivation, especially if you’re going to be growing for a particular reason. For example, if you’re looking to get a big yield to turn into oil – you’d be better off with a indica dominant hybrid or other strains that have big yields.
However, if you’re looking for a more cerebral high – growers tend to recommend sativas. Additionally, if your geographic location has certain innate conditions like it’s humid or arid – finding genetics that can work with your location will be a plus.
Of course, ultimately – you can take bag seed and toss it into the ground to grow a good crop – but when you’re looking to take your grow to the next level then genetics play a factor.
How about nutrients for marijuana plants?
This depends on how you’re going to be growing cannabis – whether hydroponics or soil. In most cases, soil based grows require very little additional nutrients and in most instances they require a bit more potassium during the flowering stage.
If you bought soil in a store, then it’s already pre-fertilized meaning you won’t need to add anything for at least 3-4 weeks.
If you’re growing hydroponically then you’ll need to add nutrients since the growing medium would have none. Here, you simply need to balance the pH and the density of the nutrients to ensure that you don’t burn your plant – a mistake often committed by newbie growers.
If this is your first grow, I highly recommend starting with soil since it’s more forgiving than hydro.
How about grow lights? What’s the best?
The best grow light is the one that works on your budget and gets the job done. You can grow with something like CFL (Compact Florescent Lights) which needs a minimal of 6000 lumens to be able to flower.
Most people use these for the vegetative phase since they have a low power usage and can provide more than enough light to start the process.
For flowering, you’ll want a bit more “punch” and while it’s possible to flower with CFL, most people opt in for HID (high-intensity discharge) like HPS (high-pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide). These have what you need to flower but also produce a lot of heat and consumes a lot of power.
LED is your final option, these can be used both for flowering and vegetative stages – and with prices dropping significantly on these, they have become a good option for the entire process. They don’t produce as much heat as HPS and provide more range of light than CFL.
These are your ideal beginner lights.
How often should I water the cannabis plants?
This is a mistake that new growers often make – when should you water the plants? Usually, if the top 3-4 cm of your soil (in the case you’re growing with soil) is dry, then it’s okay to water.
If you over water your plants, you stand the chance of suffocating the roots. This will result in the plant wilting and dying. Conversely, under watering the plant will achieve the same result.
How should I train my plants?
Training your plants is optional – and if done right can increase the yield significantly. I do recommend that you go a few rounds without doing anything, to simply learn how the plant response throughout the growing cycle.
Once you’re comfortable with growing a plant from seed to harvest – you can begin implementing different techniques such as Swazzing, Lolipopping, LST, and so forth.
If you want to create bigger buds, you’ll want to trick the plant into thinking that the buds they do have are light – so adding structural support to the branches will allow the plant to grow buds that are heavier than the stem.
It’s not recommended for newbies though.
Harvesting too soon will dramatically reduce the potency of the plant. To know when, you’ll look at the trichomes.
If the trichomes are clear – you’re about 3-4 weeks away from harvest. When they are milky white, it means that the THC production is at max level, but you’ll still be 1-2 weeks away from harvest.
Finally, when you see that 10%-20% of the trichomes have turned amber, then you now it’s time to harvest.
However, with experience you’ll learn when you prefer to harvest. Remember that this is all just “rules of thumb” and not something you need to necessarily follow religiously.
How important is drying and curing your buds?
This is one of the areas where most newbie cultivators screw up their crops. This is usually due to a lack of patience. However, without properly drying and curing your cannabis, you will lose all of the hard work you did during the growing phases.
Therefore, in terms of drying, you’ll want to do it in a dark room with humidity levels at 45%-55%. Secondly, you’ll want some air circulation and you’ll know it’s ready to jar when the branches break, but don’t snap off.
Then, you’ll move it to a jar for curing. Fill the jar about ¾ of the way and keep some air. Put these jars in a dark room and burp them daily for about 15 minutes.
Burping essentially means you are opening it up and allowing the gasses to escape. This process takes minimally 21 days, but I recommend waiting for at least a month before smoking.