What are the most common cultivation mistakes to avoid?
Successfully growing cannabis is a science and requires proper business management. What advice would you give to new cultivators who simply cannot afford to make common cannabis cultivation mistakes?
Square footage - you want enough room for your plants to not be touching each other and to allow air to flow around them. This is easy at first and it can be tempting to pack your space with lots of plants but as they grow, you need to know when to stop and switch to flowering or you’ll end up with jungle ripe with mildew and bugs.
Ventilation/Circulation - you need to be able to refresh the air through filtered supply and filtered exhaust. Filtered exhaust will help keep the smell down which your neighbors will thank you for. You will need to take into account whether you will use passive or active cooling for your lights as well. If you don’t pay attention to this part, you’ll find that you have severe humidity problems that will result in all kinds of problems or you’ll cook your plants.
Lighting - Personally, I’ve found Metal Halide lighting works best during veg stage and High Pressure Sodium works best during flower. However, you can get by with just one type if you want to keep costs down. How many lights and what wattage to use will depend on the square footage of the room. I like 1000w and used 4 of them for 12′ square room. This breaks down to about 1 - 1000w light per 6 sq ft. I would recommend googling a breakdown of wattages vs square footage.
Temperature - This will tie into lighting and ventilation/circulation. Lights pump out a ton of heat and you’ll need to figure out what to do with that heat. You want the room to hit a sweet spot 75 degrees F - 24 hours a day. You can miss that sweet spot by about 4 degrees in either direction without too much impact but beyond that and you’ll start seeing a degradation in the quality. Furthermore, you don’t want the temperature to swing more than 10 degrees in a given day or you’ll run into the same problem.
Nutrients - This is an easy but important step. I would recommend the General Hydroponics Flora Nova series because it’s the easiest for beginners. They have feeding schedules that you can print out located on their website. Once you get the hang of it, you can start experimenting with different doses.
Soil Medium - you will find a ton of mediums. Each medium will sell to you as if it’s the best and it can become overwhelming so you’ll just have to experiment with different soils until you find what you want. I personally used a mix of low nutrient potting soil and Sunshine #4 and a 4 cups of Diatomaceous earth. I also added a healthy amount of perlite as well. You want the soil to feel spongy without clumping together when you squeeze it in your hand. It needs to be able to drain properly but also absorb water without turning to mud. Diatomaceous earth is for creepy crawlies that may want to harm your plant or eat the roots. However, too much of it will cause your soil to turn into a mud like substance.
Pest control - this one can be tough because there’s so many products available and each one does something different. Plus, it can create anxiety, knowing something is eating your plants!
my opinion- assuming any type of abnormal growth or discoloration of your cannabis plant is due to a pest. It’s probably nutrient excess or deficiency from ph lock out or salt build up(coco). Always start with ph. What’s your ph in? Out? Depending on your Medium (soil, coco, hydro) the oh range should be within a certain range to absorb nutrients needed. If the ph of feedings are off…you’re likely dealing with a nutrient lock out, or salt build up…if you’re growing in coco. Always take into account grow medium, lighting, and then environmental factors.(temp, humidity, etc). Then, look up the optimum environmental conditions for your situation, and do everything you can to control the environment within the parameters you need. Unless you see pests, or are experienced enough to know what some pests look like, (thrips for example), always try to identify if there are any ph issues before anything. Nutrient deficiencies can sometimes look like pest damage to a newer grower”.
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