The gardener determines the degree of difficulty in cannabis growing. Some have the patience, experience, and education to get it right. Others struggle with their “farms” and soon give up.
Some cannabis strains demand more care than others. Some climates do better than others. And, all require some investment in time and equipment. You might compare it to the devotion it takes to raise rare orchids or African violets. Like them, too, the results can be very satisfying.
Tough cannabis strains to grow
It’s pleasant to picture a natural garden with a variety of cannabis strains growing in various colors at different heights and stages of growth. Perhaps, you can see a birdbath here, a fountain there, and butterflies flitting about. But, that’s only possible in the absolutely right ecosystem – and legal jurisdiction.
Chances are you will grow your cannabis in a confined grow room or a greenhouse. And, it will be complete with lighting and air circulation devices. Still, you may want to cultivate your own because commercially-grown cannabis tends to favor the strains requiring the least care.
So, you may want to focus on or avoid difficult to raise strains:
- Dr. Grinspoon is a Barney’s Farm sativa with heavy cerebral effects. It reaches the flowering stage very slowly with compact bead-like colas.
- Headband has a potent high-THC content with rich Kush and diesel tastes. But, its small buds resist producing a strong yield.
- Columbian Gold is a legendary sativa strain from the mountains of Columbia. It challenges home growers with its significant height and extended flowering phase. It can take over any indoor grow space, and the long flowering stage exposes it to more problems.
- San Fernando Valley OG also has a long flowering phase and needs special feeding. It hungers for calcium and magnesium, and that risks over- and under-feeding. Fed well and pruned carefully, it will produce rich and powerful nugs.
- Chocolate Thai, like other Asian landrace strains, it takes care and attention to produce a rewarding yield flowering up to 14 weeks.
Growers also must know how and when to prune certain strains, what pests and fungi they attract, and the proper ways to treat pests and mildew. Cannabis likes handlers to maneuver them with clean tools and gentle hands.
Study the problem.
Growing your own cannabis will eventually save you money. For those requiring medical cannabis, it can save lots of money. But, starting your grow operation, even a small one, will cost startup money. You stand to waste that money if you do launch your “farm” without some education.
The best cannabis websites and forums offer plenty of grow instructions, product information, and cultivation lessons. If you live in a state where home grow has been legalized or decriminalized, you will also find formal training sessions and seminars. The training is worth the tuition.
Pick seeds carefully.
Growing from seed is a tossup. If the plant doesn’t grow well, you can’t tell if it’s the seed’s fault or yours.
Seeds, even those from reputable seed sources, need personal inspection. If the seed shell appears damaged, it probably is. Seeds will last, but their vitality and yield will decline with age.
So, new growers might do better starting with clones where they would know the genetics, origin, and age.
Water to the need.
Irrigating your cannabis plants takes some experience and patience. Plants need water, but water dilutes the soil’s nutrients. So, it takes balance.
- When the medium feels dry an inch deep, it’s time to water the plant until you have a slight runoff from the pot bottom. You don’t want to drain the nutrients from the medium.
- If the water includes nutrients, you must allow 10-20% drain from the bottom to maintain the medium’s pH factor and avoid excess nutrition.
- As a rule-of-thumb, you want to add enough water every other day. Two days in a row will flood the plant, and every four days will dry the plant out.
Watering frequency and volume depends on many factors: plant size, medium, pot size, and strain. So, you need to research as much as you can.
Feed it well.
Growers will prepare their own nutrients. It’s not that hard if you have the time. But, if you’re a first-time grower, you might spend the money on the store-bought fertilizers to get it right. You’ll find any number of quality nutrient supplements online, but you should determine how well-suited the specific product is for your strains.
Light it up.
Growing outdoors invites the sun to do its thing. But, growing indoors means integrating several issues.
- Closet Grow: T5s grow lights work with enough room. Otherwise, you opt for CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). A small LED (light emitting diode) works if you have 4-feet height.
- Little Tent: T5s work in 2’x4’ to 3’x3’ space. Or, you want a 315 LEC (light emitting ceramic) or a 250W or 400W HPS (high pressure sodium).
- Big Tent: Bigger than 4’x4’ needs 400W+ LEDs or 600W or 1000W HPS.
- Indoor Farm: Large grow areas need several 1000W HPS lamps.
You may find lighting controversial. There are so many options. You know you need almost constant light generating some but not too much heat. You need to be able to time it, and it must reach all parts of the plants. So, you are advised to do searches on lighting your specific space and strains.
Keep air moving.
Cannabis plants need air movement. Circulating air manages the air and plant temperature, and it reduces pest and mildew damage. Rigging this for the size of your space can be difficult. And, that combined with lighting adds to your investment.
Is it difficult to grow cannabis?
New growers should not start with seeds because you either lack the space or the talent. Otherwise, cannabis has always been treated as a weed able to grow just about anywhere. But, given the out-of-pocket cost amateur growers need an education and some practice.