Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Cannabis Indoors
There is a real good chance you may start to grow your cannabis. If stay-at-home orders continue much longer, you may see the supply chain to legal dispensaries slow down or even stumble.
With the economy bottoming out, millions are unemployed and unable to afford the dispensary or black-market prices. If you learn to grow at home, you can produce a steady crop at your convenience and a price that makes sense. But if growing is new to you, there are mistakes you will want to avoid when growing cannabis indoors.
Cannabis is a weed!
Weeds are really in the eye of the beholder. The cannabis plant does flower; it has an aroma, and it is classified as a flowering plant by botanists. True, the flowers and smells are not always attractive. But cannabis has survived under the harshest environmental conditions for thousands of years. There is no reason you cannot cultivate your weed.
However, it helps to learn as much as you can about the cannabis class and the individual plant lines if you are to grow yours. Most strains are designated Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis, Landrace, or Hybrids.
Ruderalis is a survivor in the toughest soil and climate conditions, but it is so low THC and/or CBD that it is not used for consumption. However, it is used for fiber and other utilitarian by-products.
Landrace strains are heirs to original plants that evolved centuries ago.
Hybrids are bred by growers to increase psychoactive potency, medical benefits, and/or scents and tastes.
You will want to research the strains most suitable for growing indoors so you can hit the ground running.
10 mistakes to avoid
In states where cannabis remains illegal, that ban applies to growing your own. If you live where marijuana is legal for grow, sale, carry, and use (or if you don’t care about the law), you can save money, ensure the quality of your product, and have a continuing supply. But there are common problems you should avoid:
It takes research. You do not want to commit to indoor farming until you have learned as much as you can. There is plenty of good advice online and in the literature, so you should go about this as smartly as possible.
It requires commitment. Cannabis needs attention. It requires water, light, air, nutrients, and more to thrive. And, it needs protection from pests, mildew, and mishandling. You must commit more time and care than you expected.
It needs a Plan B. Cannabis likes routine, so you need a recovery plan in case elements fail you. If the electricity fails, the irrigation system breaks down, or the nutrients burn, you should know how to correct the systems that fail.
It’s not a window plant. Cannabis is not a typical house plant. You don’t put a pot in the kitchen window and hope for the best. It should be raised under controlled circumstances including constant light and circulating air. Besides, if it is illegal, you don’t want the public to know.
It likes good dirt. When growing cannabis, you do not use garden dirt or commercial potting soil. You should start with dirt fortified for cannabis growth with nutrients that will not harm the seedling and a pH factor around 7. You might try Coast of Maine Stonington Blend, Foxfarm Happy Frog® Potting Soil, or Big Rootz All-Purpose Potting Soil. You are not likely to find these products in your local Walmart, but they are available online.
It needs room. You should prepare a grow room. Cannabis can grow tall and wide, so it needs space. The smell will permeate the room and leach outside if you are not careful. And, it requires the installation of light, air, and irrigation systems and control. Users have used ingenuity to raise cannabis almost anywhere, but if you want to optimize your quality and quantity, the cannabis needs its own space.
It starts with seeds. If you opt for growing from seeds, you should confer with your seed supplier on the genetics and growing needs of specific strains. The suppliers are cooperative and will help you prepare for any seed-specific strengths or weaknesses. However, you might prefer to start with clones which let you skip the first seedling steps.
It wants light. Cannabis plants require temperature-controlled lighting throughout the growth cycle. That means an investment in special lighting systems and programmed controls. Hang those lights too low, and you will burn the plants; hand them too high, and you will stunt the growth.
It wants air. A grow room needs constant air circulation. It needs a source of fresh air and must vent the used air. These systems are necessary but not terribly expensive. The same goes for watering. Too much water will wash away nutrients and invite mildew, and too little will starve these thirsty plants.
It expects harvesting. Different strains have different growth cycles and produce different results. They must be harvested at certain times. If you harvest too early, you will ruin everything you have put into the crop. You should use a magnifying glass to inspect each plant as they near the expected flowering date. Under magnification, the plant will show yellowed fan leaves as the plant moves its energy from the leaves into the flower.
Do not do it alone!
Advice warns against bragging or talking too much about your hidden hobby. That may be good advice where growing remains illegal. However, there is a community of cannabis growers out there willing to help. For example, if you shop online for seeds, soils, nutrients, or more, you can call the provider’s Customer Service for guidance on the best route to take or products to use. You are not in it alone when it comes to growing cannabis indoors.