Growing cannabis isn’t an easy venture since it demands a great deal of time and effort. If you want to increase your yields, you have to be knowledgeable about cannabis growing.
If you tend to make mistakes while growing any strain, there’s no need to worry as it’s a common occurrence among beginners.
Even experts make mistakes every once in a while, but they learn from these mistakes. The good news is you don’t have to go through that trouble.
Below are eight things that experts often do to increase yields when growing cannabis and benefit more from their crops:
Plant in a Compatible Growing Medium
Cannabis growers have several options for their growing medium. You can either plant the seeds into a pot of soil or buy yourself a grow tent. You can even use clay pebbles for the medium as long as it can blend with the plant’s traits.
Here are a few things to take note of when picking a growing medium:
- pH Level: Ideally, the soil must have a pH level between 6.0 to 7.0. Cannabis plants might have difficulties absorbing nutrients with pH levels higher or lower than this.
- Water Retention and Drainage: The soil must have good retention so water can stay for a reasonable period, but it should also have good drainage since cannabis yields will dwindle when they’re wet for too long.
- Nutrient Makeup: Just like any other plant, cannabis requires nutrients to grow well. Fortunately, most soils from the store will contain different nutrients suited for growing plants so there’s no problem with this aspect.
- Texture: The roots of the cannabis plants, or any other plants for that matter, require oxygen, which is why soil with a light texture is excellent since there are gaps for oxygen to pass through.
Aside from the soil, other elements of the environment must also be suitable to maximize the yields of cannabis plants. This is why many experts recommend using the best tents for growing plants since they often provide the most suitable environment for cannabis plants. In other words, it’s perfect for beginners that have little knowledge of cannabis growing.
The next section is a more detailed look into the growing environment’s optimal conditions.
Don’t Forget Optimal Growing Conditions
Cannabis requires an excellent drainage system and a minimum of five to six hours of direct sun every day to grow well.
In addition, good air circulation can help prevent fungal diseases, so make sure to space your cannabis plants at least six feet from each other unless you want them to resemble a dense hedge by summer’s end. However, for dwarf varieties, closer than six feet is acceptable.
Furthermore, while experts tend to grow cannabis organically, which means that they don’t feed nutrients to their plants, it’s not the same for beginners. If you’re just starting to grow cannabis, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to maximize the yields of your cannabis plants without using nutrients.
The truth is that cannabis plants love their nutrients. Hence, do them a favor by enriching their beds with composted manure at least a month before planting. Make sure to work the compost into the soil after spreading a minimum of two inches of it over the planting area. Note that if you’re planting in pots, rely on fertilizer instead of compost.
However, remember to use cannabis nutrients moderately since overfeeding can also lead to adverse effects. This is the main reason why the pH level must be optimal so you can accurately measure the nutrients that your plants can absorb.
Opt for Female Plants
The plant kingdom has several species that produce either male flowers or female flowers on an individual plant. That means marijuana can either be a male or a female plant.
Male cannabis plants yield much smaller flowers, and most people get rid of them. On the other hand, female plants produce the buds that cannabis enthusiasts know and love. The plump flowers from the female plant are the ones brimming with active ingredients like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It’s not to say that male cannabis plants aren’t useful because they still contain essential compounds. It’s just that these compounds are significantly higher in the female plants. With that being said, you want to opt for the female ones, especially if your goal is to really indulge in the crop and benefit from it.
When buying from a seed bank, look for seeds labeled ‘feminized.’ Doing so ensures that they give rise to female marijuana. Note, however, that experts suggest buying clones if you’re a total newbie cannabis grower. A clone is a cutting from a mother female cannabis plant. You can buy them at some dispensaries and nurseries. Not only are clones easier to acquire, but they’re also simpler to grow.
Choose a Suitable Strain
Genetics can also play a vital role in growing plants, and cannabis plants are no exception. Depending on your cannabis plants’ strain, the yields and growing traits can vary, which is why choosing a suitable strain is an essential part of growing cannabis.
Experts say that there are around 700 cannabis strains in the world, but we’re only going to tackle two of these strains:
- Cannabis Sativa: Sativa is suitable if you live in a relatively warm environment. Moreover, Sativa plants are quite tall, so it’s not ideal for indoor growing.
- Cannabis Indica: Indica strains, on the other hand, are suitable for cold and dry environments and have a smaller stature, making them the perfect strain for indoor growing. You can think of Indica plants as the complete opposite of Sativa.
Still, the differences between cannabis Sativa and Indica can’t be brushed off easily. These differences are what makes or breaks your cannabis growing venture, so it’s crucial to have at least a little bit of understanding among these strains.
Soak The Seeds In Water Before Planting
Before planting your cannabis seeds, it’s best to soak them in water, even only for a few days, so they’ll germinate faster.
The good thing about marijuana seeds is that they don’t require any special treatment. However, as with other heat-loving plants, you’re better off starting them indoors in early spring.
Place them near a window where a significant amount of sunlight can reach them. Once the frost’s danger has passed, you can then transplant the seedlings outdoors, unless you’re really planning on growing your cannabis just indoors.
Water Your Cannabis Crops (But Not Too Often)
Cannabis plants are also thirsty ones. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to irrigate whenever the soil’s surface becomes dry.
If you want to cut back on soil moisture loss, especially when the crops are already knee-high, adding a layer of mulch would be a good move.
If you opt for organic soil for your cannabis plants, adding water is all you’ll really need, but don’t overdo it.
Watering cannabis plants too often is a common mistake that new growers commit.
Keep in mind that it’s too much to water every day. Follow the golden rule: pick up your plant, and if the pot is light and dry, water it; if it’s heavy, then it still has enough water.
Another way to know if your cannabis plant already needs some watering is to stick one of your fingers into the soil. Add water if it feels dry.
Of course, you might find yourself having to water the plants daily when they’re fully flowering.
To ensure that the water reaches all of the pot’s soil, keep watering until you see water already running off the soil.
Prune Your Cannabis Plants (Especially When Grown Outdoors)
Depending on the plant variety you have, outdoor cannabis crops can grow up to 12 feet or more. Make them easier to manage by pruning them.
Pruning also results in far more buds. Even professional growers do it to maximize yield.
Cutting the most vigorous shoots back from time to time is already a sufficient reason for casual growers to prune. Thus, every few weeks, clip off each major shoot’s outer 30 percent.
By stimulating numerous small side shoots’ growth, pruning allows for a bushier cannabis plant rather than a tall, spindly form. Each of these bushier plants will also produce more buds.
Just avoid interfering with flower production by not pruning by mid-summer.
Don’t Harvest Too Soon
Cannabis plants will be ready to harvest during October. During this time, buds will start to get really swollen and packed pretty tight, which are indications that they’re ready.
However, beginners might have a hard time telling if the buds are ready for harvest.
To avoid harvesting too early (something that many newbies tend to do), wait two weeks more, even if you think it’s already ready to go.
It would also help to join cannabis growing forums online where you can share a photo of your plants to solicit thoughts from more experienced growers.
When harvesting, cut the buds from the crops, and make sure that you leave six to eight inches of stem below each of them, then trim off all the leaves.
Your cannabis will be ready to use after hanging and drying the buds from their stem for about a week in a warm, shaded place.
There may be some techniques that you can only apply to cannabis plants, but aside from that, there’s not much difference between growing typical plants and cannabis.
You have to be meticulous, attentive, and patient. Who knows, you might have a green thumb specific to cannabis plants.