Last fall, I started my first home grow — partially to distract me from the realities of life and partially because I’m a cheap ass and cannabis is expensive. As I write this, I’m preparing to start another grow to distract myself again.
This time, I have the benefit of wisdom gained from the mistakes I made on my first grow, and am excited to produce more potent, higher quality cannabis from these plants.
There’s no need for you to repeat my same blunders. So let’s take a look at the rookie mistakes I made, so you can have a more successful first home grow.
Mistake #1. Using Tap-Water
I almost killed my first plant because my water sucked. The water out of your tap most likely has too much chlorine in it to help a plant grow. The water from your tap is designed so that things CANNOT grow in it. Here’s a more in depth article about PH. I started buying gallon jugs of store-brand water to hydrate my plants. The PH seems to be consistent, the plants seem to like it and it’s simple. I love simple.
Mistake #2. Not Regulating Temperature
The temperature in your tent will vary somewhat, and that’s ok. You can find the temperature ranges for each stage here. The temperature outdoors obviously varies as well; however, too much variation and the plant will go into shock. Same with the temperature of both the soil you add and the water. Your plants, water, and soil all need to be pretty close to the same temperature. Store your supplies in your tent, and do yourself a favor: Buy a garden thermometer.
Mistake #3. Over-Trimming Leaves
I got so excited about my big fan leaves that I forgot the goal was to grow actual flower. Those big leaves are beautiful, but they also block a lot of light. If the plant is putting lots of energy into those big leaves, what energy is left to grow those flowers? I know it feels wrong, but trim a bunch of those off. Details on how to trim can be found here. Let those bright lights shine on those flowers, and watch them beef up.
Mistake #4. Not Enough Darkness Before Harvest
Before you hack down your babies, it is very important to leave your plants in the dark for 24-48 hours. I was so excited to harvest my first plant, I only left it in the dark for about 12 hours — and the high really suffered. Initially it’s decent but then quickly falls off. With the second plant from my first grow, I left it in the dark for about 36 hours, and the high lasted much longer. The buds are also much stickier and have a stronger kick in the face, when I open the jar. There are lots of opinions on this theory.
Mistake #5. Helicopter Parenting Your Plants
Incessant fussing over the plants is a bad move. When the baby was napping did you wake it? HELL NO! When the light is off, the plants are sleeping; leave them alone. Do all your watering, trimming and singing when the light is on. This is when they are awake and ready to accept your love. I try to do most of my caretaking as soon as my timed lights turn on…when the plants are waking up.
There are as many ways to grow great cannabis as there are to raise great children, but basics tenants still apply. Hopefully, you can avoid making the same mistakes on your first home grow as I did. Interestingly, most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your cannabis happens after the harvest.
It’s called curing. What the hell is curing?! Well, if I can control the seizure disorder that ravages my brain and inspires my medical marijuana advocacy, maybe I’ll let you know on Monday.