Beginners have a long history of messing things up. There’s a learning curve to just about every activity, and growing marijuana is no different. People who have been growing weed for 20 years are naturally going to be a lot better at it than those who have just decided to start. But, most newbies might be dissuaded from trying it because they fear humiliation or failure. Just remember the wise words of Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Gretzky, however, had very little to say about growing marijuana, so we’ve compiled this list of common mistakes that novice growers should avoid.
1. Don’t talk to anyone about it. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: talking about growing marijuana is a no go. Anyone, even a good friend, could be a potential snitch. Keep it to yourself.
2. Window growing won’t cut it most of the time. Despite the fact that the best source of light for any plant is the sun, growing them indoors and using the window as your only light source is a bad way to go. Marijuana plants need as much light as you can give them. While it might be cheaper to just try to use the sun, it won’t be effective. Buy lights if you’re growing indoors.
3. Be prepared. Growing marijuana comes with a lot of vagaries that can leave you feeling overwhelmed. There are also plenty of things that you should just be prepared for. The plants need water, nutrients, light, and CO2 (not exactly in that order). But, plants can also be hit with a bug infestation, lack of nutrient quality, and inadequate amounts of CO2. Make sure you have a contingency plan ready in the event that the plants start to exhibit negative signs.
4. Use the right fertilizer. Many beginners might just grab any old fertilizer at the garden store. While the plants will grow, they won’t thrive like you want them to. Most fertilizers have an NPK ratio conveniently displayed on the bag or other packaging. This isn’t just another irrelevant mathematical term, though. It describes the concentration of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in relation to one another. For every growth period (excluding flowering), you’ll want to use a fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen than anything else. During flowering, the fertilizer should have more phosphorous.
5. Just because the soil is natural doesn’t mean it will work. Many new marijuana growers automatically think that any outdoor soil will provide ample nutrients for their plants. In reality, that soil could be nothing more than glorified dirt. It could also be too acidic or too alkaline and won’t even help germinate the seeds properly. When growing outdoors, always infuse the soil with some fertilizer or other potting mix. Also, make sure to test the pH balance to ensure that it’s as close to the middle (7.0) as possible.
6. Be active. As you might have already guessed, growing marijuana is not a passive expenditure of your time. These plants need to be cared for almost like they are your children (however ridiculous that might sound). They have remarkably short lifespans from germination to harvest, but you can’t just plant them and hope for the best. Trim them, prune them, feed them, water them, pamper them, and make sure they’re getting enough light, CO2, and ventilation.
7. Don’t let the plants get rootbound. One thing that many beginners might not know is that marijuana roots grow incredibly fast. When they are in a container, the roots generally line the walls of that container and reach to the bottom. If the container is too small, they can get rootbound. They will also die. Make sure you (carefully) transplant the plants from smaller containers into larger ones after they’ve exhibited some accelerated growth (from seedling to vegetative state).
8. Don’t get crazy with pruning. You may have heard that pruning a plant increases growth. You may have also heard that more pruning correlated to further growth. While that can be true, there’s no need to prune down an entire marijuana plant. You’ll just end up weakening it and potentially killing it if you go too far.
9. Don’t panic. Most of the problems that occur with plants are the result of easily reversible mistakes. For instance, if some of the leaves start to turn yellow and the plant starts to wilt, it could just be lacking in one particular nutrient. Some leaves on the plant will also just die either because of a lack of light or because of natural processes. In general, it’s not indicative of a greater problem throughout the plant.
10. Read, read and read. The more knowledge you have, the less mistakes you will make. And most of the mistakes are made by somebody else before, so learn from them. Our free marijuana grow bible is a good way to start, with over 50 pages illustrated with 100 pictures.
Want to know more about growing marijuana? Check out the FREE book Marijuana Plant Care for more information!