Top 5 Ways to Streamline Your Grow Operation

Twitter icon

Whether you are an experienced home grower, a longtime outdoor farmer, or just starting with a small plant in your closet, cannabis farming is a nuanced operation. If done wrong, you’ll be left with a crop that is dry...but not high. Here are some tips to save you time, money, and a headache when dealing with a cannabis grow of any size.

Start With Choosing the Best Soil for Cannabis

If you have never spent much time thinking about dirt or soil, you might not realize that dirt can be high or low quality. Most people think that dirt is, well, just dirt, but if you want to grow happy, healthy cannabis plants, you need to start with a good foundation. In this case, the foundation is the soil, and not just any soil will do. Cannabis requires a soil that is rich in nutrients and able to hold a certain amount of moisture without becoming waterlogged.

If you choose to grow in soil, there are plenty of great premixed bagged options to be found online or even at your local garden center. Ideally, you will choose a mix designed for container planting, one that is rich in vital nutrients and carefully blended to create the perfect environment for your growing cannabis seedlings.

Some growers may also choose the hydroponic approach, in which case you would choose to plant your cannabis seedlings in a hydroponic appropriate growing medium with the best hydroponics supplies.

If you are a beginner, your best bet is to select a soil mix that is intended for use with cannabis plants. This can help you avoid the headache of discovering half-way through a grow that your soil is lacking important fungi or nutrients. Choosing a cannabis-specific soil can also help to ensure your cannabis grows at the proper rate. Soil with too few nutrients will stunt the growth of your cannabis plants. On the other hand, accelerated planting systems may cause your plants to become leggy and weak.

If Growing Indoors, Make Sure You Have the Right Cannabis Lighting Equipment For Your Space

While some of us can enjoy the incredible experience of growing cannabis outdoors, many people reside in apartments, condos, and townhouses with limited to no access for outdoor planting. Luckily, home-growers have been refining the art of growing inside for decades. Cannabis has been grown everywhere from tiny closet spaces to full patios.

Growing indoors has some distinct advantages, including being able to protect your plants from extreme weather, pests, and nosy neighbors. That said, one of the downfalls of growing indoors is the lack of sunlight, since all plants thrive on the sun’s warm rays. Even the sunniest corner of your home won’t provide the light your cannabis seedlings crave. This is why it is vital to invest in proper lighting equipment for your indoor cannabis grow.

Lighting can be added to a closet grow, above plants kept on a table or windowsill, or incorporated into a homemade grow tent. The easiest way to create the perfect indoor environment to grow your own cannabis is by investing in a quality indoor grow-box.

For example, The Armoire is a super-discrete grow-box designed to look like a high-end cabinet. The unit completely encloses your grow, keeping your plants safely out of sight unless you open the doors to take a peek. Inside, The Armoire features a full lighting set-up to help your cannabis grow big and strong as quickly as possible. This high-tech answer to closet-growing features tons of other amazing tech like a built-in filtration system, humidity tracking, and automated temperature regulating fans.

Watch Out For Pests!

Whether you grow indoors or out, it is always necessary to keep an eye out for pests to ensure your plants have the best chance of survival. Like other plants and herbs, there are many bugs, fungi, and molds that can affect the health of your cannabis plants. It is important to be vigilant and ready to nip the problem in the bud (so to speak) the moment you detect a pest problem.

Some common pests to be aware of when examining your cannabis crop include:

  • Aphids
  • Caterpillars
  • Fungus gnats
  • Grasshoppers
  • Inch worms
  • Slugs and snails
  • Spider mites

Pest Best Practices

Though it is impossible to keep pests away entirely, there are a few simple things you can do to set up for success. First and foremost, it is important to always use sterilized soil and fertilizer, since unsterilized soil could contain harmful fungi, mold, or pests/eggs. Soil can be purchased pre-sterilized, or you can do it yourself by adding it to an oven-safe tray and baking it for 30-40 minutes at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your plants have begun to grow, neem oil, animal urine, garlic, and other natural repellents can be used to keep your cannabis plants safe from pests.

Have in Stock Proper Cannabis Nutrients

Even if you select a high-quality soil when you start your cannabis grow, your plants may still need additional nutrients. Cannabis nutrients can be purchased pre-mixed, like other fertilizer and nutrient options for vegetable and flower gardens.

Nutrient Ratios in Stages

One thing to be aware of: cannabis plants require slightly different nutrients and nutrient ratios depending on what stage they have reached in their growing cycle. When purchasing nutrients, be sure to search for products that are appropriate for your cannabis plant’s current stage. Plant nutrients are described by an ‘NPK ratio’, which describes the three major nutrients included in fertilizer mixes. N stands for Nitrogen, P stands for Phosphorus, and K stands for Potassium.

Germination

Germination is the first stage of growth for any plant, including cannabis. Seeds planted in soil and activated with water and light slowly split open, revealing a sprout that pushes its way to the surface. This stage also includes the sprouting of the first two leaves, and can take anywhere from 5-10 days. Cannabis plants do not need additional fertilizers or nutrients at this stage.

Seedling

Once your cannabis plant has sprouted three or four true leaves, you can begin giving it a diluted solution of fertilizer. Ideally, you should begin using a “grow” fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20:5:10.

Vegetative

The vegetative stage begins once your cannabis plants have fully formed leaves, and begin to grow at a more rapid rate. The vegetative stage can be as long as four months, during which time it is important to provide the plants with adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizer. Nutrients with an NPK ratio of 20:5:10 are appropriate for this stage, and may be applied to the plant once or twice weekly.

Flowering

The final stage of cannabis plant growth is the ‘flowering’ stage. This is when the actual buds begin to appear, and when you will officially be able to learn the sex of your plant. When cannabis plants begin to flower, they need a slight nutrient ratio change and should begin receiving a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5:30:20.

Make Sure You Have the Proper Trimming and Bucking Equipment

Finally, once your cannabis has reached full maturity, it will be time for you to trim the buds off your plants and harvest the results of your labor. Though often assumed to be the ‘easy’ part of growing cannabis, de-budding or trimming can be quite the time-consuming process. Also known as cannabis bucking, the trimming must be done with care so as not to damage the crop. Inexperienced growers often find this step deceptively difficult, sometimes resulting in lost crops or poorly trimmed buds, as well as time wasted.

Cannabis bucking tools like the Debudder Bucket Lid not only speed up the process of trimming mature cannabis and hemp plants, but can also help novice growers to gain greater and higher-quality yields from their first crops. The Debudder Bucket Lid catches buds off the stem, quickly and safely removing them from the plant in preparation for further processing. The lid can handle stems and buds of virtually any size and shape, making quick work of debudding even the season’s most fruitful plants. This tool also works great with hemp bucking and de-stemming, making it a versatile option for any grow operation.

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Article category: