- By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.com
In any field of work or play, beginners tend to have a rough time of it. Before you have successfully traversed the learning curve, you will probably struggle a bit with just about anything. Growing marijuana has an especially steep learning curve, so newbies definitely will make some mistakes over and over again before they truly learn. The key is not to feel discouraged – that will hinder your learning.
In short, don’t be surprised when you realize that someone else (who has likely been growing marijuana for years and years) is having an easier time while you are struggling during your first year or two of growth. Don’t let this stop you from trying! People who never try something will never succeed at it, after all.
Luckily, you can use the past mistakes of other beginners to your advantage. There are many mistakes made by just about everyone when they first start out, so we have compiled a list that describes them, as well as how to avoid them. Do your homework and you may just get over the learning curve faster than you expected. Start by downloading my free grow bible.
Blabbing and bragging about growing marijuana
The number one error of new marijuana growers is bragging to their friends about how they are going to try growing marijuana this season. Or some people don’t brag about it, but rather confide in close friends. In either case, you are putting yourself at risk [obviously this doesn’t apply to those growing legal amounts in places like Oregon and Colorado]. If your good friend confides in someone else, and the chain continues that way, a snitch could easily be somewhere down the line, and your crop will be destroyed — not to mention the fact that you could be in some serious trouble. Whatever you do, don’t blab.
Failing to prepare
For many, growing marijuana sounds like an exciting new hobby to try. While this isn’t exactly false, the fact is that it is also a lot of work — and not just during the growing season. Expert marijuana growers are spending loads of time preparing beforehand. Even if they use an outdoor grow area, they still are planning for the summer in terms of how much water and nutrients to feed their plants, what seeds to buy, and how to prevent pest infestations.
Many new growers, on the other hand, jump into growing marijuana without ever doing enough of their homework beforehand. You should be well aware of what exactly your marijuana plants are going to need in terms of light, water, nutrients, CO2, and ways to prevent pests. You should know which obstacles might come your way, and how to cope with them if they do, or, at least, have the proper materials and resources available to you for reference. Something unexpected always comes about during a beginner’s first growing season. The best way to cope with it is to have already prepared beforehand.
Poor genetics marijuana seeds
Many new growers are not willing to commit lots of money to buy extremely high-quality products for their plants. They would rather test the waters first and see how it goes before they decide to grow every year for the next decade while paying a pretty penny for it. Beginner growers either pay too little for their starting seeds and, therefore, get poor quality ones to begin with. Or they try to grow marijuana with a seed they found in the weed they bought. In either case, the results will surely be disappointing.
The key is to buy from a reputable source and to make sure that you are paying for high-quality seeds to accompany the other equipment you have bought for growing marijuana. If you start with poor genes, you are actually wasting your money. So start out with good seeds and strong genetics, and you will find yourself enjoying better results altogether.
Soils and fertilizers
If you haven’t grown marijuana before, you probably don’t know too much about which fertilizer you should use to grow healthy plants. For many beginning growers, this means that they simply buy whatever they stumble upon at the store. They won’t bother doing detailed research about how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium marijuana plants need at each stage of their lives. So, their store-bought fertilizer might not get them where they want to go.
The NPK value is displayed on fertilizer bags, so you should go into a store already knowing how much of each nutrient your plant will need during its current stage of growth. Unless your plants are in their flowering phase, they will need more nitrogen than other nutrients. Plants in their flowering phase are going to need more phosphorus.
The soil is also something commonly messed up by new growers. Many assume that the soil in the outdoor grow area that they have chosen is nutritious enough because it’s natural. The fact is, however, even natural soil could be far too acidic or alkaline, or does not have ample nutrients for your plants. Be sure to test it extensively for pH. See if it is sand or clay soil, and then make changes accordingly.
Testing and maintaining pH
Many beginner growers underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced pH level. In reality, pH is one of the most important and potentially detrimental aspects of a healthy growing environment. If the pH is not good, your plants will end up sickly and unproductive. Plants growing in soil with a bad pH could even die.
The pH determines how much of certain nutrients your marijuana plants’ roots are able to absorb. If the pH is at the right level, then your plants should be able to absorb and retain any nutrients they need at any time. Therefore, it is critical to test the pH level often. Buy a pH testing kit before you even begin growing. If you are growing in soil, the healthy pH range is between 6.0 and 7.0. If you’re growing in a hydroponic system, the healthy range is from 5.5 to 6.5.
Too many nutrients
It is extremely common for new growers to give their plants far too many nutrients than what is necessary. They have the mindset that you can never have too much. That, unfortunately, is not true.
Part of the issue is that store-bought plant nutrients include a feeding schedule. New, naive growers try to follow that schedule, but it almost always instructs you to feed your plants far too high doses of nutrients. This can cause a nutrient burn, which will have a negative effect on your plants. Like with pruning, just try a little at a time.
Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips
A good rule of thumb is to feed your plants via the provided schedule, but divide it by four. In other words, just do a fourth of the recommended dosages. If you have been maintaining the pH level, and your plants start showing that they are nutrient deficient, then you can increase the dosages by small increments. Half strength should be more than enough.
If you are growing your marijuana plants in containers or pots of some sort, you have to be very careful not to let your plants get rootbound. Rootbound means that the roots have grown all the way around the edges and bottom of the container because it is too small. Because the roots generally grow much faster than the rest of the plant in your marijuana’s young stages of life, it’s easy to forget about the risk of being rootbound. Rootbound plants can quickly die, so it’s important to move them to a larger container as soon as possible — but do so carefully.
Overwatering marijuana plants
The other aspect to avoid is overwatering your plants, which can actually happen if your plants are growing in containers that are too large for them. Beginner growers tend to water a container until all the soil is damp, which usually ends up being too much water for their little roots to absorb. The water will sit in the pot, depriving your plants’ roots of valuable oxygen, and this can lead to the symptoms of overwatering.
Overwatering can also occur when a new grower is watering their plants too often. You will notice the symptoms of overwatering when the plants droop, but luckily it’s fairly easy to fix, and it usually doesn’t kill off the plants… although it certainly is capable of doing that, when left unchecked.
The key is always to press your finger into the top inch of your soil to make sure that it is dry. If it isn’t, don’t water yet. If it is dry, however, it is the perfect time to quench your plants’ thirst. Don’t neglect to test it this way every time, or you could end up with the serious symptoms of overwatering.
Some overzealous beginners get a little bit creative with pruning. When it comes to pruning, remember that less is more. Pruning can increase growth, but if you do too much of it, then it almost certainly will hinder the growth instead. Just try one or two methods conservatively, and observe its effect on your plants. This will help you learn what to do next time without completely destroying your crop.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.