It’s all worth it the moment you first harvest. As much as the path getting there can take twists and turns, causing you to make judgments and adjustments, it was all for this –the moment when you can gleefully medicate onward.
After all, this is a transitionary phase in your relationship with your plants, wherein all the support you gave your living, blooming bud production team becomes accessible to you in full, if only in a posthumous plume of skunky smoke.
Problems common with grow-your-owns vary, yet there are three aspects of running a successful canna-nursery that are universal to all sizes, shapes, and complexities of grow operations: lighting, nutrients, and environment. These are the crux of horticulture, exposing the thresholds that increase or decrease overall plant livelihood. This guide will present some common solutions for when these necessary growth factors are impeded by, well, misunderstanding on the part of humans as well as other factors endogenous of agriculture science.
Common Problems with Lighting
One of the miracles that populated the earth’s atmosphere with oxygen was the ability of ancient plants to use Co2 from sea life to produce energy to grow. An atmosphere rich with oxygen being the creation of this chemical calamity, the role of sunlight in simultaneously stimulating energy production in plants while they produced energy from Co2 and photosynthesis, provides an evolutionary reasoning behind the atmospheric oxygen we love and why plants need sunlight.
In the modern day and age, sunlight can be fabricated with a quantifiable precision. This can become a problem for indoor grow-your-owns (commonly outdoor grows don’t need to fake sunlight). With this in mind, the lighting set-up you choose can incite a multitude of problems if they are miscalibrated, used to frequently or not enough, are positioned too far for the plants to absorb or — alternatively — are too close.
If that wasn’t enough, light spectrum and light intensity are two words within the marijuana grower lexicon worth considering, creating more variability with every type of grow lighting on the market. In order to provide common solutions to common problems, I’ve compiled three suggestions:
Adjust the lights as the plant matures
Your plants require different amounts of light at varying intensities, in separate spectrums, and at contrasting heights dependent upon the stage in the plant life cycle. Growing indoors requires you to imitate the light cycles that we define as day and night, requiring you to commit to adjusting the lighting every now and again during the your grow. If less responsibility is your game, there are a few options
- Invest in high-quality lights that provide full spectrum and can be easily adjusted and programed
- Build a greenhouse (make sure the door locks, y’all)
The distance of lights can affect plant structure
Plants need sunlight (or an artificial approximate) to activate biological processes that allow energy to be created and used to further stimulate plant growth. If your lights are too far from your cannabis children, an appropriate light intensity is unlikely to be available. This causes energy to be used to grow up towards the light rather than on sturdy branches, which can wreak havoc when bud production time comes around.
Light Spectrum is the kief to success
Kief is the cannabinoid-rich crystalline resin-pore thingy that I just love to top bowls with. It just hangs out on the surface of marijuana flowers and leaves, only to be caught in a tray at the bottom of your grinder or sifted out for hash production. These magnanimous trichomes are the place where cannabinoid production is primarily accomplished by plant metabolic processes. In order to stimulate the production of cannabinoid and terpene resins to their maximum, providing the right light spectrum is paramount.
Light spectrum provides different nutrients to the plant, which can power and enhance existing processes. In general, chlorophyll interacts with two different light wavelengths in a positive growth way: blue light waves and red light waves.
What this means is that these lightwaves can chemically interact with chlorophyll, which can produce energy through photosynthesis. Among the common problems with grow your owns, indoor cultivators are required to take light spectrum into account if they want quality yields.
Common Problems with Nutrients
Are you using soil or a soilless medium? Are you growing outdoors or inside? If you are using a hydroponic system, does it have a reservoir? How often do you check the levels? Is water constantly in circulation or do you manually add it? Do you want to have things on programed timers or will you be able to give the growing plants your time and attention?
In surveying problems common in grow your owns, the above questions represent just a few ways that nutrient problems can occur. The marco idea being this: grow methods are so varied and levied by individual preference that it can be difficult to distinguish the exact genesis of nutrient related issues, specifically if you are new to growing.
Check the pH — the first line in prevention and resolution
Luckily for us, many of the problems that are related to nutrients can often be remedied by using less or more of something. By first identifying the symptoms, you can calculate an approach specific to individual plants. If that sounds too intensive, often ensuring the pH is between 5.5-6.5 for hydroponics or between 6-7 in soil can remedy nutrient malabsorption, is easy, and maintains a low cost.
Check the nutrient mix
Some soils, nutrient mixes, and fertilizers carry more nutrients than cannabis plants can use. It’s kinda like how if we eat too much protein, it just gets converted to sugar, which can ultimately cause weight gain (not the good gains from exercise, neither), cannabis plants can only use so much of a nutrient before it can actually hinder healthy function. For more information on nutrient burn, check this out.
Solutions for the Growing Habitat
Lighting and nutrients are necessary environmental requirements for healthy plant growth, yet environmental problems common in grow your owns extend beyond the actual growing of the plant. As the final focus of common grow problems, it is important to consider the social environment — the legal environment being part of that.
Growers are still often limited by the smell and public view of growing their stoney crop. Many of the states that have allowed either (or both) medical and recreational marijuana sales have limited where dispensaries may be zoned, with particular considerations for neighborhoods and school zones.
These considerations extend to individual and at-home cultivators. While marijuana cultivation in many of the states with a legal marijuana industry is allowed, it can still draw the attention of neighbors, children, and curious thieves. In Colorado, for instance, the legislation that allows marijuana use for adults, including home cultivation, specifies that the grow must be out of sight, not public.
Use a Carbon Scrubber
If you are growing a few plants in your apartment closet and are worried about the neighbor below you with three small children smelling your living cannabinoid factory, a carbon scrubber is a cheap and easy solution to the lively aroma produced by growing herbs. As air circulation is a necessary part of a healthy plant’s life, a carbon scrubber comes as an extension of the ventilation that is already necessary for indoor grow your owns.
Common problems with the scent of cannabis exist because the terpenes are being slowly broken down by oxygen in the atmosphere, releasing the musky-earth diesel-citrus smells weed is known for into the air. By introducing carbon to the oxygen-rich environment on it’s way out of the grow area, the terpenes are atmospherically caught, leaving only oxygen and thereby eliminating the smell.
Common problems have common solutions. As we have seen, many of the adjustments that are necessary in grow your owns are easy to accomplish, but they require you to know some things. My hope is that this guide helped build some of that knowledge because the practical application of grow tips is one thing, the understanding of why you are doing it elevates the experience even further. In other words, grow with your weed.