As new legislation continues to roll out across the US, weed enthusiasts in Australia would be wise to sit up and take notice. Increasing pressure on lawmakers and a higher public profile suggest that it is a question of when, not if, legalized possession and cultivation of recreational weed starts to spread across Australian states in the same way.
Legalization in the US has prompted thousands of cannabis users to try growing their own. But when most have never cultivated so much as a tomato plant before, enthusiasm can often outweigh success. Here, we look at some of the more common rookie errors and how to avoid them.
Getting off on the wrong foot
We often hear talk of the effects of nature versus nurture in the development of human and animal life. But is also applies to plants. The former is dictated entirely by the seeds you plant. There are hundreds of different types of cannabis seeds, but before you even think about strains, get to grips with basics like autoflowering, feminized or regular cannabis seeds. It’s also essential to buy them from a trusted source, so choose an established seed bank with a strong reputation.
Here’s another parallel between nurturing cannabis plants and raising healthy children or pets. Overfeeding them doesn’t do them any favours. The problem is that when you buy nutrients, the sellers often recommend a feeding schedule that is much too high. Overfeeding cannabis plants leads to nutrient burn, damaging the plant and affecting your ultimate yield. Always follow impartial feeding advice from growing experts, for example reading seed shop blog posts, not from nutrient providers with a vested interest in persuading you to use as much of their wares as possible.
It’s the same story with watering. Too much can be catastrophic for your cannabis crop, starving the roots of oxygen and even causing the plants to rot prematurely. In the worst case, it can kill the plant or lead to mouldy buds that would be harmful to smoke. Be particularly gentle with seedlings, as it is easy to overwater them. The soil should feel moist to around knuckle depth but no deeper, so don’t be shy about sticking your finger in there!
This is one of the most common reasons for growers ending up with a sad and scrawny specimen instead of a full and bushy plant. A household reading lamp just isn’t going to cut it, you need to invest in proper grow lights and then devote half an hour of your time to reading up on how to use them. Bud production is directly proportional to light intensity at the flowering stage, so the importance of this point cannot be overstated.
Finally, a rookie error of a less technical type. Even in places where cultivation is legal, placing your plants on a front window sill or beside the low fence that separates you from the young family next door is never going to be a bright idea. Being a good neighbour brings its own rewards, and it’s also worth remembering that cannabis plants can be tempting to any undesirables who might pass by. So use some common sense and exercise discretion.