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4 Common Mistakes Rookie Growers Make and How to Avoid Them


You never know enough about growing weed. People have been growing cannabis for centuries. But, that’s probably part of the problem – too many experts!

You see, this history of advice most depends on anecdotes. That is, this will work for you because it worked for me.

Nonetheless, here are four common mistakes rookie growers make and how to avoid them.

Here’s a bigger problem.

Fortunately, the cannabis world is dynamic. New strains are bred and grown. Old strains fall out of favor. New fertilizers and technologies come along. And, regulations rear their head.

That also means there are new rules for growing indoors, outdoors, or hydroponic systems, each with their own needs.

Remembering that most of the history has been on a black market, you can’t be surprised no one discloses their secrets.

So, let’s try to consider it all.

#1 - Doing it on your own.



You don’t want to publicize what you’re growing in the garage. But, you need as much help as you can get from trusted sources. Short version: learn as much as you can.

There’s plenty of resources out there. And, that can overwhelm you. But, latch onto a few solid learning sources like: 

Cervantes, Jorge. The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation & Consumption of Medical Marijuana. (San Francisco, IBPA, 2015).

Sabatini, Jason. How to Grow Hydroponic Marijuana at Home: A Complete Guide to Growing Most Potent Cannabis Ever! (Amazon: CreateSpace, 2016).

Sanders, Jay. Growing Marijuana: Beginner's Guide for Big Buds. (Amazon: CreateSpace, 2016).

You’ll also find hundreds of helpful how-to videos on YouTube. You might check out those posted by Jorge Cervantes.

Learning also means starting small and purchasing what you need from reputable sources. It means studying strains and trying them out to decide what taste, aroma, and high suits you best. And, do not oversupply your garden with soils, tools, and fertilizers until you have some confidence in what you are doing.

Whether growing is legal in your area or not, you need to know the law. Conscientious and law-abiding farmers will not risk violating state authorization.

Tip: Learn to diary your activities on spreadsheet or in a log book. Dates will prove important.

#2 – Saving on supplies.



In time, you may master the process enough to cut some corners, but you’re not there.

It starts with soil not seeds. You waste your time saving on potting soil at the local discount store. There are recipes for so-called “super soils,” but they’re not for rookies.

Texture, drainage, and water retention are important, but any commercial soil will claim these qualities. Cannabis needs water and oxygen from the soil.  Too much water, and the roots don’t grow. Not enough, and the leaves dry out. So, you need soil that retains just enough water and not too much.

Preferred soils are dark, rich, and loose. It has no wood, stones, or debris. And, it does not turn to mud when watered. You can mix in vermiculite, perlite, worm castings, and compost to build a healthy soil. Or, you can purchase well-branded and recommended dirt from:

  • Fox Farm Ocean Forrest Potting Soil is economic and tried and true.
  • Roots Organics Formula 707 uses cocoa fiber as its base.
  • Stonington Blend Platinum Growers Mix may be rich enough to save you on added nutrients.

You also want to scale the number of pots, tools, lighting, ventilation, and more to the size of your plans. Assuming you start with just a few plants in the house, you want to supply as you go.

Tip: This is not just another house plant on the window sill. It needs regulated lighting and irrigation, so spend enough to get it right but spend on systems that can expand.

#3 – Buying seeds blind.



Quality product begins with quality seeds, and that excludes “bagseeds.” Sure, it’s cheaper to save the seeds from a marijuana bud, but they are unreliable and unpredictable.

Quality seeds from reputable sources are worth the extra money. You want the assurance that your seeds are healthy, belong to the strain you want, and have the gender you need for production.

Feminized marijuana seeds have some advantages. They are easier to grow, and they produce bulbs you can use to grow more. Male seeds produce plants that issue seeds rather than buds, and seeds are more difficult to cultivate especially outdoors.

Beginners want strength and resistance in their seedlings and plants, so you need to ask for the right strains.

  • Barney’s Farm sells only feminized seeds from Amsterdam.
  • BC Seeds has created scores of the world’s strongest strains out of British Columbia.
  • Gorilla Seeds out of the U.K. specializes in sativa dominant hybrids.

You soak seeds for 24-32 hours until a tap root appears. It’s time to plan the seed root down knuckle deep in the ready soil. Keep things moist, warm, and undisturbed.

Tip: Water with a lightly carbonated water because soil and plants like CO2.

#4 – Burning plants out.

Too many rookie farmers lose too many plants to nutrient burn. Anxious to grow and harvest, they use too much fertilizer or the wrong kind of fertilizer.

Healthy plants need phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium with every watering. Some people swear by Miracle-Gro, but as the cannabis industry grows, produces are designing marijuana specific fertilizers:

  • Flower Power sells four fertilizers, one for each stage of growth.
  • Fox Farm Trio comes in three bottles with explicit instructions.
  • Dyna-Gro offers two products for growth and bloom.

Soils have pH factors, too acidic or too alkaline. The pH number influences the solubility of nutrients and the growing plant’s metabolism. On a scale of 0 to 14, 7 is neutral. And, cannabis does better in soils that measure 5 to 8.

So, you need to maintain the balance by testing periodically and correcting the balance with potassium silicate or dolomite.

  • Earth Juice Natural pH Controller Up & Down are two separate crystalized applications to balance the pH one way or the other.
  • General Hydroponics GH1514 General Hydroponics Ph Control Kit is a set of liquids to amend hydroponic base.
  • Nectar for the Gods Hades Down & Olympus pH Up stimulates cell growth and microbial activity.

Tip: By quality fertilizer by brand and stick with their line of products because they complement each other.

Your finish?

Rookies with ambitions to compete in the marketplace have a steep learning curve and expensive venture ahead. But, rookies who see cannabis farming as a hobby or small venture for their own use or for medical treatments, it can be rewarding


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