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Growing cannabis can be a fun and rewarding endeavor, but with the endless amount of information that exists on the internet it can also be a bit overwhelming or confusing to know where to start. Many new growers face common mistakes that can hinder their success. In this guide, we’ll explore the top 5 mistakes new cannabis growers are prone to make and provide practical tips on how to avoid them.

1. Over-Watering or Under-Watering

One of the most common mistakes new growers make is improper watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and nutrient deficiencies, while under-watering can stress the plants and stunt their growth.

Avoidance Tip: To avoid overwatering, allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again. When watering seedlings, use a pipette or turkey baster to avoid overwatering. For under-watering, monitor your plants closely for signs of wilting or dry soil and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Pick up your pots when they’re dry and after watering them to gauge how wet they are based off their weight. A good rule of thumb is to water your plants 5-10% of the volume of your pot, so a plant in a 10 Gallon container would get roughly 1/2-1 Gallon of water depending on the size of the plant.

2. Poor Nutrient Management

New growers often struggle with nutrient management, either by overfeeding or underfeeding their plants. This can result in nutrient burn or deficiencies, impacting plant health and yield.

Avoidance Tip: Start with a balanced nutrient regimen and feed plants 1/4-1/2 of the manufacturer’s guidelines for the first few feedings. Monitor your plants for signs of nutrient problems such as yellowing leaves or nutrient burn, and adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.

It is usually recommended to feed nutrient rich water once or twice a week with plain water in between the feedings.

3. Inadequate Light Levels

Light is essential for cannabis growth, and inadequate light levels can lead to leggy, weak plants with non-dense, airy flowers and  low yields. Many new growers underestimate the importance of proper lighting.

Avoidance Tip: Invest in a quality grow light that provides the right spectrum and intensity for your plants’ growth stage.

It is recommended to use a light that is a minimum of 200-300 Watts and roughly 30 Watts per square foot of growing space. Position the light at the correct distance from the plants to avoid light burn or insufficient light penetration. Use a timer to ensure consistent light cycles for optimal growth.

4. Ignoring Environmental Factors

Cannabis plants are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and airflow. Ignoring these factors can lead to stress, pests, and disease.

Avoidance Tip: Maintain a stable environment with temperature and humidity levels suitable for cannabis growth (ideally 70-85°F and 40-60% humidity). Use fans and ventilation systems to promote airflow and prevent mold and mildew.

Reference a Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) chart to see what temperature and humidity your plants would like based off the stage of growth they’re in. Regularly inspect your plants for pests and treat any infestations promptly.

5. Skipping pH Testing

pH levels play a crucial role in nutrient uptake and plant health. New growers often overlook pH testing, leading to nutrient lockout and nutrient deficiencies.

Avoidance Tip: Test the pH of your soil or nutrient solution regularly using a pH meter. Keep pH levels within the optimal range for cannabis, which is around 6.0-6.5 for soil and 5.5-6.5 for hydroponics. Use pH-adjusting products as needed to maintain proper pH levels.

If growing in large containers (15 gallons or larger) in an organic fashion pH testing is not as critical, as the microbes in the soil will help balance the pH of the soil.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following good growing practices, new cannabis growers can improve their success rates and achieve healthier, higher-yielding plants. Happy growing!

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