7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I First Started Growing Weed
When I first started growing weed, I was completely overwhelmed by all the elaborate tutorials about growing…
Everything seemed so complicated.
Maybe you know what that’s like.
But after I started growing for real, I realized how easy things can be when you just know what to do.
As time has gone on, I’ve realized that I worried about a lot of things that weren’t very important in the beginning and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the fundamentals.
Back then, I didn’t even know what the fundamentals were!
If you want to learn from my mistakes, you’ll love today’s article, because it breaks down the 7 most important things I wish I’d known about growing weed when I first started!
1.) Growing weed doesn’t have to be hard
I think a lot of people want to feel like they accomplished a major feat because they were able to grow weed.
But truthfully, if you just need medicine for personal use, growing can be incredibly easy. Even if all you’re doing is a simple hand-watered grow, you can easily end up with several ounces of buds off your first plant, even if you make lots of mistakes!
Each grow after that, you’ll learn more and more about what works for you. For many people, just growing 1-2 plants at a time is all they’ll ever need to keep a regular medicine supply.
If you can dedicate a weekend to setting up, ten minutes a day to care, and then a few hours at the end of each grow to dry and cure your buds, that’s all you really need to faithfully grow an abundance of super potent buds each year!
2.) More nutrients does not equal more buds
It’s tempting to try to give your plants as much “good stuff” as you possibly can.
When I first started growing I remember the thoughts frantically rushing through my head when choosing nutrients, “Which nutrients are the best?! What supplements do I need to use so I get great yields?”
But I’ve realized that as long as you give your cannabis the basic nutrients needed to grow, you really don’t need to know a lot about nutrients. In fact, if you ensure your plants are growing in a perfect environment, you can get incredible results using just basic nutrients, without any special supplements whatsoever!
So for a lot of first-time growers, the most important lesson about nutrients might be that LESS IS MORE.
Going Overboard With Nutrients & Supplements Will Burn Leaf Tips, Not Make Buds Grow Faster!
3.) Light is probably the most important part of the growing equation
Honestly, if you really want to get the biggest yields indoors, the best thing you can do is get the best possible light setup for your grow space.
Questions about grow lights? You’re in luck because we have a grow light guide that breaks down the differences between each different type of grow light for growing cannabis!
4.) The strain makes a HUGE difference of your results
It’s often worth it to choose a particular strain that best fit your needs. Being able to choose your strain gives you a lot of power over the final effects! That being said, some great buds have been grown from mystery seeds.
If you buy a seed of “Northern Light” strain by a particular breeder, it should grow very similarly to other “Northern Light” seeds from the same breeder. This is most true with trustworthy breeders.
However, a Northern Light seed will grow WILDLY different from a Chocolope seed, or even a Northern Light seed from a different breeder.
For example, while a Northern Light plant (by Nirvana) will stay short and may be ready to harvest in just a few months, a Chocolope plant (by DNA Genetics) tends to grow tall and may take several weeks longer to mature before being ready for harvest, even if the two plants are grown in the exact same conditions!
When you’re starting out, if you have a lot of room to grow and if it’s not what you’re banking your whole grow on, bagseed or other mystery seeds can be a fun experiment.
But if you’re serious about growing your own supply, you might not want to wait for months (and pay for electricity all that time!) with the possibility of harvesting subpar quality bud and/or tiny yields at the end.
Because of the unpredictability of mystery seeds, I highly recommend investing in a proven strain by a trustworthy breeder if you want to get superior results, because plants with good genetics are more resistant to problems, often get better yields, and produce more potent buds! Plus you can make sure every single plant produces buds by getting feminized seeds (as opposed to regular seeds where half the plants are male and don’t produce buds), and you can also choose the actual mental/physical effects you want instead of rolling the dice and hoping for the best!
This Blue Thai plant was able to produce big yields even though it was ready to harvest just 60 days after it started making buds. This quick flowering time combined with huge yields is only possible because of its fabulous genetics!
5.) For truly killer buds, wait until the right time to harvest your weed, and take the time to properly dry and cure them
After months of waiting, it’s easy to jump the gun and harvest your plants too early. It’s also easy to get caught up with life and neglect your newly harvested buds during the curing process.
I’ve created a complete guide to harvesting, drying and curing your weed but here’s the long and short of it:
Wait until the buds on your plants stop growing new white “hairs” (pistils). At this point you probably still have a few weeks left. When 90% of the pistils have darkened and started curling in, your buds should be fat and ready for harvest. You can get even more accurate results by looking at the glittery “trichomes” on the buds under a magnifier, as these turn cloudy white when the buds have reached their highest potency!
This bud is ready to harvest. All the white hairs have darkened and curled in and if you click the picture and zoom in close, you can see that nearly all the sparkly trichomes are milky white, indicating that this bud has reached the highest levels of THC!
6.) Proper airflow prevents a host of problems
- can help plants grow faster
- strengthens stems
- helps prevent mold and bud rot
- defends against certain bugs like fungus gnats and spider mites
- like most things, just don’t go overboard!
One of the more common grow room ailments is known as White Powdery Mold. It’s particularly common when indoor growers put a plant in a closet or cupboard without really doing anything else to enhance the environment, because this often leads to hot, stagnant air near your plants.
When you have bad airflow, you may come across this. WPM actually looks like someone may have accidentally dropped some flour or other white powder on the leaves of your plant!
Easily remedied with SM-90 if caught early, a bad case of White Powdery Mold can ruin a whole crop if it’s left to go out of control. It is NOT safe to consume or smoke cannabis buds that are covered in WPM.
But WPM is EASILY prevented 95% of the time by ensuring that you have great airflow around your plants and preventing the grow space from getting too humid, especially towards the end of flowering when your buds are getting thick and dense.
Great airflow also prevents the bud killer known as bud rot and even helps prevent some types of bugs from attacking your plants.
And that’s not the only benefit, having a nice breeze going around your plants can actually make them grow faster overall!
Great air circulation makes cannabis plants happy!
7.) Seek out experienced growers, but always take every piece of advice with a grain of salt!
It’s not worth re-learning everything from scratch, when you could get information from experienced growers to make your plants grow exactly how you want from your very first grow!
But, sometimes even the most well-meaning and experienced growers will give advice based on their genetics, environment or personal grow style, and it might not necessarily apply to your particular situation. I highly recommend to always listen to your instincts if advice just doesn’t seem right. No one knows your plants better than you!
These plants were grown together from seed in the same environment. One yielded 6 ounces, the other yielded 9 ounces. Genetics makes a huge difference! Now imagine if they had been grown in different setups with different grow styles. Advice that works for one plant might not be good advice for the other!
All that being said, some of the most experienced and talented growers are sharing their knowledge online, and it’s worth seeking out online growing communities during your personal growing journey!
If you’re looking for a friendly and safe place to talk to other growers online, GWE has one of the (in my opinion) best cannabis growing communities!
I hope that helps you as much as it would have helped me when I started growing!
If you haven’t started growing marijuana yet, today is the day!
Simplest Cannabis Growing Guide Ever! (if you want something even quicker than the basics guide!)
Growing marijuana? Learn 7 simple-yet-powerful tips from an experienced grower about getting huge yields and avoiding common growing problems.
5 Secrets to Growing Top-Shelf Bud
by Sirius Fourside
Have you ever had cannabis that was just…so so? Mediocre? Just okay? Cannabis that’s ‘just alright’?
Have you ever had cannabis that was so good, you want to save it so you can have it as long as possible? Cannabis so good that you inspect it closely as if you could somehow see why it’s so great?
What makes the difference between the two?
The look of the bud in addition to its potency, taste and smell is what makes cannabis seem top-shelf to the user.
But what happens when you’re growing cannabis that makes gives it these desirable qualities?
In this weeks issue of the GrowWeedEasy newsletter, you’re going to see what growing practices are responsible for making the difference between mid-to-low-grade cannabis flowers and top-shelf bud!
You’ve probably heard it a million times, but good cannabis starts with good genes. Having seeds with good attributes to work with gives you a plant that will flourish under the right conditions as opposed to just surviving.
All cannabis strains have their own attributes, so the best thing to do is to find one that fits what you’re looking for. Some strains are high in THC, some are known for tasting pleasant, some are high in CBD, etc.
In any case, growing cannabis from ‘bagseed’ is an easy way to lower your chances of growing great weed. In a best case scenario with bagseed, you’ll get a female seed as good as one from a seed bank. In a not-even-the-worst-case-scenario, you could get a male seed that grows a runt plant from a weak strain. Or even worse…it’s not even cannabis!
There are quite a few places you can go to get seeds with good genes, I’ve had the most luck and the least trouble with ordering from a trustworthy seed bank. Personally, I use Nirvana Seeds for their high-quality strains and I’ve got 100% of my shipments from them, but I’m also a big fan of seeds from Barneys Farm and DNA Genetics.
High Light Intensity
The amount of light your plant receives in it’s life can be used as a good indicator of how close it will get to its maximum potency when all other conditions are met. In fact, outside of genetics, light-intensity plays the biggest role in determining how big/hefty/potent your buds will be.
This means that even if you get seeds from a strain that is known to have 22% THC, the plant will need enough light to allow it to grow to this level of potency. This doesn’t mean that you need a 1000 watt HPS to grow great bud, but it does mean that you’re probably not going to grow top-shelf buds with a single 26 watt cfl bulb.
So much is enough?
Unfortunately, this is a question that is very difficult to answer as it depends on the specific strain you’re growing, the area you’re growing in, and the size of the plant being grown (smaller plants need less light). The general rule to go with is “more is better”, and watch your plants to see how they react. In most cases, it’s hard to give your plants too much light unless you have a high powered LED or a 1000 watt HPS.
Harvesting At The Right Time
For many growers, this is the toughest part to get right. Why?
Because you can buy seeds with awesome genes, and you can buy a MH/HPS combo that will flood your cannabis with light, but you can’t buy patience! And boy will a flowering cannabis plant try your patience!
Aside from becoming ever more picky about which nutrients they get, flowering plants will begin to smell ever-more enticing and look more and more ready to harvest. The problem is that there is a small 2-3 week window in which cannabis should be harvested, and most growers (myself included) get the urge to take them down prematurely.
Whenever your plants are flowering and you get the feeling you should harvest them because they look ready, reference this page and double check to make sure they are: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-do-i-know-when-to-harvest-marijuana. Harvesting early is an easy way to ruin the buds you’ve taken so long to grow, so double, triple and quadruple check they’re they’re ready before you cut down a single bud!
Many growers consider drying and curing to be two parts of the same process, but I like to separate them to really underline the important steps involved.
It’s important to not only dry your newly harvested buds before they can be used, but you want to dry them as slowly as possible. Drying buds too quickly can make them crispy and harsh, and will make them smell – ironically – like cut grass.
A good way to keep moisture in the plant and keep it from drying too quickly is to trim the harvested branches after they’ve been dried. Having the extra leaves left on will cause the plant to dry slower since there is more actual plant to dry out.
Personally, I trim my buds before I dry them since it seems to be easier for me while trimming and when I’m cutting buds off of the stem. From there the buds can be hung up to dry, or placed on a drying rack.
In either case, I would recommend leaving on as much stem as you can as it slows the drying process, and is easy to remove later. I would also recommend hanging your buds upside down to dry before testing any other methods. Anecdotally, I’ve found that buds that retain their stems and are hung upside down to dry tend to dry much slower than on a rack…which is exactly what you want!
In short, dry your buds for as long as you can. Aim for more than 5 days, with a goal of 8-10!
Once your buds have been properly dried, the only thing left to do is cure your buds. This last step won’t add to their potency per se, but it’s largely responsible for the taste and smell we all love.
Essentially, curing your buds involves sealing them in an airtight container for at least 2-3 weeks. During this time, the jars are periodically jostled, opened, emptied and refilled with the same buds. This will give the buds to ‘get rid of’ certain not-so-tasty chemicals, and the jostling, emptying, etc. will help prevent mold from forming.
To get a step-by-step tutorial on the drying and curing processes, see our article on GrowWeedEasy.com: https://www.growweedeasy.com/how-to-cure-buds.
The Short Version
Here’s the meat & potatoes of this article in case you forgot any part of it(as some of us are prone to do):
Potent, top-shelf bud requires these 5 things:
- Good genes (Get good seeds)
- High Light Intensity (More light is better for your plants)
- Harvesting at the right time (You only get one chance; patience is key!)
- Slow Drying (The slower you dry your bud, the better)
- Proper Curing (Put them in a jar and let them out every so often until they’re done)
Great Bud Starts with Great Seeds!
What’s the first step in creating fat, potent, mind-blowing buds?
Make sure you start on the right path by beginning your next grow with a with a hearty, potent, higih yielding strain!
“Nirvana Aurora Indica is an F1 hybrid of Afghan and Northern Light. Its plants stay short, producing heavy colas and dense buds. This marijuana strain produces exceptional amounts of resin, resulting in a deep, near-black hash with a tasty aroma and a heavy buzz.”
“BlackJack produces hard buds with huge, grape-like calyxes that are completely encrusted with THC! The smoke is heavy and flavorsome, and produces an exceptionally long-lasting high.”
“Nirvana Wonder Woman is another one of those fabulous new high-volume marijuana plants. Wonder Woman bears rock hard buds which are easy to trim. The smoke of this cannabis variety has a classic, rich, skunky flavour accompanied by a long-lasting buzz.”
5 Secrets to Growing Top-Shelf Bud by Sirius Fourside Have you ever had cannabis that was just…so so? Mediocre? Just okay? Cannabis that’s ‘just alright’? Have you ever had cannabis that