Unless you’re well into at least your fifth grow cycle, you’re still technically a rookie. Even if you’ve done your homework and studied up, there’s no substitute for practical experience. Or, for that matter, the value of learning from your mistakes.
Still, as we’ve said on plenty of prior occasions, it’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others, rather than repeating them once again. So for those who are still very much in amateur territory, here’s a brief rundown of five errors almost all rookies make along the way:
1. Nitrogen Deficiencies
First up, if you notice the leaves towards the bottom of your plant turning yellow, wilting and dropping off, you most likely have a nitrogen deficiency. The symptoms of which always begin at the bottom, before slowly making their way higher up the plant. Hence, unless your buds are ready to harvest right now, you might want to do something about it as soon as possible. Luckily, it’s simply a case of upping the nitrogen as necessary with a decent quality nutrient solution or fertilizer. Just don’t ignore it - it’s not going to go away on its own.
2. Harvesting Prematurely
This isn’t going to necessarily harm your cannabis plants, but could nonetheless deny you something special. When the trichomes on your buds start to turn a milky colour (or sometimes amber-ish), it’s time to harvest. Prior to this, they won’t have reached full maturity and potency. Towards the end of the flowering stage, keep a close eye on your buds using a magnifying glass and avoid the temptation to tear them off before their time. Your patience will be rewarded with a much more enjoyable experience when the time is right.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually comparatively rare for a cannabis plant to suffer due to underwatering. This is because the signs and symptoms of underwatering are abundantly clear - dry soil, wilting leaves etc. With overwatering, however, it’s a bit trickier…and the single most common mistake in cannabis cultivation. You may think you’re doing your plants a favour by providing plenty of water, but you could actually be suffocating their roots below the surface. Correcting issues with overwatering can be difficult when the problem is advanced, so it’s essential to be careful with your watering practices at all times.
4. Ignoring pH levels
Almost as common is overlooking soil pH levels entirely. Cannabis in general needs pH levels to be kept between 5.5 and 6.5, increasing to 6.0 to 7.0 for soil cultivation. It’s not necessarily a disaster if things creep above or below these ranges slightly or temporarily, but any major issues or shifts can prove problematic. Testing pH level really couldn’t be easier and there are plenty of products available to make adjustments where necessary. In any case, ignoring pH levels really is the worst thing you can do.
5. Using low-quality nutrients
Last but not least, there’s a reason why professional cannabis cultivators stick with certain nutrient brands and products over others. It’s worth remembering that just because two nutrient products have the same basic composition doesn’t mean the quality of the ingredients is the same. Far from it - differences from one product to the next can be night and day. If you want to get the best out of your cannabis plants, you need to put the best in and only the best. All while providing key nutrients in carefully measured quantities, avoiding the dangerous ‘more is better’ approach to feeding your plants.