Growing amazing, high-value harvests can be a challenging process, even for the pros.
And when you’re a beginner grower, it can seem like an even bigger challenge.
We’ve all experienced that frustrating moment when you realize you’ve made an error after you’ve already invested precious time and money in your crops.
Mastering the craft of growing is no easy feat. Honing your skills as a grower and becoming the grower god you dream of being takes patience and commitment.
We’re here to make sure you avoid preventable mistakes and approach your work equipped with the right knowledge to grow incredible plants you can be proud of.
Ready to find out what the most common grower mistakes are?
In this guide, we’ll cover the biggest mistakes growers have told us they wish they knew about from the beginning, along with some of our best advice to help you avoid or fix these common pitfalls.
1. Not Being Patient Enough When You First Start Growing
Watching your plants grow and flourish is an exciting part of the grow process, so it’s understandable that a first-time grower would struggle with patience. However, the reality is that progress doesn’t happen instantaneously. If you’re getting antsy, keep in mind the following:
- Plants don’t grow overnight. No amount of impatience will change this fact. Accept that growing is a process, and be willing to give your crops the time they need to flourish.
- You can’t help a sick plant heal instantaneously. Know that with patience, you may be able to salvage ailing plants, but rushing the process could potentially make your plants further decline.
- It’s important to give yourself time to learn how to correctly and effectively set up a grow room. The hours you put into doing this will pay off tenfold when you have a grow room that yields healthy, beautiful plants. Check out our article for tips on how to build a grow room to set yourself up for success.
- Most importantly, it takes time to learn everything you need to know about how to grow. Allow yourself the time to become an informed and prepared grower. Reading articles like this one each day and our tips on the best nutrients for beginner growers will dramatically speed up your learning curve.
2. Not Choosing The Right Growing System/Medium
There are so many ways to grow, both indoors and outdoors, and it can be difficult to figure out what’s the right system and medium for you.
If you have access to the perfect location outdoors, then growing in soil or soilless mediums like Sunshine Mix or Pro-Mix are a great way to start. It can even seem the most natural — kind of like planting your own garden.
For indoor growing, hand-watered soilless mediums like Sunshine Mix #4 or Pro-Mix give very consistent results from the get-go. In fact, you’ll see most commercial operations using this method.
It you want to try your hand at hydroponics, we recommend beginner growers try a deep water culture (DWC) system. This link will tell you why it’s the best for beginners.
Knowing which system is most appropriate for your skill level and crop type is an important way to minimize preventable errors.
3. Not Choosing The Right Growing Place
Figuring out where you’re going to grow is also an important part of your success.
If you’re growing outdoors, it pays to keep a few tips in mind:
- Try to find an area where grass, weeds and other plants are already growing abundantly (because it’s more likely that your crops will grow in that soil, too).
- Establish your plants near a water source, like a stream, to make watering your crops easier. (You’ll thank us the first time you have to lug heavy buckets of water through the woods!)
- The more sunlight, the better your plants will grow, so don’t pick an area with too much canopy growth blocking your sunlight.
In addition to finding somewhere that is sufficiently private, it’s important to remember that choosing a grow space is a commitment.
For indoor growers, it’s just as important to make the right choice. Consider the following:
- Do you have access to decent water and sufficient electricity?
- Will you be able to properly ventilate?
- Is your grow room naturally hot or cold? Will it be difficult to control the environment?
Our article on how to build a grow room includes tips on choosing the right place to grow.
4. Not Paying Enough Attention To Your Indoor Grow Environment
When you’re growing indoors, your environment is crucial. Not creating the right environment and controlling it properly can ruin your harvest.
Lights are an integral and critical element of growing. Using the wrong lights or the incorrect amount of lights could be the reason your crops fail. You need to know how to to calculate your lighting needs and learn about the different types of lights.
Just as small variances in lighting can influence the viability of a plant, so too can your grow-room temperature. This is one reason why it’s so important to select a grow space where you’ll be able to easily and consistently maintain the temperature.
Similarly to temperature, it’s imperative that your grow space be maintained at a consistent level of humidity. Stability is the key to healthy plants. As your plants progress, they will require different levels of humidity. You should be aware of what humidity level is needed at each stage of development.
Properly calculating your lighting and insulation needs will help a lot here.
Making sure your plants are ventilated correctly will ensure that your grow-room temperature is steady and appropriate. You can also ensure you’re not spending too much money on cooling costs by strategically ventilating your space. Here are the basic formulas you’ll need to figure out your ventilation needs, based on the cubic square footage of your grow space and other factors.
5. Not Understanding The Importance Of Chemistry In Growing
An essential factor that growers absolutely must grasp is the importance of pH levels. Maintaining proper pH levels is an important step in avoiding malnutrition and the spread of pathogenic microorganisms. Here are some helpful tips on gauging your pH levels and, more importantly, keeping them balanced so that your plants will thrive. There are several factors that influence the pH level of your garden. These include the acidity levels of:
- Your water: Using a system such as reverse osmosis is an economical way of achieving balanced or near-balanced water without paying for expensive distilled water.
- Your nutrients: Many commonly used nutrients have erratic pH levels thanks to the acidic and alkaline compounds they often contain. Make sure you use the right nutrients.
- Your grow medium: In hydroponic growing, gardens are highly sensitive to changes in pH levels. This means that the subtle chemical changes that occur within many of the elements of traditional mediums can make a significant impact on your plant’s pH levels.
Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect Technology is one way growers can keep their gardens stable. It works by accounting for variables within the environment you’re growing so that your plants are always growing in ideal conditions.
6. Not Knowing How To Clone Plants Correctly
One of the most amazing features of a plant is its totipotency, or ability to turn itself into any other cell of the plant. Because plants possess this feature, they can clone themselves. In theory, this means that any stem can be cut from your plant and then take root. However, many growers know that it’s rarely that easy.
Successfully cloning a plant requires paying careful attention to the gels and nutrients you provide to both the stem and mother plant. A cloning gel gives your stem the vitamins and hormones it needs to have the best chance to take root. It’s also important that you only attempt to clone stems from healthy mother plants, and that you keep the leaves of your plants moist as you begin and carry on the process of cloning.
7. Not Knowing How To Harvest For Maximum Yield, Potency And Value
All the well-planned feeding and patient weeks of growing and caring for your plants won’t do you any good if the quality of your crop is compromised in the final stages before you harvest.
That’s why it’s critical to follow the correct steps before, during and after harvest to dramatically increase the performance and value of your crops. It’s important to understand:
- What flushing is and how to do it: Flushing your crops before harvesting allows you to clear out excess compounds beforehand. This can help improve the terpenoid production of your plant, and will decrease any chemical taste, so it’s an important step.
- Harvest at the correct time: It’s important you know how to assess the state of your plant’s ripeness and ensure you don’t harvest too late or, as is more likely, too early. In short, you need to know how to harvest at the right time to get the biggest buds and most quality possible.
- How to cure and dry: Curing and drying are essential steps in the final process post-harvest. Do it right to ensure that the work you put into growing is rewarded with a stellar final product.
- How to trim: Trimming buds correctly gives your final product the desirable look that will showcase them in the best possible light. Learn the basics, like what tools you’ll need, and whether you should trim wet or dry.
Take Your Time And Learn As Much As You Can, Every Day
Mastering the craft of growing is not an instant process, and unfortunately there is no shortcut to learning. But the rewards you’ll enjoy when you utilize the best growing and harvesting processes for your crops will be well worth the effort.
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master any skill. The great thing about growing is that you’ll start to enjoy the fruits of your labor on your very first harvest, so you don’t have that long to wait!
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid many of the common mistakes that plague beginners and still haunt some pro’s years later.
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