Michael Straumietis, a long-time professional grower who founded and owns hydroponics nutrients manufacturer Advanced Nutrients, wants to help cannabis growers avoid grow room mistakes.
“Nobody warned me about mistakes that cost me lost buds, time, and money. But you’re going to avoid those mistakes and get bigger, more valuable harvests,” he says.
Now let’s consider the 13 grow op mistakes Straumietis most often sees…
Not Planning Marijuana Grow Room Ahead of Time
Straumietis says some marijuana growers start growing before they know what they’re getting into.
“Grow room planning includes checking your electricity supply system to see how many watts of lights and other gear you can run,” Straumietis says. “It means checking the reliability of your main panel, house wiring, and marijuana grow room electrical outlets before you lay on the big electrical load that marijuana growing requires.
Most rooms in a home are on only a 15-amp circuit.
“This circuit capacity can barely support a thousand-watt grow light and the fans, timers, and other gear you need,” Straumietis warns.
Unless you thoroughly look at your electrical needs and electricity infrastructure before you start plugging hydroponics gear in, you could blow your panel, or even start a fire.
You also want to plan how many lights you need, how tall your plants can get, what kind of grow system (soil, ebb and flow, drip irrigation, aeroponics, hand-watering, coco coir, rockwool, etc.) you’ll use.
Will you use a grow tent or other pre-fabricated chamber?
How will you achieve adequate air exchange and air movement?
“Know all this ahead of time, before you put plants in your marijuana grow room,” Straumietis advises.
Germinating Marijuana Seeds (or Getting Clones) Too Early
Many marijuana growers germinate cannabis seeds or buy clones before their grow room is ready for plants.
The plants want good light, water, and conditions, but the marijuana grow room is only half-built, and lacks equipment and function.
“Wait until you’ve created and tested a fully-functioning marijuana grow room before you germinate seeds or procure clones,” Straumietis says.
Use Reverse Osmosis Water
Only reverse osmosis (RO) gives your plants absolutely pure zero parts per million water that works best for administering hydroponics nutrients.
“Our hydroponics base nutrients and our supplements work well even in regular water, but your plants get the most benefit when you use RO water,” Straumietis says. “With most other nutrients brands, their nutrients don’t work well in any kind of water.”
Allowing Diseases, Pests, Pets Into Marijuana Grow Room
Outside air, and outsiders, are massive threats to your cannabis plants.
Growers allow spider mites, thrips, aphids, fungus gnats, gray mold, powdery mildew or other cannabis attackers into their grow room.
“Pests and diseases come in on clones, on people and pets, and in the air. You can block those vectors. There’s an old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My variation is: an ounce of prevention is worth two pounds of buds,” Straumietis quips.
Inadequate Temperature & Humidity Control
Look here for ideal grow room environmental conditions.
“Many growers run their marijuana grow room too hot,” Straumietis warns. “The heat problem is most often caused by inadequate venting and air conditioning.”
Hot conditions stress plants, provide a breeding ground for diseases and pests, and makes buds thin and light.
Also know that the best temperature for your hydroponics nutrients water is 68F.
Colder than that and it hurts your roots. Warmer temperatures create dissolved oxygen shortages, pathogens, and decreased nutrients absorption.
Growing Indica & Sativa Marijuana Strains Together
Indica strains tend to grow shorter than Sativa strains, and have other differences that also make it not such a great idea to grow them in the same environment, Straumietis explains.
If you grow Indica and Sativa in the same grow op, be prepared for differences in grow light height, plant height, and harvesting times, he says.
You may also have to run different feed programs, because Sativa and Indica strains often handle nutrients differently.
Using Hydroponics Nutrients Not Meant for Marijuana
At present, only one brand of nutrients and fertilizers has reliable testing on marijuana plants and are made by a professional marijuana grower.
“Cannabis makes dozens of unique compounds produced by unique metabolic pathways that we’ve optimized by designing and testing Advanced Nutrients products specifically for cannabis. You get faster growth, heavier yields, and more cannabinoids and terpenoids using our nutrients,” Straumietis says.
Wrong pH of Hydroponics Nutrients Water
“Growers spend a lot of time, money, and worry trying to set their hydroponics nutrients water at the right pH. You avoid pH worries by using our pH Perfect hydroponics base nutrients that automatically set water to 5.7 pH. That’s optimized pH for nutrients absorption,” Straumietis explains.
Using Non-Feminized Marijuana Seeds.
Many marijuana growers choose not to use feminized marijuana seeds because they want the option to grow males so they can get pollen to breed their own cannabis seeds.
But let’s say your marijuana grow room has lighting and other structure for ten full-size female plants in bloom phase.
You plant 12 non-feminized marijuana seeds. Seven turn out to be male.
You have to get those males out of the room, whether you’re using them for pollen or just killing them.
But then you have a marijuana grow room with enough space for ten blooming plants, but you only have five females.
Under-planting can be a big waste of your marijuana grow room capacity.
“You don’t want your marijuana grow room to be so crowded with plants that they’re leaves are touching, but you do want to maximize the space you’re using,” Straumietis says.
Not Recognizing Hermie or Male Plants
Many growers fail to notice early enough if their cannabis plants are going hermaphrodite or male.
This results in unwanted self-pollination and/or pollination of nearby female marijuana plants.
“When your plants start pre-flowering, and all the way through bloom phase, examine them closely to detect hermaphrodites and males early,” Straumietis warns.
[The following video is helpful]
Inadequate Lighting, Air Exchange, Vertical Height
A quality 1000-watt HID (high intensity discharge) grow light provides adequate light for 16-20 square feet.
Having a light mover increases coverage area and light distribution by 10-15%.
If you try to get by with not enough light for too large an area, your plants grow slower, you get smaller/thinner buds, you get less THC and other cannabinoids.
For marijuana grow room vertical height growing full-size plants, you need at least 8-foot ceilings.
If you’re using double-ended bulbs (which run super-hot and generate massive amounts of light intensity per watt), you need at least 10-foot ceilings.
“Don’t let your plants get too close to hydroponics grow lights, or else you’ll burn them and make the buds airy and damaged,” Straumietis says. “Use LED lights if you have limited vertical space. Your plants can grow closer to LEDs, without burning.”
Plants Too Tall When Put Into
Bloom Phase Lighting
Most marijuana plants stretch 100% or more after you put them into bloom phase, Straumietis reminds us.
If you have eight-foot ceilings and an HID grow light with a reflector, and you need at least 18-24 inches from the top of your cannabis plants to the bottom of your reflector, you can’t let your marijuana plants get much taller than three feet in grow phase.
Many growers start bloom phase when their plants are 20-30 inches tall, Straumietis says.
“It’s better to have short, dense, branched plants than plants that are too tall and too close to your lights,” he says.
Improper Harvest Timing, Drying, Curing
BigBudsMag.com has given you the ultimate guide to harvest timing, drying, and curing, so click on this highlighted link.
“Many marijuana growers decrease their harvest size and potency by harvesting at the wrong time, or by improper drying and curing. You can harvest, dry, and cure for maximum bud size and potency,” Straumietis says. “The main thing is always motivate yourself to improve your grow op procedures, equipment, and materials. When you see beautiful, dense, premium buds covered in resins, it’s all worth it.”