Here in Northern California the outdoor growing season is nearly upon us. California residents can grow up to six plants for personal use, so why not take advantage? It’s the perfect time to head down to your local dispensary and pick out seeds and clones. If you’re new to cultivating cannabis, here are some simple tips to keep in mind to ensure your plants develop tasty, potent buds!
Water only when necessary. Overwatering is simple mistake can lead to a host of problems in plant development, specifically the suffocation of the roots leading to root rot. Wait until the top couple inches of soil are completely dry before watering or until you see slight wilting. The best times to water your plants are in the early morning and early evening, especially during hot weather. This can help them combat or recover from heat stress. If you’re using fabric pots, which are fantastic for keeping the roots aerated, you should make sure to soak all the soil in the pot when you water as it will quickly drain out the bottom unless you’re using plant saucers. If you do use saucers, make sure not to leave your plants in standing water for very long.
Feed sparingly. The best nutrients to feed your plants are organic, which take time to break down in the soil and helps prevent overfeeding. Organic nutrients are found in compost, manure and minerals, often mixed into high quality soil. If you’re supplementing with non-organic, chemical liquid nutrients, be sure to start at a quarter of the recommended dosage and keep a careful eye on your plants. If you begin to see leaf burn, reduce feeding immediately.
Regulate temperature. Extreme temperatures can damage and even kill cannabis plants. If you grow indoors, extreme cold most likely isn’t a problem but heat damage can be. This can occur if you keep your plants too close to hot lights, if the air isn’t circulating properly or simply due to hot climates. During heat stress, you’ll notice the leaves curling as if trying to hide. Be sure to keep plants a safe distance from lamps, use fans to circulate air and provide gentle wind to strengthen branches and keep your grow area from becoming too hot. If you’re growing outdoors, be sure to water in the morning when temperatures are expected to rise. This will help the plant withstand very hot days. Move them into the shade during the hottest hours of the day (12-4pm) if possible during extremely hot weather.
Cold weather can be just as damaging but is less of a concern in the summer. If you’re in an area where overnight temperatures can suddenly drop, you may want to keep your plants in a portable greenhouse at night or bring them inside. If you’re growing indoors, keep your grow area a comfortable 75 degrees when possible. High humidity can encourage fungus and mold. If you’re growing indoors in a humid environment, use dehumidifiers to help reduce moisture in the air.
Keep an Eye on Water PH. You can pick up a water PH testing kit for a couple of dollars at your local hardware or pet supply store. Correct water PH helps the plant absorb all the nutrients it needs. Many deficiency problems arise due to the plant being unable to intake specific minerals because of poor PH balance. Keeping water balanced between 6.0-7.5 will ensure your plants are able to absorb everything that’s available to them. Use filtered water when possible to reduce potentially harmful contaminants and chlorine.
Pay attention! Discovering problems early gives you a better chance of addressing concerns and recovering your plants. Once root rot or an infestation sets in, you’ll have no choice but to ditch your crop and start all over. Paying careful attention to your plants every single day will help you identify issues immediately. Look for problems in the development of branches and leaves, specifically spots and burn damage. Keep a careful eye out for insects, mold and fungus. Treat any issues immediately.
Starting with solid genetics and avoiding common pitfalls will ensure that your cannabis plants will thrive during the summer months and develop into a great fall harvest.