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As we enter 2019, a new year and new opportunities face us, and like many people, you may be wondering what you can do better this year. Whether it’s giving up a bad habit or embarking on a healthier lifestyle, New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. The practice has a long history and goes back more than 4,000 years to the Babylonians, who were also the first culture to hold celebrations of the new year.
Unfortunately, most people fail to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, and within weeks, slip back into their old ways. An article by U.S. News reports that 80 percent of people fail with their New Year’s resolutions. They seem like excellent ideas when the resolutions are made, but the conviction with which they are made slowly slips away.
People need attainable New Year’s resolutions in areas of their life where change is a realistic and not too difficult to accomplish. Improving your skills and practices with cannabis fall within this category, so let’s outline some sound improvements you can make with cannabis cultivation that will motivate you to do better and become of the small 20 percent of people who succeed with their desire to change for the better.
If you grow cannabis, most likely you want to produce the best flower possible. After all, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Sometimes this is easier said than done, and the grower isn’t quite dialed in on exactly what to improve for better results. Do you sometimes fall short of your cannabis cultivation goals and produce good—but not great—marijuana? Sometimes taking shortcuts or assuming your cultivation practices are fine, when in reality something is slightly off can deeply impact the quality of the harvest. Let’s define some great New Year’s resolutions for cultivation that can only improve the quality of your grow.
In order to produce outstanding cannabis, there’s no more obvious thing to evaluate than the genetics you are growing. Some home growers grow clones, but the majority rely on seed. High-quality cannabis seed can be expensive. If you’re relying on bag seed or seed someone gave you that has uncertain origins, most likely you can do better. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions be only growing high-quality genetics from a reliable source.
Fortunately, there are plenty of seed banks and brokers that sell outstanding genetics from top cannabis seed companies. Although some cannabis strains are available only in clone form, the vast majority can be grown from seed.
Seeds can range in price, and the cost does not always accurately reflect the quality. There are so many new marijuana strains being developed these days that there always seems to be a new “flavor of the month” that hits the market and gets attention. There are plenty of reasonably priced industry standards that are worthy of your time and money.
Soil and Soil Additives
Outstanding soil should also be at the top of your New Year’s resolution list—particularly if you haven’t used top soil in the past. The importance of good soil and soil additives cannot be emphasized enough. If you don’t want to mix your own soil mixes at home (most people don’t), there are outstanding organic soils sold in bag form.
When it comes to growing excellent marijuana that has outstanding terpenes and flavor, always use organic soils. The rich flavors that result from going organic far exceeds anything that can be grown with soils with synthetic fertilizers added.
Likewise, when it comes to soil additives, go organic. Adding some fresh compost when transplanting will definitely promote vigorous growth and superior flavor. Even top-quality organic soils that come “pre-loaded” with organic time-release fertilizers will require soil additive supplementation once the organic nutrients flush out with watering. When it comes to organic soil additives for cannabis, getting 100-percent organic out of a bottle is nearly impossible—but some brands come very close. Choose your additives carefully. Some companies cater to cannabis growers and market their products with fancy and enticing names, and their process are a bit high. Other companies that have been around since before the days of legal cannabis and are time-tested and reliable. Fox Farms sells fine additives for cannabis.
The lighting in your grow room is an excellent area to fine tune when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. While most home cannabis growers have either high-pressure sodium, metal halide (MH) or light-emitting diode (LED), many times the distance from plants to lights leaves something to be desired.
Lights that are too far from the plants will force them to stretch upward in an effort to absorb the rays, while lights that are too close can burn plants. Adjust your lights’ height for optimum growth.
One thing that many cannabis growers overlook or choose to ignore is the importance of replacing the grow light bulbs on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the light bulbs burn out completely. By this time the quality of light rays has diminished greatly. Replacing the lights every few grows will ensure the plants are receiving the correct illumination. The vigor with which plants grow and the flowers develop is far superior when using fresh bulbs.
Evaluate your pots to make sure you’re using the best. If there’s room for improvement, adding better pots is another thing to address and focus on for a worthwhile New Year’s resolution. One of the biggest mistakes beginner growers make is planting several seeds together in a small container with completely insufficient drainage. To have two or three seedlings growing from a single Styrofoam cup with no holes at the bottom is not the way to grow good cannabis. Seedlings and young clones should be grown singly, in a pot that allows for rapid and thorough water drainage.
Appropriate pots with correct soil and a proper watering and soil additive schedule will put you on a course for success. Select pots that are the appropriate size, and transplant your grow, if necessary, to make sure the root systems have the chance to develop thoroughly within and not get crowded and root bound. Pots made from plastic are durable and not likely to break like ceramic and terra cotta pots. Air pots are a good choice for cannabis because they promote strong root development and make it nearly impossible to overwater the plants—which is a common mistake with beginner growers.
A proper surface for the walls of a grow room are inexpensive but important. If your walls have no special treatment, a good wall surface should be a part of your New Year’s resolution list.
While a very bright white paint can do an adequate job on grow room walls, mylar is even better and is highly reflective, so the beneficial rays from the grow lights are maximized for ultimate performance. Mylar is inexpensive and usually sold in rolls for quick installment. Buying a roll or two is money well spent.
Air Flow and Circulation
Another good New Year’s resolution is ensuring your ventilation and air flow is adequate. A confined, stuffy grow space can lead to a host of problems, including high humidity and an outbreak of white powdery mildew. Overcrowding plants in a small space—another common mistake with beginners—is a poor cultivation practice as well. When growing, marijuana likes to stretch out and grow unencumbered by close neighbors. Fewer large plants will actually result in a higher yield than a larger number of smaller, cramped plants.
While grow tents and cabinets usually have built-in ventilation and air flow systems with fans, some grow rooms require the installation of vents for increased air circulation. Do not forget to include fans in the grow space. They do much to improve air flow and keep high humidity in check. Fans, either stationary or oscillating, are inexpensive and readily available, so this component of the grow room is very inexpensive and very necessary.
With some sound New Year’s resolutions, cannabis cultivators are only bound to improve the quality and quantity of their grows. Consider some improvements you may be able to make in your cultivation practices and you—and your plants—will be happy with the results!
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Luis Cordova is a distinguished author, and renowned expert in cannabis cultivation, who possesses a Master's degree in Plant Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Science. As a valued contributor to highly esteemed publications such as Cannabis Training University and Maximum Yield Magazine, Luis has emerged as a trusted source of guidance and knowledge in the cannabis industry. Having written thousands of informative articles, Luis is widely recognized for his comprehensive expertise on cultivating cannabis, both indoors and outdoors.