Tips and Tricks for a Successful Harvest
Now that we’ve covered the basics (parts 1 and 2) of how to get started with growing your own cannabis crop, it’s time to add a few key considerations into the mix to help you have a successful growing experience. Before getting started, remember that there is no exact course or process you need to follow to see your plants grow healthy and strong with bountiful buds come harvest time. Gardening any crop, cannabis included, has about as many nuances as there are gardeners. But the tips and suggestions below should go a long way towards helping you maximize yields and encouraging healthy plant growth during all stages of development.
Fertilizer is Your Friend
All plants need essential nutrients to grow strong and healthy. While some of these nutrients can be found in soil, chances are you’ll want to supplement your growing medium with a high-quality fertilizer. The essential macronutrients that cannabis plants (and any plants really) need are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. In the botanical world, you will often see this come up in the form of NPK ratios, relating to the chemical symbol of each of the aforementioned. Different fertilizers will have different NPK ratios and should be used at different life stages of your cannabis plants.
The exact ratios to use at each stage of plant growth will vary depending on who you ask, and it isn’t technically an exact science. But the following suggestions are in the ballpark and should work for most growers. Tweak them to your liking or experience, obviously.
- Beginning stages of vegetative growth – 4:2:3
- Main vegetative growth – 10:5:7
- Late vegetative growth – 7:7:7
- Early flowering stage – 5:7:10
- Mid to late flowering – 4:7:10
That may seem like a lot of numbers if you’ve never done this before. It’s not as complicated as it might seem. Just be sure not to burn your plants with too much nitrogen and tweak the fertilizer ratios during different stages of growth. Some good info on fertilization products to use toward the end of the flowering stage found here.
Cannabis is a diecious plant, meaning that it has both male and female plants. You want female plants because they produce flowers, which is the most likely reason you’re growing them in the first place. Male cannabis plants produce seeds. You will want to try to ensure that you only grow female plants so that your crop doesn’t become heavily laden with seeds. To do this, you can purchase feminized seeds from the get go, but you should also familiarize yourself with how to recognize male plants so you can remove them from your crop. Sinsemilla is a word now common in cannabis vernacular that (literally in Spanish) means ‘without seeds.’
Prune and Pinch
Pruning and pinching your cannabis plants is another way to encourage optimal growth, healthy plants, and full buds. Again, there are plenty of ways to go about this and it can vary by cultivar, but a little attention early on can help your plants develop the way you want. Pinching or topping the plant involves cutting/removing the top growing shoot in order to encourage additional shoots to branch and grow. Pruning is also a space or shape consideration, and you can encourage your plants to grow in a manner that fits into your grow space or to encourage maximum yield.
None of the tips mentioned here take much knowhow or effort and each one can help you have a successful cannabis growing experience. There are almost endless in-depth suggestions for all of the above found in books and online, so the best advice is to just start experimenting and see what works best for you.
Image source: Esteban Lopez courtesy of Unsplash