Why You Should Not Use Grow Boosters or Extra Nutrients
Overdoing it with nutrients and grow boosters is one of the most oft-made mistakes when cultivating cannabis. Learn how to use nutrients and grow boosters properly and why “less” is often more when you want to grow cannabis successfully.
If you are a cannabis cultivator who visits grow supply stores in person, or via the internet, you probably know just how many growing products exist out there. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming.
Many companies feature a wide selection, from basic nutrients and fertilisers to grow boosters, bud enhancers and additives galore – not to mention the many other plant-enhancing supplements you could possibly imagine.
Quite often, the grower isn’t just advised to purchase a product or two for their operation. Instead, many of these companies recommend buying a lot of merchandise to make it seem like you can’t go another day without the latest (and most expensive) trend in cannabis plant care.
From that point of view, you can’t really blame growers when they fall for the hype and then, despite their best intentions, literally end up loving their plants to death! Frequent overfeeding and the administration of too many nutrients can cause more problems than they solve – an issue many new cultivators fall victim to.
GROWTH PROBLEMS FROM EXCESS NUTRIENTS AND IMPROPER NUTRIENT BALANCE
Considering that nutrient products are highly concentrated and that young plants are especially susceptible to incoming materials, it doesn’t take much to create a harmful imbalance and destroy your crop. Such excessive nutrients can cause all sorts of problems, including root and nutrient burn. When this happens, the roots or the leaves of your plant appear “burnt,” sustaining yellow and black discolorations.
Instances like these may urge you to go out and buy another product to fix the problem, but resist this desire! If your plants are suffering from root burn or nutrient burn, the first thing you should do is stop giving them anything and flush the plants with pH balanced water (6-7 pH) to dilute nutrient build-up.
“LESS IS ALWAYS BETTER”
Some less experienced growers think that cannabis requires some extraordinary skills, as well as a ton of different products. This is a common misconception that could not be further from the truth. Overdoing it, whether this means overwatering or packing your plants with unnecessary additives is a seemingly small mistake with giant repercussions. The good thing is, these slip-ups can easily be avoided!
A seasoned grower will inform you that some basic nutrients, the right amount of light and proper watering is (mostly) all it takes for a successful cultivation cycle. Even if some manufacturers claim their products “enhance” the flavour of your yield or make similar unsubstantiated claims, they often encourage the exact opposite effects.
The best case scenario when using certain unhelpful products will result in harsh or bitter tasting weed. The worst case scenario? Your entire crop starts shutting down plant by plant. If you really want to grow cannabis to achieve the most flavour and potency, you should keep things as simple and natural as possible.
KEEP IT SIMPLE: CANNABIS GROWING TIPS
When it comes to growing tips, first thing’s first – do NOT get lured in by smarmy salesmen looking to make a buck off their “miracle products.” There are few instances where grow boosters or additional additives are necessary to improve the quality of your crop.
Start out with acquiring sufficiently size pots, around 11-18 litres. You should be able to find a business that sells flower pots and other gardening supplies nearby. They don’t need to be special, just make sure they have holes in the bottom to allow for optimal drainage. You should also make it a habit to clean your pots before use as this can minimise the risk of plant diseases, fungi and other pathogens.
GET THE RIGHT POTTING MIX
Most potting mixes (soils) available for purchase are already pre-fertilised. In theory, this means your plants don’t require additives. The three essential minerals for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK), although potting mixes normally contain other beneficial minerals like calcium and iron. Nitrogen is the mineral that your plants need most when they grow “green stuff“ like leaves and stems. Phosphorus is necessary for good root spread and growth, as well as for flowering. Potassium encourages plants to grow vigorously.
You can usually find the correct N-P-K ratio displayed on your bag of potting mix or on your bottle of nutrients in the form of three numbers, which might look like: 12-14-24. In this case, the mix contains 12% nitrogen, 14% phosphorus and 24% of potassium, which is normally considered to be the best balance for cannabis cultivation.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WATER AND CANNABIS
You could have the “best” nutrients and an ideal feeding schedule, yet it will all be in vain if the pH balance of your water or nutrient solution is not correct. The reason for this is that cannabis can only take in nutrients when the water (and then the soil) is within a certain pH range. For growing in soil, the correct pH balance for your water should be between 6.0 and 6.3. If it isn’t (which can be the case when you use water right off the tap, or if you add anything to the solution), the plant cannot take in nutrients, even if they are present. This culminates in nutrient deficiencies, causing your plants to become sick, sometimes beyond repair.
This is why a pH measuring stick or solution, along with products that either increase or decrease your water’s pH if needed, is probably the most important item every grower should own.
The issue with so called grow boosters is that they can dramatically alter the pH, which will incite all kinds of disastrous outcomes in no time.
Usually, if your water’s pH is on point and you are using a quality substrate, there won’t be much standing in the way of a healthy and successful crop! You likely won’t need any type of additives at all, so long as your potting mix contains some nutrients.Too often do those new to growing cannabis (even some who are experienced) tend to rely on
How to Grow Weed on a Budget: Indoors and Outdoors
Growing cannabis doesn’t have to be a huge investment. With the right tips, you can reduce the cost of your cannabis grow room/garden and grow top-shelf weed on a budget.
Explore our in-depth guide to growing weed on a budget.
Growing cannabis on a budget can seem outright impossible to the uninformed. The cost of setting up and running a grow room, plus feeding and caring for your plants, can easily seem out of reach for the hobby grower. However, there are, in fact, many ways you can reduce the cost of your next grow-op to suit your financial constraints. In this article, we share our top tips for growing cannabis on a budget, both indoors and outdoors.
General Money-Saving Tips for Cannabis Growing
Cutting the costs for your next grow can be a lot easier than it might seem. Below are a few simple tips to help you save money when growing weed, indoors or out.
Choose Your Seeds Wisely
While it might seem counterintuitive to buy seeds when you’ve got the chance to grow bagseed for free, investing in quality cannabis seeds from the get-go has the potential to save you money (and stress) in the long-run.
When you buy seeds from a respected seed bank, you’re paying for guaranteed quality. Established seed banks have teams of dedicated breeders and growers constantly working to improve their genetics. That means, after germinating your seeds, you can rest assured the plants in your garden will grow strong and healthy (given the right care, of course) and reward you with good yields of top-shelf bud.
Buying autoflowering seeds is another great way to save money. Today’s auto strains have the potential to produce great yields and excellent buds, with the potency and flavours to stand up to any photoperiod strain. If you’re a budget grower, make sure to go auto for your next grow.
Grow From Clones
The cost of buying new seeds after every harvest can add up, especially if you’ve got a big garden and grow several plants at a time. Cloning can offset some of those costs, giving you the opportunity to reproduce your favourite strains without having to invest in new seeds every time.
Keep in mind, however, that cloning also comes at a cost. In order to get good results, you’ll want to take your clones from a robust, healthy mother plant, which you’ll need to keep in constant vegetation. Keeping a mother requires space, a constant 18/6 light cycle, and plenty of fertiliser. But, in return, you’ll get the opportunity to take numerous clones from your mother every few weeks, potentially for years to come.
Note that, over time, the yield potential of mother plants tends to go down. To deal with this, most growers renew their mother plants every 6–12 months. In general, we recommend buying seeds, keeping the healthiest plant from your seeds as a mother, and cloning it for 6 months before repeating the process. This will help ensure you’re always working with healthy plants.
Use All Parts of the Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is an amazing plant with tons of uses. Unfortunately, many growers forget that at harvest time. The stems and leaves many growers misprize post-harvest can be used to make tea, cannabutter, infused cooking oils, lotions and topicals, and much more. Make sure you hold onto these parts of the plant next time you harvest to reduce the waste of your grow-op.
Reuse and Recycle
Let’s be honest; chances are you’re going to conduct more than one cannabis grow in your lifetime. Hence, make the effort to reuse and recycle as many of the products/tools you use in your grow room as possible. Some obvious grow tools you can reuse include:
- Pots: Unless they are broken, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to reuse your cannabis pots for multiple grows. Just make sure you fully sanitise each container before planting a new specimen.
- Soil: Quality soil is one of the biggest costs of a cannabis grow room/garden. Luckily, you can reuse old soil pretty easily. Just know that you’ll need to supplement some new material into your old soil to boost its nutritional value and structure.
- Hoses, pruning shears, gardening gloves: If you’ve got gardening equipment you use for other plants, don’t go out and spend more money on extra tools for your cannabis garden. Simply sterilise your tools before each use (where necessary) to avoid spreading pests and disease from your cannabis plants to the rest of your garden, and vice versa.
- Try composting: If you want to take things a step further and save even more, consider composting the organic waste from your house (such as vegetable scraps, paper, and cardboard). Composting is very simple and, while it takes some time, produces an excellent, nutrient-rich growing medium for your plants. Best of all, composting is virtually free. All you need is a compost bin (any old bucket, bag, or pot can work), time, and some composting worms (technically optional; composting without worms just takes a little longer).
How to Grow Cannabis Indoors on a Budget
Growing cannabis indoors is generally more expensive than growing outdoors. In order to achieve healthy plants in a room or tent, you’ll need grow lights and fans to recreate the conditions cannabis naturally flourishes in outdoors. Below, you’ll find a list of ways to cut the cost of setting up/running an indoor grow room.
Build a Grow Room Out of an Old Cupboard or Closet
Rather than forking out top dollar for a grow tent, consider transforming a spare cupboard or closet in your house into a grow room. Just remember that you’ll want to cover the walls of whatever space you use with a reflective material (white plastic or Mylar film work best). This will reflect more light onto your plants, making for a more efficient grow room.
If you’re really short on space, consider building a micro grow room using an old computer tower.
Build Your Own Grow Tent
If you haven’t got a cupboard, closet, or old computer tower to refurbish into a grow room, consider building your own grow tent using basic materials like PVC pipe and panda film.
If you’re not the DIY type, try shopping around for a budget tent online. There are many grow tents on the market for as little as €50; just don’t expect them to be packed with features or have the best build quality, but they should last you at least a couple of harvests.
Utilise the Right Lighting
There are a ton of lighting options on the market, and finding the right solution for your grow room can be quite a task. If you’re growing on a budget, however, we generally recommend investing in a quality LED lighting panel.
While LED lights come at a higher outright cost than HID lights, they are much more efficient and cheaper to run, making them more cost-effective in the long-term. Not only that, but LEDs tend to run much cooler than HIDs, which is an important factor given the spatial limitations of most indoor budget growers.
Ventilate Your Grow Room
Ventilation is something growers shouldn’t skimp on, regardless of their budget. Extractor fans help pull old, stale air out of your room/tent so it can be replaced with fresh, oxygen-rich air from outside, while oscillating fans help keep air moving throughout your grow room. Both are super important for supporting the growth of your plants and keeping your room/tent free of pests and pathogens.
To reduce the cost of your ventilation system, make sure you buy an extractor fan with a m³/h rating that will ensure the correct air circulation. m³/h (cubic metre per hour) is an indicator of how much air an extractor can pull out of a space every hour. For proper ventilation, you’ll want to invest in a fan with a m³/h 70 times higher than the volume of your room/tent. This is because the average number of air exchanges required in a grow room is around 70 per hour.
For example, if you’re growing in a tent that measures 1m × 1m × 2m (with a total volume of 2m³), invest in an extractor fan with at least 140m³/h. You’ll want the smallest possible extractor that can effectively maintain an optimal, consistent temperature in your indoor garden. The smaller the extractor, the less power it’ll use, and the more money you’ll save.
Properly ventilating a small indoor grow space isn’t rocket science, but it’s essential nonetheless. If you can avoid the occurrence of pests, plagues, and inferior results for little money and effort, why not make your life easier?
Pro tip: We also recommend outfitting your extractor fan with a carbon filter to help reduce the smell of your grow-op.
Keep Temperatures Down
If you’ve followed our recommendations up until now, you shouldn’t run into any issues with heat. Remember to use small oscillating fans to move air around your plants and keep old, warm air from getting trapped inside the room. You can also opt to run your grow lights during the night if you live in a very hot area.
Choose the Right Growing Medium
Soil is by far the most budget-friendly growing medium. If you want to further cut the costs of your grow-op, consider making your own super soil using compost, vermiculite, and organic fertilisers. As mentioned earlier, remember to reuse your old soil, if possible.
Grow With or Without Nutrients
While most growers opt to feed their plants with chemical fertilisers, there is a strong trend towards organics in the world of cannabis cultivation. In general, we always favour using organic fertilisers as they work with the soil to slowly deliver nutrients to plants.
Today, there are plenty of organic fertilisers on the market, and many of them come at a similar cost as their non-organic counterparts. However, using organic fertilisers might actually lower the cost of your grow-op in the long-run.Want to reduce the costs of growing cannabis? In this article, we share our top money-saving tips for growing cannabis both indoors and outdoors. ]]>