I know what you’re thinking… “I’ve had enough with planning, let’s get to growing!”
Hold on there, bucko! Now that we’re at the caregiving level, we should start thinking about the future. When you’re growing for yourself, it’s not the end of the world if things don’t turn out quite as you expected. But now we need to learn from our mistakes, and start thinking about safer and better ways to produce our cannabis. So without further ado, let’s cover a few important points to up your game…
You may read about experienced growers talking about taking notes or taking lots of data. What data are they talking about?
Well, they’re talking about having a journal where they record everything they did. Some of them have multiple journals lying about their grow, and some even make it part of of their standard operating procedures (SOPs). Some of them are very detailed, some are little more general. Here’s what you should know for creating your own grow journal:
- Have a central repository for information you record.
- This could be a physical journal or diary, this could be your phone or a computer, or it could even be an app like GrowDiaries.
- Record times and dates
- Turn on the lights at 6:00 AM? Make a note of it. In the second week of flowering? Make a note of it.
- Record amounts used
- Added 500 mg of nutrients to 2 L of water? Put it down, and date it.
- Record pests or problems that arise.
- Part of a grow journal is not just to learn what you do right, but what you do wrong. If something grows wrong, make a note. Then note how you fixed it (or didn’t).
Once you’ve repeated this process through several grow cycles, you’ll have a record of what has worked best for you, and what hasn’t, and you’ll be able to come up with a standard set of procedures for your grow.
And journaling doesn’t need to stop there. You can also record additional information such as biomass, dry weight, lab results, and more. This information may be useful in the future should you choose to use services that analyze your data, like Cannabis Big Data. Companies that analyze your data can help guide future practices as well.
Organics vs. Synthetics
This is a debate that has raged on throughout the entire agricultural industry, and not just in the cannabis industry. What are better methods for production? Organic, or synthetic?
Well you dear grower, are obviously unbiased and use the scientific method. Some of this stuff sounds good, some of it sounds kind of scary, but we should be equipped with the best knowledge available to make a decision.
First, we should make a few points:
- Organic, in this context, generally refers to the USDA’s (or other government agency’s) definition of organic farming practices. Organic methods favor sustainability and biological processes over non-biological and unsustainable practices, but not always.
- “Synthetic” is a broad term applied to a large number agrochemical companies and their products. It is generally used in a negative context in discussions, but not all synthetics are necessarily bad.
- The terms “organic” and “synthetic” can have very different meanings in other contexts. For example, in chemistry, organic simply means any molecule that contains carbon. Under that context, DDT is chemically organic, but not agriculturally organic.
- The terms “natural” and “unnatural” are basically meaningless in scientific and agricultural contexts. These terms are generally only used to make rhetorical points rather than provide practical advice.
For the purposes of our articles, we will try to focus on sustainable growing practices and stray away from particularly dangerous chemicals. However, don’t discount the utility and power of synthetics. Should a time arise when there are no good organic solutions, synthetics may be able to help. As a grower, you should be aware of all the tools available to you, and pick the best option based on what experience and research shows.
The last thing I want to bring up in this planning article is pest management. Whether you like it or not, pests are nearly everywhere. How you deal with them matters, and it may matter to your patients (or customers) too. As caregivers, we don’t want to just be reactive, we want to be proactive. If we are proactive, we can avoid a lot of problems before they become a headache. As the old adage goes, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
Let’s take a look at a specific example: Powdery mildew. Treatment after you’ve discovered powdery mildew is often very expensive and time consuming, and possibly dangerous should you decide to use fungicides. Prevention is significantly cheaper and less of a headache — you have to control humidity in your grow.
And that covers some of the “philosophy” of growing. As we advance in our growing skill and knowledge, we want to improve how we think about the act of growing. In psychology, this is called “metacognition,” and it’s a good idea to apply throughout your grow and your life. I hope you’ve learned something! Let us know in the survey or comments below.
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About the Author
Hunter Wilson is a community builder with Growers Network. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a Masters in Teaching and in 2007 with a Bachelors in Biology.