The Top 10 Challenges of Growing Cannabis and How to Overcome Them
Growing cannabis can be a rewarding and fulfilling business, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this blog post, we'll discuss the top 10 challenges that most cannabis growers face and how to overcome them.
- Pests and diseases: Cannabis plants are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases, including spider mites, aphids, and powdery mildew to name a few. To control these issues, it's important to regularly scout your rooms and take action as soon as you notice any signs of problems. This may include using allowable pesticides or even better biological (predator insect) controls, as well as implementing good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Nutrient deficiencies: Proper nutrition is essential for optimal cannabis growth, but it can be challenging to get the balance of nutrients just right. To avoid deficiencies, it's important to follow a fertilization schedule and use quality nutrient products. Regularly testing the soil and/or leaf tissue at a local lab can also help you identify and correct any nutrient issues. These tests offer growers insight into what elements the plants have enough of or have too little of.
- Watering: Overwatering or underwatering cannabis plants can both lead to problems. To get the watering schedule right, it's important to regularly check the moisture levels in the soil and adjust the watering frequency accordingly. Modern tools like substrate sensors can give you real time data from the soil and help you water and feed at the proper times throughout the day avoiding root issues like pythium.
- Soil quality: The quality and health of the substrate can have a big impact on the health and growth of cannabis plants. Yet many growers don’t pay close attention to the root zone which is the engine of a plant. To ensure you have high performance engines for your plants, consider using a soil test kit to check for pH and nutrient levels, and consider adding amendments at the transplant stage. Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma products have huge impacts on root protection and overall plant health. Choose your substrate wisely! Not all are equal. When choosing your substrates some factors to consider are the quality and consistency, pH range, air porosity, water holding capacity, and the CEC (cation exchange capacity).
- Biosecurity: To protect your cannabis plants from external threats such as viruses and bad bacteria, it's important to implement good biosecurity practices. This may include using sanitized equipment, limiting access to the grow area, and regularly disinfecting the grow space. Implementing air and surface disinfection equipment such as ozone or hydrogen peroxide based generators can help keep everything clean in between manual cleaning and disinfecting practices. Consider having dedicated clean clothing for the grow rooms or use disposable PPE like gloves, shoe covers, gowns and hairnets. After all, humans are the biggest vectors for introducing problems into grow rooms.
- Quality preservation: Proper drying, curing, storage and packaging of cannabis flower is essential to preserve quality for end consumers. To ensure that your fire cannabis remains of the highest quality after harvesting, it's important to follow proper drying and curing guidelines. Much like any other perishable product, cannabis also starts to degrade after harvest. Seeing as it may be weeks or even months before a consumer enjoys your product, using airtight vessels with proper 2 way humidity control can keep it fresh much longer. There is too much very dry flower on the market. In our experience nobody likes dry weed! So keep it fresh please!
- Cleaning: We know that nobody actually likes cleaning. But keeping your grow space and storage areas clean is essential for the health and well-being of your cannabis plants. Regularly cleaning the grow area, tools and equipment can help prevent the spread of diseases and improve overall plant health. It costs a lot of money to grow a crop for say 12 weeks, so let’s not waste that time and money by having a catastrophic event 8 weeks in. Using a safe, fast and effective one step disinfectant like SHYIELD can not only save you the step of pre-cleaning prior to disinfecting but do the job faster and safer!
- Genetic strains: Choosing the right genetic strains for your specific grow operation is important for achieving your desired outcomes. Consider factors such as the grow environment and desired plant characteristics when selecting strains. Some strains which were bred for indoor climates won’t necessarily thrive outside (and vice versa). Some taller strains may grow too tall for a multilevel grow. Also be sure your genetics come from a clean source which are virus free. The fastest road to bankruptcy is importing clones or genetics infected with Hop Latent Viroid. Get a clean Certificate of Analysis from the supplier every time or at least a written guarantee.
- Temperature and humidity: Cannabis plants have specific temperature and humidity requirements for optimal growth. To maintain these conditions, it's important to invest in proper temperature and humidity control equipment, such as fans, heaters, and dehumidifiers. The issue we have seen over and over, is the HVAC being designed by engineers not familiar with the unique requirements of indoor cultivation. They may be really talented and experienced engineers for office buildings but they unfortunately may not understand plant transpiration rates and how that affects dehumidification requirements inside grow rooms.
- Lighting: Cannabis plants require a high intensity and spectrum of light for optimal growth. To ensure your plants are getting the right amount and type of light, consider investing in high-quality grow lights and using a light meter to monitor the light intensity and spectrum in your grow room. As we are all aware, light is a main driver and factor for plant growth . Not having enough light will limit plant growth substantially. Studies have shown that cannabis still increases yields at even 1,500 umols/m2/s1. By utilizing LED lights you can easily install these higher light levels and dim down the intensity if required. But it’s a lot harder to add more later.
By addressing these challenges and implementing good growing practices, you can help ensure that your cannabis operation is successful. Remember to do your research, seek out guidance from experienced growers and industry experts, and don't make the same mistakes as others.