DENVER—Jay Kitchen, master grower with UptownGrowLab, had one piece of advice for beginning cultivators at the recent CannaGrow Expo held here. “Start small,” he said. “Keep it simple.”
He offered a wealth of tips to the sizeable crowd attending his session, titled “Do You Even Grow, Bro? The Fundamentals of Cultivating Cannabis.” Throughout the presentation, he promoted simplicity as the chief virtue for new growers.
The expo, held Oct. 29-30 in Denver, featured two dozen educational and networking events, several of which were geared specifically toward new cultivators. (Cannabis Cultivation Today was a media sponsor of the expo.)
Kitchen promoted simple but effective techniques that growers can use to get off the ground. For starters, he encouraged them to hit the books.
“Definitely get a grow guide,” he said, displaying a picture of his home library. He recommended a variety of titles for new cultivators, including Ed Rosenthal’s “Closet Cultivator: Indoor Marijuana Cultivation Made Easy” and Jorge Cervantes’s “Marijuana Grow Basics: The Easy Guide for Cannabis Aficionados.”
Researching what’s in your plant supplements is also critical, Kitchen said. Some products contain an excess of salt, which can cause nutrient lockup. To be safe, he suggested using one half of the recommended dosing. “You can always add more.”
For at-home growers, space—or the lack thereof—can be a problem. Kitchen ran through the many options for home growers, including closets, garages and grow tents. Tents may be small, but even a 3′-by-3′ tent can house up to 15 flowering plants, he said. “If you do it right, you can get a really nice yield, and in a tent, it can be super inconspicuous.”
In a similar vein, master grower David DeGraff Hamill offered tips for successful indoor cultivation in his session, titled, “Cultivating World-Class Cannabis: Indoor Essentials.”
He strongly encouraged space-strapped growers to invest in a grow tent. In addition to blocking light during the flowering cycle and preventing children or pets from entering the grow, most tents also include waterproof floors that protect the surface beneath them. These can also help eliminate the telltale odors produced by flowering plants.
A small grow space can be a blessing in disguise for indoor growers. As a general rule, Hamill said, growing in smaller spaces is better than in larger spaces.
“It’s easier to control the climate in a very small area than it is to control the climate in a big room like this,” he said, gesturing to the spacious room where a substantial number of attendees listened.
However, in any space, air circulation is critical. “I can’t stress how important fresh air is to your plants,” Hamill said.
An air circulation system must do more than pull cool, fresh air into the grow tent and push hot, stale air out of it. It should also circulate air within the tent, he said.
Humidity control is another crucial factor. If the humidity is too high, the plant will absorb water exclusively through the air instead of through the roots. As a result, it won’t pull out key nutrients from the soil.
When considering which planting medium to use, growers have a variety of options. They can purchase organic, indoor potting soils or they can make their own. Hamill said that, from his experience, soil is both easier to grow in and produces a more natural flavor in the final product.
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