So, you know there’s been a massive jump in the public interest on cannabis, both medical and recreational. And wherever there’s hype… there are “experts” pedaling information from all corners.
And yeah, some of the information is very good. But a lot of it is outdated. And frankly, most of it is trash…
Thankfully, our team here at GROTHORITY has spent the last 10 years decoding that information, testing it in our own multi-million dollar grow facilities, and distilling it down into simple action steps to help other growers.when
We love this industry. We love people who choosemake to grow in this industry, and it’s our goal with the 10 tips in this short guide to help you see higher crop yields and better quality products… faster.
Some of these tips are technical (see Tips 3 & 7). Some tips are more basic (See 9 & 10). All are extremely valuable when applied together.
TIP 1: SCHEDULE & PLAN YOUR GROW LIKE A PRO
If you want to be a pro-grower, you need to act like one.
And acting like a professional grower comes down to how you manage the PLANNING of your grow – far before you touch your first seeds and soil.
The entire successful cultivation process is predicated on proper timing.
- Average Growers focus ONLY on the immediate plants on hand.
- Good growers plan.
(image of sample grow schedule here)
- Great Growers don’t do these bad things.
TIP #2: Use custom feeds & refine your inputs.
When starting out as a grower, there is a big temptation to use a generic nutrient line to get started quickly.
The problem with this “generic feed” approach is that you are not able to have the complete visibility and control over the macro and micro nutrients used in your grow.
Using generic feed is like pumping some generic “gas” into a high performance ferrari and being shocked that the car isn’t running well.
With generic feed, you can’t expect your grow to perform at full capacity.
That being said, here are your feed options.
Option # 1: Make your nutrients from scratch.
The obvious benefit of creating your own nutrients will be shown in the improved quality of your soil, plants, and end products (no heavy metals and dangerous plant growth hormones).
The less obvious benefit to using custom feed is that it’s actually CHEAPER to make your own nutrient line in the long run. We explain the details of how we create our custom feed in Lesson #2 in our BASEMENT TO BOSS Mater Grower Mentorship Program.
We recommend using kelp meal in the first 6 weeks of flower as part of your compost routine to induce quick growth. We then recommend you use blue corn for the last 4 weeks of your flower routine (to nicely plump the plants up).
Option # 2: Use nutrient salts to make your own line.
This second option is a little less “custom” than making your own soil from scratch; however, it’s still a great option to improve soil quality over generic feed.
When we were starting out as growers, we used salts from companies like Veg & Bloom to produce high quality soil. Our crop quality benefited tremendously from this wise decision.
Option # 3: Use a quality generic nutrient line.
When it comes to generic feed lines, some brands are substantially better than others. Here are a few companies that we have used and trust here at Grothority…
Again, we recommend Options 1 & 2 over any generic nutrient line; however, if you’re just starting out, this is an acceptable option.
NOTE: With any of these generic companies, you want to make sure your PPM levels of your nutrients to between 800 – 900 PPM for best nutrient intake for the plants. If you have too high of a PPM level, you risk “burning” your plants. If you have too low of a PPM level, your plants will grow too slowly.
If you do choose to use generic feed, all nutrient companies will provide you with a Factory Feed Chart with your purchase of soil.
TIP #3: IMPORVE YOUR AIRFLOW, HUMIDITY, and CO2 LEVELS
One of the main problems preventing cannabis growers from increasing both their yields and quality is that they do not construct their cultivation facilities properly in terms of air-flow and humidity levels.
When you do not have the proper humidity levels, CO2 levels, and air temperature ranges you have a recipe for disastrous mold and mildew problems – which is perhaps the most common (and easily avoidable) problem that harms new-to-intermediate growers.
All successful growers must understand the concept of a Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) which is essentially the ratio of air with water molecules to air without. Your VPD will determine how much CO2 and oxygen your plant is able to intake, which, in turn, will determine your plants’ nutrient intake.
If your vapor pressure deficit is incorrect at any point during the flowering cycle, you have the potential to destroy your flowering crop by causing mold to grow inside of your bud, closing stomata too early, and not allowing for proper nutrient/CO2 uptake.
On the flip side, when you ensure your vapor pressure deficit and CO2 are optimal throughout your grow, you can maximize yields above 3 pounds per light.
Your ability to manipulate your Vapor Pressure Deficit is entirely based on the quality of your facility’s air flow system.
One way to keep your CO2, humidity, and temperature levels in proper ranges is to always have sensors in your grow facility going at all times. In our grows, we use hygrometers like the Smart Bee Controller.
Because this is such an overlooked topic, we developed what we call our “Million Dollar VPD Chart” that shows us the proper VPD levels for each week of our grows. We (and our most successful growing mentees) use our hygrometers to maintain these proper VPD levels at each stage of our grow.
You can access this chart – among our full growing resource kit – inside our Basement To Boss Growing Membership. Learn more here (LINK COMING SOON)
“This single chart has made me $100,000 in the past year.” – Miami Mango.
TIP #4: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
When you’re dealing with plants, pest infestations are a very real threat that can wipe out your crop faster than almost anything else. I learned that tough lesson early in my career, and I want to help you avoid this problem…
In 2008, I was early in my growing career and was getting pretty confident harvest results…and then I got a spider mite infestation.
My entire crop was completely wiped out in a matter of 3 weeks.
In dry climates like where we do our grows in Arizona and Nevada, spider mites are one of the biggest pest risks. In more humid climates, you have to watch out for aphids and fungus gnats.
HERE’S THE TRUTH: it’s hard to track pests, because they’re small and it’s even quite common for people to have these tiny mites on their clothing/hair. So, even bringing people into your grow facility inherently poses risk to your crop.
The best way to approach pest management is to use pre-emptive defensive measures.
As an organic grower, I recommend using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on a weekly basis, which is essentially a mix of herbs and spices that will be used to counteract and kill pretty much all dangerous bugs – without harming your plants.
IPM is not a pesticide; it is a natural approach to pest control. That said, although IPM is important to use throughout the earlier stages of your grow, it’s not something you’re going to want to use during your flowering stages, as your end product will end up having IPM residue left over i,e… seasoned weed. Those spices & herbs will alter the taste of your end product, which is not something you want.
Buildasoil.com has a great selection of pre-made herbal IPM blends I used before I refined a more custom solution for my grows.
For complete access to our IPM custom blend, VPD chart, and grow tracking software as well, you’ll want to check our Lesson #4 of our basement 2 boss grow mastery course where we give you all these resources plus 10 other powerful modules. Learn more.
TIP #5: USE A SMARTER TRAINING SYSTEM
Greater increase in quantity… Less stress to the plant over time.
If you’re not familiar, “training” is the art and science of using constructive materials to shape your plant growth and help take stress off the plants – which ultimately leads to both increases in quantity and quality of your harvest yields.
Training methods include but are not limited to:
- TOPPING – Cutting the plant above an internode to allow for the lower branches to grow and take their place. Topping is best to use during veg to allow for proper spacing of branches and internodes.
- SUPERCROPPING – Describes the pinching or breaking of the skeletal structure of the plant. You aren’t breaking branches but carefully pinching the plants branches 2-3 inches below a bud site. Pinch until the upper portion falls on its side while still connected. This is going to open new nutrient pathways, allow for greater light penetration to lower branching. This is also a great way to spread the plant out and allow for awesome early flower growth.
- LOW STRESS TRAINING (LST) – Bending plants through a trellis or using a tie down is the most effective and least stressful way to do this. After low stress training allow a day or two for plants to start reaching towards the light. Low stress training is the best training to use in conjunction with a trellis.
To put it simply, training allows your plants to put on more mass (product weight) and to put less stress on the skeletal system of the plant. Think of the proper training system as removing the stress of gravity so the plant can use more of its energy to grow and get bigger, that’s the beautiful part about having a controlled grow is that we can create these specific enhancements to get the best overall product.
Using PVC/trellis and super cropping together will be a perfect symbiotic training technique.
There are 4 main training techniques that you should be using (based on the different growth stages of your plants). For the complete breakdown of these 4 techniques, plus time-lapse videos of grows, and the best techniques on low-stress training, topping, and supercropping… check out Lesson #6 in Basement To Boss .
TIP #6: NO LIGHT LEAKS
Avoiding light leaks is one of the most basic (and overlooked principles) in high yield growing. Light leaks can reduce your overall crop size by up to 20%. These leaks can be as small as hairpins, but still impact your crop yield.
One of the things you’ll want to do before starting your flowering cycle is to do a 1 hour dark cycle in your flower room where you (and a few other people) thoroughly check for ANY light leaks. Catching these leaks early will ensure that your plants have an adequate and uninterrupted 12 hour dark cycle.
While you’re checking for light leaks, also use temperature gauges to ensure that your readings are stable.
TIP #7: NEVER USE BAG SEED
Sadly, there are many growers out there who think that getting seeds from buds that are being trimmed is a good, economic idea.
HERE’S THE FACT: Bud seed is a hermaphrodite – meaning that it has both male and female DNA inside the seed – making it unusable for commercial cultivation.
The best way to ensure a quality plant is to only buy your seeds from a reputable breeder.
When I started out as a grower, I never actually bought bag seed – even though some of my friends did. I remember when we compared our first harvests and my friends were shocked at how much healthier and more productive my plants were.
Always use a reputable seed breeder. Here are a few that we respect here at Grothority:
- TGA GENETICS (@____)
- THUG PUG GENETICS (@____)
- EXOTIC GENETIX (@____)
- SWAMP BOYS SEEDS (@____)
- GAGE GREEN GROUP (@____)
If you’re a serious grower, go follow our favorite connects on instagram.
TIP #8: SCIENTIFIC METHOD & BETTER DOCUMENTATION
Most growers do not collect data of their grow facility.
A big problem with not tracking your progress and variable is that you never get consistency in your end product. How can you pinpoint when something is needed or not without tracking data and variables?
Everything in the grow should be tracked . Humidity, temperature levels, c02 levels, feed levels, water retention levels in the soil(should you use soil), everything!!!
I remember when I started growing.. I started a manual, in this manual is every harvest and test I have ever taken. You can literally see the improvement as time goes on. Over 10 years of growing, testing, and hypothesis (proven or not). I still have the manual to this day, and it’s one of the main pieces behind Grothority.
I want people to feel like they have a sense of control over their grow. Taking this step and graphing all data will give you that control.
PRO TIP: FROM OUR BASEMENT TO BOSS GROW COURSE:
One of my favorite items or pieces of equipment to track data is the Smart bee controller you can follow them on Instagram at smart bee controller the smart bee controller actually track CO2 temperature humidity soil water levels feed levels nutrient intake levels it grabs it all out and bar graph date on the computer for you it analyzes everything for you it’s almost a 1 Stop data graphing system for your entire grow facility and it uses One controller per room connected to the main control system It will have a plug-in for your soil it will have a plug-in for your water levels your ppm levels it will track everything.
TIP #9: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
A popular mentality in the cultivation industry is akin to weightlifting – it’s a battle to see who can lift the most.
The typical slogan is how many grams per watt can you hit? Who care’s if your product is bunk? Is it going to sell any faster just because you have more of it? No!
Increasing potency (terpene levels, cbd levels, thc levels) should be the prime objective with every new harvest. Using the scientific method to break down each harvest and increase potency every time thereafter is a much better long term strategy for success.
The industry as a whole is already implementing ways to drive down the price of product. Don’t fall into the same category by lowering your product quality. Focus on the quality. Stabilize the price for your product over a long term period with quality and potency.
TIP #10: TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK (PEOPLE OVER PLANTS).
- How many growers out there have almost fallen off a ladder changing out a light by themselves?
- How many growers have almost eaten shit while moving plants with spikes and tie downs?
- How many growers have almost slipped in a grow facility due to slippery floors?
- How many growers have had electrical shocks?
I’ve met many growers over the years. Most of the best growers I meet are part of a tightly knit team. They are almost a family. With legalization and medical status in almost every state, the lifestyle of the lone wolf grower is finally coming to a close.
No more are the days of hiding a grow in a basement and telling no one. Long gone are the days when you hid behind a username on a forum. The best thing you as a grower can do is to connect with your peers. This will increase your knowledge base and understanding of the cannabis industry as a whole. This is a necessary step in the process to 10x your grow.
One of the most rewarding feelings about legalization and the coming into the light of the cannabis industry is to be part of a team and helping others. Pushing those in front of you and pulling those behind you. This is something the community of cannabis has always been about. Helping others.
GET THE COMMUNITY
We hope this helps you as much as it’s helped us.
Alexander “El Jefe” Smith
Chief Grower & Founder of Grothority
Dr. Anthony Balduzzi
Chief Medical Officer & Founder of Grothority