Growing the best-tasting cannabis requires a basic understanding of photosynthesis, as well as good genes and plenty of patience. To that end, we’ve compiled some tips to improve the flavor, scent and even potency of your pot. So whether your trying to win a High Times Cannabis Cup or just impress your friends with the quality of your home-grown nugs, keep these six factors in mind for successful marijuana cultivation.
No matter how skilled you are at cannabis cultivation, you simply can’t produce perfect pot from inferior strains. Even with everything dialed in perfectly, you’ll find your biggest limitation is the genetic potential of the variety you’ve chosen to plant.
Source your seeds or clones from reputable sources to ensure that they are what they say they are. If you find that you’re growing something that doesn’t live up to your standards, don’t hesitate to kill off any inferior strains in favor of some grade-A, connoisseur-quality bud.
Overfeeding runs rampant among many marijuana grows. Nutrient companies tend to recommend using high levels of plant food (hoping that you’ll empty the bottles quickly and buy more). Burnt tips on leaves are a sure sign of an overabundance of salts and minerals in your plants.
Err on the side of caution and feed at half the recommended strength unless, or until, you see signs of deficiency (slight yellowing of leaves etc.). You can always bump up nute levels, but it’s much harder to reduce them after over-application. The less you feed throughout the grow cycle, the less you’ll need to flush at the end, and the better your finished buds will burn, smell and taste.
Temperature and humidity must be kept within proper parameters at all times. A good rule of thumb is to never exceed 85 degrees or drop below 60. Relative humidity (RH) should be kept around 40-50 percent, although this varies according to your plants’ growth stage—vegetating plants can handle a bit higher (60-70 percent), and RH should come down to 30-40 as plants approach harvest.
Keep in mind, heat and moisture at canopy level can be quite different than the readings elsewhere in your room. Monitor these factors at the leaf surface to keep your plants happy and productive. Use air conditioning, heaters, humidifiers or de-humidifiers accordingly.
pH (potential Hydrogen) is the measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil and nutrient solution on a scale of 0.1 – 14, with one being the most acidic, seven being neutral and 14 the most alkaline. Hydroponically-grown plants should be kept between 5.5 and 6.2, and soil-grown plants should be between 6.0 and 6.8.
When pH fluctuates outside these acceptable levels, certain nutrients become unavailable to the roots, even when they are present. This is often misdiagnosed as a deficiency, compounding the problem and causing great distress to your plants. Use a pH monitor and pH “Up” or “Down” as necessary.
Over time, nutrient salts build up inside your plants no matter how sparingly you apply fertilizer. For the last two weeks of flowering, water with plain water in order to leach out any excess minerals that will affect the taste and burnability of your finished material. Well-flushed pot burns cleanly, to a wispy white ash, while unflushed buds burn dark and resemble a piece of charcoal that requires constant re-lighting.
Pour the water until it flows out of the bottom of your containers. Don’t be alarmed if you see some slight yellowing or fall colors developing on your fan leaves. This means that your efforts to reduce unnecessary elements trapped within plant cells are working.
After hanging to dry, your flowers must be cured in glass jars to slowly remove the remaining moisture and reduce the “grassy” smell and taste of chlorophyll. When cannabis is properly cured, subtle scents and flavors are revealed and the finished product gains in depth and complexity. The experience of consuming cured flowers will convince a true aficionado to never smoke commercial-grade uncured cannabis again.
When the drying branches snap instead of bending, place the buds into sealed glass jars kept in a cool dark place. Heat and light will quickly degrade the essential oils containing the precious terpenes, cannabinoids and flavinoids. Open the jars daily to “burp them” releasing the moist air and replacing it with fresh air. After a few weeks or more of curing, your buds will taste and smoke perfectly.
Now that you’ve absorbed these tips and tricks for growing better-tasting pot, you can apply what you’ve learned in the growroom. Your attention to detail will pay off with flavorful weed that reaches its full potential. So fire up a joint of your favorite bud, plant some seeds and get growing!