Crawl Before You Walk
It’s understandable, but far too often we see newbies trying to jump directly into the deep end of cultivating their own medicinal plants. Novices try to start off with a half dozen plants, squeezed into the tiny space your living situation permits, and giddy giggling about what they hope to produce. 🤨 Sound familiar?
You’ve heard about just how little it will cost you to produce a product that typically sells for $200-400+ an ounce… And you can harvest a ton of it per plant?! 🤑 Who wouldn’t be excited to dive right in?
And then we get to see or hear aaaaall about their frustrations... Because it's not always easy as you might think. There's many paths, and some are difficult!
Once you start reading about cultivation of even just one popular crop, you’ll find out just how deep it really goes. There’s enough info out there to make you a student for life - because you can never stop learning, just like art. New techniques, new products, new types of plants, literally tens of thousands of methodologies, and even more ways of stressing or encouraging plants to grow in a certain way are all out there - already discovered, well proven by others, and waiting for you to learn about.
Each one of these different choices for cultivation can be mastered or partially incorporated into how you end up choosing to grow.
But if you lack experience, you don’t want to make a massive investment only to fail big as well. Don’t think that you will necessarily be one of the fraction of new growers who grow top shelf on the first try. You might, but chances are good you might do okay or maybe you’ll think you did well but really grew something you wouldn’t touch even just 1-2 years from now, let alone after you've been growing over a few decades.
I regularly hear people ask “But how many plants can I grow in X space?” If you’re starting with less than 9 square feet - you might not like hearing it but start with 1 plant at a time! Flowering and fruiting plants can grow enormous before producing their final products. And no, that doesn’t mean you need to start with more than 9sq ft… Start small because the smaller grow space can always be utilized differently as you expand your grow or just as another separate chamber.
Plus, the more plants you have then the more variables you will run into - how tall they get, when they finish (a big problem if you plan to dry in the same space you grow in), and often they will eat food and drink water very differently to boot! ...And of course, with seeds costing what they do, you don't want to plant $100 and end up with significantly less than $100 value of end product.
Start small, you can always expand as you master things. No need to start with a 10'x10' room right away, your first 2'x4' grow tent might become a tent just for your moms or maybe it'll just be for cloning - you can always upgrade later when you're ready for it.
“What about growing in rockwoold? No wait, how about coco…? But, wait - in a drain-to-waste or flood and drain style - no, deep water cultivation, ooooh but what about fogponics?!”
👀 Look, if you’ve never harvested a plant before or had limited success, why make it more complicated than it needs to be? You can always start in something simple such as supersoil and literally just add water - no need to pH - and be very successful!
“So I wanted to try ‘air-cloning?’” “How do I make water soluble calcium from oyster shells - does it matter if they’re clam shells?” “Can I grow horizontally or downwards like a hanging tomato basket?” “I already use X nutrients but the guy at the grow store gave me this bottle of Y, how do I start using that in my regimen?” 😮💨 Oh boy...
More often than not, I’ve seen new growers throw the kitchen sink at their plants and it comes out worse than it would have if they just stuck with a simple plan. Again, why make things more complicated than they need to be? If you can easily and cheaply purchase a product at a store, do that before you invest in the full KNF regimen of making your own inputs, grow a few plants one way before you try another method, and stick to a plan to go from start to finish without making a lot of tweaks to it!
And if you’re being guided, make sure you have a quality teacher to help you who won’t be throwing too much at you at once… Because there’s a lot to learn about cultivating any plants and the bottom line is if you ask 10 growers how to do it, you’ll probably get over 100 answers.
We all find what works for us and sometimes the people who are the best at performing a duty are not always the best to teach it - not all great students make great teachers, ya know? Find someone who practices empathy, has a game plan and a whole lot of methods of troubleshooting said game plan - who has your back and a proven track record for helping others - and then listen to them. That’s the quickest route to success, the quickest way to start your journey from a scruffy nerf herder to master in no time.
Written by Kyle Hamilton. Kyle leads the Concierge Support team at Green Goddess Supply, makers of personal home grow systems, helping first-time growers to learn and be successful.