After a couple of interesting months, I finally concluded my first marijuana home growing journey. Technically this is the second time, but none of my plants survived past sprouting on my first attempt. Nevertheless, 5 plants managed to make it to harvest this time around, not in the best condition as I had to throw away a few bad buds but I would say that overall it was a success.
I had a total of 5 plants named after Star Trek, The Next Generation characters: Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, and Crusher. These were all White Widow autoflower plants grown from seeds that I bought from I Love Growing Marijuana. I used rockwool cubes to germinate them then transferred the sprouts to soil. It took me around 119 days to grow them, from 5/23/2020 to 09/19/2020 outdoors on my balcony in Southern California.
Since I chose to use soil as a medium for my grow, my equipment list was pretty minimal.
- 10×20 grow tray – for holding clippings and branches
- Powder free nitrile gloves – prevent hands from getting sticky
- Foldable hangers – for drying trimmed plant branches
- Mason jars – for storing and curing trimmed flowers
- Air purifier (Winix 5500-2) – for circulating air and helping with odor control in drying room
The process of harvesting was pretty straightforward. First, I cut the main trunk of the plant from its base. Since these are relatively small plants, the branch shears went through them easily. I washed all of these branches after, you can find instructions on how to wash your marijuana on this post.
Next, I cut the individual branches off from the main stalk. I then did some wet trimming and removed the larger, easier to access fan leaves off.
After removing all the excess water and moisture from the washed branches, I hung them in my drying room and the closet using the foldable hangers and left them to dry for around 12 days.
After drying, I cut the buds from the branches and did some dry trimming to remove some of the smaller leaves. All the trimmed buds went into the mason jars which went into the closet for curing.
Here are some of the things that I observed throughout the whole process…
- The most time consuming part of the process is trimming off the flowers and smaller leaves. It took me around 3 hours total. Make sure to set aside enough time for wet and dry trimming.
- I didn’t realize that I had an aphid infestation until harvest and had to throw away quite a few flowers because of this.
- I was dealing with spider mites throughout the whole grow cycle but during drying they started fleeing the plant as it dried out.
- Because of the pests, I put a sheet of paper under the hangers to catch the mites.
Improvements for Next Time
I learned that it’s important to have a keen eye for stuff every time you grow as these observations can help you improve your process for the next batch. If you have a similar grow setup to mine, these tips may help you out too.
- Be more vigilant about spider mites, aphids, and other pests during grow process (don’t let it get to infestation point during harvest)
- Use nutrients during each grow phase. Soil alone does not provide enough to sustain good flower and plant growth.
- Wash your buds and flowers after harvest. Aside from helping to get rid of spider mites and aphids, it can also clean off dirt and debris.
- I might consider getting machine trimmer like this: VIVOSUN 16 inch Bud Leaf Bowl Trimmer.
If you have a lot of flowers, the time savings could be great and worth it. Also, less cramping with the hands as spring-loaded clippers can fatigue hands quickly.
What I learned from the experience is that even though there are a lot of guides online on how to grow marijuana, and most of them say the same thing, nothing really beats the knowledge you gain from doing it yourself. If you’re a first-time grower, use the information you get online or from books as a guide but always be prepared for the unexpected. Another good thing to do is to engage other growers online, you can usually get specific, real-world advice that works from them.