People have been growing cannabis for centuries, and many have gotten it down to a science. However, when you do any process on a large scale, you will inevitably run into hiccups and snafus.
Successful cannabis growth requires a precise joining of science and business expertise—a combination that’s tough to come by. Read on to learn nine mistakes cannabis cultivators must avoid if they want consistent success.
Not Designing Your Facility Thoughtfully
It’s understandable to want to set up your facility quickly so you can start doing the job you want to do—growing cannabis. That way, you get your product out to customers as fast as possible and start making back your investment. Unfortunately, cutting corners during the initial stages is a surefire way to set yourself up for trouble down the road.
You never know which inefficiencies will create massive headaches down the line, so it’s best to devote the proper time up-front to ensure your facility opens in peak condition.
Where do you begin? As with any enterprise, the ideal cannabis growing facility needs to start with a business plan. When you know your exact operational needs for each step of the cultivation process, then you can begin to design your facility.
Starting With Bad Clones or Seeds
If you start with lopsided bricks when building a house, the whole house will be askew by the end of the process. You must begin your business with genetically stable plants from reputable breeders—anything else is a gamble. Sure, maybe you save a few bucks (maybe you save a lot of money), but the havoc that bad clones can cause is not worth the savings.
When buying clones or seeds, make sure to see examples of adult plants and obtain your cuttings or seeds yourself, in person.
Not Optimizing and Tracking Plant Growth
Many cannabis cultivators wish that their weed would, well, grow like a weed.
Some strains grow more quickly than others, while more still could use some optimization. Each strain of cannabis in your facility will have a unique growth rate, and determining what this number is can help you grow more effectively.
While it may feel time-consuming in the moment, tracking plant growth is an incredibly helpful investment for the future. With enough data on a particular strain, you’ll be able to see information on the yield and potency of your plants and ultimately pick out which plants aren’t growing optimally.
When you “set it and forget it,” you run the risk of competitors continually optimizing their plant growth and leaving you behind. Of course, there is a moment when you’ll receive diminishing returns, which is why you need to be tracking your plant growth. When you optimize too much and notice growth slowing down, dial it back a bit and aim for consistency.
Thinking Horticulture Experience Is Cannabis Experience
Horticulture experience and cannabis experience are both helpful when starting a cannabis business, but you really need a combination of both. The best facilities have experts in a few fields to aid with various steps of the process. Without expertise, you can’t hope to grow plants at their full potential, and you’re far more likely to run into problems as you try to move forward.
When that happens, you’ll find yourself falling short of your goals, which could be damaging to your business, depending on how much leeway you’ve given yourself.
Not Considering Pests
No one wants to think about pests, but you need to at every step of the process. From preventative care to swift action when the signs arise, pests need to be one of the top concerns on your mind during the whole process.
You can begin your pest control while designing your facility—air curtains and sterile growing rooms are great places to start, followed by compartmentalized grow spaces. When growing begins, you should set up monitoring procedures to watch out for pests. You can also use foliar essential oils to ward off pests.
Finally, when the inevitable pest invasion does happen, you need to respond in a flash. Eliminate the problem, figure out where it came from, and plug the leak. It may sound a bit dramatic, but pests have an easy time demolishing whole crops—meaning that pests really do warrant the drama.
No one wants to hit a bottleneck in production—that’s why you and your team need to come up with plans for unexpected hiccups. When there’s miscommunication between departments and your clones are ready to move to their new homes, but your vegetative plants aren’t movable yet, what do you do?
Your production process should take into account every step and have fail-safes for when unavoidable problems arise. Simple upgrades like a debudder machine can speed up parts of your process to allow you to automate and manage your timeline more effectively.
Thinking All Cannabis Plants Grow the Same Way
It’s a mistake to assume that all cannabis plants are created equal—some require more humidity, others require lower temperatures. If you’re working with multiple strains, you’ll want to set up different environments to ensure all your crops have the best chance to grow optimally.
You can separate large grow rooms into unique areas with a fertigation system that delivers different nutrients to different areas.
Failing To Cultivate Relationships With Equipment Suppliers
As in many other industries, it’s all about who you know. It’s no secret that growing cannabis is popular nowadays, and with increased demand comes reduced supply—supply of suppliers, that is. It’s as important to cultivate good relationships with your suppliers as it is to properly cultivate your plants.
When you have a good working relationship, they’ll be able to aid you more effectively when you’re running low on supplies or have an equipment malfunction.
Not Providing Proper Training to Employees
Growing cannabis is a complicated process, which is why it’s crucial to provide proper training to your employees. Without it, they’re far more likely to cause problems than solve them. As with many other parts of the cannabis industry, investing time and energy into your new employees will prove worthwhile.
Now that you know the nine mistakes cannabis cultivators must avoid, optimize your business and your growth rates—your competitors will be shaking in their boots!