Are you thinking about growing cannabis for the first time, but are afraid it will take too much time? Or maybe you have been growing for years, but feel like caring for your plants is too time-consuming.
Every single growing style has its pros and its cons. There are ways to grow cannabis that take a lot of time tending the plants, but there are setups that do a lot of the work for you so you don’t spend as much time on them day-to-day.
Even a few small adjustments can make a big difference!
As you go through this article you’ll realize that you can’t do all of these things at once, but this list will give you several ideas on how to shave off time depending on your personal grow style!
1.) Choose a Less Time-Consuming Setup
Your responsibilities as a grower change quite a bit depending on how you set up your garden in the beginning. I’ve included some info (and the pros and cons) for cannabis grow setups that tend to be the least time-intensive for growers.
Grow with Super Soil
“Super soil” is a term sometimes used in the growing cannabis community to describe amended & composted soil. Super soil is formulated to give cannabis roots an environment where you don’t need to worry about pH or nutrients.
In a lot of ways, growing with super soil is what people “expect” growing cannabis in soil to be like. You put your seeds in a pot with the soil, and water your plants when they’re thirsty. Other than that the soil takes care of providing nutrients to the roots.
Why super soil? Cannabis plants have unique nutrient needs and use such high levels of nutrients that you will quickly start seeing nutrient deficiencies when using other growing mediums (like regular potting soil or coco coir) unless you provide nutrients with your water and regularly check the pH (which makes nutrients more available to your plant). Measuring out nutrients and checking the pH can take several minutes every time you mix up your water.
With super soil, instead of adding nutrients to your water, you pack the soil with natural sources of nutrients that slowly break down over the course of your grow, feeding even the voracious nutrient appetite of a cannabis plant. Instead of managing the pH so nutrients are able to be absorbed by your plant, the composting process enlists the help of microorganisms in the soil to do that work for you.
Super soil and hydroponics are very different from each other. In fact you could say they’re pretty much on complete opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to grow styles. Yet they have one thing in common; they are both good at doing a lot of the work on their own so you don’t have to, even if they save time in completely opposite ways…
In hydro, the cannabis roots are grown directly in a reservoir of nutrient water.
When growing in a container, even with super soil, your plant roots enjoy wet/dry spells, and do best being watered every few days. Each time you water your plants, you ideally need to wait for extra runoff water to come out the bottom, then remove the runoff so your roots aren’t sitting in it. For us that can end up taking 10 minutes or more if we have a couple plants (we’ll share some tricks below on how to make that process go faster).
With a hydroponic setup your plant roots live in a water reservoir so you never have to worry about runoff water, and because a water reservoir can hold a lot of water at once it means you can go long periods of time without having to water your plants.
With hydro a large reservoir can hold enough water to last for days, or even weeks in the early stages of a plants life. Some days, all that’s needed is just a quick visual check-in if anything at all!
Additionally, if you make up big batches of water each time, you can often go a long time between having to mix batches. That way when your reservoir water does get low you can simply fill it up again with your “reserve” nutrient water. We’ll talk about this a little bit more below, but the type of non-organic nutrients that are used for hydroponics can be pre-mixed with water for several weeks without any problems. This lets you focus on caring for your plants and training them instead of worrying about mixing up new water all the time.
As a bonus, plant grow faster hydroponically than any other grow style,which means you spend less time waiting for harvest time!
To be continued…