Successful cannabis cultivation isn’t about knowing every rule in the book. If anything, it’s simply about avoiding the kinds of mistakes that could compromise the quality of your crop.

As a first-time home grower, it’s almost impossible not to let your enthusiasm get the best of you. Whether you’re planning on growing a single cannabis plant or set up a veritable cannabis farm, you’ll want to produce as much weed as possible as quickly as possible.

This being the biggest rookie error of all – attempting to rush things.

Just as long as you’re willing to take your time, cultivating cannabis at home can be surprisingly simple. It’s called ‘weed’ for a reason – give it what it needs and it will grow like there’s no tomorrow.

So for those setting things up at home for the first time, here’s a quick rundown of 10 ways most first-time cannabis cultivators go wrong:

1.  Starting out with bad genetics

First up, you cannot and will not produce decent cannabis if you start out with poor genetics. This refers to the seeds or clones you use to get your grow underway in the first place. If the cannabis seeds or cuttings you buy are not of the highest possible quality, everything else is inconsequential. Do yourself a favour and ensure this is an area where you never cut corners under any circumstances. Seriously – you’d be better with six high-quality seeds than 60 low-grade seeds that won’t even pop.

2.  Using the lowest quality soil

Don’t make the mistake of thinking all soil is the same…it isn’t. The quality of the soil you use (assuming you use soil) will have a direct impact on everything that happens throughout your plants’ lives. Quality soil has just the right amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) to give your plants exactly what they need to thrive. By contrast, bargain basement soil is just generic dirt with little to no nutrient content whatsoever. You’ll be adding your own nutrients, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to start out with quality soil of the right consistency and with the appropriate nutrient content.

3.  Incorrect grow lamp positioning

There’s no point setting yourself up with decent grow lights, only to then go and position them inappropriately. If your grow lamps are positioned too far away from your cannabis plants, they will expend too much energy attempting to stretch towards the light, becoming thin and weak in the process. If your grow lamps are too close to your cannabis plants, they’ll overheat and perhaps burn.  It’s a careful balancing act, but one you absolutely must pull off.

4. Over or underwatering

Perhaps the single most common mistake of all is that of providing too much or too little water. Contrary to popular belief, you’re actually more likely to kill your cannabis plants by giving them too much water than too little. The exact amount of water needed will be determined by the size and nature of your grow, but there’s no need to add more until the top layer of soil (a couple of centimetres) is nice and dry.

5. Over or underfeeding

It’s the same with nutrient provision, as it’s natural to assume that more is better. In reality, providing your cannabis plants with more nutrients than they can handle is a guaranteed way of compromising or killing them. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter, while at the same time ensuring you provide the right mix of nutrients for the right stage – growth, flowering etc. If unsure, err on the side of caution and provide nutrients in modest amounts.

6.  Harvesting too late or too early

Determining the right time to harvest is something that comes with experience.  Not only this, but impatience gets the best of even the most experienced growers from time to time. Harvest your buds too early and they won’t have had enough time to produce all the precious cannabinoids they could have. By contrast, harvest your buds too late and the cannabinoids they contain could start to deteriorate. When your buds look perfectly sticky and the lower fan leaves on your plants are starting to turn yellow, this is usually indicative of a good time to harvest.

7.  Ignoring air quality

It’s not necessary to set up the most advanced and expensive air filtration and extraction system, in order to grow a decent crop of cannabis plants. However, it is absolutely necessary to keep tabs on air quality and circulation. Ensuring fresh air reaches every inch of your plants can be as easy and affordable as setting up one or two desktop oscillating fans. This is also the best way of making sure your plants don’t succumb to mould and mildew. Allow air to stagnate and you open the door to disaster.

8. Incorrect pH levels

Controlling soil pH levels isn’t nearly as difficult as you might expect. It’s simply a case of using an affordable measuring kit to see where things are at, before adding the products and solutions required to bring things back in line. A pH level that’s too high or too low compromises your plants’ capacity to extract key nutrients through their roots. An issue that can quickly lead to the deterioration or death of your cannabis plants.

9. Not doing enough homework

Every single answer and guideline you need to cultivate quality cannabis at home is already online. It’s also 100% free of charge to access, so there are really no excuses for not doing so. You’ll learn the most important lessons through experience, by this doesn’t mean that making it up as you go along is a good idea.  Knowledge is power, so make sure you do your homework.

10. Bragging incessantly

Last but not least, telling anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen about your cannabis plants is a terrible idea. Where cannabis cultivation is legal, it’s an extremely valuable commodity criminals always have their eye on. Where cannabis cultivation is illegal, being busted with a handful of plants could land you a spell behind bars. They say ‘loose lips sink ships’ – something to think about when setting up your first cannabis grow at home.