Welcome back first time grower. In last week’s piece we looked at the steps you would need to take to undertake your first grow. Those steps included: Environment, Airflow, Lighting, Timers and Medium. In this continuation of getting started with your first grow we will look at the final steps needed.

Nutrients
Keep it simple. The plants need three main nutrients to survive: N-Nitrogen, P-Phosphorus, K-Potassium. In addition to these main nutrients there are also micronutrients, which are crucial for the plants well being. However, if you are just starting out it would be easiest to use a one-part organic nutrient designed for grow and one for flowering that contains all of the essential elements needed. This could always be supplement with an organic top booster during the flowering phase. I would recommend a company called Bio Bizz as their nutrient line is simple to use and quite forgiving. This means that unless you completely overdo, it’s hard to burn your plants. This is where the next point comes in handy.

Meters
It’s very important that you measure the PH and the EC of your nutrient solution. The PH of the water when growing in soil should be between six and seven, while the EC should not go higher than 1.8 or you might risk burning your plants. EC in laymen’s terms is Electro Conductivity it will tell you how much of your nutrients are present in the water. A great rule of thumb is to use half the amount specified on the label.

Watering
This is a super-important aspect of growing and often the one where it goes really wrong. The key here is to find the balance between overwatering and under-watering. “The best tip I can give you is to pick up your pots.” Feel your plants. Water them and pick up the bucket to see what a full bucket feels like, then wait two-three days and pick them up again. Really let yourself get a feel for what a full bucket feels like and what an empty one feels like. This way you will get a sense for what the perfect amount of water is. Leaves are also a good indication, however you shouldn't let your plants get to that state. In the below photo you can see really droopy leaves this is a clear sign that the plant needs water.

Genetics
This is an incredibly important aspect of your grow. For a first-time grower I would recommend using female seeds, this will make your grow much easier as you will be guaranteed to have an all-female room. However keep a close eye on your plants, as from my experience the potential chance for hermaphrodites in feminized seed is high. When selecting a seed company I recommend going with one that has been established for many years or is run by people with a lot of experience.

Trimming/Cruing
This is an equally important part of the grow. How to know when they are ready? You should invest in a loupe or miniature microscope, its always best to look at your crystals and cut them down once you have around 20 percent amber heads. The heads are the tops of the trichomes and look like little balls on top of stalks. These domes change from clear to cloudy to amber. When there is about 20 percent amber color they are ready to harvest. Alternatively if you don't have a mini scope or loupe I would suggest going five days over the recommended flowering period, so if your plants are ready in 63 days then go to 68. They really pack on the weight in the last few days as they get more ripe.

When your plants are finally ready cut them down and hang them upside down in a dark place with a steady temperature and even humidity roughly between 30 and 40 percent. Once your plants are hung wait about a five days to a week until they are somewhat dry. Then start manicuring them. This means trimming all the big leaves off first while they are still hanging. Then trim the smaller leaves. If possible trim over a fine screen as you will be rewarded with some nice hash. Also save your fine trim for use as bubble hash or oil making material. Once your buds are trimmed put them into a glass jar, then open and close them for a week letting them air out for about an hour or two. After another week you will have amazing buds. Happy growing!!