It has been a while since I last updated and I want to take a moment to reflect on my first time experience with growing marijuana legally in Michigan.
The quick summary is, if anything could go wrong it did.
Here is a list of main errors I made and other negative developments I experienced during my first time growing legal recreational marijuana in Michigan:
Not Understanding the Growing Medium Well
Coming from a soil based gardening background, this time I went with Coco Coir. The main thing is that Coco Coir needs to be always wet. Initially I was thinking in terms of soil with a wet, dry rotation. This held the plants back for a few weeks early on, therefore reducing the overall efficiency of the grow.
Poor Trimming and Training Techniques
I really didn’t do much trimming and no training of the plants. This lead to small colas and a bunch of “popcorn” buds. Consequently, reducing the overall yield.
Too Many Plants
With the excitement of being able to legally grow marijuana for personal use in Michigan, I went all in with a full 12 plants. This was way too many plants for two, 4 ft. x 4ft. grow tents. As the plants continued to grow, they definitely crowded and competed with for light.
Beyond the size, 12 plants is just too many for a first time grower with little experience to manage.
In retrospect, I feel like I could have the same yield or better with half the plants that were properly trimmed, trained and not crowding each other.
Improper Ventilation in the Grow Room
Again, inexperience got me here. I was venting air out of the grow tents, but not out of the room that contained the tents. By the end of the grow, the room was consistently very humid to the point of mold growing on the walls. Entering the room was like someone was taking a shower in there constantly. You need to vent out of the room entirely.
This did not really affect the plants, but it did mess up my grow room to the point of I had to clean the walls thoroughly with bleach and repaint. Lesson learned for future grows. Now I vent air outside.
None of the other problems or errors I created, compare to the destructive power of spider mites. I will go into more detail about my experience with spider mites in a separate post, but for now the main thing to know is spider mites will destroy the entire grow.
Closing in on the last couple weeks of the vegetative stage (about 4 weeks into vegetative phase from clones), my plants started to show some silky webs. Thinking to myself, “Hmm, maybe there was a spider in here somehow.” I was such a naive fool.
I did not know it then, but by the time you see the webs of spider mites, it’s already too late.
Even after I saw the webs I didn’t think to do anything about it. It just didn’t click that there was even such a thing as spider mites. The webs got worse, encompassing entire leaves…
Still I was thinking from the perspective of how could there possibly be bugs in a brand new grow room. I started to research. I am pretty sure at this point that there were spider mites or eggs on the clones to begin with.
The grow is already over and I didn’t have the experience to recognize it.
Once I did see the problem, I researched how to get rid of spider mites and took a variety of steps to combat the problem.
I thought I could save my plants. Even got to the point of thinking I had overcome the spider mites.
I watched the plants closely for weeks. Going into bloom, buds are forming and I feel like the grow is going OK.
Wrong!. The spider mites are back and this time, forming webs on the buds!
In the day or so I spent trying to decide what the next step should be, the spider mites exploded and pretty much took over one grow tent.
The plants crowding in the tents mean the spider mites spread that much more quickly plus the untrimmed and untrained plants made it that much harder to target all of the leaves.
It was a spider mite paradise.
The only thing that saved me was one tent was less infested than the other. In the more infested tent, I pulled all 6 plants and threw them out. About 2 weeks before harvest. It was heart breaking.
In the less overrun tent, I had 6 plants left. Might as well try to save them. I went all out with the natural remedies for controlling spider mites.
In the end, I was able to eek out a harvest.
Out of the 6 overgrown, untrained, spider mite damaged plants minus the tiny buds, I harvested a little over 6 ounces. About an ounce a plant.
Michigan First Legal Marijuana Grow Final Thoughts
If I were to buy 6 ounces of marijuana at a dispensary in Michigan, that would be about $1,200.00. In that sense, I feel like I paid for most of the equipment from the yield of the first grow.
For the quality of the flowers, I would say they were at the minimum level of acceptable, at best. I would be embarrassed to share them with anyone, but good enough for my personal enjoyment.
As I come to starting my second legal recreational marijuana grow in Michigan, I feel a little more confident with all of the knowledge gained from the first grow.
Lessons definitely learned.
Hopefully someone else will be able to benefit from the errors and challenges I came across during my first marijuana growing attempt in Michigan.