So you’re new to growing cannabis? If you’re looking for your first strain, the choice can be overwhelming. Back in the day (or so I’m told) you had essentially two options - Skunk, or Northern Lights - but these days, things have moved on somewhat. There are a mind-blowing number of strains available, and many potential pitfalls that you, as a novice, are likely to run into. But with the right advice you should be able to avoid most if not all of them. Just remember, your first attempt will not be perfect. So don’t panic if and when something goes wrong.
This is important. It can be sorely tempting (especially if you have money in your pocket) to buy the most expensive seeds on the market. After all, if they’re more expensive they’re bound to be better, right? Well, not necessarily, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
When you’re starting out, it’s best to leave the top shelf strains to the experts, at least for your first crop. You need to remember that, no matter how much research and reading you’ve done, you are not an expert, not when you haven’t even got one crop under your belt. There are many things that can go wrong, and even the best growers still experience problems like pests, or mould. It’s going to be a lot more painful to lose a crop you paid £12 per seed for than one that cost you £20 for 5 or 10 seeds.
So keep it cheap, for now. Get a few practice runs under your belt and you’ll be moving on to the high grade in no time.
Indica or Sativa?
This one is a little trickier, and depends on your circumstances to some extent. The accepted wisdom is that indicas are a safer bet for novice growers, due in large part to their shorter flowering time. When you’re new to the game, it can already seem like it takes forever to grow, harvest, dry, and cure your buds to a point where they’re ready to be consumed, so adding on the extra time needed for a sativa to flower is not generally considered a good idea. If nothing else, more time spent growing means more time for things to go wrong.
Indicas are also generally more forgiving of mistakes than sativas, and as I keep mentioning, you are likely to make a few. But having said that, it may well be that your choice depends on your needs. Not everyone likes the couch lock effect that is associated with indica dominant strains, and some need sativas for medical reasons, so to some extent this is down to you.
But if you’re not specifically in need of a sativa, your best bet is to play it safe with an indica. You can always mix things up a little in future grows.
Feminised or Non-Feminised?
If you’ve taken on board what I said in point number 1, and are now scouring the web for the cheapest strains available, you’re going to need to slow down. It’s not quite as simple as that.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that some strains are labelled ‘feminised,’ whilst others are called ‘ regulars.’ Regardless of how tempted you are by the often low prices of regular seeds, I wouldn’t recommend going for them for your first grow. You want to keep potential problems to a minimum, and one of the easiest ways of doing that is by paying a little extra for the piece of mind of knowing that your plants are all going to be females.
The last thing you want is to not notice a male plant in your grow, and to find after weeks (if not months) of hard work, that he has ruined everything for you.
A third option is to go for autoflowering seeds. These are a relatively new phenomenon, and can be a great option for a novice grower as they combine pretty much everything you’re looking for in a plant - they’re usually fairly cheap, feminised, and indica dominant, and are extremely forgiving. They’ll grow pretty much anywhere, and quickly.
The downside is that the plants they produce will be smaller, and will therefore yield far less bud. Again, this does come down to personal preference. My advice would be that if you’re a recreational user experimenting with growing your own supply, autoflowers are a great place to start. But if you’re a medical user, or just need a large yield, they’re probably not for you.
Quality Autoflowering Strains
- Autoflowering strains are cheaper, more forgiving and suit many climates
- Remember, that autoflowering plants will produce smaller yields than feminised or regular plants
Indoor or outdoor?
Whether you choose to grow indoor or outdoor pretty much comes down to where you live, and whether you’re prepared to put in a little extra effort. In terms of making it easier for yourself, indoor is definitely the way to go. It allows you much greater control over the environment in which your plants are growing, but it does have drawbacks. Namely the initial cost of setting up, and the future costs of electricity and what your increased energy usage might be doing to the planet.
Once you’ve made a decision on where you want to grow, you will have narrowed down your choice of seeds somewhat. Certain strains are better suited to outdoor growing - these are usually the more traditional, landrace varieties from the Middle East, Africa, and the Himalayas - whilst more modern hybrids have usually been developed for indoor growing. That’s not to say you can’t switch them around, but it’s a good rule of thumb, which you need when you’re just starting out. Once again, you can always experiment later.
Armed with this information, you should now be able to make an informed decision about which seeds are right for you. But remember, this is just a guide, and will by no means guarantee success. You might also choose to ignore me, which is entirely up to you, especially if you have money to burn and a soft spot for American hybrids that cost a fortune and are only available as regulars.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice, but the important thing to remember is that even with all the planning in the world, things can - and probably will, at some point - go wrong. Don’t despair when they do, there’s always next time, and practice does indeed make perfect.
Best Growing Outdoor Strains
- Indoor allows for greater control over your plant
- Setting up plants indoors can be expensive
Recommended Indoor Strains
- Traditional, landrace strains are more suited to outdoor set ups
- Setting up plants outdoors will require less financial input.
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