Why you should keep a grow diary and how to do it
For many professional, licensed cannabis growers, keeping a grow journal is a non-negotiable, mandatory part of their job. A grow journal records all important aspects of the grow area and allows you to record your successes and failures. For home growers, a grow diary allows a step-by-step record of the grow and is often a useful way for growers to spot things that are going well and not so well for each strain. A grow diary helps you record small, but perhaps important aspects of your grow which otherwise may be forgotten when the next grow starts.
What is a cannabis grow journal / diary?
A grow diary is simply a record of all the important aspects of your grow. Many of the most experienced growers keep detailed records of growth, nutrients and general observations in a grow diary/journal. If you have an eye for detail, there is a lot to monitor. Each strain often has their own particular tendencies when it comes to rates of growth and nutrient appetite at various stages of development.
How much stretch do they show? Final height reached in bloom? Compatibility with SCROG? There’s a lot of going on in a typical cannabis grow. A journal can capture all the details as well as offering some surprising benefits which can help you fine tune conditions for future grows and ultimately help you become a better grower!
Keeping an accurate mental record of all the details from years of growing is beyond most of us. Keeping a written/digital diary allows you to keep a record of the things which went well. These learnings can become permanent improvements for future grows. In addition a cannabis grow journal can highlight any errors you made (such as over/under feeding) and will act as a reminder to avoid the same mistake again.
The main three benefits of a cannabis grow diary are as follows:
- Build a strong working knowledge of each strain you grow and rate them accurately. Record and remember growth in veg and stretch in bloom. Note length of bloom and final height for each phenotype and rate the yield, ease of growth and smoke/vape quality. A grow diary can help you fine-tune conditions for future grows allowing you to fully optimise conditions for your preferred cannabis strains.
- Help optimise your future grows. Understand which of your actions and plant management techniques produced the best results. How did the plants respond to your lighting, grow method and general approach? Do some strains fit your grow style better than others? How can you further optimise your grow room and environment for future grows?
- Build a permanent record of your successes and failures for future reference. Improving your grow skills comes with experience. Writing down your results, both good and bad, creates a permanent record for you to refer to in future grows. The discipline of recording your grows also helps you remember more from them, such as fine details of your nutrient management for each strain at each stage of growth, the distance from the light to the canopy, grow room temperature range, grow room humidity at different stages of the year, pH & EC levels, drying/curing details etc.
Key grow room data every grower should track
Seasoned professional growers record as many details as they can from the grow and review it all after harvest. Even small, but potentially important data, such as slight pH variations in tap water throughout the year will be useful for the master grower intent on bossing all aspects of their grow. Other, more obvious parameters, such as growth rates, nutrient consumption and the lighting levels which work best for each strain will also be recorded.
Home growers in areas where cultivation has not yet been fully legalised may prefer to keep digital, rather than paper, grow journals perhaps with password protection for added security. The level of detail you wish to record is up to you. Most people start observing and collecting data on the basic grow room parameters initially.
Once growers realise how useful the process is and how helpful it is for optimising future grows, people often start to record even more data. Ultimately the goal of a grow journal is to improve your understanding and awareness of grow room variables. This in turn allows you to develop and improve your experience and skill, allowing finer quality harvests and better production from your grow space.
Three of the most useful areas to focus your grow diary on are:
Plant growth characteristics
How did the strain grow? What about differences between phenotypes? Does the strain suit your particular grow style? (e.g. SCROG growing, natural growing etc). What about plant height and stretch – does that fit your grow tent and grow method? Was your plant a fussy feeder? – if so keeping a cannabis grow diary you keep can help you optimise nutrient management on subsequent grows.
Many growers also record their personal feelings about each strain as they grow. Did the cannabis seeds grow easily with a wide latitude or were they tricky to grow? Would you grow this strain again or would you make some serious changes to the grow room first?
Grow room conditions
It can take a grower several grows to really get their grow environment fully dialled in. Keeping a grow journal can help in every important aspect. You can monitor grow room temperatures throughout the grow and at different times of the year. Your findings could help you optimise future grows, perhaps by adding heat/air-con in different seasons. Likewise, measuring relative humidity (‘RH’) can be vital, some growers can hit serious issues if they repeatedly encounter high RH levels in late bloom with mold-prone strains.
Some growers monitor the distance from the canopy to the grow light, diligently noting the best hanging heights. Those that grow with real passion may buy, borrow or rent a light meter (e.g. Apogee MQ 500 or the more affordable SpotOn Quantum meter). With a light meter you can create a map of light intensities (PPFD light levels) in a grid pattern in your grow room at various light hanging heights.
Yield & smoke/vape quality
The final weight of cured, dry buds from each plant/strain is often regarded as a crucial piece of information from any grow. So is the vape review, no-one wants to be a repeat grower of sub-standard genetics.
Top growers take their comparative strains assessments seriously. Strains that suit them the most are grown again. Cannabis seeds which produce poor results can be ignored in future grows. Any autoflower seeds or feminised seeds which produce banging results are added to your list of preferred strains!
Many growers routinely monitor temperature, extraction fan settings, watering/feeding frequency and any other factors which could influence their grow such as plant container size. Even the brand of grow medium/nutrients can be useful for future grows.
Expert growers will note when they started UVA/UVB supplementation and the impacts it had on potency and terpene profile. Even smaller details such as the various settings for your extraction fan at each stage of growth and when your carbon filter was last replaced can be potentially vital. So can be records of when you last calibrated/replaced your pH/EC meters.
The level of detail you keep in your cannabis grow journal is up to you. But in general it is recommended that you start by recording the data which is most important to you and slowly expand your data-monitoring as your experience and enthusiasm for it increases. Remember that the top growers didn’t get there by accident, it’s the result of many years of education and self improvement. Keeping a grow journal can be a great help in this regard.
Dutch Passion cannabis seeds grow log
Did you recently achieve a successful harvest from Dutch Passion seeds? Please share your experience with us through the online grow log available below or bookmark this link to complete your full review at a later time.
How to keep your grow report up-to-date
Often the enthusiastic grower needs little motivation to keep their cannabis grow journal updated. For them the greatest reward is continuous improvement of their crop quality and grow skills.
You may just wish to make weekly updates to give you an overview of each grow which you can quickly refer to. Or, if you’re a legal licensed grower your job description may require you to log numerous data points each and every day in order to have full process control over all variables, no matter how small.
In all cases, the over-riding purpose of a cannabis grow diary is to record information which helps you grow better next time. Take some time to think which aspects of your grows you would most like to record and measure. Keeping a grow diary, especially if you’re just making weekly updates, often takes no more than a minute or two.
Weekly cannabis grow log template
If the idea of a grow diary appeals then you are definitely not alone. Lots of growers find that writing a cannabis grow journal helps then record and remember details that would otherwise simply be forgotten. Many people would also say that keeping a grow diary has helped them improve as a grower.
You are welcome to download our weekly grow log template. Print it out and fill it in by pen, or perhaps you prefer to keep a digital copy. It’s up to you what level of detail you keep – remember the only purpose is to help you improve your growing. Using the grow diary templates is highly recommended to growers of all types, it’s satisfying and enjoyable too. You will be surprised how quickly you will start absorbing the data and applying it to your grows. Better results and self-improvement can both be achieved with a simple, quick grow diary.
Good luck with yours! This could be the tool you need to move your results up to the next level!