The #1 Rule

The #1 Rule

We've been helping people grow for a long time at Cultivate. We opened our first store in 2009 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. And right from the start, our most common question from customers was, "How do I increase my yields?" This question has been asked repeatedly over the 13 years that we've been operating in Colorado. In fact, people had been asking me this question for years before I even started Cultivate.

Well, the question remains the same. It is still our number one question asked by commercial growers, home growers, mushroom growers, and cactus growers: "How do I increase my yields?" And the answer remains the same.

The number one thing you can do to improve your quality and yields is environmental control. Interestingly, quality and yields are closely linked, and it's difficult to achieve one without the other. Environmental control is something that anyone can do.

The first thing you need to do is understand your environmental standards and limitations. If you're growing plants, you need to research the VPD (Vapor Pressure Deficit) and establish the correct parameters for your cultivation. Don't rely on anecdotal information. Download a VPD chart and follow it. It's not that difficult.

Now that you know the parameters of your environment, you need to be able to control it. Most likely, you'll need an HVAC system or an exhaust system. HVAC is easy; you just set it and forget it. Exhaust fans, on the other hand, require a bit more attention. You'll need both an intake and exhaust fan, and you'll also need two controllers to independently control each fan. Remember, the exhaust fan controls humidity, while the intake fan controls temperature. They work together, but if you have a humidity problem, you control it with the exhaust fan. If you have a temperature problem, you control it with the intake fan.

If you're growing mushrooms or cactus, it's relatively easy. Most mushrooms have specific temperature and humidity requirements for mycelium growth and fruiting. Just look up the type of mushrooms you have and adjust your temperature and humidity accordingly.

Cacti are very tolerant, but they prefer warm and dry conditions. Don't forget that they also need water and nutrients. Invest in high-quality nutrients, heat mats, and good lights, and your cacti will thrive. Interestingly, some of our best cacti have been grown using "Canna" nutrients. While these nutrients are designed for flowering plants, they work great for cacti.

Lastly, remember to enjoy yourself. Don't compare your grow to the Instagram pros, and don't give up when you have a bad or failed crop.

- Chip Baker

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