Why You Should Keep A Grow Journal

Posted by Charles McElroy on

If you are a cannabis grower, keeping a journal is incredibly important.  The only way to repeat your successes, and truly learn a particular strain or grow style is to write down daily or weekly results, and build off of your progress. Much like the human body, every cannabis strain is unique and requires special attention during its growing term. Understanding these trends so you can tweak your regime before problems arise is incredibly important when growing quality buds.

6 reasons why you should be keeping a grow journal:
  1. It is easier to use in the garden.  There are a lot of great grower apps out there, but the garden isn’t always the best place for tech.  Digital screens are difficult to see under HID lighting (especially if you are wearing protective lenses) and if you are working in your grow, you probably have grubby or sticky hands (or gloves). All this makes it more difficult to engage with a touch screen.  If you wait to enter readings later, you risk forgetting or jumbling certain data points. Analog tools like pen & paper are a far better bet. Easy to see under any light, quick to enter your data, and doing it in the moment will allow you to be more observant and granular with your entries.
  2. It is a portable reference for the future. The ability to look back at past grows and see what feeding schedule, environmental conditions, and strain trends is very important when attempting to repeat successes.  Having this information documented in a physical journal ensures it is always available and can’t be deleted or inaccessible due to intermittent technology (like cloud drives or computer files).
  3. Writing boosts memory and comprehension.  The hand and the brain have a unique relationship.  When you write letters and words, you are communicating ideas and causing the mind to re-compose thoughts. This process will actually improve your memory and understanding of the content that you write. This is helpful to anyone hoping to more better understand & improve their growing operation.  Not only are you keeping valuable notes, but you are helping your mind memorize the data.
  4. It gives you the complete picture. In addition to the obvious entry points (nutrient recipe, strain details, feeding plan) a journal is open ended and will let you document other important factors such as the subtleties of deficiency problems, short term anomalies or equipment failures that may affect your results.  Keeping detailed notes on the seemingly normal parts of your grow are very important since these factors can impact final yield and quality. Finding a journal that offers a templated approach will help you fill in the gaps you might not know to include.
  5. You’re creating your own database. The utter variety of seeds and genetics available to growers is astounding.  It makes it difficult to compare one cannabis grow to another, even if the same process is followed. Keeping thorough notes on both environment and strain-specific details -- factors like grow speed, leaf colors, and vigor is very important. This will help you when you grow the same strain again.  You will be able to get in front of any hurdle before it becomes a problem (like a need for higher concentrations of a particular nute, or sensitivity to pH at a certain phase of the grow cycle).
  6. Discretion.  Certainly worth mentioning is the need for privacy.  Regardless of the legality of where you set up your grow operation, you’ll likely want to keep your records private.  With all of the new tech available to security agencies, hackers and about anyone else, storing your data in an app or online (cloud drives) is a slippery slope, and a data breach could happen at any point without your knowledge.  A physical journal is the best way to protect yourself and your intellectual property.
There are plenty of quality blank journals out there. But if you are looking for a more sophisticated solution, consider a journal by Goldleaf. We make a first-of-its-kind series of journals specially designed for cannabis cultivators and it takes a lot of the guesswork out of entering the vital data. It also makes referencing past grows a breeze.

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