By Danny Danko ~High times http://www.hightimes.com/read/seven-habits-highly-effective-pot-growers Beware of short cuts and quick fixes that minimize the hard work and focus required to prosper. An effective ganja garden always satisfies the needs of the grower who maintains the following seven important rules of conduct. Cleanliness: Proactivity isn’t just a boardroom cliché. Simple tasks such as picking up dead leaves and sweeping up debris shouldn’t wait until piles have accumulated. It’s a daily process that requires due diligence and leaves no time for slacking. Never allow pools of water to collect on the floor or under your plants. Check all surfaces daily for telltale signs of pests or molds, including the tops and bottoms of leaves, the surface of your growing medium, and the walls, ceiling and floor in your space. Change clothes before entering your growroom, especially if you’ve been outdoors recently. Some growers I’ve met have outfits by the door reserved for growroom use only. Above all, make it your mission to keep things clean. Your indoor garden is your laboratory, as well as your income provider, and will benefit tremendously when habitually kept spotless. Put down the bong, get off the couch and clean your growroom top to bottom. The work you do now will surely pay off in the end. Stealth: When it comes to your garden, whether medical or not, silence is always golden. It’s tempting to brag and show off your hard work but it can only lead to problems down the road. Growers who live “out in the open” tend to be the ones easily targeted by police and thieves. Never throw big parties or let people hang out all day smoking weed and don’t have traffic coming in and out all the time. Suspicious stuff like this has been the downfall of many a pot prospector. Create the illusion that you’re invisible and harmless to neighbors and simply another citizen going about your life. Whether purchasing lighting, moving equipment into your chosen space or interacting with locals, it always helps to keep a low profile. By the same token, don’t allow yourself to become too paranoid. Freaky behavior such as blocking off all your windows or avoiding interaction with neighbors is a tip off that something’s not right. Be friendly but not too friendly. Never panic or antagonize those around you – keeping the peace is always in your best interests if you want successful harvest after harvest. Realistic Expectations: Of course it’s important to be goal oriented, but never count pounds before they’re grown. Too many farmers spend time guessing the final weight of their crops only to be disappointed when the real tally doesn’t match their hopes. Try to ignore this tempting impulse and set your goals wisely and realistically. You’re not going to get 4 pounds per 1000-watt lamp every time out of the gate, no matter how great you grow. You’ll need to lower those outlandish kinds of expectations in order to maintain your motivation at all times, good and bad. A realistic grower considers many factors and weighs the pros and cons of all decisions and possible outcomes. Rent, electric and various equipment costs must be acknowledged and accounted for before embarking on a serious growing project. And unforeseen costs and glitches in scheduling and timing can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in expenses and months lost in unanticipated delays. Knowing and properly anticipating these type of events can be the difference between long-term success and season after season of frustration. Attentiveness to Plant Needs: Cannabis as a cultivar isn’t all that hard to please. Ask an orchid or African violet grower if you want a better understanding of fussy plants and how frustrating it can be to provide them with everything they need. You’ll find that there’s a good reason people call marijuana “weed.” Pot plants want to grow and will do just about anything to survive harsh environments. The idea is to provide the proper atmosphere at all times and severely limit fluctuations in temperature, feeding and airflow. In this way, you avoid the stress that can cause devastating delays in growth or worse. Be meticulous! Read books on cultivation (not just cannabis books) and pay attention to the theory as well as the execution. Understanding all elements of plant growth is an absolutely necessary skill that can’t be fudged for too long without problems arising. Pay attention to nutritional requirements during the various stages and act accordingly. Your final results will astound you! Curiosity: Never decide that your way is the best or only way to grow great buds. You should always stay on the lookout for new techniques and new strains to satisfy your inquisitive nature and expand your pot palette. Too many growers get bogged down by their own stubborn nature and decide to stick to their guns regarding everything they’ve learned up until that point, when the idea is to challenge yourself always and keep your ear to the ground for new ideas. This means experimenting from time to time. If something new can raise your yield by even 5 percent, that’s a substantial increase in efficiency that you can continue to build upon and tweak. The curious grower never discounts new ideas, equipment or techniques without proper analysis. A good experiment won’t endanger your whole grow. Try a new nutrient on one plant and see how it responds. Always be measured and patient without allowing yourself to become wary of all new techniques. Expert growers learn something new with every harvest. The key to staying ahead of the curve is to allow your curiosity to flourish. Patience: Many a promising garden’s been torn down prematurely either due to financial troubles, paranoia or family obligations. Sometimes even greed can rear its ugly head, causing profit margins to become more important than pot perfection. Plants must complete their life cycle to fulfill their true destiny and it’s your responsibility as a cannabis grower to do everything in your power to make that happen. Don’t let impatience cloud your vision. You didn’t expend all that energy only to jump the gun and harvest a crop that never got a chance to reach it’s true potential. Sure, it still might get people high, but did you really need that dough or vacation bad enough to yank your harvest too soon? Patience means you’re in this thing for the long haul, not the quick score. Plant a few long-flowering sativas once in a while and you’ll find that the extra time spent develops into more complex flavors and highs. Same thing goes for drying and curing. Freshly chopped pot plants are about 70 percent liquids and it will take some time to properly remove that water-weight. Quickly dried buds taste poorly and smoke even worse. Take your time and you’ll be rewarded with a final product worthy of your efforts. Humility: Remember, it’s not a contest. We all love the same plant and there’s hundreds of ways to grow her right. Arrogant growers love to put down other people’s nugs and argue for days about how nobody can produce better pot than them. These types actually end up infusing some of that negative and competitive energy into their plants. If you love what you’re doing, you’re already winning. Take pride in your agricultural accomplishments but never become the “human buzz-kill” personality, always seeking to one-up all comers. It’s boring and you’re compromising the integrity of people’s highs. Let your buds speak for themselves and the company you enjoy will enjoy themselves too. Above all, remember that fame is fleeting and real cannabis aficionados show enthusiasm and encouragement to all that share our beloved hobby.