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Hydroponics Harvest Timing for Indoor Gardening: Part One

Hydroponics harvesting is a matter of skill and timing. Hydroponics harvesting is a matter of skill and timing. © RosebudMag.com

In the far distant past- long before HID lighting, hydroponics nutrients, and year-round indoor hydroponics gardening- we humans relied on nature and tribal knowledge to figure the best time for harvesting.

Back then we were on Mother Nature’s timetable. Nowadays, we’re blessed with the ability to grow hydroponics plants indoors in a maximized, enriched environment in which our plants get intense doses of light, nutrients, C02, and water combined with indoor climate conditions and light cycles that best promote plant growth and productivity 365 days a year.

Now we rely mainly on horticultural knowledge, and the floral condition of our plants, to tell us when to harvest.

And when you’ve put forth all that time, investment and effort into your garden, every harvest should be a celebration that rewards your spirit and your bank account!

You’ve probably wondered if there are ins and outs of harvesting that could give you more for your hydroponics investment. It’s true…harvesting always takes place after your plants have been in bloom phase for several weeks- but the exact timing depends on several factors, many of which you control.

As an indoor hydroponics grower (unless you are using auto-flowering varieties), you decide when your plants start flowering because you control the light cycle timing that triggers their flowering response. It’s not anything like that for outdoor growers, who are at the mercy of the season.

On a specific date, you as an indoor grower change your light cycle from 18 hours to 12 hours.  Then you monitor the progression of floral development sub-phases that take place as your plants go from pre-flowering, to early flowering to peak flowering to being ready for harvest.

For most hydroponics plants, peak flowering phase lasts from week two to week four, five or six of bloom phase. During peak flowering, your plants add the most flavor, size, structure, taste, and quality to your flowers.

It’s important for you to detect when peak flowering ends- if you leave your flowers too long on the plant, they overripen and decline. This is part of a process called senescence, which is best defined as the endgame life-stage of your plants.

What happens is your flowers hang on in peak bloom as long as they can, but eventually reach a point where they decline. That’s senescence.

As they decline, they lose freshness, flavor, quality and value. As with apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes, grapes and other crops, the amount of time you leave your flowers on your plants before harvesting them affects taste, potency, value, appearance and aroma.

Some growers have a very generic understanding of harvest timing and methods. They just wait until their crops are visibly declining, and then harvest them all at once. This is a common approach, but you can do better.

One thing you can be sure of: if you grow from seeds or clones provided by professional horticulture experts, they will give you an accurate although approximate prediction of the number of days you wait from the start of bloom phase until the day you harvest your hydroponics plants.

In most cases, your hydroponics plants will be in bloom a minimum of 40 days- with some varieties blooming for as long as 60-80 days- before they’re ready for harvest.

Over the next few weeks, be sure to check back in with RosebudMag.com, and the print edition of Rosebud, so you learn the grand master bloom phase nutrition, harvest timing, cutting, drying, curing and storing techniques that will make the most of your hydroponics gardening, and ensure that your every harvest is a time of celebration.

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Outdoor harvesting is much trickier than what you deal with as an indoor hydroponics grower. RosebudMag.com
Last modified on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 21:13

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