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Get Bigger Harvests and More of Them Right Now! – Part 1: A Sea of Green

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In the previous issue of Rosebud, we talked about powerful methods to make this your best year ever for getting the heaviest and most valuable harvests from your garden. Let’s take a moment to summarize those harvest-boosting techniques before we go on to this month’s set of powerful strategies that will give you more rewards from your grow room:

  • Max your plants’ growth rate and yields by giving them coordinated increases of nutrients, CO2, and light.
  • Increase nutrients in 100 ppm increments until you see signs of nutrient burning.
  • Add light using LED units and highly reflective materials, as well as alternative lighting placements.
  • Increase grow room atmospheric CO2 to 600–1,000 ppm.
  • Maintain your grow room temperature, humidity, and aeration at ideal levels.

Along with these techniques, ensure that your plants receive the same kind of treatment that thoroughbred racehorses are given. This includes feeding your plants organic B vitamins for stress relief and performance enhancement, along with immune system boosters and cellular strengtheners such as potassium silicate.

It’s a different and much faster story when you use cloning with the mother plant/sea of green route because your clones are not immature plants.  

Of course, you need to make sure to protect your plants from pests and diseases. With the advent of enhanced grow room air filtration and scrubbing technologies, coupled with reverse osmosis or other methods to cleanse your water, it’s easier than ever to prevent the crop-sapping problems from coming into your room. Vigilance is the best strategy—always inspect all clones, seeds, equipment, and supplies, especially root zone materials, before you bring them into your room.

Many growers who rely on purchasing clones are risking importing whiteflies, mites, mildews, and other problems into their grow rooms. You can’t afford that. Make your own healthy mother plants and take clones from them. If you source clones from outside, be alert. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you free your plants from the hassle of having to deal with pests or diseases, you empower them to put all their energy into rapid growth and massive floral production.

A Sea of Green

Beyond providing optimum grow room environment, CO2, nutrients, water, and other factors, the most effective technique that greatly increases the payoff from your grow room is for you to run a mother plant/sea of green perpetual harvest setup instead of more traditional methods that rely on growing plants from seed or clone, harvesting those plants at maturity, and then starting all over again.

Depending on strain genetics, growing plants from seed to harvest takes a minimum of 67 to 81 days, and that’s assuming you get the very fastest growth in vegetative phase and that your plants race through bloom phase. The more common timing is a vegetative phase that lasts at least 25 to 40 days and bloom phase that lasts 45 to 75 days or longer, which means a total crop cycle of 70 to 115 days.

It’ With the advent of enhanced grow room air filtration and scrubbing technologies, coupled with reverse osmosis or other methods to cleanse your water, it’s easier than ever to prevent the crop-sapping problems from coming into your room.

You want your plants to grow faster and be ready for harvest as soon as possible, but you don’t want to trade speed for harvest size. There’s a balancing act between how big you let your plants grow before you trigger them into flowering and how much yield your plants can generate.

Of course, you can change your light cycle to 12 hours even when your seed-grown plants are only a foot tall and three weeks old, but yield and quality are generally more satisfying when you give your plants more time to build metabolic capacity, hormonal maturity, and dense branching before you flip them into flowering. That means waiting until they are at least a couple of feet tall, or at least four weeks old. Please note that these recommendations apply to plants grown from seed.

It’s a different and much faster story when you use cloning with the mother plant/sea of green route because your clones are not immature plants. Instead, they’re small cuttings of a mature plant that’s already old enough to flower. All you have to do is root, transplant, and care for clones properly, and they can be flipped into flowering within a couple of weeks of your cutting them from the mother plant. This saves you time compared to growing from seed.

Most growers who rely on cloning-intensive strategies have a sea of little clones that are almost all floral/fruit development and no “wasted” intermodal length or height. Those clones flower faster and mature earlier than unripe seedlings that are flipped into flowering too early via the 12-hour trigger.

You want your plants to grow faster and be ready for harvest as soon as possible, but you don’t want to trade speed for harvest size.

In fact, if you flip five-inch high seedlings into flowering, you’re not likely to get a satisfactory result. On the other hand, five-inch high clones can be sent into flowering as soon as their roots are ready for it. If you take 100 small clones and flip them into flowering, they will become vertical spikes with 80 percent of their height as floral structure.

You’ll get a nice harvest, but only because you have so many plants. Yield per plant is relatively small compared to the yield you get when you allow your plants to grow larger before you flip them into flowering mode. Twelve little clones flipped to flowering will give you as much harvest weight as one large-size seed-grown plant. You want to decide if having a lot of little plants is more or less work for you than a few large plants.

So sure, you can root your clones and then flip them into flowering right away, but it’s often best to let your clones develop longer so they are at least one foot tall if not taller, and only then to flip them to 12 hours. Your decision depends on how much space you have, and whether you want to run a high-number sea of green garden or a large-plant garden. The cost-benefit analysis comes down to yield per watt, regardless of what method you use.

More on how to get bigger harvests and more of them in Part 2 of this series.

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With tips from Rosebud Magazine you can Harvest better than Neil Young.
Last modified on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:40

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