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Hydro 101 with Deonna Marie: Growing Phases, Part 1

Pre-veg, veg, bloom – what do the grow phases of indoor gardening mean? Pre-veg, veg, bloom – what do the grow phases of indoor gardening mean?

Last week I introduced new growers to the soil vs. hydroponics debate, and gave my two cents on where to begin. This week, I want to provide some more guidance for those of you just getting your feet wet with indoor growing. Whenever you hear growers talking about hydroponics gardening, you hear a bunch of new terms and lingo that can be confusing to newbies. In particular, you’ll hear people talking about pre-veg, veg, and bloom, which are the growing phases of your crop.

Pre- veg is the stage of a plant’s growth where you have just planted a clone or seedling."

Often when people come into my store, The Hydroponics Outlet, they are still exploring the idea of getting started with indoor growing. If you’ve been at this a while, it’s easy to take for granted the terms growers use all the time, but I’ve seen a confused stare coming back at me more than once as common terminology sails over the head of a novice grower. I'm going to touch on all stages of plant growth here. I'll walk you through each stage to give you a better understanding of what each term means and what each stage of plant growth requires from you, the grower.

Pre- veg is the stage of a plant’s growth where you have just planted a clone or seedling. At this point you want to establish nice strong healthy roots and introduce nutrients to your plant for the first time. The more strong roots your plant develops, the better your plant can uptake nutrients. Without a healthy and strong root structure established during pre-veg, you’re already risking a smaller yield at harvest time.

Once you have transplanted your clone or seedling, it's best to use a T-5 fluorescent bulb fixture. Your plants will need to be on a light cycle of 18 to 24 hours of light for about a week heading into the vegetative cycle. The ideal temperature is around 72 degrees and a relative humidity level of 55 to 60 percent. Additionally, you will need to start your plants on a "growth" nutrient regimen. It's best to use a nutrient high in nitrogen to help promote plant growth. You will also want to use a beneficial bacteria like mycorrhizae - your roots love the stuff. And, if you’re feeling comfortable with your level, there are some wonderful organic teas that work amazingly well to supplement your nutrient program. Everything I just mentioned can be found at your local hydroponics store.

Pre-veg should last 7-10 days, and then you’re on to veg phase. Veg is very similar to pre-veg in that you use the same light cycle, nutrients, temp, and humidity. The difference is that the main goal in veg is to continue building a healthy root and stem structure on your now sturdier plants. But don’t rush - it’s paramount that you grow your plant into a healthy teenager before you switch to the bloom stage.

During the veg phase, you can continue to use T-5 bulbs or you can switch to HID (high intensity discharge) lighting now that your plants are a week or so old. At this stage your plants are mature enough to handle a metal halide HID light, if that’s the direction you want to go.

It's import to know that every plant grows at a different rate, so veg time may vary from a couple weeks to a month. I always tell my customers to switch to the bloom cycle once their plants have reached 12-24" measured from plant base to the top of the plant. By this time your roots should be very developed and your stem structure should be nice and sturdy. Now you’re ready for bloom phase, when you really get to see the first signs of the fruits of your labor. Indoor growing is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding, but make sure you’re in touch with the experts at your local hydroponics store to help guide you through your first grow. And of course, you can always contact us here at RosebudMag.com or stop by my store, The Hydroponics Outlet in Gilroy, California. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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Deonna Marie is an entrepreneur, hydroponics expert, and international glamour model.
Last modified on Friday, 31 August 2012 18:52

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