Growing from good to great
flower stage: week 2
When I had the lights on 18 hours a day and off for 6, that caused the plant to continue to grow larger. This is called vegetative growth. Usually that phase lasts 3-4 weeks for indoor growers. Once I am done with that, I adjust the plant to equal length 12-hour days and nights. This tricks the plant into thinking winter is coming since the day drastically shortens. Then, it makes one final push to get bigger. This is commonly referred to as The Stretch.
The Stretch lasts about 2 weeks, and small buds begin to appear. When growing cannabis, growth is commonly tracked by the week of your light cycle rather than the overall week. For example, I flipped my lights to flower on February 6, which was 13 days ago. This means I am in week 2 of Flower.
Canopy management is important, especially at this phase of the grow. Canopy management is a term for pruning, and training techniques that can be utilized to increase your final yield. The undergrowth that gets little light will make lots of flowers that just suck resources and aren’t worthwhile. If you strip those buds and leaves, they will redirect the resources to what remains, and you’ll gain more weight in your final product.
An extreme version of this is called lollipopping. This is where all but the top most portions of each branch are left to receive the now ample light. Lollipopping is not recommended for beginners, because it is difficult to know when you are taking too much off without experience. Taking too much can send the plant into shock, which can stunt or delay bud production, or even kill the plant. Experience will tell you which buds will grow, and which can be safely removed.
seas of green
Topping is a common technique to redirect plant growth outward. To top a plant, you pinch the top node or two (the COLA) a couple of inches down on the stem. Do not remove it. What you’re trying to accomplish is a squeezing of the stem. When this happens, the plant redirects growth outwards. This can be very helpful for filling in dead space between plants, as they will naturally attempt to grow up towards the light first and foremost. When utilizing this technique while inoculating your plants with Rhiza Nova: Part I, you’re going to notice the plant is very tough to pinch when compared to plants grown in sterile reservoir.
Other commonly utilized techniques are SOG and SCROG. SOG stands for Sea of Green. This is the most commonly utilized technique for indoor gardening. Electricity in California is expensive, so maximizing your yield in the shortest amount of time is important. SOG has you grow lots of smaller plants rather than a few big ones, and saves lots of time spent in veg, which is the most energy intensive phase of the grow. Therefore, most indoor growers only do a 3-4 week veg cycle. SCROG is a modification of SOG. It stands for Screen of Green. In this technique, you utilize the SOG techniques, but with a lattice like net which helps to support the heavy buds you will be producing. This is a good technique to combine with topping, as the outward growth really helps you fill in that net. Sometimes, a second net may become necessary or advisable depending on how much your plants grow beyond the first net.
Most growers agree that it is crucial to get your canopy management done before the end of the stretch. Once you get beyond this time frame, the plant does not handle any further pruning well. It is said by many that any pruning you do beyond the stretch takes away significantly from your flower production. When the plant exits the stretch, it begins to put all its resources into flower production. The plant does not tolerate any injury well at this point, including pruning.
Nutrients and additives like Rhiza Nova are very important to a successful grow, but there are a lot of techniques available to get your grown from Good to Great! We recommend beginners stick to a simple nutrient regimen like Jack’s 3-2-1 or Mad Farmer, supplemented with a nitrogen and carbon fixing microbe like Rhiza Nova: Part I. Keeping your feeding formula simple will give you one less thing to worry about while you gain experience in canopy management and can save a lot of frustration. Remember that the result should leave everyone involved super chill and not stressed out and annoyed.