Professional Cannabis Cultivation

7) Vegetation

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Lesson Summary:

In this lesson, Cameron talks about the procedures you’ll follow through the vegetative stage of Cannabis life cycle.

Lesson Transcript:

Hi guys, I’m Cameron, and now we’re going to be talking about vegetative growth.

So the way that I think about my timeline in commercial grow facilities really has to do with that facility, is it fully indoor, is it greenhouse, is it outdoor? What are my constraints? Is it indoor with a multi rack or multi tiered system? Is it just one level of plants? Really, I like to think about my production schedule, my production schedule usually runs in two weeks increments. I’m either talking about four weeks of veg, six weeks, or maybe even eight weeks of veg, and I’m using the two week increments because I’m usually looking at about an eight week flower cycle, so I like to have a veg cycle that mirrors my flower cycle.

So propagation fits into my veg schedule, I basically lump propagation into my veg schedule. Generally, the way I write my production schedule, and the way that veg looks is I’ve got two weeks of propagation, and then I’ve got veg one, veg two, and veg three, and each of those is a two-week block.

One of the things to consider during the vegetative phase is that every two weeks you’re probably looking at roughly 6-8 inches of growth. At the end of whatever your veg cycle is going to look like you’re going to looking at a plant that’s somewhere between eighteen, twenty-four, maybe thirty inches. The thing to remember during the veg cycle or as you go into flower is that your plant is probably going to double or maybe even triple in size and so you need to be aware of the constraints you have on the flower side, and bear those in mind during the veg cycle.

Some of the things to consider with regard to constraints that you want to bear in mind when you’re vegging are: how are we flowering? If we’re in a greenhouse it’s wildly different than if we’re using a rack system on our flower side. So we want to be thinking about the total distance between the top of the canopy and where the light is. If there is no light or if the light is way up in the rafters because we’ve got a greenhouse with fourteen or sixteen foot truss we have loads of time on the veg side to run these plants.

So topping is something to be taking under consideration when you are vegging your plants. Topping basically gives you more sites, more flower sites on your plants, and what you’re trying to do is create a sort of wider, more robust plant. When you are flowering indoors or even in a greenhouse really you need to be thinking about the light penetration through the canopy. Having a canopy that is nice and solid and sort of thought of in a horizontal fashion as opposed to tall plants that are creating columns, you are going to have a denser canopy, ergo you’re going to have a more fruitful harvest and you could be looking at five, ten, fifteen percent additional harvest the tighter that canopy is, and the way to get that tight canopy is through successive toppings.

On the veg side we think about topping in terms of canopy development, and the reason we are think about topping in terms of canopy development is to create a single layer of canopy. With regard to the production schedule we’re talking about two week increments, and I think about topping sort of along those lines. So everytime we move to a new two week block of vegging we are thinking about topping once again. So for someone that has a veg one, veg two, veg three, we’ve topped three times and we’ve gone from one top to two tops to four tops to eight tops, so it’s a sort of exponential number of tops.Each time you top you double down again on the number of tops.

The reason that you don’t want to top more than once every 10-14 days is because the plant is going to require a little bit of recovery time. So you cut your finger, you need to let your finger heal before you cut your finger again.

Indoor growing or growing in general allows for the use of different kinds of media depending on what your preferred method is. I am agnostic when it comes to media. I’ve grown in soil and soil-like medias including peat, coco, perlite. If you’re asking me, I really like rockwool. The reason I like rockwool is it’s nice and clean, it’s sterile, it’s stackable, and it’s really easy to work with. The example I like to give people is if you happen to be running through your facility with a forklift and you run into a bag of dirt or dirt like media, you puncture that bag it spills out on the floor you get dust in the air. It just can become sort of a dirty messy situation which is why I feel feel really strongly about the sort of cleanliness and the ease of use with rockwool.

Risk mitigation, which we seem to be touching on frequently, factors into the use of rockwool in my sort of preferred methodology because of all the things I just mentioned. In the past I’ve seen dirt like media come in with what are clearly infestations of bugs, and that is one thing I’ve never ever seen with rockwool. I’m not suggesting that you wouldn’t want to use a coco or a peat or a perlite, some sort of mix or soil. I think every media has its potential attributes and constraints, but because because rockwool comes in clean and sterile, it’s just one of those things that is a risk mitigating factor that for me is very, very important.

Soil and dirt like media can compact over time. Rockwool provides a zero starting point. Rockwool here is the same as rockwool here. Drainability, the way the water moves through it, the way it dries out, it presents an opportunity for something that is predictable, and again predictability with regard to production at a commercial scale is really paramount for the commercial grower.

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Course Notes

Related articles:

How to Grow Cannabis 141: The Basics of Vegetative State

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