10) Plant & Canopy Maintenance / Bench & Trellis
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In this lesson, Cameron discusses Plant & Canopy maintenance as well as the Trellis Procedures you’ll follow in your professional grow.
Hey guys, it’s Cameron again. Today we’re going to talk about Plant and Canopy maintenance as well as Benching and Trellising.
When it comes to benching your plants you really need to make the most of your space, and this starts on the veg side and of course continues through the flower side. One of the practices that we’ve been adopting, or that I’ve been adopting, is to use a racking system on the veg side. In terms of space that I allocate for each plant, in my veg one stage of life I usually have about four plants per square foot. As we proceed from veg one to veg two and veg two to veg three, we see the amount of space we allocate per plant for every 1-2 weeks in life, it doubles. So instead of four plants per one square foot in veg one, we get to veg two, now we’re doing two plants per one square foot, by the time we get to veg three we’ve got one plant per square foot, and as we move over into flower we have at least two square feet and maybe three square feet per plant.
So although I really love racking on the veg side I’m still a really big fan of the greenhouse format for flowering I like to avail myself to as much sunshine as possible. The style of benches that I use in greenhouses are generally five feet wide and the way that I arrange my plants on these benches is in a three-two-three sort of arrangement and this allows for enough space between my plants, I set up my irrigation this way, so when I bring my plants into the room, I already know exactly where they’re going to go. And again, this is roughly three square feet per plant on the flower side.
Something to remember whether your growing indoors or in a greenhouse scenario is to maintain even light levels throughout. One of the ways to maintain even light levels is to have a canopy that is nice and full. You want to have your lights spaced on either four or five or six foot centers depending on the effect you’re going for, and you want these arranged evenly over your benches, so there are no levels of high light in some spots and low light in others.
One of the most important aspects of commercial growing is maximizing your canopy space, and one of the ways to do that is through the use of metal rolling benches. They make some that are sort of solid on top so you can recapture water, it can drain down to to one end of the table,and be recaptured and reused. They make others that are more like an open sort of fence on the top so the water will run off and just literally run onto the floor, and again this is all sort of dependent on what your arrangement is. Frequently in greenhouses we see the water run off of the table and down into trench drains on the floor. Whereas in an indoor situation, you probably have a solid table top and a very minor sort of 1-3 degree slope, so all the water is draining back to a common point and then back into a common receptacle, being treated and probably recycled back in with your municipal water for future waterings.
After plants have been brought into the flower rooms and arranged on the tables, we are instantly going to be thinking about the long term of these plants. Around day seven we’re going to be thinking about putting our trellis down. When the trellis goes down on the plants we are shooting for about 25% of the tops will be popping through the trellis at this point. As you probably know the plants are going to experience a really big jump in growth during the first 2-3 weeks, so at about day seven, when the trellis goes down, with 25% percent of the tops coming through, by day fourteen all of the tops are going to be coming through. And you’re right in the pocket then, as your tops are coming through you the first thing that you want to be thinking about is super cropping and keeping these tops under control because what you really don’t want is a bunch of tops sticking way up above the trellis. What you really want is to maintain this nice, flat, even canopy, and the way that you achieve this is through practices of super cropping or tucking the tops of the plants back under the trellis to try and maintain this nice flat canopy.
One of the practices that we want to get into the habit of during the vegetative state of life is topping of the plant. This will help us set our plant up for success on the flower side. Topping is the practice of removing the apical meristem of the plant which is basically your main primary growing shoot. We generally want to wait until about 10-14 days of vegetative life before we do our first topping. After that the plant is going to need a couple days of recuperation and another couple days of vegetative growth before we want to attack it again. Generally what happens is we have one main top and we top the plant and we end up with two. Whatever it is, four, five, six days later we top those two and what we end up with is four. And so there’s this doubling effect each time we top the plant. Depending on how long our vegetative life cycle is we may top a plant two, three, four, five, times. Each time we’re doing this we’re taking a plant that would naturally grow like this (vertically) and we’re pushing the plant out, like this (horizontally). What this does on the flower side, it sort of relates to the doubling of the space for the plants as we progress through life, so when we get into the flower side and we’ve got the three-two-three spacing on the table, we have plants that fit that space more appropriately, and it’ll give us that flat even canopy that we’re looking for.
So thanks for watching this course today guys on plant & canopy maintenance and benching & trellising. Please feel free to refer to the course notes for any details on any of the things that I’ve talked about, and please be sure to (NEEDS REMAINING OUTRO)
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