NON-STOP CROP – THe CHROniC GaRDeneR

 
 
to change. This means either placing young plants on tables and gradually step­ping them down to the floor, or raising the lights on a rig as they grow. The former requires more work and space, while the latter requires specialized equipment. One large-scale grower even installed a boat lift to hydraulically hoist a hefty lighting array as the plants grew.

In general, your flowering chamber should be at least twice as large as your vegging chamber to accommodate the growing buds and provide better air circu­lation. As the sticky trichomes form, plants become more susceptible to mold and rot and can therefore use a little extra breathing room.

non-stop-crop-04Though the “sea of green” (SOG) and “screen of green” (ScrOG) methods achieve monster yields in tiny spaces by training plants to grow in a highly efficient way, these techniques are advanced and require much more attention and diligence than the beginner grower may want to at­tempt. If you’re just starting out, you’ll do no harm by keeping it simple.

EVORYBODY MUST GOT CLONED

All cannabis plants have the same basic require­ments, but each seed is an individual with its own characteristics. Even two plants of the same strain can have very different traits, growth times and yields when started from seed, just like human siblings from the same set of parents. Only clones—cuttings from a single plant that share the exact same DNA sequence—can be grown at a uniform rate and size.

A one-month-old clone behaves like a minia­ture four-month-old plant and can be induced to flower by switching it to a 12-hour photoperiod. And because clones share their parent plant’s sex, clones are taken only from female mother plants. This takes sexing plants out of the equation alto­gether, which means you only have to watch non-stop-crop-05out for the rare case of spontaneous hermaphroditism during the flowering stage. This is why cloning is crucial to the perpetual-harvest scheme.

If you’ve never cloned before, you’re going to want to practice a few times before you start your grow. The key is to provide a humid and clean en­vironment for your cuttings to take root. Sterilize tools and blades with rubbing alcohol right before you make any cuts, and root the cuttings in sterile compounds like rockwool, sphagnum moss or vermiculite. Keep them contained under clear plastic and water them minimally until new growth is apparent. Rooting hormones like Rootone and Clonex are useful in helping ensure that your cuttings survive.

Most growers like to keep a mother plant in the vegetative state as a source of cuttings for each successive crop. This plant can provide sev­eral generations of clones before it needs to be replaced. Another technique is to make a replace­ment clone from each plant in the vegetative room, but this method may have drawbacks such as genetic drift and loss of vigor. If you want to grow multiple plants in your perpetual harvest, using mother plants is the ideal method.

non-stop-crop-06The best way to select a clone mother is to narrow the choice down from a group of at least 20 seedlings. Take clones from each plant and keep them vegging while the parents flower, re­moving any males or subpar specimens. Then simply keep the clones of the plants that produce the best buds.

Mother plants should be kept separated from your crop under 18 to 24 hours of light a day so they’re always strong when you take your cut­tings. Some growers report mother plants pro­viding up to 20 generations of clones before they are retired, but any strong clone makes a fine re­placement.

When it comes to rooting, you should always start and finish with the same method, as switch­ing from hydro to soil or vice versa will shock your plants and set back their development. The easiest substrate to work with is also the natural one: soil. A nice organic mix of loam, sphagnum and vermiculite is the best growing medium for non-stop-crop-07young and mature plants. Hardened expanded clay (HEC) and rockwool in hydro systems, as well as soilless mediums like vermiculite or per-lite, grow smaller plants but are generally easier and less messy to work with.

Cannabis COnVeyOR BeLT

The simplest perpetual-harvest plan involves three stages. Start with your first crop of rooted clones in the vegging chamber for four weeks. New clones do best on warming pads with humidity in the 90% to 100% range for the first few days, gradually decreasing to around 80% as their roots gain strength. Feed them with nitrogen-rich fertilizer after the first week and keep them under cool fluorescent bulbs and/or metal halide (MH) Lamps for 18 to 24 hours

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