per day (though most advanced growers prefer 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness, as the roots grow and develop during the dark period).
The veg stage generally Lasts two to four weeks, depending on how big you want your plants. Keep in mind that plants will still increase to about double their size during the flowering stage. Growbox and SOG gardeners will want smaller plants and thus may want to move them into the flowering room after only a couple weeks. Plants in hydro and deep-water culture (DWG) systems tend to grow faster than ones in soil, and CO2 emitters will also boost vegetative growth. Warehouse growers can even leave those suckers in for six weeks for some seriously large harvests!
At the end of two weeks, start another round of clones rooting. By now, the mother plant should be over the shock of the first crop and producing vigorous new growth. These new clones should be rooted and ready to go into the veg chamber when your first batch makes the leap into the flowering room. Your plants will undergo shock any time they’re moved from one stage to another. This means that growth slows or even stops and the plants momentarily cease processing water and nutrients. It is critical that you give your plants some adjustment time to compensate for this shift. Carefully check your plants’ water levels several times a day to make sure they’re drinking it up, and don’t resume feeding until two weeks into the flowering stage. Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is great for transplant shock when moving plants into the flowering room as well as for new cuttings trying to root.
When you do switch on the juice again, it’s going to have elevated levels of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in relation to nitrogen. Just a little bump in P will help spur budding, but too much can cause shock and burn fragile roots. This is where your prior experience comes into play, because your plants are most vulnerable right after a big move and any misstep can spoil your plans. A working familiarity with nutrients, as well as with the space and time requirements of your chosen strains, is essential to a successful perpetual-harvest scheme.
By the time another vegging crop is ready to move, your flowering plants should be popping buds. This means you can shift them through the flowering room, possibly to another table with higher lamps, and ratchet up the potassium proportionately to the phosphorus while continuing to lower nitrogen levels. Budding tips will stretch dramatically toward the end of this phase, so you will need to constantly raise the lights or lower the plants accordingly.
Flowering times vary by strain, so the amount of time each new wave of plants spends in the flower room will dictate how big the space needs to be. Remember that new tenants will be ready to move in every two weeks, so if, for example, you let your plants flower for six weeks, you’ll need room for three separate crops, each with increasing spatial requirements. The longer and more complex your flowering setup, the more stages your plan will involve.
A week or two before harvest, start flushing your plants with pure water to remove trace minerals. Try to time the harvest just before your plants reach full maturity, since they’ll continue to develop for several days after. A slight decrease in watering at this time also signals the buds to finish developing, bringing out the nice oranges and purples that make our mouths water. Removing large leaves a couple days out makes plants turn their full attention to budding, although it’s not necessary and can leave fragile buds unprotected through the drying process.
Come execution day, cut the stalks at the base immediately following an extended dark period so the cell systems are fully shut down. Hanging whole plants upside down in a humidity-controlled room for five to seven days allows the buds to dry slowly, giving them greater potency, better flavors and a nicer burn. Then the buds can be trimmed and cured over screens for another week until they are ready to smoke.
In two more weeks, your second batch should be ready to pluck. Uniformity is the key to ensuring that every crop follows the same timeline, so take note of each one’s progress and make careful adjustments if your plants fall behind or get ahead of schedule, particularly when dealing with multiple varieties. After a little fine-tuning, this plan should allow you to crank out as much bud as you can comfortably fit in your grow space every two weeks.