Growing cannabis plants indoors depends on many different factors, that allow a grower to hit a certain number of grams in a grow space. Understanding the benefits of growing many small plants together versus a couple of large sized plants, can really let a grower get the most of their set up. Below is covered my top tips when it comes to plant count and grow space.
By Stoney Tark
One huge plant
When we think of massive plants that are taller than the grower, we often relate to outdoor plants. Naturally Cannabis plants can grow huge producing anywhere from 1000-3000g dry, depending on climate and strain. When growing indoors, taking advantage of the available space and filling it out with one huge plant can be just as beneficial as a Sea of Green formation. My top tip here is to incorporate a screen over the canopy before flowering. Over time you will want to train the dense canopy through the spaces in the screen. This technique is known as Screen of Green and will certainly get you on your way to enormous harvests, on the basis that the growing time and plant training exceeds 4 weeks at least.
A Sea of Green
As the name suggests what will be visible once the plants grow together in a uniform fashion. The advantages of Sea of Green are a grower can grow upto 16 small sized plants in a metre squared tent, with a very short vegging time (18/6) with the intention to grow one central cola per plant.
When comparing the canopy of one large sized plant to the canopy of a compact Sea of Green, either way the tent will be packed out from wall to wall. My top tip here is to leave yourself enough room for oscillating fans to freely move around, and also enough access incase you need to get hands on in the canopy. Tackling a mould or mildew crisis without free access could be highly frustrating and cause the pathogens to spread faster than normal.
Growing time under 18/6
Once a seedling germinates, its soul purpose from that point on is to grow roots, search for air, moisture and nutrients. It is during the 18/6 cycle when Cannabis plants are in the vegetative stage and will focus only on root mass, new foliage and branching. If you plan to grow a high volume of smaller plants, then only veg for a short time of 7-10 days. On the other hand, SCROG demands a lot of patience, plant training and thick top canopy to be truly effective. My top tip here is to calculate how many plants you will grow, and what size you want them to finish. If you are only growing 4 plants in a metre square then you can afford to veg under 18/6 for around 4-6 weeks.
If you want to grow 9 seeds in a 1.2 tent, you should think about limiting the growing time to 14 days maximum to prevent an over crowder canopy later on.
One factor that plays a massive role in the shape of a Cannabis plant, and the quality of flowers it will produce. Training large sized plants using L.S.T, fimming, super cropping and pruning take time, however will pay off when the harvest date comes. Cannabis plants take time to heal from various training methods, so avoid any long winded training exercises if you are working with short growing times.
Our top tip here is to decide if training your plants is logistically straight forward and practical. Perhaps you are growing a large plant count and are not able to be hands on everyday. Maybe just a simple pruning before flower is ideal and will really bring the most out of the plants ensuring all of the growth energy is shifted to the tops.
What about hydroponics?
Hydroponic growing is one way to guarantee commercial scale harvests. The same reason why tomato farmers in the U.S and Europe love using rockwool and drip systems to grow. The great thing about hydroponic systems is that they are easily adaptable to different sized spaces. The rise in popularity of top drip hydroponics has really taken off in the U.S, as more indoors growers attempt to replica commercial scale set ups.
My top tip here is to have a research into various grow systems and see which may be better suited for you. Wilma drip systems are easy to use, a DWC system can easily fill one tent and produces enormous yields, aeroponics, flood and drain and N.F.T systems are better for smaller sized plants, yet every system is different and there will be something out there for everyone based on cost, skill level, plant count and grow space.
Leave space for access
Packing out a large room with as many plants as possible certainly has its advantages, however some things should be considered. When everything is going well and plant health is optimum, everyone is happy yet when a threat to the garden arises timing is essential. Over crowded grow rooms encourage pathogens and plant disease to thrive and infect the entire garden. If setting up large gardens and working with a Sea of Green format, then set up alleyways between the crop.
The walk way should be so you can comfortably walk through, and avoiding rubbing the plants with clothes you are wearing each time. What you may think is a loss of plants, the space between the rows will improve the overall air flow in the garden and allow you to act fast in an emergency.
Some varieties of cannabis plants will grow with an indica dominant, hybrid vigour or full blooded sativa appearance. Landraces that originated around the Himalayas will be used to growing tightly bunched together, growing in an open mountain valley. The structure of Afghani plants are small and squat meaning when flowered they remain at a medium plant height of around 100-120cm.
My top tip here is to research the genetics that you plan to grow out, and learn about if they are well suited for a Sea of Green formation. If your seeds are sativa dominant then it is best to grow these will plenty of space. The key to growing a successful Sea of Green is to work with uniform and stable genetics.
Vegging and flowering rooms
Traditionally growing Cannabis plants indoors involves growing the plants under 18/6, then after a certain time to switch to 12/12 and flower. Time wise a grower may be looking at 10 weeks total grow time with a 14 day drying period. If plant training aiming to produce one monster plant, then it may be 14-15 weeks before the first crop.
My top tip here is to build a small room that is designed to keep plants under 18/6. Then to use the main tent as a flowering only tent. Once you have established the best strain, vegging phase and plant count, you can now prepare the new plants in the vegging tent (18/6) weeks prior to harvesting the flowering tent. This basic rotation will reduce the time between harvests and allow for more cycles in a year.