Growing Cannabis plants into healthy, strong and vigorous bushes before flowering all takes place during the vegetativie phase. When Cannabis plants recieve long hours of daylight, they will focus primarily on growing a large root system, new leaf tissue, branches and as much foliage as possible to aid in the flowering stage. Below is better explained what to consider during 18/6, and what how to avoid any issues that may arise.
By Stoney Tark
Keeping Pots Off The Floor
Growers can often place pots directly onto the floor inside of grow tents, or converted rooms. As practical as it can be, especially when working with a large plant count, raising the pots off the floor will increase temperatures around the root zone. As a result, the growing medium will not endure cold spots that can cause shock to the roots . Cannabis plants during cold temperatures will fail to use nutrients effectively causing deficiencies later on as well as stunted growth.
Something as simple as two pieces of wood or brick, will allow pots of any size to sit off the ground. Watering will allow pull more oxygen through the growing medium and out of all the air pockets around the roots, once the run off drips through the base allowing for water displacement to occur.
Top Tip: By lifting pots off the floor, the air circulating around the lowest parts of the room will cause roots to prune. This means that the root hairs will split causing an increase in size and mass.
The Importance Of Relative Humidity
Cannabis plants need warm temperatures accompanied by high amounts of humidity. When relative humidity is highest, then stomata which are responsible for the uptake of Carbon Dioxide will function most efficiently. The amount of water pressure that the canopy experiences plays a big role in the integrity of nutrient uptake, which is why V.P.D charts are based on the amount of water pressure. Using a humidifier inside the grow room, or outside close to where fresh air is being drawn in, will allow growers to maintain a consistent level of relative humidity.
This will be done in accordance with how much air is exhausted outside of the grow room. Either way, you should want to aim for a relative humidity reading of close to 70%, allowing that to drop down as you transition into the flowering stage.
Top Tip: Make sure that the grow room never becomes dry with a relative humidity below 40%. When Cannabis plants are in the vegetative stage, they need to be kept in conditions as wet as possible on a consistent basis.
Avoiding Heat Stress
Beginner growers can often make the mistake of keeping grow lights too close to the plants. As a result, plants will become unhappy, begin to dry out and over time curl the leaves inwards. When this happens, the plant is crying out for a change of environment and is doing everything it can to adapt to the excess heat. Grow lights can generate a great deal of heat, which if not properly disposed of through correct air circulation, then a build up of heat will cause an increase in humidity also. Many growers turn off their extraction unit at nights and this can be problematic within the tent or grow room.
Top Tip: If you are experiencing heat stress, then you can either move your grow lights further away from the canopy, or keep your extraction fans on permanently to create a consistent amount of negative drag.
Organic Eradication of Bugs
Sometimes preventing bugs and pests from entering an indoor garden is easier said than done. Insects can make their way into the grow room via clothing, air vents, animals, other clones. There are many chemically enhanced methods to kill the infestation, however using any chemically manufactured spray is not advised.
Using organic methods such as predators is the most friendly way to treat the garden, without the worry of trace amounts of contamination in your flower or extracts. Once a predator and prey population has been controlled, it will be very difficult for a further threat to take place.
Top Tip: If you are going to use predators to deal with a pest infestation, then make sure they are sourced from a reputable business, as when working with livestock, timing and delivery can play a huge role in how effective the predators will be.
The Benefits of Foliar Spraying
By spraying the tops and undersides of the foliage during the growing phase, Cannabis plants can react very well to this treatment, especially when using organic teas as biological preventative. Foliar feeding can allow the roots to take a short break and allow nutrients to be absorbed through tissue. When using humic acid, Cannabis plants can grow with a really healthy glow.
In order to combat pathogens such as powdery mildew, organic compost teas rich with microbial and fungi will actively fight for dominance and ensure that bad bacteria and fungi are not physically able to attach themselves to the leaf tissue.
Top Tip: It is best to make a slightly diluted foliar spray and use frequently. Either Seaweed, humic acid or compost teas will add colour and spring life back into stressed out and deficient plants.
Giving Plants The Best Start
Beneficial bacteria and fungi have coexisted with the Earth for thousands of years, designed to help all living plants grow to their best ability. When growing indoors, inoculating the plants with your own microbes and fungi outsourced from the internet will allow your Cannabis plants to increase root mass up to 700%.
Any organic growing medium should be packed with beneficial microorganisms, who have the job to create a symbiotic relationship with the root hairs. Those who make organic compost teas can benefit from the bacteria and fungi already present. Worm castings and bat guano have a high bacterial count, which will only increase to billion once aerobic action takes place.
Top Tip: Adding a feed of beneficial bacteria and fungi spores to your organic teas, will ensure the balance between the roots, food web and microorganisms are working with true symbiosis as nature intended.