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Grow Schedule for Soil Growers

Whether it is for medical or recreational purposes, growing cannabis can be a rewarding experience. However, not all cannabis is created equal, and growing mediocre plants can leave a person wishing for more. When planning to grow, it is essential to stick to a well-designed grow schedule that caters to the growing medium a person is using. This article will discuss the best grow schedule for maximum yield when growing in soil.

Germination

The best marijuana plants are grown from American seeds. They have the most robust genetics and the most resilient plants, giving growers the highest yields possible with minimal problems along the way. The first step in growing a plant in soil is seed germination, which can be done in a few different ways.

Directly in Soil

When a person is growing cannabis in soil, one of the simplest ways to germinate seeds is directly in the soil in which they intend to grow their plants. Doing it this way protects the delicate, freshly germinated seeds from damage during planting. It is the preferred method of germination for most growers, as it is straight-forward and requires minimal care.

To germinate our chronic seeds in soil, fill a container about the size of a small cup with lightly fertilized soil that has a pH of 6. Push a finger about a quarter of an inch deep into the soil and drop in a few seeds. Lightly cover the seeds with soil, being careful not to pack the soil down. Using a spray bottle filled with distilled or spring water, spray the soil until it is soaked. Growers will see seedlings pop up within five to seven days.

Water Germination

Another popular method of germinating seeds is by submerging them in water. This method allows growers to identify which seeds are viable and which are duds at a glance. In as little as two to three days, growers will see the shells of their cannabis seeds soften, and taproots emerge.

To germinate using the water method, fill a cup with distilled or spring water, and allow it to reach room temperature. Place the cannabis seeds inside the cup and keep it in a location with a stable temperature of about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Once a taproot emerges, these seeds will need to be planted in the soil immediately to avoid drowning.

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Paper Towels or Cotton Pad

The paper towel or cotton pad method of germination is commonly used among soil growers, as it allows them to inspect the seeds like the water germination method but requires somewhat less physical handling. Growers must use high-quality paper towels or cotton pads, so the taproot does not grow into the fibers.

To germinate marijuana seeds using this method, soak a paper towel or cotton pad in distilled or spring water. Place seeds on top, then cover it with another piece of wet material. Place the seeds in a temperature stable, humid environment, such as a seed starting container with a lid. Be sure the material stays wet, spraying it with more water as needed. Growers can expect to see taproots emerge from their seeds within two to five days. Once that happens, the seeds must be planted in the soil immediately.

Transplanting Seedlings

Once seeds have been germinated and put in the soil that they will be grown in, growers will need to monitor their plants for signs that they need to be transplanted into larger pots. Generally, this happens after the plant has four to five sets of leaves, not counting the cotyledon. At this point, the seedlings have outgrown their starter pot and will need to be transplanted.

Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage is the time during which a cannabis plant increases its size the most. This stage can last between four and seven weeks, depending on the grower’s preferences. Some plants, such as plants that will be used for cloning, can be kept in the vegetative stage permanently. Other choices, like our autoflower seeds, will generally only vegetate for two weeks before they start to develop flowers on their own. Below is a weekly breakdown of an average cannabis plant’s vegetative stage.

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Week One

Lighting

The first week after transplanting, growers will need to focus on getting their plants acclimated to the light. Growers should keep their light intensity at about half of what it will be once the plants have adjusted, which can be done by only turning on half of the lights that will be used. It is best to use a lamp heavy in blue light, such as an MH lamp, as blue light facilitates chlorophyll production.

Cannabis plants require between 16 and 18 hours of light per day during the vegetative stage. Lights should be kept forty inches away from the tops of the plants.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity should be watched closely during this stage of growth. Growers should be sure to check it every other day at a minimum, but every day is preferable. The ideal temperature is 74 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 63 degrees Fahrenheit at night. This is perfect for growers planting their seedlings outdoors in California, Hawaii or Texas. Humidity should be kept at around 70%, which may require growers to use a fan to circulate air and keep it dry.

Water and Nutrients

This week, plants can be given about 8.5 ounces of water every other day, depending on a variety of factors. The water should have a pH of 6.2. Growers should soak the plants until water drains out of the bottom of the pot, then pause and wait for the plant to use up the water before adding more.

If the plant’s soil is still wet on day two, it is more important to wait until the soil is dry than follow a structured watering schedule. Over-watering is a real issue that can seriously damage plants, especially if they are in pots larger than four gallons. Nutrients are not required at this time.

Week Two

Throughout this week and the rest of the vegetative stage, growers should monitor how crowded the plant’s roots are becoming, as they may need to be transplanted again. Transplanting should not take place after the flowering stage has started. The following adjustments can be made during week two and sustained throughout the vegetative stage.

Lighting

During the second week, light can be increased to its full intensity. The lights can be lowered to about 20 inches above the plants but will still need to remain on for 18 hours a day. Growers should take care that their plants are not too hot after decreasing the distance between them and the lights.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature can be increased slightly to 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 64 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Humidity should remain at 70% during this week. These should be the temperature and humidity settings for the duration of the vegetative stage going forward.

Water and Nutrients

Water should be increased gradually to about 17 ounces of water every other day. Again, this amount will vary depending on the conditions the plant is in and how healthy it is, so growers should always check the soil before adding any water. During the vegetative stage, plants can be given nutrients that are high in nitrogen every other watering.

Growers can begin to groom their plants at this time. This usually involves “topping,” which is removing the top set of leaves on each branch. This will increase the number of colas that the cannabis plant produces.

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Flowering Stage

During the flowering stage, the cannabis plant will switch its focus from growing larger to producing flowers. Several adjustments need to be made during this stage, which are explained in greater detail below.

Week One through Three

During this stage, the cannabis plants will transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. There will be no buds present during the first two weeks. However, growers will notice signs of flowering by the third week.

Lighting

To switch a plant from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, growers must reduce the light from eighteen hours a day to twelve hours a day. It is also recommended to switch to an HPS light, as these lights provide more of the red spectrum, which encourages flower production.

Lights should be introduced at 50% intensity, much like what was done during the first week of the vegetative stage and should be set to 100% during the second week of flowering. The plants will not show signs of flowering for a few weeks, but it is essential to stick to the light schedule, regardless.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature during this stage can start out the same as it was during vegetation. However, the humidity should be brought down a bit, to around 60%. After the first week, growers should gradually increase the temperature to 79 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 67 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Growers should place fans around their grow rooms that facilitate airflow between the plants. This helps hot air dissipate and keeps the chances of mold growth to a minimum.

Water and Nutrients

During this stage, plants will need one to two liters of water with a pH of 6 every other day, depending on the circumstances. Growers should always wait until the plant is a little dried out before adding more water. This will obviously happen faster in drier states like Arizona than in climates with higher humidity, like Florida.

During the first week of flowering, growers will need to continue to give their plant nutrients that are high in nitrogen. During the second week, the plants should be given no nutrients and watered with water that has a pH of 6.5. This will prepare the plants for the nutrients provided during week three of the flowering stage, which calls for solutions rich in phosphorus. Growers should discontinue topping their plants at this point.

Week Four through Six

During this stage, growers will see significant bud growth. It is likely that by week six, the plants will need additional support to hold the weight of their buds.

Lighting

During week four, the cannabis plants will have flowers with hairy balls that will start to grow larger. Growers can keep the same light schedule that they had during the earlier weeks of flowering but be mindful of how close the buds are to the lights. It is critical that they do not get too hot, as that can damage the flowers. Lights should be positioned at a minimum of 20 inches away from the top of the plants.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature can remain the same as it was during the third week of flowering, but the humidity should be reduced to 50%. Growers must use fans to create enough airflow between the plants, so they do not become too hot.

Water and Nutrients

During this stage, plants will need up to 2.5 liters of water every other day. During week four, the water should be at a pH of 6, with it increased slightly to a pH of 6.2 during week five through week six. At the end of week six, growers will need to flush their plants with water that has a pH of 6.5 without any nutrients, to prepare for a new nutrient regimen in the following weeks. During these weeks, growers will need to increase the amount of potassium their plants receive.

Week Seven and Eight

During the last two weeks of growth, the buds will have pistils that turn brownish orange. When over 80% of them are brownish orange, the buds are ready to harvest. Growers should be careful not to harvest too early, as that will affect the overall quality of the marijuana.

Lighting

Lighting at this time can remain the same as it has been over the last few weeks. Growers should continue to be mindful of the distance the lights are from the top of the plants.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature and humidity can remain the same as it has been in the few weeks prior. The environment must remain exactly the same as it has been to avoid stressing the cannabis plant as it hardens and ripens the buds.

Water and Nutrients

Each plant will need a minimum of 2.5 liters of water every other day straight through until the buds are harvested. Growers should reduce the amount of nutrients they are using during the seventh week, then taper them off entirely. Flush the plants with water that has a pH of 6.5 during the final week, which will prepare the plant for harvest.

Growers should watch for bud rot, which can be identified by browning leaves around the bud that are easy to pull off. If there is any present, growers must handle it with gloves and avoid touching any other buds, as it spreads quickly. Remove and discard the damaged buds away from the rest of the plants.

Final Thoughts

After the eighth week of flowering, it is time to harvest the cannabis buds. Growers will need to dry their cannabis for a period in a climate-controlled, dark room. Once the flowers have cured, growers can trim them into the beautiful, high-quality buds that represent what they have worked so hard to create!

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