Many of cannabis growers has at least once asked, is it possible to speed up the time to harvest. Yep, it is very much possible. And today, we’re going to show you how.
No matter the reason, there are proven ways to rush things along, whether you’re growing inside or out. Let’s take a look at what you can do to grow cannabis as fast as possible.
autoflowering cannabis will mature at a faster rate than photoperiod strains because they contain a percentage of ruderalis genetics. Ruderalis evolved naturally in cold places like Siberia where the summers are very short. They had to develop the ability to produce flowers and seeds quickly to ensure the survival of the species. The plants need at least 3-4 weeks to grow well, and if you include 8-9 weeks for them to finish flowering, you can finish the entire cycle in just 3 months! So, if you grow autoflowers, you automatically have an edge over the others.
Choose a fast-growing strain
It may sound obvious, but one of the easiest ways to reach harvest quickly is to choose seeds with short flowering times. Strains with longer flowering times generally tend to perform better outdoors because they receive more sunshine. However, varieties with short flowering phases often produce cannabis of equally good quality.
Gorilla Glue and White Widow and Northern Lights are among the many cannabis varieties that flower quickly. All of these strains have a flowering phase of six to eight weeks, shaving around a month off the entire process.
It is also worth mentioning auto-flowering seeds as these switch to flowering automatically, so you don’t need to worry about altering the light cycle. These strains usually take about three months to go from seed to harvest – much more quickly than non-auto-flowering varieties.
Start the flowering phase as soon as possible
When growing cannabis indoors from ordinary seeds, the grower has to decide when to switch the plants from the vegetative phase to flowering. This is usually done by altering the lighting schedule. Reducing the total hours of daylight stimulates the plants to produce buds and will start the flower stage. This is usually about two to three months after sowing, depending on the variety.
However, it is technically possible to make your seedlings produce buds pretty much as soon as they sprout and bypass the vegetative stage altogether. Northern Lights is a variety with a flowering time that lasts for two months. If seedlings produce flowers as soon as they germinate, it is theoretically possible to harvest in as little as three months – two months quicker than the average grow time of five months. However, the yield will always be much less simply because the seedling will not have had enough time to grow stems needed to produce buds.
A practical solution, if you are really impatient, is to cut short the vegetative phase. The yield will be less but much more than by entirely skipping the vegetative stage. Let your plants vegetate for a shorter period than that accepted in order to switch to flowering more quickly. The yield will certainly not be extraordinary, but always more than by making the plant flower from the sowing stage. It could take three more weeks, for example, in which case you will be able to harvest after about 14-15 weeks.
You could also give your plants a full twenty-four hours of daylight during the vegetative phase to encourage leaf and stem growth. This will enable you to reach the flowering stage a little sooner without compromising so much on the eventual yield.
Prune your weed plants
Your weed plants use energy to grow leaves and stems as well as buds. During the flowering stage you want all the energy of your plants dedicated to growing big, sticky buds. Pruning your plants to remove extra stems and dry, yellow or dying leaves means more energy is available for growing buds.
Use the best nutrients
Sick plants need time to recover, so every time you overfeed, underfeed, or feed the wrong thing, you’re stretching the time until harvest. If you’re using nutrients designed for cannabis, they should come with instructions that tell you how much of what to use, and when to use it. Follow the directions, but keep the mix on the light side until you know if your plants are nutrient-sensitive.
Cannabis needs more nitrogen (N) when vegging and more phosphorus and potassium (P & K) while flowering. If you give then too much nitrogen during bloom, it’ll slow down bud growth and result in lower yields of fluffier buds. That’s the exact opposite of what you want!
Overwatering is one of the most common ways to kill a cannabis plant. Not only cannabis plants, but this applies to most plants in general. Overwatering also slows down the growth of the plant drastically. When the roots of the plant have enough water, they rarely try to push their boundaries, and you’ll end up with a plant with reduced yields.
On the other hand, if you don’t over-water and let the roots seek water, they grow more secondary roots. This is a basic, scientific fact. A good way to follow the wet and dry cycle is to touch the soil and figure out whether it’s wet or dry. If the soil is wet, just don’t water the plant at all. And, if the soil is moist, wait a couple days until it’s completely dry.
The trick is to water just before the plant starts to wither. Once you’ve grown several plants, you will know when to water the plants at the right time. If growing indoors, it’s even more important to not over-water the plants since they don’t dry very quickly.
Another method to check when to water the plants is to weigh them. Just lift the pots. If they feel too heavy, they have too much water and you’ll have to wait. On the contrary, if you can lift them easily, it’s time to water them – as simple as that.
Use training techniques
There are several training techniques you can employ on your cannabis plants. However, not all of them will work on autoflowers. The best part of growing autoflowers is that they give great yields even if they aren’t trained at all.
Also, note that the plants need to be very healthy to train them. If in doubt, don’t train them until you’re really sure that you have the expertise. Here are a few techniques that are best for autoflowers.
LST is short form for Low-Stress Training. As the name suggests, the key is to stress the plant just enough to push it to grow faster and better. In this method, the branches are tied to the sides so that the center of the plant gets more light. This method works exceptionally well for big plants.
With this technique, light is distributed in a uniform manner and you won’t have to deal with popcorn buds. Also, marijuana plants tend to grow better when stressed. It’s a natural defense mechanism that makes the plant heal quickly. Autoflowers need to be trained carefully, but since LST is about minimally stressing the plant, it works pretty well.
This is another technique to help the plants grow more. The top of the plant is cut off so that the main cola divides into two. This works very well, especially if the plant is small and has fewer nodes. Since this training method won’t stress the plants too much, they are best for autoflowers.
Very similar to topping, this method involves pinching the top of the main cola. Unlike topping, the tip of the main stem isn’t cut off entirely, but it’s just pinched off so that it develops more colas. You can expect several colas in this technique.
Use a hydroponic setup to grow
Using a hydroponics setup allows you to grow your buds faster because you can give your plants the exact nutrients they need to thrive. Indoor plants in general are also less prone to disease and don’t need to worry about animals, insects or other pests. Healthy weed plants grow faster buds!
Pollinate to harvest early
This last tip might shock you. Pollinate your flowers and they’ll ripen faster.
This doesn’t mean you’ll ruin your grow with a bunch of seeds. Pollinate by hand about a week before you want to harvest. As soon as the buds are fertilised, the plant will switch its energy away from flower formation to seed production and the maturity rate will escalate. The next week, when you harvest, the seeds won’t even be noticeable because they haven’t had time to form a hard shell.
Follow our tips, and you can look forward to a quick harvest. However, growing cannabis is an art. It’s important to be patient and let the plant do its thing.