We have been growing our plants in the vegetative stage since the 1st of December when proposition 207 finally allowed every Arizona resident 21 and older to consume, possess, purchase, AND GROW marijuana. The growmies here in AZ came through with some stellar clones for me to run in my first grow. Both Wonka Bars and Sour Lemon have been vegetating in an 18/6 light cycle in my Gorilla Grow Tent for the past 2 months and it was time to flip that flowering switch. February 1, 2021, I switched my Volt Grow LED light to a 12/12 cycle and began the transition process.
Week 1: Transition
When you flip the light cycle to 12/12 (12 hours of light and 12 hours of day), the first week is pretty anti-climactic. The plants continue to appear in their vegetative state, but quickly, they start to sprout little white hairs out of the bud sites.
There is not much difference, however I do take advantage of a few things because this transition time is still considered a vegetative mode:
Trim the leaves: During the first 3 weeks of flower, you can take leaves off the plant without stressing it out. There are some methods, like Schwazzing, where you take ALL of the big fan leaves off (defoliate) at day 1 and then you do it again day 17 or so. This way you have max light penetration to the lower branches and your nutrients are not being stored in the big fan leaves, but the nutrients will go straight towards bud production.
Light Tension/Controlling the Canopy: Because we have been fimming and topping our plant, the canopy is probably not even. I use a trellis (plastic is fine) to place over the top of the plant, and force the plant to grow with a more even canopy. We are in a 5×5 tent with an 8 foot ceiling so we cannot grow tall plants. We can make our plants spread so that we our light is hitting more top buds.
Lollipop Your Plant: I am running an LED light and although it is extremely bright, the light will not penetrate down to the lowest branches. We have used trellis to spread the tops out so the lower branches can be used for clones or just tossed away. We do not need the plant directing energy to lowers that do not matter…put the power to the BUDS! When lollipopping, be generous in clipping any branches or buds that will never get enough light to make a good bud to consume.
Once my plants hit week three, I stop messing with them as much. In week two, the first buddings start to emerge.
Week 2: Transition Pre-Flowering
The plants are now going through a rapid growth phase and starting their development into flowering plants. The hairs begin getting longer and by day 12, we have the start of buds.
The buds formed quickly and the hairs became long and wild. The smell is still of plant material with a little bit of skunk mixed in. The aroma is intoxicating. This is only the second week and we are already seeing the buds taking shape.
Week 3: Flowering
The buds are fully formed. My water cycle has not changed from vegetative mode, but I am watering more frequently and pushing 2.5 gallons though my 10 gallon Smart Pots.
The smell has changed slightly, but now the lower fan leaves are starting to yellow. There may be a deficiency or maybe a PH problem
I consulted with Beau, owner of Glorious Extract and Glorious Farms, and he recommended that I decrease my PH to 6.1. This guy said this instantly like the plants told him. The purpling of the stems and the yellowing leaves down below were a sure sign of a PH imbalance.
This week and next, we will be deducting the PH to 6.1 to combat this PH imbalance. By lowering the PH, it will help the plant uptake Phosphorus more efficiently. We wean back the nitrogen during the flowering and the plant needs to focus on using phosphorous and potassium for bud growth.
We only water our plants when they are thirsty. The Wonka Bars does not drink as much, as fast, as Sour Lemons. Since we are using General Hydroponics nutrients, we need to water 10-15% more because we practice drain-to-waste, we are putting 2.5-3 gallons of water through our 10 gallons Smart Pots every watering.
We are watering every 2 days.
See the whole cultivation series to keep reading and learning.