Growers don’t need to be professionals pulling down commercial crops to want increases in yields. It can be just as beneficial to know how to get extra buds from a personal crop of six grown in a tent or in the backyard. No matter how many plants people grow, they can follow the advice below to increase harvests from the same number of plants.
Get the Basics Down First
Before trying any fancy tricks, growers need to make sure they have the basics down. Check out some growing tips aimed at novice to intermediate-level growers before jumping into more complex techniques. Plants that aren’t getting enough water, light, and nutrients won’t be healthy enough to sustain the stress induced by things like stress training, defoliation, and other advanced methods.
Learn How to Train Plants
Plant training occurs in the vegetative stage. It involves guiding the development of the plant so that it can grow evenly and develop plenty of side branches destined one day to grow huge buds. There are two forms of plant training:
1. Low-Stress Training (LST)
LST techniques generally involve finding ways to maximize light exposure. Tie-down methods involve bending down stems so that bud sites that would otherwise be shaded receive light, while sea-of-green (SOG) involves growing many very small plants to form a large canopy, reducing the per-plant yield but increasing the overall harvest.
2. High-Stress Training (HST)
HST techniques involve placing the plant under stress to induce the production of more buds. Only experienced growers should try HST, and only under circumstances where the vegetative stage can be prolonged so the plants can fully repair themselves before entering bloom. Common examples of HST techniques include:
Plants use carbon dioxide to fuel growth, which has led some experts to conclude that supplementing CO2 in indoor grows can increase overall yields. This method for increasing yields can be expensive and requires a very well-sealed grow room, so as with HST techniques, it’s best reserved for more experienced growers. That said, once growers have honed their other skills, CO2 supplementation is worth a shot.
Switch to a Hydroponic Setup
Hydroponic grow ops can produce up to 20% greater yields than comparable soil-based grows. The reason behind this increase is simple: plants have direct access to perfectly tailored nutrient solutions instead of having to fish the nutrients they need out of the soil. Plus, hydroponic systems tend to speed up grow times.
There are, however, a few issues with hydroponics that are worth noting. For one, they allow little room for human error. Make one serious mistake with nutrients, and things can take a turn for the worst very quickly. Hydroponic systems also tend to be expensive, and they require a good deal of space.
Most experienced growers cut back on watering after they’ve flushed their plants, but some go one step further and withhold it entirely for one to three days before harvest. Let the plant wilt just a little bit. If the plant becomes water-stressed near the end of its life cycle, it will start putting more energy towards bud production and resin development in a last-ditch effort to propagate itself.
Accept a Few Losses
Regardless of which of the above-described techniques growers choose to experiment with first, they should accept that some plants could be lost in the learning process. This is especially true of HST techniques. Just remember that the eventual results will make up for those early casualties.