Using crop cycling can help you cultivate cannabis plants in a way that maximizes their potential. It’s a tried and true technique used by many indoor agricultural commodities.
Crop rotation improves soil fertility, breaks pestilence and disease cycles, increases harvest yields, and reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers. It’s also an effective way to re-use plant residues and recycle nutrients.
Crop steering is a growing technique that helps growers achieve higher yields, greater trichome production, and overall plant performance. It consists of different tactics to steer a cannabis crop into the desired growth stage.
Vegetative steering involves reducing environmental stressors in the grow room to promote rapid, prolific growth. This includes adjusting water content, light intensity, fertilizer levels, irrigation events, and airflow to influence plants’ hormonal responses.
Many growers choose to keep vegetative cues until a few weeks before harvest and then switch to generative training to finish ripening the crop. Others go back and forth between generative and vegetative techniques to maintain plant balance.
The amount of dry-back between the last irrigation event of a day and when lights turn on the following day directly influences how much vegetative or generative growth your plants experience. Larger overnight dry-backs encourage generative plants, while smaller night-time dry-backs encourage vegetative plants.
Climate changes are also important for steering, especially with photoperiodic responses that trigger flowering. Overall heigh temperatures, for example, are more vegetative than having lower temperatures because they mimic the natural seasonal transitions that plants would experience at the end of their life cycle.
Irrigation can be a powerful tool for steering cannabis crops. It allows growers to pre-program feeding, water, and nutrient amounts while precisely monitoring the substrate’s water content pH, EC.
Depending on the type of soil, the moisture content can vary significantly between the last and first irrigation of a day. This difference in volumetric water content (VWC%) – expressed as the decrease in VWC% from the last irrigation event of a day to the first irrigation event of the next day – can influence plants’ hormonal response and growth stages.
When implementing any new technique for growing crops, growers should test it to see how their strains and plants respond before rolling it out to their entire operation. Crop steering is no exception, as each cultivar and its specific needs are different.
Crop cycling is an effective growing technique that enables you to continuously produce cannabis flowers in a small indoor grow room. This method also allows you to increase annual yields and potency without consuming excessive water and nutrients.
This strategy relies on steering cannabis plants between vegetative and generative growth in response to environmental cues. During the vegetative stage, cannabis plants use their energy to grow roots and leaves, while during generative growth, they produce flowers and fruits.
A plant’s hormones control its growth in response to the external conditions it experiences, such as irrigation and climate. These hormones also influence how much water a plant needs to thrive.
During the generative phase, these hormones encourage the development of flowers and fruits. As a result, crop steering cues that cause the plant to lean more heavily towards generative growth trigger cellular activity and root formation.
Some cultivators make this change every week or so, while others go back and forth between vegetative and generative training methods until the crop is ready for harvest. Whatever strategy you choose, it’s important to keep track of the results and experiment with different cultivars to find the best way to steer your crops.
The key to successful crop steering is to learn how to manipulate environmental controls in a timely manner so that your plants can overcome stress and maintain optimal plant health. This requires experimentation and record keeping, but it is an excellent way to improve production efficiency.
Generative steering can be used at any point during a cannabis plant’s life cycle, but it is most common during the flowering phase. This is due to the fact that cannabis is photoperiodic, which means that the plant will start the flowering process when it receives proper cues in the root zone.
Another reason why cannabis is perfect for crop steering is because it can be easily controlled by regulating light, temperature and humidity levels. As a result, cultivators can create specialized environments for each type of strain in their grow rooms.
A great way to achieve this is with the help of hyper-responsive lighting technology that integrates information from localized sensors into an LED solution to respond in real-time to environmental conditions. This technology empowers growers to take their crop steering to the next level and revolutionize how cannabis is grown.
Root Zone Management
As an alternative to traditional cultivation practices, cannabis cultivators are turning to no-till methods of crop rotation and soil health maintenance. These methods help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can save growers thousands of dollars in equipment costs over the course of a single growing cycle.
Root zone management can also help to improve yields and increase quality by ensuring that the right plant is growing in the right environment at the right time. This can be achieved through the use of sensors that measure soil water levels and oxygen levels in the rootzone.
This measurement can be compared with the plant’s average daily leaf temperature and other growth data to determine whether the right conditions are in place for successful vegetative growth. If the rootzone is too dry, it can lead to wilting and stunted growth.
Another common practice is to monitor the daytime air temperature to ensure that temperatures are high enough for the cannabis plants to grow properly. If the air temperature is too low, it can result in the plants developing a ph imbalance that inhibits photosynthesis and results in less effective yields.
Using these measurements, you can then determine when to apply specific growing techniques to maximize the crop’s growth and yield potential. Increasing soil moisture, for example, can help to ensure that the cannabis plant has adequate oxygen to thrive in the rootzone and achieve its optimal photosynthesis level.
In addition to a healthy soil, the cannabis rootzone should also be free of harmful chemicals such as salts and nitrates. The presence of these contaminants can negatively impact the plants’ nutrient uptake and overall growth rate.
The cannabis rootzone can be improved by ensuring that the plants’ surface temperatures are kept at a low or negative DIF, which will encourage more compact growth and produce higher yields. This is accomplished through reducing the temperatures during the first few hours of the photoperiod, before returning to a more photosynthetically efficient production temperature for the balance of the photoperiod.
A specialized method of achieving this effect is the use of Metal Halide lights, which have a blue-shifted light spectrum that optimizes photosynthesis. This type of light is typically used in the vegetative stage of the growing cycle for a wide variety of crops, and it has been shown to promote compact growth habits.
Cannabis plants need a lot of water during their vegetative growth. To ensure a healthy, strong crop, it’s important to water them frequently and evenly, avoiding the formation of standing water. Also, be sure to plant the plants in containers that are large enough so their roots can reach the water they need. If you’re growing in a small container, your roots won’t be able to stretch out and absorb as much water as they need, leading to problems such as root rot, mold, and pests.
The most effective way to apply water to your grow is with a drip irrigation system. These systems are easy to install and use water more efficiently than other types of irrigation methods, which will help you save money on your water bill.
Another popular method is crop cycling, which is a set of cultivation techniques that allow growers to control their plants throughout the growing cycle. By focusing on specific stages of the crop’s life cycle, cultivators can maximize their yields and gain greater agency over their cannabis production.
Crop cycling has become an increasingly popular method for cannabis cultivation due to its ability to boost yields while minimizing environmental impacts. With crop cycling, growers can take advantage of the best growing conditions for each stage in order to produce a consistent harvest year after year.
During the vegetative phase, cannabis plants require nitrogen and potassium, as well as an abundance of light, a high humidity level, and a temperature that is ideal for photosynthesis. These conditions are typically maintained with crop cycling, which helps the plant maximize its energy output to create thick leaves and vigorous stems that support flower development.
If the crop is in a greenhouse, a top-feed irrigation system is the best choice for fertigating, as these systems add nutrients to water and distribute it through the media primarily by gravity. They’re the most popular type of fertigation systems and are the easiest to implement for your cannabis crop.
To optimize the germination of your seeds, you should start them in small pots and gradually increase the size as they mature. In addition to helping your plants thrive, these smaller containers can be more portable for transporting to other locations.