Succession cropping is a common gardening technique that can help you maximize growing space and produce crops throughout the season. It is a simple process that involves planting small rows of plants a little at a time during the growing season.
This technique is especially useful for gardeners with short growing seasons. It allows you to plant a heavy-yielding crop like corn, beans, or peas every few weeks until they are ready for harvest.
Crop steering is a cultivation technique that manipulates environmental factors to help plants grow a certain way. It’s a powerful tool for increasing quality, yield and quantity of cannabis products in commercial facilities, particularly for medicinal cannabis production.
Crop Steering is a term used to describe how growers manipulate light, climate and irrigation in their indoor or greenhouse environment to encourage plants to grow a particular way. It can be a strain-specific approach or a combination of methods used throughout the flowering cycle to maintain plant balance and keep a crop in optimal condition until harvest.
During vegetative growth, plants focus on growing their roots, leaves and stems, while during generative growth, they use their energy to produce flowers and fruits. Balancing the two stages is essential to producing a healthy, high-quality crop that’s full of cannabinoid content.
Vegetative crop steering relies on reducing environmental stressors and optimizing all inputs to promote rapid, prolific growth. It also focuses on maintaining proper water content in the root zone without over or under saturating the substrate.
Generative crop steering, on the other hand, aims to optimize a plants’ hormonal response by providing them with specially engineered environmental conditions that stimulate the plants to concentrate their energy on flower formation and fruit development. This type of steering focuses on controlling all inputs to maximize yields and quality of the crop by maximizing both cannabinoid content and terpene content in the final product.
This approach has become increasingly popular in commercial cannabis cultivation facilities. It can significantly increase total terpene, THC and cannabinoid content by optimizing nutrient delivery and dry back during the generative stage to maximize the size and number of buds that develop in the flowering phase.
It’s important to note that not all cultivars react the same to different cues, so experimentation is necessary to find what works best for your farm and crops.
In order to achieve the best results, it’s necessary to utilize a cannabis production platform that includes sensors that see inside the soil and around plants. This helps cultivators gain insight into the plant’s development so they can accurately steer their plants to produce the highest quality, most consistent crop.
Plants in the vegetative stage focus on early root and plant development, while avoiding reproduction (as flowers would do). Cannabis plants in this stage also require adequate water. They want a warm and humid environment to expand their root system, develop leaves, and build their branching structure.
Cannabis plants in the vegetative stage also need an uptick in the red spectra and a little bit of extra blue to optimize photosynthesis and maximize growth potential. This light quality, if provided at appropriate intensity, results in compact plant growth and is associated with other positive vegetative characteristics.
The use of crop steering through light, climate and irrigation cues can help commercial cannabis cultivators maintain a balance between vegetative and generative growth. This is important for maintaining plant health and maximizing yields.
Generative crop steering involves applying specific environmental cues to trigger the plants into flower development. Most cues during this period are slightly stressful, mirroring the end-of-summer seasonal changes that would naturally occur.
Using these generative crop steering techniques can motivate the plants to grow larger buds and increase their production potential. The key is timing.
As the days get shorter, cannabis plants take their cues to begin flowering from the sun. To force them to transition into bud formation, cultivators can use an 18-hour lights-on schedule and then change to a 12-hour lights-on schedule. They can also increase light intensity through GROWHub integrated strain dimming controls, and they can adjust grow room temperatures from day to night.
When cannabis plants have been in the vegetative stage for a few weeks, they will begin to stretch and gain weight. This stretching occurs as the plant tries to strengthen its stem and stretch itself to reach its full-grown size.
To avoid stretching, many cultivators will reduce water intake during the generative stage. This enables the plants to grow taller, which can improve their yields by increasing their total dry-weight.
However, it is not advisable to cut down on water intake too early in the generative stage as this may cause the plant to weaken its root system and fail to survive. In the case of cannabis, reducing water intake too soon can actually harm plant health.
A cultivator’s ability to steer their crops into a generative growth phase is essential for high yields. Flowering is triggered by photoperiod cues, but other inputs like irrigation dry-back and climate can also influence a plant’s generative response.
The most commonly used crop steering technique for generative growth is to reduce the light on photoperiod, but that’s not the only cue you can use. A grower can also manipulate the vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and water content in the root zone to encourage reproductive growth.
In addition, a plant’s internodal elongation is affected by the difference in leaf surface temperature during photoperiod. This can be influenced by the air exchange rate of your ventilation system.
This is a key factor in plant development, as it determines how well the plant’s leaves are able to absorb and retain water. In addition, it affects the rate of transpiration, which enables the plant to take up additional moisture from the atmosphere.
Generative cues are a powerful way to control cannabis plant growth, but implementing these methods requires an understanding of how plants interact with environmental factors. The best way to learn how to apply generationative cues is by collecting data on critical climate conditions and substrate conditions at regular intervals.
For example, if the average daytime temperature is 5C lower than the nighttime low during the skotoperiod, the grower can raise the temperature to stimulate internodal elongation. They can also increase the frequency of irrigation and nutrient feeding to promote flowering.
Another climatic condition that can be manipulated is the level of light intensity in the room during photoperiod. Many cultivators use a target dry-lather index (DLI) for their growing rooms, which is a value expressed in moles of light per square meter of floor space.
A crop’s DLI value is a measure of how much extra supplemental light can improve growth without compromising performance. For many crops, a DLI of 25 to 30 mols of light per day is recommended.
During the vegetative stage of the cannabis plant’s life cycle, plants focus on early root and plant development. During this time, they don’t require as much nutrition as they do during flowering. As they mature into the generative stage, they’re hungry for nutrients and a higher EC reading will provide them with the nourishment they need to fuel their next round of growth.
Automated cannabis cultivation systems include a wide array of tools that eliminate manual tasks, resulting in increased efficiency and consistency. Automation can be a cost-effective way to improve your grow process, but it’s important to be selective about what types of technology are right for your operation.
The type of automation technology that you implement depends on your growing environment and the number of plants you have. If you run a small-scale grow tent, then you may not need automation techniques such as irrigating or setting lights on timers. However, if you have multiple grow rooms, then it’s likely you would need to automate these elements in order to make your cannabis operation more efficient.
For example, if you want to ensure that your lights stay on at certain intervals during the day and night, it’s best to use smart lighting control. This helps to ensure optimal light conditions and reduces the risk of your plants getting too much or too little sunlight, which can result in a lack of photosynthesis and produce low-quality results.
You can also automate your watering and feeding schedules, which can save you a lot of time by ensuring that your plants receive the exact amount of moisture and nutrients at all times, while avoiding underfeeding or overfeeding. This saves you from wasting time, money and energy on incorrectly applied fertilizer and watering.
It’s also important to integrate these automated irrigation and feeding processes with a smart building platform that continuously collects data. This can help you understand how different strains respond to specific nutrient levels and how much water they require. This can prevent overfeeding or underfeeding and increase harvest yields.
Finally, automating your label application process is another valuable tool that can help to streamline your business. This can save you time and money, as well as ensure that your products are packaged with accurate information about their origins and ingredients.
With the upcoming legalization of recreational and medical cannabis in many states, the need for automation is growing. As the industry expands, profit margins are getting squeezed, and those who don’t automate their operations won’t be able to survive in the long run.