Dru West: It’s important to be familiar with the strains you are growing in order to know what to expect come harvest time. Some Sativa dominant strains will never get very big and dense, but will still produce amazing smoke. You may not be doing anything wrong at all. It may just be the strain.
If you are sure that genetics are not your problem, then you need to consider some of the other possible reasons why your buds aren’t getting tight and dense by harvest time. The most likely factors include
- Poor lighting
- Excessively high temperature and/or humidity
- Undersized pots/containers
- Lack of sufficient pruning
- Lack of sufficient co2
Lighting: In order to thrive your plants must always have a sufficient amount of light. Once the bulbs have been used for a few cycles, they begin to lose their brightness, and are no longer getting the job done. This will ultimately result in loose airy buds every time. So make sure to change your bulbs every six months (3 Harvests).
Temperature & Humidity: When growing indoors, the principal objective is to replicate the outdoor environment in which the Cannabis plant naturally thrives. You’ll never re-create the power of the sun (all the more reason to keep your bulbs as new as possible), but you can control some atmospheric conditions like temperature, humidity, wind and co2 levels.
The ideal daytime temperature for growing indoors is between 70-80deg with no more than a 15deg drop at night (60-70deg). While humidity levels should stay between 50-60%.
The use of air conditioners, de/humidifiers, and proper ventilation systems will allow you to achieve ideal conditions in your room. Wall-mounted oscillating fans are also essential for keeping the air moving in an ideal environment.
Container Size: I always say there is a direct relation between dried root mass and dried bud mass. Or as my boy Danny Danko says, “More root, more fruit”. It’s definitely true; the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant, the bigger the roots, the bigger the buds.
Pruning: One of the best ways to ensure that your buds will finish nice and dense is to keep up on the pruning of your plant. A lot of people are afraid to cut off unneeded branches from the plant in fear that they will reap less at harvest time. The opposite is true.
Many of the branches on your plant are only stealing energy from the other, more desirable ones. It is very important to identify these and prune them off before they do too much damage. If done properly your good buds will be a lot larger and denser, and you’ll have less trim work. We want “All killer, No filler”.
Co2: Co2 or Carbon Dioxide, is the gas that plants absorb during the photosynthesis process. The addition of supplemental co2 will accelerate the plant growth, resulting in bigger, denser buds.
It is generally agreed upon that the addition of co2 can increase your harvest by 15-25%, making it a must have. The most common method for producing co2 is the use of a regulated propane burner, but there are a number of methods. You should choose one that is ideal for your space and budget.
Check out my book The Secrets of the West Coast Masters: Uncover the Ultimate Techniques for Growing Medical Marijuana to learn our secrets on how to yield over a pound per plant in as little as a 4’x4’ space.
Have a question? Email us at stuffstonerslike [at] yahoo.com and we will be happy to answer it.
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