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Vertical Hydroponics—Introduction Part III
We all heard about the advantages of vertical hydroponic, it is a good growing method, but it also has a few disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Vertical Hydroponics
The main challenge in a vertical hydroponics system is to deliver adequate water, nutrients, and light to plants on all the levels. Since the plants are placed one above the other, water needs to be delivered in a vertical form, and in order to send the water all the way to the top against the force of gravity, pumps with higher power are required. And if the water is not constantly being sent up, it will pool at the bottom and too much of it will pose a danger of drowning the lower plants.
Lighting in a vertical hydroponic system is extremely important. If the vertical hydroponic garden is indoors, the plants will have reduced or no access to the sun. You’ll therefore need to invest in electric grow lights to allow the system to flourish. For large scale hydroponic farms especially, the lights used to grow plants constitute a big part of the cost. However, with the advent of new LED lighting technology, growing hydroponic plants indoors is becoming much more economically viable.
All the levels with plants will typically require equal amounts of light at an equal distance, and this can only be achieved by placing separate light panels that cater to the plants equally. For example, peppers require plenty of light for up to 18 hours per day, while also requiring close proximity to light—otherwise they won’t thrive. It’s therefore essential to ensure you’re spending money on high-quality and energy-efficient grow lights.
In some cases, growers actually train plants to grow horizontally because they want optimal light from above to reach all parts of the plant. Since the plants in a vertical tower system are placed at an angle, the best option might be to use multiple vertically mounted lights to cover all the growing surfaces uniformly.
In the case of an indoor zig-zag vertical hydroponic system also, lighting may be a concern. Panels hanging from the ceiling may not be ideal since all the plants are at different heights. Multiple light panels need to be typically arranged on top of each of the pipes to provide light equally and equidistantly.
The Aokairuisi Solution to Lighting
Aokairuisi LED Grow Light bars are a cost-effective solution for vertical farming racking systems (such as vertical hydroponic systems), where multiple bars can be daisy-chained and easily arranged according to desired light bar spacing. Aokairuisi LED is the controlled environment agricultural industry’s choice for a durable, light-weight, and vertical grow light bar. It is a cost-effective solution for a variety of grow light applications where multiple bars can be daisy-chained and easily moved according to desired light bar spacing.
The Aokairuisi LED Grow Light has an optimized broad spectrum that maximizes photosynthesis and plant growth, while also providing the ideal conditions for a comfortable visual experience, superior PAR efficacy, and accurate crop assessment. You’re always welcome to contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vertical Hydroponics—Introduction Part II
Vertical hydroponic is a good growing method when you do not have enough ground surface or horizontal floor area. Why do we say it is a good method? We list some of its advantages below.
Advantages of Vertical Hydroponics
One huge consideration with vertical hydroponics is optimizing the limited space that you might have. Most gardeners nowadays—professionals or enthusiasts—often suffer from lack of floor space, and so vertical hydroponics has become the preferred choice for urban gardening. Vertical systems are excellent for fitting into corners of rooms or any other small indoor or outdoor spaces where they can be less intrusive while not using up valuable square footage. This has allowed maximum usage of small spaces and made it a viable option for growing crops in city homes, whether against an outdoor patio wall or inside a spare room. Vertical hydroponics is a godsend for people who don’t have access to much soil or ground space to grow things.
In addition, plant roots in hydroponic systems don’t spread out as much in their search for nutrients compared to growing them in soil, since the roots are suspended directly in nutrient-rich solution. As a result, it is possible to grow crops much closer together, saving space.
Lack of Soil
Hydroponics is being considered as an innovative alternative approach to the future of agriculture, since by using no soil, you can grow many varieties of produce in most places with very little arable land, dry/arid climates, or where climate change and destructive farming practices are causing soil erosion. Similarly, distant cities, islands or hotels can also grow their own fresh food hydroponically instead of resorting to costly imports. As for coastal places with a scarcity of fresh water, desalination technology is in progress so that people will be able to extract fresh water from the ocean for supplying hydroponic gardens as well as for agriculture in general.
Due to the controlled and soil-free environment, weeds, pests and plant diseases are minimized. As a result, the use of chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides are drastically reduced—a big bonus for health and food safety—while the harvested crops may not even need to be washed in most cases.
Efficiency & Productivity
Hydroponic nutrients are derived from mineral salts, essentially the same as those found in soil, but more readily available. The difference is that the nature of soil-based minerals is slow release, whereas hydroponic minerals are fast release with fast uptake, and therefore result in optimal results & faster growth.
As mentioned earlier, when planted in soil, a plant’s roots spread out in search of nutrients, leading to a much larger root system than a hydroponic setup—wherein the nutrients are delivered directly to the root system in almost surgical quantities. This method ensures that plants receive exactly the right quantity of nutrition at the right times, allowing the plant to spend its energy producing useful foliage, stems, leaves, and fruit (instead of large root systems).
Vertical hydroponics, especially indoors, allows for better control of temperature, light, air composition, and pests. This results in maximized crop growth rates, quality and yield, in addition to being able to grow most crops year-round. Indoor vertical hydroponics farms can play an important role in filling the market gap, providing fresh produce in all seasons.
In addition, vertical hydroponics can reduce the overall weight of the upper layers by at least 30% compared to using soil as the growing medium for a vertical system—meaning that you can stack more layers on top of each other than you normally could.
Fresh produce can be made available locally with maximum ease, and sold in restaurants and farmers’ markets with minimal transport. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing nutrient loss and produce damage.
In a properly constructed vertical hydroponics system, the water and nutrients inside the tube stay inside it without any spillage or leakage. Moreover, the water keeps getting recycled (in a closed-loop system) until it reaches the point of no use. This ensures optimal usage and minimal wastage. Hydroponic systems are therefore good for the environment, since the water is not being evaporated as readily or absorbed into the ground quickly while being recirculated, compared to a soil-based system. In fact, a recirculating hydroponic system can conserve up to 80% water and use up to 10 times less water compared to a standard garden bed. This offers a huge—and sustainable—advantage when water shortage is of great concern, especially since field-based agriculture is one of the greatest consumers of freshwater sources (up to 80% of ground and surface water in the U.S. itself).
To be continued…
Vertical Hydroponics—Introduction Part I
What happens if you love gardening and growing various kinds of plants, but do not have enough ground surface or horizontal floor area? The concept of vertical farming was developed as a solution to this problem. Imagine the way that tall skyscrapers can be built so sturdily, yet are able to reach up towards the sky while containing so many different rooms across multiple levels, and that will provide you with the basic working principle behind vertical farming. In other words, it is all about cultivating more by stacking multiple layers of planting surfaces.
What Is Vertical Hydroponics?
This basic concept of vertical farming can be easily applied towards what’s known as hydroponics—a way to grow plants without the use of any soil, wherein minerals and other nutrients are provided directly to the roots only via water in a systematic manner and in calculated quantities.
Hydroponic systems can be grown in a greenhouse using natural light, or more commonly in a vertical system using LED lights, to save space. The latter system is what’s known as Vertical Hydroponics—the setting up of a hydroponic farm, except in a vertical manner. Gravity plays a major role, since the nutrient-rich water is fed from the top of the system and flows down to the bottom, where it is collected.
This practice of soil-free vertical gardening traces its roots all the way back to Ancient history. The Babylonians had a similar idea when they built the Hanging Gardens along the Euphrates River in Babylonia around 600 BC—an Ancient Wonder which had flowers, shrubs and even trees growing in massive tiered gardens. Other records of hydroponics in ancient times include the floating farms created by the Aztecs around Tenochtitlan in Mexico in the 10th-11th century, as well as the explorer Marco Polo’s writings of the late 13th century, describing similar floating gardens during his travels to China.
Scientific experiments done to test plant growth using various cultures from water, soil and air were recorded from the year 1600 onwards by various chemists. The long search for the macro-nutrients essential for plant growth without soil culminated around 1860, when two German botanists, Julius von Sachs and Wilhelm Knop, were able to grow plants by totally immersing their roots in a water solution containing minerals of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, and calcium, and delivered the first standard formula for the specific nutrient solutions dissolved in water to allow the growth of plants in it. This was the origin of “nutriculture”, a word that was changed in 1937 to “hydroponics”—combining two Greek words “Hydro” (water) and “Ponos” (labor).
Studies have shown that vertical hydroponics systems can aid in efficient water savings, up to 90 percent. The closed loop system prevents runoff into waterways, while growing indoors can reduce pests, diseases, and issues related to fickle weather. A vertical hydroponics system is efficient in multiple ways, has various advantages, and can be built, operated and maintained even at your home.
How Does a Vertical Hydroponic System Work?
There are two main vertical hydroponic system designs—Vertical Hydroponic Tower and Zig-Zag Vertical Hydroponic System. Due to their unique dynamics, both of these vertical designs use a closed, constant flow system called the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), which involves having a constant thin stream of water flowing over the root system of the plants.
Vertical Hydroponic Tower
In a typical vertical hydroponic tower, a tube is connected to a small water reservoir at the bottom, wherein a hydroponic pump will assist in pumping the water to the top. From there, the natural assistance of gravity is used to bring water down in a controlled manner back to the reservoir, the process of which delivers the nutrients to the plant.
You can either use a single tube to deliver water to the top level or connect multiple channels to different layers for optimal delivery of water and nutrients. The plants are placed in net cups, typically angled at 45 degrees, to easily allow the water to flow through the roots.
Zig-Zag Vertical Hydroponic System
Some designs use multiple PVC pipes arranged on a trellis frame at diagonal angles (known as the zig-zag vertical system) instead of creating a vertical tower. The pipes are usually in a compact zig-zag pattern going up. The plants are housed in net cups, placed at regular 90-degree angles.
These systems also use NFT techniques to grow the plants. The water containing essential nutrients is pumped to the top pipe, from where it flows down in a constant stream.
To be continued…
What You Need to Know about Safety
What you need to know about safety
If you have been shopping for LED grow lights, you have probably run across one (or more) of the many certifications out there. So, what do you really need to know about safety and what these certifications actually mean?
It’s a lot of information to take in at once, but for growers, there are a few simple things to understand.
No matter what you grow, you need to know if the LED grow lights you are investing in are safe, durable and perform like the manufacturer claims.
Safety is important when you are planning – or updating – your grow facility, and one of the organizations that certify the safety of grow lights in the United States: UL.
Underwriters Laboratories (or UL) is nationally recognized testing laboratory and, in a nutshell, make sure that the grow lights they certify are safe to use in a horticultural environment.
So, for commercial growers, UL certification is important if you want to stay compliant with OSHA!
That’s because the certification of this organization reassure growers that the products they purchase meet a certain standard of safety.
After all, grow lights can take a lot of abuse: They operate in a humid, wet and often harsh environment. They need to be able to handle it.
And anytime electricity is involved – especially if it is mixed with a wet or moist environment – safety really comes into play. Growers need to be confident that the LED grow lights they purchase will operate as they should in the environment for which they are intended.
The Key Takeaway
For growers looking to invest in LED grow lights, knowing about the different certifications is important, so you know you are:
- Getting the grow light you paid for and that an independent lab has proven the manufacturer’s claims
- You are using a light that has been rated for safety in a horticultural environment – which is crucial to OHSA compliance
Growers should always check the certifications on their indoor grow lights so they know they are buying technology that’s been tested and approved.
Aokairuisi LED grow lights are UL listed, and they are also approved by CE. We are very concerned about the customer’s use experience and safety, if you’re interested in our grow lights, we are happy to share our UL certificate with you. If you’d like to choose one grow light to test, kindly visit here: Shop
What Is the Difference between PPFD and PPF
If you’re looking to understand how grow lights compare, you likely have come across the metrics PPF and PPFD.
However, you might be confused about what these metrics mean, and how you can make sense of them to make an informed purchasing decision. In this article we go over the basic differences between PPF and PPFD.
The difference between PPF and PPFD by definition
PPF and PPFD are both acronyms that deal with the amount of light for a light source or location:
- PPF – photosynthetic photon flux
- PPFD – photosynthetic photon flux density
What exactly is a photosynthetic photon? A photon is a single particle of light, and can take on a variety of wavelengths. Those that are capable of contributing to photosynthesis are considered a photosynthetic photon.
Specifically, this includes photons with wavelengths between 400 nm and 700 nm.
PPF and PPFD measure the quantity of such photons. The critical difference is that PPFD measures the density of these photons falling on a particular surface, while PPF is a measure of the total number of photons released from a light source.
First, the closer to the light source, the higher the PPFD reading. This is due to the dispersion of light as one moves away from the light source.
Second, the center of the beam typically has the highest PPFD reading. As you move farther away from the center, PPFD will decrease.
PPF and PPFD units of measure
- PPF – μmol/s
- PPFD – μmol/s/m2
Both PPF and PPFD measure the total number of photons. This is obviously a very large number, so the unit micromoles (μmol) per second is used. A micromole is equivalent to approximately 6 x 1017. Further, since we are measuring the rate of these photons, this is counted per second.
PPF is simply micromoles per second, but PPFD is micromoles per second per meter squared. This is because we want to know how many photosynthetic photons land on a square meter per second.
When to use PPFD vs when to use PPF
PPFD should always be accompanied by a distance and location. Most manufacturers will publish PPFD data, but be sure that you take into account:
- Distance from the light source
- Location and whether this is averaged over a certain area
Without knowing this information, you cannot meaningfully compare PPFD.
PPFD can be the result of multiple lamps lighting a single area.
PPF, on the other hand, measures the amount of PAR from a single grow light. You can make meaningful comparisons between lamps by comparing its PPF measurement. That being said, be aware that depending on the beam angle, this can affect eventual PPFD readings depending on the products.
Measurement method differences between PPFD vs PPF
Since PPFD is a measure of how much light falls on a surface, even a small, handheld light meter or spectrometer can measure the amount of PAR that falls on a surface. These are typically lower cost and even be connected to smartphones and used in the field.
PPF, on the other hand measures the amount of PAR that is emitted by a single light source, and in all directions. Therefore, slightly more sophisticated instruments are required. Typically a goniosphere or integrating sphere is needed. These devices capture the light emitted in all angles, and then measures the collective light emitted.
4 Ways LED Grow Lights Improve Environmental Control
One advantage of indoor growing is that it gives you profound control over your environment. This means you can create optimal settings regardless of the time of year or the current weather. The ability to grow year-round can massively increase your profits, but your amount of environmental control is highly contingent on the lights you’re using.
Traditional HPS lights can interfere with your growing environment and make maintaining factors like temperature and CO2 levels an uphill battle. LED lights, conversely, have minimal impact on these factors and can help you manipulate the light spectrum for a better yield. Below, we’ll go over four significant ways LED grow lights can improve environmental control and create an ideal environment for your plants.
Better Temperature Control
One of the most oft-touted benefits of LED lights is that they emit negligible heat. HPS lighting, on the other hand, is notorious for causing spikes in heat. This necessitates fans and air conditioners to stabilize temperature, which drives up your electric bill. Plus, even with using external equipment, HPS lights will cause some degree of temperature fluctuation, which can adversely affect plant growth.
LEDs – for the most part – do not produce heat in the form of infrared (IR) radiation. HPS lights produce light by heating the gas tube, while LEDs contain diodes that convert current into light. As a result, most of the heat from LED lights remains within the fixture. While any lamp will inevitably emit some heat, the light produced via LED fixtures is much less. It will have a much less significant effect on the external temperature of your grow space.
The lack of external heat makes maintaining a consistent temperature within a grow room more manageable. You’ll still need to control for temperature fluctuations due to the time of year – likely heating your grow space in the winter and cooling it in the summer months. However, there is less added headache of worrying about the heat coming off your lights themselves. An HVAC system can maintain temperature more easily when not in conflict with excess heat discharged from your lighting system.
It also gives you the ability to provide your plants with supplement light without risking temperature fluctuations, an option that’s unavailable with HPS lighting. You can provide your plants with adequate light to thrive without suffering the drawbacks associated with HPS lamps.
Vapor Pressure Deficit Management
Vapor pressure deficit (VPD) is the difference between the moisture in the air and how much moisture the air can hold. If air becomes saturated, the water will condense – resulting in dew and condensation on your crops, which can make them more vulnerable to pathogens. An HVAC system can typically help manage VPD, but it’s an uphill battle if you’re not using LEDs,
This relates to the above point about LED lights producing minimal heat. When you turn HPS lights on and off as needed, this causes sudden changes to temperature and humidity, making it that much harder for your HVAC system to maintain a stable environment. This makes VPD management that much harder – if not outright impossible.
LED lights eliminate most of the issues with environmental regulation that HPS lighting poses. The temperature stability LEDs provide means all you need to do to manage VPD is switch on your HVAC system and punch in your temperature and humidity set points.
Optimize Your Light Spectrum
Anyone with even passing familiarity with LED lighting has probably heard the term “spectrum control.” Unlike HPS lighting, which gives you little-to-no control over the light spectrum, LED lights allow you to tweak your spectrum throughout the grow cycle. This level of environmental control has enormous implications for plant growth.
While many would assume the best indoor grow lights mimic the same light spectrum as the sun, most photosynthetic activity occurs in the blue and red frequencies. However, the sun’s light tends to fall closer to the middle of the spectrum. With LED lights, you can expose your plants to more PAR throughout the grow cycle, and some studies show a 1% increase in PAR results in a 1% increase in yield.
In other words, with LED lights, you can adjust the light spectrum to more optimal conditions than you could find in an entirely natural setting. You can also change the spectrum throughout the grow cycle to give your plants the exact balance of light for different phases and customize your yield for qualities like color, scent, terpene level, and more.
Stabilized CO2 Levels
Maintaining CO2 levels is critical to plant growth, with an 800 to 1,000 ppm concentration optimal. However, the issues mentioned above with heat regulation associated with HPS lights again pose a problem. With HPS lights causing fluctuations in temperature, you’ll need to vent your greenhouse to control humidity. This leads to rapid fluctuations in temperature, which, in turn, causes fluctuations in CO2 levels.
LED lights significantly decrease the need for ventilation and keep your climate more stable overall. This keeps CO2 levels stable, protecting the health of your plants.
The Bottom Line
LED lights allow you to have profound control over your environment. This can help create optimal settings for your plants, leading to better, more lucrative yields.
Aokairuisi team is always ready to provide support in all matters regarding LED lighting. send us inquiry by email to: email@example.com And someone will be in touch with you soon!
The Effects of LED Lighting on Plant Growth
Light is life in a grower’s world.
Plant cultivation facilities that rely on artificial lighting know that not all light sources are created equal. As indoor cultivation has become more popular, those facilities have discovered that LED lighting is their best option for optimum plant growth. Several factors account for these positive effects of LED lighting on plant growth.
1. LED lighting reduces a facility’s utility costs.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that artificial lighting accounts for up to one third of the total cost of indoor plant cultivation. LED lighting produces better quality illumination than traditional grow light systems with less than half of the electrical energy input. Those cost savings can be reallocated to other aspects of a facility’s operations to improve plant growth and yield.
2. LED lighting can be tuned to increase lighting wavelengths that plants need for optimum chlorophyll production.
Plants produce different forms of chlorophyll at different wavelengths within the visible lighting spectrum (400nm to 700nm). LED lighting for plant growth can be tuned to generate the most desirable form of chlorophyll that a plant needs at each stage of its growth cycle. Unlike high-pressure sodium or other forms of commercial indoor lighting, LED lighting gives growers the flexibility to choose specific wavelengths that coincide with the unique needs of each plant from seedling through cultivation.
3. LED lighting systems can be configured to provide optimum photosynthetic photon flux density.
Photosynthetic flux density (PPFD) refers to the total amount of light that actually arrives at a plant surface. Higher PPFD levels generally translate into better plant quality and higher indoor crop yields. Because LED lighting systems operate at lower physical temperatures than traditional indoor lighting, LED fixtures can be placed closer to plant surfaces to generate those higher PPFD levels.
4. Cooler physical operating temperatures improve the overall indoor growing environment.
Temperature and humidity control are critical for indoor growing facilities. Lighting systems that add too much heat to an indoor growing environment force a facility operator to install complex control systems to compensate. LED lighting for plant growth minimizes or completely eliminates this requirement, this produces a more stable growing environment with fewer temperature and humidity variations that can harm a plant’s development.
5. LED lighting produces larger plants and better crop yields.
Indoor cultivation that utilizes LED lighting is superior to crop production that relies on older artificial lighting sources, and in some ways it may produce more bountiful harvests than outdoor cultivation that is subject to inconsistent amounts of sunshine and variations in weather patterns. LED lighting for plant growth gives an operator unprecedented control over all aspects of the plant’s environment. Multiple university studies support this conclusion.
6. LED lighting is durable.
With a small amount of regular maintenance, an indoor LED grow light system will generate high-quality light for more than 50,000 hours of use. As with the cost savings from LED lighting that are available through lower utility expenditures, this durability allows a cultivation facility to devote more of its budget to improving crop yields, rather than constant maintenance of the lighting equipment.
Indoor plant cultivation facilities will likely see further benefits from LED lighting for plant growth as more of those facilities switch over to LED systems. Regardless of whether your growing facility is a large commercial operation, a linear greenhouse, or a vertical growing structure, Aokairuisi has LED lighting for crop growth that will outperform all forms of more traditional indoor grow lighting.
15 Ways to Increase Cannabis Yields Indoors-Part IV
We pay attention to the buds before and after start forming in order to increase cannabis yield. After buds start forming, light is food to your plant, and giving more light will increase yields. For the best yields, we recommend using LED grow lights while buds are forming. Avoid low-quality LEDs! Giving plants the right spectrum is also important. Besides, remove specific leaves at specific points of bud development to “hack” the plant’s natural processes and cause buds to grow bigger and denser than they otherwise would. Most effective on very leafy plants. Then, plants get much more picky about nutrient ratios and nutrient strength in the flowering stage. Make sure you quickly diagnose and fix any nutrient deficiencies, bug infestations, or other visible problems. An unhealthy plant doesn’t have as much energy to put into bud formation. Here are the rest things you should pay attention to after the bud begins to form. They are also important!
6.) Create an Optimum Bud-Building Environment
There are a few key factors that you need to remember about the environment in the flowering stage if you want to maximize yields.
- Temperature– Keep the temperature between 65°F (18°C) and 80°F (26°C) if possible. Heat is associated with loose/airy buds, lower bud smell, reduced potency, and mold/bugs (especially if it’s also humid).
- Humidity– Don’t let it get too humid after buds start developing. High humidity is associated with mold and bud rot, and can also prevent buds from growing as dense/big (high humidity makes it hard for water to move efficiently through the plant).
- Reflection – When your grow space has reflective walls, it prevents light from getting lost. There are a variety of options for increasing reflectivity, such as painting your walls with flat white paint or covering them with a sheet of mylar. Ensuring more light gets to your plants will help buds grow as big as possible.
- Air circulation– In addition to maintaining the right temperature and humidity, it’s important to give plants a gentle breeze and plenty of fresh air. Efficient air circulation prevents a host of problems and makes plants grow faster, resulting in bigger yields overall.
- Add extra CO2 to the air– Some growers supplement their air with extra CO2 to increase yields. Plants need CO2 to photosynthesize light, and (in certain situations) adding extra CO2 to the air can allow your plant to make more energy from the same amount of light. There are a variety of different ways to increase CO2 levels, some of which are more effective than others!
Many growers focus on trying to find new nutrients and supplements to increase yields, yet ignore known problems with their environment. If your flowering environment isn’t ideal, focusing on the tips above will likely make a far more significant difference to yields than any product you can buy in a bottle.
7.) Harvest Plants at the Right Time
Most importantly, don’t harvest early! Cannabis buds gain a significant amount of weight in the last 2 weeks before harvest. Harvesting even a few weeks early can cut your yields in half! Plus, buds won’t be as potent, sparkly, or smelly. Cannabis plants are ready to harvest when most of the white hairs on buds have darkened and curled in. Some growers check the sparkly trichomes under a magnifier to ensure the right harvest time.
And Most Importantly…
1.) Always Be Growing!
If you don’t pause between harvests, your coffers will soon be teeming with buds of different strains. Some growers even create two grow spaces for a perpetual harvest. You’ll soon have to figure out what to do with it all.
Along the same line of thought, never stop learning. Surprising discoveries arise every day, which means there is always more to learn about growing and increasing yields!
15 Ways to Increase Cannabis Yields Indoors-Part III
From previous blogs, there are specific factors that cause yields to be big or small, and nearly all of them are under your control. We’ve shared 7 ways to control the factors that can affect yield, they are factors that we should pay attention to before buds begin to form. So what factors should we pay attention to when buds start forming?
After Buds Start Forming
Ok, your plants are already making buds. What can you do to increase yields at this point?
1.) Increase Light Intensity
To your cannabis plants: Light = Food = Energy. That means that your plants can produce bigger buds if they get more light.
3 Main Ways to Increase Light intensity
- Get a bigger or better grow light ( feel free to contact us for further information)
- Keep your grow light as close as possible without light stressing plants
- Train plants to grow flat like a table under the light. Plant training allows you to keep the grow light closer without burning the tallest buds.
2.) Use Suitable Lights in the Flowering Stage
For the best yields, density, and bud size, we recommend using LED grow lights while buds are forming: Shop
3.) Give The Right Light Spectrum While Buds Form
Giving plants the right spectrum in the flowering stage is important for increasing yields. Full spectrum led grow light is a good choice, and if you have further demands, the spectrum of led grow light is customizable.
4.) Follow a Recommended Defoliation Schedule
Many growers use targetted strategic “defoliation” to increase yields. The process of removing specific leaves at specific points of bud development actually “hacks” the plant’s natural processes and causes buds to grow bigger/denser than they otherwise would. This technique is most effective on very leafy plants. If your plant doesn’t have a whole lot of extra leaves, defoliation can slow down growth, so don’t go crazy with it!
The basic idea behind bud-building defoliation:
- Beginning of flowering stage (week 0-3): Remove all big fan leaves and leaves on long stems. This exposes your newly developing bud sites to direct light. Buds need direct light to grow fat.
- 3 weeks later: Do one more defoliation if the plant appears bushy. Exposing the main branches to direct light will help the plant “focus” on developing buds.
- After the 2nd major defoliation, only remove leaves that are covering a bud site or if the plant starts getting too bushy through the middle and bottom.
- Watch buds get huge
5.) Don’t Ignore Problems!
Plants get much more picky about nutrient ratios and nutrient strength in the flowering stage. Make sure you quickly diagnose and fix any nutrient deficiencies, bug infestations, or other visible problems. An unhealthy plant doesn’t have as much energy to put into bud formation.
To be continued…
15 Ways to Increase Cannabis Yields Indoors-Part II
As we shared before, increasing the yield of cannabis is not an impossible thing. There are always some ways to help you increase the yield. For example, strain choice has a significant effect on yields, so it helps to choose a strain that naturally makes big buds. In the meantime, match the number of plants to your space and grow light. Often you’ll get bigger yields/faster harvests with many smaller plants as opposed to a few big ones. Besides, choose the right container type and size for your setup, so plants grow as fast and big as possible. Today’s blog will lead you to find out more ways to increase cannabis yield indoors!
4.) Use Coco or Hydro
Soil-grown plants typically grow slower than plants grown in coco or hydroponics because their roots have to work to pull the nutrients from the soil (as opposed to getting easily-absorbed nutrients delivered directly in the water). If you want to maximize the number of harvests each year, you should aim for the fastest-growing plants you can. More harvests mean more buds for you!
It’s possible to get high-speed growth in soil, but it takes extra skill and care. Some of our clients love how, in coco or hydro, your plants almost always grow fast as long as you keep plants healthy. As long as you avoid root rot, plants in hydro typically grow faster than in any other grow medium. Hydro can be a bit tricky to get started with, but coco may be the easiest cannabis grow medium to use. We highly recommend first-time growers start with coco if they’re not drawn to any particular grow medium. You almost can’t kill your plants in coco as long as you remember to water them.
5.) Manipulate How Plants Grow
Plant training in the vegetative stage is an effective and free way to increase yields. But how does it work? Without training, cannabis plants typically grow in a Christmas tree shape with one central bud. While your plants are still in the vegetative stage, train them to become wide and flat. Each growing tip at the top of the plant will turn into a big bud in the flowering stage, with more total buds, trained plants typically yield significantly more than untrained plants.
6.) Choose Good Nutrients and Supplements
You’ll get the best results if you choose cannabis-specific nutrients. Most importantly, make sure to give low amounts of Nitrogen and plenty of Phosphorus and Potassium once plants start making buds. Luckily, most nutrients come with a schedule, so it’s simple to provide the right nutrients at the right time. If you get a good brand and look at their schedule, you won’t have to worry about nutrient ratios at all.
When it comes to nutrients, sometimes less is more! It’s easy to go overboard, especially with certain strains. In general, it’s a good idea to start any new nutrients at half strength and only increase the concentration if plants look pale. If you give the right nutrients at the right time, plants explode with growth!
Tip: Try to get all your nutrients and supplements from the same company. This helps prevent unexpected interactions!
7.) Grow Plants to Most Efficient Size
It causes issues when plants are too big or too small. You can maximize yields by growing plants to the right size.
- Too-big plants cause significant problems – Plants can grow into the light, and you may not have any room to raise it further. When buds are too close to a grow light, they can get bleached and grow airy with foxtails. The lack of density in your top bud can hurt your overall yields. If plants are too tall, it also means you likely spent unnecessary extra time in the vegetative stage or didn’t train plants to grow flat and wide.
- Too-small plants have small yields – When a plant is too small for a specific space, it won’t have the structure to support huge buds.
How to grow photoperiod plants as big as your space can support, without letting them get too big:
- On average, cannabis plants double in size after the switch to a 12/12 light schedule
- Therefore, it’s a good rule of thumb to change to a 12/12 light schedule when vegetative plants reach half the final desired size
To be continued…
15 Ways to Increase Cannabis Yields Indoors-Part I
A lot of indoor cannabis growers struggle with yields. It’s fantastic to grow your own weed, but you must grow enough of it! Otherwise, growing may feel like a waste of time and effort.
Luckily, cannabis yields don’t have to be a mystery. There are specific factors that cause yields to be big or small, and nearly all of them are under your control. The following article contains a comprehensive list of what you can do (both before and after buds start forming) to increase yields.
There are a few ways to think about increasing cannabis yields indoors. Some growers want to maximize the yields for their grow space, and don’t care what it takes to increase yields overall. Other growers are looking at returns from more of an economic perspective, wanting to get the best yields for the electricity/cost, but maybe aren’t as concerned with how much space it takes. Lastly, there are many growers just looking to grow huge impressive buds and don’t care about maximizing anything else. This article is going to talk about all three. No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
Without further delay, it’s time to learn how to increase your yields!
Before Buds Start Forming
These are the actions you can take to prepare for a fruitful flowering stage.
1.) Choose High-Yielding Genetics
A lot of growers focus purely on their setup, nutrients, growing technique, and other aspects of their environment, yet don’t pay much attention to strain.
Your genetics actually have a tremendous effect on yields. If you grow two plants in the exact same conditions, chances are one will produce more bud than the other. Sometimes the yield differences between strains are enormous.
2.) Grow Correct Number of Plants
The number of plants can affect your total yield in two ways:
- More Plants – Growing a lot of small plants lets you fill a grow space faster, resulting in more harvests in a year if everything else is the same. If you increase the number of harvests, you’ll produce more buds in the same amount of time. This idea is the basis of the Sea of Green method.
- Fewer Plants – You can achieve the same yields with fewer plants by letting them get big enough to fill a space, but it takes longer in the vegetative stage for plants to get to the final size. Depending on how much extra time, this can push back harvest time and reduce the total number of harvests you can produce in your grow space. If you must limit the number of plants (many growers have legal plant limits), you can maximize yields with training techniques such as manifolding.
3.) Use The Right Pots
Choose the right container type and size for your setup.
- Air ports and fabric pots allow air to get to roots from the sides, resulting in significantly faster growth rates. The one downside is these pots need to be watered about twice as often because they dry out more quickly.
- Pots that are too big for your plant tends to slow growth, especially young plants that get overwatered. Learn how to water a small plant in a big pot so it grows as fast as possible.
- Too-small pots restrict plant roots and keep plants from growing as big as they could. Plants in big pots can get huge!
- If possible, it helps to start plants in a smaller container and transplant to bigger ones after they’ve started growing vigorously.
What’s the optimal size for your final plant container?
A general guide is to have around 2 gallons per 12″ of the final desired height. Big plants often need a bit more. The following chart isn’t perfect since plants often grow differently, and some plants are short and wide instead of tall, but this is a good rule of thumb. If your final (desired) plant size is…
- 12″ ~ 2-3 gallon container
- 24″ ~ 3-6 gallon container
- 36″ ~ 5-8 gallon container
- 48″ ~ 7-10 gallon container
- 60″ ~ 8-15+ gallon container
Go bigger if you plan to spend time away from your plants! Bigger root space gives you more of a buffer if plants need to be unattended for days at a time.
To be continued…
5 Surprising Signs of Overwatering-Part IV
Overwatering is a very troublesome problem. You need to combine many situations to judge whether your plants are overwatered. Today we would like to share with you how to water your plants perfectly, we will start with five aspects:
How to Water Plants Perfectly
This section breaks down good watering habits in a variety of different situations.
Don’t give more than 2-3 cups (500-750ml) of water at a time until plants are at least 2 weeks old. Typically seedlings need to be watered every 2-3 days. Every grow is a little different because plants drink more or less depending on how big they are, the environment (temperature/humidity/airflow), the grow medium, and the size/type of pots. However, most seedlings will do well with 2 cups (500ml) of water every 2 days for the first 2 weeks. However, this is a very general guideline. If the top of grow medium looks wet, wait an extra day or two to water. If the grow medium looks totally dry, either water more often or more at a time.
Big pot, small plant
Give just a little water at a time in a small circle around the base of the main stem. Once plants are bigger and drinking more, you can start fully watering them. The 2-2-2 rule from above should work for seedlings in a big pot (2 cups of water ever 2 days for the first 2 weeks after germination). After that, start giving a little more water at a time until you’re able to water plants thoroughly. We’ve found that plants often grow the fastest when you figure out the perfect amount of water that allows you to water every other day.
Not sure whether to water? Pick up plant pots
When a grow medium is soaked with water, it feels as heavy as a brick. However, when soil or coco is dry, it becomes almost feather-light. That means if you pick up your plant and it feels surprisingly heavy for its size, you should wait a bit longer before watering (and possibly give less water at a time for now). If you pick up a plant and it feels surprisingly light, that means you should water plants today!
If the topsoil looks wet all the time, you probably should be watering less. Especially if you’re seeing fungus gnats, green algae, or the top looks hardened with divots where water is getting poured too often.
What to do with a too-thick grow medium
If your grow medium is extremely thick or muddy, you have two choices. You can either ride it out and hope for the best, or transplant plants to a better grow medium. If your plant seems to be getting better as it gets bigger, or if you find a different watering schedule that seems to stop the symptoms, you can probably skip transplanting. It’s possible to stunt plants during transplanting so you don’t want to do it if you don’t have to. But if plants are growing poorly despite you altering the watering schedule, you may have to give roots a new home or the plant won’t ever thrive.
If your grow medium is too thick, you can either transplant to a new grow medium or try to let plants adapt. The worse the grow medium, the more you should consider transplanting.
How to Water in Super Soil
If you’re growing in super soil (composted, organically amended grow medium), you don’t need to add any nutrients from seed to harvest. This is super convenient, but you must ensure you aren’t accidentally washing away extra nutrients. In a super soil setup, you’re trying to conserve all the nutrients. The beneficial microorganisms in the soil work together with roots to make sure plant is getting the exact right amount of nutrients at the right time, just like in nature. That means in super soil, you should almost never water plants until they get runoff out the bottom. Whenever runoff water is coming out the bottom, it’s draining away nutrients with it. You’re basically looking to water plant just enough to saturate the medium but none comes out the bottom.
Growing in super soil lets you go from seed to weed without adding any nutrients, but you must avoid overwatering to prevent nutrient deficiencies down the road.
When to Start Watering to Runoff
If you’re giving plants extra nutrients in your water, you may want to give enough water to get runoff out the bottom. This helps prevent nutrient buildup in the soil. However, watering to runoff when plants are too small is an easy way to cause the symptoms of overwatering. So when should you start watering to runoff? This guide will help.
Plants are big enough to water to runoff when they’re about this size…
- 12″ (30cm) tall ~ 2-3 gallon container
- 24″ (60cm) tall ~ 3-5 gallon container
- 36″ (90cm) tall ~ 5-7 gallon container
- 48″ (120 cm) tall ~ 6-10 gallon container
- 60″ (150 cm) tall ~ 8-10+ gallon container
The type of plant container and grow medium make a difference, which is why the ranges overlap. A thicker grow medium needs to be watered less, while a well-draining or airy grow medium should be watered more. As far as plant pots, just remember that any container which lets air in from the sides (air pots, fabric pots, etc) need more water, more often. This is because water is constantly evaporating out the sides in addition to just being used up by the plant roots. In an air pot or fabric pot, start watering to runoff when plants are on the smaller side of the range. If your plants are in a hard-sided pot, wait until they’re a bit bigger to water to runoff.
What if my plant never gets that big? If your plants are in a big pot, or you’re growing very small plants, you may never need to water to runoff. In some cases, watering to runoff will cause the symptoms of overwatering even until harvest. In this situation, it’s up to you to watch the plant to ensure there’s no nutrient buildup in the grow medium.
When this happens, it kind of reminds us of growing in hydroponic setup because you’re basically treating the root ball like a nutrient reservoir.
How do you know whether to increase or decrease nutrient levels? If plants are getting dark green or showing nutrient burn, it means that you should lower the overall amount of nutrients in the water. If plants appear pale/lime green or lots of bottom leaves are yellowing and falling off, it means your plants want more nutrients overall. In that case, increase the overall nutrient levels in the water without changing the ratio.
How to water to runoff (Soil)
Once plants have reached a good size for their container, they’re ready to start getting watered with runoff. If you’re growing in soil, most plants have already used up the majority of nutrients by this point. That means if you haven’t been providing nutrients in the water yet, now is a great time to start.
- Wait until topsoil is dry up to first knuckle (alternative: wait until plant pot feels light to pick up)
- Water until you get about 10% extra runoff water out the bottom
- Remove runoff water
How to water to runoff (Coco)
In coco, you should be watering with nutrients from when plants are seedlings, so you never have to wonder when to start adding nutrients. However, coco-grown plants seem to want things to be just a bit wetter than soil-grown plants. Plants in coco don’t seem to react well to extensively drying out. That means you’ll typically end up watering a bit more often in coco than soil.
- Wait until top of coco appears mostly dry (with a few damp patches left) and pot doesn’t feel heavy
- Water until you get about 10% extra runoff water out the bottom
- Remove runoff water
You are now officially an expert on overwatering. You know all the crazy and surprising symptoms to look for when diagnosing your sick plant, and you also know how to water your plants perfectly every time. Congratulations!