Top 5 Autoflowering Strains Highest in THC
Lighting is a crucial element in any cannabis grow, and there is a lot of debate surrounding which lights are most ideal for each kind of operation. The most potent lighting system is the obvious choice, but it isn’t ideal in all cases. For a micro-grow, excess heat and light too close to the canopy can seriously damage your plants. It just so happens that the most powerful lighting systems also usually produce a lot of heat.
While some of this heat can be mitigated with proper cooling and venting practices, this also has its limitations. As a result, micro-growers are largely limited in what they can use. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular lighting systems.
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It might not come as a surprise that not every strain is equally suited to be grown in small spaces. Most sativa or sativa-dominant strains simply grow too tall to be used in a micro-grow setting. They often stretch 2-3x their size during bloom, reaching upwards of 3m in some instances.
Training techniques are used by cultivators to limit the height and/or increase the yield potential of their plants. A method that is used a lot in cannabis grows is topping. Topping involves cutting off the main stem so two new main colas will form instead of one. This allows not only for bushier plants capable of producing denser, higher-quality colas, but also limits the height significantly. Topping can be done as soon as the plant has 4-6 nodes or three pairs of fully formed leaves. Topping can be done during the vegetative stage of growth, but should not be conducted during flowering.
Your choice of soil is also quite important. It should be rich and drain well. Anything with a muddy or clay texture is a no-go. One consideration, especially for smaller operations, is the actual amount of soil used. Large containers will obviously take up too much space and may make it harder to light your plants. At the same time, tiny containers will stunt growth and make your plants rootbound. When looking to achieve “normal height” plants, you’ll want a 12l container. If you want to contain growth, 5l will limit height to around 60cm while 2-3l will allow the plant to only reach 24cm. It’s all about your exact limitations, strain, etc. Square containers take up less space than round pots. Low and broad containers are often a good fit for most indoor micro-grow environments.
Autoflowering and indica strains, on the other hand, usually grow to be much smaller and more compact. It’s rare for indicas to stretch over twice their size during bloom, barring major stress conditions. Despite their smaller stature, the bushy nature of indicas allows them to produce just as much, if not more bud than some towering sativas. Autoflowering strains have a distinct advantage; these cultivars do not depend on a change in light cycle to initiate bloom, and their entire cycle from seed to harvest is usually very fast. This is why so many growers are cropping high-quality auto strains when attempting their first couple micro-grows. If after all this advice, you are still hell-bent on growing a sativa, check out the next section.
Another technique that can help control height is ScrOG or screen of green. This method involves tying down and weaving new growth beneath a screen that keeps plants at a certain height. This will force the plant to grow more horizontally, giving the buds more light exposure and thus, potentially boosting yield.
Depending on the relative humidity of your micro-grow space, your plants may require more watering than they would regularly. Although you should still take care not to overwater, don’t be surprised if your plant’s need for moisture is elevated. Given that most micro-growers crop indica or indica-dominant hybrids, the plants will likely become bushy and compact. Make sure you are able to easily water your plants by pruning or training as necessary. More on that later.
Micro-growing is a way for cultivators to crop high-quality bud in tight spaces. But how is it done?
With the SCROG technique, a wire mesh is placed between the soil and the light source. Examples are chicken wire or similar. Once the trunk and branches grow through the screen, they are tied with thread to the wire mesh so that they do not continue to grow in length. They are instead guided over the screen. This creates a screen full of branches and tops that all remain at the same level. It’s a good way to manage the length, while all tops get the same light, which improves the yield.
Read more about topping, FIM and super cropping.
Much can be written about LED lighting. For this article, it suffices to know that LED is ideal for all light colours. It takes up little space and is not very hot, so plants can be placed close to it. However, good LED grow lights are expensive and therefore not as cost-effective for micro growing.
Achieving the biggest possible harvest in the smallest possible grow room; that’s essentially what micro growing is about. And the cannabis plant is highly suited to that. It’s ideal if you don’t have space or a big budget for a grow room. Or maybe you just feel like carrying out a fun experiment? This article tells you all about micro growing.
The advantage of indoor cannabis cultivation is the ability to monitor the growing process. In a grow room, almost all circumstances can be optimised. This allows the cannabis plant to grow and flower in a perfect environment. Obviously, out in the open a plant can become quite large, because a pot hinders root formation. But at the same time you have no control over the climate outside, while you do inside. Inside, you have complete control over the light, temperature, air circulation and humidity, and of course water and nutrition. These ideal conditions are essential for a healthy plant and also for a decent yield.
FIM stands for “Fuck, I missed.” The story goes that someone didn’t properly perform the topping technique and cut off the shoot too high up. When this technique is performed correctly, new branches grow in addition to the two new shoots, which generate more yield.
In terms of wattage, 400 to 450 Watts are required per square metre. So in a micro growing room of, for example, 60 x 40 cm (0.25 square metres) with 18 Watt fluorescent lamps, 6 lamps are needed. For additional illumination, it’s a good idea to make the ceiling reflective so that the light output fully benefits the plants. Place the VSAs outside the cabinet so that it does not overheat.
You can activate the flowering phase of a cannabis plant by shortening the number of hours of light per day suddenly from 18 to 12 hours. Read more about activating the flowering phase of cannabis plants in this article.
approx. 2 to 3 litres: plant height of up to 30 centimetres
Achieving the biggest possible harvest in the smallest possible grow room; that's essentially what micro growing is about. Read all about micro growing.