Author: Michael Jooste Following the propagation and vegetation stages of cannabis cultivation, plants will enter the flowering stage, where growers can see the literal fruits of their labour. Cultivators must remain diligent and detail-oriented at this stage as they grow their plants to maturity while maintaining records of their development and working with labs to analyze cannabinoid and terpene profiles. All cultivars and concentrates require specific considerations and cultivation techniques, so keep in mind your end goal and act accordingly.
1. Eliminate lower material and branches, fan leaves and large leaves.
As explained in stages 1 (propagation) and 2 (vegetation). Remove lower vegetation that will not receive direct light, whether artificial or natural. This process can be performed between weeks one and two of the flowering stage.
2. Only utilise the best plants.
If you propagate more plants than you need and vegetate only the best tissue cultures, clones, or seedlings, you can select the best vegetating plants to transfer to flowering. This tip sounds obvious, but the many growers I have heard from who employ this practice unanimously agree that having more choices is better than fewer. While this requires more space and costs more to cultivate plants that you may not use in the end, the additional labour, time, and expenses are worth growing the best possible plants.
3. Apply products preventively.
Weeks one and two of flowering are typically the last chances to apply any beneficial preventive fungicides, Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), neem oil, or other products that can aid in preventing the development of budworms, powdery mildew, grey mould, and other issues. It's essential to check the product manufacturer's recommendations for use and state and local laws and regulations for approved products.
4. Brace or support plants early.
It is best to stake or support plants before the roots spread to minimize any possibility of root damage. Whether you employ netting, stakes, or another method, placing supports before the plants begin to flower is best.
5. Ensure proper airflow between plants.
Properly space all plants far enough apart to ensure maximum airflow between them. This helps prevent hot spots from lights and the proliferation of powdery mildew while promoting carbon dioxide and oxygen distribution. Additionally, implementing circulation fans can help adequately move the air between the plants during daylight/lights on and nighttime to prevent elevated humidity environments.
6. Utilise the proper light spectrum.
As previously mentioned, the flowering stage has its light spectrum requirements. These required spectrums are typically elevated levels of red range and reduced levels of blue spectrum, compared to those preferred in vegetative growth. Some lights allow a grower to fine-tune the two spectrums to accommodate the specific requirements of a given cultivar. You must always experiment and see if a chosen cultivar has particular needs that allow a grower to adjust its parameters to maximize health, growth, and flower development.
7. Perform periodic lab analysis and keep records.
Whenever possible, send multiple specimens to a lab for analysis when unsure of a new cultivar's potential, when attempting to fine-tune development, or determining peak levels of a given cannabinoid or terpene. Keep thorough records throughout the flowering cycle and log all aspects of plant development until the end of the process. For example, track when the plant finished growing, the finished THC levels, and the finished product's weight versus waste biomass.
8. Select proper genetics.
The first rule here is only to grow commercial cultivars. Why develop cultivars that nobody desires? Constantly do market research, so you always know which products sell best and how they fit into your niche. Know your market and perfect your product for that market. There are typically multiple markets, such as affordable, craft, staple cultivars, and popular flavours of the week. Some flavours of the week come and go very fast, so don't invest excessive time, effort, and resources into a flash-in-the-pan cultivar that nobody desires when you bring it to market.
9. Adjust processes based on what you are growing for.
Are you growing for bag appeal? Extracts? A specific cannabinoid or terpene? If you are ultimately going to extract the cannabis you are growing, is bag appeal fundamental to you? Or would you prefer a cultivar that produces more available cannabinoids on a plant or bud that is slightly fluffier and perhaps aren't as dense as the buds destined for top-shelf flower? If you intend to extract the whole crop utilizing hydrocarbon extraction, you may harvest the crop a week or so early to ensure your final extract is lighter in colour than full-term buds. (These buds have mature resin glands that contain older oxidized resin glands and cannabinoids, darker-coloured amber pigments, etc., that can contribute to an undesirable darker-coloured extract, such as budder, shatter, or wax.) Decide exactly what you are growing and why. After determining the market, you intend to accommodate, choose what to increase, how to grow, and why.

Trailblazing Partners - Issue 6


Foreword - Issue 6


Issue 6 - Cover

Issue 6 - Cultivation