Perpetual harvesting provides a better way to grow and allows one to match supply with demand, even when disaster strikes. This method of gardening is pretty simple and mostly revolves around timing, dedication and a basic knowledge of what you’re growing. Once you’ve got it down you can really fine tune quality and yield.
Most beginners only have one light and one area to grow in. This allows them to harvest every three months at most. After a while, most purchase a second light for vegetative growth. Now they can harvest every two months, because as soon as harvest time rolls around, the new plants in the “veg” room will be large enough to be transitioned into flower.
Both of these plans, however, can lead to an eventual loss that could set a grower back. Especially if that grower is growing to support a medical marijuana collective.
The Plan (How To Get Started)
The word perpetual means everlasting, and flowers that bloom continuously are called “perpetuals.” Envision perpetual harvesting as a circular way of growing, where the loop never ends until you want it to. When you harvest, there are plants ready to replace what was chopped down, and likewise there are plants right behind those to take their place. It’s a cycle that requires attention to detail and a little hard work, but it pays off in the end because there is always more on the way.
To begin the cycle, you’ll need the proper lighting:
- A single T5 strip to clone under.
- A vegetative light to grow plants tall enough to be flowered. (I would suggest a 400-watt metal halide as you get more vigorous growth, but a four-foot-four-bulb T5 is sufficient.)
- Two bloom lights, so you can harvest one light per month.
The bloom room should be separate from your veg room as these two cycles run on different light schedules – 18 hours of light for growth and only 12 to induce flowering. Now that you have your lights, you need to set up your rooms to the proper conditions. (Check out this article to see what the “Ideal” conditions are.)
Once your rooms are set up for success you’re ready to begin Phase 1: Taking clones or raising seeds.
Clones vs Seeds
The benefits of clones make them best for the perpetual harvest method, because it is important to keep the same genetics within a particular strain so a grower knows what to expect, and its good to eliminate the males ASAP. It would be a waste a time, space, and quite frankly a bitch to grow up a male just to kill it later. Better to know what you are working with.
You should take clones at the beginning of every month or after harvesting. If you’re good at taking clones then setting yourself up for a perpetual harvest should be a breeze. If you’re not, it’s ok. Just take more clones. Because of the cyclical nature of perpetual harvesting, you always have plants in all phases of growth. You can take clones whenever you want, as long as you have them ready to go when the plants ahead of them are ready to move on. If you get an overstock, sell them off or give a cool present to a friend in the form of a small marijuana plant.
Now that your babies are ready and rooted it’s time to get them growing and into bloom.
Coming soon… Part II – Speeding up the veg, blooming, harvesting and simple tricks to stay on a schedule.