Stoners say, “I flipped my plants today”. I don’t know why they say this. They didn’t flip a switch. They didn’t flip a plant upside down. They didn’t buy a plant, fix it up and then sell it for more than they paid for it. But what they mean is, they are coaxing the plant to start the flowering process, by changing the light cycle to 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
One of the most common questions I get is, “When should I start flower”? So I decided to create an article and talk about all the things I do when I go to flower, as this is a critical stage.
A week before flower (and a week into flower, don’t top your plant, and don’t remove fan leaves). Doing so will disturb auxins, and delay flowering, pushing your harvest out a week or more. The exception to this rule, is if you have some unruly branches that are dominating others, you can top those to slow them down and let the others catch up. Another exception, is if you’ve chosen a very tall strain and you need to prevent it from stretching so much (then I would take EVERY top!) But in general, top early and often, but no later than a week before flower..
When we go to into flower, we want to start with a nice, level canopy. To prepare for this, we slow down taller branches, and let lower branches catch up to the canopy. If you take off fan leaves and let light to the lower branches, they won’t stretch as much, and may never reach the canopy. Instead (whether you SCROG or not), try to bend / push tops out as much as possible, to let more light into the middle of the plant and get the widest profile as possible. Here’s an example of a flat top! I’m creating a level canopy here, simply by topping.
Some OG Kush, looking sweet at the captain’s quarters. Here we have about 25 tops, 2 weeks before flower. Now, I’ll top all of the tallest branches, and have 50+ tops before going into flower.
Pruning the underside: As said in a previous article, in veg, you can take off some lowers. Start at the base of the plant and go up about 3 inches. Then wait a week and go up another 3″. (Stoners call this “lollipopping”) You can see how I’ve done it here. The lower stuff that doesn’t get light, sucks energy from the top buds, and the tops won’t be as big. Don’t wait until the plant is massive before doing this. You can do it a little at a time.
Are you ready to flower? The most common mistake I see people make is flowering too soon. They take a small plant that is not mature yet, and flower it, ending up with a couple wimpy ounces of bud.
The two biggest factors that determine yield are:
1. How big your plant is when you go to flower.
2. How much light you have.
Listen to me now and believe me later, girly men, Yield is EXPONENTIALLY affected by veg time. If you want a big harvest, put your energy into your veg game. Not only is your plant growing taller, but it’s growing wider and producing more tops every day. Just two weeks more of veg time, can double, or even TRIPLE your yield.
The plant you see above is about 6 weeks into veg. If flowered now, it would produce a respectable 4-5 ounces of bud. However, this plant is in rapid growth stage. Wait 2-3 more weeks and this is what you will quadruple that yield:
Purple Dream, ready to flower after two months of veg time, and will produce a lb of premium bud.
Setting up your CapnStyle Growing machine.
I’ve been using the CapnSyle growing machines for 2 years. Each plant, has it’s own reservoir, and can sustain the plant on it’s own for about 5 days. It is easy to get under the plant and work, it is easy to service the pump, if needed, it’s easy to pump out water and refill. No airstone is needed. No complicated cycle timers.
It’s so easy to set up, you can look at the pictures and follow by example.
Items you will need:
$15 Wittbagger Tote (15 gal from walmart or 15 gal brute from Lowes) The tote must have a nice lip around the edge.
$10 Drip Ring (Hydro Hat, Hydro Halo, or DIY)
$15 150-200gpm water pump
$2 3′ 1/2 flexible tubing
$10 cheap 15 min on/off timer
The 14gal brute only uses up 11″ of vertical space. No chance for overflow.
Put your nursery pot on top of it, and set your timer to run for 15 minutes, twice a day. You can use a netpot or similar to keep light out of the reservoir.
You should have a good amount of flow out of the drip ring and it should run for 15 minutes at a time. This will ensure the PPM and PH in the root zone, is the same as in the reservoir.
Switching to 12/12: When we switch to flowering cycle, this is a critical time for rapid growth. It will literally grow a foot or more in the next two weeks, and root growth will go bonkers. I give it beneficial bacteria, recharge, at least twice a week at this stage. Pay extra attention to PPM (should be around 750) and PH (5.9-6.2), as it is crucial right now. Calibrate your meters. Change at least 1/2 your reservoir water every 5-6 days, so you continue to give it fresh nutrients. Your plants will use more water per day in the next two weeks, than in the entire grow cycle. If growing CapnStyle, irrigation times should be twice a day, 15 minutes at a time.
Here is my basic PPM chart for Flowering, Capn style growing, using synthetic nutrients:
Weeks 1-3 700-800PPM
Weeks 4-8 800-900PPM
When I flush, I drop the PPM down to under 100. You can do this easily, by pumping out all the water, refilling with plain RO water, recirculating for 30 minutes, rinse and repeat. No worry about watering too much. I don’t adjust ph of my flush water as long as it is between 5.5-7.5. The goal is to lock out nutrients anyway, right? So who cares what the PH is during flush (within reason).
Do a light leak check. Go in the room after lights out and right before lights on, and make sure no light is leaking in. Ideally, you shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. Got light leaks? If so, beware of females growing pollen sacs.
Aim for a humidity of 50-70% and a 10-15 degree temp difference between day and night.
Too low of a humidity will slow growth. Too high promotes mold. Plants grow fastest when there is a temp difference between night at day.
Foliar feed every 4 days in the first 3 weeks of flower. I use dutch master liquid light + saturator. It works.
Consider if you have enough light. As long as you’re doing everything else correctly, yield is all about the size of your plant, and about light. I frequently see people using LED, florescent, CFL’s, and the yield from these are minimal (compared to HPS), and barely worth the heat they put off in the flower room. Let’s say for example, you have two large plants in a 4’x5′ area with one 600W HPS bulb in a hood. If you can at all afford it, add another 600W HPS. Even if it is a $60 cool tube and cheap apollo bulb. Think of it this way, let’s say you have to spend: $100 ballast, $60 cool tube, $30 Bulb. That’s $200. You will yield another 25% if you add another 600W. 25% will translate to another 4+ zips.
We simply don’t get bud like this without HPS Watts!
BlueDream, under a 600W Hortilux, in a Raptor hood. This yielded 24 zips, and produced the infamous ARM cola.
This will be my last “how to CapnStyle” article. Feel free to leave constructive comments and questions below. Thanks for reading and happy growing.
MICHIGAN grower has commented, that he runs multiple plants in one tray, Capn Style. Slingblade does it this way too. I only do that when I am strain hunting. If you have the space, it is a great way to up the yield even more. 4 plants under a 600W light will yield a little more than a single plant. Here is a picture of how I did it. Maybe Michigan can also post one.