Unlike indoor growers, outdoor growers have to deal with the sun. This constant light source is a great thing for those looking to grow all season long. However, those seeking a fast harvest will need to find ways to reduce light exposure. As mentioned above, altering the light cycle is perhaps the most powerful way to speed up growth. When it comes to achieving a 12/12 light cycle outdoors to initiate flowering from the get-go, growers can cover their plants with a tarp for periods in the morning and evening to avoid excess light exposure.
Growing outdoors offers much less control over certain parameters. This requires a slightly different approach and some creative thinking.
Lemon Kush is a fast-flowering photoperiod strain derived from Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and Pakistani Kush. With a flowering time of approximately 55 days in normal conditions, this indica-dominant cultivar induces a stoning and meditative high shortly after being smoked. The terpene profile within her flowers features notes of spice and citrus.
HOW TO CONTROL LIGHT EXPOSURE OUTDOORS
Regardless of whether you intend to speed up cannabis growth indoors or outdoors, genetics will play the most fundamental role. Some cannabis varieties have been selectively bred over generations to strengthen the trait of faster growth and flowering. Autoflowering strains in particular are famed for their speed, with most emerging from seed to harvest in a couple of months or so, without any intervention at all. Here are some of the fastest-growing autoflowering and photoperiod genetics you might want to consider for a lightning-fast harvest.
The cannabis grow cycle features two distinct phases: the vegetative phase and the flowering phase. Manipulating the light cycle during both of these phases can result in a faster pace of growth. During the vegetative phase (when plants feature only fan leaves and have not started to bloom), indoor plants are usually vegged under 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness per day to provide the best conditions for photosynthesis and respiration to occur.
Another trick to speed things up massively is to avoid the vegetative phase altogether and begin flowering your plants immediately after germination has occurred. This can be achieved by applying a light schedule of 12/12 immediately and throughout the entire grow cycle. Although a rapid way to produce flowers, yields will be sacrificed for speed. Plus, this trick is only compatible with photoperiod strains.
Vanilla Ice Autoflowering has an average THC content of 13%. She’ll yield up to 350g/m² indoors and reach a peak height of 90cm.
It may sound obvious, but one of the easiest ways to reach harvest quickly is to choose seeds with short flowering times. Always buy seeds from reputable and established sellers who will display growing and flowering times on their websites. The aforementioned Northern Lights feature a two-month flowering phase, while others, such as Sour Diesel need to flower for more than 2,5 months. Strains with longer flowering times generally tend to perform better outdoors because they receive more sunshine. However, varieties with short flowering phases often produce cannabis of equally good quality.
However, there are consequences mainly relating to growth. The buds will stop growing, which will affect the yield, although the THC content won’t necessarily be affected. Plants grow during the hours of daylight so if these are reduced to speed things up, the harvest will inevitably be smaller.
All plants, including cannabis, need sunlight, water and nutrients to survive. To ensure your plants grow as quickly and healthily as possible, you need to ensure they have all three in the correct quantities. You can add nutrients to the soil with fertilizer or directly into the water if you are using a hydroponics system. Read our blogs for more information about how much water and light your plants need at each stage of the growing process.
4. Plant clones rather than sowing seeds
It is also worth mentioning auto-flowering seeds as these switch to flowering automatically, so you don’t need to worry about altering the light cycle. These strains usually take about three months to go from seed to harvest – much more quickly than non-auto-flowering varieties.
A practical solution, if you are really impatient, is to cut short the vegetative phase. The yield will be less but much more than by entirely skipping the vegetative stage. Let your plants vegetate for a shorter period than that accepted in order to switch to flowering more quickly. The yield will certainly not be extraordinary, but always more than by making the plant flower from the sowing stage. It could take three more weeks, for example, in which case you will be able to harvest after about 14-15 weeks.
Another method is to switch your plants to 10 hours of light per day, which will encourage your plants to ripen more quickly. This method works best on Indica varieties which have a shorter flowering cycle than Hazes and Sativa’s, as well as higher yields.
Pruning your weed plant encourages them to focus their energy on producing buds rather than leaves. Extra stems and dying, yellow leaves should be removed to allow your plants to concentrate its efforts on growing buds.
This last tip might shock you. Pollinate your flowers and they’ll ripen faster.
As a general rule, autoflowering cannabis will mature at a faster rate than photoperiod strains because they contain a percentage of ruderalis genetics. Ruderalis evolved naturally in cold places like Siberia where the summers are very short. They had to develop the ability to produce flowers and seeds quickly to ensure the survival of the species.
By keeping the lights on all the time, you may be able to cut your veg time by a third and still have a good-sized plant by the time you start a forced bloom. If you try this technique, keep a close watch for deficiencies. If your plants look like they’re getting sick, reduce the wattage or hours of light to help them recover.
POLLINATE LATE, HARVEST EARLY
Sick plants need time to recover, so every time you overfeed, underfeed, or feed the wrong thing, you’re stretching the time until harvest. If you’re using nutrients designed for cannabis, they should come with instructions that tell you how much of what to use, and when to use it. Follow the directions, but keep the mix on the light side until you know if your plants are nutrient-sensitive.
Starving a plant that wants to bloom for 9–10 weeks to force an early harvest can have a negative impact on yield. If you’re going to try this method, choose a cannabis seed with a naturally short finish time like Honey Cream. This is a high-yielding indica that only needs 6–7 weeks to complete its flowering cycle.
If you want to use this method, you can start with either clones or seeds, but you’ll need to grow a lot of them in sea of green (SOG) fashion if you want enough herb to hold you over to your next harvest. Most plants will be dwarf-sized and only yield 28g or less each.
No matter the reason, there are proven ways to rush things along, whether you’re growing inside or out. Still, you might have to compromise yield and potency in exchange for speed. Let’s take a look at what you can do to grow cannabis as fast as possible.