3 Phases of Growing + Growing Timeline
Before advising you about each item from the list of growing supplies from Chapter 1, first learn about the three phases of cannabis cultivation. It’s important to have this knowledge as a new grower.
The 3 phases of growing cannabis are:
1. VEG Phase (short for “vegetative”)
2. FLOWER Phase (sometimes referred to as “bloom”)
3. HARVEST Phase (drying + curing)
VEG phase is all about the plant developing healthily, FLOWER phase is all about the flower development, and HARVEST phase is all about the final preparations before you consume your home grown cannabis.
With the Green Carpet Growing system timeline, VEG + FLOWER phase will take you 3 months from clone, and 4 months from seed. Plus, HARVEST phase takes 15 – 30+ days, depending on your preference.
With the Green Carpet Growing system, when you grow from CLONE, stay in VEG for 30 days (1 month) and in FLOWER for about 60 days (2 months), but it could be as little as 45 days in FLOWER if you have a fast-flowering strain. The average time for FLOWERING is 55 – 65 days. Then, it takes 15 – 30 days to dry and cure to your liking. However when you grow from SEED, you’ll add about 30 extra days in VEG phase.
In VEG phase, you can expect cannabis plants to grow roots, a stalk, branches and leaves. There are no flowers or buds on the plant in VEG phase. With the Green Carpet Growing system in VEG, you’ll “top” your plant once, water as needed, apply pest control spray 1x a week, and do a little bit of plant maintenance. You’ll also monitor humidity % and temperatures in your grow tent. That’s it. It’s fun!
A common approach in VEG is to grow 4 – 9 plants, using 4, 5, or 7 gallon pots, in a 3′ x 3′ or 4′ x 4′ grow tent.
VEG timeline: 30 days from CLONE / 60 days from SEED
The Green Carpet Growing timeline for VEG phase takes 1 month in VEG when growing from clone, or 2 months when growing from seed.
Growing happy, healthy plants that adequately fill up your grow tent is the main goal in VEG phase. The small “sucker” branches that do not reach the top of the plant’s growth, are generally removed in VEG. That’s because the grow light in a grow tent only penetrates the tops of the plants, not the undergrowth.
The top area of the plant’s growth that receives all the light are full of what we call “tops” and they eventually become your “colas” aka, flowers and buds.
Now would be a good time to mention you don’t HAVE to follow the 30 day timeline. Alternatively, you can stay in VEG phase for quite a bit longer to grow larger plants if you’d like. Just don’t grow them too tall, or they’ll grow into your grow lights, and that is not good. Instead train your plants to grow sideways to fill out the 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 potential canopy space you have within your grow tent. It could take an extra month or so in VEG if you’re trying to fill up every square inch of your grow tent’s canopy space. There will be more about that technique later.
This photo below is of 4 plants that were in VEG for 60 days from seed.
The FLOWER timeline takes into consideration the “recommended flowering time” of the genetics you’re growing, as well as the ripeness / maturity of the flowers, which can only be determined in “real time” using a jewelers scope. In FLOWER phase, the cannabis plant will focus mostly on flower production, aka, bud development. However, many cannabis strains grow in the first few weeks of FLOWER phase. How much taller a plant grows in FLOWER depends on it’s genetics. Some varieties are prone to “stretch” and even double their size, but others may only grow six inches or a foot.
Eventually however, flowering plants will focus all of their energy and attention into flower growth. Each week the look of the flowers transform as they get bigger and frostier. Flowers in FLOWER week 4 look drastically different than they do in FLOWER week 8. Someday you’ll learn to look at your flowers and just by the look of them, be able to know what week FLOWER they are in.
To set your expectations, don’t expect too much growth too soon, as the biggest growth comes in the final weeks of FLOWER. Enjoy watching your flowers transform!
FLOWER timeline: 45 days up to 90 days
FLOWER phase takes anywhere from around 45 days (fast-flowering strains) up to 60, 70, 80, or even 90 + days (slow-flowering strains) depending on the genetics you are growing. The most common flowering time is 60 days / 2 months. Quality genetics always come with a recommended flowering time. A quick search on Google can help you locate your strain’s recommended flowering time.
More and more “fast-flowering” strains are gaining notoriety lately, particularly the Blueberry Muffin and Hella Jelly strains bred by Humboldt Seed Company in California. Slow-flowering strain examples would strains like Thai, Panama Red, Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold, Lamb’s Bread.
The flowers should emit aroma especially during the last 30 days of FLOWER. There’s a spectrum of aromas that cannabis emits, and home growers more than anyone know the old saying, “the nose knows!” That is to say, if you like the way it smells, then like smoking it and the effects. While there are many unique combinations of aromas, some of the most common smells we run into these days include pine, lemon, citrus, pepper, rose, lavender, gasoline, skunk, and even cheese. That’s not all. You might smell a variety of fruity smells, but you might also smell musk, rotten fruit, smelly feet or even dung (oh it’s stinky.)
Longtime cannabis educator Kevin Jodrey teaches that all cannabis scents can essentially be categorized into just four categories: earthy, fruity, floral, and fuel.
To smell cannabis in FLOWER, don’t just smell the flowers any old way. You read that right, “don’t just smell the flowers any old way.” Instead, do a proper “sniff test.” This way you’ll get an explosion of fragrance like you’ve never experienced it before. This is how you smell cannabis: use your pinching fingers and gently rub the stem/stalk between some developing cannabis flowers. Now smell your fingers! First timers, brace yourself, the aromatherapy you can get in FLOWER phase is one the best parts of home growing. The nose knows! However, don’t expect the strong smells to lurk out until the last half of FLOWER phase. The best time to do sniff tests are in the last 4 weeks of FLOWER, so about half-way through FLOWER is when you’ll start getting really strong whiffs of terpenes, the compound responsible for the smells. There are actually over a dozen common terpenes commonly found in cannabis. You don’t need to know about terpenes to grow great cannabis simply and sensibly at home. But I do recommend you read about terpenes at some point.
HARVEST PHASE: 2 – 4 weeks
During the HARVEST phase, you can hang dry the whole plant upside down in a completely dark grow tent, or any dimly lit room with good airflow, temperature and humidity. Temperature and humidity control are crucial to your success in HARVEST phase. After drying your cannabis flowers, then you’ll cure them. Curing allows you to perfect the moisture level in your buds to enhance overall flavor, taste, and even effects. You just need a few mason jars. At the end of the curing, toss a Boveda 63% humidity packs in your jar(s) and call it a day.
Your harvested buds can be big or small, hard or soft, very sticky or kind of dry, dense or airy, and heavy or light. All these differences are determined by the genetics, as well as the growing style (ie- the light used, the size of the pot, the stresses the plant endured, etc.)
Drying and curing certainly help with taste, flavor, and smell.
Specific DIY instructions and how-to steps for VEG, FLOWER and HARVEST are coming up in chapters ahead!
Marc Eden’s DIY Cannabis Cultivation Book For Beginners
Published by Green Carpet Growing, Inc.
San Diego, CA 92103
© 2021 Green Carpet Growing, Inc
All Rights Reserved
No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law.
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