3 Phases of Growing + Growing Timeline
Before I explain each item from the list of growing supplies from Chapter 1, I’d like to make sure you are familiar with the three phases of cannabis cultivation and growing timelines.
What are the three phases of growing cannabis?
The 3 phases of growing cannabis are:
1. VEG Phase (short for “vegetative”)
2. FLOWER Phase (sometimes referred to as “bloom”)
3. HARVEST Phase
In VEG phase, the plant grows roots, a stalk, branches and leaves. The plants do not smell very much in VEG phase. There are no flowers or buds to be seen at all in VEG phase. As for the VEG timeline for clones, you’ll likely be in VEG for about 1 – 2 months. You could stay in VEG longer if your goal is to grow very large plants. Some growers like to grow 1 or 2 big plants per tent. More commonly, most growers fill out their grow tents with 4 – 8 plants. However, if you spread out 12 – 20 plants in your grow tent, this style is known as “sea of green.”
If you grow from seeds, it will likely take you around 2.5 to 3.5 months in VEG.
In VEG phase, the plant needs and uses a certain combination of nutrients which is different than what it will need in FLOWER phase. This is why certain fertilizers are for VEG and others are for FLOWER.
Which is best way? Which has the biggest harvest? Which has the most harvests? Which is faster? Sorry, I won’t blow smoke up at you, the answer is always “it depends.”
In FLOWER phase, the plant will start to focus on flower production, also known as bud development. However, your plant may still grow a little or a lot taller or wider in the first few weeks of FLOWER. Eventually the plant will stop growing tall and wide, and focus all of it’s energy into flower production. How much taller “stretching” or wider a plant grows in FLOWER depends on the specific genetics you’re growing. Some cannabis genetics are more prone to “stretch” in FLOWER than others.
FLOWER phase takes anywhere from 45 days (fast flowering time) up to 60, 70, 80, or even 90 + days (long flowering time) depending on the strain you are growing. However, the most common flowering time is 60 days. More and more fast flowering strains are gaining popularity lately though, particularly the Blueberry Muffin, Apple Blossom, and Jelly Rancher strains. The flowers should smell strong especially during the last 30 days of FLOWER. Even more specifically, you can expect them to smell the most in the morning.
During the HARVEST phase, you’ll hang dry cannabis flowers with the whole plant upside down in the dark. A proper environment is crucial to your success in HARVEST phase. After drying, you’ll cure your cannabis flowers, which allows you to enhance flavor, taste, and effects. They’ll eventually end up in mason jars or other airtight containers or bags.
Specific DIY instructions and how-to steps for VEG, FLOWER and HARVEST are coming up in chapters ahead!
What is a growing timeline?
Your growing timeline is based on how long you’re in veg, flower and harvest. You can only harvest so many times each year, so planning your grows is the wise thing to do.
With my home grow system, it takes anywhere from 3.5 months if you grow from clone, and 4.5 – 6 months if you grow from seed. Generally speaking, VEG phase is 30 days long when you grow from healthy clones. So if you get clones and plant them, in 30 days you’ll flip the plants to FLOWER phase. However, VEG phase takes 2 – 3 months when you plant from seed.
In FLOWER phase, cannabis flowers can bloom to maturity for a total of 45 days on the fast side and 80 days on the long side. The average time for most strains is 60 days, which is 2 months. Flower phase time is completely dictated by genetics.
HARVEST phase takes about 3 weeks or more. In a proper environment, it may take 10 – 15 days to dry. After drying, the curing process can take an additional 1 to 4 weeks depending on your personal preference for aroma and flavor. However, you don’t have to cure your cannabis to smoke it, but curing certainly helps with taste, flavor, and smell.
If you are growing extremely large plants or trying to grow a 1 lb. plant, then you will have a much longer growing timeline. In which case, you could be in VEG phase for 4 – 6 months. There’s an age-old debate in the cannabis cultivation community that tackles the “big plants vs. small plants” methodology. How long you stay in VEG is not the only factor for heavy yields and high yielding plants. Other factors include the quality of light you are growing with, and your overall gardening skills. Plants that are not cared for well, do not yield heavily.
You can fill up a 4 x 4 grow tent with one plant, but it will take you about 4 – 6 months in VEG, depending on how well you care for it. You won’t have very many harvests in one year though, will you? No, you won’t.
Here’s how to figure that out: if you stay in VEG for 6 months and FLOWER for 2 months and HARVEST for 1 month, you are up to a 9 month growing timeline. Simple addition!
Is it worth it? It depends. 9 months is a long time if you ask me. Instead you could stay in VEG for 4 months and FLOWER for 2 months and HARVEST for 1 month. Now you are at a 7 month long growing timeline. To be honest, only the most patient of all patient new growers will attempt this type of feat. Very few new growers have this type of patience at the beginning of their cannabis cultivation adventures.
I can’t think of anything else to say about cannabis growing timelines, except to tell you that most new growers do very well, if not great, in the VEG phase. But then in FLOWER and HARVEST phases, they tend to struggle. Don’t worry though, you are going to be prepared and you will not have to struggle. As long as you finish this book and follow the Green Carpet Growing system!
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.
For permissions contact: marc(@)greencarpetgrowing.com
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