Knowing the cultivars of a plant can help you understand basic growth characteristics, but growth cycles for each type of plant will vary based on genetics. Your growing methodologies and environmental conditions play a role too. Observe the growth cycle of your plants carefully and keep a detailed log to determine the appropriate amount of time in each stage.
This can help you maintain the cleanliness of your cannabis cultivation facility and more easily rotate crops through to maturity. This process typically requires a minimum of four designated areas: one clone area, one vegetative area, and two flowering areas. Each of these stages requires different care and conditions.
To establish a productive perpetual harvest it’s essential to invest the time up front to design your facility for efficiency, learn about your cultivars, plan rotation schedules for each variety and continue to observe and refine over time. This task is often easier said than done when managing a large cultivation facility with many varieties of cannabis plants.
Get to know your cannabis plants.
They say time is money and for commercial marijuana producers so is space. By maximizing greenhouse space and evenly distributing labor needs, commercial producers can increase cannabis supply and improve profit margins. To generate a more consistent supply of product, it’s recommended that commercial growers establish a perpetual harvest.
Here are some tips for getting started:
Make sure the system used for growing cannabis, whether soil or hydro, allows the plants to be moved around easily. Minimal disruption of the plants is best and this will also reduce labor time. Designing your commercial cannabis cultivation facility to efficiently manage plant movement will save you substantial labor costs over the lifetime of your facility. Utilizing techniques and technology from traditional floriculture operations saves time, labor, and money. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel as looking to existing agriculture industries can provide many insights.
Use partitioned growing areas.
Perpetual harvest involves a process known as symbiotic rotation, where cannabis cultivators maintain plants in all stages of plant development. Plants are moved through the different areas of the cultivation facility to maintain a steady supply of flowering plants, thus meeting market demand more consistently.
All plants are different, but there are some insights that can be drawn from knowing the basics of your cultivar. Cannabis sativa typically has a taller and more sprawling stature and generally takes longer to reach maturity. Dominant sativas may take up more space and time in your facility to reach maturity. While cannabis indica and hybrids are typically shorter and reach maturity faster. Indica’s and hybrids are well suited for a perpetual growth cycle and are generally easier to manage. Knowing the specific lifecycle timing and size characteristics of each variety of cannabis you are growing is essential to making a plan that accommodates all your plants and uses your growing space efficiently. For more specific information about each cultivar, check here.
Perpetual harvesting can benefit both the homegrower and the commercial grower. It allows both the ability to look after and control their plants better through each phase of the growing process. Commercial growers can also manage their labor needs and operations easier by providing consistent work on a weekly or monthly basis, instead of having to bunch up labor when planting a crop and harvesting it with a seasonal grow.
What Qualifies as a Perpetual Harvest?
Although clones and seedlings are on the same photoperiod as plants on a vegetative light cycle, growers usually have a separate space for them because they’re more delicate and need to be looked after more closely.
Flowering Space—12/12 Photoperiod
Indoor perpetual harvesting is a horticultural design system that maintains a steady rotation of crop through the different phases of the cultivation process. With cannabis, plants in different phases—seedlings, vegetative, flowering—have different photoperiods, meaning that you’ll need separate spaces for plants in each phase because they need different durations of light.
From seeds, it takes approximately 8 weeks for cannabis plants to reach vegetation, then another 8 weeks before they reach half their desired final height and are ready to move from the cannabis vegetating growroom to the cannabis flowering cycle. Then your indoor cannabis plants will need another 8 weeks in your flowering growroom.
Decide which of these indoor growing methods you prefer to use to grow cannabis: Planting new seeds every couple weeks or taking clones from plants before they go into the flowering cycle. Many growing cannabis prefer to use a “mother plant” that is kept in the vegetative state indefinitely to supply clones. Growing with a mother plant allows for a lot of clones going in a variety of different stages.
A Perpetual Harvest can be as big or small as you want, depending on yield and space. The easy explanation is that a Perpetual Harvest is primarily four phases or stages:
Here is a quick summary of how to prepare and setup for each phase of your Perpetual Harvest:
How to Create a Perpetual Harvest for Cannabis
The term Perpetual Harvest refers to an indoor gardening technique where multiple (usually two) different growing areas are utilized so there are always plants in both the flowering and vegetative stages. Creating a Perpetual Harvest is popular for growing cannabis indoors because it ensures an ongoing supply of marijuana throughout the year. Think of it as not putting all your eggs in one basket (or harvest)!
Set up two different cannabis grow rooms with exactly the same equipment that will operate simultaneously. One growroom is devoted to a vegetative cannabis grow room and the second area is designed to house a flowering cannabis grow room. The vegetative cannabis grow space may be a bit smaller than that of the flowering cannabis area, as plants in vegetation aren’t as large as those plants in flowering stage. These are just a few of the needs to consider for each growroom space:
After some practice, you’ll get the timing down. The goal is 8 weeks in veg and 8 weeks in flower, then harvest. After you harvest, you move your next cannabis plants in vegetation to your cannabis flowering grow room, and continue the process without any down time in between.