Growers report that once the seeds have sprouted, the plants begin a period of fast growth. With good conditions plants grow three or four sets of leaves within the first 10 days. After that they really take off growing both top and side branches. By the end of the first month, a stocky plant usually grows between one and one and a half feet. After two months of growth plants grow between two and three feet depending on conditions and variety. Plants grown using intense light and CO2 grow faster.
Rooted cuttings in an adequate size container grow very quickly, usually faster than seedlings for the first few weeks. Clones develop a stockier stem, with shorter internodes and their branching patterns may also be different from their sisters grown from seed.
During vegetative growth the plants do best when the lights are kept on continuously. The plants do not need a "rest period". Some growers cut the expense of running high watt lamps 24 hours a day by turning them off for 1-6 hours. However, costs other than light; such as rent, labor and risk remain fixed no matter what the light cycle is set at. This means that the garden is at maximum efficiency on a continuous light cycle. It actually costs growers more to grow an ounce of bud using an 18 hour cycle rather than a continuous one. Of course, meter considerations may dictate a break in the light period.
The medium is kept moist continuously. Reservoir and wick hydroponic systems are self regulating: the medium draws water from the reservoir to maintain an even level of moisture. However, the reservoirs must be refilled periodically. Large plants use more water than small ones, so their reservoirs are checked more often. Once the reservoir is filled with water-nutrient mix added water is clear, pH adjusted and nutrient free.
Smart growers know that fertilizers are best used as directed. The worst thing that a gardener can do is over fertilize, since this can cause the plantsí sudden death. The nutrient-water solution is changed every other week. The old water is drained and replaced with fresh nutrient-water solution. The system need not be rinsed. The old water is suitable for use in the outdoor garden.
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