Get a plant to harvest is one thing, but getting that plant to yield a great harvest is a different story. To us, there are three important rules every grower needs to follow for a good quality harvest. You’d be surprised to know what type of grow lights will help your plants, what sort of nutrition they need, or how flushing your plants can actually lower the quality of even the best-grown plant. In this article, we’ll explain what you and your grow room need in order to get the huge harvests you’ve been looking for.
What a Plant’s Peak Yield Can Tell You
Before we dive into harvests, it’s important to get an idea of the peak yield a plant can give you.
Imagine the ripest piece of fruit you’ve seen and tasted: the color’s right where it needs to be, the taste is extraordinary, and the smell is incomparable. That’s the plant’s peak yield, and that’s where the bar’s set for that harvest.
Now it’s important to understand how great a plant can be for two reasons:
1) You’ll find out what your plant should look like. Since you know what the best of the best should taste/smell/look like, you’ll be able to track how your plant is growing and where to make adjustments.
2) You’ll know how far you can take a plant and avoid over-ripening its harvest. An orange won’t taste like more of an orange than it possibly can, and a rose won’t get any more crimson than it’ll possibly be. While we all want the best out of our yields, trying to force a plant to “up” its quality beyond its capabilities will be detrimental.
Rule#1: Use the Correct Grow Light for the Job
We all know that light is what helps plants eat. Simple, right? Right. But even a good grow light with the wrong elements for your plant won’t grow what you want it to.
An underwhelming and overwhelming grow light can limit the quality of your plant right off the bat. There’s no getting around properly lighting a plant, so make sure you’re using the right type of light for the correct amount of time.
For example, say you’re growing two plants in your grow tent and it’s recommended to use a 600w HID grow light at 8 hours on and 16 hours off. There are stories of growers who’ve tried to use a 1000w grow light in that situation because that’s all they had, hoping that their plants will react the same way. Unfortunately, you run the risk of giving your plants less light they need and that will definitely shrink the yield of your plants- especially if your lighting times are off.
The intensity and spectrum of your lights matter, too. You don’t want to use a T5 grow light if your plants need the intensity of at least 400w HID’s. Those plants may yield something, but what they do yield will be weak.
The wrong grow light also means you might be holding your plants back from vital wavelengths it really needs from the sun’s natural light. For example, did you know that infrared (IR) wavelengths of light from the sun help with resin production? Plants like tomatoes and cannabis grow bigger and taste better with the right wavelengths of light, so growing them with the right LED containing IR can lead to the best yield you’ve ever had. You may get great yield from a good light, but with lights that contain every wavelength your plants need, you’ll get a near perfect harvest.
Rule #2: Environmental Conditions (Temperatures, Humidity Levels, etc…) are just as important to quality as nutrients and lighting
The environment your plants grow in will help determine the quality of your yield. You can give your plants with the perfect light and feed your plants the best nutrients possible, but if your grow room’s environment is off not even the best nutrients can give you what you want.
Airflow– Remember that plants need to be able to breathe from their leaves, so keeping an environment free of dust with fans is the least you can do to ensure a good yield. It’s also important to know that there are usually going to be imperfections in your grow room’s air, and while you may not be able to clear 100% of it with filters, it’s vital to keep air moving in, out, and around your grow room.
The Importance of CO2– Without fresh air, your plants can’t take in fresh CO2, and without fresh CO2 your plants won’t be able to metabolize their food well. What does that mean for your plants? If their metabolism can’t process food they’re going to suffer from things like nutrient lock, general deficiencies, and it can even lead to mold if parts of the plants die because of it.
Temperature also plays into how well your plants grow. The wrong temperatures mean your plant has to fight either too much heat or not enough heat to grow, which will stress your plants and lead to a bad yield.
Growers will often overlook their grow’s environment as a key factor in their yield quality because they believe feeding, flushing, and lighting are the only things that matter to a good yield. But for a great yield, every single factor counts. Growing environment is often the difference between a flimsy flower with dull colors and a strong one with vibrant petals.
Rule #3: Get nutrients that contain elements close to what your plant would find naturally
All living things need nutrition to survive: humans and animals get it by eating food, plants get it from nutrients in soil and sunlight. But when you walk into any grow room or on to any farm, you’ll see that there are some plants have more vibrant colors than fellow plants of the same species. When lighting and environmental conditions are the same for all plants, the difference between a healthy plant and a struggling one is what you’re feeding your plants and how much.
Finding a Balance in Nutrients– When it comes to feeding plants it’s helpful to think about feeding a person. With the wrong food, we can get sick or become generally unhealthy. Even with healthy foods, too much at the same time can be unhealthy. And some foods might contain so much of a certain ingredient that, if not neutralized, can toxify us. That’s essentially what you want to keep in mind in order to grow not only a big plant but a healthy one, too.
What are Your Plants Really Eating? Plants can take in nearly every nutrient you feed it, but if those nutrients aren’t found in its natural environment your plant will have a hard time absorbing it. Unnatural ingredients can be easily wasted, and that waste can cause deficiencies in growth and hassles when flushing. That’s why you should look to see what elements (boron, calcium, magnesium, etc…) are native to your plants and go for nutrients that cater to those elements.
PPM & pH Content of Nutrients– Even if you have the right nutrients you still need to make sure your plants aren’t getting too much of it. Measure the PPM of your plant’s nutrients to make sure your plants aren’t getting too much food, otherwise, they can start to droop under their own weight, and even start to die. Moreover, the pH of your water will make sure that what your plants are eating is safe for them to be consumed. And when your plants can breathe well, grow strong, and eat healthily you’ll get yields that will put other growers to shame.