Cultivation Corner

Cultivation Corner

So the last several articles have touched on sourcing your genetics from seeds vs. clones and getting through the vegetative stage. It’s about time for us to start talking about the flowering stage, and how to optimize your bloom cycle for the best buds you can grow!

In the next few articles, we will start tackling all of the tips and tricks to tweak your flowering cycle for maximum optimization.

But first, let’s make sure we haven’t forgotten any chores during our veg cycle.

Why is Veg so important?

As we’ve explained before, what you do in Veg greatly impacts what you can do during the flowering stage. There are all sorts of tactics that should be employed during the flowering stage, but many are unavailable or just won’t make a difference, if you slacked off during the vegetative stage.

The vegetative stage is when plants are pliable and capable of being trained. This is very important. Also, veg can be extended if necessary. Unlike flowering stage, which has a set end date, the veg stage can be prolonged if necessary.

During veg, you can exercise much greater control, and you should, so that you can  take full ownership for the shape of the plant. This way, you set yourself up for success when it comes time to flower.

Checking off your “To-do” list while in Veg

Now, during veg, you should have done some low stress training and pruning. The goal here is to make your plant look less like a Christmas tree, and more like a Hanukkah candle. We don’t want it growing up tall and skinny. Such a structure won’t yield much, and all but the top buds will lack that rock hard density we prefer. So we solve for this problem by pruning our plant during veg, and by training it to take the shape of the Hanukkah candle.

But how do we achieve this shape? The answer is well-timed topping.

How to Top your Veg Plants to create a SCROG canopy during flower

We prefer to wait about five or six weeks into veg before we top our plants. Some may top earlier in veg, and we have done that as well. But we have found that topping small plants severely stunts growth, which either prolongs the length of veg, or you end up with a smaller plant during your normal veg cycle (for us, about 8 weeks).

When we top our plants, we are looking to create a “crown,” that is, a group of
surrounding branches. Kind of like a 360 degree Hanukkah candle, to use the reference from earlier.

To do this, we cut the center branch right off.


Yes. Really. We go to the main stock, in the middle, that would ordinarily possess the king cola of the plant. And we chop it off at the node about a foot down. You may be shocked that we would do this, because the plant has basically been cut in half. Did we just waste 6 weeks of growth?

The answer is “No,” and here is why: this style of topping actually accelerates the growth of the surrounding branches.

Within one week of chopping the center stalk, the surrounding branches will have risen up to the original height of that center stalk. No time lost at all. In fact, it will seem like you just jumped into the future!

Now you have a plant that is ready to be SCROGGED (spread throughout trellis netting) to create a SCROG (screen of green) canopy.

Preparing to “flip” your plants into flower

Now that you have topped all of your plants, you are about ready to flip your light cycle to 12/12 and start flowering. But not yet. Let’s wait just a couple more weeks. During this time, you will want to do another session or two of pruning. Really create that lollipop shape during the last week or two of Veg. This will set up you up for the greatest success in flower.

Next article, we will move on to the flowering stage!!