Every grower wants to maximize their yields! If you’re like me, you want to make it as cost effective as possible too. There are many products available on the market to fatten up buds, but you can get the same results for a fraction of the cost. So, here are some easy and cheap things that I do to increase my yields. These techniques can be applied to both photoperiods or autoflowers.
1. Training Plants to Achieve an Even Canopy
Low Stress Training your plants can shape them into a nice, flat canopy. The goal is to maximize the light available to make the best of it. You do this by simply tying branches down after the plant has approximately 4 nodes. As the branches grow out more, re-adjust the ties to keep all branches at about the same height. By maximizing the light available, you will increase your yields compared to no training. All you need for this technique is some plant ties, pipe cleaners or a Scrog Net to tie the plants down.
2. Add Organic, Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses to Water
Adding organic blackstrap molasses to your water during mid to late flower can help fatten up buds. Adding some simple sugars to your water can be as effective as supplements marketed for making bigger buds. Most of these supplements main ingredients are sugar anyways. So why not use a cheaper alternative? All you need to do is add about 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (depending on the size of the plants) to a gallon of dechlorinated water. Then water the plants as usual with that water. The cost ranges from about $9-12CAD for a container. These containers can last for up to about 6 grows. For such a low cost, it can greatly impact not only the yields but also the flavour of the final product. This method is not suitable for use in a hydroponic system.
3. Keeping a Consistent & Optimal Grow Environment
Keeping a consistent and ideal environment can have a great effect on your plants yields. It’s also helpful in optimizing growth of your plants during all stages of life. You want to keep plants within their ideal ranges of temperature and humidity so they can photosynthesize as efficiently as possible.
The optimal range for the vegetative stage is:
- Temperature – 70°-85°F/20°-30°C &
- Humidity – 40%-60% RH
- You can go as high as 70% during the early seedling stage
The ideal range for the flowering stage is:
- Temperature – 65°-80°F/18°-26°C
- Humidity – 40-50% RH
- In late flower – 25-40% RH.
These ranges are especially important during flower. If the temperature gets too high, it can burn off terpenes which result in less flavour and aroma in your buds. You can keep those temperatures down with extra fans if necessary. If you keep your humidity low during flower, it also reduces your risks of budrot and mold forming. These are all good reasons to keep a consistent grow environment.
4. Don’t Rush Harvest (Be Patient!)
One of the most common mistakes a first time grower makes is not waiting long enough to harvest their plants. I know it gets exciting when the buds start packing on but it’s in your best interest to be patient. Plants can add up to 25% of their final weight in the last few weeks before harvest. If you harvest before then, you’re robbing yourself of that extra 25%. A little patience goes a long way in this case. Don’t feel like if you let it go, you’ll miss your window of opportunity for the best potency. You have about a 2-3 week window to harvest at the “right time”. This tip alone is one of the biggest ways to increase yields.
Control Over Your High
You can control the type of buzz you get by timing your harvest according to your needs. If you prefer more of a body buzz, you’ll definitely want to wait for about 10-20% amber trichomes to get the CBN that’s required to give a nice, relaxing body buzz. In contrast, if you like a more “heady” buzz, then you’ll want to aim for only about 5% amber trichomes. The best method to harvesting at the right time is using a jeweler’s loupe or digital microscope. You use them to view the trichomes on your plants to identify how ripe they are at any given time.
They look like little mushroom like growths coming off the leaves and buds. They can look clear (like glass), cloudy (more plastic looking or opaque) or amber (dark/red/amber). Usually during the proper harvest window, you will see different percentages of all types. For example, you might see 5% clear, 85% cloudy and about 10% amber trichomes. You have to guesstimate the percentage when looking at the trichomes.