Harvest (harvesting) is the most anticipated and shortest stage of marijuana cultivation. By the crop, hemp growers mean cones (they are also bosses, buds, sensimiglia) – they contain the largest amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, which is used for medical purposes, and in countries where marijuana is legalized – for the purpose of “puffing the grass”. However, after a lot of work, the grower does not always get the opportunity to enjoy the result. To the great disappointment of a beginner (it is among beginners that this problem is most common), the buds are not impressive either in size or in quantity, despite the impeccable temperature regime, proper feeding, and strict adherence to watering rules.
Why do cannabis buds grow small? What causes a bad harvest? In this article, we will try to reveal the essence of the problem as much as possible, choose a stealth hydroponic grow box.
The structure of cannabis cones and inflorescences
First of all, it is necessary to understand how the cannabis inflorescences are arranged, and where is located what the grower is trying and working for. The figure shows where which part is located, and the description will give the most accurate picture of the structure of the buds.
Cola is the top of the inflorescence. Colas are divided into main (the top of the bush, located on an elongated inflorescence, also called the central cola) and stem (located on the side inflorescences, differ from the central in smaller size).
Calyx – consists of sepals, looks like a cluster of small leaves. Sepals vary in shape and size. On the calyx there are formations resembling a drop in shape. It is here that the largest number of cannabinoid-producing trichomes is concentrated.
The pistil is a white process that turns yellow as it ripens. Pistils grow from the cups of female bushes, they are necessary for capturing male pollen. These parts of the bush are of no value to growers, their function is to reproduce.
Trichomes are plant glands that produce resin. The main function of trichomes is to protect plants from unfavorable climates and pests, but it is the trichomes that have the highest value for the grower. The amount of resin produced, which crystallizes on the bud, determines the quality of the crop. Indeed, these resins contain substances, in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol, to obtain which all the works of the grower are directed.
Male and female hemp inflorescences
Like all other plants, hemp has male and female inflorescences, the function of which is reproduction. Only females are of value to the hemp grower – their inflorescences produce resins. The female inflorescences are larger than the male ones, the distinguishing feature of which is the small leaves at the base. Male inflorescences produce the pollen necessary for fertilization of female inflorescences and subsequent reproduction. There are also varieties with hermaphrodite inflorescences, pollinating independently.
The process of formation of inflorescences and cannabis cones
The first buds of marijuana appear during the transition from the growing season to the flowering stage. Autoflowering strains begin to bloom on their own when they reach genetic maturity thresholds. Varieties that enter the flowering phase depending on the length of daylight hours are called photoperiodic.
The flowering stage is divided into three stages:
- Pre-flowering – bud formation. During this period, which lasts from two to three weeks, buds are formed on the bush in the area of internodes.
- Flowering – the cessation of the growth of bushes and the active phase of the production of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the formation of resins. During this period, THC production increases.
- Ripening is the transformation of buds into buds with lots of trichomes. This period accounts for the maximum production of THC.
Why are cannabis buds small?
So, you already have an idea of how the hemp bush works and how the buds are formed. But why are these cones not always pleasing with their number and size?
The main reasons for poor maturation of cannabis cones are:
- pollination of female inflorescences or the presence of hermaphrodite inflorescences;
- unfavorable climatic conditions;
- incorrect translation to the indoor flowering stage;
- excessive moisture, including improper watering;
- improper feeding;
- the use of fertilizers at the ripening stage;
- insufficient amount of nutrients;
- return to the vegetative stage;
- misuse of lighting fixtures.
In outdoor cultivation, pests and pests living in the soil and infecting the root system can also cause poor crop quality.
It’s all about gender!
One of the most common causes of poor crop quality is the pollination of female flowers with male pollen. Pollinated inflorescences are “rearranged” in the breeding mode, therefore they give a poor harvest. To get the desired result, the grower needs to distinguish female bushes from male or hermaphrodites at an early stage and plant them so that females are not pollinated and produce more resin.
We water and feed correctly!
Remember, hemp doesn’t like excess moisture! Over-watering harms the plant and lowers the quality of the crop. It is especially important to avoid high humidity during the flowering stage, since during this period hemp bushes are most susceptible to fungal diseases and mold.
When it comes to feeding, there are different kinds of balanced supplements for the flowering stage that are sold in specialty stores. In our GrowPro online store, such dressings are presented in a wide range. The choice of fertilizers depends on the needs of the bushes. An experienced grower can determine the lack or excess of a particular substance by the condition of the leaves and inflorescences.
As for the ripening stage, during this period the bushes are watered with clean water without the addition of fertilizers and stimulants.
Light mode selection
For outdoor cultivation, this issue is not relevant, since the bushes grow in their natural environment, and factors such as daylight hours and light intensity depend solely on weather conditions. When growing in a grow box, it is extremely important to choose not only the correct light mode, which is closest to natural conditions, but also the correct lamp position. Keep in mind that lighting devices provide not only light, but also temperature. If the shrub is located too close to the lamp, it can suffer from light and temperature stress, and this, of course, will affect the quality of the crop. Do not forget to adjust the position of the lamp when the growth of the bushes increases, and also control the temperature. You can choose and buy devices for controlling the microclimate in the grow box in our GrowPro online store.
In addition, during the flowering period, it is important to ensure complete darkness in the grow box! Therefore, you should check the design in advance for the absence of cracks, and beginners should not indulge their curiosity and desire to check, armed with a flashlight, how the plants feel. A violation of the light regime can lead the bushes to return to the vegetative stage, and then you can forget about the quality of the crop.
Sometimes it happens that harvesting needs to start ahead of schedule. For example, if your plants are infested with parasites or are sick, the only way to save the crop, or at least some of it, is to harvest the buds you already have.
You also need to monitor the condition of the bosses. If they turn brown, begin to decrease in size and die off – this is a signal for immediate cutting.
How do you know if your buds are ripe enough to harvest? Peak maturity is determined using a microscope or magnifying glass. If the trichomes get cloudy, it’s time to harvest! And it is advisable to do this early in the morning – at this time of day, hemp produces the largest amount of tetrahydrocannabinol.