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How To Get To Harvest As Fast As Possible! (Viewed 1279 times)
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How To Get To Harvest As Fast As Possible!
Reply #4 Posted on March 20, 2015

Dear Fellow Grower,

In today's issue...

  • How does a grower get to harvest as fast as they possibly can? How can you shorten the time until you have bud in your hands? Find out below!
  • We get asked by many people if our site is in book form. Unfortunately it isn't, but I would consider this eBook is the next best thing!
  • Catch of glimpse of some tasty looking frosty bud from a humble grower honing her skills!

Nebula Haze & Sirius Fourside (founders of

"The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be."
 ~ Bruce Lee
How To Get To Harvest
As Fast As Possible!
​by Nebula Haze
"I need to harvest as soon as possible. What's the fastest growth method? What can I do to speed up the time to harvest?"
Many of our readers write in to ask about speeding up the time to harvest.
So, how long does it actually take to grow marijuana? 
Short Answer: From Day 1 of your marijuana plant's life to a smokable harvest, you are looking at a window ranging between 3 and 7+ months!
Many factors will affect the total time, but the average grow takes 3-4 months. 
Long Answer: These factors have the greatest impact on total time to harvest: 
  • Plant strain - strain has the largest impact on growing time.
  • Desired yields - do you want to grow a few grams, a few ounces, or a few pounds?
  • Growing method - differing grow methods/setups can add or subtract a few weeks or even months!
7 Tactics To Get To Harvest As Quickly As Possible
Faster is not always better, but there are ways that you can speed up the time from seedling to harvest without sacrificing quality, potency or yields.
So today I'd like to share a short guide on how you can reduce the time to harvest, and how you can reduce the amount of time you actually spend tending your plants, and still get outstanding results.
If you're serious about getting yields as quickly as possible, then these tactics will get you there the right way! Let's get to it!
1.) Choose Hydroponics Over Soil 
You can get faster vegetative growth with almost all hydroponic methods compared to what can be achieved with soil. That means that you could speed up time til harvest by using Deep Water Culture (DWC), Coco coir/perlite, or pretty much any non-soil growing medium. During the flowering stage, this isn't as important, but this can shave weeks off your vegetative stage time (get straight to growing buds sooner!)
In my experience, top-fed Deep Water Culture hydroponics (also called 'bubbleponics') has given me the quickest growth of any hydroponics system I've tried. 
2.) Choose A Quick-Finishing Strain of Marijuana
As you probably know, the life cycle for all marijuana plants is separated into two parts: the vegetative stage and the flowering stage. 
The vegetative stage can be shortened by getting the plant to grow faster when she's young. Yet the length of the flowering stage (the time between when flowers first start forming and when the plant is ready to harvest) is pretty much strain-specific. 
That means that once you've started flowering a specific strain, there isn't a whole lot of good options to speed things up before the plant is ready for harvest.
Note: There are special light schedules, that involve lowering the amount of light each day in the flowering stage, which can sometimes get harvest to come a little quicker. For example a 10-14 schedule (10 hours light, 14 hours dark each day) during the flowering stage may get plants ready to harvest a week or two sooner for some strains, but lowering the amount of light each day combined with harvesting sooner really hurts your yields.
Many Indica hybrids (such as AK-48 and Northern Lights) naturally have very short flowering periods of only 7-9 weeks, which is a shorter flowering time than most other strains.
Hazes and Sativas often take much longer. For example a Haze strain can take 3-4 months in the flowering stage before being ready to harvest. 
Every different strain has pros and cons, but if time is a factor for you, pay close attention to the length of the flowering stage when deciding which strain to grow. The majority of seed banks list the length of the flowering period as part of their stats for each strain.
Some strains are 'auto-flowering' and go through their whole life cycle regardless of light cycle or anything you can control. These strains tend to be ready to harvest in only 2-3 months from seed (though you should definitely expect smaller plants with relatively small yields when choosing an auto-flowering strain). 
Auto-flowering strains of marijuana contain higher levels of CBD, a cannabinoid which has been associated with many medical benefits. So they may be the perfect choice for a medical marijuana user who needs to harvest quickly.
3.) Give Plants More Hours of Light per Day During the Vegetative Stage
As long as you give your plants 14+ hours of light a day, they will stay in the vegetative stage. But if you give the plant more light than that, they have more time in the day to grow!
Some growers believe it's healthier to give marijuana plants 18 hours of light a day max, with a 6 hour dark period during the vegetative stage.
In my personal experiments, I haven't noticed any difference between giving plants 18 hours of light a day and 24 hours of light a day during the vegetative stage in regards plant health and vibrancy.
Regardless of which is best for plant health, it's a proven fact that marijuana plants given a full 24 hours of light a day will grow faster during the vegetative stage. 
Therefore, if a short time to harvest is of the utmost importance to you, I recommend going with the 24 hour light period during the vegetative stage for fastest growth. Again, this won't make the plant flower any faster, but it enables you to start the flowering stage as soon as possible. Speaking of which...
4.) Initiate The Flowering Stage Sooner
You may not realize that regular (non auto-flowering) marijuana plants can be flowered directly from seed. 
When I say "flowered," what I mean is that you can change the light schedule so that it forces your young seedlings to start making buds right away.
You can get a marijuana plant to start flowering by ensuring that she gets 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night, often referred to as the 12-12 light schedule. 
This makes the plant "think" winter is coming, and she'll start making buds as soon as she's able. This means that your "flowering stage countdown" begins within about a month from the seed being planted.
So for example, Northern Lights has a flowering stage length of about 8 weeks. If you flowered a Northern Lights strain plant from seed, your buds would be ready to harvest in about 11-12 weeks.
Some growers will also flower marijuana clones as soon as they have formed roots, for basically the same effect, though clones tend to start flowering faster than a plant put directly on a 12-12 schedule from seed.
That being said, flowering from seed is a very inefficient manner of growing. Plants flowered from seed don't get enough time to grow stems where buds form. 
If you want to initiate flowering early, it's better to do so after after waiting just a bit, so you grow plants that are relatively small but can produce more than a couple of grams worth of bud. A bunch of smaller plants is easy for new growers to manage, plus it gives you the option of trying different strains instead of getting of lot of one strain.
5.) Grow Indoors 
While outdoors can be more convenient and vastly cheaper for those who happen to live in a place with great growing conditions, it isn't the fastest way to grow and harvest your crop. 
Growing indoors gives you the ultimate control over how big your plants get, how long to keep them in the vegetative stage, and exactly when they start flowering amongst other things.
With a well-chosen strain and a good setup, one can harvest several ounces of buds in 2.5-3 months indoors, which is nearly impossible to do outdoors in the same timeframe. Outdoors, you plant in the spring, and must wait until late fall to harvest.
6.) Pay Attention To Your Plants and Quickly React to Problems
I know this sounds like it doesn't need to be listed, but it's a more important job than people think. Every time your plants get sick, it slows down their growth while they try to recover. Every problem your plant runs into can add days or even weeks on to your total grow time.
Simply put: fixing a problem quickly equates to shorter time to harvest.
Plus, by reacting quickly to problems, you will save yourself the stress of trying to deal with a huge problem that's gotten out of control since you've been watching out and adjusting along the way. We all know that problems tend to get much worse when left unchecked!
The more you tend to and baby your plants, the better they will grow, and the faster you will be able to harvest.
7.) Make Sure You're Feeding Plants The Right Type of Nutrients During Each Stage of Growth.
In the vegetative stage, it is important that you give your plants the right nutrients needed to get optimal growth. 
Now if you're starting with a good soil (Fox Farms Ocean Forest soil is a great choice), you may not need to supplement any nutrients at first, as the nutrients you need are already in the soil. 
If you're growing hydroponically (directly in water, or in a soil-less medium like coco coir), it is essential that you provide all the nutrients your plant needs right from the beginning.
You've probably seen 'N-P-K' numbers on the bottles of pretty much every nutrient line there is. These number are important to know since cannabis plants use more N (nitrogen) in the vegetative phase, and relatively more P (Phosphorus) in the flowering phase. Conversely, giving your plant too much N in the flowering phase will actually slow down bud production. This means that you will harvest smaller yields of less-dense buds in addition to waiting longer for said buds!
This is why you need to either mix your nutrients by hand, or choose  a nutrient system that is specifically formulated for the flowering stage of a plant like marijuana. By providing the right nutrients at the right time, you'll reduce your overall time to harvest. 
How Much Time Per Week Does It Take To Grow Cannabis?
Now that you're equipped with the information to get you to harvest as soon as possible, let's quickly address another common question we receive about time.
Growers often write in to ask us how much time it will take per week to grow a marijuana plant. We understand that many of you have busy schedules, and want to know if growing your own weed is a realistic goal for you.
The amount of time spent growing varies greatly depending on the method you use to grow, the size you let your plants get and the skill of the grower. But that doesn't mean there isn't a growing method that's conducive to spending less time plant-tending.
The truth is, you can grow weed in only 20-30 minutes a week when you use the right techniques and get used to the process of growing. The following article reveals the best way we know to grow lots of potent bud while using a minimum amount of time to do so. We make this happen using a hydroponic style of growing known as Top-fed DWC (aka "bubbleponics"). 
Keep in mind that this is a fairly advanced technique, and should only be attempted by intermediate-advanced growers or particularly brave newcomers.

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