How to Determine Yield Expectations
How to Determine Yield Expectations
We are all experts on the past. Looking back, I’ve won the lottery a million times – it’s just next week’s that keeps on eluding me. Likewise, when using grow tents or stealth grow boxes to grow indoors, we could try and second guess our yield expectations. Well, maybe you might get lucky. But then again, chances are that you won’t.
The bottom line is that we all want the most harvest possible from our crops.
What can be done to best determine indoor growing yield expectations, especially when there are so many variables to consider
So, let’s try and make things a little more user-friendly with some basic pointers for improving indoor growing yield.
It’s all in the genes:
Ultimately, the biggest factor in determining your yield is going to be the genetic make-up (or strain) of your plants.
Making an investment in a high-yield strain is the most effective tactic at your disposal.
Researching this will help you get a better idea as to yield expectation. If you are a beginner, you have to start somewhere and your knowledge in this regard will grow and grow along with your plants. If you’re more established, you’ll kind of know this already but keep in mind that the science behind this is evolving all the time.
That said, there are a variety of other factors for you to utilise that can help boost your yield. Such as…
Let there be light:
This is a biggie.
Indoor plants love to bask in light. They can’t get to the sun, so it’s up to you as a grower to oblige them with a light source conducive to their growth.
Think of light as being another source of food for your plants – but a super-food source at that. Remember photosynthesis from your high school biology days? Quick refresher – it’s how your growing plants turn the light they receive into the energy they need to grow.
This is the biggest external boost that a grower can give to their plants. It takes a bit of tinkering with, but it really does pay to get this right.
Generally speaking, the more intense the light, the more your plants and their buds will grow, offering you bigger yields. Buds hidden behind leaves don’t do nearly as well as those in direct light.
This is especially true for young cannabis plants in their vegetative (early) state – they need light intensity to prevent them from stretching up to a less intense light source (they reach up for the light thinking it to be the sun.) And if your plants stretch early on, you risk the light that they receive becoming less and less effective – which ultimately stunts your yield.
Higher light intensity also encourages more generous bud production in your plants. Again, better yield.
However, you can, of course, have too much of a good thing. Make sure that grow lights are not too close or over-powering for your plants because that can actually damage them with light burn. Especially be mindful if you are using more powerful / intense LED lighting.
A note on nutrients:
Your plants will need nutrients to grow and produce a good yield. That’s without question.
That said, don’t go nutrient-crazy for your plants. That’s because the primary source of energy for your plants is actually light. Nutrients are good, but they play more of a supporting role in your plant growth. Different strains will need different levels of nutrients and that will come with experience.
Like lighting though, this can be overdone if you’re not careful and result in counter-productive “nutrient burn” – not good.
As your growing plants begin to put all their efforts into bud production, they will start to shed some leaves. This can be mistaken as a nutrient shortfall by some growers (it’s not), so in the vital closing stages, they up nutrient levels which runs the risk of nutrient burn and stunted bud development.
Therefore, during those final few weeks, keep nutrient levels at modest levels. While some foliage will be lost, the buds will thank you for it and expand in size and offer you more of the good stuff.
We need some space:
How you use the indoor growing space that you have at your disposal for your plants is also another important factor in determining yield.
Buying your grow tent, for example, is one thing:
What you then do with that space is another. Keep in mind, this is a cost-effective (that’s to say free) tool at your disposal.
Your plants will grow better if they are as close to the same height with each other as possible and also are in relatively close proximity to one another.
Pro-tip: to make your plants grow wide and flat (yay!) as opposed to tall and slender (not so yay!), try a “manipulation” technique called “Low Stress Training” (LST).
LST involves bending a plant (carefully so as to avoid snapping) so that it grows in such a way as improve yield through having a wider, not higher, canopy of foliage. By doing so, you allow for the plants to have greater exposure to their grow light source, helping them to have better yield results. The plants need to be very young when doing this as it is then that they will offer you the flexibility to manipulate.
Alternatively, implement a net or screen to direct the growth of your plants in a more lateral and less vertical fashion. You have to make that (small) investment and also be a little interventionist by giving your plants a helping hand in their growth direction until they become accustomed to the screen or net.
And for the ever more adventurous, try “manifolding.” This is a neat growers trick in which the main stem of the (young) plant is split evenly in two. By doing so, this allows the plant to move away from its natural focus of putting its energy into just the one main stem. Instead, your plants will branch out after being manifolded and that results in more bud sites being created.
The Goldilocks Rule of Temperature:
Keeping the temperature of your plants in the Goldilocks zone, not too hot and not too cool, is crucial. Falling short of this runs the risk of jeopardizing both the growth of your plants and that their buds will be reluctant to fatten up and restrict our yield.
Likewise, if a grow-lamp is too close to a plant, you will soon know as the exposed leaves will start to wilt and turn brown in colour.
For example, if your temperatures are too high, particularly in the later flowering stage of your plant growth, the potency of buds can be compromised. Conversely, by keeping a watchful eye on the temperature, you can add to the potency of your buds when harvest time comes.
Harvest Timing is…Key:
Remember as a kid when you tried to open your presents before Christmas? Kind of spoiled the whole thing, right? Likewise, with your home-grown harvest, you need to wait until the time is right.
Basically, the golden rule is that you need to let your buds ripen fully. The last two or three weeks of that is critical. Jump the gun and harvest too soon and the yield of your buds can be significantly diminished.
If you let the buds ripen as they should in those critical two to three weeks, the yield benefits can be considerable, by in some cases up to 20% more.
Final word or two:
Every indoor grower’s bottom line is to see how much return they can get on their yield. Over time, with practice and refining your methods, this can always be improved.
So, no need for that crystal ball after all when it comes to indoor growing.