The Photoperiodism of Medical Marijuana
Thank goodness my Chow’s winter coat is in, because it was freezing this morning. The geese also seem ready to pack up and fly on their cool weather mission. The animal kingdom contains built in regulators for mating, shedding, hibernation, and much more. In the plant world, there are several in house regulators as well. One of the most fascinating plant receptors, the one which will tell your Medical Marijuana to bud out, is photoperiodism. Botanist researchers have found that it is length of darkness that influences plant growth.
The most important decision regarding cultivation of Medical Marijuana is which strain to use. Your seeds will need to be compatible with the photo period. In California, outdoor growing of Marijuana is as simplistic as, 1-2-3. Toss out some seeds during a spring rain, then periodically cultivate, and when the plants sense the summer day length waning, she’ll begin to flower. In warm weather climates, Medical Marijuana gardening is easy, and you may use Cannabis Sativa (the big plants), Cannabis Indica (the shorter, bushy plants) and finally a mixture or cross of the two, Indica/Sativa.
However, no need to fret my cool weather friends. Most seed banks can accommodate any planting climate zone. For example, in Vancouver, Canada – many growers are lyrical over the “Early Skunk” strain. Seed banks also have Marijuana varieties that “automatically” flower, regardless of photoperiod. I prefer my own seeded crop, as my strain is now indigenous to the area, including climate and photoperiod.
Light duration involves the length of exposure to light in a 24-hour period. Plants have an internal mechanism for keeping track of light exposure they receive each day. The length of days can have a direct effect on the growth of many plants. Greenhouse crops like chrysanthemums and poinsettias will begin to flower naturally in the fall when the day length is shorter. They are said to be short-day plants. These plants grow vegetatively when the days are long.
In order to produce enough vegetative growth on the plants, growers have to extend the day by artificially lighting the plants at night. Incandescent lights are turned on from 10pm – 2am. This is usually done with the aid of timers. Flower initiation, or development of the flower’s buds, begins when the days are short. If the days are naturally long, growers shorten the days by pulling a light-proof cover over the plants. The covers are pulled automatically or by hand around 5pm and removed about 8am. This shortens the day and induces flowering. If you choose to grow your Medical Marijuana indoors, you control the length of days. You’ll bring on one of two plant responses. The plants will be kept in a vegetative stage of growth or encouraged to flower.
Indoor lights are usually on for 18-20 hours, so once you cut back on your Medical Marijuana crop, the plants flower. A HPS (High Pressure Sodium) bulb is a nice addition to your indoor garden, as it emits an orange-red glow. This band of light triggers hormones in plants to increase flowering/budding. As you can see, indoors, YOU are Mother Nature! Which ever way you go have fun, and keep growing American.