Growing Multiple Strains Together
Some cannabis seed growers, once they have gained some experience, frequently look to expand their operations. One way of doing so involves cultivating different marijuana strains in a shared space. Although this seems overwhelming at first, planning and preparation ensure the process goes smoothly from start to finish.
Farmers must consider several factors when growing different strains of cannabis. This includes the space in which the marijuana grows, lighting requirements, nutritional needs of the various strains, ventilation, and the pruning techniques you plan to employ. For this reason, most growers focus on one strain, as this allows for an even canopy, simultaneous harvests, and consistent nutritional needs.
However, diversity remains a goal of many passionate growers. Although growing only one strain takes less time and effort, smoking the same strain repeatedly becomes boring and commonplace. The natural step to changing this is for a weed seed grower to expand his or her selection and possibly choose to do so in a shared space. What are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?
The following information applies to those who choose to grow marijuana indoors, as outdoor grow spaces typically don’t have the same constraints. In addition, the information doesn’t take into consideration the smell, taste, or effects of any specific strain. Rather, it looks at the growth and flowering traits.
Planning Remains Crucial
Growers choosing to focus on one strain of cannabis find they must plan the grow area in a custom way. This ensures the plants receive adequate light, ventilation, and more. The planning process increases in importance when multiple strains share the same space. In fact, the success of the crop depends heavily on this preparation. With the proper planning, growers find they can cultivate different strains with ease and feel like a true connoisseur while doing so.
First, the grower determines how many plants will fit into the designated grow area without concerns about overcrowding. Consider both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the space to increase the available growing area.
Calculate the available space before purchasing any seeds. A grower might choose to grow different Indica seeds in the area or invest in a few hybrid seeds to join in sharing the space. In terms of difficulty, combining pure Indicas and pure Sativas in the same grow space presents the most challenges. The growth characteristics differ significantly between the two, leading experts to recommend avoiding this combination for those with limited experience. Those new to cultivating different strains in the grow space need to stick to strain hybrids with similar growth patterns, ones that provide different flavors, aroma, and effects.
Growers want more information on the benefits of growing different strains in the same space. This information helps guide their decision as to whether this growing method will work for their needs. The following are some of the many benefits of growing different cannabis strains together.
Marijuana users appreciate variety. Smoking the same strain constantly gets old. By growing multiple strains simultaneously, users gain access to a variety of cultivars and can choose a strain based on their needs at any given moment. For instance, a user might choose a particular strain today (i.e. blue dream seeds) based on the effects it provides and tomorrow select another (five alive) for the scent and flavor. By cultivating different strains, doing so becomes effortless. With so many varieties offered today, users find the options are now endless when it comes to their cannabis hobby.
Additionally, growers often plant strains for recreational use and medicinal use. Everyone needs medical care at one time or another, even if it is nothing more than something that helps resolve a headache. Growing different strains ensures the farmer has everything on hand when one of these situations arises. Different strains help when a person wants to be alert and creative in the morning and then relaxed at night. Simply choose the strain that produces the desired effects at different times throughout the day.
Growing different strains simultaneously increases yields. This depends in part on the strains selected, but growers find they can make the most of the grow space by including several strains. Training the plants to create an even canopy helps to achieve this goal, as does filling out empty spots in this canopy. Plants and bud sites need an equal amount of light, and growers must ensure this is what they receive at all times for the best results. Expect slight differences, but strive for uniform light across the grow space for the optimal yield.
A Learning Experience
Growing different cannabis strains at the same time requires growers to expand their knowledge base significantly. Expect a steep learning curve whether you are growing one strain or many. The curve tends to be steeper, however, when multiple strains are being cultivated. While this means more work on the part of the grower, the results make it worthwhile in the long run.
Cultivating several strains requires flexibility on the part of the grower. Adjustments remain necessary throughout the growing process, and the grower will engage in a great deal of trial and error to find the best grow environment. Growing different cultivars allows you to learn the needs and growth traits of the various strains or strain species. Over time, growers learn what each strain likes and dislikes, how the various strains develop when blooming, and nutrient requirements during each stage of the growing process. This holds true for each strain being cultivated, and dedication to this task puts a grower on the path to becoming a master.
Take notes of the steps carried out with each strain. This becomes critical when multiple strains are being grown at the same time. The notes serve as a blueprint for future crops and also make their way into the grower’s DNA over time.
Although there are advantages to growing different cannabis strains in the same space, there are disadvantages as well. Growers need all information when determining if this growing method is appropriate for their needs. The following are some commonly cited drawbacks of growing different marijuana strains simultaneously.
Growers must expect more work when multiple cannabis strains share space. They must adjust to the different needs of each strain, which requires extensive learning on the part of the grower. This overwhelms certain growers, particularly when they try a completely new strain, such as a Sativa like super silver haze when they typically grow Indica strains. The end results justify the extra work, however, so keep this in mind and envision the options available to you at harvest.
Additional monitoring becomes critical when cultivating different strains. Each strain behaves differently, so anticipate spending more time and effort on upkeep and care. Water requirements vary and may involve watering the plants at different times. This results in multiple watering cycles, and the same holds true for nutrients. Growers end up mixing multiple solutions, one for each strain being cultivated. Plants may require training to ensure adequate light reaches them, and additional requirements might arise once the grower starts planting several strains as opposed to one.
Space and Height Concerns
Growers often find the biggest challenge comes with space and height issues. Indica strains remain short and bushy throughout their lifespan and they rarely stretch during the flowering stage. In contrast, Sativa strains grow tall and slender, often doubling or tripling in size during the flowering stage. Hybrids fall somewhere between these two extremes, and growers must accommodate all when using one grow space.
Growers rapidly see these differences when growing Indicas alongside Sativas. These distinctions become clearer as the plants enter the flowering stage. Tame the plants at this time to prevent problems from arising. For instance, if left unchecked, Sativas dwarf Indicas and starve them of light. Overcoming this involves training the bigger plants to grow more evenly. Top Sativas early in the vegetative stage to ward off issues or bend towering colas down.
Don’t focus solely on height when examining plants for potential issues. Overcrowding increases the risk of diseases such as bud rot and white powdery mildew. Furthermore, pests love crowded plants because they have plenty of places to hide as they attack the plants. Preventing these issues involves nothing more than maintaining careful spacing between the plants.
Finally, competition among plants interferes with proper development. Adequate space ensures plants won’t fight over crucial resources such as water and nutrients. A lack of space results in a lower yields and no grower wants that.
Mixed-grow settings require adjustments to the lights to ensure all plants receive the appropriate amount. Adjustable-length light leashes become of great benefit in these situations. Raise some lights so plants don’t burn and lower others to provide the maximum light-to-canopy distance for those plants that would otherwise lack the light needed to thrive.
If this type of setup isn’t possible for some reason, adjust the spacing of the plants. Move taller plants to the outer perimeter of the grow setup. Doing so ensures taller plants don’t sit directly under the lights where they may burn.
Shorter plants like sweet tooth often get dwarfed by taller strains such as purple haze. Sturdy boards serve as a handy solution to this common problem in mixed-grow settings. Place the boards on concrete blocks in the desired location and set the plant pots on the boards. Growers refer to this as a stadium grow, and it brings plants to the same height and ensures all plants receive adequate lighting.
Harvesting the crop takes more time when multiple cannabis strains grow in the same space. Most growers don’t consider this a major disadvantage, but it is helpful information. Indicas flower sooner than their Sativa counterparts, and growers find choosing your weed seeds based on the flowering time reduces their burden at harvest time. This allows for different effects without significant added work on the part of the grower.
Growers typically harvest a crop over a two-week period. Examine the trichomes to determine the readiness of the strain, as certain strains might be amber while others are still milky. Harvest them anyway, as they will provide different effects thanks to the different ripening stages.
Don’t concern yourself with flowering time. Stagger the harvesting of crops when necessary. Growers find they can clip the buds at their peak ripeness rather than in one session. Doing so requires multiple drying options, so prepare for this ahead of time. Look into multiple dry tents of varying sizes, cabinets, cartons, or a homemade solution. With advance preparation, growers find they can handle anything when harvesting their crops.
Growers making use of hydroponic systems find they encounter some unique challenges as well. Feeding parts per million differ depending on the strain and which phase the plant is currently in. Growers must accommodate for this and ensure each plant receives the nutrition necessary to survive. Account for this during the planning stage so plants don’t sustain damage as they grow. The grower knows what the plant needs and works to ensure that it is exactly what it gets.
Choosing the Strains to Grow
Consider numerous factors when growing different cannabis strains in a shared space. The strain characteristics play a role in which seeds to purchase, as every strain and plant grows differently even under the same conditions. They reach different heights and have their own flowering stretch which affects the amount of space required per plant. Growers must learn the time to harvest to ensure all plants don’t need attention at the same time.
Each plant requires equal light, and growers must ensure they can reach all plants, even those in the back. This becomes critical when plants become sick, when training the plants, or even when watering them or collecting runoff. Overcrowding likewise becomes a concern when different strains occupy the same space. Never overload the area, as doing so increases the risk of disease, pests, and decreased growth.
The Bottom Line
Growing different cannabis strains in the same space offers numerous benefits. However, certain problems remain. Account for these potential issues during the planning stage, as this helps to decrease the risks associated with choosing this option. Once you grow multiple strains together and benefit from the variety, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do so sooner. In addition, you’ll soon choose to expand more, as the positives associated with doing so greatly outweigh the negatives.