Many a debate has raged between the proponents of longer and growing larger vs. the proponents of fast, small growth in lines with the renowned sea of green or screen of green. These debates are unlikely to be settled anytime soon, because there are legitimate pros and cons to both approaches to growing your cannabis. What method will work best for you will ultimately depend on your circumstances and your desires / expectations of your cannabis grow. If you’re interested in the fastest turn-around possible, then growing a large number of cannabis plants for a shorter period of time will probably appeal the most to you.
If you aren’t in a rush, though, taking your time to grow fewer plants for a longer time can be very rewarding as well. You might also be faced with growing larger and longer if you’re growing marijuana outdoors where you can’t control the seasons and must wait for nature to take its course.
Let’s talk yield. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking for a faster harvest then you’ll want to focus on growing more plants for a shorter period of time. This will allow you to maximize the amount of harvesting you do, even though the amount of bud per plant will typically be fairly low (you won’t be harvesting an ounce cola off one of these little plants). A well-managed SOG or SCROG, using established mother plants and clones as starters to ensure a continuous cycle of plants (thus continuous harvesting, i.e. a harvest every month) can yield much more bud in the short-term.
By contrast, growing your plants larger and longer gives you more time to work with them, and you can take them fully through the end stages of their maturity. When you’re growing cannabis, it can be easy to forget that it is a plant and has a natural growth cycle, especially when you’re antsy to harvest those buds that are so inviting.
But when you let cannabis mature fully, waiting until the fan leaves have started to yellow and curl as they begin to naturally die off, you can get a deliciously aromatic, resinous mature bud. These mature buds are tight, hard nuggets that are bursting with resin and mature flavonoids, but you have to be patient to reap these rewards.
As with any grow, when you try to estimate the yield of your crop, you’ll ultimately have to consider a lot of factors in addition to whether you want to grow small and fast or large and long. Equally important, if not even moreso, will be the genetics of your strain, your choice of lights, growing medium, nutrients, and your individual skill level as a grower.