What is Staggered Growing?
Establishing a proper pattern for staggered growing takes some time and practice, but with a properly managed multi-stage grow you too can reap the benefits of having a harvest every 1 – 2 months. The most popular method of establishing a staggered grow involves the use of clones.
Clones are plants that have been grown from clippings taken from a mother plant. Some growers start out with clones immediately, and as a result they can be assured of the gender and general quality of the plants they are raising. But most new growers start from seed, so you’ll need to gender your plants and then choose a mother to keep in perpetual vegetative growth for cloning.
To have staggered growing and maintain a steady harvest schedule, you’ll also need at least two grow rooms or separate grow spaces. Some of the larger grow tents that are available can accommodate two separate grow areas, but whatever the case you’ll need to ensure that you can keep the light out of your flowering area during the 12/12 flowering cycle.
One of the best ways to establish and maintain a cycle of perpetual harvesting involves keeping most of your plants in the vegetative stage. First you’ll need to decide how many plants you want to harvest at a time. If you have a limited space to grow in, try keeping 12 – 16 plants in their vegetative stage with at least 6 – 8 plants flowering.
The two grow rooms or grow spaces that you will need are referred to as your vegetative grow and your flowering grow, and they will be lit accordingly. Since vegetative and flowering growth are both based on the amount of light your plants receive, it’s quite possible for you to keep plants at multiple stages of each phase in the grow rooms together.
That means seedlings and vegetative plants from 2 weeks – 6 months can hang out together in the same room with a 16, 18 or 24 hour a day lighting schedule. Meanwhile, in your flowering room you can have girls who are just starting to flower and girls who are almost finished growing alongside one another because they both need the 12/12 lighting schedule.
With the aforementioned 12 – 18 plants in vegetative growth and 6 – 8 plants flowering, though, you’ll be able to maintain a steady harvest of 2 – 4 plants each month.
To accomplish this, simply start with 18 seedlings and raise them through their vegetative stage. When you decide they’re ready, put 6 of them into the flowering room to start with and immediately start 6 new seedlings in your vegetative grow room to replace the plants you moved. Don’t worry about your 12 remaining plants, you can keep them in the vegetative state and trim them if you want to keep them from getting too big before they move to flowering.
A month after you put your first 6 plants into the flowering room, take 6 more from your vegetative room and move them into the flowering room. Immediately replace the 6 plants you moved with 6 new seedlings; now you should have 3 stages of plants in your vegetative growth.
In another month, the first 6 plants you moved should be just about ready for harvest. The day you harvest your first batch of plants, move another 6 from the vegetative grow into the flowering grow. Once you’ve harvested your first batch, you can time your growing operations to ensure a perpetual harvesting schedule every 2, 4, 6 or 8 weeks.
Note that the quantities of plants can of course be changed and adjusted as you see fit. You could just as easily start with 9 plants, for instance, and harvest in batches of 3 at a time. Like most aspects of growing cannabis, you’ll have to do some experimentation and fine-tuning in order to decide what works best for you and your needs.