8 Stages of Cannabis Cultivation: Vegetative

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This Plant is a miracle and grows quickly in the vegetative stage. Even though facing criminally liable propaganda aimed at eliminating it, the Plant remained in our culture because of hidden traits, now being brought into light by legalization. It is a gift. Like the regulated industry she has built around her, the Plant changes significantly during the 8 stages of cannabis cultivation. In this 2nd part, we watch the 6” cutting plant get transplanted into vegetative life stage. Under 24 hours of light, we watch our plant gain her roots and reach for the sky. It hasn’t been easy since the smear campaign started in 1935. As early as 1850, Marijuana was used and respected for medicinal means, and even appearing in the American Pharmacopeia, denoting benefits for numerous afflictions such as neuralgia, tetanus, typhus, cholera, rabies, anthrax, leprosy, tonsillitis, dysentery, insanity, and excessive menstrual and uterine bleedings. Now in 2018, we have more knowledge about the plant than ever before. The disservice cannabis prohibition has caused is the loss of thousands of lives that could have been saved with life-saving plant medicine. At DANK, we aim to find a more compassionate plan for the future for the plant and those that find relief in it. Studies indicate plant medicine can provide pain relief and speed recovery. The plant is out-performing pharmaceuticals in certain categories. We visualize a world where hemp and cannabis are again grown by Americans for the benefit of the entire world.

“Marijuana is one of the potential alternative drugs that can provide relief from pain at a relatively lower risk of addiction and virtually no risk of overdose.”

In Colorado, we have the right, and I suggest, the responsibility to cultivate 6 plants each. Here is how we do it, you can too. The process begins as small cuttings, “clones,” are transplanted from the propagation stage into 5” mesh pots. Transplanting only the most robust clones, our experienced growers treat the adolescent with care while disposing of the unrooted clones. After transplanting, our “batch” of new plants move through the seed to sale process into the vegetative stage. The vegetative room grows cannabis batches of different ages, each batch containing 54 plants. Each batch contains cuttings made on the same day, a week difference in age than their closest relatives. Growing quickly to 8” in height, each plant is assigned an individual Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Plant Tag by METRC. Each tag identifies the strain of each plant and it’s location to the METRC system, ensuring that any activated RFID tag can be located by state inspectors. RFID tags are activated throughout the lifecycle, tracking their every step. Each time we move a room, the METRC system is updated. This system eliminates diversion from seed to sale by providing real-time inventory analysis by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) as well as our own inventory audits. The 5” mesh pots allow us to utilize a horticultural method know as “flood and drain” to fully saturate the soil medium, thereby creating ideal conditions for our young cannabis plants. As they grow and mature, their roots are active, eventually extending through the mesh pot, indicating it’s time to transplant. They are transplanted to 5-gallon pots in Royal Gold Tuper Mix, a coconut fiber and organic soil mix. Once in the larger pot, the plant puts on canopy size while continuing to receive 24 hours of light under metal halide 600 watt lamps. These lights provide a cool light spectrum and create long node spacing soon to support the heavy flower buds later in life. We feed the vegetative block with nutrient rich water by House and Gardens. With this mixture, we have achieved great results, as much as 3 pounds a light in a single harvest. Achieving success like that takes superior performance at every level, from nutrients to soil.

Temperature in our vegetative room is kept between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels less than 45%. Our old Denver building keeps us on our toes, always watching for leaks and proper maintenance of the HVAC system. We change out air filters once a week! Since air movement is essential to healthy plants, wall mounted oscillating fans are installed throughout the space. The fans keep the leaves “dancing,” strengthening the stems while warding off powdery mildew and other funguses. Best management practice: “Don’t use extension cords” says the Fire Chief Inspectors. Always plug ULI approved equipment directly into receptacles. Extension cords are prohibited except for temporary purposes. Fire inspectors visit our facility more than any other city agency, best to keep them happy.

Stoner Trivia:
How many seconds pass before Americans suffer another life lost to opiate overdose?

Ventilation and air scrubbers are installed to reduce odor by pulling interior air through carbon filters as it is pushed outside the building. Although requirements differ from seed to sale, there is minimal odor in the vegetative stage. Instead, air circulation and ventilation is key, keeping conditions dry and pest free. As air is pulled from the room, it is exits onto the roof, ensuring minimal odor spreads the adjoining business’ and homes. This air transfer creates a negative air pressure in the building while delivering a constant flow of fresh air from the intakes. As indicated in our Odor Control Plan required by Colorado law makers, we include a carbon filter in all stages of cannabis cultivation, from seed to sale.

Our batch of plants, 54 strong, is vigorously pruned at least twice during their time in the veg room. Our experienced growers remove the lower stems to focus growth to the stems that will receive the most light. Reducing crossing stems, our growers prune to create a plant that will have six to eight terminal buds, rather than the one it naturally wants to develop. * Cannabis grows swiftly, so we prune it down and trust new growth will appear quickly. After nearly 6 weeks in the vegetative room, our cannabis crop has grown to 36” in height and awaits an empty room to start the flowering process. Plants can double in size after veg, so the timing of the move is critical because 10 foot ganja plants are hard to deal with in our facility. One has to anticipate the final size of the plant, especially if ceiling height is limited. Perhaps at home, you switch to flowering at 3 weeks just to maintain control on the plant’s size. Here at Dank, we have a 14’ ceiling height, perhaps a little shorter than desirable as taller strains stretch to capacity.

Stoner Trivia
Answer: 19 seconds. Every 19 seconds, a fellow American looses their life from opiates.

The vegetative growth cycle can vary greatly. I’m sure you know, the real magic happens under 1000 watt high pressure sodium, so let’s get to it shall we. Next stop: flower production.


* Not all plants develop a dominant terminal bud. Some, like Space Queen, develop a shrub like growth pattern.