Are companies just trying to sell their product with exaggerated ripeness dates or am I just a picky grower with a perfection complex?
Vancouver Island, British Colombia
Just as vendors of any product, including straight seed catalogs, marijuana seed companies present their products in the best light. Their estimates of time to maturity are the earliest that a plant might mature. The companies are not dishonest. They are really saying this is the earliest a plant might ripen.
Aside from CO2, there are several factors that affect time to maturity.
These include the fertilizer and nutrients being used, the intensity of light the plants receive, temperature and lighting regimen.
As you have mentioned, CO2 enrichment shortens time to maturity. This is the result of an increased rate of photosynthesis that creates more tissue building blocks faster.
The ingredients in fertilizers affect the growth rate of plants. Some fertilizers spur growth rates because the ingredients are more available to the plants or contain more nutrients useful to the plants while keeping the EC of the solution low so the plants have an easier time drawing them into the roots.
The more light intensity the plants receive, the faster they grow. Plants growing under a more intense light grow more tissue faster. The growth rate is increased and time to maturity is shortened.
Temperature affects the growth rate. Lower temperature slows metabolism so the growth rate slows down. Too high a temperature speeds up metabolism so that much of the fuel and tissue building blocks that the plant produces using photosynthesis are used to maintain a higher rate of metabolism.
The daily duration of light affects maturity. When plants are given 10 hours of light per day, they mature faster than when they receive 12 hours of light. As a result they don’t grow as large as they would have under the longer light period.
Another factor in the seed companies’ timelines is their definition of “maturity.” They consider a bud ripe as soon as it might be considered ripe. As a connoisseur, you may wish the bud to mature another five to 10 days before it reaches perfection.
Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA. You can also email Ed at [email protected], and send queries via his websites at www.ask-ed.net. All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed’s new book, Best of Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.