Light through the seasons

Last year I planted some clones taken from my friend’s large outdoor plants. I placed them in a part of the garden that gets unobstructed sun all spring and summer and they experienced explosive growth. Midway through autumn, as the sun’s position changed, its light was blocked by a tree and the plants were in shade most of the day. Meanwhile, the part of the garden that had been obstructed in the spring was brightly lit all season. What strategy should I use this year?
Richard W,
Tinley Park, Illinois

You have several options. You can keep the plants in containers and move them around to catch the light during the entire growing season. Even large, extremely heavy containers can be moved easily if they are mounted on appropriate wheels or a dolly. As the position of the sun changes the plants can be placed to keep the light unobstructed. Before you place the container in its final position for fall harvest you can remove the bottom. If the roots have enough time they can grow right into the garden soil to obtain more water and nutrients.

Another idea is to seal the top of the container and create a big hole on the container’s side. Then turn the container on its side so the new hole is on top. The plant’s main stem is now parallel to the ground and the plant, though it may be tall, is not sticking up. The side branches will start to grow vertically and if they have enough time, will actually grow their own side branches.

Another idea is to place the plants in the shaded area in the spring. The plants will not grow as tall or vigorously as they had when they had full sun early in the season. Later in the summer, when they are in full sunlight the plants will have a burst of growth and then produce flowers prodigiously.

If blackout curtains are an option you can have two harvests. Grow plants vegetatively indoors under lights for several months. Then place them outdoors in the sun and darken them for 12 hours a day using blackout curtains to force flowering. At the same time place plants in the spring shaded area. The forced plants will flower and ripen 60-70 days after forcing, before the sunlight is obstructed. Then the plants in the other section will flower under full sun.

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