Not satisfied from yield of six plants

I am a patient with a medical card in Colorado. I use about an ounce of marijuana a week to ease the pain of my spinal cord injury. I am allowed to grow six plants but my yield per plant is only about an ounce so I can supply myself with only a fraction of my need. How can I grow enough marijuana to meet my needs?
James,
Walsungburg, Colorado

Colorado law limits the number of plants that you may have to six, as well as the amount of dried marijuana to two ounces.

The law does not limit the size of the plants or the amount of light that can be devoted to their growth.

If you are yielding an ounce per plant and you have six plants you are probably growing the plants under a 400-watt or 600-watt high intensity discharge lamp such as a high pressure sodium lamp.

Plants produce the food they need for growth and energy by using light to power photosynthesis. This series of photo-electro-chemical reactions produces sugar from carbon dioxide and water. So light equals growth and yield. With more light the yield increases.

The best strategy given these facts is to grow very large plants. In Oregon, another state with plant number limits, some medical patients grow large plants that are eventually placed in individual three-footsquare (3′ x 3′) containers. Each container is placed under a 1000-watt lamp. While they are growing vegetatively for about two months, they are pruned to increase major branching and to fill their allotted canopy space. Only then are the plants forced to flower.

I think the process can be sped up by growing the plants under intense light.

As they grow, spread them out. Give them more space so they can branch out.

Rather than pruning, let the plants grow multiple branches. If they are bushy and form a pin-cushion shape they should be grown to a size large enough to collectively fill the canopy of the light, approximately 12-16 square feet.

If the strain you are growing tends to be tall, the plants should be allowed to grow to about six feet in height and then placed in containers that are designed to hold the plants horizontally. There are containers that are specifically designed to allow plants to be watered easily in this position.

The horizontally placed plants are put next to each other under the lights in a 16 square foot (4’x4′) space per 1000-watt light.

The side branches will turn to the lights and grow vertically, each becoming a main stem. When these branches are 15-20 inches tall, it’s time to place the plants into flowering.

When the plants are harvested, use the regeneration method. Leave vegetation on all the branches. That way, less time will be spent on growing infrastructure during the vegetative period; the branches are there, they only have to be re-leaved before being forced to flower again.

Harvesting all the plants at once would put you over the limit of two ounces. To avoid this problem, you should space your plants’ harvest times by starting plants a month apart. When one plant is removed from the flowering room, another is placed inside to begin its flowering journey. To stay under the two-ounce limit, each plant could be harvested over a period of several weeks, as the medicine is used.

If you are making your own clones, keep one plant as a mother. About a month before a garden is to be harvested, take large branches from the mother plant for cloning. Place three or four inches of the branch in a very moist cloning material in a humid cloning room or under a large dome that conserves moisture. The clones will develop roots slowly but they will be rooted by the time the plants are harvested.

There are several drawbacks to using the methods described above. First, it requires a lot of light, much more than you would need under a more efficient system with more plants. Second, since the garden is perpetual, there is no down time to clean the garden or get rid of pests and infections. It pays to be innovative. Be very clean and careful about what you bring in to the garden and integrate cleaning and sterilizing into your routines as preventive maintenance.

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.

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