Shelf Growing

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Shelf Growing

Post by Weedguru Higher » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:35 pm

Shelf Growing

Shelf gardening with fluorescents is cost effective introduction to the art of growing marijuana, since the materials are so inexpensive and easy to obtain. Fluorescent lamps are great for shelf gardening marijuana plants up until they are ready to flower.

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Fluorescent lamps should not be used when flowering marijuana plants because the finished product will be inferior to that grown in natural sunlight or HID lighting (high pressure sodium and metal halide especially). However, if you are short of funds but would still like to learn how to grow marijuana, you can use fluorescent lighting through all stages of growth.

In this system, many shelves can be placed, one above the other, and fluorescent lamps are used on each shelf. Some shelves have 24 hour lighting, some have 12 hour lighting (for flowering). Two areas are best, perhaps with one other devoted to cloning and germination of seed.

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Shelf gardening assumes your going to keep all plants 3 feet or shorter at maturity, so all shelves are 3-4 feet apart. Less light is necessary when you have plants that are this short and forced to mature early.

One drawback to a shelf garden like this is that it is very time consuming to adjust the lamp height every day, and it is harder to take a vacation for even a week with no tending of the garden. This applies mostly to the vegetative stage, when plants are growing as much as an inch per day. Lamps on the flowering shelves are not adjusted nearly as often.

Normally, the lamps should be kept within 3-5 inches of the tops of the plants, with the plants arranged such that they get progressively taller as the end of the lamps go up, so that all plants are within this 3-5 inch range.

This is ideal however, and if you do go on vacation, adjust the lamps so that your sure the plants will not be able to grow up to the lamps within that length of time.

If enough fluorescents are used to completely saturate the shelf with light, the spacing issue will not create spindly plants. They will grow a little slower if the lamps are not very close to them.

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An alternative is to use fluorescent lamps for cloning, germination and early seedling growth on the top shelf of a closet, then switch over to high pressure sodium (hps) for heavy vegetative growth and/or flowering in the main closet area.

Position the hps such that it won't need adjustment, at the top most possible point in the closet or room. When used for flowering only, most hps installations will not require much lamp height adjustment.

Just attach the lamp to the underside of shelf or ceiling as high as possible, and if you want to get a few plants closer to it, put them on a temporary shelf, box or table to get them closer to the lamp.

A shelf is all that is necessary with this type of setup, preferably at least 18 inches wide, up to about 24 inches maximum. This area must be painted a very bright white, or covered with aluminum foil, dull side out to reflect light back to the plants (dull side out prevents hot-spots and diffuses light better).

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Paint the shelf white too. Or, use aluminized mylar, a space blanket, or any silvery surface material. Do not use mirrors, as the glass absorbs light.

Hang fluorescent fixtures from chains and make sure you can adjust them with hooks or some other type of mechanism so they can be kept as close to the plants as possible at all times (3-5 inches).

If the lamps are too far from the plants, the plants could grow long, spindly stems trying to reach the lamp, and will not produce as much bud at maturity.

This is due to inter node length being much longer. This is the length of stem between each set of leaves. If it is shorter, there can be more inter nodes, thus more branches, thus a plant that provides more buds in less space at harvest time.

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Shelf gardening is sometimes referred to as sea of green, because many plants are grown close together, creating a green canopy of tops that are grown and matured quickly, and the next crop is started and growing concurrently in a separate area of continuous light.

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