Dealing with state-mandated cultivation ordinances can be frustrating for home growers. In virtually every state that allows legal cultivation, there are laws stipulating how much cannabis an individual can grow at a given time. Some jurisdictions, for example, limit the square footage allowed in a grow, while most others keep growers “in check” by establishing plant limits.
Under these laws, growers can cultivate their cannabis with the stipulation that they must only grow a limited and defined number of plants per household. This number can vary, but typically falls between 6-12 plants per “dwelling” unit for most adult-use states (barring some medical exceptions within these areas that allow for larger quantities to be grown).
The grow laws in your state may seem strict, but home growers are left with no choice but to abide by them in order to legally produce their own herb. Fortunately, there are several ways to make the best of this situation. Here are five ways home cannabis growers can make the most of plant count limits in order to maximize production in their gardens.
1. Start With Quality Genetics
The absolute most important thing a grower can do to ensure they’re maximizing their harvests is to begin the process with proven genetics. This doesn’t mean that using bag seed (cannabis seeds found in products labeled as “sinsemilla”) won’t produce a higher yield or superior-quality harvest. However, using genetics that have been rigorously tested to produce consistently high-quality cannabis is always recommended.
Using proven genetics isn’t just recommended for seeds. Many states allow nurseries and dispensaries to distribute clones as well, which can prove to be an even better starting point for some growers because the cutting is an exact replica of a proven cultivar. Using a clone essentially guarantees a grower is getting a plant that will produce (given ideal conditions).
If your state allows for home cultivation, chances are that there will be venders in the area that can provide you with quality genetics to start with.
2. Train You Cannabis Plants
The fastest way to turn a six-plant grow operation into a behemoth harvest is to incorporate plant training. There are many ways to successfully train a cannabis plant, from low-stress principles to high-stress and beyond. Each methodology offers a unique take on topping, manicuring, and pruning, all of which are important strategies for maximizing both yield and potency from a limited number of plants.
A single cannabis plant, when trained correctly, can produce well over a pound of dried herb in a single harvest. Multiply that by six and you can begin to see how crucial it is to understand the fundamentals of training.
When incorporating these techniques into a grow, it’s important to take into consideration that various genetics will respond differently to varying conditions. Some strains prefer a certain training style over another and will produce higher yields and more potent buds. If the information on training your specific strain is not available, a bit of trial and error research may be necessary to find the best method for your plants. Rest assured that once you dial these practices in, the results will be astounding.
3. Establish a Perpetual Harvest
For the uninitiated grower, a perpetual grow is when one chooses to spread their plant harvests over a period of time by staggering the start dates of each plant (or group of plants) as opposed to starting everything all at once. By spreading start dates out over several days or weeks, this ensures you’ll get many perpetual harvests.
The benefits of a perpetual grow are multifaceted. First, a grower ensures that they aren’t suspending an entire operation every few months on account of a large harvest, allowing them to continue to grow without interruption.
Second, growers who use perpetual harvesting will always have fresh cannabis on hand. As opposed to a single harvest, which can leave a grower high and dry for long periods of time, the perpetual grower always has a new crop on deck to work with. Every few weeks a new strain finishes up as another goes into the ground, resulting in at least one plant in every stage of the grow cycle at all times.
Due to these factors, perpetual grow operations can arguably produce higher yields, a benefit to anyone wanting to make the most of plant limits.
4. Store and Trade Crops
Did you know that most states with home grow laws allow for cultivators to keep their stash on their property without having to worry about possession limits? (Before you get too excited, make sure to check up on your specific jurisdiction before jumping ahead.)
Furthermore, many states allow for trading (or gifting) of cannabis between persons up to a certain legal limit. This is a terrific loophole for home cultivators as it allows virtually limitless possibilities for storing, preserving, and trading harvests. Many states hold strict possession limits when it comes to store-bought cannabis. These limits, in many cases, do not apply to home grow harvests, allowing growers in these states to keep their crop without worrying about exceeding these legal limits.
Whether or not growers choose to harvest perpetually, this loophole ensures one can “store up” as much product as they desire. For some growers, training and perpetual harvests aren’t a viable option, but under these guidelines, a grower may only need one harvest once per year to store up enough for the interim.
Trading is another great way to diversify a stash. Although possession and gifting limits are restrictive in many areas, trading harvests can still be a great way to get your hands on some new flavors without having to break the bank. Rest assured, bartering is alive and well in the cannabis community, and there are many forums where home growers can gift and trade their bounties while fully abiding by state and local ordinances.
5. Grow Outdoors if Possible
Depending on where you live, there may be a possibility that you’ll be able to cultivate outdoors. This may not be the case in some states or counties, but after checking your local laws, if this the case you’re in luck. Cultivating indoors can still yield very impressive results from a harvest, but nothing compares in size to a sun-grown behemoth that has been trained correctly and has virtually no spatial restrictions.
For those who choose to cultivate outdoors, there are a few important considerations to take in mind. Consider proper support systems for your plants (especially if you plan to grow big!), pest mitigation, larger pots if you intend to grow above ground, and proper irrigation.
In most cases, successful outdoor grows begin with healthy transplants as opposed to direct seed sowing to give the young plant safety in the first few weeks after germination. Plants grown outdoors need to be planted in the early spring to get best results, and growers should avoid planting any other time of the year unless supplemental lighting or climate-controlled greenhouses are available.
When it comes to restrictive plant limits (under six), the best way to obtain a formidable yield outdoors is to give your root systems the room they need, the water they deserve, and the sunlight they love, while protecting them the best you can from the elements of nature.
Plant count limits do not have to be a hindrance to the home grower. If you know what you are doing and practice these tips and tricks, it’s surprising how much you can accomplish with just a few plants. Happy growing!