Keeping a grow calendar or a diary is one of the most crucial tricks of the trade for saavy farmers. A properly setup calendar and diary system will allow you keep track of growth trends, stay prompt on feedings, waterings, and pest/parasite treatments, as well as provide a simple way to keep track of where you are in your cycle. We’ll discuss the three main aspects of this here… planning, execution, and review.
When you begin a grow calendar, there are several important dates you’ll want to note on the calendar immediately. Start by identifying the day you will trigger flowering followed by the day you should anticipate harvest for your strain. This will usually be 8-10 weeks or so.
Next, go ahead and write out a basic feeding schedule. It’s important to not be overly specific, as you’ll just be crossing stuff out later. Be general but thorough… the word “neem” written every 4 days for the first 4 weeks is a good idea as a reminder. For liquid nutrient feedings that will occur daily/weekly, pick a regular day of the week and mark it with an F or something similar. Remember also to indicate any changes in feeding that will occur that week. For instance, in week 1, you might mention “8oz nit 4oz phos”, and then in week 2 you might indicate it’s time to change to “7oz nit, 5 oz phos.” These values are simply used here for example. You might be indicating much more complicated or even simpler nutrient specifications.
Lastly, if you have more periodic applications, such as a top dress, sulfur burning, or other things, note those as well. For instance, around week 3 or 4, you might note an “S” for sulfur on every day of the week for seven days. If you are applying Growilla Bud Food or another top dress product, you will want to indicate that on the calendar when necessary as well. Finishing moves like switching to pure water, adding molasses or your favorite sugar source, and using a flushing agent should be noted 2-3 weeks before your harvest date as a reminder as well. Any other important parts of your program or regiment not mentioned here should be indicated as well. Remember that keeping track of everything that you do to your plants is the point.
The goal of the planning stage is to create a script that you can literally just run though and execute in order to complete a successful grow.
It is very important to execute on your calendar accurately. If you are using a growing method you have used regularly, then it is even more important. For new growing methods, flexibility and constant review and calendar updating may be required as you feel out your new method. The important thing is keeping track while executing. If you neem on a neem day, cross it off to indicate it was done. If you change your feeding ratio and then feed, again, cross that off to indicate it was finished. This is important because we all get busy and forget things… if you see a problem developing, you can look back at your calendar, and determine which things you didn’t cross off to eliminate or pinpoint problem causes. This only works however if you are diligent about keeping your calendar current with respect to what you have and haven’t done. Lastly, make sure you let your plants be the authority. Most known methods if calendared properly will work according to the timeline. But things happen… cold spells slow uptake, hot spells speed uptake, and climate can influence humidity and pest/parasite levels as well, so it’s important to know when to adjust, delay, or altogether skip a task on the calendar… and it’s equally important to note that you skipped it and why. This gets into our next topic, using your calendar to review your progress and keep a diary.
Now this is the part where the green thumb really develops. Keep careful notes of your plant’s reactions, climate information about your room and water (temp, humidity, ph, nutrient strength, etc) on a given week, and any changes you’ve made to the schedule to address sudden problems or concerns. This is invaluable for troubleshooting problems. It also creates a roadmap for how to possibly adjust your planning phase next time. Often times careful review will lead to changes in the immediate schedule, requiring you to do some new planning on the fly and then execute on that. Be judicious though, many problems are only exacerbated by well-intended over-reactions. Instead, use your calendar to review and identify what you may have missed, correct one problem at a time, and watch and review your results.
The Bigger Picture
This calendar system is important for keeping track, on a day-to-day basis, of individual growing cycles. There is a bigger picture, however, which is the yearly calendar, and when you want to start/stop growing cycles. We here at Roots & Harmony like using the lunar calendar for determining these dates. Using the moon as a natural guide for when to begin and end growing cycles has been a popular practice amonst farmers around the world for thousands of years. For more information on the lunar calendar, pick up the latest Roots & Harmony Medical Calendar or click here to review our entry on lunar growing.
So that’s about it… the essence of the grow calendar. Hit us with questions or comments… let us know what you do, and how you do it, to keep track of a successful grow!