The goal of growing short bushy marijuana plants is one that appeals to a lot of growers. Obviously, for those choosing to grow indoors there is the issue of space first and foremost. The telltale sign of a noob grower are long and spindly plants that are stretching towards the light which is way too far away. This is an easy fix. Just get the light as close to the plants as possible. CFLs such as the envirolight ( available in the sidebar ) are fabulous for vegging plants. They generate very little heat, and use a fraction of the energy of Metal Halide bulbs. If you’re lucky enough to have a metal halide, then your issue is going to be one of ventilation ( more energy usage ) . I know from talking to growers that nobody believes me, but these bulky CFL bulbs are becoming competitive with their traditional MH counterparts. I’d suggest getting one which is at least 250 watts though (which uses the equivalent of 60w) . Check out microgrowery on reddit for loads of awesome pics of small lamps which end up making some huge buds.
So to reiterate. Keep your lights as close to the plants as possible.
The next issue involves the type of plant you want to grow. Sativas tend to be lankier, while indicas are shorter and bushier. So if head space is really an issue, then get an indica dominant strain.
Topping, or “cropping” your weed plant is another way to ensure you maximise the space of a small grow room. A decade ago I didn’t see many people recommending cropping a plant more than once. And now it’s commonplace. I have no idea what changed, but regardless. Become aware of how to top your plant. You can do it safely up to three times on a plant which will result in a total of 6 main tops instead of one.
By topping your plants your forcing them to grow wider. A simple method which you can use now to maximize the width of your closet or grow room is to begin to bend these stalks down. This can be done as simply as taking some string, tying it around a branch and pulling it down flat before taping it to the side of your pot or container. All those nodes on the side of the branch will grow upwards and become a bigger bud with a bit of training. The video below is a bit goofy but it gets the point across. Don’t tape down your leaves, just tie some string around the plant and pull it down. It’s also referred to as Low Stress Training.
This can be taken to the extreme by using a SCROG (Screen of Green) method where one plant is trained for maximum yield. It involves placing a screen which the plant will grow through, and then pull it down flat as it grows. This enables a strong foundation on which the plant can grow and also opens up tons of new budding sites. Utilize a SCROG technique to ensure you use all the width in your grow space. A SCROG setup is actually much simpler than it seems. Remember to use the corners of your grow space for support. This will save you a lot of time and enery. Just nail the small “legs” into the corners of your grow space then lay some smaller pieces on top to make the square. A staple gun helps fix the net in place. There’s no need to build a huge constuction for this. I’ve also seen other people build the supports for these out of PVC pipe. Whatever floats your boat. Just give your plants around 5 to 6 inches to grow between your soil (grow medium) and where the net begins.
If you’re feeling confident enough you can then use a technique called supercropping. This is a tactic where you will bend the top of your plant and break the celluose with your fingers which causes the plant to almost break (I have cracked a few in the past which sucks). This will cause the plant to go into recovery mode and strengthen the lines which bring the bud nutrients and water. As it heals, it becomes stronger. It’s basically like weight training for plants. You stress them, give them rest and nutrients, and their muscles (buds) will grow. However, BE CAREFUL! Don’t go too crazy with the super cropping. I’d suggest to only supercrop a few tops. It’s hard on the plants so just take this into consideration. They are resilient, yes, but you can go too far just like you can with running or weight lifting.
Extend your veg and let those babies snake around your closet. By extending the vegetative period you’ll allow more nodes to develop which will make tops later. You can veg a plant for quite a while but I’d say the max should be 45 days.
Once your out of veg (that means you switch the light cycle to 12 hours light/dark or if you have automatic seeds they’ll just flower automatically) you’re going to want to switch to a High Power Sodium bulb. I know, CFLs are awesome, but when a plant starts flowering it’s going to start a growth spurt vertically. Ensuring that you’ve got a ton of light at this point will keep your plants squatting down low, and make them dense and bushy.
Keep your nutrients in check, and make sure they don’t get too hot/cold and you’ll see that your tiny closet can produce some enourmous buds!