Time as a Plant Growth Influencing Factor
Time is a funny plant growth factor. Out of all the growth influencing factors, it is the one you have no control over. Time is the framework in which all other growth influencing factors operate. You cannot slow it down, you cannot speed it up. You can only try to understand the role the element of time plays in relation to all other factors.
When you get around to looking at these relationships a little more closely you will find each can be placed in one of two categories...
The Relationship of Time in General
First, there are the relationships between time and other growth influencing factors that apply generally to all growing situations. Whenever growth factors go outside their ideal range, growth slows. Whenever growth factors stray outside of acceptable ranges, plant growth stops and damage occurs.
In these cases time becomes your enemy. For example if you do not give plants light, after a certain amount of time it begins to have a negative effect. Or, if the temperature in your grow room gets too hot the plants will first wilt, than will receive tissue damage, and finally the plant will die after enough temperature and time.
Plant Specific Timeframes
Second, there are relationships that exist between certain growth influencing factors (and time) that are plant specific. These relationships change from plant to plant and are dependent on the preferences of the plant. For example, after cutting your light cycle to force fruiting, an Altaglobe radish will be ready in 26 days, but Casadia snap peas will take 89 days to produce ready fruit. Another example would be if a crop preferred a lower humidity, or preferred lower humidity during flowering.
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