The Vegetative Stage of
the Plant Life Cycle

A digital timer is the most reliable and most common way to control the photo period. Control over the photo period is critical as you go into the flowering stage

The vegetative stage in nature occurs when plants receive 13 or more hours of light per day. This number varies a little from plant to plant (genetics) and from one situation to the next. Indoors, the standard vegetative light cycle is anywhere from 18 hours of light per day to 24 hours of light per day (with no dark period at all). Digital timers are the best way to control the light cycle in my opinion, and are absolutely required once you get into the flowering stage.

The vegetative stage of plant growth requires plenty of Nitrogen and Potassium, necessary to grow healthy leaves and stems

In the vegetative state, plants rush to grow leaves and stems that will feed and support the fruits of the flowering stage. To do this, plants in the vegetative stage require more Nitrogen and Potassium in their plant food. For lighting tips on growing plants vegetatively, see fluorescent lighting tips and also metal halide lighting tips.

Vegetative Feeding Tips

Clones with fresh roots, feed 500ppm. Young veg plants, feed 700-900ppm depending on the light intensity. Flowering plants, feed 900-1500+ppm based on light, maturity, and genetics

The strength of your nutrient solution depends on the plant varieties you are growing, the maturity of your plants, and also the intensity of the light(s) you are using. Plants generally require stronger and stronger nutrient solutions as they mature and begin to flower. Plants grown under a 600 watt Metal Halide grow light will generally require a stronger nutrient solution than the same plants grown under fluorescent grow lights. You should ALWAYS use a TDS meter or an EC meter to check the strength of your nutrient solution before feeding it to your plants.

I highly recommend starting with a quality, three part hydroponic nutrient like B.C. Nutrients

I often tell beginning gardeners to start with a quality, three part hydroponic nutrient their first time around, and for their first grow I usually recommend they use ONLY the three part nutrients and NO additional supplements.

An affordable, seaweed based fertilizer. On a small scale, you can use this in place of a three part hydroponic nutrient

Maxsea 16-16-16 is an affordable fertilizer option made from a base of seaweed...which means you will also be getting some plant hormones with the fertilizer. It can be used both in a hydroponic system, and also feed plants grown in soil. I add to this 1/4 tsp/gallon Epsom salts (because Maxsea contains very little Magnesium).

B1 constantly drives cell division, which means faster plant growth! It helps with resin and essential oil production, and is very useful getting clones to root

Once you are comfortable with basic fertilization, there are a few supplements that I highly recommend. I add Thrive Alive B1 to every drop of water I use, start to finish, at a rate of 10ml/gallon.

For the vegetative stage of growth, as soon as clones have roots I begin feeding with a nutrient strength of about 400-500 ppm under approximately 25 watts/sq.ft. of light. I tend to increase the nutrient strength 100ppm each week, but young veg plants will likely suffer if you begin giving them more than 700ppm without also increasing the light intensity. By increasing the light intensity and the nutrient solution strength to flowering levels, your plants will transition more easily into flowering.

Seaweed based supplements contain 72 micro-nutrients, as well as plant hormones. It is one of the supplements that I recommend from start to finish

I would also recommend using 10 ml/gallon Maxicrop liquid seaweed with your fertilizer. Seaweed supplements contain a complete compliment of trace nutrients, and also have some plant hormones. If you are using seaweed-based Maxsea as your primary fertilizer, this is not necessary. When your plants are big enough, you can cut the light cycle to 12 hours on/12 hours off to force flowering and begin the flowering stage.

Leave the vegetative stage page and
Return to the Plant Life Cycle page

Learn how to force flowering

Learn how to grow Hydro
How to properly maintain your nutrient solution

Dirt Cheap organic and hydroponic gardening supplies

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 20 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people.

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 20 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol).

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Make a year's worth of compost in one week!

What is colloidal humus?

Make the world's best compost

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 20 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients.

High Efficiency

One final solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants is concerned. Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle, you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system!


Click Here to learn more!

This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

Produce garnden vegetables AND fish together. Eliminate fertilizer costs!

Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

High Efficiency
Soil Gardening

This is where my advice ends for people growing in water. But some of you out there are in love with soil gardening and organic gardening, and rightly so! It's a pro-human activity. It is pro-conservation. It is pro-life. It nurtures and promotes life at all levels, from the micro-organisms to beneficial insects, to healthy humans. It's natural. it's spiritual. Gardening is written deeply into our DNA, like how you feel watching a bonfire or sitting by the ocean or next to a river.

My friend John at Food4Wealth has more than 20 years experience organic gardening, so he reminds me a lot of myself. He knows organic gardening like I know hydroponic gardening, and over the years he has learned just about every trick there is to organic gardening. He knows what makes the plants grow, and he knows how to do it with as little effort as humanly possible. His garden never needs digging, naturally repels pests, has no weeds, always produces more than his family is able to eat, produces vegetables everyday all year round, and....only requires 8 HOURS of light, easy effort PER YEAR!

Low effort organic gardening!

Years and years of experience and results can't be argued with....the Food4Wealth gardening strategy is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work....specifically for organic gardeners who love soil gardening. THIS is the most efficient and productive way to do organic gardening, period! And combined with the ability to make a years' worth of colloidal humus compost in just one week (see World's Best Compost), this overall organic soil gardening strategy is just unstoppable- foolproof, low cost, and low effort!

Learn about high yield organic gardening

If you've found this site helpful at all, I would really appreciate it

[?] 60 reasons to quit smoking weed

[?] bonus video