Space Buckets can be used to grow many kinds of plants, but they need to be trained to fit the limits of its container. Even with supersized gardens, plant training is a must, an essential tool for bucketing. Untrained plants can outgrow their buckets easily, which means a poor performance.
Plant training techniques can be divided into two main e: Low Stress Training, which includes bending, tucking and guiding the stems; and High Stress Training, which purposely stresses the plant to make it heal stronger. Because of its low stress implications, LST can be started early in the life of a plant, and it is specially useful for cannabis and hot peppers. As the plant gets older, it stem hardens, which makes the training more difficult. HST techniques can be more effective, but also pose a higher risk of failure. These methods have a drastic impact on the plant, and require a few days of healing time. They are also very recommended for bucket gardening, and sometimes inevitable.
LST The most basic form of training implies bending the stems of the plant to make it grow in a horizontal fashion. This can be achieved with hooks that wrap around the stems and into the soil. With this method, the plant grows into a bush form, creating a more even canopy, something that is very important for gardening in small spaces. It can be hard to predict the growth pattern of a plant, so every new hook needs to be strategically planted along the way.
Tucking Tucking leaves is another useful LST technique, and a good alternative to pruning. In this case, the idea is to pull leaves that are blocking important parts of the plant, like flowering tops. Instead of removing the leaf, it can be tucked behind a stem, exposing a part that needs to be emphasized. This is usually better than pruning, as it does not require healing time and allows the plant to use the nutrients stored in the leaf. In situations where tucking is impossible, a bit of prunning can be useful, but only removing a few leaves at a time.
Topping Topping is the main HST technique in a bucketeers arsenal. This method requires removing the topmost growth of the plant, which forces it to grow in a bushier kind of tree. When applied early, topping alters the canopy significantly, and limits the height of the plant. This training technique can be used multiple times, and every time it will multiply the number of branches. Because it removes unwanted parts of the plant, topping results in a cleaner, more predictable training. Even though topping is a powerful tool for plant training, it is a High Stress technique: topped plants need a few days of healing to recover. During that time, further training is not recommended. Keep in mind that not all plants react positively to topping, so research species characteristics before using this or other HST techniques.
Supercropping Supercropping is another useful tool for controlling the plants growth and training its canopy: in its simplest form, it means pinching the stem to force the plant to heal its internal structure. Once healed, this results in stronger and faster growth. The most important part of supercropping is to avoild breaking open the stem, and just crushing it. A whole branch of the plant can die if the Supercropping is excessive. Supercropping tends to be considered a controversial technique, given its high stress methods. As with topping, not all plants react positively to this kind of training. Supercropping is recommended for gardeners that already have some experience in plant growing.