We are back in the grow, and checking in on the newest developments with our plants. A quick check-in and we see my Ace of Spades and Blood Diamond thriving, the Nightfire OG making big moves with Fuerte cleaning up. We are looking at the progress of these plants, and how we got to here from those sickly seedlings you last saw. This is a challenge to grow and report our successes or failures; but it is satisfying beyond belief to be able to share the growth cycle of these plants. Let’s dive into what we’re doing, and why it matters as a study of agronomy,
There have been plenty of ups and downs as read in my grow journal, but I simply observed and made corrections as I saw them. A new factor came into play as I started nutrients. I made sure that whatever I decided to use or had come to me, I would find how to use it most effectively. That said, I never wanted to overwhelm my plants with nutrients at any stage. To avoid that I usually approached any nutrient instructions at a half dose since I wouldn’t know the source of those recommendations. A real change in my focus came when I met with Agromar Solutions Owner Chris Valdez and his Agromar, Manuel Sanchez. It was over lunch that Manuel suggested that I reduce my use of the biostimulant from Agromar Solutions to once a week to prevent an issue with absorption of nutrients. I developed a need to know how my nutrients, and biostimulants interact with my plant as well as each other.
Nutrients and Cannabis Growth
Plants are fairly complex organic beings, and they live to grow into maturity as any living organism would. That said, a further understanding of how they grow and where nutrients play a role was something I felt should be discussed. So you have three distinct cycles in your plant’s life, seedling, teen, and adult. Each has its individual needs but all three will function on three big elements, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and hydrogen. Those three elements are found in the air and water used to create an environment for the plant, because this accounts for over 90% of the plant’s total structure. A majority of your remaining nutrients can be found in the soil, but if you aren’t using a soil medium you will have only nutrients. So from an early stage of veg to the end of flowering, you will have different phases of nutrient use. The big three nutrients or macronutrients, besides those needed to live, but are vital to growth are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK). Those are usually the focus of any fertilizer, organic or synthetic because those elements create new growth. The remaining important nutrients are elements like: Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Zinc, Copper and others found in trace amounts, but when deficient can be identified.
The seedling stage along with the early stages of vegatative are when you would start nutrients at maybe a half dose of whatever you have planned. For example, I would make my nutrient regiment as normal but dilute it into 5 gallons to be used over multiple feedings at a half or quarter strength. To start, the vegatative stage needs Nitrogen at high amounts, with half amounts of Phosphorus and Potassium usually being the ratio of 2:1:1. It will be important to pay attention to your pH, nutrient amounts, and ppms as you begin to feed your plants. Watching for and learning about nutrient deficiencies or sufficiencies would be great to invest in. Deciding if you want to use organic or inorganic fertilizer will also be something you should consider. When I figured my routine out, I posted it so anyone possibly watching the plants knows how I’m feeding them. Consistency with your feeding and waterings will be essential during the vegatative stage.
Kelp Root by Algas Pacific
As we proceed into flowering I will be changing up my nutrients from Fox Farms Grow Big to Fox Farms Tiger Bloom. The change will be to promote bud growth in the plant as it enters this new photo cycle. The uptake of phosphorus and potassium will double while the nitrogen amount is lowered to feed the growth at your bud sites as well as the roots, so most nutrients will change the ratio in flower to 1:2:2 of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK). Your core elements will matter most, and to promote resilience in my plants as well as flexibility I am adding General Hydroponics Armor Si, a silicate booster in small amounts throughout veg into week 3 of flower depending on my branch size and strength. The additions should always be measured, and tested before deciding to add it to your regiment permanently. Along with other core nutrient fertilizers or supplements, there are natural biostimulants that can lift the potential of your plants greatly.
Biostimulants are naturally occurring “boosters” to your plants and they have long been studied so that anyone can maximize the genetic potential of your plants. Agromar Solutions is teamed with the Cannabis Cactus, and they are bringing a kelp-derived nitrogen and root booster that does more than add nutrients to my plants. The naturally occurring enzymes have benefits to the growth of my plants. On a cellular level, my plants have more cells being formed in tighter groupings so they can better absorb light or moisture. My roots are also being maximized making the plant hearty and resistant to shock. The coolest benefit of a kelp-based booster is the production of pectin increases in the plant making it more resistant to sickness and mold, especially powdery mildew as it cannot pierce the cell walls before dying.
My other biostimulant has been the Living Liquid Culture from TeaCo which brings everything beneficial from molasses to humic acid boosting my plants. These boosters will stimulate growth while also keeping your root system healthy to absorb nutrients. SmokeeeJ also set me up with some Dynomyco, which is a mycorrhizal inoculant. This fungus lives within the plant’s root system providing a symbiotic relationship with the plant and maximizing the root growth. The growth of the roots isn’t the only benefit as Dynomyco also helps maximize the uptake of water and nutrients. I’ve added it at every transplant and recently to clones I cut, the results have been incredible as the root balls have been noticeably more dense.
The reality is each plant will have its own unique features and growth traits, so the best you can do is help however you can. Anything that is not growing naturally will be under the scrutiny of nature vs. nurture, and how it is grown will need to be examined. Sometimes, you can just see nature occur in creating a very robust plant. Looking at this lineup to the left, is nothing too impressive; but the diversity in my own garden could only be genetic when you see the difference between those and the same strains below. Identical nutrient regiments, grow conditions, and light, but the differences in canopy, growth, and strength are noticeable. You will need to look for great genetics, and train plants that struggle to find what produces best as yields matter!
I have decided to take clones of my Ace of Spades and Blood Diamond plants. I recognize their potential and to not keep these plants around to further propagate would be a major loss. I will take them on as mothers as the best mamas are raised from seeds. Keeping a plant as a Mother will require us to keep the same light cycle we have in veg, but we will change the nutrients to better suit the plant using a similar regiment to our flower nutrients. We want these plants to be resilient to shock while controlling the growth. The clones have been successfully cut, and we are moving towards flowering plants right now! A warning to the wise, about being overly confident, I damaged my Blood Diamond plant when low stress training even at this stage.
The damage can cause panic for anyone but I wanted to go over a fix to this common mistake. You will experience splits in the central stalk of the cannabis plant at some point in your cultivation career. Do not Panic, as branches will get heavy and the weight will cause stress that can lead to split naturally as well. I caught mine fresh after applying too much mustard when training, so I grabbed some plant tape and a zip tie. I brought the split back together and bandaged with the tape, then I secured the two main branches above closer together to reduce stress on the split. I then wrapped the split with a bit more tape as I would some teflon tape, then secured with a zip tie. If your split is dried, and you want to repair it. Follow the steps above but also use some organic honey or aloe vera as an ointment to promote repair. The mistakes are common, and you should not give up on your plant when issues arise.
We are going to flower, and as promised, I now have my light and tent thanks to the Sea of Green Tempe and Cannabis Cactus @editorincheef Michael Cassini. I will also be using a Gorilla 5×5 Tent, as well as a Grower’s Choice 420w LED. The setup wasn’t too difficult and I will use the remainder of February to calibrate my environment in the tent as my plants go into flower. It will be smooth sailing from here, or absolute chaos but am I ever excited. Grow with us on the Cannabis Cactus App under the Connect Tab, and let’s check in with SmokeeeJ!
See the whole cultivation series to keep reading and learning.
Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.