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Class 207: Grow At Home with SmokeeeJ and Drogado del Gato, Pt. 6


We are approaching the end of the line, but hopefully we can still change some minds about cultivating cannabis at home! We have had an exciting few weeks, and with the April Holiday passing, I’m looking forward to smoking what we’re growing. It has been a stressful time dealing with this old house, which has some expensive plumbing issues. I was made to move our veg area from the half bathroom to a full sized bathroom in a different part of the house to keep our grow going forward. A great many thanks and congratulations to @Smokeeej for his successful harvest and results with his Wonka Bars, as well as Sour Lemons. We jumped into our grow and we last left off which was putting our plants into the tent and starting our first few weeks. We saw our pistils erupt on our Blood Diamond and Ace of Spades, Our Nightfire did the same but surprised us with a few pollen sacks confirming hermaphroditism so we removed it from the tent to complete the flower cycle outdoors. The hope is to isolate it, and let it self pollinate to give us seeds that have a high chance of being feminized.

Watching our cannabis, we see the formation of our fruit, the colas have started to form and will hopefully grow together by harvest. We are using Beastie Bloomz for our Week 5 and beyond bloom, of our buds. The 0-50-30 ratio of NPK cuts our nitrogen while keeping our phosphorus and potassium levels high. Approach with caution when using these high levels of any nutrient as you can quickly and easily burn your plants. I started at a ¼ teaspoon in Week 5 per gallon of water and worked up to 1 teaspoon per gallon within a week to acclimate the plants while watching for any initial burn. I also dropped my light down to about 15 inches, and I’ll admit I was being overly cautious. I found the response to be amazing from my plants which took to the nutrients and light with enthusiasm. The results were healthy fruit formation, which I supplemented using the CopperKelp into week 8 from Agromar Solutions. Often in flowers the appearance of yellow or white tips in leaves could mean a copper deficiency that could prevent the uptake of phosphorus as well as potassium. The result of which could affect the overall yield of your harvest because the plant can’t uptake the high amounts of those nutrients that are being fed. The other fear besides nutrient lockout is stunting the plant or production of important growth such as the trichomes that cover the cannabis plant.

Flower Power

The power found in our flower lies in the Trichomes that form on the plant which contain the THC and THC-A as well as forming other important cannabinoids. The formation of trichomes is important because it indicates a plant is healthy and growing properly. The trichomes on cannabis plants also serve other purposes such as deterring insects or protection against strong winds and UV damage. The “frost” or crystals you hear talked about when viewing a flowering cannabis plant are these trichomes which have distinct stages of growth. The trichomes start as thin clear hairs only visible with a magnifier or jewelers loupe. Eventually the tops of these hairs begin to mushroom at the head while standing. The trichomes then begin to age, which is measured by color of the trichomes from clear, to cloudy(milky), to finally turning amber. Finally the trichomes start to break down and the heads will fall as they continue to darken in amber shades. Another indicator to watch is the pistils that are on your bud site, which will turn from long, straight, and white, to a bent orange wisp as the plant matures.

The importance in ripening these trichomes is what we’ll need to pay attention to in order to achieve our desired result. As the trichomes change color, you could affect the eventual effects felt when smoking your flower. Harvesting too early or too late could easily be seen as a mistake but a sweet spot exists where you have a choice of early, mid, or late harvest depending on the trichome descriptors as discussed above. If harvest falls at a certain stage of trichome development, different effects in the trichomes have been found as a result. If the trichomes are mostly clear at the head at harvest, a more heady cerebral high happens. The amber color that trichomes end with at harvest will result in a strong body high; finally harvest when the heads are mostly milky with a little amber will result in a hybrid mix of cerebral and body. Watching your trichomes in these stages and deciding when to flush based upon the timing of the development will determine the experience.

That said, when is the right time to start flush and harvest when our Trichomes are just right? The answer will vary upon the nutrient schedule, plant development, and life cycle. My advice is to always research your strains and keep a calendar that will make the timing of flush and harvest more exact. My plants were most around >65 days which meant I started watching my trichomes at day 50 to know exactly when to start my flush which should be 7-14 days before harvest. I prefer a full 14 day flush to make sure I maximize the nutrients stored, because that is the function of our “flush”. I will do my full 14 day flush, then I will begin my drying and curing of the cannabis. We will cover our harvest and curing in the June issue of Cannabis Cactus where we will also have the final results of our first grow cycle.

Outdoor vs. Indoor

A common question throughout this series has been, how does cannabis do under the Arizona sun? The answer is the same as almost anywhere with sun like Arizona, fantastic, under the condition that your timing is right. My Nightfire OG had flipped hermaphrodite a few weeks into the flower cycle. My options were to cull it, or keep it, which I decided to do. I put Nightfire outside to flower a few days after the Spring Equinox, and it continued its flower cycle to some excellent result. Nightfire experienced an extra boost in height that required me to do some late training which has paid off. My Nightfire began to get sun at every bud site including most of the lower branches; The budsites formed with a good amount of fruit which matured into several top cola-like buds all over the plant. The indoor plants did see similar growth but not as fast or as efficiently as the plant under the sun.

I mentioned timing because as summer descends upon the valley, growing outdoors will become more of a challenge. There are some reading who live in the upper regions of Arizona which have fairly decent temperatures year round, who can utilize the sun more easily than those in the city. There are growers who have the experience and skill to grow through the summer. I hope to learn from those more experienced or perhaps I will someday get the opportunity to try my hand at it as well. The point being, the heat will be brutal and summer is not the easiest option to grow under in the city. The heat and sun will also play a part in the development of your trichomes which you will need to monitor closely as temperatures rise above 84F as they will mature more rapidly. This could result in flushing then harvesting your plants earlier. This was not the case for Nightfire OG which has had phenomenal growth and will finish around the 10 week mark for harvest. As with any outdoor plant in bloom, it will be crucial to watch for rot, insects, or illness in your plants.

Sick Plants Bro

Sorry, I meant to write it as, Sick Plants! Bro?.. Which is what your gromies will say if you ever get too comfortable with your confidence, which is some of the best advice I have for anyone starting to grow. The appearance of common conditions can happen at any time, and the result could be a devastating case of bud rot or root rot. Sickness has several different identifying features like discoloration, atrophy, or lack of growth. Fungal problems can also creep up on an environment that is neglected and wreak major havoc..The common problems can sometimes escape an untrained eye, while more difficult to identify problems are just as common. An example might be something that we are only seeing in commercial hemp and cannabis farms as we are able to study the plant. A condition that can be spread genetically, is tough to identify in vegatative growth, and manifests itself as well as becoming contagious at flower befell one of my mother plants.

A genetic condition known to few called Witches Broom, had developed in some of the flowering clones I gave to others. The results were varied from stunted, difficult growth, to a visible developmental issue in the bud structure. The bud sites will often not develop completely leaving exposed stems in your buds with Witches Broom. The easily spotted symptoms in flower did not catch my attention in veg because the only symptom would have been some slightly wilted crumpled leaves which I was only able to spot after searching the entire Blood Diamond mother. This issue was carried from seed, and was not identified until the late stages of flowering. In the end, I had decided to cull the Blood Diamond mother as well as any clones I had passed along. If you identify an issue with your plants, be sure to contact others with your genetics to save them from whatever issue you encountered. I decided to treat my Ace of Spades mother to an entire Vivosun 2×4 tent where she has been thriving.

Meet my Mother

The Ace of Spades mother plant has been growing and thriving while giving a non-stop source of clones. I had written about her care and how to maintain it in a previous issue but there was a publishing error that resulted in a paragraph being duplicated instead. So, let’s take the time now to go over how we maintained our mother plant since it was last in our veg room. I made the transition to using Fox Farms Tiger Bloom to maintain my mother plants with its lower nitrogen levels. The higher phosphorus and potassium levels also regulate how much the mother plant grows. I am also using a half cup of Tea Co. living culture per gallon of water once a week. In between the nutrient feedings and cultures I am also using my NPKelp from Agromar Solutions as well as the CopperKelp to reduce shock when I take clones.

The moving of the mother into its own tent has also had an impact on the overall happiness of the plant. The Vivosun tent was an inexpensive but quality purchase that allowed me to give the mother a place to expand. The assembly was simple and the materials were better than expected. I was able to mount a few of the Barrina LEDs and use the clip Hurricane fan as an exhaust. The removable covers for the vents made maximizing air flow simple and easy. After closing the ports, and closing the tent zippers I have no light leaks in or out. I keep it on a photocycle identical to my veg area which is 18 hours light with 6 hours of dark. The combination of the Vivosun tent along with the other accessories have made for a perfect environment for our mother plant with a temperature in 70’s and humidity in the 40’s daily. I have my routine tuned in, and my Ace of Spades plant continues to thrive and provide amazing clones when I need them for myself or others.

The Next Episode

We will conclude class 207 with our final stages of harvest, drying, and curing of our cannabis. I am looking at converting a closet into a drying closet for my finished cannabis, as well as purchasing some mason jars to cure our cannabis in. We will cover these processes and give a final breakdown of our first grow cycle. We also continue to collect new genetics to #fillthetent on our next cycle, some of the new strains include Grandaddy Confidential and Strawberries & Cream from @plantaddictsnursery_pan who I would recommend if you need clones. These will join our other clones from the last episode with more coming in our next episode. What are some strains you want to see grown in future series, and would you want more outdoor content? We will discuss as we continue our education on home cultivation. Remember to join our public forum on the Cannabis Cactus app to discuss cultivation with the community, and we should check in with @smokeeej and grow! 

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.

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