My intention was to use last summer's outdoor soil in the tent. I knew this came with some potential hazards like powdery mildew (which I definitely had last summer) but I wanted to experiment anyway. So I mixed up the already very rich soil (actual bagged organic soil, very little potting soil was added last year) with 6 TBSP each of Nature's Pride Veg & Bloom top dress that I purchased from Kootenay Biological Soils per 3 gallon felt pot I would be p
lanting in. I was confident that using denser growing soil would have enough air flow with felt pots that the roots wouldn't get water logged. (It's not the same as potting soil).
Then I broadcast a handful of clover seeds over the top of the soil once I'd put it in the pot, sprinkled a thin layer of soil on top and kept moist. About 3 days later it started to sprout. The point of this is that clover is a nitrogen fixer meaning it contributes nitrogen, one of the three essential (macro) nutrients necessary for the plant's vegetative growth.
One day I noticed a fruit fly in the tent, then five, then twenty. No one wants bugs in their tent, but it didin't seem like they were causing any tissue damage on the plants so I didn't take
quick precautions. My mentor stopped in to see the progress on the grow and pointed it out, so I did something about it. Went out and purchased some Fox Farm and some Pro-Mix Organic potting soils to replace the outdoor-turned-indoor soil (that had already sprouted clover dammit) which already came loaded with nutrients so I did not add anymore amendments and also re-broadcast some clover seeds. I discovered that the flies actually came from the juice carton I cut up to use as the first pot after the peat.
Although I rinsed the juice out of the carton before I used it, there was obviously some residual sugars left and those little bastards can come out of nowhere. Even in January. Once I got rid of that carton I set up some little apple cider vinegar pots and the flies were gone in a couple days.
From there it was time to plant the Cannabis plants into their forever home. 3 gallon pots aren't big but this is my first run so I will adjust if necessary on future grows. This is always so exciting, watching how fast and big everything will start to grow!
After a week in the pots they were ready to for their first topping. Topping is the practice of cutting off the top of a plant to encourage the whole plant to bush out more. It encourages new growth and confuses the plant about which branch is the top, doesn't know which way is up I reckon. When you do your first top you'll want to take it off after the 4th node. Wait until the new cutting will be big enough to make a clone out of! You can do it earlier if you want, but why waste a good thing? Cloning can be tricky, but here's what I do and it seems to work, check out this slideshow below:
1. Cut above the 4th node
2. A sharp knife is preferable over scissors
3. Cut at a 45 degree angle
4. Place cutting immediately in de-chlorinated water, soak for 20-30 min
5. Dip cutting in rooting hormone
6. Stick in prepared peat pod
7. Trim leaves to reduce transpiration and allow plant to focus on building roots
8. Keep misted with water, this is a great way for it to uptake water until roots start
9. Keep peat pods wet but gradually decrease amount of water in tray.
10. Roots should emerge from peat in about 1-2 weeks.
Since topping the plants make them all confused, now is a good time to start Low Stress Training or LST. This is basically bonsai for weed, you gently pull branches out and tie them to the pot. NOT THE GROUND. This allows more light to get into the dark parts of the plant creating more opportunity for photosynthesis, and confuses the plant further as to which branch is the cola (top branch, best weed) so it makes LOTS of colas. It doesn't cause stress to the plant and doesn't hinder the growth cycle. This is good. I wouldn't use this exact method if I had a field of weed, but this small grow tent is easy to manage.
I also started my first compost tea brew at this time. What a fun process! I can't wait to put the set up in the garage though, it's too cold now but as soon as it's warm enough that loud pump is going out of the house lol. But it's a lot of fun to learn.
That's it for this update, but first I want to say thank you for following my journey; this is an exciting time for our family and we're so happy to share it with you.
ICYMI we have a goal to start our own outdoor, natural, biodynamic Cannabis farm in the South Okanagan/Similkameen. Our region is well positioned to have a thriving and successful Craft Cannabis industry that rivals the world-renowned wine industry and we plan to make that vision come to life.
To help us raise $$ to make these dreams happen we have started an online casual clothing & accessories line. Every sale of a hat or hoodie helps fund our ventures, if you'd like to check it out for yourself head to our Etsy page here.