Grow Journal - March 2020 - #3
By gosh it's been some time since my last post.
The plants are now at the end of week 6 in flower which means they will be ready for harvest at the beginning of April. I flipped the light cycle over to a 12 hour on/off period each day once they had been in
vegetation for 8 weeks and this triggered the plants to start producing flower. I learned a neat trick from my grow mentor that when your cut clones have rooted you can select one from each plant and enter it into a flowering cycle to ensure it is female. Because each clone is an exact genetic replica of the "mother" plant, when you put it into a flowering light cycle it will develop either pollen sacs (male) or flower (female). If you discover any male plants you will want to remove and destroy them immediately. They will pollinate your tent and make your buds full of seeds which is not ideal unless you are a breeder.
Anyway, the girls have been motoring along in flower, beefing up lots each week and throwing out trichomes like glitter on the dancefloor. They shot up in height during the first few weeks but have stopped growing so fast vertically to focus on growing the flowers. They still haven't grown as tall as I thought they would, so I will be using a larger size grow bag (5-7 gal) in the future.
I had/have my first encounter with fungus gnats. They first appeared in mid February so I purchased some sticky traps from my local garden centre, place 3 in each pot, and then cut strips of cardboard which I layered in diatamaceous earth and set on top of the soil for the bugs to crawl through. This is a non-toxic bug management product that is totally natural and safe for use around kids and pets. This clay material dries out the exoskeleton of undesirable creepy crawlies in and around the house and causes the population to die off.
This method worked great, all cleared up in a few days.
But the bastards came back. With vengeance. They gathered their little gnat troops and decided to have a party in my tent. So back to the garden centre I go, this time trying out a new brand that is much easier to peel but less effective in trapping the bugs.
Today was a beautiful, warm, sunny day (one of the first of the year) so we decided to pull EVERYTHING out of the tent and set them outside to have the wind blow the bugs off and clean out the tent. Hopefully this helps, we'll see what it's like when I open up the tent tomorrow.
I will be doing a second defoliation this sometime this week. The first round was close to week 3 of flower, once I could see all the bud sites so I didn't disturb their growth. I took off all of the big lower fan leaves so the plant can focus more of it's energy on growing the buds instead of the big leaves at the bottom that don't necessarily get a lot of light. That's why it's a good idea to defoliate early enough to get maximum energy sent to the buds, but still late enough that you don't ruin any bud sites you might have. It feels awkward and unnatural but it's good to get used to it. You'll see after your first harvest which branches should have been cut back during the veg cycle also. But remember, you can always keep leaves on the plant you can't put them back once they are picked so don't go crazy on defoliation if you are learning.
I'm counting down the days until my first harvest, this is absolutely a labour of love and very much looking forward to the finished product.
But as one cycle closes another begins, the outdoor season is in the preparation stage right now. I've ordered the seeds for my Victory Garden, started fencing off and animal proofing the garden area, and will be amending the soil soon. It's become very apparent to me that the need to rely on the local food chain is more important than it has been in a long time. The amount of money our family will save this year by not buying produce and weed will be substantial. I ordered seeds from West Coast Seeds if you're curious. I'd rather purchase seeds from the local community but we're on quarantine so we have to order everything online. Unfortunately our local supply store doesn't have online sales so I had to go to the next best thing.
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.