Diary of A Cannabis Grower Part 3: The Bud Awakens


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Bud Awakens


We are proud to introduce part 3 of the Diary of a Cannabis Grower, featuring Top-Shelf Grower. In this entry, we take a look at flowering, its perils, and how a little care can still result in a connoisseur level stash!

A FREEZING WINTER AND A FIRE STASH

The weather outside was and is indeed frightful this winter, but inside my cosy cannabis garden, it was so delightful. In my last dispatch from the grow tent, it was the end of vegetative growth, and I was just about to switch my photoperiod marijuana plants from an 18-hour light cycle to 12 hours for bloom.

This Afternoon as I thunderously type this current report with a view of the snow blanketed Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sweet aroma of Strawberries and Kush perfumes my apartment. I’ve just blazed a fat sample joint from the just now dry enough strawberry phenotype of the Purple Berry Kush.

Mmmm the last time O.G. Kush tasted this decadently delicious was when I once got baked and sat couchlocked in McDonald’s devouring a magical strawberry milkshake. Rather than rolling up, and because the shake made my fingers cold, I dumped a grinder full of decarboxylated O.G. Kush in and drank it instead.

Good Jesus, I wish they had a McDonalds at the foot of one of those mountains. Anyway, let’s get back to the point because I’d love to tell you the tale of how I flowered an awesome stash of Purple Berry Kush & a little Mega Power Plant. So here goes.

EARLY FLOWERING (WEEKS 1-3): SOME EARLY JITTERS & DESPERATE MEASURES

I’m not gonna lie, the bloom period started smoothly for the most part, but the Purple Berry Kush plant that I applied a FIM to had some early jitters and required a remedial topping before it settled in.

Topping a cannabis plant on day 3 of flowering is usually out of the question; however, exceptional circumstances sometimes justify desperate measures. At the very onset of the bloom cycle, literally a day or two after switching to a 12-12 schedule, one Purple Berry Kush’s surged toward the roof while the other continued bushing out to fill the horizontal grow space with creeping vertical gains. I swiftly deduced that the Mega Power Plants being almost pure Indica and especially squat had no chance of keeping pace and my hopes of maintaining an even canopy would be thwarted.

Unless something drastic was done with that Purple berry kush with massive gaps between internodes, I was in real trouble - with what I would later discover was to be the dankest phenotype in the grow tent. But I didn’t know that at day 3 of bloom, and I was worried this particular Purple Berry Kush was destined to be a stretchy spindly disappointment.

Sitting both Mega Power Plant’s atop upturned empty pots served to level out the canopy between them and the stockier topped Purple Berry Kush. As for the Kush with the FIM, I knew what had to be done, and I didn’t like it one bit. But the clock was ticking so I chopped off a bunch of just emerging new colas with a ruthless topping to achieve a level canopy amongst all four plants.

Then I applied a very late (Low Stress Training) LST to the still - thank God - bendy new top two colas just in case a couple of weeks later I found myself with a recurring runaway plant. This was a risky strategy, but it actually worked out beautiful and was the right call.

Cannabis plant growth

GETTING THE GROW READY FOR BLOOM (WEEKS 1-3)

The only trimming I really like to perform during flowering is to “lollipop” my cannabis plants. Regardless of the strain, I prefer to get the biggest buds possible and avoid leafy popcorn. During week 2, I removed the lower fluff and fan leaves blocking tops to focus the plants on producing pumped up chunky buds.

Aside from propping up the Mega Power Plant and wrestling with one of the Purple Berry Kushs, the only other headache I had during the first three weeks of flowering was what Donald Rumsfeld would probably put in the category of an “unknown known”.

The reduced heat emitted from my 600W full spectrum Dorm Grow LED made it easy to maintain optimal temperatures usually 23-26°C; unfortunately, stubbornly high humidity became another cause for concern. Even during the 12 hour light period, RH crept up to 65%. Way too high for flowering marijuana.

Fortunately, I was able to remedy this with the addition of a bunch - about 8 if I remember correctly - of cheap but very effective dehumidifiers, not the plugin kind but the €1Shop variety. You know those little plastic boxes filled with tiny white balls that look like perlite. Also turning on the heating in the room for a few hours during the dark period eventually led to a perfectly dialled in 25°C and 50% RH by the end of week 3.

MID-FLOWERING (WEEKS 4-6): A MIX OF PHENOTYPES & A MISHAP

“Pour some sugar on me” as the awesome Def Leppard song goes, and as the bloom cycle progressed all four plants began to glisten with resin. Everything was sweet throughout week 4, and right up until the very end of week 5 all was well in the cannabis garden.

I was working up the nutrients very slowly as I noticed the Mega Power Plant was very sensitive to bloom nutes and really only required a very light feeding. While the much larger Purple Berry Kushs, although definitely more vigorous, only demanded half strength at most, so they too were really preferred light to medium doses of nutes.

I’m not sure to attribute this low nutrient requirement to the strains, the LED spectrum of light, or a combination of both. Further grows will eventually solve this riddle, for now; it’s a mystery waiting to be solved.

“Stupid is as stupid does” - Forrest Gump, call me Forrest for this one because one evening, perhaps after what some might call a Xmas bender, I stumbled into the grow tent with a sandwich in one hand and a bottle of pre-mixed feed for my Mega Power Plant - or so I thought.

The steak and microwaved egg smothered in ketchup sandwich was splendid, the plant feeding less so. Negligently I administered a stronger feeding intended for the Purple Berry Kushs to the petite and very particular Mega Power Plants. Over-fertilisation, accidental or not, was my next self-inflicted hurdle to overcome.

Leaf drop and a general yellowing out was not what I needed, and it took a whole week of flushing with pure water followed by light feeds of just molasses to repair the damage. This added a week onto the flowering period and prevented a harvest after 7 weeks of bloom, which I’m certain is possible with the very fast flowering Mega Power Plant.

Moreover, I’m sure I reduced the yield from the Mega Power Plants with this mishap, but to be honest, I had long ago realised the bulk of my harvest was going to be coming from the Purple Berry Kushs, as they absolutely dwarfed the Mega Power Plants from the beginning. Both Mega power Plants reminded me of Northern Lights, but I believe only a SOG with large numbers could squeeze a decent yield from this strain.

Two distinctly different phenotypes of Purple Berry Kush guaranteed a delicious variety come harvest. One was unmistakeably O.G. Kush influenced in virtually every attribute and characteristic, most notably the pungent kerosene aroma emanating from the neon green frosted nuggs.

Mega Power Plant buds

The other Purple Berry Kush was displaying what I can only describe as a double dose of Strawberry-cough influence. Sweet fruity strawberry scents and colourful buds covered in hairs and resin, of course, made for a crazy contrast of phenotypes.

LATE FLOWERING (WEEKS 7-8): ALWAYS FINISH WITH A FLUSH

By week 7 I knew I had some dank cannabis on my hands, and a frosty array of phenotypes to boot. The only nagging doubt I had was the yield. I knew the Purple Berry Kush side of the tent was going to deliver a reasonable stash of connoisseur Kush. As usual, it was the Mega Power Plant side that was bothering me.

Many a time I wandered in during those final two weeks of flowering and wondered aloud ala a bewildered Derek Zoolander “What is this? A stash for ants! It needs to be at least three times bigger than this!”

To ensure a clean, tasty smoke I always flush my cannabis plants with pure water, usually bottle water, for the final two weeks of the bloom cycle. Throughout this final phase, it’s natural for the signs of senescence to emerge, as not only are you flushing out residual nutrients but as leaves yellow and buds swell the chlorophyll must also be depleted.

Harvesting buds too green can ruin the flavour, but by day 56 the buds of every plant was sparkling with trichomes - and a mix of milky white and amber ripe trichomes I might add. Again, I’m left with another puzzle regarding the fast flowering nature of these strains. Was it nature alone or the LED light spectrum, once again further research must be conducted.

Bud quality was absolutely top-shelf across the board, and manicuring was easy as both the Purple Berry Kushs and Mega Power Plants produced fat nuggets with swollen calyxes that ooze sticky resin. I was extra careful to keep handling of buds to a minimum.

DRYING & CURING: MORE UNCONVENTIONAL METHODS/MADNESS & A BOLD PROMISE

To dry the buds, I got a little creative this time and bought some wooden sushi boards that make excellent marijuana drying racks - that can snugly fit inside of a wardrobe. I put another dehumidifier inside along with three additional paper bags I filled with smaller nuggs.

Cannabis Buds drying

After two weeks slowing drying at 20°C and 45% RH, I have finally gotten a chance to dip into this primo stash. I’ve snagged a few nuggets from each strain to smoke while I leave the rest to cure for a further 2-4 weeks in glass Kilner jars to unlock maximum potency and flavour.

At the end of the day, the yield was OK overall, with a grand total of 202g of icy-looking highly potent and flavoursome marijuana. Both Mega Power Plants were just too petite to produce. Points must also be deducted for the absence of purple colours with the Purple Berry Kushs, but at least I’ve got a delicious 
Strawberry Kush stash.

Mega Power Plant Drying

The exact breakdown and smoke reports will have to wait for the next episode. In the meantime I’m performing extensive taste testing on about 20g (5g from each plant), resisting the urge to blaze up the bulk until it’s perfectly cured, and conjuring a few ideas on converting this sticky stash into connoisseur extracts.

There’s some funky Strawberry Kush concentrates coming up in the part 4 finale, that’s a promise. Until next time dear readers I hope my ramblings have been at least mildly entertaining. Say la vie the Kush has crept up on me, next stop Dreamland ...

 

         
  Top-Shelf Grower  

Written by: Top-Shelf Grower
Veteran cannabis cultivator originally from Dublin, Ireland and currently on the loose in southern Spain. 100% committed to Top-Shelf reporting until captured or killed.

 
 
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