Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Connoisseur Harvest--Resin-Coated Humungous Buds

I learn a great deal each time my six ladies approach maturity. Last week I flushed my six-bucket ebb and flow system with Final Phase, so this week I am irrigating my plants with pure water and examining my wonderfully enlarged buds to determine the best time for the harvest.

Harvesting your crop is the ultimate high for a truly dedicated grower. As you might recall, during week 3 of bloom I switched from my regular fert, Sensi Bloom A & B to the ultra special brand new super fert, Connoisseur A & B.

Soon after the switch, a miraculous growth spurt took place. Not only did the buds begin to swell, but the stems got fatter and the leaves looked like they were bursting with nutrients. The polyamino alcohols in Connoisseur, along with all the amino chelated ingredients in this premium product, caused the cell walls of my plants to become more elastic, and thus able to hold more carbohydrates.

With the increased carbo load (enhanced by the use of Carbo Load, an Advanced Nutrients Medical product) my buds had more nutrients to support their growth, so they grew and grew and couldn’t stop growing.

I still used Bud Blood, Big Bud, and Overdrive as indicated, during week 1 for the first bloom enhancer, weeks 2, 3, & 4 for the second, and weeks 5 & 6 for the third. The extra phosphorus and potassium contained in these products combined with the gourmet fine ingredients in Connoisseur and the sky became the limit!

Midstream during bloom, I used Sweet Leaf with its natural berry sugars to enhance the taste and smell of my harvest.

Not only did the size of my buds increase tremendously, but the bouquet, aroma, and (I must confess I clipped a sample) flavor were magnified, to the point that I had to introduce ozone generation in order to hide telltale odors from my nosy neighbors.

I’m growing Indica-Sativa hybrids, but this nutrient regimen is sure to work with just about any strain.

During the fourth week of flowering, my buds started to grow glandular trichomes on stalks, the tiny rods with knobs on the end of them best seen through a 30X magnifying glass.

Due to the Connoisseur, these trichomes became denser and denser through weeks 5, 6, & 7 of flowering, until now—we’re at the end of week 8—they are so densely packed that a very high potency is promised. (Judging from the sample smoke that floored me, I’d say that was a given.)

The tallest trichomes have clear, swollen, bulbous heads, which is the sign that the buds are ready for harvesting. Also, the flowers on the buds, called calyxes, have swollen, starting from the oldest at the base of my buds, all the way to the top, where the youngest flowers are. Swollen calyxes are also a sure sign that the harvest is at hand.

In all my years of growing medicinal marijuana, I have never seen calyxes as swollen as these. Prior to the wholesale swelling of the calyxes, the pistils at the base of the buds started to turn reddish brown, and by week 6 all the pistils have become that colour.

Now you must remember that these are unfertilized, female marijuana plants, but the calyxes are so swollen you’d swear they contained seeds.

Many growers say that you must harvest at night in order to give your plants that one last day of life-giving light, so I’m following their example.

I trimmed my plants of excess leaves the day before using sterilized scissors and gloves, so now I remove only the bud-filled flowering top of the plant as a unit. Did I mention that the proliferation of buds this time is astounding? I’ve never seen so many large-sized buds on each of my plants.

I manicure the buds on each plant very carefully, which means I cut the leaves encircling the buds, but not the ones covered with resin. It is better to do this while the plant is fresh in order to minimize trichome damage. Once the plant dries, it is harder to manicure.

Each flowering top is carefully hung upside down with wooden clothes pegs on a wire stretched at the top of a dark, large, walk-in closet for drying. A fan is put into the drying room to keep the air circulating and the temperature is kept around 70º F at no more than 50% humidity.

Judging from the size of my buds, this harvest will take more than five to ten days to dry, after which comes the curing, which I will discuss next week. Drying the flowering section of the cannabis plant as a unit takes a bit longer than if I had cut each floral cluster separately.

posted by Wes @ 7:30 AM


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