Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Friday, May 18, 2007

Curing Giant Buds, Planting Tiny Plants

How do you tell when your cannabis has finished drying? When your buds become brittle, crispy, and rollable into blunts. My plant tops with five or six large buds attached have reached this stage, so I carefully cut the wires holding them on the drying line and lowered the dried cannabis onto a clean surface for processing.

Using sterilized scissors, I cut the buds off the stems (I’ve manicured the buds while the plant was still fresh—manicuring them at this stage could result in trichome destruction and loss of potency) and carefully placed the buds into my 30 large, wide-mouth candy jars for curing.

I moved my finished, larger shelf into the walk-in drying closet and placed the 30 jars, now each containing a large bud, on the shelves. I put the lids on, but knowing full well that the lids will have to be removed once a day for a two-hour period to release any built up gases in the jars that could influence the curing process.

Some buds might require turning in order to fully dry. I keep the closet fan on medium setting while the jars are open in the dark, in order to keep the air circulating around the buds. I must confess seeing 30 humungous Connoisseur buds all lined up in candy jars is a beautiful sight!

Curing involves alternate periods of “sweating” your buds and continuing to dry them. If you notice any mold developing in the jars, then you’re doing too much sweating and too little drying. Make sure that there is good air circulation while the jar tops are open.

At the same time, the next generation of sinsemilla ladies is still in its infancy. Fifteen seedlings are still in the incubator, under a plastic humidity cover, growing under fluorescent lights. When it comes time to transplant these small plants, as soon as they have four tiny leaves, in addition to the two primary, cotyledon leaves, then they can be dipped into No Shock, to alleviate transplant stress.

The tiny seedlings in one-inch rockwool cubes have tiny root hairs that you have to be very careful with, when transplanting them. The seedlings, rockwool cube and all, are placed into the grow medium of your choice for further growth and development. In my case, it’s baked clay pebbles.

I don’t place them into the buckets of my six-bucket ebb and flow system immediately. For the time being I put baked clay pebbles into six-inch pots and cluster them under my 600W High Pressure Sodium light with a blue-light conversion bulb in its socket, rather than the red-spectrum regular HPS bulb.

I use my pre-mix tank to whip up my weekly nutrient solution, using Sensi Grow A & B as my primary fert, with the supplements and additives as called for by the Advanced Nutrients Nutrient Calculator, an invaluable tool.

For instance, in week 1 of the vegetative growth of the rooted seedlings, in my 72 Liter pre-mix tank I would pour 88.7 mL each of Sensi Grow A and Sensi Grow B, along with 115.2 mL of Mother Earth Blended Organic Super Tea Grow. The latter adds that much-needed organic touch for growers, like myself, using a synthetic base fertilizer.

Consisting of Canola, Crab, Fish, and Shrimp Meal, as well as Earthworm Castings, Alfalfa Extract, Citric Acid, and Sea Kelp, Mother Earth Super Tea has an NPK of 4.8-1.8-4.3, and is designed to enhance the fragrance, taste, and the quality of your buds.

Plant scientists have confirmed that sea kelp is full of potassium and micronutrients. In addition, cytokinins, auxins, and gibberlins can also be found in seaweed. These are natural plant growth hormones that are produced by plants as a matter of course.

Plants under stress, be it temperature, drought, or light related, are unable to produce these hormones. Therefore, supplying them through a supplement containing seaweed extract is a wise course of action. Cytokinins, auxins, and gibberlins are not only involved in plant growth, but also nutrient mobilization and distribution, germination, cell division, root development, flowering and seed formation. They regulate physiological plant processes.

I’ve discussed the importance of Humic and Fulvic acid before. During week 1 I pour 72 mL of each into the pre-mix tank, followed by 288 mL of B-52, containing all the essential B vitamins to relieve plant stress.

10.8 mL of Barricade is poured in next along with 360 mL of Scorpion Juice. These very effective Advanced Nutrients products are essential to fight and prevent fungal, bacterial, and viral as well as pest infestations. Barricade fortifies the walls of your cannabis cells, while Scorpion Juice imparts induced systemic resistance to my sinsemilla ladies, enabling their immune systems to counteract any invasions, whether by microorganisms or by bugs.

360 mL of Sensi Zym adds over eighty types of bioactive enzymes to the root systems of my plants. These help clean my grow medium of plant debris and aid in the absorption of viable nutrients by the root hairs.

21.6 grams of Piranha and Tarantula are added next during week 1 of vegetative growth, along with 86.4 mL of Voodoo Juice. The first two supply beneficial fungi and bacteria to the root zones of my ladies, which keep the harmful fungi and bacteria at bay. In addition, they help the roots grow to a larger size and aid in the absorption of nutrients by the plants.

The consistency of my watering solution goes from EC 1,14 or 800 ppm during week 1 gradually up to EC 1.85 or 1300 ppm during week 7 of vegetative growth. This reflects the growth of the plants and how they need more nourishment as they get bigger, much the same way that children need more food as they grow.

I used to move my hydroponic setup from under my grow light in order to accommodate the 15 pots for the intermediate stage, but it became too much hassle. So now I place a plywood board on top of my six large buckets and put the 15 smaller pots on top of that. In this way the younger plants are closer to the light source and still accessible for watering. I attach a pump to a short hose, dip one end into my pre-mix tank and put a watering nozzle on the other end. Presto, instant irrigation—I should say fertigation, implying not just water, but food as well.

posted by Wes @ 1:11 PM

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