Hello green world. Welcome on board Cannabis.es to start another journey through this sea that fascinates us.
Today is workbook number three. We will start our crops with the most advanced techniques, which we will master in time, achieving the best possible results.
As I explained before, and as you saw in the last article, we are starting two crops at the same time. Same varieties, using Xtrasun lighting systems by Hydrofarm 600W HPS: one with a silver colored reflective screen (PET) and another one with a white one. The two indoor tents are the same, Homebox 100x100x200, and the ventilation systems as well. We will be using the new Vitalink Professional compost, with enough nutrients for up to 6-7weeks, and beneficial bacteria added. It is an interesting substrate that we tested here once. As you know, provided we have the time and space, we like to talk about those products that we believe can be of interest, and this substrate is one of them. We will also use Meal Frass, an organic fertilizer that is also worth talking at length, we will do so some other time.
That was July the 7th, and you probably want to see the plants already, hehe, but none of that! As they say, a good beginning makes a good ending.
The start of a crop is not the sowing of seeds or the preparation of the soil to receive them. It all begins much earlier. Sometimes three weeks earlier, if the soil has been treated with natural organic fertilizers.
We started almost three weeks ago, June the 21st. I will explain the reason:
Normally, when we buy the substrate for our plants in our favorite grow shop, the substrate has been produced recently and it’s fresh. But we cannot be sure: it could have been resting for two months or more.
Compost comes in good quality packages, and although the packs let the soil breathe, sometimes they stay for some time in the distributor’s store, piled up, crushed against one another, with not enough ventilation. Nutrients and bacteria don’t act as they should. But relax! Even if you use them right after you buy them the plants will grow perfectly, hehe. I don’t mean to scare you, that’s not my intention.
My point is we are talking here about advanced techniques, and these do make the cultivation process longer. Unfortunately, some (a few) might think. One of these techniques is the right preparation of a commercial compost to obtain the best performance, and therefore better yields. I’m going to explain the process now and you will understand better.
As I said we will be using Vitalink substrate, as provided by Hydrogarden.uk; it is a soil enriched with organic fertilizers and a very complete bacteria addition; its nutrients are slowly liberated, as slow is the bacterial life development in it. Therefore, first thing we must do is empty the compost packs and crumble the soil. Then we will fill the containers to the top, without pressing the soil. We did it on June 21st, and left it aerating for several days. On the 29th we mixed it with 250cc of perlite to loosen the soil just a bit more, then we added 25 gram of MealFrass. 25 gram is a much lower amount than the one recommended by the manufacturer. I chose that amount because I used it for its pesticide qualities. I was not looking for any addition of nutrients since the soil was already rich in them. The perlite is inert, and compensates for overfertilizing.
As an example I show you two Quasar plants from Buddha Seeds that I am testing under LED lights: on one I have used 25 gram of MealFrass and on the other one 50 gram. See how the second one, the one behind, shows overfertilizing problems. This is learning by doing. By the way, this crop uses LEDS Max Spect, from Led Ventures, and it has been a nice surprise. And of course you will see it in these pages soon.
Let’s go on. We will then water the soil, just enough to get it damp, we don’t want to drown it. Then we will set each pot in its indoor tent.
We will set mild ventilation, and after two weeks we will start with the germination of seeds.
When they do germinate, the soil will be ready to receive them. If they are feminized seeds, as is the case of our seeds, the propagation containers we’ll use should be 1,3 Liter, filled with the same substrate as the definitive containers. This way, when we transplant the seeds after the rooting and propagation, we won’t have to spend any time emptying and changing the soil.
This is even more important in the case of autoflowering seeds, because these are not transplanted. When we plant them in the substrate, it will be in optimum condition and filled with bacterial life, ready to receive the seeds and make them fulfill their potential.
Also, during rooting and propagation, the containers with the humid substrate are of great help to maintaining the high humidity levels that plants need at this stage in their lives.
But let’s get to the point: let’s describe the crops and the varieties. We have chosen 4 Greenbud BlackxBlack seeds and three CriticalxSomango by Evogrun, varieties of similar size and flowering time. The reason is obvious, you might think, well, yes and no. There are more seed banks to choose from, heheh… The reason is these are young banks that have been working hard for some years before releasing these seeds on the market. And they took their time because, especially in Greenbud’s case, they only use organic growing methods. All their cultivation processes, except for the strictly necessary feminization ones, are natural. As you know, I am a big fan of natural and organic cultivation, let’s call it ecological cultivation.
We start our crops
On July the 7th we put our seeds to germinate. We used two Petri dishes and some cleansing cotton pads. It is a cheap and safe germination method. On the one hand, it assures the traceability of seeds, each variety in its own dish, and on the other hand, it’s perfect for keeping humidity.
As evidence of this, on the 10th every seed had germinated perfectly already, and we planted them in the propagation containers we described earlier on. Once we had done that we set the four plants in the white reflective homebox, and left them two nights rooting in the dark, because I wanted them to stretch a bit. The possible weakness of the seedlings can be solved using some Medussa Protect plant tutors, so that we don’t have to chop the inferior branches. This method allows us to watch how the plants develop in a natural way, without having to prune the plants at all. After those two nights the plants entered a cycle of 18 light hours and 8 of darkness, under a cold, low consumption grow light, 250W, Agrolite, for two weeks. They germinated and rooted slowly. Watch here the pictures for July 19th.
Once the 2 weeks are over, we placed 4 Black and 3 CriticalxSomango in each box, where they were kept under the same light period for two more weeks, until August 2nd, when we transplanted them to the definitive 10.8 Liter container and left them to grow for another week.
It’s a lot of work, some of you might think, but we are using an advanced growing technique, and as I said it takes longer than the traditional one. I leave the plants growing for 5 weeks before I step to flowering. All the extra time it takes, we will get it back when we reap. You can try that out here, first hand, if the gods allow it and provided there are no setbacks.
Let’s keep going. The humidity and temperature settings are the ones fit for each growing phase and I am not going to bore you with them. I have explained those before.
August 12th, as you can see in this photograph, we started the flowering period, setting the light and darkness hours to 12 and 12, and here’s where we are leaving the crops now. We’ll get back to them on the next workbook. Don’t miss it, you will see how the plants look.
Before we go there’s another subject I want to discuss:
From the moment we put the seeds in germination they should be identified: under the batch number first, and under an individual number once they take root.
We could use labels, but things can go wrong then. For instance, we could get the labels mixed during transplant. And then the tracking would be affected. If all plants are the same variety then it is no big deal, but if, as is our case, we’re growing two different varieties, we would spoil the tracking and, hehehe… we would make a fool of ourselves.
I don’t intend to sound preachy, but there are many ways to ensure a correct traceability. Mine is infallible: as you can see in the pictures, I use Petri dishes to place each seed in a different one. Then I water the cotton pad, I close the dish and, using a permanent marker, I write down name and date: it’s difficult to get them mixed then.
When I place them in containers to root and propagate, I mark the name and number in each container I use. Later on, as you can see in the photographs, when I transplant said plant to the definitive container I also write down the name on it. You couldn’t ask for better tracking. The only way this system could fail would be to mix the names on purpose, and that is not happening!
Well, my dear friends, I hope I haven’t bored you too much, and I hope what I wrote here was of your liking, and I especially hope it was useful to you, that’s what I am all about.
Time to say goodbye, I might see you down on Expogrow Irún this weekend…
If I don’t, see you soon! #Bestofsmokes from my cove, and a bong of #Syrup to your health.