Howdy Skunkers! Growing potent cannabis is all good. Growing highly potent cannabis is better, no? Genetics matter tons, duh. That being said, what I am going to do here today, is share some moves that are sure to take your cannabis to the next level of resin production and potency. I have been growing weeds now for just shy of a half century—old Rev—heh heh. I know a thing or two about this subject matter, so why don’t we just dive the hell in, shall we? Away we go…
Plant Maturity Matters Huge
Growing in containers, you should always flower clones. In the ground, you should always flower seedling plants, if possible. If you are growing indoors, from seeds, you will want to be able to make clones, if you are able to. Outdoors, seedling plants have taproots (clones do not have a taproot), and the taproot makes your outdoor in the ground plants much better equipped to thrive and survive. Two reasons for clones in containers is that (1) larger yields can be had from smaller container sizes. Also, (2) because, by the time you are flowering a clone you made from a seed plant, you are sure the plant has fully matured.
Growing from seeds indoors, you will need to keep your plants (sprouts, and teenagers too) under intense lighting the whole time, so their metabolisms stay high, accelerating plant maturity. They need to be under at least 250-watt lights, intense, like HID or LED grow lights. Temps in the 80’s daytime. Under these conditions, you can initiate flowering at the 45 to 50 days above ground mark, and be really good. Likewise, outdoors in the intense sunshine and warmth, the plants will mature fully before starting to flower. Sativas, especially landrace varieties, can take extra time (like 10 days more) to reach full maturity before you would initiate flowering.
For maximum potency from your plants, they need to be FULLY mature before starting to flower. Raising your seedlings under some kind of florescent type lighting won’t cut it, and they will need to be more like 60-70 days old before starting flowering, for full potency. Clones (and clones of clones etc.) are all the same age as the original mother would be if she were still alive. Clones of your seedling plants are always at least 60 days old by the time they reach flowering size, and that’s a great thing for maximum potency. So, make clones of your favorite seedling females to flower indoors, and feel the difference.
Harvesting Plants Too Early is a Big Mistake
Especially with sativas and most sativa dominant plants, harvesting even a week too early is sometimes devastating to potency, along with terpene expressions. In a healthy happy garden, free from pest treatments and whatnot, you can gauge harvest by the state of the pistils (bud hairs). They start out all white. Then, when all of the “hairs” have withered and become darker reds, orange, pink, or whatever, then that is a good time to harvest them. Of course, full blown connoisseurs often use another method to judge when to harvest. The resin head method.
HARVESTING TOO EARLY DUE TO PESTS IS AN ALL TO COMMON EVENT, SO STAYING PEST FREE IS UBER IMPORTANT WHEN YOU’RE AFTER MAXIMUM POTENCY.
Using the resin head method to judge when to harvest is only super important (normally) when growing true landrace/cultivar/IBLs, and hybrids of these varieties. This method takes an overall look at buds on the plant—6 to 12 buds—covering the top, middle, and lower regions of the plant, using a 20x Jeweler’s Loup. You simply observe the percentages of resin heads that are either amber, or clear/cloudy. Add all the percentages together, and at about 30% to 40% amber (overall) is where I normally like to take them. Higher amber percentages deliver more body, while lower percentages of amber deliver more heady, visual, and energetic type properties.
Too Much Available Nitrogen Will Bone You
Ugh! I actually see and hear of this all the time. Growers getting worried when their flowering plants seem to be getting too yellow too early. What do they do, fairly often? They add some available nitrogen (N) in some form that has too much N, too readily available, and boom—they are boned for potency! This cannot be undone.
Cannabis plants have “modes” they operate in. Vegetative mode or flowering mode, not both. If a cannabis plant is in flowering mode it is using almost all of its energy towards making resin and flowers. If too much available N comes on the scene, the plant will switch modes, back into vegetative mode, greatly reducing its production of resin and flowers. This is a huge hit to potency—D’Oh!
Light Spectrum Matters
There are some subtleties when it comes to your lighting, with regards to potency. First of all, let me tell you that if your flowering zone(s) are not pitch-black dark and uninterrupted during their nighttime hours, you will suffer potency losses because the plants will be trying to switch into vegetative mode partially, they get super confused and stressed and often show mutant growth in later flowering. They may well still be potent, but they could be more.
Back when, peeps would always do comparisons using HPS vs. MH bulbs for flowering. The HPS (around 3,000 kelvins) would initiate flowering faster, for sure, but … when it was all said and done, overall yields were about the same. The MH (around 6,000 kelvins) flowered buds were a tad smaller in size, but were denser. The biggest difference was the potency, the potency was always higher with a good MH bulb, hands down. Optimally you should use the same spectrum and color temperature lighting throughout their whole lives if possible, like the sunshine would be—wink.
FYI—SUNLIGHT IS ABOUT 5,500 KELVINS COLOR TEMPERATURE.
Elements That Matter for Superior Resin Properties
- I would always let a sativa heirloom/cultivar/landrace types, along with F1 hybrids of them, get 60 days old indoors from sprouting, before I would start any flowering.
- Heirloom landrace types, and F1 hybrids of them often, will ripen in different patterns. From the top down, or from the bottom up, or from the outside in, or inside out. You can double harvest these types. Just take no more than a third of the plant in the first harvest (removing ripened buds), then in about 7-10 days take the rest.
- If your plants fade out too fast, the simplest fix ever is just flower in slightly larger containers—boom—done dealio almost always.
- In my experience you want a light with a spectrum as close to the sun’s as possible. You want the color temperature as close to 5,500 kelvins as possible (4,000 – 6,500 kelvins are good). You want some UV spectrum in there for sure; again, just like the sun. The UV really bumps up the potency nicely.
- Lights like Eye Blue Hortilux at 6,500 kelvins deliver superior potency, however, if you are used to HPS type bulbs, you will need to supply slightly more N, Ca, and Mg to your flowering plants than you are used to; in my experience.
Let me also add here, that in your quest for the ass kicking connoisseur herb, you may want to mess around with that harvest style using the amber resin head percentages. Peeps like their buds many different ways with respect to this aspect. I like mine around 40% amber overall, I have known many that like it up around 80% to 100% amber overall. Others I have known prefer their cannabis harvested closer to 20% amber overall. Some swear by 60%. You never know, unless you try … peace out, my green friends.
- REvski 😊
New Crossword Time Skunkers!
Here’s the new puzzle amigos. The answers are mostly all cannabis related, with some nostalgic pop culture tidbits here and there. I’m stoked you guys are digging these, it’s fun to make them.
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.