GHETTO TECH AND HIGH-TECH growing are very different indeed, and having been on both ends of that spectrum multiple times in my life, I try and help out, not forgetting about the guy that has to smash his own moose skulls to get bone meal—you rock sir! Anyways man, in today’s article I want to talk about a higher quality final product. This advice transcends your pocketbook and is just some good ol’ info from yours truly.
I have grown huge plots of outdoor cannabis, I have also filled warehouses with hydro systems and lights, and slung major herbs in my day; however, I have also been in situations like shortly after arriving here in Oregon 12+ years ago, when police busted my grow, taking a lot of my seeds, all my highly valuable clones, and all my herbs—not to mention about 25k worth of growing equipment—ouch! Let’s talk about some cool things for everyone today, rich or poor, high or low tech; let’s roll…
The Baby Carrot Methodology Outdoors
I used to grow outdoors in Southern California, after doing a few seasons in Northern California. Places like Vista, Fallbrook (Elfin Style), and Pine Valley, to name a few, in So-Cali I dearly loved. But, while in N. California we always grew some of our own special plants among the commercial outdoor plots of plants, it really wasn’t until my So-Cali move that we started using special tactics when it came to our own personal plants. It was called “The Baby Carrots” move. Now, baby carrots are much tastier because they are not as mature as the full-grown carrots, and that’s not really the case here with cannabis growing; however, it is a lack of hours of direct sunshine per day, adding dappled sunshine to at least half the daylength that gets those super elegant “baby carrot” results.
This method will reduce harvest weight by about 10% but will more than make up for it with the high quality of the final product.
At some locations we used lathing above the plants to accomplish this purpose. Other places we used that Sun Tuf style translucent patio type covering on the roofs of large outdoor growing sheds, and we got the kind that would limit the UV by 60% and they would turn out stunning—we were always able to sling this type of product for way more money, making up for the small yield difference, and then some. In other gardens it was the closer proximity to trees and their canopies providing dappled sunshine to the plants for about half the daylength. Basic rule of thumb, in very sunshine intense locations like in Southern California, you want to keep direct full sunshine down to about 6 or 8 hours, and have the rest of the day in dappled type sunshine. Alternately, with the lathing or translucent covering overhead you can have them out in direct sunshine all day.
Big huge full sunshine all day long plants can be good for sure, but those same plants using the Baby Carrots methodology would be insanely higher quality, when it comes to flavors especially, along with smells and potency—the elegance of the smoke is elevated to the max, and doing a simple side by side will show you this. It’s really simply a matter of less vegetable fiber that is generated (with gusto) under intense UV in the sunlight spectrum.
Rev’s Tip: I haven’t been a high-tech or commercial grower for a long time now, and I have no complaints, I truly love doing things all naturally and getting my hands dirty all artisan style, growing what I want. Here’s another handy tip (see below) for you outdoor guys that use indoor raised clones that go outside.
OUTDOOR DAYLIGHT CALCULATOR FOR PLACING INDOOR CLONES OUTDOORS
If you are having issues with placing clones outside, that start to flower right away—way to early—just remember a couple of things. Super old clones want to flower REALLY bad, and will trigger easily. When moving from an indoor photoperiod to outdoor daylight, you don’t want them getting less daylight time than your indoor photoperiod. BUT… You do not calculate daylight time from sunrise to sunset. You calculate daylight time for plants by taking sunrise to sunset hours, then adding 3 hours to that time. Remember the sky is significantly light well before sunup, and well after sundown.
Sulfur is the Name of the Game Regarding Smells and Flavors
Rock phosphate, banana peels, Epsom salts, bird and bat guanos, are some of the sulfur sources that are pretty readily available. If you compost and use a lot of banana peels and things like cantaloupe rinds in your compost then you are likely awesome as far as your sulfur in your soil goes. Top dressing with bird or bat guano is something I always do at the start of flowering. Using some soft rock or rock phosphate in your compost works bomber here as well. Tiny amounts of Epsom salts in your water can really make a difference if you need some sulfur—but you must be VERY CAREFUL here—because too much sulfur and/or magnesium (Epsom salt is sulfur and magnesium) can really wreck your plants. So, like 1/8th of a teaspoon of Epsom salt, per 5 gallons of water. Use this water on them starting about halfway into flowering if you aren’t getting the smells you know you should; or are seeing a sulfur issue.
A sulfur problem looks just like an iron problem, except there is no interveinal chlorosis, and the yellowing is a bit paler/whiter in color. Located on newest growth tops.
Finishing—Harvest, Dry, and Cure
I have to come back to this always as the number one reason for cannabis NOT to live up to its potential across the board regarding, smells, flavors, and potency—the finish. Make sure it is actually finished and ready to be harvested. There should be no white hairs (pistils) left, and at least 40-70% of the resin heads should be amber in color. Having light leaks during your darkness cycle in flowering can cause plants to “never finish” flowering constantly popping out a few new white pistils; also, the addition of some available nitrogen too late in flowering can similarly cause this effect. Potency takes a big hit.
Where I hang my plants to dry my temps are like 60-degree Nights, and 80-degree days. Relative humidity is between 65-45% with air exchange and air movement. When I hang whole plants, it takes about 3 weeks for them to be properly dry and ready to seal up. Your mileage may vary, but the easiest way to call when they are dry enough is to wait until the stems actually SNAP when you bend them. Sealing up buds too early has gotta be one of the most common problems I see when it comes to home grown cannabis.
Curing your cannabis really adds a final touch of elegance, along with a final little kicker to the resin properties and smoking elegance. As a rule of thumb, I usually make sure to cure buds for at least 2 weeks, unless they are some killer sativa buds; in which case I like to let them stay in jars for at least 30 days. When you first open the jars make sure they stay exposed to open air for 20 minutes or so, and “burp” them like that a few more times over the next 24 hours—this really brings all the smells into full appreciation mode.
Afterword with Rev
In today’s piece I tried to give plenty of information over a pretty broad spectrum, not forgetting all the home growers out there, especially those just starting to grow cannabis their first few times. I almost read every single email I receive, sometimes I don’t get back or it takes me a long time to get back—my apologies, I’m just one old stoned guy with Mr. Magoo tendencies—LoL—so it gets overwhelming sometimes. Thanks everyone, grab my latest TLO growing book on Amazon, it’s True Living Organics 2nd Edition by, The Rev. It’s like a “Bootcamp” for growing all naturally, and once you know stuff in the book, you will find your own path; no two grows are alike, when it comes to artisan all natural growing. It’s a special product and as your smoking/vaping savvy comes up you will really “get it” heh heh.