Time for another “Letters” to Rev my green friends, today we will be checking out, bigger and better cannabis harvests. YaY! We all love that. Bigger for sure isn’t always better. To truly understand that statement you have to see beyond the whole commercial cropping mindset. Nothing wrong with that mindset, but it’s only one of many. Ya follow? Most of my personal exotic cannabis favorites don’t yield large, but some do.
One of the questions today we will field, is the most common problem for peeps when it comes to flowering; in my opinion. That is, adding (goosing) your plants with extra P (phosphorous) and/or K (potassium) during flowering. Boom—seriously, that’s the absolute wrong thing to do if you are using living soil. Liquid P or K in an available state/form—organic or not—is always a bad idea to use on living soil.
A lot of my advice is True Living Organics centric, so check out a copy of the book and see some serious moves when it comes to growing connoisseur quality cannabis in containers.
In the featured top photo are some of my beloved Skyanchor cannabis plants, under my favorite 420h LED lights, by NextLight LED Grow Lights. They have about 4 or 5 days left to go. I can’t wait! I love these lights. A perfect example of a cannabis variety that isn’t a huge yielder, but is a huge killer! Huge!!
Alright then earthlings, let’s rock and/or roll with today’s “Letters” to Rev…
Bigger and Better Cannabis Harvests Question #1: Caterpillars Arrg!
FROM: Barry’s Farm, Fallbrook, CA
“Howdy Rev. Here on the farm for the last two seasons now we have been devastated by Bud Rot mold, and we know the source of the problem. Caterpillars, a lot of caterpillars. We have tried picking them off, BT powder, and nothing even slows them down. Can you help us man? Looking forward to your new book amigo!”
ANSWER to Q #1
Damn dude, that’s a hella problemo right there. One I also happen to have some experience with. First of all, spiders are your bestest friends here. Specifically, the kinds of spiders that weave the orb webs. These guys stop the moths, that lay the eggs, that hatch the ‘pillars (caterpillars), that eat the buds, then move deep into the buds, and cause heavy mold to set in. Since moths fly/cruise around at night, you need a nocturnal predator here, the orb web weaving spiders are nothing short of outstanding at this job.
Short of stopping the moths in spring with orb web weaving spiders, once the caterpillars hatch, while they are very small, Hoverfly larva can really do a number on them. All you need to do to bring the hoverflies to your garden is have some Dill growing very near to your cannabis plants. Hoverflies will come in spring, and they will lay eggs on your cannabis plants. Their ravenous/carnivorous larva eat pretty much anything they can get their mouths on. Mites, aphids, tiny caterpillars… You get the idea, yeah?
Hornets/wasps, mostly all love them some caterpillars, so don’t get rid of your stinging friends. These insects get used to your non-threatening presence and will basically disregard you fairly quickly. Chickens, ducks, and geese, all love-love-love caterpillars; and, they know when to hunt them, like clockwork. They just don’t have much reach. BT products work pretty well you just have to powder up the leaves around July, to really get a good number of the ‘pillars. That plus hand removal usually mitigates them down to manageable.
Bigger and Better Cannabis Harvests Question #2: La Finite Time
FROM: Rob, La Mesa, CA
“Hello Rev. I use living soil very close to your TLO (True Living Organics) recipe and for my last three runs, everything is outstanding, until about 2 or 3 weeks before harvest date then everything goes to hell. I use minimal fertilization that is mostly just a little P (phosphorous) boost during early flowering. My water is dechlorinated and I run it at 62 to 66 PPM. At three weeks until harvest I use just the dechlorinated groundwater at 52 PPM.” I grow in containers indoors. Thank you.
ANSWER to Q #2
Hey Rob. Your water sounds great. When you say “very close to my TLO soil” that leaves a kind of large variable. However, I think I can glean your problem. Pretty sure this revolves around the P-Boost you speak of. It is very unnatural for any plant to find itself (roots) completely drenched in highly available P. In fact, is does damage to your whole soil-life web. It dives the pH value by a lot, and causes element to element chemical reactions; quickly. Chaos in micro-world baybee, literally chaos.
You’re seeing the effects of the damage now, that you caused two weeks ago. Your phosphorous should be coming in consistently, and very slowly. Using a little bone meal on the floor of your containers before doing your flowering container transplant will handle a lot of this. P and K (potassium) are both hyper-counterproductive when introduced in highly available states, and it’s always way too much of them as well. Both need to come in slow and steady. Rock phosphate (not SRP), bone meal, and crab meal all have great P that is slow and steady release.
Even while your plants are vegging give them some access to some slow and steady P. They will store some up to use in flowering when they need it. Bigger and better cannabis harvests are coming soon!
Bigger and Better Cannabis Harvests Question #3: ‘The Dimming’ Effect
FROM: Melissa, Long Beach, CA
“I have been using your methods and TLO for many years now. My indoor garden is truly awesome and that’s in large part due to you. I just wanted to ask you about something weird that just happened to me. My last harvest, 10 days until actual harvest day, my light blew out. It was a 300-watt LED and pretty old. I had to quickly replace it with an extra LED I had that was only 180-watts, same color temp.
My harvest seemed especially potent and tasty, not just by a little tiny bit, but easily noticeable. I have flowered this strain many times before this. What happened here Rev? I’m going to do this every time now. Thanks for everything you do.”
ANSWER to Q #3
High Melissa. Well, this one is easy. If you have read some of my past articles, you would see that I mention raising my lights for the last couple weeks of flowering before harvest. This is “The Dimming” which is just lessening the light intensity for the last couple weeks. Once I saw this myself, I became a big believer too. The plants really seem to me (quite obviously) to shift their mode of operation to like 99% resin and calyx/pistil production. They also start to cannabilize themselves a little faster, which is a good thing. They finish superb. Extra smelly, tasty, and potent.
More recently I have been using a dimmable 420-watt LED, the 420h by NextLight. Rather than having to raise this light up at the end, I simply utilize the dimming feature. But my pattern is a little different. Instead of lessened light for the last 10 days like when I would raise the lights, I run the lights at full power for about 6 hours a day, then back them down (dim) them to about 200-watts power for about the last half of their remaining days, I do this every day for their last 10 days. I have to say, wow! This works even better than when I would raise the lights up at the end. Cheers.
Rev’s Tips – Snails, Slugs, and ‘Pillars
If you guys outdoors get blasted with herds of snails or slugs when your plants are like teenagers, you can just wrap a little steel wool around the base of the stem loosely and this will discourage all but the most insane slugs/snails. Very effective!
Praying Mantis are excellent at wiping out a bunch of ‘pillars, if you hatch them in the garden and they stay around. Whatever it is you choose to use against ‘pillars, you need to do it before your plants form actual buds with any real volume. The caterpillars make their homes deep in the buds, pooping like mad pooping machines. This is really what sets the stage to “summon” the Botrytis (Bud Rot) mold.
Last but not least. Don’t use Dill to bring Hoverflies and a BT product on your cannabis plants, it’s one or the other, because I assume the BT may also harm the carnivorous Hoverfly larva that you very much want on your cannabis plants.
See ya all back here next week at SKUNK for another article. I hope you are all well and good. I’m just working my ass off on the new book. My girl and I have started kayaking here lately and it has been a blast. We have been several times and no dunks yet—knocking on wood. I recommend it for Covid times or anytime, huge!
I hope today’s article helped some of you out with your bigger and better cannabis harvests. Here’s another article you can check out by yours truly if ya feel so inclined: Cannabis Photoperiods – Skunk Magazine. Happy trails.
- REv 😊
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.