Howdy one and all; I’m The Rev and I been around the cannabis growing and smoking genre for just shy of a half century now—yikes—and so I have seen and done a lot of things in those years. In my “Letters” to Rev series, I like to tackle some of the more interesting questions I get emailed and texted, and then answer them. I have heard from many of you how much you dig this series, thanks for sharing with me, my very green amigos 😊
Today we will have a look at some “special” questions that I found interesting, and that I thought might shed some light on things in your own growing world. Fasten your seat belts and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, let’s check out the first “letter” to Rev…
Problems with Deep Chunk
FROM: Mack, Drain, OR, USA
“Hi Rev. I have been growing for about 7 years and pretty much everything always turns out very well and good, except that gdam Deep Chunk! The plants look unhappy out of the gate and never really shake it off. I know it’s not my watering habits, because I have treated them differently just to see if that was it, and they all still looked basically unhappy and unhealthy. They grew slowly, never really greened up. Help man, what the hell am I getting wrong here Rev? Thank you in advance.”
Hey bruddah, I’m 95% sure I know the nature of your problem here. The nature of it is pH, and the Deep Chunk, like many true landrace and heirloom cultivars, have pretty specific issues with particulars in their environments. With Deep Chunk it’s pH, and Deep Chunk likes her pH on the higher side. Let me just cover the spectrum real quick here, regarding possible causes/fixes.
Bringing your water PPM value up, like by adding ground/well water to it, or bubbling some dolomite lime in some of the water for 24 hours like you would do if you were making an organic living tea; then simply add this dolomite lime bubbled water with your water you use on the Deep Chunks. Bottled spring water works well here if it’s a good option for you. Deep Chunk also uses a lot of calcium and nitrogen compared to most hybrid types. Soil additives like Neem Meal and Cottonseed Meal can also cause soil pH to stay on the lower side—way too low for Deep Chunk for sure.
If you use any liquid organic nutrients and especially if your water is low in PPM value, this almost always dives your pH due to the presence of organic acids in 99% of these liquid organic fertilizers. Don’t attempt to adjust the pH of your water or nutrient solutions with stuff like pH-Up or pH-Down products; this will almost always cause you additional problems very soon. There ya go amigo 😊
Mistakes Starting Your TLO Soil Mix
FROM: Liz Duncan, San Diego, CA, USA
“Hi Rev! I was recently starting a TLO soil mix as laid out in your latest book, and I accidentally used chlorinated tap water to get it moist to begin the cooking process. By the time I realized what I was doing it was too late. Am I screwed now? Do I need to dump this oil mix and start fresh again? Thank you so much, our garden has been rocking since we found you.”
‘Ello ‘ello Liz. You are fine, no worries, just stop doing that. Earth is FULL of microbes and they will populate your soil mix don’t worry. Chlorine is spent when it comes into contact with organic matter, so don’t be thinking there’s now toxic chlorine levels in your soil or anything. It’s nice when a grower’s problem really isn’t a real big deal problem, unlike last week I heard from a guy who added kelp extract instead of kelp meal to his soil mix—now THERE’S a huge bad mistake, heh heh; cheers.
Mystery Garden Wipeouts
FROM: Mr. Burns, South Padre, TX, USA
“Greetings Revarino, from South Texas, yeehaw! Some of my friends and I have been scratching our heads around here, growers, and recently a few of our gardens have been wiped out utterly by some mystery killer. Everyone just gets yellow and dies. I had some sprouts in my garden that were immune to it for some reason and lived. Any idea WTF this could be, some kind of cannabis disease or infection?”
Howdy Mr. Burns (big Simpsons fan) and I’m going to guess right out of the gate that you and your friends carry a lot of old clones in your gardens, yes? What you describe sounds like a signature attack from a virus. I have seen this happen before myself in the past. You see, cannabis plants are annuals, so once they are over a year old, they are anomalies in the natural world; and they are not supposed to be there anymore, you dig?
Viruses tend to take out old clones, this is also why your sprouts survived amigo. The way the viruses got into the grows where I have seen this happen was due to the growers—me included—that would take several plants outside during the day to soak up some real-deal sunshine, and then bring them back into the gardens. I mean, best we could tell that was a big common denominator. So, we stopped doing that altogether and it never happened again; not definitive, but still, it seemed to work.