Before we begin, I just want to thank all of you for all the kick-ass support. I write one of these digital articles like every week or so here at SKUNK, so stay tuned in and tell any friends that could benefit from a little bit of Rev in their growing life. As far as today’s article goes, ‘The Fade’ is in reference to fading your plants at the end of their flowering cycle for the most pure and elegant puffing experience.
I always like to warn you guys about sneaky shit out there that have synthetic nutrients present in them, but are designed to LOOK organic/all-natural. Things like “Marine Cuisine” by Fox Farm is a great example of this. Many are just mysterious, like Superthrive—not good and heavily synthetic—don’t use this. Even just a single dose of something synthetic completely bones your harvest quality regarding smoking smoothness. Okay, let’s rock The Fade…
What “The Fade” Does for You and Why
In the photo above you can see a perfect finishing fade, in my opinion. Growing all naturally it really isn’t vital to fade your plants like in the photo, before harvest, however, it will bring them up a notch on the connoisseurs’ quality scale and it will enhance flavors and smells; believe it. ???? If you are growing using liquid organic nutrients to feed your plant with (I call this ‘Soup Style’ Organic Growing), then the fade becomes even more desirable; with regards to your final product.
In a nutshell, what fading simply does is force your plant to drain its stored nutrients just prior to harvest time, and particularly a few key mineral elements, that also can cause your herbs to smoke a tad harsh. Magnesium (Mg) yikes, too much Mg left in your buds will definitely downgrade your connoisseurs’ smooth smoking experience with some harshness. Number one offender is Mg, molasses overuse, and using things like K-Mag mineral additive can take your Mg levels too high and hold them there for a long time.
Potassium (K), sulfur(S), phosphorous (P), and iron (Fe). These four can also cause detrimental effects to the elegant smoothness your high-quality smoke should be. Overuse of kelp extracts and using unrinsed coir fiber can both take your potassium way up; as well as your magnesium. Use of things like Epsom Salts, or basically ANY kind of micro-nutrient liquid fertilizer, even if it’s organic, can cause harshness to happen. Never ever use pH adjustment liquids on your plant water—never ever!
Doesn’t Too Much N Make the Final Product Harsh?
Too much nitrogen (N), many believe adds big harshness to your smoke. In my experience you can harvest your plants still vibrantly green and they are still totally delicious and smooth; when grown all naturally. But using too much N I could easily see dropping harvest quality way down in many ways; the biggie being resin production. Using things like blood meal should always be avoided after flowering begins.
Phosphorous (P), can give your smoke a disturbing hot-quality way in the back of your throat, normally the plant burns through most of its P before it finishes. Using things like liquid fish fertilizers with the P-number (of the NPK values) up above 1.0 later into flowering, can cause this to happen due to the high chelation effects of the highly available phosphoric acid. Don’t use any liquid fish products after two weeks into flowering; I would say, as a rule of thumb.
How and When to Make it Happen
Any well-bred cannabis plant, or any landrace cannabis plant, rule of thumb should be able to make it for its last two weeks before harvest on stored nutrients. Avoid over-pruning of your plants into flowering, and during flowering only remove dead leaves—if they still have green in them let them be. The plants will normally cannibalize some of its leaves during flowering, no biggie, but these leaves are what it is using as “batteries” to relocate nutrients where they are more needed—like, for the flowering and the resin—ya follow?
Growing all naturally this isn’t actually too hard to pull off, and my normal water I use on my plants runs about 60ish PPM; essentially groundwater (tap water) dechlorinated with some dolomite lime bubbled in it for 24 hours. Out of the tap and (dechlorinated) my water runs about 45 PPM, once I add the bubbled dolomite lime water it comes up to about 55-65 PPM—perfect for my powerful living soil.
So, all I do basically is about 15 days before harvest I use only my dechlorinated groundwater (45 PPM) on them only without any dolomite lime water added. This has a couple awesome effects, it forces the plant to begin to draw on its stored nutrients, Mg, K, Ca, Fe, etc., without totally shocking it like suddenly using distilled or rain water would do. Groundwater brings in a wide array of nutrients in uber small amounts.
Yellowing around the middle of the plant as you are within a few weeks of finishing—the big leaves—is all good, that’s just all the Mg draining out of the plant and we love that. Normally the plants will fade from the bottom up as they lose their N, however, different plants will cannibalize themselves differently, also according to environmental variables.
Too Much Fade, is Your Problem You Say?
Listen to me well here my esteemed green peeps… If your plants fade too soon and/or too fast, it most likely (like 95%) is a huge you-problem, and not because your plants are running out of food in their soil mix. Let that sink in … Let me tell you what your potential issues are here in my experience:
- You are overfeeding your plants with some kind of liquid nutrients, and you are developing nutrient lockouts from pH swings or built up “salts” nutrient-salts. Kelp extract is a prime example here, and this should always be used in UBER small dosages; but this also counts for good organic liquids like Big Bloom—If you think you need it, use it only in nano amounts.
- Your PPM is running too high from using well/tap/spring water that runs up in the 90 PPM and higher range. These additional salts will over a short time (like 20 days) build up in the root zones (rhizosphere) swinging the pH upwards locking out nutrients—especially ones the plant NEEDS for full-pull flowering glory.
Some Additional Deets
Above when I say nano amounts, I mean nano amounts. Occasionally I will use a little kelp extract on my vegging plants that are getting a tad big for their containers. I literally add like a coke-spoon’s worth (like 1/64th of a teaspoon) per gallon of water. I don’t use any Big Bloom anymore, but if I did, I would use it only occasionally, at like ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water. Think truly nano man, your soil mix and microlife are the stars here. Cheers SKUNKers.
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.