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Grow Number 2
(May 1 - August 10)


May 1st:

My grower delivered 2 more clones today.  One is a Super Skunk and the other is a Triple X* approximately the same age. Both have 3 nodes. I plan to vegetate them until they are at 5 nodes and then FIM both (horizontal cut across the tip of the terminal node). The plant responds by growing  4 new stems/trunks..  After those new stems reach 3 nodes they are spread out and pinned down on all four corners of the #2 nursery pot with soft aluminum wire ties used on chain link fencing. 

This style of growing is called LST (low   stress training). This will force all growth on the horizontal (like trellis trained grapes) and all buds become terminal buds (colas) which are the largest on the plant. I suggested that I should just let the end buds on each of the 4 branches grow and remove the others so as to force all the energy into making 4 huge colas but my grower seemed to think leaving the intermediate buds would be more productive over all.

This is the final configuration hopefully. Four 42W (800W/11,200 lumens total equivalent) CFL twist bulbs on a timer. One 6"  fixed fan for circulation and a 14" thermally controlled overhead exhaust fan which draws fresh outside air through a screened vent at floor level. Humidity is supplemented by a humidifier controlled by a humidistat as needed.  The growing shelf is a wire rack enclosed on three sides by mylar wrapped panels and the humidifier is positioned directly below.   Both the overhead fan and another alternate emergency intake vent (in the door) are covered by carbon filter material. If needed for odor control the vent to the outside can be shut  

Triple X is an skunk/afgooey (indica) cross with the sativa (skunk) effects dominant. Cerebral and sensual. Super Skunk is another sativa dominant indica cross rated as one of the easiest to grow.

May 12th:

Fimmed both plants today. Triple X went well but I nipped the Super Skunk a bit high on the node and went back to do over - may have gone on an angle with one side too low on the 2nd pass. Noticed that both plants had some minor leaf burn so lowered and increased the space to 4" from the lights. They did grow an inch each over the past 10 days or so (TripleX is 4" tall and the Super Skunk is 3"). Added a little more soil to each Dixie cup as that will serve as an interim fertilizer until they are ready to transplant. I will give them another 2 weeks to recover from the fimming (2-3 days) and for each to produce 4 new stems. Expect to see some major vegetative growth if the plants have put down adequate root systems.

May 13th:

Went back and refimmed the Super Skunk and today both terminals were standing upright  as if reaching for the light. You can clearly see the 4 future stems on each plant.  Both plants put on 1/2" growth in the past 36 hours.

May 18th:

Decided to check the root systems on both plants.  As suspected the Super Skunk had a fully filled out root ball to the edge of the cup and beyond but the Triple X had about 1/3 less development. Since both root balls were at the edge of their containers I transplanted them to #2 nursery pots where they will finish growing.

May 20th:

Super Skunk is filling out nicely while the Triple X is still struggling. Put in the first tie-downs to start training the plants on the horizontal.  This will  stimulate the auxins in the growing tips to redistribute their light seeking impulses throughout the entire plant turning each side leaf axil into a terminal bud.

Set the humidistat control setting to 40  ... now anytime the RH falls below 40% the humidifier kicks in.  Recommended humidity level is 45-55% to discourage mold and fungus problems. This past week the outside humidity was 60% but the bathroom is a two piece sealed fiberglass unit which can be 30-40% especially when the wind is blowing.

Went back and reviewed my records of the previous grow because all three of those initial plants were stunted from poor root development.  At the time I thought the problem was lack of nutrients and so I started adding various supplements which the plants couldn't utilize.  After putting the first two out of their misery I transplanted the third to a larger pot and left it alone to recuperate.  It looked then pretty much like the Triple X does now with its small and sparse  leaves. After flipping the lights it dropped almost all of its fan leaf and redirected its energies to making bud and bud leaf.

Next grow I will check the root systems before watering by inverting the dixie cups and slipping the root ball out.  When the roots reach the edge of the ball I will transplant them before watering and then deep water the new pots. The soil mixture I use, Fox Farms, has enough nutrients for the first month after transplant.  Once I flip the lights I will start  supplementing with organic flower boosters.

The overhead exhaust fan is thermostatically controlled but the sensor is mounted above the opening.  I cover the opening with a carbon filter to reduce odor and to block the emission of light at night.  This filter isolated the heat sensor from the actual room temperature especially at night when there can be a 20 degree difference between inside/outside.  So I relocated the sensor below the opening where it can more accurately reflect room temperature.

May 27th:

Both plants now well established although the Triple X is easily a week behind the Super Skunk. All the bent over side nodes have now turned upward and are starting on their second set of leaves.

I'm still keeping the plants 4" from the lights to eliminate leaf burning and to encourage them to stretch more. The longer the stems the greater number of nodes each of which will turn into a bud. Currently there are six on the Triple X and eight on the Super Skunk.

May 29th:

Since the Super Skunk is so healthy  I decided to experiment with a different form of low stress training called SCROG or Screen of Green.  Rather than pining down the various laterals with wire tie downs a screen is pushed down over the plant instead and the side branches are pulled up through it.

Usually there is just one frame of screen for the entire grow which mandates that the pots be watered in place.  I prefer to put the plants in the sink to water them which also gives me a chance to rotate them to check overall growth and spot any emerging problems so the screen was attached to the pot itself. Sometimes individual plants will need  to be removed from the grow due to disease or other treatment as well which is next to impossible with a shared screen without further injuring the plant and adjacent plants..

After  these branches put on a third set of leaves they are pulled back through the screen and repositioned further away from the central trunk. Eventually they will grow to the edge of the pot and fill the screen with bud.  The fan leaves drop off leaving just the buds above the screen.  

This is another technique used to encourage the plant to make horizontal rather than vertical growth and helps to more evenly space the buds so all get equal light. This plastic screen was salvaged from the kit used to make the custom carbon filter screen for the exhaust fan. .

The grow room will go completely dark at 6 am May 30th for a 48 hour period prior to watering and flipping the lights at 6 am June 1st. The plants have been under continuous light 24/7 for the past month and a half. It is believed that this period of darkness enhances the successful transition to the 12/12 photo period and the start of the flowering cycle.  It is our time to rest and meditate as we (the plants and I) ready ourselves for the transformations of the next stage.  

Buddha on Palm Frond
(mounted on outside of the grow room door)

Thus begins an exciting time for any grower ... like a vintner overlooking his vineyard and observing the beginning to bulge clusters of future grapes the cannabis cultivator eagerly takes note of each emergent bud and anticipates  the coming harvest.  

June 2nd:

Day two of the 45 day flowering period for the Skunk ... the Triple X finishes around 8-9 weeks.  Both plants doing well and the Super Skunk has grown enough already that I was able to reposition each branch another square closer to the edge of the screen.  

The former main stem had already reached its limit (see above center) and was growing beyond the screen.  It was topped in order to redirect its energy towards the other stems.  This way they will all grow at the same rate and new side stems will grow to help fill out the balance of the screen.  I've resized the grid and now there are 64 1" squares. I'm planning to limit each plant to just 16 flowers so each developing bud will have four square inches to expand to its fullest..

When I opened the grow room after 48 hours of total darkness with only the exhaust fan on I discovered that the  leaves were not dry at all.  In fact they were almost feather like.  I had been reading that the normal leaf had a feather like quality but mine were always stiff and inflexible except just after watering
.  Now I realize that having the fan  blowing directly on the plants was the cause of their desiccation along with being too close to the lights.  Both plants are now a full six inches below the lights and the fan has been redirected at the ceiling instead and now only runs when the lights are on.

June 8th:  WEEK 1


First week of flowering went really well ... both plants doubled in size and have been fimmed again to further increase bushiness.  Weather has leveled off with relative humidity in the 50's and indoor temps consistently around 75F.  At the end of the second week I will start adding organic nutrients as the Fox Farm soil mix  has organics but they need to be renewed after 30 days and these plants were transplanted into these pots May 18th.

June 15th:  WEEK 2


Both plants continue to fill in but at a bit slower pace.  Initial feeding of organic nutrients mixed 50/50   (vegetative/flowering  formulation) for the transition period as the plants will continue to stretch for another week or so.  Then they will be switched to just the flowering booster at increasing strengths up until the last two weeks of flowering when they will be repeatedly flushed with distilled water and then allowed to dry out.  This supposedly rids the plants of any residual fertilizer taste and the stress of drying out increases resin production.  

Beginning to see some pre-flowering development  with an increasing number of hairy pistils per bud site turning the center of each leaf cluster a yellowish white. The Triple X has only about half the number of flower clusters as the Skunk but not sure if it is due to its being a slower grower or if the fimming  wasn't successful.


Also noted the main stem on both plants still appears to be dominant and is the most developed despite being topped and fimmed.  On the Skunk it even has its own side buds above the screen. Next grow I will position the transplants at the edge rather than the center of the new pots. They will be vegetated until the main stem is as high as the pot is wide before laying them down  ...  that way they will cover the center of the pot from side to side and when fimmed  the extra bushiness  from the laterals will fill the rest of the pot a little more evenly.

June 22nd:  WEEK 3

Another week of growth with both grids almost filled in.  Noticed some mottling of the fan leaves on both plants but wasn't sure what is causing it.  Found a similar picture in Google indicating possible powdery mildew in the early stages.  Sprayed foliage with Neem Oil and will wait for several days to see if it is controlled.  Had a similar problem with the first grow which I controlled by trimming all of the infected fan leaves but it resulted in slowed growth. This time I am going to try to save them first before defoliating.  I did do some trimming of the understory below the grid in order to improve air flow to the lower leaves. This is recommended to prevent mildew and mold.

Switched to nutrients formulated for the blooming stage.  Observing the shape of both plants it appears that only the Super Skunk was fimmed successfully which resulted in a thick cluster of additional branches in the near vicinity of the  original cut.  It sort of leaves the plant unbalanced. I just might stick to topping only in the next grow and  planting at the edge of the container in order to train the main trunk across to the other edge.

Unlike the first grow the pistils on the buds of both plants are turning brown. They resemble  the buds of the first grow at 4 weeks.  Maybe the 48 hour period of darkness really did advance the bloom stage by a week.  

June 29th:  WEEK 4

Half-way there!  Buds on both plants are continuing to swell.  One final Neem Oil treatment to insure that the powdery mildew is under control.  Pistils still brown but last week there were new white pistils on top of the brown but after the second Neem Oil treatment they were all brown again. Did a Google search with mixed results ...  the only agreement was not to treat in the last half of flowering as it might affect the taste.

Also discovered that the nutrients are only supposed to be used every other watering. So I flushed both pots with 8 cups of water each and removed the excess Neem Oil from the foliage with plain water and a surficant which causes the water to bead up and run off. Left both pots in the sink for an hour to drain completely and dry off.

Removed most of the fan leaf from both plants as the root system is well established by now and only the buds are growing ... no need for the plant to divert energy to  maintain unnecessary vegetation. We are having a heat wave with temperatures inside the grow room over 90 degrees and humidity under 30%. Reversed the overhead exhaust fan to bring in cooler air and the humidifier is running full time while the lights are on.  Plants don't appear to be heat stressed yet but we have several more days before temperatures return to normal.

July 6th:  WEEK 5

As you can see there was some burning of the growing tips from being too close to the lights and insufficient watering.  I had reduced the distance from 6" to 4" for a couple of days as a test. I think we are over the worst of it and now it is just a matter of  keeping everything together for the next 3-4 weeks.  Managed to partially break two buds on the Triple X (top and bottom buds center of plant) but I've been told that they will eventually heal and come back even stronger. I clipped some of the grid to enlarge the openings as the buds were growing under the screen as well ... next grow the 1" openings will be enlarged to a full 2 inches.

July 13th:  WEEK 6

Not much change but the buds continue to swell. No odor yet.

[7/14/13 update]:  After reviewing the literature about when to start counting the weeks of flowering most agree you start when you first see forming calyx and crowning (lighter colored centers) . If so then that would have been at the end of what I called here the second week of flowering.  I am going to preserve the current counting scheme for this grow but will keep in mind that the plants might not be ready until the count indicates the tenth week.  Which would put the current growth at 4 weeks with the early harvest for the Super Skunk August 1 and the Triple X August 15th.

Decided  to take some pictures of the trichome (resin gland) development. I'm using a Celestron digital microscope at 150X magnification on leaf sections removed from the calyx. The trichomes are the stalk like appendages with a bulbous head shown here along the center rib of the leaf. These appear to be well developed yet still clear indicating  mid cycle ... as they enter the final 3-4 weeks the resin glands become cloudy and then start turning amber and the bulbs burst as the trichomes degrade. An early harvest (less than 40% amber) produces a clear, energetic effect whereas a late harvest when 60% or more have turned produces a somatic or lethargic effect. Since the Super Skunk is an early finisher (45-50 days) a bit of amber (see upper right) at this stage is not unusual.

Installed a second shelf, on the counter, underneath the medicine cabinet. Switching over to a 24" T5 14W high output double bulb system.  Using Philips 14W T5 bulbs (3000K for flowering and 6500K for vegetation).  The units can be 'chained' together with the fan so there is only one power cord for the shelf. The wall unit is attached to the track strips that support the shelf and is adjustable as is shelf. The ceiling unit is screwed in place. These two units have a total light output of 5400 lumens which is less than half of light above the primary shelf. This lower light intensity is better for sprouting seeds and propagating clones.  

All plants will begin on this shelf and will be transplanted to the cutoff 1 liter plastic bottles as soon as they are 3-5" high. Shortly afterwards the photo period will be flipped to 12/12. The plants will stay on this shelf until they are about 10 inches tall and then they will be transferred to the primary shelf to be grown out to about 20-25 inches. There are only 6 bottles because the California Medical Marijuana law limits the number of 'mature' plants to 6.  If you are growing from non-feminized seed you can have 12 plants but can only retain 6 after they have been sexed and the males discarded. I hope to be using clones from the two plants that I have now if they are able to be revegetated after the current flowering cycle is complete.  

July 20th:  WEEK 7


No obvious changes in the size of the plants just in the thickness and height of the buds. They appeared to have lengthened at least of quarter of an inch. Still no smell, trichome dusting or stickiness yet.  Did harvest and sample a Triple X bud with a broken stem that didn't heal  ... encouraging even though it was at least three weeks early.

Beginning to see trichomes developing along leaf margins now (Super Skunk)  but still immature in that most haven't developed the bulb on the end of the stalk yet but still a good sign as previously they were only on the underside of the leaf along the central rib.

Heard back from my grower who no longer has clones so I am going to get a chance to do my own cloning. I also have three viable seeds from a strain called The White which I will be germinating and growing out as well.  

July 27th:  WEEK 8

Removed the screens from both plants last week so that the lower buds could get more light and to get a good look at the structure ... notice how both plants cluster around the original growing tip (left middle and upper right).  When I revegetate the goal will be to extend coverage to fill the entire pot by topping the new growth in the bare areas.  This will be done during the third week of revegetatation giving the plants a week to recover before the lights are flipped to 12/12 and the period of greatest growth (the 'stretch') occurs. I may not use screens next grow going back to LST instead as it is easier on the plants.

Did a deep water whole pot flush by immersing each pot in a 5 gallon bucket (which couldn't be done when the screens were in place) in order to remove all excess nutrients during the final two weeks as it is believed doing so improves taste and makes for a smoother smoke.  Buds continue to put on weight.

Still not sure why the plants got burned as I am only using all natural fertilizer at half strength. It isn't just the tips and margins as there are burned spots all over the leaf. I'll know more perhaps when I repot them before revegetating  and get a chance to look at the root systems. Being further from the lights (currently 6") seems better for them and I may even go to 8-12" at the start of the reveg as the new shoots are very tender.

It is almost an article of faith in the CFL growing community that 'the closer to the light the better' with some recommending a 2" spacing.  I suspect that reflects a holdover from earlier fluorescent tubes that didn't have the output (lumens) that the current bulbs have and therefore ran cooler. I'm using old style T5 tubes on the other shelf which are better for the more tender seedlings and clones.   

This is the upper surface of one of the small leaves that surround the calyx. It is now well covered in developing trichomes and should be at peak resin production in less than 10 days.

I've been reviewing the various opinions about removing the large fan leaves which I had been told aren't necessary once the plant goes into flowering mode. I learned that that is definitely a minority opinion with most thinking that it will stunt the plant and decrease bud production and size. I'm going to leave them next time.

August 3rd:  WEEK 9

The trichomes on both plants appear to be fully developed, most milky opaque with a scattering of amber ... to be on the safe side I will hold off harvesting until next weekend.  Neither plant feels sticky nor has a noticeable cannabis odor.  

Surprise, surprise ... new pistils on the Triple XXX!  They are emerging from a point on the left side of the bud where I had snipped a piece from the calyx to check the trichomes.  I had thought all the calyx development had been completed by now but apparently, like topping the plant, injury to the bud stimulates additional growth.

This photo shows the 'dusting' of trichomes over the inner leaves of the bud as well as the damage and discoloration in the leaves that I thought reflected excess heat exposure.  At the beginning of July I moved the plants further away from the lights (6") and reversed the overhead fan to help circulate and cool the air in the grow room.  There has been no additional damage since then.  Yesterday I moved the plants back to a 2-3" spacing as a test since they are almost ready for harvest anyway and any additional stress at this point, at least in theory, should only increase the resin content.  

I admit I am in no way a green thumb and am grateful that at least I have kept these two alive after losing two of the previous three.  So that's an improvement and all I can do is to guess as to what they may need, adjust accordingly and note the results. That and a whole lot of reading the online cannabis growers diaries and web sites. Like any other hobby ... you only get out of it what you put into it.

August 9th:  

Well here they are and even though the Super skunk is nowhere near the 40% amber trichome standard the Triple X clearly is and needs to be harvested.  Strange because the Triple X is supposed to be ready several weeks after the Super Skunk. Still no stickiness or obvious odor ... I hope that doesn't portend a less potent harvest.  More pictures tomorrow.

August 10th: WEEK 10 Grow II Harvest Day

Final totals (wet untrimmed):  Triple X = 15 grams,  Super Skunk = 42 grams (more than double the first grow) . Generally there is at least 60% shrinkage as the buds dry.  Trimmed and cured for 30 days I estimate a quarter ounce of XXX and a little more than a half ounce of Super Skunk.  If I can double these yields in grow #3 then I will have a decent return for the time invested.

The buds will be left on these drying screens in a darkened closet for 3-5 days.  When the attached stems offer resistance to bending but don't snap they will be ready to transfer to quart mason jars for the final curing.

For the first 5-10 days they will be monitored and the jars will be opened for 20 minutes daily to release any trapped moisture. Then the jars will be sealed and the buds left to cure like tobacco leaves. As the moisture evaporates the trichomes and their cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, concentrate on the remaining surfaces and terpenes and flavinoids replace the chlorophyll.. The ideal range  for temperatures in the drying room is between  65-75F and relative humidity should be between 55-65 degrees. The combination gauge shown above displays hi and lo temps and RH for a 24 hour period. They are useful for determining average ranges in grow rooms.  

Super Skunk

Super Skunk

Triple XXX

Triple XXX

August 12th:  

The two crops were weighed today and the amount of shrinkage was over 60% with the Triple XXX at 6 grams and the Super Skunk at 14.  The buds are nowhere near as compact as the first grow but are fluffy instead.  Just to be on the safe side they were jarred with humidity gauges in each jar for monitoring.  They currently show around 60% RH.

August 13th:

The buds were still too wet to jar ... the stems could still be bent without cracking.  When dry enough to jar the stems should crack but not at the point of snapping.  So they were placed back on the racks for another couple days of drying before they are again rejarred.  So far no chlorophyll smell.  There is just the hint of a musty sweetness especially from the Triple XXX which has more indica characteristics ... broader leaves and lower height.

August 18th:

After drying for 3 days and being jarred for 5 days the buds are beginning to tighten up and assume their final shape.  The buds on both plants, especially the Triple XXX,  show purple coloration which is considered highly desirable.  The total current weights are now at 5 and 10 grams respectively with shrinkage around 65-70%.  They will now be jarred and unopened for a week and then checked for mold and degree of cure. The stems now break easily but don't completely snap in half.  

Close up:



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