2020 Isolation Grow: Crunch

Oct 13, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

October 9

HARVEST ALERT

ACDC 17 is coming down.

This is the third plant to be brought down with no mold found upon the initial inspection. She appears to be another very clean plant.

October 10

This morning was possibly the final Regalia spray of the season. Humidity is going to break tomorrow and the wind is going to blow. I have not cut off one leaf with powdery mildew this week, despite conditions ripe for problems. Come to think of it, that was probably the final foliar spray of any kind this season. Soon, I will place the foliar sprayer back into the drying cottage for charging and winter storage.

From here on, we’ll let the wind dry the plants. From here to the end, when we’re not trimming, we hunt for mold.

It’s a good thing most of these plants are due ready this week, because a lot of trained branches are showing the strain of their weight. The flowers on RK 16 dropped as much as a foot from the weight of the spray this morning. Those branches are being strained to their maximum capacity. Watching them bend while I sprayed, it almost appeared like they were asking to be taken down. Soon, I assured them.

HARVEST ALERT

My first plant inspection showed that CBD God is ready. It’s misting outside right now, a heavy mist that will bring measurable precipitation if it lasts very long. This is the final remnant of the storm that was supposed to hit here this weekend. It is certainly making everything wet. It is also ringing my mold alarm. Humidity in the beds right now is 98%, with a mist. In that tightly clustered plant, this is an opportunity for mold to not only form, but move rapidly.

CBD God is coming down.

I brought her down in a mist. Six small pieces of mold were discovered and extracted while outside. Did not see more while doing the initial trim, but will probably put these under the mag lamp in the cottage before bringing them in for final trimming. This plant was packed together, and the humidity has been extreme, so I feel fortunate we only lost six little pieces. We did not lose any whole flowers this morning. She was so ready to be taken down.

CBD God on harvest day, day 58.

Sometimes, I just like to sit and watch Bubba God, because she’s turning purple so fast, I swear you can almost see it happen.

October 11

Yesterday’s trim was labor intensive. It took over four hours to do a fan leaf trim, not even a fine trim. There were so many leaves to remove. I filled the large tray we use for piling the leaves two times and emptied into our compost bin. I do not see another plant remaining with that many leaves to remove, and I am grateful.

Today, ACDC 7 comes into the house for trimming, though it would be fair to say we probably won’t be trimming much of her. She is so covered in medicine, we will simply remove everything from the stems and put it directly into jars. There was not a lot of this plant, and we want to save all that we can. Because this is a high CBD plant, Karen and I will both probably sample a bit.

After that, it’s flower inspection for harvest readiness and mold. Several plants on the verge of being ready. The two highest priority plants today are ACDC 7 and RG 5. Both are close and both will be taken down at the first signs of amber trichomes. The other three that are close, White Widow, Bubba God and Rainbow Kush 16, can all wait a day or two. I want their trichomes to be approximately 50% amber on the tops, and I don’t suspect any of them will show that degree of readiness today.

It’s also Sunday. Given how much work is coming this week, I would not turn down a relatively light day. I also believe a day of rest is good for the body and mind of any farmer. Opportunities for rest during harvest are rare.

Just checked drying flowers for readiness and ACDC 7 is not ready to come in. How do I know she’s not ready? Simple: If the little side branches snap off, she’s ready. Not bend and break, mind you. They need to snap like twigs. That’s when you know the plant is dry.

October 12

Dawn is a crisp 43℉ (6.11℃). Whatever colors remain to be shown out there will be activated by the chill. But the only color that really matters right now is amber.

I expect ACDC 7 to come in for jars today. We’ll evaluate if ACDC 22 is ready for trimming, or if she needs another day. 

I’ll wait until just after 9:00 this morning to start looking at flowers for readiness. That’s when the sun hits them. At this point, I’m done predicting who is next. They are all coming down soon. Both CBD plants due this week (RG 5 and ACDC 8) are due to come down any moment now.

Bee got their Covid test yesterday and said it will take approximately three days for results. So I’ve probably got till Wednesday on my own.

The good news is I slept like the dead last night and feel much revived this morning. I mentioned how I needed yesterday to rest and I’m glad I did. October is a high stress, hard working month for growers. It’s like any harvest for any farmer of any crop. Six months of work comes down to a couple of weeks to determine the yield. If you are financially dependent on your crop, you’ll know where you stand after October. So when a day like yesterday presents itself, an in-between day, where no plant comes down, or into the house for trimming, it is wise to take advantage and rest. This is my fifth harvest, and only in the last two have I matured enough to know when to take advantage of a day off.

Didn’t blog much, either. I literally napped whenever it struck me to do so, and was asleep last night by 9:30. Up at 6:15 this morning, ready to roll.

ACDC 7 has come into the house and has been trimmed. There wasn’t much, only 160 grams from that small, potent plant. I did not do much “A” trim for this medicine.

For the trim this year, I am utilizing a new, small mag table lamp that allows for easy study of any flower for mold.

The new lamp is a good light source, but the mag lens on top makes it handy for guaranteeing the medicine is clean. All in all, a nice addition for the work.

Mold will be much easier to detect.

The extra magnification circle makes close study and precise surgery (if needed) possible.

HARVEST ALERT

ACDC 7 is ready for harvest, and will promptly be coming down. In five years of growing, this is the first year I’ve had to trim a plant the same day I’m taking down another plant. I’m certain this is a bridge most growers have already crossed, and I know I’ll be doing this again this year.

One thing that’s interesting in 2020 is the amount of time needed to effectively dry has increased. In previous years, I cannot recall a plant that took more than seven days to completely dry. This year, we’re noticing it takes nine days. Don’t have a definite answer as to why. Some of the flowers are thicker than other years, so there’s more to dry, but some of the smaller flowers are still taking nine days. The wash would seem the obvious reason, but we washed last year, and nowhere in my notes does it say that the drying time was increased. 

 

Regardless, I think we’re all in agreement here that nine days is what we’ll be doing with all the plants. We believe in the plants being truly dry when we trim. It makes for an easier trim, and less bad surprises through the curing process.

 

We have lost plants to mold because we did not dry the plants completely at first, nor burp them properly after drying. I’m specifically referring to two plants of Canna-Tsu we grew in our second year. They were problematic clones from the start and suffered more that year, due to our lack of BT spraying until near the end. No matter, we simply did not dry the plant enough, nor open her jars and burp her as much as she needed. One day, we opened those jars to burp, and we ended up almost throwing up. We were knocked over by the mold smell.

 

Now, no plant comes into the house that is not completely dry. If it is noted to not be completely dry during the trim (like the recent Sour Tsunami), we will complete the trim and then return the trimmed buds to the cottage for another 24 hours or more of drying.

 

I hope that by reading this blog, you can see how the process of growing is something where we continually evolve and hopefully get better. We are always changing what we do to try and grow better.

 

For a few moments, I pause in all my labors. I am almost overwhelmed with joyful emotion. Tears easily accompany my joy. You have to know me well to understand the tears. It is a combination of many factors. But it is mostly the combination of joy and bittersweet in watching my garden slowly, beautifully, but systematically disappear.

 

Every year at harvest, I feel this way. Every year, I am reminded of what this process has come to mean to me. What I’m growing now was born of desperation. It only takes me a moment to recall the panic. When I began to grow, that panic, the certainty that things would never get better for us, began to change. When I look at my plants now, when I think about growing, when I consider my future, it is all about hope.

 

When you introduce a growing supply of hope to an ongoing difficult situation, those conflicting elements provide for a strong emotional response. Cannabis helped return me to my life. Our garden is a direct reflection of that hope, the long journey to get here, and all the love herein.

 

Survive and vote. We are all close, so very close to something good happening.  I can feel it. Back Friday.

76℉   24.44℃   54% humidity  Seven down, six to go.

 

Jeffery Hickey
Oaksterdam Alumni

Jeffrey Hickey is a 2014 IPPY award winning novelist, performing in over 900 Reader’s Theater shows that featured his authorship of adult novels, and books for children. His accomplishments include a program of self-empowerment and effective oral communication, “Find Your Voice,” that he taught in public and private schools throughout Northern California. Jeffrey is the father of twin sons, and is arguably the happiest married man on the planet.