2020 Isolation Grow: October

Oct 2, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

A couple of these bottlebrush flowers were cut into the last compost tea of the grow.

October 1

So we begin the climactic month of October. In terms of cannabis harvest, October is the peak month. A sustained period of work is looming. The way things are tentatively looking at harvest, it’s going to break out this way: Almost all the ACDC first. Then, about a week after the ACDC starts coming down, we’ll have a number of plants possibly ready for harvest over a two-three day period. In order, CBD God, Bubba God, RG 5, ACDC 8, RK 16 and White Widow will be harvested quickly. While we are bringing those plants down, someone else will need to be trimming the ACDC, which will be coming in from the cottage. It will be ready to trim, and we’ll need to make room for the plant onslaught coming in to dry. The good news about trimming the ACDC is that about 90% of it, or more, will only have fan leaves removed. The rest will remain popcorn and go straight into processing. There’s too much medicine on the sugar leaves. I don’t want to lose a single trichome, so we’ll just cut them off the branches and put them directly into half gallon jars. There will probably be no more than one jar of A trim for this plant. 

Then, about seven days after this activity, all the above mentioned harvested plants will need trimming. While they are being trimmed, the remaining two plants will be brought down. Those are the two largest plants in the beds, RG 11 and RK 18.

How all of this is balanced will be determined at that time. It would be nice to get a little help on the trimming, if only so Bee and I can properly bring down our two monsters. But if we must do it all ourselves, we will. We’ve done all this before. Give Bee enough coffee and they’ll work for days. I’ll be leaning hard on some Harlequin pills to keep me focused and moving forward.

That’s a Harlequin in bed 16 from 2018, our first 6 footer, nearing the end of October. This is one of my all time favorite medical plants. I love the Harlequin cultivar.

Today, Bee and I will be trimming Sour Tsunami. When we finish trimming that plant, we will be 7-10 days from harvest for ACDC 22, our plant most laden with risks.

At this stage, every time I go out to the beds to inspect, I do one thing: Remove yellow leaves. The purpose for this is twofold. First, it prevents any old yellow leaf from becoming slimy and moldy through the decaying process. Second, while inspecting for yellow leaves, I generally have to cover the entire plant. During these inspections is an excellent time to also notice any powdery mildew and inspect every flower for mold.

The repetition is everything. Maintain the pace. With each plant coming down, though it might seem overwhelming in the moment, the workload will begin to lessen.

When bringing down multiple plants at once, a clear priority must be given to any CBD plants. The reason for this is I believe in harvesting CBD plants as soon as tops are 5%-10% amber. That means those big, cloudy tops are full of the medicine we want. If we have more than one plant ready on a given day, we’ll always harvest the CBD plants first. The THC plants can wait a day, if need be.

As I sit here typing, it’s 5:25 in the morning and it’s a slightly chilly 51℉ (10.55℃). For both CBD God and Bubba God, this means an increase to the purpling of their leaves. It’s warmer this year than last, so the coloring isn’t happening as early or as quickly. But here it comes.

The process of turning purple will only increase over the last few weeks of flowering.

We will also be inspecting and cutting all over the beds. We are limping toward the weekend, when we can resume Regalia. Humidity should drop below 50% today, so we should be safe for another day. But it begins to spike again tomorrow, and will remain seriously high over the weekend. In the ten day forecast, I also see the first chance of rain. While not overreacting, this news will keep my full attention for the next several days, as I watch the long range forecast develop. A little rain is not a problem. More than half an inch would be a huge problem, and we would probably have to tent the beds. The alternative to that is harvest early, which we almost certainly would do with all the ACDC, rather than allow it to be diminished by any mold.

Found a tiny bit of mold on this ACDC 22 flower and was able to extract the mold without taking out the entire bud. Note that my left hand is holding the flower by a fan leaf.

If we were to tent, it would not be until the last day prior to the rain. I never want to raise the humidity in my beds, but in addition to stopping the rain, that’s what a tent will do.

So I’ll monitor the progress closely, and we’ll be ready to take action should the need arise.

And as I indicated, we won’t hesitate to harvest all the ACDC early. It will be close to ready by the time any rain arrives. We could even take them down in the rain, they’ll be getting washed anyway.

After trimming Sour Tsunami, Bee and I agreed the flowers could probably have used one more day of drying. They trimmed fine, not excessively sticky or anything like that. But we noticed that about half the stems did not snap easily upon bending. So we finished the trim, weighed the jars (1.18 pounds is the yield), and then we agreed we should take the jars out to the drying cottage for another day or two. We’ll just leave the jars open in the cottage and let the dehumidified air circulate through them.

I pause now in my gardening thoughts to pay tribute to a beloved creature I knew and loved, who passed away this week. We all have our pet stories, of course, but sometimes, if you are lucky, you meet someone else’s pet and fall in love with them. In this case, our very great friend, fellow immunocompromised traveller, and Covid survivor, Mrs. F, lost her beloved doggie, Portia. 

Portia was an abused doggy that Mrs. F. found and loved. I loved this doggy, too. She was a gentle creature, and a sneaky kisser.

Her last big outing was a couple of weeks ago, when Mrs. F. and one of her daughters came to visit. Portia loved our property. She roamed our land like a prospector, hunting for treasure. When she returned last week for her last visit,  she patrolled the property as if she belonged here. (She did) When I look at the picture below, there is lovely Portia, circling our buckeye tree, resuming her musings and sniffings around the base. It is this way I will choose to remember her, and will probably also become the form her ghost will take in my haunted periphery.

I am afraid of many dogs. I got bit about six times by a sick dog when I was a kid on my paper route. I’ve never had one as a pet. But the moment I met Portia, it was like being reunited with a long lost friend. She was an old soul and will be missed. I admit that getting this news today was a punch to the gut.

Some uplifting news this week is we’ve been hosting Karen’s brother, and two of our nieces. They all got tested just prior to coming and were negative, so once again, we can be family and not wear masks all day. Btw, I’m perfectly fine if we do have to wear them. I’d rather wear them and see those I love than not. However, it is especially nice to be able to hang out as if things were normal. That said, it is frightening how quickly we fall back into bad habits when the restrictions are removed. It’s a sobering reminder that things are liable to not feel “normal” for a very long time, if ever, after this pandemic finally ends.

Three entire CBD God flowers had to be removed for mold. It was only one flower, but it was about to impact three. We were able to extract the one with mold from the other two, without any mold transference. Those two clean flowers we harvested are now in the drying shed.

An examination of all the plants demonstrates that the recent ladybug larvae explosion is over. Some have become adults and moved on, and some were consumed by other creatures. There is an overall feeling of transition in the beds right now. While the flowering cannabis relentlessly marches on, other vegetable plants are passing their zenith.

I will admit to a heavy heart in writing this blog. There has been significant sadness recently in my life. I also know it’s been another difficult week for America. My remedy for dealing with our current political/social climate is to work in my garden and make things grow. Helping things grow is the perfect antidote for hateful people only interested in tearing things down. And helping things grow is the perfect reminder that despite our hardships, life always moves on.

Survive, vote and grow. Stay safe, everyone. The world needs you.

See you next week, when I begin the final ten blogs in this series, and the harvest window opens for ACDC 22. 

61℉  16.11℃  71% humidity  Two plants down, eleven 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.