2020 Isolation Grow: Plant Progress

Jul 14, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

Let’s take a tour of the beds and review the progress of each plant to date. We’re about two to three weeks from when an increase in afternoon shade will begin pushing some of the plants toward flowering. But right now, they are in a peak period of vegetative growth.

As soon as I enter beds, the first plant I see is ACDC 22. This is an early flower attempting plant. She had to be stripped of all her flowers and this left her confused. She got heavy fish emulsion compost teas and the second one did the trick. She is now in full sprint mode. She is being spread out via training, but mostly, we’re just letting her grow. As a grower, I pull for these plants that struggle at first. It is my job to salvage valuable medical plants. I don’t toss it when it looks bad. I let her figure it out, and give her the food she needs. She is playing catch up now, but the beauty of having a late growing half ruderalis plant is that she probably won’t be harvested until close to, or in November. So she has all of this month and next month for veg growth. She’s the first plant you see in the photos at the end of the blog. Keep an eye on those photos and watch her catch up with the other plants. She won’t get as tall, but she is producing a huge amount of new growth right now and very quickly. She is going to be a solid medical producer for us.

ACDC 22

Next is CBD God in bed 20. You don’t get a good look at her from that final blog photo, because the enormous stupice tomato plant is blocking the view. Regarding that tomato, keep in mind she was planted a full month before the cannabis. But the height she is now is closer to where I expect many of the cannabis plants to be in another 4-6 weeks.

CBD God is another plant that attempted to flower early. Not as many of her tops were removed, and she was returned to veg growth after one tea. She was minimally impacted. She is thick and carrying her tops upward at a steady rate. She is also being stretched via training. She is being moved toward the edges of her bed; especially away from the tomato plant. Now, she is being allowed to grow up, after a series of moves to spread her out and clean her inside. Each of her top stalks are growing at near an inch a day. As I’ve indicated, we grew her last year, and she had little CBD, but she was a very pleasant evening cultivar for relaxing, with a strong terpene profile, very much influenced by her Harlequin parent. Last year’s plant had pink stems all over the plant. Never seen anything like that before and it’s a characteristic of some of her genotypes. No pink stems this year, just the kind of thick growth  we know we’ll have to prune a lot. You can see the air and space we continually give her to grow. If you look back at earlier blogs with pictures of this plant last year (CBG & Me), you’ll see why this plant excites us. She’s simply beautiful, with flowers that edge into epic. Keep your eye on her the entire grow.

CBD God

Shiatsu Kush is in bed 19. She is another plant that tried to flower, and she probably tried the second hardest of all our early flower attempts. We have grown this plant to be very large, and two others were medium to small plants. I suspect she will be a medium yield producing plant, a little over a pound. I say that mostly because I suspect this plant will be the first to flower for real. When I look at all her tops, she’s still in veg mode, but her tops are more tightly clustered together, which is an early indicator of pre-flower. No hairs anywhere, and she’s getting enough light to continue in veg mode a bit longer. But it would not surprise me to see her begin to flower before the end of July. 

Shiatsu Kush

RK 18 is next. This is one of two Rainbow Kush, and she was started three weeks after the regular seeds were started. So she’s playing catch up and it won’t be long before she’s completely caught up. Her entire structure radiates health and balance with her growing medium. I love the way RK’s grow. They are spatial but not sparse. Plenty of air is allowed to flow through this plant. Depending on how much you want to top her, she is an easy plant to grow. She is close to a balanced high, leaning toward relaxation, but with plenty of energy for creativity. This is a great medical plant. That’s why we’re growing two. I expect her to be a medium high to high yield plant. This is my sleeper candidate for eventual tallest plant, because she was started later than any other seed in the beds.

Rainbow Kush 18

This brings us to the end of this row, and the strangest single plant I’m growing this year, ACDC 17. Compare the way this genome looks next to ACDC 22. They look like different plants; yet they are the same cultivar. I’ve mentioned that I’ll reserve my final judgement on these seeds until I have test results. For now, I’m giving this plant the benefit of the doubt. I’ve grown a fair amount of ruderalis like plants in five years. This is clearly the most ruderalis-like plant I’ve grown. There is literally nothing about her that grows like I’m used to seeing. Yet, she’s obviously doing what she’s supposed to do, because she’s growing this way in every direction. And she is growing straight up as well. Her color is oddly light green, and I would be much more concerned, except we have another ACDC 8 with similar color. I’m letting these plants roll. I’m topping once or twice, letting them do their thing, and observe closely. Based on what I learn this year, when or if I grow them again, I might consider a different strategy. In the meantime, I’m fascinated by this plant. I can’t wait to see what she does with the rest of her veg growth and how she sets herself up for flowers. This plant is going to be an education for me all by herself.

ACDC 17

Here is our first Ringo’s Gift, RG 11. This tall, gangly ruderalis-like plant you see me transfer in the Planting Day blog is going to be very tall. She is now completely interacting with the spider and her egg nest nearing the top of her cage. This plant will probably require the third part of the cage fairly soon. As mentioned in a previous blog, this plant is going to provide challenges during the entire flowering period. It will mostly be a weight issue. There will be more plant tape, and we’ll probably construct or improvise support poles. I get giddy when I’m watching this plant blow in the wind. It’s such a stick figure, but the stalk tells the tale. This elevator is going up. I’m so excited to have this cultivar again. This plant did not try to flower. She is growing as she will, with three tops so far to help thicken her at the base. Oddly, though perhaps not so much with ruderalis, she has a huge clump of growth on one branch, and not as much yet on others. We’re observing and reacting. She is being spread out via training. This will be a large yielding plant, though perhaps less than you’d think given how tall she’s going to be. 

Ringo’s Gift 11

We skip over a vegetable patch and land on bed 13, where we meet the White Widow. Like the RK plants and ACDC, she was started two weeks after the regular seeds, so she’s two weeks behind the larger plants. Like both RK, she has the most wonderful, logical, spatial growing pattern. She can be topped once or twice and grow classically beautiful. Or you can top her like crazy, work your bottom off the entire season keeping things from getting moldy, and increase your yield by about another 30%. We’ve done both ways. This plant also does better than most THC plants with slightly shady conditions. For us, White Widow has been a relatively easy plant to grow. Like Rainbow Kush, she likes water, so she gets a bit more than any of the others and especially the CBD. This plant seems receptive to everything we’ve given her. Also, in my experience, this cultivar seems to derive the most universally accepted love of any cannabis plant. And what is kind of odd is that folks seem to have a similar experience. Most cultivars elicit different responses from different people. But the White Widow seems to have this unique knack for simply making you feel better. There’s energy without paranoia, and chill relaxation. I’ve done some of my best blogging in evenings courtesy of the White Widow. She has ultimate respect from our family and collective community. She will bring close to or above a two pound yield. Last year’s top yielding plant was a White Widow that yielded 2.7 pounds.

White Widow

Hopping across the aisle, we have bed 14 and Bubba God, our only truly sleepy time plant we’re growing this year. We grew several different sleep cultivars in the last two years, so this will be all we need this year. She is a knockout plant. She attempted flowering, and it took two teas to turn her. But she responded quickly and is growing with vigor. I suspect a medium high yield of stocky, potent flowers. She also becomes quite lovely close to harvest. Because of her early flowering attempt, I suspect she will not take much of a push to turn when the time comes.

Bubba God

Bed 15 is Sour Tsunami, and she is a happy, healthy plant. Last year, she tried to flower early, and we broke a huge branch a few weeks prior to harvest. So I’m thrilled to have one grow normally this year. She had a problem early with cucumber beetles (she’s next door to the plant I tented), but she survived that easily and is in full sprint. She’s getting more sun than she did last year (bed selection issue), so I suspect she will flower later in the season this year. This is such a cool medical plant, with real interaction between a solid amount of cannabinoids and THC. She is a great plant to have on hand when you need both in your medicine. She was also created with such love by Lawrence Ringo (Ringo’s Gift is named after him), that imo, everyone should grow this plant.

Sour Tsunami

Now we come to RK 16, the second RK, but the RK selected especially for this bed. There was a White Widow in this bed last year, so I’m giving this RK the same opportunity to grow tall. Three straight years, our tallest plant has been in this bed. (Btw, this bed is one of the beds I grew Hindu Kush in that first year, when I salvaged them with fire ash. This bed has come a long way). This plant looks like it might continue the tradition, though she’ll get competition; especially RG 11. There’s another reason I chose this bed for this cultivar. Something I have not mentioned about Rainbow Kush that some of you may or may not be aware of. If you go online and look at pictures of this cultivar, you’ll see some crazy stuff. For sure, some photos are enhanced and bogus, but when you see one that is real, well, it’s worth growing for. These can be colorful flowers. Color in cannabis is dependent on many things, but chief among them is the weather. There are colors in cannabis that can only be activated by certain temperatures; especially by colder temperatures. I know it gets a bit colder at that end of the beds, closer to the back of the wood shed. We’ll see what happens. 

Rainbow Kush 16

Ok, we’ve got three ruderalis against the privacy screen and fence. The first is ACDC in bed 7. The color of this plant, light green to yellowish, is similar to ACDC 17. The fact that two of these seeds produced plants so similar in color gives me confidence these oddly colored ruderalis will turn out just fine as medical plants. This plant has better leaf structure than 17, and is growing quite logically after one topping. Ruderalis, as you’ve seen already, does not always grow logically. I’m watching the rate of growth slowly increase on this plant as she spreads out and develops new growth. Like 17, ACDC 8 is a plant to be patient and study while she grows. She still has 6-8 weeks before she begins to flower.

ACDC 7

Next door in bed 8, we have the last ACDC. This was another plant that tried to flower and had to be stripped. This was the most severe of all the flower removals. There weren’t many, because the plant wasn’t very big, but it aggressively kept trying, so I kept stripping. This wasn’t surprising, given the amount of early morning shade that row of beds receives. ACDC 8 is a similar plant to ACDC 22. It took her longer to find her growing path, but as you can see, vigorous new veg growth is advancing. She has been trained toward the sides, to give each of these main tops a chance to grow and expand. Two weeks ago, this plant looked close to toast. But like all the others, she is finding a way for new growth. She is fully committed to veg, and there is no sign of flowering on her. Like all the others, she may still have two months to grow before she flowers. So like 22, this one will be fun to watch as she sprints and finally joins the party.

ACDC 8

The last plant is RG 5, the second Ringo’s Gift. This plant attempted to flower from every pour in her structure within the first week of planting. She got stripped and through two fish emulsion teas, she was convinced to return to veg growth. Compared to RG 11, note how much thicker this plant is. All that topping forced it to concentrate on inner development. I’m thrilled to see her growing, but this plant is going to be a challenge. She is already being targeted by moths for eggs at a ridiculous rate. Our hope and expectation is this targeting will lessen over the course of the growing season, due to the development of beneficial plants, and our use of spot spraying BT. We will not allow the worms to win. Another solid medical plant. Not going to be as tall as 11, but might end up producing more flowers. We’ll see. There will be a lot more pruning.

Ringo’s Gift 5

Overall:  Except for my usual early morning, evening issues with shade, we have had perfect growing conditions to date this season. Literally perfect. As you might have noticed when I give the current temp and humidity at the end of these blogs, we’ve had steady heat in the low 80’s, and humidity consistently under 50% during the day. It spikes at night, but as long as it goes down during the day, potential pathogens are easy to contain. These conditions will begin to change soon, if a typical weather pattern holds. When the humidity spikes, our job becomes much more challenging. It is during this time that choices must be made. Which growth remains and which growth goes? It is when proactive farming becomes a daily mantra. Because I study the weather closely, I also think of it as anticipatory farming. Planning ahead for what is coming and being prepared at all times for the sudden changes that often occur during the flowering period. It is important to remember that flowering coincides with the changing weather of autumn. When the weather turns, it’s high alert time almost every day.

For right now, we are entering the period of the grow where plants begin to get large. The tops of RK 16 are almost at my eye level now. RG 11 has eye level tops. If you are looking at the photo at the end of this blog, use the tomato plant as your guide. That plant went in the ground five weeks before these plants went in the beds. In 4-5 weeks, most of the cannabis will be this height and taller. When I walked out to spray yesterday, it was the first time I noticed several of the plants starting to feel large. It’s in the stalks. The size of the plant says bush at the moment, but the size of the stalk says tree. Some of that is mitigated by all the early topping, so growth is more outward than upward. Even with that growth, the plants are now extending up, in addition to out. At least seven plants will be eye level or above our heads within a month.

You are going to start hearing about plant interaction, which we try to avoid as long as we can. At a certain point, training will only run you into more plants, and it’s time to break out the scissors and prune.

From here to harvest, every day is hands on, and soon will be gloves on. Right now, it’s a disciplined, proactive approach to plant maintenance, training and feeding. Everything we do right now is designed to bring us the most possible harvestable medicine grown outside. Not everything will make it, but the choices we make in the next few weeks will go a long way to ensure the eventual flowers have their greatest opportunity to grow well and be harvested clean. The middle of July is generally about the halfway point between starting and the peak of harvest. The second half of the grow is when growers make their bones.

Back on Friday. Looking forward to Oaksterdam having their virtual field trip at my farm on Friday, while the next blog posts. Stay safe. Survive and vote.

80℉ 34% humidity

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.