2020 Isolation Grow: Readiness & Rain

Oct 9, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

October 6

This is the week I study weather forecasts multiple times a day. Weather changes fast. That’s why long range predictions are often inaccurate. Anything predicted beyond about twelve hours is guesswork. For example, when I first read of long range rain, it was scheduled for next Saturday. Several days later, it’s now looking more like a Friday event. We’ll make a decision either Thursday, or Friday on tenting the beds. Right now, based on the rain being predicted, we’re inclined to roll with it and let the showers hit the plants and soil. A bit of rain will not hurt our flowering plants. Might help, in fact. 

But another factor will be the weather immediately following the rain. In the case of this predicted storm, it’s looking very windy the day after it ends. This will be immediately followed by a warming trend. So these are two very good signs for soon to be harvested flowers recently made wet by rain. 

Something I’m now looking to remove in the beds are yellow leaves. I found a piece of mold on a CBD God flower this morning that was started by a decaying fan leaf. The plants are covered with leaves turned crispy brown by recent low humidity in conjunction with not watering the plants. But with the rise in relative humidity, and it will remain high until possibly Sunday afternoon or Monday, more of these dying leaves suddenly pose a threat. They are crispy on the tips, but you need to make certain they fall. They come out of the plant easily. But if they are allowed to remain when the humidity is so high, you run the risk of one of these crispy bits  becoming wet, attaching to a flower and molding. So one of my tasks today is yellow leaf removal. In fact, I’ll be doing this every day this week, after spraying. With the lack of water, there are a lot of yellow leaves in the beds now. I find myself fascinated by the plants that are not turning yellow. What’s up with them? The good news is four straight mornings of spraying Regalia have put a hurt on powdery mildew. I’ve heard local stories of a plague in people’s gardens, and I’m grateful that is not the case for me. But it is only through daily diligence that we achieve this goal. Having done this for three years now, I can state without equivocation that spraying Regalia often will prevent powdery mildew on cannabis, along with everything else you grow.

October 7

The tarp we use to cover the beds has been found in a shed separate from the grow. So we’ve got it, if we need it.

At the moment, it’s looking more likely the rain might only be a quarter of an inch, total. Literally, a nice sip for all of them. Does this conflict with my no watering position? Yes.

But this is rain water. Neutral water. Perfect. You don’t turn that down, unless it’s too much for the flowers. In this case, a quarter of an inch would provide a final bit of pure energy for the flowers to finish.

And now, just that fast, the forecast has changed to one with no rain, or at most, some mist. However, we’re still going to get the sustained humidity over 75%. So we get all the humidity, without any of the relief.

It is foggy outside this morning. Temperatures are chilling, but the humidity is high. The next four days are prime for pathogen problems. Mold inspections will increase.

ELECTION UPDATE

We just voted. We’ll drive our ballots to our drop sight. I feel great. I’ll bet you know who I voted for. Karen, too. Now, the waiting begins . . .

It helps to have a harvest to tend, and a closet full of choices to entertain, while we wait. Or perhaps I’ll sample something from the poo-poo platter.

I have mentioned our poo-poo platter more than once. The silver tray was a wedding present to us from (at that time) a prominent NFL family. It is highly unlikely they would have considered this being one of the potential purposes for the tray. We make this available to all our guests. In those tins are samples of everything we’ve got. The colored sticker tells you the year, and all the tins you see with pink stickers are kief. During non-Covid times, the poo-poo platter gets a lot of attention from our guests and friends. Neither Karen nor I drink alcohol, so this is what we have available for cocktail hour.

This piece cut from our recently harvested Sour Tsunami is being considered for carving into some kind of pipe.

October 8

This is one of those “hurry up and wait,” days. I could not be more prepared, or motivated to get this period of work started, but the flowers are not quite ready. Patience, grasshopper.

There is no rain in the forecast. Might be some fog mist, but no rain. However, we will keep the tarp where it can easily be reached until harvest is over.

It’s back to flower inspection and spraying. Everything got Regalia again this morning, because the humidity is consistently high. It is also remaining foggy for most of the day. And while rain is no longer in the forecast, there’s a 20% chance of mist the next two nights. I just checked a few minutes ago, and even though it’s almost noon here, this morning’s spray is still moist on the leaves and flowers. That’s what happens when the humidity remains above 75% all day. It’s also why I cannot spray in the evening after the sun has disappeared. I don’t want flowers to remain soaked all night long. That’s a recipe for a mold breakout.

There is no wind today. If I had giant fans, today would be a day to use them in the beds. The fans we have are busy in the drying cottage.

So, many flowers are getting close. How are the plants themselves holding up to final stages of flowering without more water?

RK 16

Rainbow Kush 16 is showing classic yellowing in fan leaves near her tops. She is sucking every bit of moisture into her flowers. Flower structure is strong. We harvest her soon.

White Widow, with more yellow than I’d like on her, but very close to harvest. In the case of this plant, I have noted a nitrogen issue with the soil in this bed that will have to be corrected over the winter. I also noticed the dirt in this bed was not balanced properly after I planted. The soil tended to slant toward the center, so water concentrated there. The flowers are good, but not as good as previous years for this cultivar. This bed needs some winter work.

RG 05

Ringo’s Gift in bed 05 was another plant that attempted to flower early. She has grown back nicely, though next to her giant sister, RG 11, she has perhaps a third of the yield we were hoping for. She is also very close to being ready.

Bubba God is only days from harvest. This plant has changed dramatically in the last two weeks. Purple is leaking into every leaf on her now. The only green leaves are those more protected from chilling overnight temperatures.

If I had to pick the next plant to come down, and I expect both of these to come down this weekend, I’d say the two most likely to go next will be either CBD God or ACDC 17.

CBD God day 55

ACDC 17 Day 59

Of the two, I’d predict that CBD God is next.

But with all these nearly ready tops and yellowing plants, I am left to ponder why none of this obvious aging is happening to either of our two giants, RG 11 or the miraculous RK 18.

RK 18 does not have yellow leaves.

I’m forced to ask myself, what did I feed this bed? How does a six month old giant plant, having not received water now in weeks, remain green and vibrant? Why are her leaves not yellowing, browning to a crisp, or becoming slimy? I climb a stool and then up onto the beds themselves. I try to get as close to the center of the plant as I can, though the canopy keeps me beyond arm’s reach. This is also a first. We’ve always been able to climb up and get at the top tops. Not on this plant, this year. The best I can do is climb as close as I can, grab a big fan leaf and bend the stalk in my direction for inspection. It is difficult, and possibly impossible to effectively spray the top flowers. We expect to lose some or part of them to mold, simply because they have not been treated as much as the lower flowers.

But so far, climbing up there to look at them, there has been one piece of mold and perhaps two leaves with powdery mildew. There is no distinct aging, only a few internal fan leaves that are dimming, and not much yellowing like you’ve seen in photos of other plants. She is obviously a nitrogen rich bed, and I recall placing a huge chunk of salmon deep in that bed almost a year ago. But there is more to giant growth than good soil. I’m sensing this bed drains very well and there might be some drainage issues in bed 13, with White Widow. Like I said, this will be addressed over the winter, before favas are planted.

So we came into this week expecting rain, and it appears we will dodge this problem. We will remain ready to react. The period of extreme humidity lasts until Sunday, when temperatures warm, the wind will blow, and humidity will revert to where it was most of the summer. This should allow our remaining plants to finish their flowering process without any serious additional problem.

Survive and vote. The crunch begins for real next week. Between this Saturday and the next Saturday, seven plants are likely to come down. The home stretch is beginning.

 

61℉  16.11℃  77% humidity The beds won’t look like this much longer.

 

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.