2020 Isolation Grow: Settling In While Grieving

Jun 2, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

May 28

A second Ringo’s Gift will go in a bed this morning. It appears we have a second female, and I’m still shocked that we have one. Blessings abound this foggy morning. Further, it appears a small band of rain will pass by Friday night and Saturday. Maybe a quarter to a half inch, and this is perfect for the recent transplants.

More good news on that front is my relief this morning in discovering the plants were untouched overnight. Digging holes in the dirt always stirs up whatever fish had been in the soil. There was still visible skin and bones. But it has been six months since we buried the last fish, and that is enough time for decomposition and absorption. Last year, a couple of plants were dug up on the first night. Not this year. In fact, to these trained eyes, at least two of the plants put in the ground yesterday had visibly extended overnight. All evidence of shock from the transfers is gone. Leaves are upright, anxious for sunlight, and a chance to spread those roots.

After planting the second Ringo’s Gift, it’s difficult to wipe the smile off my face. In the blog, CBG & Me, I wrote my dosing strategy of creating six unique medicines that can be taken a week at a time, then switch to the next, and so forth. It’s a way of keeping fresh medicine in your system, at the lowest possible dose.

When I look at this year’s grow, I am in the process of growing a brand new medical template for us. Four unique AC/DC and two unique Ringo’s Gift equal a medical protocol. From those, we can make blends utilizing past cultivars, and to give a little variety. We can also leave them exactly as they are, high in CBD, and low in THC. This is the greatest number of high functioning plants I’ve grown at once. For variety, we have a Sour Tsunami and CBD God as well. The Sour Tsunami has varying amounts of both CBD and THC. It is similar, in that way, to CBD Therapy. CBD God is reputed to be a 4:1 ratio of CBD to THC, but that is not what our test results showed last year. It had 17% THC and less than a percent of CBD. It was a lovely plant, despite the low CBD total. As an evening hybrid, she was effective for relaxing. I’ll see how she tests this year. As lovely as she is, if her test scores are low in CBD, I will stop thinking of her as a CBD cultivar. The good news is I have plenty of CBD this year. In terms of high CBD, this is now an epic grow for us and our little collective.

One more thing from today–somebody local: Bring me some cheap beer, please. I poured the last of last year’s stash yesterday and today. Prior to planting cannabis, not a single slug had died in beer. This morning, the slug traps are all filling. Four or five each. Need to keep this going. Need beer.


May 29

Some of you might be wondering why I keep straw on the beds and fairly snug around the plants. Even now we get chilly mornings, so part of it is keeping the young plants warm, but the main reason is water conservation. The straw helps keep the soil moist. Running drip beneath the straw allows for an efficient watering. If the temperatures remain moderate and not too hot, I only have to water once a week. 

I ran a bit of water this morning, but the forecast says a quarter inch will fall tonight/tomorrow. I say it will be at least a half inch.

There is evidence of a little nitrogen burn on a couple of the fan leaves, as seen below on Sour Tsunami. This comes from burying the plants deep into the bed, down where the fish was buried. It is definitely mostly dissolved, but the soil is obviously full of nitrogen. The plants will grow past this, so it’s not a concern. It’s a reminder that I won’t need as much liquid fertilizer this year as other years.

A glance a few minutes ago also showed each plant has connected with the soil and is growing. Two of the plants, Bubba God, and CBD God were virtually flush against the ground two days ago, just after planting. They are a couple of inches higher now.


May 30

Delicious rain fell overnight, 0.31, along with thunder that shook the house around two in the morning. Plants look very happy, and they are about to get a large drink of compost tea. I anticipate this pour will have a dramatic impact on their next 24 hours. There was one cup of liquid kelp based fertilizer in this tea, and I’ll be watching the plants for any further sign of over fertilizing. The few nitrogen burned leaves tell me the soil is rich. But any sign of burn in new tops, and I will flush the bed. Btw, I don’t think anyone had transporting compost tea in mind, years ago, when we purchased the little red wagon. Since I’ve had two hernias, this has saved me from carrying compost tea from where it is brewed to where it is poured.

Took the mag lens to the beds this morning. I’m calling both our Ringo’s Gift plants as being female. They are both over six weeks since sprouting, and there are no sacks. Grow girls, grow.

Poured Sluggo today, because it’s time. Especially until I can get more beer. Last night’s rain will extend the life of the beer by a day or two. Slugs don’t mind watered down. I can’t recall any other creature so willing to die.


I have to say something here, right now. I did not want to have to stray for one second, or one line, from the joy and hope I feel from growing and writing for this blog.

But I am grieving for my country on this day. If Karen and I were not so vulnerable, we would be  in the streets right now. Peacefully protesting with all our hearts. Black Lives Matter. We stand with you. I had to write this because at some point, I’d like to stop crying for my country today. I know that the best antidote I have for grief and anger is making things grow. Back to it I go.


The above photo, taken moments ago, is of CBD God. I wanted to show how much she has risen in 72 hours since planting. She was flush against the ground. She got a big gulp of tea this morning, and is now in the process my wife and I refer to as lifting her bloomers. Btw, the blue watering pot behind her is what I use to pour the compost tea.


May 31

Running 30 minutes of drip irrigation this morning, because it is Sunday, and that is when all my cannabis plants get their water.

Today, I rest. I check all the plants, of course. More than once. But I finished my exercise for the day prior to 9:00 am, and I’m going to allow my body, and hopefully my mind and heart, to rest today. Since we can’t be out protesting, rather than allow anger and frustration to rule me, I will instead choose to stop, sit, listen with my heart, and reflect. 

As I constantly wish for and work toward a healthier garden, I must also strive to be better than I am. I wish for each of you to find your peace, and allow it to take root. Easier said than done, I understand. All of us must strive to be better. We can be so much better. 

Peace unto all of you this day and always.


June 1

Glad it’s June. This is the first week where I make two sets of teas. Today, I started tea for the vegetables, fruit and flowers. There will be a cup of kelp based Grow fertilizer in this tea. I will refrain, until further notice from giving any more liquid fertilizer to the cannabis. Each bed is clearly full of nitrogen. 

Each bed is also full of enormous worms. Over the many years it has taken to create this soil, I have watched the worms as a barometer for soil health. Watching these monsters do their lightning fast shimmy-for-cover moves, I realize I’ve created both a thriving ecosystem for growing, and a potential underground invertebrate disco.

Unless something visually tells me to change course, the next two months of teas will be full of complex and simple sugars. No fertilizer will be required until the first tea of August, when I switch the emphasis of the teas to flowering. If any plant starts to flower prior to the first of August, I’ll make the switch then. That switch will include a kelp based fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium.

Even so, I’ll probably only give them one to three doses (one a month), and no more. We’ll see, but that is the way my eyes and hands read the soil right now. Those slightly burnt bottom fan leaves tell me a lot. The beds are full of juice.

It’s day 87 for us in isolation. As I write this, it is 74 degrees and 43% humidity in the beds. Perfect growing weather.

Stay safe everyone. We’re thinking about you. Next blog posts Friday. 

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.