2020 Isolation Grow: The Limp Leaf

Oct 16, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

October 13

Bee’s Covid test was negative, and they will arrive today, ready to work sans mask.

I’m bringing in ACDC 22 for trimming, while waiting to see which plant might need taking down today. My guess is RG 5, but we have to wait until sunlight hits the beds to be certain.

 

HARVEST ALERT

RG 5 is ready to come down. I literally took a break from trimming ACDC 22 to check when the sun hit the plant. So, I’ll be suspending trimming until after I bring down Ringo’s Gift in bed 5.

 

October 14

Yesterday went by in a blur. Bee and I were busy.

The very good news was that we harvested 447 grams from ACDC 22. That is just under a pound, and it was almost all “A” trim quality. To get a pound from a plant that attempted to flower, and had a hole in the base, is far beyond our expectation or hope. With this one plant, we have a solid start on which to rebuild our ACDC supply. Over the next few years, we will grow this again, adding each unique phenotype to our dispensary. Looking forward to getting all this ruderalis tested. That will give me guidance for growing the rest of these seeds in years ahead. The quality of what we harvested yesterday filled us both with joy. Those were high calibre medical flowers.

But the downside to yesterday was the realization that while we have been in a constant cycle of bringing plants down and trimming plants that have dried, the rest of our garden is fighting mold. Approximately 50 small pieces were found yesterday. Four entire tops had to be removed.

In the grand scheme of things, losing a few flowers is not a big deal. It is to be expected. But knowing this is never enough to buffer the hurt of losing a large, beautiful flower.

A key sign of trouble: The limp leaf.

Just looking at this, you see no mold. The flower looks normal; except for that leaf.

On the other side of that leaf was mold. It was rotting through the flower. The entire top had to be removed.

 

Most of the mold was lower, on more shadowed growth. These are typical spots for this time of year. Even if we were inspecting more often, the same amount of mold would have eventually been found and removed. It was going to happen. It only felt more dramatic because so much was found in one day.

Of course, all of this is the yin and yang of gardening. For every success, there are always disappointments. For every ACDC 22 that exceeds expectations, there is an ACDC 7 that had monstrous unreached potential.

I might be able to prevent some of the mold if I had huge fans blowing on the plants 24/7. But that’s called growing indoors, not growing outdoors. Mold is the undeniable downside when growing outdoors, and October is the month it happens. If you live in an environment with high humidity, you’re going to have mold. As a grower, this is something you must expect. More frequent inspections are good for preventing the mold from spreading too far. But those inspections would not prevent the mold. It would, however, catch it earlier.

This is where cutting way back on watering helps, but nothing stops mold from forming, once the conditions are right. As growers, we can only stop it from spreading. For example, a piece of mold was found on a stem of the tomato plant for the first time. Even the lack of watering will not protect plants once conditions are perfect for pathogens. Recently, we had four consecutive days where the humidity never dropped below 80%, and was in the 90’s most of the time, with no wind. I blogged recently of plants still being wet at noon that I sprayed at dawn. There is nothing you can do, expect to inspect often, cut and treat.

So all the CBD plants, except the giant RG 11, (seen above) are either in the house in jars, or drying in the cottage. I always start to feel a bit more secure once the CBD plants are safely stored. Between all the ACDC, the Ringo’s Gift to come and the Sour Tsunami already harvested, we are already in a much stronger medical cannabis position than we were before this season. All that we are growing this year will bolster what we had, including last year’s Harle-Tsu, and the last bits of plants we still have from previous years. I see tinctures mixing older cultivars with new, once we get test results from the 2020 harvest.

The final five plants are what await us in the beds. I’m waiting for the sun this morning, before venturing out for the first look through a mag lens. The inspection last evening showed both RK 16 and White Widow as very close, with a few amber trichomes. Bubba God’s trichomes are full and white. They will obviously begin turning soon, but perhaps she has a day or two of leeway.

On an amusing note, this is the first harvest we’ve had with a robot vacuum. We run the vacuum every two days. We are trimming a lot. We also tend to sweep up after we trim. But when I empty “Robbie,” I always giggle when about a quarter of a cup of shake falls out.

By the way, tomorrow is Karen’s birthday.

Happy Birthday, sweetie! Love you. We are serendipity in the flesh.

HARVEST ALERT

RK 16 is ready. I’ve notified Bee. I’m grateful to have help on this one, for both mold inspection and fan leaf removal. She will be an excellent primer for the giants to come down next week.

Back into the overalls I climb, though they might have been able to walk over and slip themselves on me without any help, if you know what I mean and I think you do. It gets like that during harvest.

ELECTION UPDATE

Our ballots have been received at our county office and will be counted. So grateful! Our votes are in, and since Karen and I voted identically, that means our side is already two votes in the lead. Ha!

 

So we moved to the beds in order to take down RK 16. This is the perfect time to show everyone how we check for mold while in the beds:

Another 5 small pieces of mold were spotted and extracted. We don’t need rubbing alcohol for these cuts, because these flowers are all going to be washed today. Here, Bee shows how to make elbows when branches are on either side of the stem:

Elbows make for convenient hanging for drying. We’ll use a clothes pin if we don’t have an elbow.

 It takes us about two hours to bring down a plant this size. I expect it will take three hours to bring down RK 18. We take our time, and study every single bud. Every flower must be examined on all sides. Leaves should be lifted, or removed, in order to examine the flower beneath. Not unlike ACDC 22, this plant is about 80% “A” bud material.

We both saw a few more limp leaves, with associated mold. A couple of pieces were only discovered through a single, small brown leaf. If you moved the flower around the leaf, you could see the mold forming inside. These molds are easy to remove, though discouraging to discover. After six months of work, it hurts to lose any flowers on harvest day.

This is our first six rack harvest of this season, but not our last. I’d imagine 18 will be one or two racks larger. But this certainly made the living room fragrant.

We are in the midst of it now. Nine plants have come down. Six of them are now hanging in the drying room, which is almost full. Tomorrow, we’ll see if any plants are ready to come in for trimming. We’re hoping ACDC 17 will be ready sooner than other plants, because her flowers, though large, are extremely airy. She will be a simple plant to put into jars, as she will entirely be treated as popcorn, stripped from the stems and directly into jars. But if she is not quite ready, we can certainly move some plants along the lines into a more compact form and create enough room for one more plant to hang. Which is good, because White Widow should be ready to come down today. That will make for a full house in the drying cottage, and we will literally wait a day or two to bring a plant inside for trimming, and create an open space in the drying room. With six plants in there now, the odor is almost overwhelming.

Survive and vote. We’re about a week away from bringing down the big monsters.

 

63℉  17,22℃  87% humidity  Nine down, four 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.