2020 Isolation Grow: Last Plants Come Down

Oct 23, 20202020 Isolation Grow Blog

October 21

HARVEST ALERT

Been waiting all summer to bring down the big plants, and that began yesterday, with RK 18, Rainbow Kush in bed 18.

I am particularly fond of the way Bee arranges the flowers, and how they come down off the tomato cage rack.

What you don’t see in the time lapse are the number of gloves being changed because mold had to be removed. Probably ten pairs for both of us. Our main source of mold this year has been loose debris in plants, or leaves that turned bad. Another common cause has been mold down the sides of stems caused by leaves that don’t snap off cleanly. Leaves that take bark off the side open up that stem to any pathogens. But the main source of mold has been loose debris. This is the first year that worm scat was not the main source. In taking down all of these plants, there has been minimal worm evidence.

Something else we saw none of yesterday was powdery mildew. There were probably trace elements of it, but not a single pm blemish was seen on leaf or flower. In fact, Bee and I have come to agree that powdery mildew is no longer a major issue for us. With each year, it is becoming more of an oddity in our beds, an outlier, almost a relic of another time. All of that would change if I stopped spraying Regalia, of course. But that’s not going to happen. We have lost entire large flowers because of powdery mildew. We have lost branches to powdery mildew. This year, we lost a couple dozen leaves per plant, and that’s it. We no longer have a powdery mildew problem.

Bringing down a plant like this brings conflicting emotions for me. I feel joy at what we’ve grown, but I have grown quite fond of sitting in front of this plant, close by. She made me slow down, and linger in the beds.

I stacked my tomato cages with flowers to bring inside; or so I thought until trimming one of the red cages stacked with flowers by Bee. They used three levels on the cages for stacking, large, medium and small flowers. Three layers going all the way around. It seemed like that one cage of flowers took two hours for the fan leaf trim.

RK 18 has completely filled one side of the drying room. We can typically hang at least two plants at a time on each side of the cottage. Not with this plant. It took up all the lines, end to end, along with about a dozen extra long flowers being hung on the side of the drying rack. 

The other side of the room has two plants hanging, RK 16 and Bubba God. Neither of those is quite ready to come in for trimming. But we’re going to have to move both of those plants in order to make room for the last plant RG 11, which I suspect we’ll be taking down tomorrow.

Having both Rainbow Kush plants hanging at the same time makes for a phenomenal amount of odor.

We trimmed White Widow last night and were able to easily make the executive decision to popcorn the entire plant for edibles, tinctures and pill. There is medicine in the plant, plenty of trichomes, so she’ll be perfect for this. But these were not the kind of flowers you want to spend time trying to trim. In fact, trimming them would probably result in losing some of the medicine in the plant. To preserve that medicine, we simply removed every flower from the stem and dropped them directly into jars.

It is easy to see that Rainbow Kush will make up the majority of our 2020 yield. Two of these grew very well this year. The tally is likely to rival the two plant total we got last year from White Widow, 5.2 pounds. We are fortunate to have grown it so well last year. We’ve got more than enough to last another year before we grow another White Widow again.

When either of the Rainbow Kush plants come in for trimming, they will be treated with appropriate respect. Many jars of “A” trim will be filled. Not because we smoke much, but simply for the joy of trimming these epic flowers.

Bee and Charlie eye another impressive flower from RK 18. 

HARVEST ALERT

RG 11, or Ringo’s Gift in bed 11, is coming down. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will be bringing her down solo.

Another approximately 20 small pieces of mold were discovered and easily extracted while I brought her down. Two more pieces were discovered during the fan leaf trim.

The entire process of bringing down that plant, trimming off the fan leaves, washing and hanging, took seven hours. I felt a bit punchy when I finished.

And for the first time, just as I theorized in an earlier blog, we are using the red tomato cages for hanging most of RG 11 in the drying room. The flowers draped on the first two red cages were hung on lines, but we literally ran out of room for the first time. Because there are no more plants, the red cages could be carried directly into the cottage and positioned in front of the various fans. We could have hung another flat rack on the other side of the room, but with this many large flowers, we prefer hanging.

At the moment, our drying cottage is one of the most alluring places to be. The pervasive odor of fragrant cannabis blows out of the vents and wafts over our valley. Being in that room is to understand and feel all the beauty of the plant, and the inspiration of the grow.

Bee spent about 40 minutes here last night, playing guitar and singing to the plants. They were inspired, and I totally get it.

So we are setting ourselves up for leisurely trimming. I believe all the remaining plants to trim will constitute the largest part of our yield. I will have companionship during the trim, which makes a huge difference. Trimming alone is . . . not celebratory enough.

Yesterday, bringing that giant plant down by myself was a challenge. To bring her down and get her washed before the sun went down was a bit of a race. It required a zen-like approach to the task. I don’t think I said more than a dozen words in seven hours. When Karen asked me if I wanted lunch, I just shook my head. All she heard from my station were sighs and snips.

As of this morning, time is no longer my enemy. The long shadows drawing across our property have my blessing to advance quickly into winter. The last cannabis plant is down. All that remains is waiting for a plant to completely dry before bringing her in for the delight of sampling before leisurely trimming.

This looks like Bubba God, the next plant to come in for trimming, probably on Sunday.

Today, I’m going to take it easy. The last two days were labor intensive from dawn to near dusk, and it was a surprise to have to take down RG 11 by myself.

But that really is the bottom line when it comes to a grow. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the grower to do all the work needed, if necessary, to finish the job. 

When Bee comes to help, and they help a lot, it is a privilege. Not only to help distribute the workload, but to share in the joy of the process, which is extraordinary. I do not take Bee’s presence for granted, but from the start, this is what I told our child:

Every time I grow, I develop a plan for doing all the work by myself, because life can intervene and change your plans. If I don’t have help, I must know how to do everything, and I will do everything. I won’t wait for help. When help comes, it will join me at whatever stage I’m at. As the grower, I am constantly moving ahead. What is the next task?

In the case of our beds now, the next task begins tomorrow. We will dissemble cages and store them. We will store the foliar sprayer. We’ll pick up all the stray bottles of Neem, BT and Regalia and distribute them to either storage or the trash.  We’ll pick up all the trimming scissors and get them in isopropyl to soak, then clean, and then store. We’ll gather the loose rolls of planting tape. We’ll gather the loose empty beer cans and carry to recycling. We’ll clean up.

Eventually, we will dig out and remove each tap root, where they will be examined.

Then, we will cover each bed with the clear plastic and solarize. I have made some casual inquiries from a local fisherperson, and a couple of markets where I’ve scored fish in the past. If something is available the next few days, I’ll consider it. If I got any fish, I would probably focus it entirely on the cannabis beds we’ll be using next year.

Because late last night, Bee and I discussed the grow for 2021. We’re settling on eight plants, so there will be an empty bed in between cannabis plants. Or like this year, at worst, some low growing vegetation that can be trained over.

The cultivars we are focused on for next year include Magic Jordan, CBD Therapy, White Widow, AK 47 (for the first time), and Ultimate Purple.

We’re going to crack all ten Magic Jordan seeds, and grow as many females as we get. We’ll fill in the beds with other cultivars based on how many Magic Jordan we grow. We are both very excited to grow Magic Jordan, test Magic Jordan, and find out all we can about CBG.

We have successfully brought down all thirteen plants and await a non-rushed trim on what is beautifully drying in the cottage. Next week, we tally up the final trims and see our yield for the year.

But before we get to the tally and the final few blogs, we have a special blog for next Tuesday. Not specifically cannabis related, but rather . . . a seasonal celebration.

Survive and vote, folks. We’re almost there.

Thirteen plants down, and only trimming to go. This is the final full bed photo.

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.