This article is a part of an ongoing sequence in collaboration with Kevin Jodrey to present the world a glimpse of the cultivation data incubated within the hills of Humboldt County, California. Jodrey is an internationally revered cultivator and propagator, and he at the moment runs Ganjier Farms and Wonderland Nursery in Southern Humboldt. In this sequence, we’ve tapped into Jodrey’s expertise and that of different consultants to disclose the particular methods and instruments that prime tier farmers use within the Emerald Triangle.
Part 1 checked out choosing the precise genetics in Issue 128, and Part 2 tackled the artwork of constructing soil in Issue 129. We lined the very best strategies of transplanting each indoor and outside crops to attenuate plant stress in Issue 130, and adopted that up in Issue 131 with the very best methods Humboldt farmers present for his or her crops through the vegetative development cycle.
Now we’ve reached the stage the place farmers start to see the fruits of their labor (and their errors): the flowering cycle.
In the 2 weeks main as much as flowering, Humboldt farmers are making ready their crops to create stunning buds. These steps are necessary to get proper, however a majority of the work (or the injury) has already been achieved, in keeping with Jodrey. “Your vegetative cycle is where you nail it,” he mentioned. “That’s where you create the reserves and the sink, basically the nutrient sink in the plant, so it can draw from the leaves and the plants the nitrogen and macronutrients that it needs while it’s working on picking up phosphorous. That way, that plant can slowly pull the nitrogen out of the plant as it goes through its flowering cycle, increasing the quality of the flower because the nitrogen is what gives it that minty chlorophyll flavor.”
At Jodrey’s Ganjier Farms in Southern Humboldt, he labored this season with Dia Damon and Spencer Damon of Nomad’s Landing to get the farm able to flower. They’re award-winning hashish farmers, and they now specialise in creating pure farming inputs. Dia mentioned the prep for flowering begins “about two weeks before you’re expecting your girls to be in flower, showing popcorn.”
“We like to start doing our Fat Flower tea and boost up the calcium just a little bit,” she mentioned. “That’s when they start to build their flower sets and their structure. Having everything readily available in the soil for the plant to uptake it … That’s the key.”
To defend the integrity of the flowers, particularly with California’s approaching testing requirements, farmers don’t add a lot through the flowering cycle. For the final prime dressing about two weeks earlier than flowering, Dia mentioned they add gypsum as a “taste booster,” giving the plant what it must let the terpenes flourish. Terpenes are sulfur and nitrogen primarily based, so including gypsum offers the plant the supplies it wants to extend terpene manufacturing, Dia mentioned. They additionally add bokashi or IMO 4, like they’ve all season.
“The native bacteria is IMO 4 taken out to the 4th stage,” she mentioned. “We capture and culture microorganisms on a substrate and that’s IMO 1, then we culture that out to inoculate it with the soil.”
Spencer Damon mentioned pruning is one other huge step to organize for flowering, and a simple strategy to maximize your yield. Prune so the plant can obtain as a lot mild and air as attainable, and take away all the sucker branches. At Oaksterdam University in 2010, the Damons had been informed no matter you take away inside first two 2 weeks of flowering, you’ll not lose a single gram of flower in weight from pruning.
“As a plant grows, the bottom branches are larger and the next size is smaller and smaller and smaller, all the way up to the top,” Spencer Damon mentioned. “When you come across a big branch, a small branch, then a big branch, you want to remove that small branch. That sucker branch shouldn’t be there, kind of like a tomato plant. Those essentially rob from your larger foliage.”
Some farmers take pruning a step additional to maximise their flower high quality. Sunshine Johnston, the lead grower of Sunboldt Grown who has been farming for many years, mentioned she cuts away about ⅓ of the plant or extra when she’s rising for flower manufacturing, leaving solely “the most vigorous branches.” She doesn’t do this sort of pruning for crops destined for focus — flower must look gorgeous to maneuver within the regulated market, she mentioned, and thinning the crops closely means every plant will put all its assets into each bud that’s left.
“I basically create the flowering crown, what I’m going to let go to flower, and then I do a sanitary spray,” Johnston mentioned.
That sanitization has a couple of levels. First, she sprays Trifecta to weaken the bugs. Then she follows that with a Grandevo spray to contaminate the pests. Anything like russet mites that stay are actually weakened and contaminated, making them prime targets for predators. That’s when Johnston introduces useful bugs to her Southern Humboldt farm.
The Damons agree that’s the superb time to place out predator bugs at Ganjier Farms. The useful bugs have to be on the market not less than two weeks earlier than flowering, in any other case they gained’t be efficient, mentioned Spencer Damon. “Once they go into flower, you’re kind of restricted on what you can do. It takes predator bugs a while to kill the pest insects, so you want them to get all of that handled before all of those go into flower.”
Dia Damon mentioned the pest bugs are actually interested in trichomes on hashish — if pests like russet mites have an opportunity to grasp the flowers earlier than the predator bugs can take them out, the end result isn’t good. “The pest bugs get behind the trichomes and underneath them, so it makes it difficult for the predator bugs to get in there,” Dia mentioned. Spencer added, “Imagine swimming through a sea of trichomes to get your food. It wouldn’t be easy!”
In Humboldt, Kevin Jodrey mentioned most crops begin to set off into flowering across the finish of July. Growing within the solar means crops are triggered by extra than simply diminishing mild. “It’s also changes in temperature and changes in spectra. As the angle of inclination changes as the season changes, the color of the light of the sun actually changes because it’s refracted.” This gradual change within the refraction of daylight is completely different than what indoor crops expertise, he mentioned. Most indoor lights replicate solely the springtime solar, not the complete season of solar spectrum.
“That light is not just energy, but information. It tells the plant there are changes occurring. When the plant starts to sense these changes…at the soil level, it starts to change the exudates formed at the root zone,” Jodrey mentioned. “They start to decrease the bacteria and fungi that generate nitrogen uptake, and start to intensify the bacteria and fungi that generate phosphorous uptake.”
The set off time for outside hashish is a mixture of sunshine hours, temperature and spectrum — these elements are why Jodrey mentioned you can not assume a cultivar will take the identical period of time to flower outside because it does indoors. Plants sorted for outside work are way more aggressive of their flowering curves than different strains that flourish underneath managed lights, he mentioned. Jodrey used William’s Wonder for instance: A well-known indoor pressure that must be compelled to set off with low mild hours. Try to run it outside in Humboldt although, and Jodrey mentioned you’ll be harvesting that in December.
Most strains set off when there’s 13.5-14 hours of daylight, and “you can measure from there forward to finish,” Jodrey mentioned. Plants that want greater mild ranges have to be positioned in a spot the place they will get that, however he mentioned not all of them do. Girl Scout Cookie truly does nicely with diminished mild on the finish of the season. “OG or Sour in the same place would not thrive though,” he mentioned.
After the pressure triggers, the plant now not needs to take nitrogen up in the identical approach; it needs to take up phosphorous, Jodrey mentioned. “Once we have the plant make this metabolic change, where physiologically it is changing what it is about to become, it no longer focuses on vegetative production. Therefore, basically you are stuck with what you have.”
Outdoor hashish crops are sometimes heartier than their indoor counterparts, however in addition they develop extra large buds that weigh branches down and generally break them, Jodrey mentioned. Depending on the cultivar choice, making a construction will save your branches from breaking and the unlucky lack of your densest buds. Support constructions will be achieved two methods, in keeping with Jodrey:
- Central stake that plant is connected to and goes by flowering cycle, the plant continues to be tied off on the prime. Connect the stakes with a standard guidewire, and drape netting over to help with excessive wind.
- If one does lots of pinching to extend the yield of the plant, these crops require extra of a caging technique. This means wrapping the plant with a help wire used sometimes in concrete building, for 4-to-6-foot crops, and permit the plant to develop by it. If the plant is get sufficiently big, 12-14 toes or greater, two of those cages are used. Cages will be reused on the finish of each season. Just bear in mind to scrub out the leaves and the fabric so that you solely have flowering materials uncovered to the solar.
Not all crops want help constructions, nevertheless. Sunshine Johnston mentioned she retains the crops at Sunboldt Grown smaller, anyplace from 5-7 toes tall. “The point is, besides not needing trellising, I want to be able to cut every part of the plant,” she mentioned. “I don’t want a plant that is out of my reach.”
Dia Damon known as this “the million dollar question.” The old style technique is to attend till the third swell of trichomes are current within the flower to get most yield, Dia Damon mentioned. “Now you’re taking it more or less halfway in between.”
Though that’s the trendy strategy to some, the old-fashioned approach remains to be most well-liked at Ganjier Farms, in order that they have chosen cultivars which can be as much as the duty. Why? That additional time within the solar makes a distinction. Spencer Damon put it merely: “When the flowers are really pretty, the effect is really short lived.”
That does imply a lot of the harvest gained’t make the Grade A lower. About 20-30 % of the crop might be offered as prime tier flower, and the remainder might be processed for extraction, Spencer Damon mentioned. “When you walk into a dispensary, you have 100 different flowers on the shelf. The first thing that gets rid of 97% of the competition is just the aesthetics. Just based on how it looks.”
Dia Damon agreed. “Absolutely. Our flower market now is all crème de la crème. It has to be the best of the very best to be considered in a dispensary.”
On the Sunboldt Grown farm, Johnston mentioned when she harvests relies upon each on the pressure she’s rising and the terpene profile she is searching for. The 5 indicators she makes use of to reap are:
- Hairs: First it’s 100% white hairs, then these hairs dieback and new, fewer white hairs come up. Those hairs will die again and there might be a 3rd succession, that possibly solely contains 15% new hairs.
- Color of the plant: “For the color, I’m looking at the overall appearance. When the plant is getting old, when the plant is ripe, it actually doesn’t look its best. You want to harvest it slightly under ripe so you have better color and freshness. Once it starts to get old, the resin turns gold and the color looks old.”
- Resin density: Looking for a way a lot it utterly covers the leaf. Harvesting for dwell resin, she mentioned she takes it earlier to seize youthful terpenes. For hash manufacturing, get it as ripe as attainable. “You’re going for resin density. Extended ripening is good.”
- Swelling of the bud
- Swelling of the calyxes
Sometimes a plant is harvested due to different elements. Jodrey mentioned the climate is a significant factor for whether or not a crop will get pulled early. “We typically get (rain) around September 20 every year in Humboldt, not a problem because it comes in and gives the plants a nice bath,” he mentioned. “If we’ve selected our plants for outdoor cultivation, they will be patho-genetically resistant.”
Cannabis is susceptible to molds, nevertheless, when within the 50-degree-Fahrenheit vary and 70% humidity, Jodrey mentioned. If extra rain comes after September 20 in Humboldt, farmers threat mildew and pathogens in the event that they hold their crops out too lengthy in such situations, he mentioned.
The different main issue he appears to be like for is trichome coloration. Depending on the sort of cultivar, “I like to pull when I have 15-20% amber trichomes, 30-35% when it finishes ripening,” Jodrey mentioned. Monoterpenes are diminished when taking the trichome previous a sure share of full, he added.
Once the flower is harvested in Humboldt, the job isn’t achieved, however an necessary milestone for the season has been reached. The farmers have been profitable stewards of the plant by a complete season and their crops have given them an outstanding crop. Pick up the subsequent challenge after we wrap up this sequence on how Humboldt grows with the ultimate stage: Processing after harvest.
Written and Published by By Allison Edrington and Kevin Jodrey In Weed World Magazine Issue 132