Things have been progressing nicely with Cagney and Lacey, my two original clones that I picked up from Natural Cannabis Company’s OrganiCann cuttings selection. One sativa dominant (Lacey – Blueberry Cookies) and one indica (Cagney – Cherry AK), it’s been interesting to see the variations in their development.
To recap, I set forth on this project with a stubborn refusal to learn anything more than the basics and steadfast commitment to spending as little cash and time as possible while still growing decent cannabis. I put most of my efforts into setting up decent LED lights and procuring high quality OMRI-approved organic soil.
With low motivation to futz around with soil/water testing, adding nutrients and other time consuming chores, I did my best to offset this by utilizing what few advantages I have – the main being an unlimited source of nitrate/nutrient-rich water from my two 20 gallon fish tanks. My other advantage is science.
The first 4 weeks were extremely low maintenance, although it was entrancing to watch each new little sprout develop and leaf uncurl. On sunny days, I move the plants outside to take advantage of natural light and terroir. Initially, the weather was cool and mild; careful not to overwater, I averaged about once a week. As the plants became sturdier and the weather improved, I noticed drooping on warmer days and upped the watering schedule.
Still using 100% fish tank water, the increased watering led to the development of yellow, almost burned looking leaves near the bottom of the plant. After very little research, I concluded the fish water contained too many nutrients in combination with the quality soil. My solution was to switch to filtered water for most waterings and do a deep soak with fish tank water every 10 days or so. I removed all the damaged leaves and saw an immediate improvement. Problem solved!
SmartPots are designed to allow maximum airflow to the roots, but this also means that water drains quickly. You definitely don’t want plants sitting in water which can lead to root rot, so I opt to water more often rather than allowing the plant to absorb more water over time with the use of a plastic plant saucer.
Cagney, the indica, is growing faster and thicker than the sativa, which naturally develops more slowly and sparsely. As the plants grew in height, I pinched new growth off to develop new shoots and branches. There was no strategy to this; it was almost random. This, as it turns out, is a mistake.
As the weather continues to improve and warm, the plants have increased growth considerably. They continued to bush out and develop unfettered. Cannabis requires two main elements for healthy, vigorous growth: sunlight and fresh air. With the increased density, it was time for a trim to allow as much of the plant to receive these things as possible.
I began by removing the largest of the leaves that were shading lower branches. I picked off any deformed or damaged leaves and removed the largest of the leaves from the thickest part of the growth to increase the air flow. Here they are all pruned up.
Now I remove the occasional leaf or three every day when I move the plants outside.
The tops are still rather dense and due to my inexperienced pruning technique, branches are growing close together. Attempting to combat this, I purchased a knitting loom set. What can I say? I’m an out-of-the-box thinker. The rings, meant to help knitters, were heavier than I expected and the plants weren’t strong enough to support them initially. Now, however, these rings ended up being helpful. The posts make the perfect spacers for branches, which slip easily into the notches. By spreading out the branches with a ring, the interior of the plant gets a lot more light and it gently trains the branches to space out. I still think they’re too heavy to leave on the plants for long, but using the smaller ones for a couple of hours in the afternoon seems to work just fine.
Mid-May marks 18 hours of daylight in Northern California so the plants be getting lots and lots of natural daylight. I plan to move these outside permanently on June 1. They’ll be joined by my new additions of Kate (OG Kush) and Allie (Gorilla Glue #4), two new clones I just picked up. I added foil to the back of the closet to help direct light to the backsides of the plants and a third light to accommodate the new clones.
Kate and Allie were both transplanted recently. Instead of Black Gold, I used Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest soil. I look forward to seeing how this affects these clones relative to the Black Gold plants, if it does.
As a resident of California, I’m allowed six plants so for my last two, I’ll be planting seeds and starting them inside, shortly. Stay tuned for that.
So to recap, we learned:
- There’s such a thing as too much fish tank water. Switched to filtered with a fish water soak every 10 days.
- Utilizing strategy during initial pruning could have led to better shaped plants.
- Thinning out large leaves improves air flow and allows sun to reach interior and lower branches.