The winter garden, consisting of one plant, a SharkShock, has been flowering for a month. When I purchased it from a dispensary in Oakland the first week in January, I transplanted it from a 2½ gallon container to a five-gallon container. First I placed a bottom layer of commercial planting mix enriched with 20 percent by volume homemade kitchen and yard compost, and then placed the plant on top of that, filling the sides with mix so that the whole plant stem length remained above the soil line.
The plant was grown vegetatively, rather than flowering, for two weeks by interrupting the dark period. This was accomplished with a five-minute burst of light from a 40-watt warm-white compact fluorescent every two hours during the dark period. It was fertilized weekly using a 7-9-5 one-part complete vegetative formula fertilizer diluted to 700 parts per million (ppm).
Five days after the regulatory lights were turned off and the formula was changed to a one part bloom formula, 3-12-6, the first flowers appeared. Five days later flowers were appearing on all the branches.
The greenhouse receives light only from the top and front, so the 10+ hours of natural winter light is supplemented using a 600-watt HPS lamp for 12-hours daily, turning on shortly before dawn and off shortly after nightfall. Now that the days are getting longer and the intensity of the sun is increasing, the plant is getting an extra boost as it begins to ripen.
Soon after transplanting I began “training” the plant. I wanted it to completely fill the 4’ x 4’ canopy, 16 square-feet and to encourage the large branches capable of producing large buds.
On its own, SharkShock grows a large main stem with big bud and smaller side branches that produce
smaller buds. Clipping the main bud early results in several main branches that will yield more than the large single bud.
The plant had been clipped when it was young so it had branched out somewhat. I started by “horizontalizing” the branches: Bending them so they were parallel to the floor rather than growing up. I bent some down and held them in place using twist-ties attached to little holes drilled at the container top to hold them in place. Others were bent and held in place using crutches. Then understory and small branches were removed, leaving only large bud sites.
Horizontalizing the plant, similar to scrogging, but without the screen, produces even more because the one plant covers a much large canopy and the branches fill with buds.
The results are apparent 30 days later. All of the buds are at approximately the same height so they don’t block each others’ light. The entire canopy is filled with bud sites and the flowering formula is encouraging new bud formation. Growth is
also helped by the increasing intensity of the sunlight and ambient light as spring draws closer.
The buds will be ripe in 30-40 days.
- Plant as purchased from dispensary. It had a few main branches as a result of early pruning.
- SharkShock after training and pruning, before the “switch.” Small and understory branches were removed and remaining branches were horizontalized.
- The garden set-up. Using a 600 watt HPS lamp and ambient light, CO2 pads, a five-gallon container and planting mix.
- SharkShock one month into flowering.
- Close-up of flower one month old.
TIP OF THE MONTH
Many of us use salves containing camphor, lidocaine, hot pepper, aspirin or other analgesics for pain relief. These salves can be made more efficacious by adding CBD and THC. Enriched salves will not get you high and will not show up on drug tests. There are several ways to add them to your favorite salve or lotion.
- Mix in finely powdered trim leaf. First grind it using a coffee bean grinder of blender. Before opening let the dust (glands) settle after grinding. Adding ethyl (drinking) alcohol, glycerin or vegetable oil to the powder before mixing helps the cannabinoids dissolve more easily.
- Mix cannabis tincture in to the salve.
- Make a poultice of cannabis chopped ground or powdered leaf using salve as a “binder.” Hold it in place with a bandage or wrap.