TESTING THE VARITIES PART 3

The plants have been flowering since February 18 but they have another three to five weeks before they ripen. There are several reasons why ripening has been delayed by a few weeks.

IMG_1466-2First, the Bay Area has had multiple weeks of mostly cloudy or rainy weather, limiting the amount of light the plants received as compared with what they receive on sunny days. Even in the low light months of February or March. Secondly, about three weeks into flowering the lighting schedule failed due to a mal-functioning timer. The plants received two to four extra hours of light each day for five days. This probably delayed ripening for 10 to 12 days.

The plants were started in a tent with a four-by-four-foot canopy but were IMG_1478-2moved into the greenhouse four weeks ago because they were outgrowing their quarters. The move doubled the canopy size to four-by-eight-feet. They have filled that space too, but they have stopped growing larger and are concentrating their energy on flowering.

The greenhouse receives light only from the top and the front. The other sides are building walls. To supplement the natural light two 1000-Watt HPS lamps switch on from 10a.m. to 4p.m. One is on a light mover and the other is attached to the back wall to light the darker back part of the greenhouse.

IMG_1492-2There are 35 plants in the garden. Each is a different variety. All were purchased as clones from local dispensaries. Each plant has just less than two square feet of space, a square measuring almost 18 inches per side.

The purpose of the experiment is to get an idea in miniature of how each variety would perform if it had more space and time to develop into a larger plant. To do this, I forced the plants to flower when they were still small, only 10 days after they had been transplanted into six-inch containers.

The lighting was switched from being on continuously to a split cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours of darkness. Almost all varieties start to flower when they receive a minimum of 10 to 11 hours of uninterrupted darkness daily.

IMG_1481-2Since the plants are close to one another, the sides of the plants and the understory leaves and branches don’t get much light. Since light powers both the plant’s growth and its metabolism, these parts don’t contribute to the plant’s growth. Instead they use energy produced by the canopy to fuel their metabolism, and they hinder the free flow of air between the plants. Removing them, which I did for this article, helps the plants by easing crowding, facilitating airflow and lessening the energy load non-productive parts use.

Save all the leaves from the pruning process and run them through the juicer to make a healthy drink. Some people use the fresh leaves as medicine for debilitating chronic medical conditions.

At the end of this experiment I will have an idea of each variety’s morphology, the amount of space it requires, its yield, the quality of the bud and its cannabinoids and terpenes.

IMG_1435 copyPHOTOS

  • The greenhouse. Besides the 35 experimental plants six plants that were living outdoors to get an early start on the summer have taken up temporary residence to stay out of the rain.
  • The plants in the garden before pruning away the lower branches.
  • After pruning the air flows freely and the plants have a bit more space.
  • Five of the varieties being tested; THC Bomb, Sour Diesel, Kosher Kush, Sunset Sherbet, and Purple Urkle. Notice how different they look
  • Young bud of Sour Diesel close-up.

TIP OF THE MONTH FROM ASK ED®

When the buds are near ripening there are a few advantages to keeping the temperature high day and night. With CO2 enrichment the plants grow fastest and yield the most when the top leaves have a surface temperature of about 85 degrees. During the dark period lower the temperature by 10 degrees. The high temperatures are above the preferred range for both powdery mildew and botrytis so an attack is much less likely to occur.

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