Welcome to GrassCity's Outdoor section! If you want this 5-6 month secret operation to be successful, the #1 rule is to TELL NO ONE. If you're growing for yourself, you don't need a "grow buddy" (an oxymoron). Just water the plants alone until harvest.
1. Choosing the Spot.
Don’t grow near houses and where people walk. But sometimes the houses can be an advantage. You will have to work exclusively at night but the proximity of the houses will prevent rippers from checking the spot in the day next to the houses without being suspicious and spotted. Hunters don't hunt near houses. The spot must be inaccessible to locals too (craggy forest, cliff, prickies= where people don't walk). Pots are good for those types of spots (digging is noisy and you don't want the mj too big there). I harvested 2 pots that were 100 meters from houses on the edge of the forest. These spots are rare.
Growing near your area in general is possible. You know the place, where people go and don’t go. Plus it means less time and gas spent. Plant in a hard to access area where you never saw anyone.
In the wild, great spots often have a natural barrier (prickers, water, rocks) and need to be in a homogenous , large, remote area Don't grow on the local river or woods everyone knows of, or in the only patch of trees in a field. Think like a ripper too when you choose. If you were able to get too easily to your spot, someone else can. Don't make it impossible though.
Bogs and marshes can be great spots because cops, rippers, people can’t go there without going through water. I wouldn’t do it in Florida with crocodiles and snakes though! If you grow in bogs, your plants will be safe but you might have to get wet waist high to water them (good spot!). A plus is you can use the water around the spot (if it's running water and has fish in it, it's good). No salty water. Even if it looks murky, brownish, mj will probably be fine with it. Islands are very good too (remote, need a boat or tread through water, water available). Use medium sized reeds (etc...) in bogs to conceal spot. In the middle of big reeds, it won't work, only the top of the mj plant will have sun.
Corn fields: Problems of the farmer using strong fertilizer, checking, harvesting. Often on a plain, so you get only light at noon because of stalks around. Lower branches are not in the sun. You need to cut some stalks (visible). Hard to find at night (and day). If mj gets higher than corn, it's over. Hard to LST there. It's been done though!
Along Railroad tracks: not too good because of RR workers. But with a well hidden spot, not many people walk along or check mj along railroad tracks.
Big forests: You'll need a discrete opening or the big trees will give too much shade. Plus plants will be easily spotted if the forest just has big trees and the underbrush is cut to avoid fires. You need some bushes and brambles too. Look for a wild forest. Make sure hunters don’t hunt there (cartridges, paths they made...) even during hunting season (hunters seldom go in brambles). (VERY IMPORTANT: don't make any visible tracks yourself. Access from different parts and use the same final small entry into the site). Or use the already existing paths, rocks to discreetly access your spot. Don't destroy any foliage around your site: that's your only protection against rippers. In fact, the most important is choosing the general area well (why this hill, that forest, bog, field...). No one should even think about going to check your spot.
Valleys and mountains / Sun exposition. Don’t choose the part facing South from morning to nightfall. When summer comes, you'll be thankful they're not in the sun all day long. Spots like that mean too much sun, too much watering (plants die pretty quick without water) and can be easily spotted from the opposite hill. Keep in mind that some can get huge (10ft). I like shorter indica types (5-6 ft). But 1 big one can give more yield and require less watering than several short ones. Size depends also on how long was the veg. stage, if you fimmed, LST'd, the size of the pot, and if you fed them a lot in veg.
I was once ripped on a spot with full sun. They were doing awesome (10hours sun, water) but it was way too visible. Use a SouthWest, SE or ES, EW exposure etc ... or with some North in it. Only North means not enough sun (only 3-4 hours in the morning). But a good spot that’s in the shade and cool for part of the day and has direct Sun from 9 am to 2-3 pm will be perfect. The morning sun is more intense than the late afternoon one too. However, if it freezes in your region in late fall, the trichomes are more likely to burst when the morning sun hits them (no time to warm up slowly). Use an early finisher if it gets cold in your area.
I like spots at the bottom of two valleys, where there used to be a river (river bed). Those spots (because low) don't get full sun, aren't visible from the opposite side and are spooky and full of bramble. Not being in full sun, they won’t die of thirst. It's moist there (water comes from hillsides down). You can find water springs and reservoirs there. They’re well hidden (the #1 criterion) and get 5-6 hours direct sun (enough). And it’s easier to haul water down than up if needed. Or find a spot at the juncture of two hills but a little higher up (where two hills meet it's craggy terrain so good for you). Don't make it too hard and break your leg in the middle of the night though.
Flat elevated places are excellent as they are not visible from an opposite hill.
Tree lines can be Excellent. Along creeks, little streams -avoid bigger rivers where people swim-). Face them South. Use old river beds (trees to hide and water sources there).
Don’t grow on top of a mountain or hill (especially facing south for 12 hours). Very hard work to take water up there. Too much sun. People go up there to check for mj.
Don't grow many big plants on your balcony or your terrasse (neighbours, helicopters). They can get huge and will stick out like a soar thumb. Use smaller pots for smaller plants.
This is crucial to increase your chances of success. You need to scout during the day several times to know the whole area. I have a dog so it's a good excuse or I ride my mountain bike (sports). My dog is my best alibi. I wouldn't want to be out there in non-sport clothes without him. Farmers, people can gaze at me, and then see the dog and mind their own business. I don't like the idea of binoculars and fishing rod etc... to be discrete.
The spot you think is great is maybe a place well known to locals, kids, horse riders (see more on top of horse). Today, for example, I saw mountain bikers (first and only people I’ve met there: this place is remote). Close to the beginning of my walk I spotted a gallon of water (left by a kid grower!). He also had plastic bottles cut to get “rain water”. Lol. If I find more of these, I'll reconsider growing there (but this place is big).
Now, I know where the abandoned old house is, where the broken windmill is etc… Use Google earth, maps before and after going there. You see how dense a forest or patch really is with a satellite view: it will help you visualize the whole area in your head if it's big Repeat this process several times to know every path, patch, ruins ... The 5th time you go, you might find a spot you hadn't gone to (that means it's not an easy find or a place people naturally go to): you're set!
Scout well BEFORE digging. On foot, look for wild vegetation and rough terrain. I'm scouting this whole area, you know, just like for a bank robbery hahaha! You must visualize the whole area in your head and know what’s a discrete, stealthy, hidden 360° spot.. Why did you choose that hill rather than another one? Is it visible from the opposite hill? CAR? WATERING? Choose well especially if this is in soil, not pots. They need to be invisible for the next 6 months. You’ll know when you’ve found the right spot. You’ll have a vision of your plants growing there calmly and securely!
2. The Beginning:
Grocery list : gardening gloves, a pick ax, protective worker glasses when you dig in rocks, a small shovel to take out the dirt, a tarp (Oldskool's tip) to put dirt and rocks on when you dig (to get rid of the dirt easier elsewhere, spot clean) a hatchet for roots, a saw to cut some branches if necessary (sun), a dim head lamp/candle for the night, water, food, MOSQUITO REPELLANT , skotch tape for fixing broken branches, charcoal or a black marker to cover the cuts of branches from trees.
Wear a face mask, gloves, skotch tape under shoes for foot prints. Working at night or very late/early is safer even if this is in the middle of nowhere. You can't afford to be spotted once: it's better to over do it. You must RESIST THE BEGINNER'S URGE to go back AGAIN and AGAIN to "check" (tracks, risks increased). Be safe and use common sense. They're probably fine if you've chosen your spot well Don't keep pics in camera, (CPU) or cell phone. You can also use a hunting camera (Leapfrog's tip) to secure your grow. Before driving back home, if necessary, change clothes. Always have car papers, Id and a good excuse ready. Don't leave paraphernalia visible in car or on site (Id, cell phone, trash, butts, prints...)
One of OldPork's tricks: Put non-femmed seeds (bagseed) with banana peels in paper bag about 1 month before planting (paper so it's not too humid in there and the seeds don't sprout). Change peels when too ripe. The gas from the bananas ripening is said to have an effect on the seeds giving a higher female to male ratio (you want females right).
Start them in solo cups (Oldskool) at home inside or outside. Place them directly in the soil mix (no cotton or tissue stage: adds a useless step where sprouts can be damaged). Use 1/2 organic potting soil (no manures or organic ferted soils like FFOF: too hot) + 1/2 peat moss + 15% wormcastings. Don't start with a store-bought rich mix.
Place seed about 1/2 inch in dirt. You can place the "pointy side" of the seed up. That's where the sprout comes out (white), goes back down in the soil and becomes the root. The "flat " side is lifted from the ground to become the first little round leaves). Just placing the seeds in any direction is fine though! Water gently (mist the soil), so the seeds don't move. Wait a few days until it is a little dried out. Repeat gentle watering.
Plant after last frosts. If you are in California (or a place with a long grow window), it may be wise to plant 45-60 days after the last frosts. That way your plants won't be HUGE and it'll be less veg time watering them and wrecking your spot. And they will flower at the same time than if started right after the last frosts.
Growing in WINTER does not give enough light for mj to be happy (smaller, fluffy buds, leafy plant: Oldskool's experiment). The days get longer in the winter until June 21 (when they start getting shorter). Mj naturally flowers 4-5 weeks after June 21 = beg. of August here for female budding to start, mid-July for males to make pollen sacks. Mj flowers best when the days get shorter.
Autoflowering seeds, on the other hand, will flower regardless of the light cycle (but smaller yield than regulal size mj). You can do those at the end of winter (or in Spring, Summer, Fall), as long as it's not freezing.
Regular seeds can be forced to flower in the winter if you flower them inside (lights 12/12), and then take them out around March (here), but the buds won't be great (harvest in May-June). If your grow window is big, you can get a small harvest before the summer like that. It can be good because fewer people look for mj in Spring.
To get the most and best bud you should follow Nature's cycle. Start in Spring and harvest in Fall. The plants sense that their time is counted and they reproduce before winter. I plant them at the end of April or beginning of May (last frosts are mid-March here) for less work and good size.
Late grows (June-July- beg. Aug if your grow season is long) can be good (smaller, more discrete plants, less mold because smaller but ripe buds). Too late (fall) means very little yield and death before finished. If you're in Florida, you can almost grow all year long.
If you germinate outdoors, use repellants against slugs and chicken wire against animals. The slugs will eat the baby sprouts if not stopped! Use a copper/aluminum ring around the stems -slugs don't cross them (OldPork)- and/or 1/2 can of beer (change regularly/after rain) or chemicals (change too). You can also put the cups in a crate which you tie on a sturdy bush so they're elevated from the ground. When the plants are about 1-2 ft tall the slugs can't kill them anymore so you can stop the slug chemicals or beer. Leave the copper/alum/ ring. Crushed egg shells around the stem of the plant also repel the slugs. Use chicken wire/fence if needed even for bigger plants (deer, racoons) until they'e nice and strong (August). I plant in my yard until 2 feet tall (then they go out). I never used chicken wire but no deer here. When they're 2-3 months old, animals usually don't go near them (human smell). Cows, Deer, horses ... can eat them though. Careful with smelly nutes added too late (blood meal, bone meal). Bears (etc...) will dig up your plants thinking there's food in there. Also you can use liquid fence or fishing line against deer etc... Pee around your spot (on the trees). Hunter's repellants, Dog hair, Irish soap...
In case of bug attack, spray in the morning on the whole plant (not at night: mold) organic products like neem oil/ soap, garlic and water (see Cantharis' link) / pepper, etc... Wait before harvesting.
OP hides a cup of mothballs (1/2 full) to fend off animals.
If you have mold (if weather is poor in the end of your season), use 10% milk in water on the whole plant (spray (OP). Or you can spray distilled water. Shake off after to not leave the plants too wet.
After 1 month or so, take them out from the cups (cut the cups), and put them in 3-4 gallon pots in order to kill the males if non femmed before you put only females in the holes (no males in the hole is smart thanks OldPork).
If you're going organic, OP's 3-4 gallon pots have 20% worm castings + a 1/2 handful of blood meal and a 1/2 handful of bone meal + 60 Promix + 20 native soil. Wait and kill the males in order to put only females in the holes in mid-June/beg. July (or you can use feminized seeds or female clones). You only want females in the holes you worked so hard to dig and fill in December-Jan-Feb. Worms will have come and eat the horse shit and will be thriving in there come Spring/beg. Summer: a good sign. Cut out the 3 gallon pots when you have only females and transplant into the hole (at night fall when the plant less active).
3. Soil Mixes
WARNING: Having a good airy soil mix is crucial. You need to have a good air water ratio or they will grow slowly and die. You want the roots to be well aired out and fill up the small container they're in. Here are a few tested and excellent recipes by Dankohzee and Cantharis.
What I would do is use peat as your base, add up to...say...1/6 vermiculite, find some gravel or rubble as Cantharis uses, wash/screen/sift it, and add it to your mix--about a sixth in ratio. Now you have a third of your mix consisting of aeration. Of the remaining two thirds, you could add mostly peat, but then sure, throw in a few bags of potting soil like miracle grow organic choice or just some quality soil if you want. For every hole your mix will fill, throw in a few cups of castings as well. And don't forget the lime.
We don't all have access to the same supplies, but the concept behind a good soil/less mix is simple and can be achieved in any number of ways. Approximately a third aeration in a peat based mix with some dry nutes like castings, bone meal, and blood meal, and lime and you cannot screw it up. You just cant. Don't give them any nutes at all until they have at least threee sets os serrated leaves and then give it to them at quarter strength and build them up to a full dose. If you use something gentle like Biocanna you won't have to worry about burning. Hope this helps man.
Also check out this post by Dankohzee for healthy and quick growing seedlings:
And Cantharis' seedling mix (nube proof too):
My seedling mix this year is two measures of peat/forest product substrate - gives the roots something to grow into and stores water. A measure of sand and a measure of volcanic rock chips - helps provide drainage. A measure of wormcasts - for nutrition. And an ounce of crushed eggshell per gallon. Seems to work well.
OldPork's Soilless Fish mix: Soilless means you use light mineral elements like peat/coco coir /vermi / perlite (= OP's Promix) instead of heavy compost, or all potting soil. Dig a 2'x2'x2' (50 liters) hole (or 3'x if it's very dry there). The peat/Pro will retain and drain the water (important to reduce water trips and for roots to not be under too much weight from the dirt). The soil needs to be aired out so the roots can easily dig in. You need little air pockets for the micro organisms to live in.
Builder's Sand is good for drainage - river sand can drain too much (very thin but can work too, don't add too much (10-20%), grit (Cantharis), rock dust, are good and cheap also).
In Dec-January-Feb. Prepare the holes, OLDPORK'S Soil Mix: Dig and take half of the native soil out and add 1 cup blood meal (can attract animals if placed too late, replace with alfalfa meal if nec.), 1,5 cups bone meal (can attract animals), 1 half-shovel of horse manure (a good kind from the store or one that's 6 months old), some "dolomite" lime (or eggshells organic) if the pH is too low (acidic: under pine trees / washed out soils/ some clay soils). Cover with mulch over Winter-Spring. Keeping the same holes amended every year is the best.
OldPork DO NOT use clay for the other half of native soil because this peat-clay mix will fall at the bottom of the hole (too heavy with wet clay), and eventually kill your plants.
The soil will have cooled off by May/June/July, when you transplant the (future) females from the 3 gallon pots (in beg./mid-July, most males will have started showing sex as light decreases so that should leave you with mostly females). You can use the soil in May-June if you have all feminized seeds or feminized clones or just bagseed you'll select females from later. Go easy on the nutes (even organic). Place the nutrients 1 inch under the root ball (make roots go get it + no burn): important (OP). OP recommends to not put toppings (like bat guano) real close to the stem (can burn the root ball)
When you plant in soil (June-July), add 40-50% peat, 20%worm castings, and a whole fish (OldPork's coolest trick!). This was a technique used by Native Americans for bigger yields and healthier plants. No need to empty it but cut it open so the entrails are out. Place fish 2-3 " under the 1 " layer of nutes and the 1 " layer of cooler dirt (no burn of bottom of the root ball). OP uses a small trout.
OP: You need "humic" acids and "fulvic" acids (brought in manure, worm castings and especially compost over time: that's where worms thrive in). These acids are crucial for the plant to regulate its nutrient intake and to prevent nute lock. So if you don't have compost dirt and manures, add a little "endomycorrhiza" / fungi (mushrooms) helps strengthen the root zone if no humic and fulvic acids in the soil. Store bought compost, worm castings will have less acids than if you have a compost and a worm bin at home.
OldPork's Digging Techniques 1: RAINY and CLAY AREAS: Start with a 1'x1'x1' hole if your area has a lot of clay and it rains a lot (esp. fall). 1x1x1 is enough to get a big plant (the roots will dig in the clay). If you make the hole bigger, when it rains a lot, the water will remain at the bottom of the hole (water doesn't go through the clay bottom and sides of the hole). This will kill your plants. As for a tree, when you dig, leave a mound at the bottom of the hole so that the root ball is elevated from the stagnant water that is circling the bottom. For clay and wet areas, start small and, gradually, each year (if you keep the spot), with the mulch, manure, worm castings, etc..., the mix in your hole will become richer and you can make the hole a little bigger every season.
OP's Digging Techniques 2: DRY AREAS (even with clay): Make a bigger hole (2-3') without the mound at the bottom and use a water retaining mix (peat + dirt). A bigger hole will keep the water longer than a small one. Make a perimeter wall with dirt around the hole (on the surface) to keep the water (+ rain water) for the plant, as done for trees.
Use pots for moving the plants in case. Use a 10 gallon pot at least per plant or more (25 gallons for biggest yield). As Cantharis puts it, "the bigger the roots, the bigger the shoots!".I used a wheelbarrow to move my 10-12 gallon pot.
Oldskool's soil mix: 30 cow manure - 30 peat moss or potting mix - 30 native soil
Cantharis' soil mix (For pots): 40 peat moss- 20 worm castings -20 sand and grit - 20 well-rotted cow manure - C's Proportions 1 ounce to a gallon of crushed egg shells (organic lime), use same proportions with dolomite lime.
Add rock dust (100 minerals)
Add sand, rocks if you want for drainage.
Other possible mixes
- 40 organic potting soil (or old compost, top soil), 40 local soil (no clay soil , no soil under pine needles) + 10 perlite (airs out, drains, use very little -doesn't feed the plant at all!) +10 vermiculite (keeps water).
- 80 FoxFarms Ocean Forest + 20 perlite. Formula used by many outdoor growers. Excellent results but pricey. Organic and rich In rich soils, use no or very little fertilizer (already in the excellent quality soil). Not for sprouts.
Use what's on the site (Oldskool's tip) so it's not too thick, sticky, compact, or too loose. You can use local sand for drainage. Also humus, rotten dead tree decay, natural compost under rotten dead trees (can be acidic careful, not under oak trees), old leaves, little rocks for drainage.
Or You can just use the local soil: if you do anything, till the earth, take out the big rocks, and add some "dolomite" lime (Greenmeany uses it) /crushed eggshells (Cantharis)/wood ashes for pH. Some wild soil can be excellent (use pH meter, 10 dollars, to be sure). Mj likes 5.5 -
The plant can water itself but you need THE spot with just enough moisture but not too much that it'll rot. It's very rare. Most gardeners water their plants. It's many hours (over 100 hours for 3 small spots) of hard work but it is well worth it in the end. Regular gardeners whose soil is too "wet" use wooden planks (box) to make an elevated garden at home. Only the tips of the roots are in the water, the rest is dryer. The water level can't go up like in a river though or this will wash off the dirt in the wooden box you built. I think it could work on a humid type of soil. The plant can live alone like that but the box is visible (placed on the ground) - camo.
You can dig a hole in the spring or summer (if you're reading this in June!), fill it up right away and plant. Don't use as much manures or meals. Add 20 worm castings (no burn), 20 sand, 30 peat moss/perlite/vermiculite (no burn) or good potting soil, 30 native soil. You can do great too but the bud won't be as heavy and tasty.
4. Organic Fertilizers:
Using organic fertilizers will give a tastier and very nice yield if the soil mix is organic too. Chemicals can make the buds big but less dense and less tasty. Organics feed microscopic organisms that are in the soil. The bugs eat the nutes you give, and break them into a form that the plants can absorb easily. There's a well balanced ecosysytem. The bugs air out the soil but also hold it together with their little arms (no "leaching" of nutes/water as with chemicals). The microbes and bacteria also protect the roots from sicknesses (on the roots). With chemicals, the bugs aren't fed, so there aren't many, so they don't protect the plant. The soil balance isn't good and rich. Manures, blood meal, bone meal, worm castings will help the beneficial micro-organisms (they eat that "shit" lol). Then, you'll be feeding them and the plants during the summer with nutrient teas or by sprinkling nutes on top (not close to the stem).
Organic fertilizers make the bud taste the best (Mother Nature's work). The plant will be healthy and strong. Chemicals are ok but don't taste the best and the risk of burn is higher. You can burn and kill them with too much organics too. The advantages of chems are no smell to attract wild animals and easy to use. The organic ferts you mixed in Dec-January-Feb will be ready in May-June. But during the summer, the plants will have eaten them, they will have worn out with time, and you will need to add more. The Ferts you sprinkle on top (add water after) like bat guano take about 3-4 weeks to be eaten by plant and the fert teas take 2-3 weeks. So you can water 3 times with plain water and once you feed with nutes. Always water with plain water before giving teas. You'll look at how the plant is doing too.
Vegetative stage (when the plant grows and doesn't do buds):N Nitrogen (fish emulsion tea OldPork, hoof and horn on top (Cantharis), worm castings tea, nettles tea, blood meal on top, alfalfa meal on top...)
Flowering stage (budding) : P Phosporous (OldPork's bat guano on top or liquid bat guano or bone meal on top) AND Cantharis stresses the importance of K Potassium (Cantharis' russian comfrey, kelp, seaweed, molasses tea, greensand... all have K).
- OldPork: You can use fish emulsion in vegetative AND flowering stage. Use 3/4 fish emulsion 1/4 bat guano in vegetative. Use 3/4 bat 1/4 fish (or 1/2 bat 1/2 fish) and also molasses during flowering. Epsom salts: twice. Hormones (super thrive etc...). Use worm castings in your fish emulsion too. Finish with molasses only in the last 3 weeks.
- Cantharis: Russian comfrey tea can be the main food (see Cantharis' link). + Biocanna Crecimiento (growth) and Floracion (flowering) (excellent organic liquid). Alternate Russian Comfrey and Biocanna.
- Use the excellent combination of Fish emulsion (N) and Kelp or Seaweed (P, K). Add greensand to get "ocean minerals" and P , K. Some stores sell liquid combinations with sea weed, bat guano,fish emulsion .... you can easily mix in with wild water on the spot (no tea brewing) .
- Oldskool's Espoma "Plant tone" (veg.) and "Tomato tone" (flow.) organics (easy to use and contains all the elements needed by mj). All organic. Use when preparing soil in winter (slow release organic ferts).
etc... Some ferts work faster and are stronger than others. See growers listed for more information. You can also check a nutrient chart for values. As long as they get 5-6 hours sun, some nutes and water, it will work out good. Some rich store bought soils don't need ferts.
You can also use Slow release ferts (6 months time) so you just have to use plain water. Osmocote (not organic) is a natural one (Oldskool used it for several years). He recommends to use it on the top layer (a couple ") of the soil and not mixed in, for it to work well. Very practical for guerilla grows per se, where plants drink alone.
Miracle Grow is non organic slow release. It works well too but the taste is less good than with organics.
If you didn't use slow release ferts, during the last 3-4 weeks, stop feeding and only water with 1-2 TBS molasses/ gallon of water. This will give a nice taste and make the buds fatter. N.B: The molasses must be "unsulphured" (Blackstrap).
Twice in the season use 1 TBS Epsom salts/ gallon (trace elements) and some growth hormones (Superthrive), fungi, myco. (if you don't have manure/castings in your mix) (OldPork).
Keep on giving some of the veg ferts in flow. and vice versa (so pH is not too low in veg or too high in flowering).
Go easy on the nutes. Too much nutes can cause "nute lock" (plant can't absorb nutrients anymore, no growth) or even worse "nute burn". Start with 1/4 dosage. A little goes a long way. If they're happy and flowering like mad, keep the same dosage. Don't kill them with too many nutes: it won't be ok if you overdose it a little bit (don't put too much in the hole either). They'll be dead or damaged. Nute burn can happen easier using pots as opposed to holes in the ground. However pots are easier to "flush" with plain water to get the nutes out(OP).
5. A Bigger Yield
LST: It means reducing the height of the plant with string (tie it down). Do it progressiveley (2-3 times) (stems are flexible but can break ---> tape works great). Once you've tied down the main stem, each branch will act like the main cola and get back up(Cantharis) . Do 1-2 times in veg but even at the beg. of flowering (if not done). Increases yield. Hiding
Stakes (OldPork): Drive stakes at the base of your plants (avoid big tap root right under main stem). Don't force if blocked. Attach side branches to main stem with soft thread/fabric and then the whole plant to the stake. Thay way, in case of a big storm, all branches move together on the stake and the plant won't split in half or fall down. Important for surviving storms.
Fimming (OldPork): (pinch the tops) 3-4 times in whole season. Done especially in veg. Every time you pinch, you get two future colas instead of one (more yield). You can do it real early (2-3 sets of leaves) on the main stem but it's usually done with 5-6 rows ( on the main stem too: no big branches yet, don't fim). Once the branches have grown almost as high as the main stem, pinch all those new tops. And so on. Stop fimming a few weeks before flowering starts (can disturb plant Dankohzee). Increases yield and easier to hide. The tops are good smoke too: like little buds.
Mulch (OldPork): It retains water. Place mulch in winter to protect ferts in hole from rain.Use it for the whole season. Spread about 4-5 " of mulch around the stem. Increases yield. Retains water
6. Watering / Logistics:
Finding a water source can be the difference between success and failure. It's a great bonus although stealth is the MAIN PRIORITY If you can have both it's almost a guaranteed harvest ("grrrreat succccesss"). A poor spot with water nearby is not a good idea. If there is no water source, it's a "car water" situation so it can be hot, approach at night. You can discreetly bring in more water at a time so you approach the site less with your car. Drop off all the water, then move/hide your car elsewhere (you don't want it next to your spot or on the way there), go back by foot and haul the water to the spot. Hide the water containers at your site under a tarp and branches you will change: keep it clean. Gather the camo branches on the way to your spot. Leave the veg. INTACT on the spot. The next times, you can leave your car hidden somewhere, and walk or ride your bike to the spot with the water already there. No stress of driving the car close to the spot every time.
[/B]. A water source is very important[/B] even a little far away (eliminates the problem of water in the car i.e. of loading and unloading water from your car near your site + of empty containers (trash) left behind - you only use a few containers with a source).
Or Use an automatic system. See OldPork's or Cannabisblunt's water machines (a reservoir and a timer device working with no or little pressure -gravity fed or with a mini pump-). 3 weeks (or more) without watering: nice! You still have to fill it up once every 3 weeks. You need to be sure it will work.
Or make "auto-watering" pots with a peat/coco wick.
Some "pros" use pumps to bring in water from a river or lake (noisy but much less work). This is mostly used by commerical growers.
Watering will be the main issue and moment you can be spotted once a stealthy spot is chosen and holes are prepared. About 15 liters per plant per 10 days in a 50 liter hole in big summer heat (6-8 hours sun). Pots (with water plugs at bottom) are watered once every 7-8 days. Depends on exposition/soil mix too. You water an amount of soil as well as a number of plants (a volume of dirt can have 3 plants together and you don't water it 3 times more). Best is 1 plant per hole or per pot because the plant doesn't like having other plant's roots with hers, less soil available, competition, less sun due to shade (less yield), stress.
Once I grew 5 plants in 40 liter pots and I got 5 ounces per pot (I used chemicals and lost some fan leaves due to me taking out plugs from pots thinking the summer heat was over). I watered the 5 plants with 10 liters per week. They were happy but yielded less for sure due to their number! With 2 pots (10 ounces) I almost got enough for the year so it's cool ( and I didn't have to dig! lol). It was a quick decision grow.
Pots need more water (use plugs to plug in 3/4 of drain holes). Main advantage of pots is to move (if the spot is messed up with paths this can be great) and not to dig. Also pots are useful if you find a stealthy spot with a water source but digging isn't possible. "In soil" gets MUCH more yield but you can't move them. Expect 250 g (8-9 ounces) to a pound if you have 2', prepared holes and 6-8 hours + direct sun with good genetics. The roots will continue beyond he hole. Use mulch on top to keep water in.
Before watering pots, make holes with your finger on top so the water goes in evenly, and not doesn't run direclty along the sides and the bottom of the pots. N.B: Plants in smaller pots with direct sun on the pots can have their roots burned by the sun (hide or dig in or use a bigger pot or use a second pot for protection). But this shouldn't be a problem as the pot will more likely be big and hidden in a bush.
Some growers use polymer crystals to hold in water. Apparently this can affect the taste though. The soilless stuff should be good enough and good tasting.
Keep the Fan leaves: water regularly.
Never take off any fan leaves as a general rule. In case of a severe drought (you couldn't go water!), the fan leaves will droop and then burn into toast and fall off (plant's buffer system). They are the plant's precious solar panels to get energy so don't miss on the watering! It's normal that some turn yellow and fall off in the last month of flowering. The plant will survive if it's watered before death but the 1st fan leaves won't grow back if this occurs in the flowering period (the plant does buds then, not leaves). Medium fan leaves will grow into bigger ones in case of drought but they won't be as big and efficient as the 1st big ones. Plant's energy wasted, time used, Yield affected. By the time she recovers it might be late in the season you know, and you want them to finish smoothly until harvest. Watering in time is very important. They'll droop when they need water (not good to let that happen -stress ---> more hermies?).
Whether pots or ground, put your finger in the soil 1-2" and feel if it's damp (if it is, don't add water, it's still good, let it dry out more). But if you're out in the woods you'll go there regularly to water and will know how much they need after a few weeks.
Don't put all your eggs in the same basket and don't grow 50. 10-12 female plants on 3 spots will get you several pounds. Start 20 non-femmed seeds to get a dozen females.
7. Kill the Males:
Males will destroy your harvest if not cut. Keep male pollen only if you want to create your own seeds for next times. Males flower before the females (2-3 weeks). The pollen doesn't come out instantly. You'll see that in the internodes, there are little balls, see pics, that's a warning sign. They will develop (a few days) and then it takes about a week for the pollen sacks to open: careful, just a little bit of male pollen can pollenate your whole crop (if left a few days). Even if female buds aren't large when the sacks open, the pollen will go on the stems, the leaves and then pollenate the growing female buds. Nature finds its way to reproduce. That means no "sin semilla" (no seed) bud, just seedy -worthless- bud. THC production stops when seeds form (Cantharis). Wait a few days (July) because some females look a little like males at first (very small but you can use a loupe). You can also kill the males in preflower mode, around June Cantharis uses a loupe at preflower. Watch out for late hermies too (some in Oct).
8. What Strain? Non-feminized? Feminized? Bag seeds?
Sativas are more cerebral and trippy (but very strong!) like the Haze. They finish late (December for some: not good) Indicas give a more narcotic stone like Afghan or Shit. They finish earlier in general (October). A 50 sat/50 Ind hybrid with early genes is a good kind to grow: not too tall, not too short, both types of highs, nice bud structure, can be fast finishers (White Widow). Preflowering is in Mid-June here, flowering starts at mid-end of July, harvest time depends on strain (beg. October for "normal" weed). Look for an 8-9 week flowering time on the breeder's page so you harvest in mid-end September.
Knowing when they finish is important because in case of a heavy frost, the trichomes will burst and the weed's potency and quality will be greatly damaged. Plus they can get moldy (trash). Use a transparent plastic and more mulch to keep them "warm". Choosing an early potent strain means less water hauling, less risks and dank bud in the end.
Non-feminized seeds are cheaper but cut the males (and possible hermies) in time unless you want seeds.
Feminized seeds (50-60 euros for 10 fems is good, not more!): no male problem (some hermies possible though like any seed).
You can also start inside and flower the seeds to select only females to take out (or grow a mother inside and have all fem. clones). Use fluorescents -cheap, not hot, easy to get- and good enough for veg. CFLs have dangerous gas inside if broken = careful. Fluos are old school but not good for flowering. HPS etc... is for flowering.
Bag seed is ok but you don't always know when they'll start and finish flowering so it can mean it'll get cold too early for them (death before good buds). You might end up watering like hell very late, pissed that they're flowering so late and it's getting very cold out. You don't know if they'll be rather tall or short (stealth). Cut all males!. However, lots of bag seeds can flower in time and have large, great tasting buds (often better than the weed they came from - transportation, bad drying,). Good watering, 5-6 hours of sun, some ferts on your female bag seed patch, good drying and 2-3 months curing will give you some really excellent weed. But good genetics are always better with much more trichomes (like in a Dutch coffee shop).
As Dankohzee puts it, if you're going to "put your ass on the line", better do it for the good genetics. Might as well get the dankest fastest buds rather than slow finishing mids for the risk and work, no? Genetics are a very important factor.
9. Is it time to Harvest?
Don't harvest too early. Wait until the buds change color (purple, blue, grey). A big change of color in fall will occur (green flowers with white pistils will be dark purple with brown/orange/darker pistils, you can't miss it). Pistils will eventually fall. But look at the trichomes with a jeweller's 10x or 30x loupe TO BE SURE on a sample at home (or backwards binoculars real close). Early buds are smaller and less potent. Once dried, they can be much smaller (depends on strain too). Sometimes it looks ripe, smells ripe but you're wrong: the trichomes were in fact all clear!!! The buds could have become much bigger, more potent and tastier. Trichomes will change from clear to cloudy to amber. People usually harvest at 50/50 cloudy amber. The effect depends on the sativa/indica ratio but clear trichomes will give a lighter high and amber trichomes will give a more couchlock and potent high.
[/FONT][FONT="]Peace. GC Rocks![/FONT]
Edited by Norma Stits, 28 July 2009 - 01:32 PM.