During the First Grow, half of the plants were males. [read: First Grow – part 3] To ensure the females would be seedless, I had to remove the males from their space. I planted two of those male cannabis plants in a thorny hedge next to my house.
I really didn’t expect them to live. I thought the surrounding plants would crowd them out but these guys are survivors, growing right through the thicket. Look carefully at the photo above and you’ll see the cannabis in there.
The males were planted outside in May. I watched these plants grow along side the pokeweed, blackberries and fox grapes. These two plants seemed to thrive in the harsh conditions, rising high enough to get to some sun and display their swollen flowers to passing pollinators.
I am impressed with the tenacity of this plant. Born from 2 random seeds in my desk, germinated in less than ideal conditions, ripped from laboratory-like conditions and planted with little care into a highly competitive environment filled with insects and herbivores, yet these two Cannabis plants still managed to fulfill their life’s mission to produce their flowers.
This Second Grow started with germination of eight seeds on July 24, 2017. Two weeks later, the remaining seven seedlings continue growing strong and fast. The eighth seed sprouted but looked deformed, growing much slower than the rest. I euthanized the struggling little guy and felt a slight pang of guilt. Vegans, kiss my ass. Killing plants is still murder.
The first stages of growth for this Second Grow have been much less stressed than the first grow. I have been able to give them more attention and a much better environment for a healthy start.
I’ve planted these seedlings into bigger pots within 10 days of germinating. I felt this would accelerate growth into the “veg” stage and let the roots get comfortable in their new “forever” home. I risk losing at least half of these as I expect them to be males.
As a bonus experiment, I’ve left the “seventh seedling” in a starter pot. I will compare the growth of this seedling with the 6 planted ones. Already I’ve noticed the soil dries out much faster in the starter pot.
I plan to develop a second grow box so I can grow at two different environments. I will be able to effectively grow two higher yield crops with staggered harvest times yet still stay within the 6 plant limit the state lawfully allows. Ideally, 6 grow boxes would be the best way to grow as I could grow much larger plants, stagger the harvest times, grow different strains and experiment with a variety of grow techniques.
Did I mention how well these seedlings are growing?
The Cannabis curing continues, with all the flowers packed in a number of jars in a drawer. The total harvest on these three plants looks to be about 2 ounces. I expected more yet I am quite please with the product I did get from only three plants grown in a tiny cabinet. All the waiting is over… from germination to cure, that long anticipated moment has arrived. Since the harvest has been curing for a few days, I decided I need to test my efforts.
While my crop could use more curing time, about 7 to 10 days… I could smell a change in the cannabis. It had lost much of that grassy smell. I could detect the aroma of terpenes as well.
The “buds” are not as dense as I expected. I pulled one apart and the flower was still stringy and moist. I processed the flower in my grinder and rolled a hefty sized joint.
Clearly the weed could be a bit dryer and cured more. I wasn’t expecting much when I fired up the haebar but I can say I was pleasantly surprised. The joint burned well and wasn’t harsh like I expected. The Yankee Stonette concurred as we consumed the entire “reefer”. The high came on quickly and is more heady… not sleepy at all. From this observation, I conclude that I may have harvested prematurely as a more mature flower will impart a more sleepy high. That would also account for lighter weight buds. I sat back on the couch and enjoyed a very nice feeling of euphoria and pride.
The level of satisfaction cannot be denied. Setting on the couch burning a nice fat joint and reflecting on my First Grow adventure, I realize now I’m hooked. The hands-on learning approach has always worked for me. Jumping right into this grow box build and nurturing this crop to maturity has given me a whole new appreciation for the Cannabis plant, the people who grow it and the process it takes to bring the seed to a usable product.
Follow along as I start the Second Grow using my home made grow box. I will refine my process a bit and hopefully increase my yield, improve the quality and learn more about the amazing Cannabis plant.
As the First Grow cures the Yankee Stoner gets ready for the Second Grow.
In preparation for Grow # 2, I ordered 15 cannabis seeds from the Netherlands. This is the first time I’ve bought seeds. This assortment was a special at $90.00 for 15, including shipping.
I set 8 seeds on wet (with rain water) paper towels and covered them loosely with another plate. Would you believe these seeds sprouted their tap roots within 24 hours? The picture below is only 54 hours after moistening. One seed is somewhat behind but under the microscope, a tap root is visible.
I germinated 8 of the seeds because I expect males. My first grow of six plants became only three as half of them were male. In Massachusetts, I’m only allowed 6 plants. My grow box is best for 4 plants. We’ll see how the numbers fall once I get them growing and cull the males.
I purchased some peat moss “starters” from a new head shop. I normally wouldn’t have bought them but I wanted to throw them some business their way and try a new product at the same time. I will do my best to support any business that is supporting the Cannabis community.
I placed them in a dish with some rocks on the bottom. I carefully placed the seeds, tap root down, into the peat pods then soaked them good with river water. On my window sill they sit. I will place them in the grow box tomorrow.
The rate at which these purchased seeds are growing is pretty amazing. Check out this time-lapse featuring 12 hours of growing seedlings.
All of the cannabis plants have been dried. I placed the trimmed buds upside down from plastic hangers, spacing them apart so none of the flowers tops are touching. I then hung the cannabis laden hangers in the closet.
I have a dehydrator that I turned on inside the closet. My thought was this empty dehydrator could dry out the humid air in the closet without raising the temperature too high. It did dry the flowers quicker than I expected, about three days. I trimmed the buds a bit more, removing the stems and any residual leaves and placed them in sealed mason jars.
The weed still smelled “green”, lacking that fruity, skunk like smell I was hoping for. This is where the curing process will improve my buds. Inside the sealed jars, the weed develops the terpenes as it slowly homogenizes the moisture left in the flowers. There’s cannabinoid acids that need to decarboxylate into the psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes that need to isomerize to create new poly-terpenes that create tastes and aromas that are much different from fresh flowers.
I need to inspect the jars daily, releasing any excess moisture by leaving the jar open for a while. There is a danger of mold growth, the surest way to ruin newly harvested cannabis. Drying the buds too much is bad as well, locking in that “green” taste and preventing the psychoactive ingredients from “ripening”. With any luck, this process will take about a week.
Meanwhile, I’m staring at all these jars of cannabis buds that I can’t smoke yet.
Cannabis flowers viewed with a microscope look amazing. The trichomes appear as if they are part of an alien landscape. I used a cheap handheld microscope called the zOrb MM-480 digital microscope to explore the flowers of my first crop of cannabis.
Here’s a short video featuring a microscopic journey into one of my cannabis flowers.
I brought the first Grow Box raised Cannabis plant upstairs for processing.
It has been just about four months in the grow box and an additional 63 days from seed to “window sill veg” stage. That’s is a total of 185 days of anticipation. I nervously gripped a thick stem of my green baby with the clippers and squeezed. I linger… a moment of doubt… too early? The heck with it, gotta start somewhere… Snip. The harvest has begun.
I commenced trimming using the sharpest scissors I could find. I had a pointy tipped pair in the “junk drawer”. It would have to do.
After snipping off branches using the clipppers, I trimmed each branch of the larger fan leaves first. I found trimming the branches from below, holding them upside-down, was the easiest way to choose and snip the leaves close to the flower.
Since this was a rather small plant, I trimmed it up in no time at all. I carefully placed the trimmed flowers on plastic coat hangers and put them in the closet with the “dehumidifier”. Clearly that dehumidifier unit in there now won’t be enough as the weather around here is nearly 100% humidity!
The yield on this plant was not very impressive. It is important to note a number of things when considering final quantity harvested.
This plant is grown from a random seed on my desk.
This plant had a stressed childhood. As a seedling, there was poor light and often “confusing” light cycles because the seedling had to hide in a closet when the landlord was near.
The temperature in the apartment was often too cool.
The plant was less than 20 inches tall at the time of harvest as a result of growing in a small grow box.
Two more cannabis plants await their fate. These are the two plants I grew from clones. They are fuller, taller and healthier than the one I just harvested (random seed plant). I feel they still need to “ripen” another day or two.
Two days later I cut down the two remaining grown clones and commenced trimming the plants in preparation for drying and curing.
This post is pretty much a celebration of the Cannabis Trichome. Very cool to examine closely, I just wish I had better pictures. As I stated last post, I’m looking for these transparent stalks and the bulbous heads to attain a milky color. I’m seeing a few milkies already, so I’m a bit anxious.
The trichomes are especially interesting to look at with a powerful magnifying glass. I will seek out even better ways to photograph these awesome looking trichomes. By the look of it, I better hurry…
I think harvest may be less about week away so I’m starting the plants on a diet of plain ole fresh spring water. The pure water will ensure the plants do not impart any flavors from fertilizers and the stream water. I’m just going to use spring water from the super market for several days and then its time to bring this project to the next stage, drying and curing.
Late Stage excitement in the grow box. Trichomes, the indicators of cannabis “ripeness”, have made their first appearance in the flowers.
The trichomes are where cannabinoids and terpenes (the “good stuff”) are manufactured as small resin glands on the flowers and main fan leaves of late-stage cannabis plants. As you can barely see, trichomes are nearly microscopic, mushroom-like protrusions from the surface of the buds, fan leaves, and, in smaller amounts, on the stalk. Trichomes are comprised primarily of a stalk and a head. It is inside the head of the trichome that the production of THC happens.
I need to pay close attention to these trichomes. When they start to change color, I’ll need to prepare for harvest. From my research, I’ve learned that if harvested when the trichome stalks appear cloudy or milky in color, the cannabinoids will offer a more heady, energetic, and sativa-style high. If allowed to ripen even longer, trichomes will achieve an amber or brown color, and the cannabinoids may deliver a more relaxed body high that’s more like the indica strains. I have ordered a cheap microscope attachment for my iPhone so that I may examine and photograph the trichomes more closely. I’ll post the shots as soon as it arrives.
The cannabis plants look very healthy and are really quite pretty to look at. There is also a nice fragrance of ripe fruit and sweet pine.