Hermaphrodites Happen

As a Cannabis grower, there are many challenges on the way to harvest. From selecting the seed, germination, nurturing through pests and blights, even the actual destruction of the plant is a process. Let me add another issue the Cannabis farmer needs to look out for.

Hermaphroditism is a phenomenon where a plant can present both male and female flowers. This is a bad thing for Cannabis growers as the creation of pollen can turn an entire garden into seed laden flowers.

While some Cannabis strains may be more prone hermaphroditism, any female can “hermie” while in flower. A farmer must keep a close eye on the development of their Cannabis plants’ sex organs.

The Cannabis hermaphrodite needs only a few of the females’ flowers to develop male “parts” to completely overwhelm a garden with the pollen that creates seeds. The seeds from a hermaphrodite will be prone to hermaphrodite as well, making them worthless for a future crop. Each one of those male yellow “bananas” (stamens) produce an obscene amount of pollen. Check out the video below of me “jacking off” a male stamen:

Hermaphrodites are most commonly caused by stress on the Cannabis plant. Overheating and interruptions in the light cycle are the most common reasons for a plant to “go hermie”. The Cannabis farmer can reduce the risk of a hermaphrodite by simply removing any stress on their plants. Light leaks, spikes in temperature, inadequate ventilation even the shock of over fertilization can cause your green babies to become hermaphrodites.

If a hermaphrodite does develop in your garden, get it out of there. Take a close look… you may be able to pluck all the male parts off. But remember, if any of those male “nanners” survive, there WILL be seeds in your harvest.

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Fun with Fungus Gnats

I noticed little black flyers in my grow tent during the vegetative stage. At first I assumed them to be fruit flies but a quick look on the web identified them as the fungus gnat. All indoor Cannabis growers will deal with an infestation of fungus gnats at some point.

Fungus Gnats usually come from the soil medium, especially if the soil spent anytime outside in a moist environment. These little buggers like moisture, light and carbon dioxide; all found in every garden. These tiny black gnats begin life as fungus eating larvae actually aiding in decomposition but too many may have them munching the plant roots as well. Letting the soil dry out between watering, adequate ventilation and removing any dead leaves around the plant will help to control their activity.

Cannabis is a crop I would expect most people would want pesticide free. Luckily there are multiple, low impact solutions for just about any pest you would have in the garden. Fungus gnats are no exception. I was seeking the fastest and cheapest method that would have the least impact on my Cannabis’ growth. Some web research revealed a product that provides two methods of control in one package.

Nematodes are the most numerous multi cellular animals on Planet Earth. There are more than 20,000 species of nematodes, also called round worms, that live on every part of the world. Nematodes live in the oceans, the soil, even in our bodies! Nematodes can be harmful as well as beneficial. Of course, as Cannabis growers, all we care about are the beneficial nematodes.

nematodes in a box

This kit comes with millions of live nematodes as well as a pack of yellow tinted sticky strips. One simply places the Nematode covered sponge in a couple gallons of water (not tap water, the chlorine will kill the ‘todes). Wait five minutes before watering the Cannabis plants with the nematode soup. Within a few days those nematodes will grow into fungus gnat larvae killers.

fungus gnats

While the nematodes make themselves at home, the yellow sticky strips can be deployed in the garden. Even though these weak flying pests are more at home running all over the leaves, they do take flight and land permanently on the yellow stickum. It is very satisfying to see the little bastids on the strips yet at the same time it is kind of disturbing. You will notice less flies as the nematodes do their job and kill the future of the fungus gnat infestation.

There are other low impact, non chemical treatments I haven’t tried to control fungus gnats. Diatomaceous earth is essentially microscopic shells that, when spread around the Cannabis plants, will cut up the pests when they come into contact with it, killing them eventually. Steel wool will have the same effect on any little flyers that land on it. If I have fungus gnats in the future, I will give these methods a try and report back.

Amazon sells the Fungus Gnat eradication kits for about $15.00.
Here’s the link: Nema Globe Fungus Gnat Pest Control.

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A Cannabis Mutation

The Yankee Stoner is still new to the weed growing scene with only two successful harvests so far. I germinated a batch of Blueberry seeds I purchased from a popular seed company on New Years Day. Imagine my surprise when I noticed one of the seedlings had sprouted into an interesting mutation… three cotyledon leaves.

Blueberry Cannabis seedlings

Like any other inquisitive Cannabis farmer, I went to the web to seek out an explanation for this phenomenon. There seems to be some confusion with some calling the phenomenon tri-lateral branching and others claim it is a whorled phytolaxy. From what I can decipher, they may be the same thing. Whorled phytolaxy is an organism having three or more times the haploid chromosome number. Tri-lateral branching is a manifestation of the phytolaxy, where the plant has “extra features”, in this case, three cotyledons and branches instead of the normal two.

The Cannabis “forums” couldn’t agree on the future of this plant. Some post were positive, predicting greater growth and bigger buds. The naysayers said to expect a male plant with smaller flowers. The inferior genetics may result in a possible hermaphrodite and advise no cloning. Whatever the future holds for this plant, I am excited to watch it grow and see what develops

Cannabis Trifoliate

As the proud father of a mutant cannabis plant, I fawned over the seedling as it began to veg out. I patiently waited for the sex of this plant to reveal itself. If it is a male, should I let it flower and make some seeds? Should I clone her if she’s a female? After 8 weeks I switched the light cycle over to 12/12.

On the 51st day of growth I have confirmed it’s a Girl!

Cannabis pistils

…to be continued.

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Homegrown Happiness

My second crop of Cannabis is all dried and in the curing stage. I’ve cracked open the first jar only 7 days into the cure. I broke up a most fragrant and sticky dried cannabis flower and filled a bowl. The joy of the harvest is undeniable but the satisfaction of actually consuming that harvest is beyond compare.

smoking cannabis

The volume of knowledge one accidentally absorbs whilst raising a crop of cannabis is staggering. From seed to smoke, there is much to learn. No worries… there is endless help on-line for the first time cannabis grower. Some trial and error but mostly nurturing and reward, the bottom line is: Growing cannabis is just not that difficult.

big cannabis bud

The indoor grow can be setup for less than $800 with a yield that will surprise you. The latest LED grow light technology uses less power and provides a cooler, safer light. Cannabis seeds are easy to get these days and some strains out there almost grow themselves. Even in Westborough, where cannabis sales are banned, there is still the home grow option. A small, legal indoor farm can provide a few fat ounces of high grade cannabis every 4 months.

There is no good reason NOT to grow Cannabis.

beautiful cannabis

I urge everyone to grow their own. The Cannabis plant is easy and fun to grow with rewards that go way beyond the tomato harvest!

Second Grow Timeline

With the success of my first grow, I was quick to start up the Second Grow. I cleaned out the grow box, mixed some fresh soil while the next group of seeds germinated. If I can successfully grow a second crop then I can be certain it wasn’t just beginner’s luck on the first grow.

DAY 1 – July 24 – Moisten 8 seeds bought from Netherlands between layers of paper towel. [on window sill]

DAY 2 – 7 seeds showing tap root.

cannabis germination

DAY 3 – Significant tap root growth on 7. 8th seed cracked with a very tiny tap root.

DAY 4 – July 27 – Placed tap rooted seeds into peat pots and soaked well.

DAY 5 – July 28 – Seedlings up already. Video here: https://youtu.be/zi5qUy2c34I

DAY 6 – July 29 – Placed planted seeds in grow box. [Light cycle: 18 – 6 hours]

DAY 9 – August 1 – Planted in square gallon pots. 8th seed discarded. 6 seeds in pots, 1 in a starter pot. [71° F 70% humidity]

DAY 13 – August 5- Robust growth. Watering every other day.

cannabis

DAY 18 – August 9 – Strong growth continues, very healthy leaves. [74° F 66% humidity]

cannabis seedling

DAY 19 – August 10- Leaves filling out quickly. Watering every day.

cannabis plants

DAY 21 – Steady growth continues.

cannabis growing

DAY 25 – August 16 – Steady growth continues. Rotating plants every day. [74° F 72% humidity]

Cannabis in the grow box

DAY 27 – Huge, wide leaves. Lots of new growth.

DAY 28 – August 21/eclipse day – need to consider a second grow box. Plants growing out very wide. Topped the 2 tallest plant this morning.

Day 32 – August 24 – took the riser out of the box to lower the cannabis plants 3″ from the lights. Very lush and healthy foliage.

cannabis

DAY 34 – August 26, 2017 – Moved the two smaller plants into their own grow box (read Grow Pod Project) sharing a 3 gallon fabric pot.

marijuana

DAY 39 – September 1st – full veg, taking up lots of water.

potted pot

DAY 43 – Labor Day – September 4 – Changed light cycle to 12/12 in main grow box. Two plants in “grow pod” catching up, still on “veg time” (18/6).

cannabis grow pod

cannabis farm

DAY 49 – September 10 – Switch to potassium rich nutrients (NPK = 1-3-14). 4 of the plants showing female pre- flower. Can’t tell on the others yet.

cannabis

DAY 53 – September 14 – Burst of growth at tops, starting to form flowers. Looks like I have 6 out of 7 females.

DAY 55 – September 16 – Had to tie back the largest plant.

cannabis plant

DAY 58 – September 19 – Six plants all showing flowers.

cannabis plant

DAY 60 – September 20 – Every plant has flowers growing strongly, including the “growpod” plants.

cannabis growpod

DAY 64 – September 24 – Flowers swelling nicely. Hot and sunny, brought 4 plants outside for a few hours. Trimmed larger fan leaves and any yellowed leaves.

yankee stoner cannabis

DAY 70 – September 30 – flowers fattening, odor quite strong, lemon and pine.

DAY 72 – October 2 – pistils starting to brown at the tips. Grow pod about a 2 weeks behind.

DAY 76 – October 6 – Flowers getting heavy. [68° F 76% humidity]

DAY 80 – October 10 – flowers continue to swell. Starting the flush with distilled water.

weed

DAY 82 – October 12 – picking off large yellowing leaves on all plants. Flowers still swelling.

cannabis flower

DAY 88 – picked off many yellowing leaves, still douching with distilled water.

DAY 92 – October 22 – Partial harvest… trim three of six plants today.

Let the CANNABIS HARVEST commence.

cannabis

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Cannabis Flower Festival

Cannabis flowers are as beautiful as they are unique. The fuzzy pistils rise from the bloom like wisps of white smoke. The aroma is very strong and quite pleasant, a mix of fruit and pine. As the flowers “ripen”, they become even more showy and fragrant. The flowers reveal a sugar like crystalline patina and the pistils start turn a light brown as the buds steadily increase in size.

Enjoy this collection of photos showcasing my second grow of cannabis plants’ flowers swelling towards harvest.

cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 59
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flowers at 63 days.
marijuana
Cannabis Flower – Day 65
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 70
Cannabis Flower – Day 72
cannabis flower
Cannabis Flower – Day 76
cannabis
DAY 77 – Cannabis Flower
DAY 80 – a box of Cannabis flowers
cannabis flower
Day 88 – Cannabis Flower –
Getting root bound, harvesting this one soon.
Day 89 – Cannabis
Day before harvest
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Second Grow – Cannabis Sex

The group of plants from this second grow have grown beyond the size of the of the box. I should have taken steps to bend these plants to train them for lower growth. I’m hoping the switch to flowering lighting will stop the upward growth some.

cannabis plants

It hasn’t been quite a week under the “flowering” schedule yet there is already evidence of preflowering females. I examined all of the cannabis plants carefully and I can see no signs of male flowers.

weed pistils

cannabis pistils

Hopefully I’ll get visible evidence that will confirm the sex of all of the cannabis plants. See you soon…

update: It appears I have all female plants. I removed the seventh plant as the Massachusetts law only allows 6 flowering plants per household.

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Second Grow – Veg Time

The seedlings have had some explosive growth! I think it is fair to say these have entered the vegetative stage. The growth is so lush and the leaves so fat, I think I’ll need to prepare a second grow chamber to contain it all.

I lowered the plants by removing the 3″ box I had underneath the pots. These plants are starting to grow upward so that extra room from the light source was necessary.

I “topped” some of the plants by pinching that tight cluster of new leaves at the tip of the plant. This stops the tendency to grow one main cola, and splits the plant into two main stems. When the cannabis plant is topped at a young age, the plant will grow multiple colas by adding new branches for buds to develop on and (hopefully) keep the plant’s height down.

topping cannabis

I will top the other plants when their new leaves get a bit larger. I always hesitate when I’m grabbing that bright green cluster of new growth. I hate to hurt my plants in any way but this is a necessary step.

cannabis leaf cluster

…watch us grow…

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Stalking the Wild Cannabis

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.

cannabis male plant

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.

flowering cannabis

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 male Cannabis plants still managed to fulfill their life’s mission to produce their flowers.

weed

The Cannabis plants look right at home in that wild thicket. Even the insects seem to like the Cannabis flowers.

pollinator on Cannabis

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Second Grow – Seedlings

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.

cannabis grow box

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.

cannabis seedling, 17 days old
Did I mention how well these seedlings are growing?

…watch us grow…

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