Cut It Short To Grow It Long

Hypothetical situation. You are a hard-working farmer. You are so hard-working that you are in the midst of harvest and planting at the same time. In the midst of slashing scissors, sticky scales, and scrawling salary sums there are potted plants waiting to be put into their homes. The trim crew needs more food, the soil your buddy bought is too low in nitrogen and there are still more holes to dig. The green desert of cannabis thirsts for more than water. Your “hard-working” may be others’ “maniacally driven.” This is the fevered cacophony of cannabis’ short and long season in full swing.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 9.50.52 AMThe short season is ready to cut down and hang up. Your plants are standing as tall and full as they can be, so it is time to rend their limbs and call your trimmers. A good rule of thumb is that a trimmer can process about one pound of cannabis per day, but a talented set of scissors scoffs at such a meager output. Trimmers can be a wily lot with a diverse range of requirements. Food, plumbing and access to potable water are well received.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 9.52.54 AMWhen cutting down your branches, be sure to leave a small hook resembling the number seven at the base. This allows the branch to easily hang on a line or rack you have set up for drying and processing. After you have hung the branches, begin to remove the larger leaves by hand, unless using a Trim-Pro. This is commonly called “big leafing” or “water leafing.” After this is completed, your trimmers can set to work preening and beautifying your cannabis. Your methods of compensation are entirely up to you.

Your hanging, manicured branches should always be kept cool and well ventilated, and given healthy space between each other on the line. The cannabis should ideally take a week to dry. Any quicker and the drying room is too hot or too dry. Any slower and it is too cool or too damp. Drier buds will be crispier, but this does not entirely devastate the cannabis. However, too damp and too cool for too long is the perfect formula for dreaded mold, and that will devastate your cannabis. As with all stages of processing, it is important to keep a careful eye on the drying room environment to ensure the best quality.

Setting up for your long season is the starting muscle to your short harvest’s finishing brains. “Digging” and “transplanting” will become whispered, loathed words that flare up phantom back pains. Soil, water, lines and pots get shuffled and sorted. If you don’t have blisters and you aren’t tired, you are doing it wrong. Have your starts potted and ready to be put home.
Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 9.52.14 AMWhen it comes to holes for your long season, start yesterday. It is a lot of work that can never be done soon enough. If you are lucky and financially secure enough to have machinery, operate it safely and smartly. If you have a shovel and a strong back, lift with your knees and stay hydrated. In sizing your holes, width and length are better than depth. If the plant can stretch out its roots, it can stretch out its branches too. Three by three by two feet is a commonly accepted measure.

In transplanting, pay attention to each plant’s root ball. If the dirt is dry and falling away, it is not yet ready to be transplanted as the roots can still grow stronger. Your plants should be in one-gallon pots; when a foot to a foot and a half in height, move them to five gallons. Grow them to three feet. Get ready to transplant them into those holes you already dug. Many people use easy-pots to save the plant some stresses. However, easy-pots require more water and that quickly equals more money.

Selecting your soil can be intimidating with so many brands and varieties. There is a head-spinning volume of science in the soil you are giving your plants, so let’s keep it simple with a few pointers. NPK is the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Your soil mix should be high in nitrogen for the early stages because plants use nitrogen for new tissue growth, but a plant can be given too much. If a plant begins to pale, and eventually yellow, it is deficient. If its leaves are full and exceedingly dark green, there is an excess of nitrogen. Higher levels of phosphorus are preferred for flowering, and potassium keeps your plant and flowers healthy.

Tying your plants is integral to helping them stay strong. Sink four posts forming a square around the hole. Run and tie twine, string etc. around the posts to form a single barrier and repeat every foot or so up the post until there is a pattern resembling a ladder. Reinforce by running an “X” across each side.

With so much going on at once, it is hard to keep your head straight. There are shelves of literature to read on the subjects only passingly mentioned; there are people living the experiences recounted, and plenty of people who do it differently. There’s more than one way to bake a cake, and there’s more than one way to grow great cannabis.

 

Emerald contributor since March 2012

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