All was calm in the grow-room as the bodacious buds blossomed towards an abundant harvest, at least that is what we thought. But what were these small black gnats doing there?
Oh yeah, we got another lesson in pest control and chemical madness. Here we were in this 300 year old house in the mountains, with no way to actually seal the grow room, and we’re now infected with Fungus Gnats. From only a couple mosquitoes it soon turned into a hoard, swarming over the fertile dirt of the grow room. Oh the humanity!
Explanation: Fungus Gnats are small mosquito like insects that swarm around the base of the plant laying eggs in the top 5mm of soil. They suck on the underside of leaves and leave small scares on them. That is not as bad as what the young do under the soil. The eggs hatch as larva. This means they are little white worm like bugs, and these little horrors eat your roots while you sleep and live sight unseen. They eat the fresh roots and when they are done with that, they just bore right up into the plant all the way to the top bud. This leaves the plant structurally weakened and, well, just totally stripped of nutrients.
This war was not as easy as the spider mites. Even the spider mites had shown themselves while there were no flowers, so I could use a strong insecticide. Now I had huge colas and I did not want to (and you should never) spray toxins on growing flowers meant for consumption. I spent a lot of time on the net to research and find the various defenses against the menace, and found Biobit, a biological agent designed to kill just such creatures. I sprayed with it, I watered with it, and I spent a lot of dosh on it. The population came down dramatically, and many of the plants started to come back to life.
The larvae had attacked the insides of many plants, some of which could not rebuild the precious pulp inside the stems, and were stunted. You could squeeze the stems and they would just collapse with almost no pressure at all. The plants were just falling over already from the huge buds on top and the grow was severely compromised.
Most heavily hit were 3 big Jack Herer plants and the two Seedsman Hindu Kush plants. They had to be harvested early, and their yields were dramatically cut. Eventually the Fungus Gnats were under control, but we have yet to rid ourselves of them.
On to the best part, the harvest. Brilliant days! We waited patiently for the THC Trichomes to turn amber. Using a 50x power hand held microscope we were able to observe the growth of the glands. In the beginning it is all clear glands. Soon they turn opaque as they are filled to the brim with delightful resin. Each day the buds get fatter and fatter, the glands turning slowly from white, to amber to brown, the THC crystals were bubbling forth. I harvested when the crystals were evenly spread proportionately with clear, opaque and amber. There were no brown or black ones on any of the plants. Once your crystals are brown they are actually past peak. They turn brown, just like an apple would, as the dying THC dries out.
I decided that I would put the plants live into a dark room for 3 days. Rumor had it that plants put in such stress pour on additional THC to protect the dying plant. These plants were soaked already in Trichomes. They all looked as though they were dipped in sugar, and the coating went way out onto the shade leaves. We had produced amazingly large and plump buds against an onslaught of insect invaders.
The Results of the days in darkness are hard to measure, but the flowers certainly appeared to be invitingly more resinous. On comparison with plants from the same mother, same grow; there was no taste difference with the additional days in dark. I do not have the scientific instruments to test and my advice on the 3 days of darkness is: if you have the space and time, do it. It will certainly not hurt.
Now it is happy times. Harvest takes quite a long time. Each plant is taken out as it crosses the amber line and placed in darkness, cut after 3 nights, and hung in whole in the drying room. They are then replaced in the grow room with fresh plants. We don’t care about making a harvest in one day and allow each plant the time it needs to ripen to its fullest.
So, once again we are to remind you about the Jack Herer plant. Jack is a grower and survivor. It was the only plant to fully recover from the Fungus Gnat attack. It grew way too tall, and we bent all the branches down. It took more than 12 weeks to start its change to amber and we actually had fist-sized buds from the next harvest of indicas before these girls came to ripen. We have had the time and space to bring them into flower and now that they are cured we think they are a fantastic plant if you can take the time with them. The flavor and smell are unique and intoxicating, the structure of the bud exceptional. A true connoisseur plant. The yield was light at about 20-30 grams a plant. I have decided to have Jack Herer plants on the fringes of every grow. It is that good.
The plants are all cut, trimmed, and dried now, sitting in airtight containers. We are ready and waiting the cured buds. The only ones with taste and dignity at this time are the Seedsman Hindu Kush, which was royally fucked by the gnats. It has the most pungent skunk smell and cured fast.
OK, so I am running out of space now and have to close this story. The next issue I hope to run through each of the breeds I have grown and tell you how they grow best and in what environment. I will let you know how many weeks to vegetate a plant for a particular grow space and what to expect from each one of these. Yields, flavors, and growing tips for each breed.
There is one thing clear to me. All of you should have your little square meter of heaven. The cost is nothing compared to the results. You will free yourself from the economic slavery to dealers, and assure your funds will not go into criminal endeavors. You will have unadulterated produce complete with all the ingredients. That means no middleman or grower has stolen your THC trichomes (read hashish there). When you see what should be sparkling on your bud, you can take the piss at what dealers offer.
Don’t forget to visit our website: Tio Semillas for more pictures and information. You can send in your questions to us at the web site and read the answers to those questions here at Cannabis Farmer.