The nights are getting cooler and longer. Your plants know this. Enjoy the changing seasons.
15 or 20 days before you reckon on pulling a harvest, you must “flush your plants”. Guess work? Premonition? Yeh. The last 2 or 3 or 4 weeks of your plants lives should be fertilizer free. Sugar will be alright but, really not all that necessary.
I like to start off the season with a very neutral soil in the containers. Yes, I mix my own compost with store bought, mid-priced bags of garden soil. I don’t want some fertilizer company putting minerals into this soil nor do I want some company tweaking the N.P.K. ratio .I don’t want to pay for those chemicals nor do I want to have some N.P.K. chemical premix interfering with my own fertilizer schedule. Pot plants have grown just fine for thousands of years, without people “helping out” and in all kinds of soil, usually “bad or poor” soil.
During the 1st 4 or 5 months of plants lives, I want the plants to get a nitrogen heavy N.P.K ratio fertilizer, the next 5 to 7 weeks they should get a phosphorus heavy N.P.K. ratio fertilizer, the very last 14 to 30 days, all they need is pure water maybe a little sugar and lots of real, direct SUNLIGHT. This September has been good pot growing weather here on the front range.
Lots of sunlight and water and some plant maintenance. Use a clean pair of scissors to cut off all the dead and dieing leaves. All yellow or brown leaves have to be removed or spiders will use them for habitat. Very bad. Also, those useless leaves are shade to the rest of the flower bud. Lots of growers go thru their plants during September and take off ALL the big outer leaves…all of them. This is lots of work, so take your time and do a good, complete job. As you do this inspect your plants, Is one of them keeling over? Try to gently prop it back up-right. You might have to tie it up to a support pole. Look for that dreaded scourge: powdery mildew. You’ll have to cut off any parts of the pot plant that has P.M. and throw it out. Do so with out touching any of your other plants with it, so you are not spreading it to a healthy plant. Do not put it in your compost pile, shit-can it. Change your clothes. Wash your hands. It spreads easily. If you’ve had strong winds, strong rains or hail in your neighborhood, you probably have plant damage. Either cut it off and process the flower buds or tape them back up on to the plant. That is, if you still have some skin attached so it’ll get its life -juice from the plants’ roots.
Some folks have “early-girl” varieties that are ready now. Look at the pistils coming out of the buds. If they all are colorful (instead of milky white) then that bud is ready to come off the plant. If it’s not growing any new white pistils, then its not growing any more THC sugars, either. That bud is ready for harvest.
Harvest consists of clipping, trimming, drying and curing. I do a selective clipping. Only those parts of the plant that I think is ready to be harvested now is cut off. Usually this means whole twigs or maybe 1/2 a branch gets clipped off, letting the not-yet-ready parts to bask in the sunlight for several days more.
I’ve written about “the harvest” pretty throughly in my book “Growing Marijuana Outdoors in Colorado” and in these web articles. I still give my buds a loose, hairy farmers’ trim. I trim to the frost line. Corporate grow ops clip buds very tightly, or close to the bone, and that’s fine for them. They also have trim machines. I still use paper bags in which to dry the buds…they are dark, dry and they breath. The more twig you leave the buds on, the longer it’ll take to dry.
Altho this is an important and busy time of year, try to have fun. Put some music on. Smoke a big fat one, and enjoy yourself.
P.S. Life is short. RIP to my oldest friend, Derek S. A good man who died too young.