fter the storms in early September, the weather cleared up a bit. During the inclement, cloudy and clammy weather, powdery mildew and grey mold attacked the ripening colas. All of the fungicides I used were relatively ineffective over the long period of bad weather. Grey mold destroyed 50 percent of them and inflicted some damage to another 25 percent.
At the same time about 10 percent of the buds were also attacked by powdery mildew. The mold grew on days when the sun peeked through the low clouds just long enough to warm the leaves into the 70s for a while, an ideal temperature range for the spores to germinate in the high humidity.
When the weather cleared up, I used my own Zero Tolerance® herbal fungicide. This dried up the soggy grey mold and stopped it from spreading, somewhat. Still, the buds were not in great shape; they were mostly infected.
After the clouds cleared we had sunny, warm days for a week, hastening ripening. I harvested the plants, but this was not a happy harvest. The plants would have yielded about three pounds of spicy, juicy buds of a mostly sativa hybrid. Instead, the weather messed the buds over.
Trying to salvage a few clean buds from the mostly infected mess was not an attractive option for me because it would have been depressing, and also because the probability is that the “clean” buds were also infected; they just weren’t showing yet.
I harvested the colas, hung them up to dry, and gave the three-plus pounds of buds to a friend who will turn it into a concentrate. The process leaves the impurities behind.
When I decided not to use light deprivation I knew I was taking a gamble on the weather. But I also wanted to prove a point: The weather must be accommodated, because it won’t accommodate you. Had I used light deprivation to force the plants to ripen a month earlier, at the end of August, the buds would have bathed in the summer sun, with no light obstructions and plenty of UV-B light to enhance the buds’ THC and the terpenes.
Now I’m about to start preparing the space for my next garden. It will be in two 4? x 4? garden tents and I’m going to start from seed. Get ready for setup.
The plants just before dawn on harvest day. They look OK until you notice that the buds are suffering from mold.
Cutting the colas off the plants.
The buds are placed in a container for transport. They were hung up to dry untrimmed because buds and leaves will be processed together.
A mostly healthy bud with just a small infection. Moldy bud in background
TIP OF THE MONTH FROM ASK ED®
The indirect light of fall and cloudy weather resulted in molds that could have been prevented if the plants were harvested a few weeks earlier. There are several ways this could have been accomplished:
- Using auto-flowering plants that flower based on chronological age, not photoperiod
- Using short-season varieties that flower early
- Using light deprivation as described in Marijuana Growers Handbook