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Growing Culture

Urban Farm III




It is now mid-October, and we’re continuing the cultivation of our urban farm. In order to give the plants more vegetative time so they can grow bigger, they were given nightly doses of light using two high pressure sodium lamps. The lights were slowly walked through the garden rows midway through the dark cycle. A large metal halide work light, used by road crews, was also wheeled down the center aisle as part of the regimen.

The dark cycle lighting ended on Sept 10. By then, the autumn dark period was long enough to immediately send the plants into flowering. All of their energy is now devoted to reproduction, and the plants are growing big buds in a vain search for pollen.

This variety of OG fills out late in the bloom period. The plants are now entering their sixth week of the flower stage, and they have about two weeks to go, so we will start cutting after Nov. 1.

So far, nature has been good to this crop. We had a rainstorm in late September, but it quickly dried with the help of a nice warm breeze. Since then, we’ve had mainly clear sunny skies with highs in the mid to high 70s, and nightly drops into the low 60s to high 50s. The humidity is high, ranging from 60 to 80 percent, but the constant salt air breeze coming off the Bay helps to keep fungi and molds from attacking the plants.

This is an outdoor crop, so we are completely at the mercy of nature’s vagaries. The forecast for two weeks was mostly sunny leading up to Oct. 29, just before harvest, when cloudy weather and a slight chance of drizzle was expected to hide the sun for three days. On Nov. 1, the scheduled harvest date, the sun began to peek through the clouds again.

If it rains, there is a good chance that the moisture and cool weather might promote the germination of molds and fungi. To prevent this from happening, after the rain stops we will spray the plants with water at the pH of 8.5. The alkaline condition inhibits mold and fungi from germinating.

Our plan is to remove “A” buds and preserve them for sale as flower. They will be carefully dried and trimmed. The smaller buds and biomass will quickly be dried using heat and very low humidity. Then they will be used for concentrates and extracts.

We are preparing the space now. The harvest time will take three to four days, and we will be processing the material as it is harvested. The plan is to remove the buds that will be preserved as flower first. Then we will remove the biomass. Later, after all the plants have been processed, the roots will be removed from the containers and they will be planted with alfalfa and left out in the field. The alfalfa will supply nitrogen and help the microorganisms thrive, amending the mix so it will provide a healthy environment for next year’s crop.

The one-acre garden is planted with about 2,800 20-gallon containers. Each plant has a space of about 16 square-feet.

This plant stands about three feet high. Notice that it is fully budded.

The fan leaves have been removed from the buds, so the sunlight falls directly on the developing bud.

Removing small bud branches and fan leaves.

This bud will ripen in about two weeks.

Top view of maturing bud.