Early this summer I used light deprivation, providing 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness to induce flowering. The plants were all harvested over a two-week period beginning the last week of July.
After being cut, large branches or whole plants were hung to dry in a cool cellar-type space that mostly maintained temperatures in the high 60s and had about 50 percent RH.
They remained un-manicured as they dried and cured over a two-month period, until there was time to separate the buds from the stem, and then to unveil the bud from it shield of trim leaves.
The buds are perfectly dry; moist enough to retain spongeability, to return to shape after they are squeezed, rather than too dry, when they just crack and crisp into little pieces. At the same time, the little stems that hold the buds onto the cola crack rather than bending. The dry trim leaves peel away from the tight bud nuggets to reveal crystally, perfectly mature buds that have retained their odor.
First, we started trimming the cured bud removing any fan leaves that were left, and then we started doing the trim leaves. We soon realized that we were too bored and it seemed like too much effort to continue the task. So, we made a strategic decision—to leave the trim leaves on the buds and to remove them only as the buds are removed from their storage container to be destroyed using a controlled burn. The bud was quickly placed into jars and metal storage containers. They will be stored in the refrigerator.
Because the bud was slow dried and cured in a cool space, a high percentage of terpenes were retained and the bud has great odors. I’m toking on some Blue Dream as I’m writing this column, and even though I’m outdoors, the floral odor surrounds me.
The SuperBud is more complex, expressing a spicy highlight that rises above a more sedate stoniness including a sweet candy taste but with spicy odors. The effect is both relaxing and innervating.
The Chocolate Tonic is very earthy. Its odor is sort of like a medical tonic. The effect is mellow, sedating and calming. It is a nice variety for relaxing, but not zoning out.
The Blackberry Fire’s taste and odor is very generic. The high crept up slowly into a sativa space that conserves energy and encourages inquiry.
The summer crop has been processed and is sitting in the refrigerator and freezer waiting for eventual destruction. It offers a wide choice of highs and will create many altered states among friends and family.
Harvest is celebrated all over the world. Yet our urban connection to the bounties of nature is usually a short one, just to the store or restaurant. Cannabis is the only plant some people grow, and that’s fitting, because it might be the first plant that was grown by humans. So, when cultivators toke up we rediscover the wonders of nature.
And if you are a cultivator, you know yours is the best in the world. And I would not dispute that. Using the grass that you grow provides a pleasure that cannot be matched by gift or purchased weed. It’s a connection to the wheel of life.
- 1. Hung fresh buds.
- 2. Trimming some Blue Dream for immediate use.
- 3. Buds, still in their natural wrappers, in storage.
- 4. Close-up of a Chocolate Tonic bud covered in glistening glands.
- 5. Garden of the Month®: This tray filled with Blue Dream plants was convenient to roll around as the sun changed position during the day.
- 6. Plant stems and branches of the harvested Blue Dream shows how the plants were trained to increase canopy reach.
TIP OF THE MONTH
If you live in the southern tier of the country such as Southern California, or if you have an unobstructed southern facing window, you can start a crop now. Using either seeds or clones start the plants and grow them in containers. In warm areas the plants can be planted in the garden.
To keep the plants growing vegetatively to a convenient size, they should receive no more than six hours of uninterrupted darkness. Turning on a light several times during the night, even for just a moment, does the trick. Then, when you want them to flower, keep the dark the entire night. In about a week you will notice the first flowers developing.