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The Autumn Garden



[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]E[/dropcap]very part of North America has its own unique climate. Oakland, California near San Francisco, has an unusual post-summer glow, and the wind changes direction around Labor Day. Rather than blowing ocean-cooled air onto land—creating the Bay Area’s famous fog—the wind changes direction, creating a clear and sunny September that often stretches into October.

My home garden, surrounded by structures and trees, loses direct light due to the autumn sun moving closer to the horizon each day. However, a licensed outdoor garden is on flat land with no obstructions, so it stays sunny the whole day. It seemed like the only solution for this lonely post-harvest farm was to get it working again. I was able to locate 6,000 clones, which were placed three per container.

To do this, the soil was broken up a bit using a pitchfork, then the clones were planted by hand. It took three people about four days to accomplish this task. Then the containers were watered using drip emitters that were installed for the last crop.

During the first week, the dark cycle was broken using an HPS lamp mounted on a wooden pole that was permanently secured to a wagon using cement. I was wheeled through aisles in the field so that all the plants got a full light bath twice each night. Each time the light hit the plants they restarted the chemical process that triggers flowering. The plants do not receive a long enough stretch of uninterrupted darkness, preventing the plants from flowering.

After one week of vegetative growth in their new quarters, the lights were turned off. The dark period (dusk to dawn, about 9.5 hours) was long enough to induce flowering. The clear sunny weather and daytime temperature in the range of 65 to 75 degrees, was perfect weather for plant and flower growth.

As the plants flowered they continued to grow a bit so each triad filled the containers. Bud stretch, common when buds grow in hot weather, was absent. These buds were tight nugs, covered with trichomes and extremely fragrant.

The buds were set out in mid-August, three per pot.

Some were planted even before the last crop was totally harvested.

Field of plants ready to harvest.

Each container contained three plants.

Example of a ripe bud.

Example of a ripe bud.

Example of a ripe bud.

Plants being harvested.

Floral bouquet.

Containers being wheeled to the processing/ drying area.

Plants being hung.

Powerlift is used to reach upper levels.

Plants hanging on 3 levels.

Dried Mochi bud.



Grow a Winter Crop

You can grow plants indoors if you have a sunny south-facing window or enclosed patio. Start with seeds or clones. Using clones cuts the time to harvest by two to three weeks.  Plant them in one to five-gallon containers filled with a premium planting mix for indoor cultivation. Since the days are short, which induces flowering, break up the dark cycle two or three times each night using a small wattage bulb such as a compact fluorescent (CFL) on a timer. The light needs to flash on for as little as one minute to keep the plant from flowering. Once they have grown a bit, stop the light enhancement and keep the plants in the dark all night. In about eight weeks the buds will be ready to harvest. The plants and the buds probably won’t be giants, but they should be high quality and fresh.



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