If you’re anything like us here at Amsterdam Genetics, you’ve probably been wondering how Sista Mary and her Skyrocket triplets are doing. Well, rest assured: all four of them are in great shape. You may recall how all three cannabis plants had advanced well past their seedling stage. The first topping session was successful, promoting lateral growth and restraining the ladies’ tendency to skyrocket upwards. We pick up a few weeks after we last had a look, in the peaceful back garden where the Tale of Three THC Sistaz Theresa, Hilda and Caroline unfolds.
Coping With Dutch Weather
As the Dutch summer proceeds, the weather has been a bit of a mixed blessing here. The first months were bountiful in sunshine, which was great to spark that first spurt of growth. During the previous episode of Sista Mary’s Grow Guide, just around Summer Solstice, the sunny days made way for a few weeks of heavy downpours. Of course, developing plants need plenty of water, so all this rain was basically good news. The potting soil and compost mix in their mortar tubs still held enough nutrients to keep the girls fed. With an occasional spot of sunshine, there was hardly any need for watering, and adding fertilizer was not necessary. However, Dutch weather being as unpredictable as it is, the mini monsoon was followed by a serious dry spell with scorching 30+ degree temperatures. Time for Sista Mary to switch no a new gardening regime!
Tops And Lollipops
The girls had recovered well from the first round of topping, so another trimming session seemed safe. Topping a second time will make your plants even broader, with more extra budding potential. However, you should only do this if you’re sure the plants have recovered completely from the first cutting, or you’ll stress them too much. The THC Sistaz seemed in fine shape, so another round of topping followed. Then, the plants were ‘lollipopped’. This involves trimming away the lowest branches of the plant, giving them more of a ‘lollipop’ shape than their natural ‘Christmas tree’ look. Lollipopping is a matter of efficiency, really. The lower branches have leaves that use up energy for their growth; all that energy will go to the upper branches and their future colas if you trim away the bottom leaves.
Summer Vibez For The THC Sistaz
The copious rainfall of the past weeks has boosted the growth of the Sistaz with impressive effect. All three of them have developed into strong adolescent plants, advanced well into the vegetative stage. They have plenty of firm side branches, healthy green fan leaves, and as far as anyone can tell, a full root system underneath the straw covering the soil to counter evaporation. That’s just as well, because outdoor growers need resilient plants to cope with changes in the weather. When the first few hot days turned into a full-scale heatwave, they needed all the strength they had in them to hang on.
Plenty Of Water And A Bit Of Timing
Of course, baking heat can easily dry out the soil you have in your pots or tubs, because the sun and hot air can reach all around their surface. That makes pot plants more vulnerable to dehydration than plants with their feet firmly in the soil. This meant watering the plants at least once a day; preferably twice. Just remember to water them early in the morning or around sunset. If you don’t, water left on the leaves can act like a prism, enabling the scorching sun to ‘burn’ the leaves. Simply test the moisture level by sticking your finger into the dirt – you’ll know when it’s too dry if no soil clings to your finger. Also, cannabis plants like to be watered after the soil has gone almost dry. Try not to water already damp soil, but wait a little longer until they get dry feet.
No matter how much rain you get, in the vegetative phase of the cannabis life cycle, water alone is not enough. Nutrients are just as crucial as sunlight in allowing the plants to grow. That’s why you could op for added nutrients at this stage if you’re not sure your soil has enough nutes left. You can use special products, or you can go old school like Sista Mary prefers. In her case, having a few chickens around the house and drinking plenty of coffee does the trick. Well, actually, you’ll need to save up the used ground coffee beans and chicken manure. This is a great mix containing lots of precious nitrogen that your plants need. Collect the leftovers and droppings, but allow them to dry out completely over a few days. If you don’t, the urea in the manure releases ammonia, which will damage the plant’s cells. Adding dry manure like this is better than using liquid nutrition in wet conditions. Damp soil can’t absorb the nutrients as easily when they come in liquid form.
Yellow Leaf Checks
A bit of the coffee and chickensh*t mix was added regularly to the soil, mixing it gently into the top layer and then putting the straw heat shield back into place. You can tell your plant needs NPP nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) when the leaves turn yellowish before flowering sets in. There are other causes for yellow leaves, though: check for too much or too little water first. If that seems okay, use a pH meter to see if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline. If that’s okay too, add some nutrients. You plants will love you for it and reward you with fat buds in a month or two.
Either it’s the dry weather, the stress of topping and lollipopping, or some other unknown factor, but the THC Sistaz still had somewhat yellow leaves after receiving the chicken and coffee diet. Sista Mary decided to step up the nitrogen administration by using a few squeezes of BoomBoom Spray. This special weed fertilizer spray is completely organic. It has the benefit of being absorbed directly by the leaves for easy application. That does come with a warning, though: only spray before sunrise or after sunset to avoid frying those precious leaves!
THC Sistaz Ready For The Flowering Stage
The BoomBoom Spray, the chickensh*t, and the loving care of Sista Mary did the trick: all three Sistaz are now looking fit as a fiddle again. It’s a matter of keeping a close watch on nutrient and water levels from here. Apart from that, the wait is on for the first signs of the flowering stage to emerge. By that time, the nutrients they need will change. We will discuss that in the next episode of Sista Mary’s Grow guide, however, as the Dutch summer proceeds to august and then on to that long-awaited harvesting time….