STUFF STONERS LIKE have recently teamed-up with expert herb growers, Dru West and The West Coast Masters, to answer all your growing questions…have a question, email us at stuffstonerslike[at]yahoo.com.
QUESTION: “I just started growing and went from a 8 week plant to growing some OG Kush that I hear is a 10-weeker. I’m in the 2nd week of aggressive bloom. Should I extend the aggressive bloom cycle or extend the ripening cycle? When should I transition to the ripen? How long should I ripen and flush for?“
Dru West: First off I wouldn’t worry so much about your involvement in “aggressive bloom cycles and ripening cycles”. The fact is, you can’t dictate the length or onset of a plant’s life cycles. Regardless of what the label on the nutrients says. There is a lot of hype out there that can be very confusing for the beginning grower.
Remember that you can’t force feed your plants if you want your buds to be the best they can be. It is your job to just make the food available to the plants when they need it. Only add nutrients every other time you water and your will nutes go twice as far. The more excess nutrients you apply to the medium the harder it will be to flush out in the end. This will severely compromise the overall quality of your smoke.
If a plant is an “aggressive bloomer”, it will accept more food than a plant that is not. Not every plant is an aggressive bloomer. OG Kush for example, is not an aggressive bloomer, so there’s no sense in overfeeding it. OG Kush is renowned for its potency, not its huge buds. That’s not to say you cant get great yields off properly trained OG Kush plants.
When learning the tendencies of new strains, it is always prudent to start small in terms of feeding. You can always add a little more later if necessary, but if you give too much now, there’s no taking it back if it does harm. Let the plant do it’s own thing and take note of the weeks in which it displays different characteristics like “aggressive blooming” and use that information the next time around. Then you will know exactly what time to experiment with heavier nutrient applications.
If it is a 10-week plant, that means it typically takes 10 weeks to fully ripen. The plant is going to ripen on it’s own terms and there is nothing you can do to transition the plants into ripening. They are always ripening and are not waiting to be fed in a particular way before they begin. You can’t extend the ripening cycle because once they are ripe they are ripe. To extend would be to over-ripen. Remember it is a plant like any other. What is true for flowers, fruits, and vegetables, is also true for cannabis in many cases. Strawberries are delicious. However, a strawberry picked too early tastes sour and bitter. If it is picked too late, it has lost its sweetness and often tastes rotten.
One easy indicator that the plant is ready for harvest will be the noticeable reddening of the pistils (white hairs). Once approx. 80% of the hairs have changed it’s ready to go.
You should always begin flushing two weeks before harvesting. This means you discontinue adding nutrients to the water you give the plants. First you must leech the built up nutrients from the soil. Do this by slowly pouring a large volume of water through each of the plants. Always apply the water at an equal rate to the pot volume. Ex. 5gal pot = 5gal of water. This must be done at least twice during your ninth week. Then just continue to give straight water until harvest. Starving the plant in these final weeks forces it to consume the nutrients it has built up within itself (which would otherwise end up in your bong and then in your lungs).
I hope you find this helpful. For more info check out my book Secrets of the West Coast Masters: Uncover the Ultimate Techniques for Growing Medical Marijuana