With spring about to, well, spring, and the drought a bad memory, every cannabis grower’s mind is on planting season. It’s an exciting time, and while you have a lot of work ahead of you, the harvest makes it all worthwhile.
Whether you’re an old-timer with many harvests under your belt, or a newbie just trying out your green thumb for the first time, there are some things that every grower should keep in mind.
Out with the Drought
California’s historic drought may not be over, but this season’s crazy rain will have caused a lot of erosion for outdoor growers. Also, too much late winter and early spring rain is no friend to outdoor crops. A layer of mulch or even a tarp will help with these problems, as well as insulating against spring chill.
Getting All Your Ducks in a Row
Because state and county laws are changing this year more than most in California, it’s important to keep track of what’s going on where you live. The easiest way to do that is to monitor sites like CannaBusiness Law, as well as talking to your local elected representative.
As of February 15, 2016, cultivators with 2000 square feet or more of cannabis are required to enroll in a new water quality regulatory program (Order R1-2015-0023), either directly with the Regional Water Board, or via an approved third party program. Additionally, smaller operations or operations with similar environmental effects, where there is a threat to water quality, may be directed to enroll under the Order.
You may request Regional Water Board staff to conduct a consultation inspection. This is an opportunity to verify tier status, identify features to include in a water resource protection plan, and discuss treatment schedules. Click here for more information.
Rolling Up Your Sleeves and Getting It Done
For many growers, there’s a zen aspect to prep for the season. Whether it’s mixing your soil just right, washing your rocks, or writing out your labels, some put on music and just enjoy the ritual of preparation. For others, it’s a simple matter of work ethic – getting it done because that’s how it’s done.
One of the things we suggest for all outdoor growers in advance – get your pest management regimen dialed in! Outdoor growers have little control over the environment, and that includes Mother Nature’s destructive and tiny forces. One caterpillar can turn into hundreds, and one root aphid will quickly change the tides.
Preventative measures will always be better than trying to fix a problem after your plants have become infested. Keep your calendar close and PLAN what you will treat with, and when.
Once you’ve taken care of your media, labels, and pest management, it’s time to move on to the clones that will be the heart of your crop. Any good crop’s success depends on how good the clones you start with are, and Dark Heart uses proven genetics to create clones that are pest-resistant and that thrive in a variety of environments.
Since we often sell out at our vendors, we recommend you sign up for drop alerts. You’ll get a customized notice on when our clones are being delivered to your local vendor. You can also pre-order at participating locations.
Large-scale growers can also order Dark Heart clones directly (depending on availability). Click here to submit a request for direct orders.
From Our Garden to Yours
Because our clones are “hardened off,” they are substantially larger than other clones you might find at a dispensary – in side-by-side testing, an average of 20% larger. This benefits growers because the starts are ready for high intensity lighting right away and can be given full strength nutrients immediately.
Once you bring them home, they should be planted immediately. If you can’t, here are some tips to storing them properly. Beginners will also find thorough instructions on transplanting.
After you’ve successfully transplanted your Dark Heart clones, you should check the moisture of the actual rockwool cube for the first week or two. The surrounding media can sometimes pull moisture from the cube. Pour a cup of irrigation water on the cube if this happens.
Sometimes you will see plants droop, and seem to wilt as soon as their fresh roots are surrounded in soil. Have faith – more often than not they will perk back up in 24 to 48 hours. If not, there’s a chance you oversaturated the growing medium and need to check to ensure there is better drainage. Within a week of transplanting, you should see healthy, new growth.
If your plants remain stunted or lifeless, go back to the drawing board to see where you could have gone wrong; did you ensure to adjust the pH for soil versus the pH you used when you were watering the clones in rockwool? Did you up your nutrient solution too quickly?
Often the veg state can be overlooked by many growers and not given as much significant attention as the flowering stage, but really, it’s just as important.
There are few things more satisfying than nursing a crop from clone to harvest. Spring represents renewal; a new chance to hone your skills by creating life that will benefit yourself and others. Enjoy every stage, and most of all, enjoy your Dark Heart harvest!