What I Learned My First Year of Gardening Part III

Part III

Ok, so all plants, including Princess are out in the open air 24/7. As I walked around each day and observed each plant species, trying to understand when to water and when to wait, I observed some plants with yellowing leaves, others with stunted growth, some thriving ( Princess ) and others were steadily recovering from their deer topping. 

At this point Princess is more than three months into her grow. It was clear when Princess was happy or not. Her fan leaves reacted quite quickly to outside stimuli. Especially when she was still a young clone. As she matured, it was less obvious if something was wrong or right. During this time, a friend of mine gave me three autoflower plants. As I watched them grow, they gave me another window into the characteristics of the cannabis plant. In case you're not aware, cannabis decides to flower based on the number of hours of light it receives. When the days shorten is when an outdoor cannabis plant will begin to flower. Not so for an autoflower plant. They have full life cycles of two and half to four months long and they flower regardless of the amount of light they receive. 

So, as I walked around the garden observing, some plants were in the middle of growth spurts while others were just like, uhm, nah. I’m good right here. No work to be done. Princess being one of them. She grew to about two and half feet and slowed.

During the cannabis vegetative phase, ( Plant Stages: seedling, vegetative/grow, bloom/flowering ) cannabis needs more nitrogen than other nutrients. Presuming your soil is a complete soil. I purchased a nutrient with only nitrogen that I mixed in a liquid solution and watered her with it. It wasn’t long and she said thank you. Within twenty four hours, her fan leaves were reaching more than ever before. I proceeded to water at least every other day and feed her various cocktails of NPK nutrients from there. Her growth took off big time. 

With this new found information, I applied this to some other plants in our garden. Sure enough, they all responded. Now this is where many will begin dumping more and more nutrients into their watering schedule. I caution you as I have been cautioned. Don’t go crazy with nutrients. Too much can be worse than too little. Too much can damage a plant while to little will make most plants just slow growth and conserve its resources. Of course, if a plant doesn’t have enough resources, it will not bear fruit. There is a delicate balance that can be achieved if you pay attention and do your Googling.

I found watering to be the trickiest to understand with all the plants in our garden. With some Google research and some investigation of each plant, based on said research, I become comfortable and confident in my gardening skills. Tomatoes and artichokes like lots of water. Cucumbers a little less, but not much. Cannabis likes a cycle of full soil drenching and delaying the next watering until the soil has had a chance to dry a bit. This varied quite a bit depending on the weather. Dryer weather, more water. More humid outside, regardless of temperature, less water. 

We have begun to get quite a few tomatoes, the autoflower cannabis is in full bloom, the artichokes are sprouting about six pups and princess is about five feet tall. Now this is the point where life intervenes. 

My girlfriend and I have a parting of the ways and I will have to move. So what to do with Princess and the autoflowers. After all my hard work and constant monitoring, I didn’t really want to leave them behind. I did get to harvest some tasty tomatoes before I moved out. My favorite by far is the Striped Roman variety. Very hearty. 

The autoflowers did reach harvest time, but Princess was many months from harvest. So many calls I made to a number of friends begging them to take my precious Princess. At this point I had no one who could take on my five foot and growing Princess, until I go on a bike ride with a friend who just so happened to have recently purchased a grow tent. So I load her up into the back of my truck, but not without some damage. I discovered, at least with this strain, the branches coming off the main stalk were not attached very strong. I used duct tape to give them a splint. Even so, I lost a few smaller branches that were good candidates for cloning. So this Princess adventure ended up being a complete success. 

At the time of this article, Princess has just begun her bloom cycle thanks to the control that you get with an indoor grow. I happy to report she is healthy and developing some prime flower. Can’t wait to take part in her fruit. 

My final conclusion, it doesn’t matter the plant. Any common plant is easy to grow if you do some research and follow instructions. It does get quite a bit more complicated if you choose to grow hydroponically, as you are taking control of all the elements a plant wants. Light cycle, nutrients, ventilation, ambient temperature and more The end result of a hydroponic grow can exceed outside soil, but it is definitely way more challenging as things happen much quicker. One mistake and you’re done. It’s best to thoroughly understand the needs of whatever plant you choose to grow hydroponically. Soil definitely gives you a buffer before a plant is a total loss.