For Grow Journal 12: SCROG, I focus on maximizing the yield for my five legal plants (Steve’s Dream Queen, Amnesia Lemon, Blood Diamond OG, Prayer Pupil, and Swabi Pakistani 3) inside my 4×4 Gorilla Tent (sponsored by Aroma Grow Store). I knew when I decided to run five different strains, including sativa and indica, I would have difficulty controlling the differences sizes and structures of each plant and lose control of space management inside the tent.
However, as mentioned in Grow Journal 4: Seeds, the purpose of my grow journal first and foremost is to grow a variety of strains I don’t have access to in Illinois that also benefit my specific medical needs. The second reason is to entertain and inform all growers, those interested in growing, and those who enjoy cannabis horticulture.
After allowing my five plants to recover for three days from the Kushman Chiropractics (39 days of total vegetation), I flipped the lighting schedule and started the flowering stage of the grow. Brian Marks at Aroma Grow store mailed me a Gorilla Grow Tent Net Trellis and a Titan Controls Apollo 9 two outlet 24 hour digital timer for my NextLight Core LED Grow Light. On May 30, I set the timer for 11 hours on/13 hours off.
After a few days, I stretched the net trellis across the top of the five plants. I made a conscious decision to position the Swabi Pakistani 3 and Steve’s Dream Queen in the back left and right corners, respectively, because they already had outgrown the other plants. Plus, the SP3 and Prayer Pupil grew healthier while not directly under the light.
I placed the Amnesia Lemon on the front left and the Prayer Pupil on the front right of the tent. The Blood Diamond OG thrived in the middle. Within a week, the branches on the BDOG, SDQ, and SP3 were already stretching longer than expected. So I started using the SCROG method.
SCROG, an abbreviation for “Screen of Green,” allowed me to gently tuck branches down and around the netting to better achieve an even canopy across the tent and improving the potential for my overall yield.
While trying to best space out each branch so all plants and absorb equal amount of light, I realized I should have cut a branch or two off each plant before flipping to flower. I could tell that even the most masterful scrogger was not going to be able to position these shorter branches enough to receive consistent light to reach the height of the other scrogged branches. I had a decision to make.
Do I cut the branches now, more than a week into flowering, and risk shocking the plants into recovery instead of bud production? Or do I let the branch grow knowing that the tiny buds will not only produce larf but also and suck up energy that could go to the nearest cola.
I cut one semi-thick branch off the SP3, Amnesial Lemon, and SDQ. I cut two semi-thick branches off the BDOG. Each of those plants had many other productive braches, but the Prayer Pupil was a squattier plant than the others in the tent and didn’t have as many branches as the others. I cut two branches off the Prayer Pupil, and looking back, I probably should have left them.
While the other plants continued to thrive, the Prayer Pupil took more than a week to recover, and the whole time I felt ill to my stomach watching her go lighter green than she’d ever been. It took nearly two weeks for her to bounce back to a darker, healthier green and producing larger fan leaves and buds. Will she forgive me? I’m still worried what the overall negative effects will be after harvest.
One aspect of the flowering stage I didn’t research: when does the plant stop growing. I assumed about three weeks into flowering, but I never researched (lesson re-learned: never assume). The SP3 and SDQ were growing so rapidly I was scrogging into week five. I wasn’t able to keep up because I thought the plants had stopped grown (the other three had).
It wasn’t long before I lost total control of the SP3’s longer branches and partial control of the SDQ. The SDQ I was able to scrog easier but instead of placing the colas in a spaced out area point toward the light, I had instead scrogged several longer branches sideways.
In this photo of the SP3, right before watering, I thought she was going to going to sing to me, “Feed me, Seymour, feed me all night long!” The SP3 had taken at least 50 percent more water than the other plants throughout the flowering stage. Once the SP3 and SDQ stopped growing, I just tried to support the sprawling branches with wire but was also losing that battle.
Each day, I tried to make sure each bud that had starting growing had direct sunlight. I pruned underneath the plants for node regrowth and dying leaves daily. The BDOG sprouted new nodes underneath every other day. I selectively pruned fan leaves that blocked lighting from buds and leaves lost underneath from the scrogging.
Overall, my scrogging techniques were not a total failure, but I could definitely improve during my second grow. Watching the buds slowly develop during this phase, though, may have been my favorite part of growing so far. Photos in all previous stages are cool, but nothing beats photos of frosty pistil-laden buds.
Check back for News Joint Grow Journal 13 in which I discuss late stages of flowering and taking photos to post on social media.
Click here for earlier entries of News Joint Grow Journal. A Prairie State of Mind.