Editor’s note: Now that Illinois Ed has finished his first two grows, we pass the baton to @medsforheads, who is documenting his first grow. This is his first journal entry.
The last ten weeks for me have been educational, stressful, and full of unexpected joys, from the smell of soil to the sight of new growth. In the middle of March, I had germinated five Triangle Market seeds given to me by a nomadic breeder and killer grower now local to Chicago called Brown Bag Seeds, so I could grow my first-ever crop of cannabis in a 3×3 tent.
Triangle Market is a cross of (Mendobreath x Pre-98 Bubba Kush x Triangle Kush) and Temple Kush, a stout, bushy plant perfect for my limited space.
Of the five seeds, four popped, three survived the seedling stage, and one was male. Since then, my two resilient ladies have made themselves at home in ten gallon fabric pots full of living soil, surrounded by a ring of Build-a-Soil cover crop.
I have placed the plants on a periodic regimen of concentrated aloe, bagged compost tea and Fish Shit microbes, and introduced Big Foot Gold mycorrhizae to the soil, and they haven’t been complaining, pumping out plenty of lush green foliage and growing to a height of 22 inches so far.
Approaching week 11, the SCROG method is helping to fill out the canopy and distribute light from a Vivosun LED. Though chosen after semi-thorough comparative research, my selection of light has been derided by experienced growers, but my shoulders are chipless as I prepare to flip the plants to their flowering cycle, optimistic for the cheaper light’s performance while acknowledging the likely need to upgrade soon and eat the cost of my initial frugality.
The phenotypical variation between the two plants is an endless source of surprises, with TM1 sporting fat-fingered fan leaves and steep-angled branches that fight to pierce the dense foliage and TM2 spreading out, demonstrating an effective adaptation to FIMing the top weeks ago.
I have two concerns for the health of the plants at this critical stage: yellow leaf tips and gnats. The yellow tips could indicate a slew of different imbalances, including light burn and nitrogen deficiency, so I’ll adjust a few variables and raise the light height and hope to curtail the issue, so bud sites can get properly nourished. As for the gnats, I encountered them once before and thought I was rid of the issue. They have just barely begun to affect the cover crop, but no damage to the plants themselves is visible.
Peroxide is recommended by some sources as a way to eliminate eggs in the soil, but since this would destroy the microbiome I’ve worked to create, it’s essentially off the table. Instead, I’ll use apple cider vinegar traps and, should the issue persist, treat the top layer of soil with diatomaceous earth. I’m also keeping an eye on my ExHale mycelium bag, which has started showing discoloration that I hope is not a sign of contamination so it can continue to add CO2 to the tent environment.
The cover crop itself will also be monitored; though visually lush, there is the chance that roots could compete with those of the Triangle Market. If not, the variety of small plants will protect against soil erosion, enhance the mycorrhizal network, and fix nitrogen from the air to the benefit of the cannabis. Stay tuned for News Joint Grow Journal 34.
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