I left off News Joint Grow Journal 5 with my parenting instincts to protect and nature my five plants on five-alarm-fire mode. But the next couple weeks of my first grow did not go as planned.
At first, the five seedlings were growing well in their solo cups. Each day, I misted inside a sandwich baggy with water and placed the baggy over a solo cup of each seedling. Even though super busy with multiple deadlines, I paid close attention to each plant. I checked on them several times a day, aired them out, added a new baggy to keep them fresh, and told them how pretty they were (no singing, that’d been counterproductive).
After the first week, I started acclimating the plants to more time without the bags and then moved into a watering schedule. In the second week, though, a couple plants’ leaves started getting wrinkled. I assumed I’d watered them too much so I back off. A few days later, I noticed slight yellowing in some of the leaves and was not sure why.
One aspect I wanted to include in this grow journal was advice from experts, friends, and grow groups, but much like parenting, when something goes wrong, I don’t have time to email and wait for advice, and I can’t text or call a friend or associate at 4 AM because I’m having a little problem with one of my five plants.
I do have great mentors and advisers who return answers to my questions as soon as they can, but often, by that time, I have made a decision to try to correct the problem and moved on. Being a first-time grower is similar to first-timeparenting, in that, once I think I’ve learned how to handle a new stage of life, a new stage of life begins and keeps me a half step behind.
As a second child of three, does this mean I’ll let my second-grow girls run wild and drunk with no curfew throughout their teen years (oh, wait, maybe that was me). The point is: will I be less attentive and more permissive toward my plants on my second grow, as parents naturally do? Or will I be more skilled and prepared for potential problems?
Another aspect of growing I quickly learned is that every grower I know and don’t know has the best way of doing it (their way) and are not afraid to volunteer to answer not only the questions I asked but also question I didn’t ask or want to know about. There is no changing their minds either.
The Facebook groups have been somewhat helpful but also a bit absurd in that a grower will post a question about yellowing leaves, and the comments section will have eight different growers who think they know exactly what’s wrong with the one dark and grainy photo of a plant. The problem is that often they all have a different answer. Not to mention snarky and (for me) off-putting comments about other people’s first attempts at growing medicine (not all members, most try to help).
Inevitability, a member will post (sometimes without a comment) the old-school graphic with twenty-five cannabis leaves with different shaded of yellows, greens, and browns and the supposed deficiency causing the discoloring listed below. It was like trying to match two separate inkblots in a Rorschach Test.
I’m sure this entry will garner quite the comments (especially from those who don’t actually read the journal entry) on how I should have done it. You know, the right way. Their way. I tease, but sometimes the groups that are supposed to help are often overwhelming with unrelated content, spammers, plugs, etc.
So when the leaves to a few of my plants started yellowing and didn’t stop when I adjusted to fix the problem, I learned “grower’s anxiety” was real! The above photos were taken right when the yellow started.
Even though this was my first attempt, I purposely placed high expectations on myself to cultivate this grow correctly. The thought of letting down one of my genetics sponsors (Mass Medical Strains) and partners (Aroma Grow Store and Homegrown Cannabis Co.) stressed me out to no end. I didn’t want to embarrass them for trusting me, and if I didn’t figure out the problem, my worst fears about this grow journal would come true. I’d be the laughingstock of not only Illinois growers but also growers across the planet.
Once adjusting the frequency of watering still didn’t help, I did what I do for most of life’s complicated issues, even if it takes hours. I digested as many proper resources with as many experts on the subject as possible and then cherry picked which solutions I believed would work best for my individual situation.
In this case, though, the solution was more absentmindedness than a researchable problem to solve. With all that was going on, I’d forgotten to pH balance my water, so Brian Marks at Aroma Grow Store promptly mailed me a Milwaukee pH pen tester. My tap water was running at about a pH level of 7.6-7.8.
I didn’t water the plants until the pen arrived, and by then, it was almost time to transplant. Though I was afraid to shock the plants too much with transplanting, I thought it would be better to get them in fresh soil with new pH balanced water and hope they bounced back. I placed each one in a 20-gallon fabric pot inside my Gorilla tent, also sponsored from Aroma Grow Store. Here was how they looked the day of transplanting.
Check back for News Joint Grow Journal 7 to see if my plants bounce back or if I spectacularly failed and let down people who trusted me.
Click here for earlier entries of News Joint Grow Journal. A Prairie State of Mind.