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Outdoor Balcony Grow, AMS White Widow Xtrm & Gorgonzola, Supersoil, Fluxing, 2019


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At this point, the Widow seems to have lost a bit of color, I removed leaves that became very light. I am not sure if this appearance is ok for the strain or something missing in the biology/nutrients available to it. As compared to the Gorgonzola it appears weaker in color.
Also too I found one cola branch of the Widow appeared to be dying so I removed it, thankfully it was still far enough developed not to go to waste! You can see the dying cola in the second pic. Any ideas as to what it is? Is it fairly normal for the odd cola branch to die off in late flowering? Last year's grow I found that branch by branch the plant sequentially died off, I diagnosed Fusarium Wilt, a fungal condition that makes stems die off starting in one location which then runs up the whole branch. It began in the second week of March until I had to chop it on 2nd April with only one cola remaining, in a desperate attempt to allow the still living colas to mature as much as possible, even so the resulting trichomes didn't get as far along as I'd hoped. This time overall both plants are doing better than last year's attempt, but still it is a concern whether the dying branch is simply a feature of advanced flowering or something that I can do something about and improve on next time?



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3 bud flowering pics each of the Gorgonzola week 10 and the White Widow Xtrm week 8



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It's getting to that eye candy time...



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Caterpillar infestation I put aside some pics to post and forgot to do so. A bit of a shocker occurred, I spotted a small caterpillar a week ago and didn't really think anything of it except to wonder how it got so high up the cola. I picked it off and squashed it. Then the following days I spotted more, some quite plump. I ascertained them to be white butterfly caterpillars and realized a butterfly had obviously laid eggs. At first I thought they were only on the Widow, but then the next day spotted them also on the Gorgonzola. After urgently checking online, I decided some bacteria treatment that stops the caterpillar eating without having any effect on the bud was the treatment I went for. I used about a third of a sachet mixed in water into a 1.5 liter sprayer and sprayed both plants with a bit over a liter of the mixture, everything was pretty sodden after that but it dried fairly quickly in the sun and breeze.

Reading on other people's experiences it seems prudent when doing outdoor grows where there is a likelyhood of butterflies being about, to spray at the beginning of the flowering period (and if this treatment is appropriate) to repeat every 7 - 10 days. It has been about a week since I did the treatment and for the last few days I have not spotted any further caterpillars, so fingers crossed, I hope that is the end of them. I probably wont re apply the spray as it is getting cooler now (April) and it seems the butterflies aren't around like in the warmer months, and I imagine that I will be all done in the next couple of weeks based on the look of the pistils and trichomes.

In total I probably found and squashed about 30 caterpillars! I realize now that I had been lucky on my previous 2 outdoor balcony grows not to encounter this before. One reason for that may be that the plants are situated on the balcony that is higher that the ground level plants and presumably less pests about. However this year I added some herb planters to the balcony rail to further obscure any views the neighbors may have of my plants. Possibly the addition of the herb planters attracted the butterflies to fly up and visit my plants!

On my next outdoor grow I will spray at the beginning of flowering as a pre-emptive strike against any possible caterpillar infestation. I would keep it up for as long as butterflies are about. You don't think it applies to you until it hits your plant/s. So the advice of those who have suffered caterpillars on their outdoor grows to spray in advance of any possible infestations is very good advice I feel.

I think overall the damage is quite small. There are a few brown bud/sugar leaf patches that I have carefully pulled out with some tweezers. I noticed just how laden with trichomes the brown parts were and couldn't help vaping it, which proved to give a very good effect. I am not noticing any creeping bud rot or the like, I assume these small patches of dead brown bud/sugar leaf are from where the caterpillars have eaten in the bud and resulted in it dying, not from a fungal rot. However, if they were left there then it could extend into something worse.

In the first pic a caterpillar can be seen under a sugar leaf. The second and third pics are the front and back of the caterpillar treatment packet that I used.



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White Widow is again showing signs of a cola dying, from the top. Any ideas what could be causing that? Thankfully it is only one cola/branch and altho the trichome/pistils are not yet where I want them to be they are certainly close enough for the buds effected to be fully usable.



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Gorgonzola week 11 - bud closeups taken today. 4th pic down shows 'brown' where I have tweezered out some caterpillar damage.



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While uploading the latest pic postings, I was interrupted by a phone call which exposed my lack of ability to multitask and I stuffed up the labelling of the pics.

To clarify, of the 2 posts each containing 6 bud pics, the first set is of the Gorgonzola week 11. The second post is of the White Widow Xtrm week 9, of the Widow pics, pics 2 and 3 show some of the seed/calyx development. On 1st March I pollinated 2 colas of the Gorgonzola, and 1 cola of the Widow.

Anyway, that's me all pretty much up to date now. Any comments/thoughts on the appearance of the Widow with it's somewhat sparse buds and yellowed look, and the dying branch?

After the plants started to stretch towards flowering I felt the appearance of both plants appeared very healthy and promising and I was patting myself on the back for the supersoil mix that I'd used. It looked like the Widow would produce a lot of big long colas whereas the Gorgonzola was thicker in cola width but smaller overall.
At that early stage I had been guessing (and hoping) that perhaps I could get from 3 to 5 oz from the Gorgonzola and 6 - 8oz from the Widow. But now when I look and try to imagine the buds harvested and estimate how many 1 oz bags they could fill and I have to drastically bring back the estimates.

I will harvest the Gorgonzola first, probably in the next 1-2 weeks, I am guessing I will get 2.5 - 3.5 oz from it. With the Widow, altho it rocketed up to double the size of the Gorgonzola it seems to have failed to develop, maybe the caterpillars knocked it back a bit, but I think something else, maybe the strain phenotypes of that particular seed was lacking or some nutrient issue that I failed on.

Because at this stage the Widow is behind the Gorgonzola I am guessing that it wont be ready to harvest until another 10 days - 3 weeks. I am now guessing that the Widow will yield 1.5 to 2.5 oz. So overall my collective estimate for the 2 plants is in the 4 - 6oz range (probably at the lower end), which is certainly better than nothing but probably half what I was imagining was possible earlier in the grow. The Widow just didn't seem to take off.

West Hippie

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Before making the super soil I purchased a compost tumbler to mix it in, which had a capacity of 190l (about 50 US gallons). Altho the recipe sheet is in the picture, the picture is not expandable so I'll type it out here for anyone who is interested.

Super Soil base
100 litres (about 26 gallons) Gro Organic potting mix
5 liters (just over 1 gallon) Chookchar (Bio-char + composted chicken manure)
15 liters (nearly 4 gallons) Worm castings
5 liters coarse Pumice
5 liters Perlite
10 liters Tui Organic Compost

plus dry amendments
2 cups Neem granules
2 cups Yates Thrive organic blood and bone with seaweed
2 cups Sheep manure pellets
2 cups Fish Meal
2 cups Guano Phosphate
2 cups EF Nature's Garden Fertilizer

plus dissolved amendments in about 7 liters chlorine free water
2 tbl Magic Botanic Liquid (Humic and Fulvic acids)
2 tbl Molasses (Sulphur free)
2 tbl Epsom salts
2 tbl EF Fish Plus

This made roughly 140 liters total (about 36 gallons), which I allowed to 'cook' for 3 months before using it.

In making this up I simply tried to 'chuck together' enough ingredients to approximate some of the super soil recipes on the web. After this grow is finished I intend to review the mixture in regard as to whether to adjust it in some way for the next grow. So anyone with adjustment ideas please chime in, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on how it could be improved. I think Subcool's recipe had lime/dolomite lime added. I held back on adding any because from what I understood the Neem granules and Chookchar that I added tend to having a 'liming effect' and raise pH levels. So I am still unsure on whether I should include some dolomite lime in the next mix or not.

As I was following a super soil approach to the grow, I didn't give any Veg or Bloom nutes, just water. However,
once flowering started (perhaps once ever couple of weeks) I occasionally added sulphur free molasses to the watering (about a teaspoon per liter). And I also top dressed on 2 occasions with some worm castings, fish meal, guano phosphate, and covered with a pea straw mulch, which seemed to do a wonderful job in keeping moisture in the soil on the top of the container that otherwise would dry out. In fact, I feel where advice states to only give water when pushing one's finger into the soil to the second joint is felt to be dry, that this is perhaps not good advice. I understand the need not to over water, that makes sense. However, before adding the pea straw mulch layer the top inch or so of soil seemed wasted as it repeatably would dry out completely between waterings. However, once the pea straw mulch layer was added I noticed that the top of the soil now stayed moist, and after a short while I noticed the top layer of soil which previously appeared barren was now full of lots of little white root tips, which surely indicates that the plant is able to make use of all of the soil in the container. I didn't water any more than I had been, but the mulch layer now kept the top layer of the soil moist and was full of root points.
Welcome Stunger , was checking your site and I know someone that needs some of your help getting rid of some bugs @Reave neem granules
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