Stunger's Organic Soil Stealth Balcony: Landrace Mulanje & Other Sativas

Stunger

Grow Journal of the Month: May 2021, March 2022 - Plant of the Month: May 2021
Welcome to my new grow journal for the new outdoor season down under!

This year I am growing Sativas from regular seeds, of which I have had a 100% germination rate. I am hoping to make some seeds of the Mulanje, if that goes to plan then I may look to make a cross with the other plants also (just selectively pollinating a branch or two only), but that's getting ahead of myself at this point, just saying for now.

A flashback to last year's balcony grow


This pic was taken of my last balcony grow. It can be seen in my previous journal Stunger's Last Stand: Banned To The Balcony. One was quin-lined and supercropped, and the other two were LST'd and supercropped. I got close to a pound and a half from them.

Location

Southern Hemisphere, land of the long white cloud, temperate, humid summers. Growing outdoors on a balcony that only gets direct sun in the afternoon and is open to bouts of rain, wind and bad weather.

Training low for stealth

Due to suburban living I need to keep my plants as stealthy as possible, mostly that means keeping them height restricted by topping and training them to no more than 2.5 feet max. When it comes to smell, I can only hope that my long term neighbours either don't mind or don't realise. I always hope any dank smells stay under the radar, altho sometimes there are dank whiffs in the air that are detectable to me when the breeze is in a certain direction, but to someone who wasn't a grower or connoisseur of this fine plant, I am not so sure they'd notice. Of course, it is a risk, but I think once you decide to take it, you just have to let go of such concerns and trust the thought that it will likely be undetected to others, and therefore try to avoid getting stressed about it. I used to feel the stab of stress whenever I heard a helicopter passing overhead, but now, thankfully, I have accepted that they haven't been gawping at my grow and so I don't get bothered about it.

I will look to carry out some selective pruning to remove weaker growth, because there simply isn't a lot of space for voluminous canopies on the balcony. But having said that, many folk post pics of tasty frosty popcorn buds which causes my pruning hand to hesitate.

Growing in organic living soil

The soil recipe that I started with a few years ago was initially based on what I could source locally to match or approximate Subcool's Super Soil recipe. I added fresh worm castings to it and soon had worms living in the soil too, even with the harsh hot wet/dry cycles of the pots some worms always still survived post-harvest. I re-use the soil for successive grows and re-amended the soil during and between the grows, so this soil has been used in grows several times already. I have since included ingredients from Clackamas Coot/Jim Bennet's soil recipe, like crustacean meal and malted barley, and more rock dust. I regularly added more worm castings from my home worm farm and some home compost mixed in. I have a 3 layer worm farm unit, which is easy to feed the worms chopped up banana skin, fruit/veg waste, and in return you get rich dark worm castings and worm wee that the plants appear to grow well with it included in their daily waterings.

Due to the intense heat that my home made 'air pots' are under, I usually put a mulch layer of pea straw or similar, on top of the soil, it helps keep the moisture in and allows the roots to come right up, and worms tend to hang out underneath.

Amendments added between grows

For what it's worth, below is the list of amendments I mixed in to my final pots after the last grow. I added the amendments over 3 months ago, so the soil should be good by now for this year's grow. It's pretty much the same amendments as I gave them last year in the 'off season' between grows. Rock dust is an amendment that keeps on giving for many years, so I probably won't bother with giving this batch of soil any more of that from now on, besides I'm almost out of it.

2021 organic soil amendments based on 30L container ( or ‘*’ for 50L)

2/3 cup (*1 cup) Blood n Bone
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Kelp meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup Neem powder
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Fish meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Guano phosphate
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Malted barley (diastatic)
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Seafood Lush Fert mix
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Gypsum
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Aged chicken manure (composted with sawdust)
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Dried shrimp, washed/soaked to remove salt
1 tsp Humic/Fulvic acids
1 tsp Fish Hydrolysate

Top Dressing during the grow

In order to carry out a full grow that is water only, either bigger pots are needed or smaller plants. I have usually found that after 3 months vegging, the plants are ready for some kind of topdressing which I have usually carried out with amendments like Neem meal, organic Blood n Bone, Kelp pellets, fish meal, Guano phosphate, worm castings.

Foliar Feeding

I feel Foliar feeding is of benefit, and something I have regularly done using a seaweed Kelp concentrate in the spray water once or twice a week, the plants seem to really like it, and when I have tested the leaves with a refractometer they have shown high Brix readings.

Pots

Final pots sizes I use, either 30L (8 gallons) or 50L (13 gallons). I have drilled holes around the rims to secure plastic coated training wire for LST purposes. Ideally, I would like to grow in much bigger pots but these are the practical limits for me and this location. As I mentioned above, for these size pots I have found top dressing is still needed during the grow.

I got interested in the concept of 'air pots' before there were any such available where I live. They seemed very compelling for root health and growth so I drilled a fair number of holes in the sides and bottoms of my pots, and I made a simple pot liners from some lightweight landscape fabric to keep the soil and worms from coming out through the holes. These pots cause the soil to lose moisture quicker because of all the holes drilled into them, so I have usually watered daily and on hot days more than once when the heat measured coming off the stone tiles of the balcony can easily get up into the high 30's C (somewhere around 100F).

The 4 sativa plants/3 strains that I am growing this year

These 4 are all from regular seeds, I am hoping if genders are 50/50 that these will give me at least 2 females, but 3 would be even better!

#1 Mulanje

A landrace sativa from Southern Malawi, grows at 1800m on Mt Mulanje the second highest mountain in Africa. It has been described by some as the King of Sativas and very strong. It is said to be high in THCV, but I have no confirmation of that, it is said to be very clean in effects, psychoactive, euphoric, long-lasting.

I started with germinating 3 Mulanje seeds, but unfortunately a hungry slug ate one of the new seedlings so I only have 2 surviving Mulanje plants, I have topped both above the 4th node, first nodes removed and hex-lined with the remaining 3 nodes. I usually micro top by 'wiggle wagging' the young shoot when it is only an inch long (or less) because it breaks cleanly and heals fast. However, this time with the 2 Mulanje plants, the shoots were more 'bendy' and failed to break off from my 'wiggle wagging', so instead I used a pair of scissors to micro top both Mulanje plants above their 4th nodes. My eyesight is not so flash these days, and in time I saw I clearly buggered up the attempted topping and managed to FIM one plant, and then a few days later I realised it was now apparent that actually both plants had been FIM'ed, oh well no worries. My designated #1 Mulanje plant is shorter than the #2 and therefore with no other signs yet apparent I am pencilling this one as a potential female.

#2 Mulanje

This one is taller with greater internodal distances, possibly male? I will put it into a smaller 30L pot when it's ready. Because if it is a male, I will use it for pollen so no need for it to grow large. In fact, if I can verify that it is a male before up-potting to the final pot, then I will consider putting into a smaller 20L pot to make it easier to limit it's future size. It's FIM growth is larger than #1, and I have applied some additional LST to bend the stem over a bit, and LST to keep the other top node shoots closer to horizontal.

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️
Honduran sativa with purple Colombian phenotype combined with Panama sativa and re-crossed to a Purple Honduras. Said to be initially, clean, energetic, euphoric, and leading on to dreamy, psychedelic, blissful.

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️
Ethiopian and African strains can be high in THCV, although I cannot confirm that for what I am growing, but nonetheless it is interesting to note. This has been described as strong, euphoric, laughing grass, for which I think there will often be times when that could be my cup of tea.

My aims with this grow are to
  • maintain stealthiness,
  • make some seeds, ideally some Mulanje,
  • probably prune off more weaker growth this grow to focus on bigger colas which would allow less extra canopy to manage, as it can become a PITA for maintenance when it is crowded on the balcony.
  • If I can balance all the above ok, then I'll consider some drought training too, as my one real experience of (unplanned) drought training was really encouraging (small ceramic pot in hot summer), I still rate it as being the plant which gave me the stickiest and strongest buds I have ever grown.
  • make some cobs from the Sativas

Any suggestions/comments all welcome, as it's only through the experience of so many other good folks that I have any chance at all of growing these wonderful plants.

One final caveat before we get started. I have not previously grown pure sativas before, so I don't know how they will respond to the necessary stealth training that is ahead of them, or indeed the environment that I am offering them, but I am assuming that they'll be fine.

Mulanje #1 & #2


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 3 and half weeks after breaking soil. The first 2 nodes of #1 grew as single blade leaves, whereas the #2 grew the 'normal' 3 blade leaves on the 2nd node.


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 5 weeks old and were topped above the 4th node a week prior.

Mulanje #1


#1 at 5 and half weeks. First node leaves and initial fans removed and plant's main arms trained out.


Mulanje #1 at 6 weeks

Mulanje #2


#2 at 5 and half weeks


#2 at 6 weeks, showing extra FIM growth which has been additionally LST'd bent down.

Germinating 2 more sativas

For these, I gave my usual scuff and overnight soak in roughly 6:1 dilution of 3% H2O2.
Then instead of planting direct in the soil like I did for the Mulanje, I chose to put them in a zip lock bag on some water moistened paper towel. Previously I have sandwiched them in the wet towel but this time I did it so I could see any progress thru the plastic, it was great to be able to easily view them.


After 1 night in plastic bag


After 2 nights in the plastic bag, now ready for planting

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

:ganjamon:
 
Last edited:

Carcass

Member of the Month: Aug 2019, May 2021, July 2022 - Nug of the Month: May 2020 - Plant of the Month: Mar 2021 - Photo of the Month: Sept 2021 - Grow Journal of the Month: Oct 2021 - Plant of the Year: 2021
Been waitin' for this- I'm in!
 

Emeraldo

Well-Known Member
Pulling out my lounge chair for this one. I'll be watching how those Malawi do!

That ziplock germination technique looks like something I will try out. Am hoping to start a couple of Purple Haze x Malawi next year, so looking forward to your grow Stunger!

:thumb:
 
Last edited:

Bill284

Member of the Month: March 2021; April 2022 - Grow Journal of the Month: April 2021 - Plant of the Month: Nov 2021 - Member of the Year: 2021
Welcome to my new grow journal for the new outdoor season down under!

This year I am growing Sativas from regular seeds, of which I have had a 100% germination rate. I am hoping to make some seeds of the Mulanje, if that goes to plan then I may look to make a cross with the other plants also (just selectively pollinating a branch or two only), but that's getting ahead of myself at this point, just saying for now.

A flashback to last year's balcony grow


This pic was taken of my last balcony grow. It can be seen in my previous journal Stunger's Last Stand: Banned To The Balcony. One was quin-lined and supercropped, and the other two were LST'd and supercropped. I got close to a pound and a half from them.

Location

Southern Hemisphere, land of the long white cloud, temperate, humid summers. Growing outdoors on a balcony that only gets direct sun in the afternoon and is open to bouts of rain, wind and bad weather.

Training low for stealth

Due to suburban living I need to keep my plants as stealthy as possible, mostly that means keeping them height restricted by topping and training them to no more than 2.5 feet max. When it comes to smell, I can only hope that my long term neighbours either don't mind or don't realise. I always hope any dank smells stay under the radar, altho sometimes there are dank whiffs in the air that are detectable to me when the breeze is in a certain direction, but to someone who wasn't a grower or connoisseur of this fine plant, I am not so sure they'd notice. Of course, it is a risk, but I think once you decide to take it, you just have to let go of such concerns and trust the thought that it will likely be undetected to others, and therefore try to avoid getting stressed about it. I used to feel the stab of stress whenever I heard a helicopter passing overhead, but now, thankfully, I have accepted that they haven't been gawping at my grow and so I don't get bothered about it.

I will look to carry out some selective pruning to remove weaker growth, because there simply isn't a lot of space for voluminous canopies on the balcony. But having said that, many folk post pics of tasty frosty popcorn buds which causes my pruning hand to hesitate.

Growing in organic living soil

The soil recipe that I started with a few years ago was initially based on what I could source locally to match or approximate Subcool's Super Soil recipe. I added fresh worm castings to it and soon had worms living in the soil too, even with the harsh hot wet/dry cycles of the pots some worms always still survived post-harvest. I re-use the soil for successive grows and re-amended the soil during and between the grows, so this soil has been used in grows several times already. I have since included ingredients from Clackamas Coot/Jim Bennet's soil recipe, like crustacean meal and malted barley, and more rock dust. I regularly added more worm castings from my home worm farm and some home compost mixed in. I have a 3 layer worm farm unit, which is easy to feed the worms chopped up banana skin, fruit/veg waste, and in return you get rich dark worm castings and worm wee that the plants appear to grow well with it included in their daily waterings.

Due to the intense heat that my home made 'air pots' are under, I usually put a mulch layer of pea straw or similar, on top of the soil, it helps keep the moisture in and allows the roots to come right up, and worms tend to hang out underneath.

Amendments added between grows

For what it's worth, below is the list of amendments I mixed in to my final pots after the last grow. I added the amendments over 3 months ago, so the soil should be good by now for this year's grow. It's pretty much the same amendments as I gave them last year in the 'off season' between grows. Rock dust is an amendment that keeps on giving for many years, so I probably won't bother with giving this batch of soil any more of that from now on, besides I'm almost out of it.

2021 organic soil amendments based on 30L container ( or ‘*’ for 50L)

2/3 cup (*1 cup) Blood n Bone
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Kelp meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup Neem powder
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Fish meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Guano phosphate
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Malted barley (diastatic)
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Seafood Lush Fert mix
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Gypsum
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Aged chicken manure (composted with sawdust)
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Dried shrimp, washed/soaked to remove salt
1 tsp Humic/Fulvic acids
1 tsp Fish Hydrolysate

Top Dressing during the grow

In order to carry out a full grow that is water only, either bigger pots are needed or smaller plants. I have usually found that after 3 months vegging, the plants are ready for some kind of topdressing which I have usually carried out with amendments like Neem meal, organic Blood n Bone, Kelp pellets, fish meal, Guano phosphate, worm castings.

Foliar Feeding

I feel Foliar feeding is of benefit, and something I have regularly done using a seaweed Kelp concentrate in the spray water once or twice a week, the plants seem to really like it, and when I have tested the leaves with a refractometer they have shown high Brix readings.

Pots

Final pots sizes I use, either 30L (8 gallons) or 50L (13 gallons). I have drilled holes around the rims to secure plastic coated training wire for LST purposes. Ideally, I would like to grow in much bigger pots but these are the practical limits for me and this location. As I mentioned above, for these size pots I have found top dressing is still needed during the grow.

I got interested in the concept of 'air pots' before there were any such available where I live. They seemed very compelling for root health and growth so I drilled a fair number of holes in the sides and bottoms of my pots, and I made a simple pot liners from some lightweight landscape fabric to keep the soil and worms from coming out through the holes. These pots cause the soil to lose moisture quicker because of all the holes drilled into them, so I have usually watered daily and on hot days more than once when the heat measured coming off the stone tiles of the balcony can easily get up into the high 30's C (somewhere around 100F).

The 4 sativa plants/3 strains that I am growing this year

These 4 are all from regular seeds, I am hoping if genders are 50/50 that these will give me at least 2 females, but 3 would be even better!

#1 Mulanje

A landrace sativa from Southern Malawi, grows at 1800m on Mt Mulanje the second highest mountain in Africa. It has been described by some as the King of Sativas and very strong. It is said to be high in THCV, but I have no confirmation of that, it is said to be very clean in effects, psychoactive, euphoric, long-lasting.

I started with germinating 3 Mulanje seeds, but unfortunately a hungry slug ate one of the new seedlings so I only have 2 surviving Mulanje plants, I have topped both above the 4th node, first nodes removed and hex-lined with the remaining 3 nodes. I usually micro top by 'wiggle wagging' the young shoot when it is only an inch long (or less) because it breaks cleanly and heals fast. However, this time with the 2 Mulanje plants, the shoots were more 'bendy' and failed to break off from my 'wiggle wagging', so instead I used a pair of scissors to micro top both Mulanje plants above their 4th nodes. My eyesight is not so flash these days, and in time I saw I clearly buggered up the attempted topping and managed to FIM one plant, and then a few days later I realised it was now apparent that actually both plants had been FIM'ed, oh well no worries. My designated #1 Mulanje plant is shorter than the #2 and therefore with no other signs yet apparent I am pencilling this one as a potential female.

#2 Mulanje

This one is taller with greater internodal distances, possibly male? I will put it into a smaller 30L pot when it's ready. Because if it is a male, I will use it for pollen so no need for it to grow large. In fact, if I can verify that it is a male before up-potting to the final pot, then I will consider putting into a smaller 20L pot to make it easier to limit it's future size. It's FIM growth is larger than #1, and I have applied some additional LST to bend the stem over a bit, and LST to keep the other top node shoots closer to horizontal.

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️
Honduran sativa with purple Colombian phenotype combined with Panama sativa and re-crossed to a Purple Honduras. Said to be initially, clean, energetic, euphoric, and leading on to dreamy, psychedelic, blissful.

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️
Ethiopian and African strains can be high in THCV, although I cannot confirm that for what I am growing, but nonetheless it is interesting to note. This has been described as strong, euphoric, laughing grass, for which I think there will often be times when that could be my cup of tea.

My aims with this grow are to
  • maintain stealthiness,
  • make some seeds, ideally some Mulanje,
  • probably prune off more weaker growth this grow to focus on bigger colas which would allow less extra canopy to manage, as it can become a PITA for maintenance when it is crowded on the balcony.
  • If I can balance all the above ok, then I'll consider some drought training too, as my one real experience of (unplanned) drought training was really encouraging (small ceramic pot in hot summer), I still rate it as being the plant which gave me the stickiest and strongest buds I have ever grown.
  • make some cobs from the Sativas

Any suggestions/comments all welcome, as it's only through the experience of so many other good folks that I have any chance at all of growing these wonderful plants.

One final caveat before we get started. I have not previously grown pure sativas before, so I don't know how they will respond to the necessary stealth training that is ahead of them, or indeed the environment that I am offering them, but I am assuming that they'll be fine.

Mulanje #1 & #2


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 3 and half weeks after breaking soil. The first 2 nodes of #1 grew as single blade leaves, whereas the #2 grew the 'normal' 3 blade leaves on the 2nd node.


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 5 weeks old and were topped above the 4th node a week prior.

Mulanje #1


#1 at 5 and half weeks. First node leaves and initial fans removed and plant's main arms trained out.


Mulanje #1 at 6 weeks

Mulanje #2


#2 at 5 and half weeks


#2 at 6 weeks, showing extra FIM growth which has been additionally LST'd bent down.

Germinating 2 more sativas

For these, I gave my usual scuff and overnight soak in roughly 6:1 dilution of 3% H2O2.
Then instead of planting direct in the soil like I did for the Mulanje, I chose to put them in a zip lock bag on some water moistened paper towel. Previously I have sandwiched them in the wet towel but this time I did it so I could see any progress thru the plastic, it was great to be able to easily view them.


After 1 night in plastic bag


After 2 nights in the plastic bag, now ready for planting

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

:ganjamon:
Good morning my friend @Stunger
Just love seeing your beautiful ladies basking in the sun.
Hope you have room on the balcony for one more.

Stay safe
Bill
 

Stunger

Grow Journal of the Month: May 2021, March 2022 - Plant of the Month: May 2021
Pulling up a chair. :popcorn:
Hey stinker nice to see you, sorry to keep you waiting!
Been waitin' for this- I'm in!
Thanks Carcass, you were the first to welcome me when I first joined 420, I appreciate you dropping in!
Off to a great start Stunger
Cheers DD, nice to see you, I hope to do them justice.
Hey mate looking sweet mind if I tag along for the ride.
Hey Oz, most certainly, glad you dropped by!
I'm in for the sativa of course. Cheers
Hey Lerugged, thanks for dropping in, I will be checking further with guys like you who have the real sativa experience!
Pulling out my lounge chair for this one. I'll be watching how those Malawi do! Am hoping to start a couple of Purple Haze x Malawi next year, so looking forward to your grow Stunger!
Hey Emeraldo, good to see you! I am really looking forward to growing these sativas, I hope I can do so without too many stumbles.
Good morning my friend @Stunger
Just love seeing your beautiful ladies basking in the sun.
Hope you have room on the balcony for one more.

Stay safe
Bill
Hey Bill, thanks for dropping in with your kind words. Always plenty of room for you! Take care and all the best.
 

nivek

Photo of the Month: Oct 2018
beautiful plants last year,, must say,, and very sativa looking as well,, skinnier leaves than you are growing this year,,

i gotta say by last years effort that you will possibly be ok this year as well, ha,, beauty plants indeed

karma sent to the wee ish ones,, from the north country
 

Stunger

Grow Journal of the Month: May 2021, March 2022 - Plant of the Month: May 2021
Awesome detail it makes for a very interesting journal I will be following along for sure.
Thanks for saying and looking in Tang!
beautiful plants last year,, must say,, and very sativa looking as well,, skinnier leaves than you are growing this year,,

i gotta say by last years effort that you will possibly be ok this year as well, ha,, beauty plants indeed

karma sent to the wee ish ones,, from the north country
Thanks Nivek! I understand the Mulanje strain naturally has a bit of a fatter leaf for a sativa rather than being pencil thin. Last year's plants I think would be described as hybrids, by the time they had got to the late flowering stage they had lost their initially large fan leaves to look distinctly less wide as you noted. I'll be interested how they and the 2 seedlings progress.
 

Jon

Grow Journal of the Month: Sept 2021; Nug of the Month: Feb 2022
Welcome to my new grow journal for the new outdoor season down under!

This year I am growing Sativas from regular seeds, of which I have had a 100% germination rate. I am hoping to make some seeds of the Mulanje, if that goes to plan then I may look to make a cross with the other plants also (just selectively pollinating a branch or two only), but that's getting ahead of myself at this point, just saying for now.

A flashback to last year's balcony grow


This pic was taken of my last balcony grow. It can be seen in my previous journal Stunger's Last Stand: Banned To The Balcony. One was quin-lined and supercropped, and the other two were LST'd and supercropped. I got close to a pound and a half from them.

Location

Southern Hemisphere, land of the long white cloud, temperate, humid summers. Growing outdoors on a balcony that only gets direct sun in the afternoon and is open to bouts of rain, wind and bad weather.

Training low for stealth

Due to suburban living I need to keep my plants as stealthy as possible, mostly that means keeping them height restricted by topping and training them to no more than 2.5 feet max. When it comes to smell, I can only hope that my long term neighbours either don't mind or don't realise. I always hope any dank smells stay under the radar, altho sometimes there are dank whiffs in the air that are detectable to me when the breeze is in a certain direction, but to someone who wasn't a grower or connoisseur of this fine plant, I am not so sure they'd notice. Of course, it is a risk, but I think once you decide to take it, you just have to let go of such concerns and trust the thought that it will likely be undetected to others, and therefore try to avoid getting stressed about it. I used to feel the stab of stress whenever I heard a helicopter passing overhead, but now, thankfully, I have accepted that they haven't been gawping at my grow and so I don't get bothered about it.

I will look to carry out some selective pruning to remove weaker growth, because there simply isn't a lot of space for voluminous canopies on the balcony. But having said that, many folk post pics of tasty frosty popcorn buds which causes my pruning hand to hesitate.

Growing in organic living soil

The soil recipe that I started with a few years ago was initially based on what I could source locally to match or approximate Subcool's Super Soil recipe. I added fresh worm castings to it and soon had worms living in the soil too, even with the harsh hot wet/dry cycles of the pots some worms always still survived post-harvest. I re-use the soil for successive grows and re-amended the soil during and between the grows, so this soil has been used in grows several times already. I have since included ingredients from Clackamas Coot/Jim Bennet's soil recipe, like crustacean meal and malted barley, and more rock dust. I regularly added more worm castings from my home worm farm and some home compost mixed in. I have a 3 layer worm farm unit, which is easy to feed the worms chopped up banana skin, fruit/veg waste, and in return you get rich dark worm castings and worm wee that the plants appear to grow well with it included in their daily waterings.

Due to the intense heat that my home made 'air pots' are under, I usually put a mulch layer of pea straw or similar, on top of the soil, it helps keep the moisture in and allows the roots to come right up, and worms tend to hang out underneath.

Amendments added between grows

For what it's worth, below is the list of amendments I mixed in to my final pots after the last grow. I added the amendments over 3 months ago, so the soil should be good by now for this year's grow. It's pretty much the same amendments as I gave them last year in the 'off season' between grows. Rock dust is an amendment that keeps on giving for many years, so I probably won't bother with giving this batch of soil any more of that from now on, besides I'm almost out of it.

2021 organic soil amendments based on 30L container ( or ‘*’ for 50L)

2/3 cup (*1 cup) Blood n Bone
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Kelp meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup Neem powder
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Fish meal
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Guano phosphate
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Malted barley (diastatic)
2/3 cup (*1 cup) Seafood Lush Fert mix
1/3 cup (*1/2 cup) Gypsum
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Aged chicken manure (composted with sawdust)
1 cup (*1.5 cup) Dried shrimp, washed/soaked to remove salt
1 tsp Humic/Fulvic acids
1 tsp Fish Hydrolysate

Top Dressing during the grow

In order to carry out a full grow that is water only, either bigger pots are needed or smaller plants. I have usually found that after 3 months vegging, the plants are ready for some kind of topdressing which I have usually carried out with amendments like Neem meal, organic Blood n Bone, Kelp pellets, fish meal, Guano phosphate, worm castings.

Foliar Feeding

I feel Foliar feeding is of benefit, and something I have regularly done using a seaweed Kelp concentrate in the spray water once or twice a week, the plants seem to really like it, and when I have tested the leaves with a refractometer they have shown high Brix readings.

Pots

Final pots sizes I use, either 30L (8 gallons) or 50L (13 gallons). I have drilled holes around the rims to secure plastic coated training wire for LST purposes. Ideally, I would like to grow in much bigger pots but these are the practical limits for me and this location. As I mentioned above, for these size pots I have found top dressing is still needed during the grow.

I got interested in the concept of 'air pots' before there were any such available where I live. They seemed very compelling for root health and growth so I drilled a fair number of holes in the sides and bottoms of my pots, and I made a simple pot liners from some lightweight landscape fabric to keep the soil and worms from coming out through the holes. These pots cause the soil to lose moisture quicker because of all the holes drilled into them, so I have usually watered daily and on hot days more than once when the heat measured coming off the stone tiles of the balcony can easily get up into the high 30's C (somewhere around 100F).

The 4 sativa plants/3 strains that I am growing this year

These 4 are all from regular seeds, I am hoping if genders are 50/50 that these will give me at least 2 females, but 3 would be even better!

#1 Mulanje

A landrace sativa from Southern Malawi, grows at 1800m on Mt Mulanje the second highest mountain in Africa. It has been described by some as the King of Sativas and very strong. It is said to be high in THCV, but I have no confirmation of that, it is said to be very clean in effects, psychoactive, euphoric, long-lasting.

I started with germinating 3 Mulanje seeds, but unfortunately a hungry slug ate one of the new seedlings so I only have 2 surviving Mulanje plants, I have topped both above the 4th node, first nodes removed and hex-lined with the remaining 3 nodes. I usually micro top by 'wiggle wagging' the young shoot when it is only an inch long (or less) because it breaks cleanly and heals fast. However, this time with the 2 Mulanje plants, the shoots were more 'bendy' and failed to break off from my 'wiggle wagging', so instead I used a pair of scissors to micro top both Mulanje plants above their 4th nodes. My eyesight is not so flash these days, and in time I saw I clearly buggered up the attempted topping and managed to FIM one plant, and then a few days later I realised it was now apparent that actually both plants had been FIM'ed, oh well no worries. My designated #1 Mulanje plant is shorter than the #2 and therefore with no other signs yet apparent I am pencilling this one as a potential female.

#2 Mulanje

This one is taller with greater internodal distances, possibly male? I will put it into a smaller 30L pot when it's ready. Because if it is a male, I will use it for pollen so no need for it to grow large. In fact, if I can verify that it is a male before up-potting to the final pot, then I will consider putting into a smaller 20L pot to make it easier to limit it's future size. It's FIM growth is larger than #1, and I have applied some additional LST to bend the stem over a bit, and LST to keep the other top node shoots closer to horizontal.

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️
Honduran sativa with purple Colombian phenotype combined with Panama sativa and re-crossed to a Purple Honduras. Said to be initially, clean, energetic, euphoric, and leading on to dreamy, psychedelic, blissful.

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️
Ethiopian and African strains can be high in THCV, although I cannot confirm that for what I am growing, but nonetheless it is interesting to note. This has been described as strong, euphoric, laughing grass, for which I think there will often be times when that could be my cup of tea.

My aims with this grow are to
  • maintain stealthiness,
  • make some seeds, ideally some Mulanje,
  • probably prune off more weaker growth this grow to focus on bigger colas which would allow less extra canopy to manage, as it can become a PITA for maintenance when it is crowded on the balcony.
  • If I can balance all the above ok, then I'll consider some drought training too, as my one real experience of (unplanned) drought training was really encouraging (small ceramic pot in hot summer), I still rate it as being the plant which gave me the stickiest and strongest buds I have ever grown.
  • make some cobs from the Sativas

Any suggestions/comments all welcome, as it's only through the experience of so many other good folks that I have any chance at all of growing these wonderful plants.

One final caveat before we get started. I have not previously grown pure sativas before, so I don't know how they will respond to the necessary stealth training that is ahead of them, or indeed the environment that I am offering them, but I am assuming that they'll be fine.

Mulanje #1 & #2


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 3 and half weeks after breaking soil. The first 2 nodes of #1 grew as single blade leaves, whereas the #2 grew the 'normal' 3 blade leaves on the 2nd node.


#1(L), #2(R) These are about 5 weeks old and were topped above the 4th node a week prior.

Mulanje #1


#1 at 5 and half weeks. First node leaves and initial fans removed and plant's main arms trained out.


Mulanje #1 at 6 weeks

Mulanje #2


#2 at 5 and half weeks


#2 at 6 weeks, showing extra FIM growth which has been additionally LST'd bent down.

Germinating 2 more sativas

For these, I gave my usual scuff and overnight soak in roughly 6:1 dilution of 3% H2O2.
Then instead of planting direct in the soil like I did for the Mulanje, I chose to put them in a zip lock bag on some water moistened paper towel. Previously I have sandwiched them in the wet towel but this time I did it so I could see any progress thru the plastic, it was great to be able to easily view them.


After 1 night in plastic bag


After 2 nights in the plastic bag, now ready for planting

#3 Purple Honduras/Panama♀️xPurple Honduras♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

#4 Malawi/Ethiopian♀️x Mulanje♂️


4 - 5 days since breaking soil

:ganjamon:
Wow. Just Wow. Thanks for the primer on how to begin a journal. That's some serious detail, and it's amazing. I have several questions if you don't mind:

- Can you talk a little bit about your refractometer and Brix readings and why you feel they're important to measure?
- Where in God's name are you getting these crazy exotic landraces? DAMN. Are you allowed to tell?
- How long do you keep a plant in veg in a 13 gallon pot if it's only supposed to end up 2.5 feet tall?
- I love the stealth detail. Most people don't have the balls to put that stuff in. I did. I love it. I'm curious. What floor are you on? Are you high enough up that someone walking by on the street couldn't see your grow if it got too tall?
- Do you produce or buy all those amendments?

DAMN man you must work your arse off. The pics from last year's grow blow my mind. I was already in but now that I'm caught up, DAMN is all I can say and yes, in all caps. I know how hard I worked to train the three photos in my tent....I can't imagine the extent of what your training must be.

Very excited to learn from you Stunger. I'm all about training and I have a feeling I'm about to get a master class.

EDIT: One more....(lol)
- Topping. You said you topped above the fourth node. I'm curious. Obviously you'd be familiar with Uncle Ben's method of topping above the second node after the fifth is out. In my experience that is the first step to any SERIOUS training. So can you talk a bit about why you choose to top where you do as it relates to how you train?
 
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Rexer

Member of the Month: April 2021, Feb 2022 - Photo of the Month: July 2021 - Grow Journal of the Month: Nov 2021

Stunger

Grow Journal of the Month: May 2021, March 2022 - Plant of the Month: May 2021
Wow. Just Wow. Thanks for the primer on how to begin a journal. That's some serious detail, and it's amazing. I have several questions if you don't mind:
Thanks for your kind words Jon. In growing cannabis, I have 100% relied upon the wonderful help, the awesome experience, and documented approaches of the many good folk who have shared their gardening approaches so I could learn. Here, I am trying to give what I imagine could useful to when I was starting out, including the mistakes.

- Can you talk a little bit about your refractometer and Brix readings and why you feel they're important to measure?
I personally don't feel that they are important to measure unless you are specifically wanting to grow high Brix plants. I bought a refractometer with this in mind, they have no moving parts except a flap to spread the sap flat, so nothing to go wrong, just a prism, and I found an old second hand one going cheap, I think it was $7.

In checking Brix levels, one has to sacrifice a leaf each time to test in order to squeeze out a drop of sap onto the prism (I used a garlic press) and then used it to check the reading on the refractometer. Some times I didn't feel that the plants had further leaves that I wanted to sacrifice and perhaps risk upsetting the plants by constantly picking from them, after all they are it's solar panels! The refractometer was great for allowing me a reading on where the Brix levels were. I found they got up to high brix levels (from memory up to high teens) and then I stopped checking and left it at that, as the plants looked good, and I just trusted their appearance from that point.
- Where in God's name are you getting these crazy exotic landraces? DAMN. Are you allowed to tell?
A friend gifted me these. The Mulanje had been held and selected for many years, originally from Malberry seeds then Holy Smokes got them, before they had a bust up. The others are crosses with some Ace seeds.
- How long do you keep a plant in veg in a 13 gallon pot if it's only supposed to end up 2.5 feet tall?
Because these plants are photoperiods growing outdoors so they veg until nature tells them to flip. So depending when I choose to germinate them, if I do so early in Spring they will be vegging for up to 4 and half months which gives them a lot of time to build a big base. I have mostly Quadlined them in the past, I have tried Fluxing but I came to the conclusion that approach would work better indoors where one can choose when to flip. BTW @Light Addict has done some truly amazing fluxed plants that he has trained for up to 7 or 8 months to get the base he wants before flipping).

So in a nutshell, to keep them low, I have had to do a lot of LST and supercropping which helps the strength of the canopy branches too.
- I love the stealth detail. Most people don't have the balls to put that stuff in. I did. I love it. I'm curious. What floor are you on?
The balcony is on the first floor.
Are you high enough up that someone walking by on the street couldn't see your grow if it got too tall?
It is away from the street, but when the neighbours have visitors who gather outside their door talking when leaving the people are only 20 feet or so from the plants. I had a close call last grow, I went to got out on the balcony to check the girls when at the last second before I opened the bi-fold doors I noticed 3 dudes on the neighbour's roof treating it for moss. They were so close to seeing, but as they were more concerned with keeping their footing on the pitched roof, so I got away with it. I thought at the time it would have made a great photo, 3 workman earnestly carrying out their jobs while a pound and half of buds was just a few feet from them in the open air! The balcony rail planter boxes tend to give a distracted visual from any the buds that peeking above or thru.
- Do you produce or buy all those amendments?
The amendments I bought over time as I noted ingredients of other folks soil recipes that looked good to include. I re-use the soil for successive grows so they last pretty well.
Very excited to learn from you Stunger. I'm all about training and I have a feeling I'm about to get a master class.
No man, this is just an amateur grow. Thanks tho!
EDIT: One more....(lol)
- Topping. You said you topped above the fourth node. I'm curious. Obviously you'd be familiar with Uncle Ben's method of topping above the second node after the fifth is out. In my experience that is the first step to any SERIOUS training. So can you talk a bit about why you choose to top where you do as it relates to how you train?
Yes I think probably most folk do top later, i.e. once the growth above the topping point is reached several nodes above. The good point of this is that you can leave a topping 'stump' which helps strengthen the plant's stem at that point where the limbs are trained out horizontal.

However, I used @Light Addict approach where he will 'micro top' his plants as I described further up. This has the effect of the topped plants healing super fast and avoids the plants making a lot of growth only to waste it by cutting it off. Last grow, I grew out the 2nd and 3rd nodes. But this year with the Mulanje I have also left the 4th node on, to effectively allow me to train out 6 limbs as a Hexline.

The one caveat to mention on micro topping, is that without leaving a 'stump' the plant can be more susceptible to a stem split, especially when the plants are heavily LST trained with big canopies that are under a lot of tension, I have caused stem splits by accidentally bumping into a plant and suddenly the plant has split down the middle. However, that has never caused a problem that some electrical tape or zip ties couldn't fix. So I am not too bothered about stem spilts. Some folk have even put nails thru their stems in late flowering with the theory that by freaking the plant out, it makes more resin, altho so far I have no experience in that.

Hope this helps :ganjamon:
 

Stunger

Grow Journal of the Month: May 2021, March 2022 - Plant of the Month: May 2021

InTheShed

Member of the Year: 2018, 2020 - Grow Journal of the Year: 2020 - Member of the Month: Jan 2018, Nov 2018, Jan & Aug 2020 - Grow Journal of the Month: Aug 2018, Dec 2020 - Plant of the Month: Oct 2018, Oct 2021
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