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Grow Faster With Long Light Cycles

Tuesday, 2 May 2017 09:50:47 Europe/London

By Professor Lee

Indoor growers can speed up the flowering cycle of traditional and feminized strains of cannabis by simply changing the amount of light the plants are exposed to between regular dark periods.  A lot of growers are familiar with short light cycle methods like 11 on 13 off, 10 on 14 off, 9 on 15 off and 8 on 16 off.  Each hour that the light cycle is reduced, up to 4 hours, directly translates to a reduction in the length of the floral cycle. Basically the plants think that winter is bearing down on them and they need to finish up as quickly as possible.  The disadvantage is a proportionate reduction in harvested bud weight.

The alternative long light cycle technique shortens the flowering cycle of plants without sacrificing bud weight.  The long light cycle I always recommend is the 24 on 12 off cycle.  This method can reduce the flowering cycle of cannabis plants by up to a week for every month of growth. So a plant whose floral cycle normally takes 60 days can finish up to two weeks early, and/or a plant that normally takes 90 days can finish up to three weeks early. The equipment needed to introduce a long light cycle is a  programmable timer that allows the grower to program the on/off cycles over the course of an entire week. A simple search for "7 day timers" on the Internet will produce lots of results.

Here's why this method works so well.  Out of the 168 hours in a week a traditional 12 on 12 off light cycle gives the plants a total of 84 hours of light to grow.   An extended 24 on 12 off cycle provides the plants with 120 hours of light per week.  Over the course of a 30 day month the plants get exposed to 516 hours of light instead of only 360 hours. The 156 hour advantage translates into 6.5 days worth of extra growing time per month.

Funnily enough, a 30 hour on 12 hour off cycle also provides the plants with 120 hours of light a week. The long light cycle technique has its limits and 24 on 12 off is about it. Using a crazy cycle like 36 hours on 12 off or 48 hours on 12 hours off looks good on paper, but most plants simply can’t finish much sooner than the more accommodating 24 hour on 12 off cycle.  Using any other long light cycle has the tendency to leave the grower with a mild form of schizophrenia as they try to remember if the lights will be off and on during any given day.

A seven day week is an odd number which means that a 24 on 12 hours off cycle won't perfectly repeat itself.  For example if you start your timer on Sunday and run it for 24 hours the following will happen.  Monday will be dark from midnight until noon then light until midnight.  Tuesday will be light from midnight until noon then dark from noon until midnight.  Wednesday will be light all day. Thursday will be dark from midnight until noon then light from noon until midnight,  Friday will be light from midnight until noon then dark from noon until midnight.  Saturday will of course be light all day, and here's the rub, when the timer then turns to Sunday another 24 hours of light begins.  This gives the grower a solid 48 hour block of light to work with.  I used to work weekends, but had Mondays and Tuesdays off so I treated these days as my weekend and made the most of it.

Over the course of the week the plants received 4 periods of 12 hour darkness and 5 periods of 24 hour light.  I've based all my numbers off of this schedule.  If a grower wants to avoid the 48 hour block they will have to reprogram the timer every week to maintain a perfect “24 on 12 off, 24 on 12 off, 24 on 12 off” type of schedule. I don't recommend this. For all the extra work one does, a grower actually loses 36 hours of light over the course of the month. That’s a loss of 1.5 days worth of growing time.  Likewise, if a grower starts their 24 hour on 12 off cycle with 12 hours of darkness then the plants will be exposed to 5 periods of 12 hour darkness and 4 periods of 24 hour light and one odd 12 hour period of light left over at the end of the week.  This alternative schedule also means that over the course of the month the plants are exposed to only 96 extra hours of light or 4 days worth of time. That’s a loss of 2.5 days every month.

When starting a long light cycle it is advisable to force flower the plants with the traditional 12 on 12 off system. This will trigger pre-flowering much quicker than starting with the long light cycle. Once the initial pre-flowering phase passes, meaning that true flowers have started to appear, switch to the extended long light cycle to

finish flowering the plants.  This can sometimes get a little awkward when a grower has plants of different ages in the same floral garden but it can be done.  Most growers using long light cycles prefer to have all of the floral plants to be the same age to simplify things.

In conclusion, it's possible to speed up the flowering cycle of traditional and feminized cannabis strains simply by investing in a new timer and rethinking one’s  schedule.  These reductions in general harvest times are all best case scenarios and don't deal with all the variables one encounters when growing, but it will speed things up.

And who doesn't want to harvest buds faster?

Professor Lee,

@ProfessorLee420

Author of Marijuana 101: Professor Lee's Introduction to Growing Grade A Bud

and Q&A Guru for Weed World Magazine.

This article first appeared in issue 104 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

DNA Genetics strain story

Monday, 1 May 2017 12:09:23 Europe/London

 Kandy Kush

 Forbidden sweetness: Too potent for the confectionery shop!

Text & Photos: Green Born Identity – G.B.I.

Another famous Kush cross from DNA Genetics that has been available for a long time is Kandy Kush, (60/40 indica/sativa) consisting of OG Kush x Train Wreck (T4). In 2010, Kandy Kush won a remarkable prize when out of 140 strains she was chosen as the best medical marijuana at the 1st Colorado Cannabis Crown contest. Another award followed at the Spannabis Outdoor Cup 2012, where she took third place. DNA Genetics explains about its growth and bloom behavior: “Classic stretch of the OG Kush that bulks up and fills out like the TW to give you OG flavor and TW nugs. The Train Wreck strain was used for this cross because of its commercial productiveness, very high resin content and lemony aroma. Just like the OG Kush, it has become a highly popular American flagship strain in recent years, so Kandy Kush is another exciting meeting of two giants in the world of cannabis strains. Marrying Train Wreck to the OG Kush led to an insane sweetness reminding of kandy, a true California flavor.” They praise Kandy Kush as “one of the most resinous plants in their catalogue”, (which certainly means a lot), announcing the onset of heavy trichome production after the 5th week that won’t stop increasing until the very end. With 9-10 weeks of flowering, Kandy Kush takes a bit longer than most of the other DNA Kush varieties, but with regard to its big yield potential of 450-550 g/m2, nobody will get impatient I guess. She is available both in the form of feminized and regular seeds. 

Growulff sowed half a package of six feminized seeds only as he shared the other half with a friend. Together with Kandy Kush, Stacked Kush and a few other varieties. Placed into Jiffy pots, the three Kandy Kush seeds popped up within three days and were raised under under two 75 Watts high-efficiency CFL lamps in a Secret Jardin one sqm. grow box at first. The leaves soon produced by the plants were quite broad in the beginning, but then became a bit thinner with every new set, until they were more on the sativa side. After two weeks, Growulff had transplanted the plants into 22.5 litre Air Pots filled with coco ground and watered by hand. Then they were moved into the actual grow room that was equipped with 6x 600 Watts lamps (3x HPS, 3x MH, adding up to +600 Watts/m2), where the vegetative stage was continued for another two weeks. The Kandy Kush plants exhibited a very early onset of strong side branch growth, but at the same time vividly stretched to height, growing very vigorously and also homogeneously. After four weeks, at the end of the vegetative stage under a daily light cycle of 18/6, they measured 86, 91 and 98 cm in height already, lined with a lot of long side branches, adopting a rhombus or diamond shaped growth model. An already intense kushy sweet scent gave a good hint of what was to come, a true “aroma bomb” as Growulff did expect. Highly satisfied with their vegetative performance, he sparked the three Kandy Kush plants into flowering mode by cutting down the daily light cycle to 12/12. Three more 600 watts HPS bulbs were installed in the grow room, replacing the MH ones to give the plants a perfect light spectrum for the flowering stage. 

Within 7-9 days, the first female preflowers became visible at the tops of the plants. And the Kandy Kush plants would waste no time, fully switching to the flowering mode without hesitation. While lots of dense clusters of female flowers were developing allover the plants, they kept on stretching to height for about another four weeks. It became obvious that similar to the Stacked Kush plants, long drawn-out mighty main top colas would steeply arise from a wide carpet of side branch top buds located in the middle of the plants. The budding pattern was clearly dominated by Kandy Kush’s indica genes, with fairly big calyxes shaping chubby succulent buds that exhibited quite a high calyx-to-leaf ratio. One could not have said there was little resin on the buds before flowering week six, in fact, there already was quite a lot of. But as announced, resin gland production was noticeably changing into the highest gear from that point on, in the following weeks also packing the edges of larger leaves in the buds into crusty thick layers of resin. At the same time those intense sweet Kush aroma clouds spread by the plants were accordingly becoming even more overwhelming, it almost was as if one could have cut the air into pieces.

After nine weeks of flowering, Growulff scheduled harvesting the plants in about half a week or one week, so it was all going according to plan obviously. In the end, those frosty plants were 118, 122 and 132 cm tall, laden with tons of juicy tight indica-like nuggets. The tallest plant had produced a tremendous main stem top cola that was longer and thicker than a strong tall man’s underarm! This majestic Kandy Kush plant needed 69 days to ripen, the other two 66 and 71 days. So once again a DNA strain had proven to perform very evenly, the more so, as also that incredible smell given off by the plants was all the same. Also, not a single male flower showed up.

When the buds had been dried and slightly fermented, Growulff weighed those silvery white, super sticky and dense Kandy Kush buds, reading harvest weights of 115, 123 and 135 grams off the scales. Needless to say he was extremely delighted about that fantastically fat yield that even surpassed his expectations! And the buds’ odour was simply awesome and highly alluring, spreading an incredible spicy sweetness, smelling like peppered kandy. Their yummy flavour then would keep this promise of a particularly savoury smoke experience, delivering a full-mouth piquant sweetness that lingered on the palate extraordinarily long. Last but not least, the long-lasting turn effected by Kandy Kush was another real smasher, shifting Growulff into a state of deep physical and mental relaxation in no time, but at the same time he remained active and mentally clear enough to properly think and move, so he wasn’t totally devastated and instead also sensed a certain grade of bright euphoria in his mind. He appreciated that state of mind and body very much and considers Kandy Kush’s kind of high as ideal for respective medical treatments.

After that great Kandy Kush cultivation experience, DNA Genetics strains keep on impressing Growulff and he looks forward to testing more of their new Kush crosses such as Lemon OG Kush, Chocolope Kush and Holy Grail Kush…

Green Born Identity - G.B.I. 

Cultivation data:

 

Genetics

Kandy Kush (OG Kush x Train Wreck (T4) = 60% sativa, 40% indica)

Vegetative stage

here: 4 weeks

Flowering stage

66, 69 and 71 days, 63-70 days in general

Medium

Coco CoGr (in 22.5 litre Air Pots)

pH

5.6-6.4

EC

1.2–2.1 mS

Light

First two weeks: 2x 75 W Secret Jardin CFL, then +600 W/m2

Temperature

20-27°C

Air humidity

40-60%

Watering

by hand

Fertilisation

Canna Vega A+B, Flores A+B (Air Pots)

Additives/stimulants

Rhizotonic, Cannazym, PK 13/14, Agrom Medical Boost

Height

118, 122 and 132 cm

Yield

115, 123 and 135 g (about 124 g per plant on the average)

This article originally appeared in issue 103 of Weed World Magazine

 

Posted in Cannabis News

Q and A With Professor Lee

Thursday, 27 April 2017 13:14:04 Europe/London

Hello Professor Lee,

I’m a first time grower and I’m using a little deep water culture hydroponic system to raise a few plants in a back bedroom.  I’ve been growing for almost three months now and the plants have been doing great for the most part except I’ve just started to notice that the plants’ growth seems to be slowing down and they’re getting kind of droopy and some of the leaves are yellowing and getting burnt tips.  Also the roots are turning brown.  Do you think I’m over fertilizing them or something? 

Thank You.

Alex

Hello Alex,

It sounds like you have a root rot problem.  It’s usually caused by the members of the water mold genus Phytophthora.   This frequently happens in hydroponics systems when the water is under oxygenated and the temperature is over 72 degrees Fahrenheit (about 22 degrees Celsius).  Root rot happens in soil-based systems too, but growers have to do a bit of digging to confirm the problem. 

Plants affected by root rot cannot properly absorb water and nutrients leading to slowed growth and deficiencies.  Most growers will throw out a plant with root rot rather than try to cure it because it will take time for the plant to recover and the condition could spread to other plants.  In your case you can try to salvage your current crop with a few simple steps. 

First, you will need to drop the temperature.  The temperature can be lowered by increasing ventilation and circulation, adjusting the air conditioning, and / or investing in a water chiller.  The ideal water temperature for your system should be between 66 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 19 to 20 degrees Celsius).  The cooler temperatures will discourage root rot. 

Next, increase the amount of oxygen in the reservoir.  I suggest additional air pumps or a stronger one with high quality diffusers.  Root rot finds a high oxygen environment toxic. 

You will also want to routinely flush out and clean your system.  This should be done at a minimum of every two months and between each crop.  I recommend more frequent flushing.  For instance, I swapped out my hydroponic water every two weeks and did a detailed scrubbing between crops just to stay on top of things.   Because your current crop is infected you need to do a really good job cleaning your system before you introduce any new plants. 

Lastly, if possible remove any heavily damaged roots that you can and consider adding beneficial mycorrhiza to your water that will fight the Phytophthora.  The brown roots won’t heal, but new white roots should begin to grow after you make the changes and the plants will recover.  Some growers suggest periodic hydrogen peroxide treatments to avoid root rot.  I’m on the fence about this one.  While it’s true you can avoid root rot problems by using H2O2 you should be aware that it will only work for a day or two so frequent treatments are required.  Also, the hydrogen peroxide will kill any beneficial bacteria that may be present. 

I hope this helps you fix your problem. 

Professor Lee

Hey Professor,

I’m building my first garden and I’ve come to a crossroad about what to do with the walls.  Should I use a foil like Mylar or just paint it white?  All the message boards go back and forth on which is best. 

Thanks!

Laura

Hey Laura,

This one gets argued about a lot in the growing community.  I’ve tried them all: aluminum foil, Mylar, house paint, greenhouse paint, large mirrors, etc.  I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you to go with the basic flat white interior house paint.  While it’s true that when properly installed foils generate about 10% more reflectivity than paint, the downsides of using foils are just not worth it.  Foils have to be installed very flat to evenly diffuse the light.  Any crinkles will create hot spots and low light areas resulting in uneven growth or even a bit of plant burn.  Foils also conduct electricity and in a small space crammed with water and powerful lights that’s a potentially deadly hazard.  It’s also possible for a dark humid microclimate to form between the foil and the wall that could promote the growth of black mold which is dangerous to your health. 

With paints you have a lot more advantages.  A painted wall won’t crinkle so you will get a very even diffusion of light.  Dry paint doesn’t conduct electricity so it’s safer to work around.  And of course there isn’t any space between the wall and the paint where mold can develop.  Add to this the fact that if you scuff your paint or wipe some of it off a surface you can just add another coat and problem solved.  Flat white is the most reflective, eggshell is a little bit less reflective but easier to clean, glossy is the least reflective, go figure, but is the easiest to clean. 

I liked to tack up cardboard or plywood sheets and paint them white so when it came time to break down my gardens I didn’t have to repaint a permanent wall or two.  That’s a good piece of advice when you’re renting an apartment or house and have to quickly return it to its original state before moving. 

Happy Growing!

Professor Lee

Help Professor,

Slugs are eating my plants.  I started my plants indoors and transferred them outside a couple days later I discovered they were being eaten alive by slugs.  I pick and squish ‘em as I find as soon as I find them but I’m losing the battle.  What should I do to get rid of them once and for all? 

Thank You!

Anonymous

Hello Anonymous,

Sounds like you have a real slugfest on your hands.  I hate slugs – they are destructive little suckers.  There are some home remedies you can try like burying some drinking cups in your garden up to their rims.  Then pour a couple inches of beer in each cup.  The slugs are attracted to the smell of the beer, then, when they crawl inside the cup of beer, they get drunk and drown.  You’ll have to change the beer each night (and you cannot drink it either because the dead slugs make it taste awful).  You can also place a few plates of salt around your plants. The slugs will investigate the salty smell and die as the salt pulls the water from their bodies.  These methods do work and will help to manage the slug population as long as you keep it up and accept the fact that you may not rid your garden of every single slug.

In my own outdoor gardens I like to pour diatomaceous earth around my plants. Diatomaceous earth can kill slugs in 24 to 48 hours.  I’ve also used organic baits to rid my garden of slugs for two or three months.  These baits usually come in pellet form and are widely available at most garden stores. 

Good luck, slugger!

Professor Lee

Hello Professor Lee,

I have a plant I want to grow again.  She is the best I’ve ever grown and I want to clone her.  I’ve heard that you can regrow a plant by just lengthening the light cycle again.  Is it really that simple or do I need to do anything else? 

Thanks.

Stephen

Hello Stephen,

Yep, it’s pretty much that simple.  What you’re talking about is rejuvenating a plant so you can turn it into a mother.  When you extend the light cycle the plant will revert to a vegetative growth pattern and at that point you can take cuttings from it.  If you’re growing in soil it helps to flush the soil with some clean pH balanced water and then start with a vegetative NPK fertilizing schedule.  Hydroponic systems are even easier to switch back to a nitrogen-based fertilizer. 

After you harvest your plants try to keep as many leaves and smaller bud sites on it as possible.  A couple of weeks after you switch the lighting cycle, new growth should be developing.  These early leaves may be single bladed, smooth edged, and twisted.  This is normal and will correct itself quickly.  Once the plant is actively growing again you can keep it as a dedicated mother or start one with a cutting.  Either way you will soon be able to fill your garden with your favorite plant over and over again. 

On a side note some growers like to get a quick second harvest by rejuvenating plants for a month or so and then switch them back to flowering.  I’ve done this before and it was quite fun, but I don’t suggest trying to do it time and time again with the same plants as they can only take so much before the quality starts to go down and the likelihood of developing pathogens goes up. 

Happy Growing!

Professor Lee

Hello Everybody,

Keep those questions coming! I’ll answer them for you as quickly as I can and you might even get to see them published in the next issue of Weed World Magazine!  This time around I sent Alex a copy of my book Marijuana 101: Professor Lee's Introduction to Growing Grade A Bud.  At some point we all encounter our first setback or challenge and it’s at that point that we either give up and quit or figure it out and keep on growing. 

‘Till Next Time, Happy Growing Everybody!

Professor Lee

Twitter @ProfessorLee420

This article first appeared in isse 124 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

10 Things Every Grower needs to keep supplied in their room

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 14:20:44 Europe/London

Lets's go Shopping! I hate those words, unless I know I get to go browse the grow shop and see what's new - then you can't get me out of the store! I Surveyed 100 growers across the country but, truth to be told, I got about the same 5 answers out of all of them. As a result, I'm going to tell you what those growers said were the most important and then I'm going to tell you 10 things that should be stocked in every grow room to make the difference between weed and good weed,

#5:A dark area where your plants will be assured not to be interrupted during their sleep time is very important. Just a little light flaw during your sleep time can mean that you end up with a room full of seed.

#4:This may be one the most expensive parts of a grow, but it's definitely one of the most important: Ventilation and Air flow. Every garden must have a way to bring fresh air into the grow space and scrub the smell out before sending it back into the world. Most grows are caught by the smell alone so don't overlook this step when setting up. The bigger your garden, the bigger the reason for fresh air exchange and the more you must spend to keep the nosier neighbors from guessing what's going on at your flat.

#3: Lights are what everyone else is talking about, from what bulbs to use to what reflector to go with. Growlite makes a great system with everything from ballasts to bulbs to reflectors and something for every budget and every space.

#2: My favorite answer came from Kushington Farms, When asked what is one thing that every grower should have in their grow room, the reply was "One of Everything". Although I do happen to agree with the answer, it didn't really help the question at hand. But when you get to that place in your grow where you can have back-ups of stuff, let me suggest pots, soil, fans, ballast, extra nutrients, light-bulbs and other parts that wear and tear.

#1: The number one answer on the survey was plants /cannabis. Mr. Swerve Swervin answered ''quality genetics'' and, for once, I have to agree with him. Put good in, get good out. Golden Glove Genetics, D.D. seeds, Irie Genetics are all excellent sources but so may be a new up an coming seed breeder. Do your own research and know what standards your seed company's run by, and also remember the laws vary from country to country - so know your local laws before you germinate any seeds.

Now that you've had the chance to see what the surveyors said, let's see what every grow room should not be without!

1: Some kind of blade, like a razor knife or hobby knife

2.Alcohol- Keep everything sterile!

3. Smoke detector along with a fire extinguisher. You could not only save your grow, but you and your family as well!

4. Twine-string  wonderful for hanging branches and 100 other uses!

5. Duct tape- You can fix most anything with duck tape!

6. Arron of Golden Glove Genetics says that a hygrometer is a must. It shows time temp and humidity and is a great tool.

7. Fans. There is no such thing as too many extra fans.

8.Tawani Botin insists on Mite Rid, but I would find it healthier to keep some organic neem oil on hand or some other organic solutions.

9. Patience. Plants don't just grow over night, each stage is special and you must stoke them at just the right time during each stage to get the most out of them.

10. 30x loope. This will become a new favorite toy. You can see pests and molds close up to get an early start on diseases and critters and you can also see the trichomes  very closely to determine harvest time.


And the top thing that all grow rooms need is love. Plants of any kind thrive with human interaction and I even hear of some folks talking to their plants and even playing music for them!

Peace and Love,

JansJukebox

This article forst appeared in Issue 108 Of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

The Simple Joys of Growing Cannabis

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 12:29:49 Europe/London

PJ, Discoverer of Super CBDx  www.SuperCBDxSeeds.co.uk

If you've never grown cannabis, your missing out on one of the fun, divine, simple pleasures life has to offer.  With a little knowledge, time, and tender loving care, you will be rewarded with the simple joys of growing cannabis. 

Weather growing for recreational or medical reasons, it's important for your health to know how your plant was grown, and what it contains. 

Sadly, most people on this planet do not currently have access to laboratory testing of the cannabis they consume. This needs to change.  Until that day comes, ideally the only way to guarantee the quality of the cannabis you consume is to have first hand knowledge of how it was grown.

www.SCLabs.com is a premiere testing facility in California with lots of interesting information on cannabis and testing.  SC Labs tests for pesticides, microbiological contamination, cannabinoids and terpene potency profiles, and residual solvents (chemicals used in extracting cannabinoids). 

The City of Palm Springs, California requires all cannabis sold by dispensaries to be extensively tested to ensure safe public access.

Selecting Seed Genetics

As a novice grower, the first question you should ask yourself is what goals you wish to achieve by "growing your own"?  Thanks to the efforts of many breeders, you have a host of seed options.  Take time to research and choose carefully what genetics you will grow for your first attempt. Remember you'll be spending your valuable time and efforts.  Choose carefully. 

The most or least expensive genetics are not necessarily the best match for your personal goals.  Don't be swayed by marketing hype. Kudos to www.Mandalaseeds.com  attempts to "raise the bar" informing and educating potential buyers of their genetics.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_strains

I prefer to start growing with seeds.  Seeds have tap roots, and little chance of carrying diseases (which can happen with clones obtained from others).  Once these plants are a minimum of two months old, you can then clone (take cuttings) from these plants to increase the number of plants being grown without worry of contamination. There are a number of methods to germinate seeds. 

Google "choosing cannabis genetics to grow" "germinating cannabis seeds" and "how to clone cannabis".for a wealth of further information on the topics.  I personally prefer liquid rooting concentrate when cloning plants.  I've had good success using   www.dipngrow.com

Indoor, outdoor, greenhouse?

Growing indoors requires expertise and expense beyond what a first time grower should normally attempt.  Outdoor growing you are subject to the elements (weather, insects, animals, diseases) over which you will have little control. 

Personally, I prefer to grow in greenhouse conditions.  You have more control over the environmental growing conditions without the expense or expertise required of indoor growing.  Plants generally love greenhouses over outdoor conditions. 

Greenhouses need not be expensive.  With a little research, and a few simple "how to" skills, you can easily fabricate an inexpensive greenhouse to suit your personal needs, from compact to something larger or more elaborate.

Google "cheap greenhouses" and "greenhouse plastic film".

Growing in Dirt

All of my personal experience has been growing in dirt, be it in ground or in pots.

There is a wealth of web sites on choosing and aeration (supplying oxygen) of soil for growing cannabis.  Google "choosing soil for growing cannabis" and "aeration of pots and soil".

I usually grow in 15 gallon plastic pots that I have drilled numerous 1/8" holes about every inch to aerate the soil and stimulate root growth.  I also drill extra holes in the bottom of the pots.  I place the pots about 2" deep in the soil of the greenhouse floor so the roots can continue to grow beyond the bottoms of the pots. 

Earth worms are one of Mother Nature's wonderful natural means of improving/fertilizing your soil for growing cannabis or any plant.  Introduction of these creatures will only increase your growing success.  Google "earth worms".

Fertilizers

When it comes to man made fertilizers, my motto is "keep it simple" (and inexpensive).

Cannabis has two basic stages of growth (growing and flowering).  In the vegetative (grow) stage the plant require Nitrogen.  In the flower stage they need Phosphate.

I use Miracle-Gro all purpose plant food during the grow cycle www.miracle-gro.com and Scott's Super Bloom during flowering www.scotts.com

Plants in their flowering stage love sugar.  It's the "secret sauce" to many very expensive fertilizers to increase flowering.  I use Grandma's Molasses mixed with water for this purpose.  http://www.grandmasmolasses.com/

Google "how and when to fertilize cannabis plants", and "how and when to water cannabis plants".

Cannabis Pests and Diseases

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) first coined the phrase "survival of the fittest".  If you grow cannabis, sooner or later your plants will come under attack by animals (including Muffy the cat or your dog Trixy), insects, and diseases. 

Inspecting your plants closely every few days is the best advice I can suggest when it comes to pests and diseases. The quicker you react and take measures to correct the problem, the better off your plants will be. 

Google cannabis pests and diseases, and natural neem oil insecticide for pests.

Everyone Starts Out A Beginner

When it comes to developing knowledge, skills, or talents, everyone starts out a beginner.

With some personal effort on your part, you'll be introduced to the simple joys of growing cannabis.

This article first appeared in issue 123 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

MARIJUANA AND SPIRITUALITY

Monday, 24 April 2017 11:10:13 Europe/London

By Jeff Brown author of Marijuana and the Bible 

The author of this piece joined a modern day Jamaican Rasta church that taught that Christ and his disciples used marijuana in their Eucharistic practice. That it wasn't wine or grape juice. They also taught that the bush Moses talked to god with was marijuana.  That marijuana was the incense of the Bible and also the biblical tree of life for the healing of the nations. 

The Church was at the pinnacle of its power around 1980. The BBC did a 

news story as did Sixty Minutes. Life, Omni, Rolling Stone, and High Times magazines all did articles. The church was caught bringing over a hundred tons of its sacrament into the United States. A good number of the members ended up doing time in federal prison, including myself. As of today the church is all broken up and all the Jamaican elders have passed away. 

PART 1

Marijuana has been used for thousands of years in various cultures and religions. Richard E. Schultes a prominent researcher in the field of psychoactive plants said in an article he wrote entitled: Man and Marijuana: 

That early man experimented with all plant materials that he could chew. 

Upon eating hemp, the euphoric, ecstatic and hallucinatory aspects may have

introduced man to an 'other-worldly' plane from which emerged religious beliefs, perhaps even the concept of Deity. The plant became accepted as a special "gift of the gods,“ a sacred communion with the spiritual world and as such it has remained in some cultures to the present. 

            From: The Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L., by William A. Emboden:

Shamanistic traditions of great antiquity in Asia and the Near East have 

as one of their most important elements, attempting to find God without a vale 

of tears; that cannabis played a role in this, at least in some areas, is born out 

in the philology surrounding the ritualistic use of the plant. Whereas western religious traditions generally stress sin, repentance, and mortification of the flesh, certain older non-Western religious cults seem to have employed 

cannabis as a euphoriant, which allowed the participant a joyous path to the 

‘ultimate’, hence such appellations as ‘heavenly guide.’

India appears to be the place with the most reference to the religious use of cannabis. Marijuana continues to be used religiously down to modern times. Bhang is the joy-giver, the sky-flyer, and the heavenly guide, the Poor Man’s Heaven, the Soother of Grief. Other ancient names for marijuana were sacred grass, hero leaved, joy, rejoice, desired in the three worlds, god's food, fountain of pleasures and Shiva's plant.  Shiva is known as the Lord of Bhang. 

Cannabis is mentioned as a medicinal and magical plant as well as a sacred grass in the Atharva Veda, (2000-1400 B.C.) which also calls Hemp one of the Five Kingdoms of Herbs which releases us from anxiety and is a source of happiness, joy giver and liberator. 

Early Indian legends maintained that the angel of mankind lived in the leaves of the marijuana plant. It was so sacred that it was reputed to deter evil and cleanse its user of sin. In Hindu mythology, hemp is a holy plant given to man for the welfare of mankind and is considered to be one of the Divine 

Nectars able to give man anything from good health, long life, to visions of the gods. 

Tradition says the god Indra gave marijuana to the people to attain elevated states of consciousness, delight in worldly joy and freedom from fear. 

In modern India, it is taken at Hindu and Sikh temples and at 

Mohammedanshrines. Among fakirs (Hindu ascetics), bhang is viewed as the giver of long life and means of communion with the Divine Spirit. 

In ancient China the Chinese referred to their country as the land of Mulberry and hemp.  Hemp was a power over evil and in the pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung known as the liberator of sin.  It was known as a superior immortality elixir, eating hemp flower tops it says, makes one become a  ‘Divine Transcendent’.

It is recorded that the Taoists in the first century recommended adding cannabis to their incense burners as a means of achieving immortality.

A fifth century Japanese booklet stated: Hemp and Mulberry have long been used in worshipping the gods. 

When white men first went to Africa, marijuana was a part of the native way of life. Marijuana was an integral part of religious ceremony. The hemp pipe assumed a symbolic meaning for the Bashilenge somewhat analogous to the significance, which the peace pipe had for American Indians.  No holiday, no trade agreement, no peace treaty was transacted without it. 

In South Central Africa, marijuana is held to be sacred and is connected with many religious and social customs. Some sects regard marijuana as a magic plant possessing universal protection against all injury to life and is symbolic of peace and friendship. Certain tribes consider hemp use a duty. 

The Sufis, (a Moslem sect originating in 8th century Persia) used hashish as a means of stimulating mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah. Eating hashish was an act of worship. They maintained that hashish gave them otherwise unattainable insights into themselves; deeper understanding and made them feel witty. They also claimed it gave happiness; reduced anxiety and worry and increased music appreciation.  It was referred to in early Arabic texts as:” The Bush of Understanding", "Shrub of Emotion"; "Blissful Branches, and "Morsel of Thought". 

It is said that the Assyrians used hemp as incense in the seventh or eighth century before Christ and called it 'Qunubu,' a term apparently borrowed from an old East Iranian word ‘Konaba’ the same as the Scythian name cannabis. Marijuana may have been the first incense in the ancient East, according to Edwin Morris in: Fragrance: The Story of Perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel. 

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: Pharmacological Cults, 

"The ceremonial use of incense in contemporary ritual, is most likely a relic of 

the time when the psychoactive properties of incense brought the ancient worshipper into touch with supernatural forces."

In the Judaic world, the vapors from burnt spices and aromatic gums were considered part of the pleasurable act of worship. In Proverbs it is said that 'Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart' Perfumes were widely used in 

Egyptian worship. Stone altars have been unearthed in Babylon and Palestine that have been used for burning incense made of aromatic wood and spices. 

            While the casual readers today may interpret such practices as mere satisfaction of the desire for pleasant odors, this is almost certainly an error. In many or most cases, a psychoactive drug was being inhaled in the islands of the Mediterranean 2,500 years ago and in Africa hundreds of years ago. For example, leaves and flowers of a particular plant were often thrown upon bonfires and the smoke inhaled: The plant was marijuana (Licit and Illicit Drugs).

As George Andrews, editor of the classic texts, The Book of Grass and 

Drugs and Magic wrote after some thirty years of research into the subject;

            "In recent years many eminent scholars have expressed the opinion, that far from being a minor or occasional ingredient, hashish was the main ingredient of the incense burned in temples during the religious ceremonies of antiquity."

Part 2 will deal with the use of incense in the Bible; more on the Rasta religion and why we say marijuana is the spirit of God. 

For more about the story on how marijuana is used as a spiritual plant and the sacrament that Christ used Google - Marijuana and the Bible by Jeff Brown.

For those interested in the story and can't afford to buy the book send me your e-mail address and I will e-mail you a copy.

One love Jeff Brown 

jab@lcia.com 

This Article first appeared in issue 101 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Interview with Debby Goldsberry

Friday, 21 April 2017 15:42:13 Europe/London

Weed World: Can you give us a brief overview of your background and how you came to be involved in one of the most influential medical cannabis dispensaries in California and the United States?

Debby Goldsberry: First of all, when I first heard about medical marijuana I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not. I had been a recreational marijuana user, and then my best friend got breast cancer. When she was dying, she used medical marijuana at the recommendation of her doctor. They already had her on such heavy morphine, you couldn’t even imagine the drugs they had her on. But when she used marijuana, what she told me was that not only did it lessen her pain and anxiety, because there is a great fear at the end of life for a lot of people - it’s a very fearful time, but it made her feel like she was connected to her soul again, which was incredibly important to her as a part of that transition. I knew it was medicine right then. I never looked back. I got into the medical marijuana movement to help provide that experience to other people. And also realized that we need to protect patients from the fear of arrest and the fear of not being able to get their medicine. People who are strong enough need to be a buffer for people who need that kind of help. So, I got into the dispensary industry to provide a physical location for people to be able to come. Where they could just feel better, and also a place where they could get their medicine and have a support network that would help them know their rights and understand the laws and know what form of medicine was going to best help with their condition.

Weed World: You were one of the founders of the historic Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). How did you go from BPG in Berkeley to Magnolia Wellness in Oakland?

Debby Goldsberry: Before we had BPG, we had a place called The Berkeley Cannabis Consumer’s Union because the voters of Berkeley made cannabis legal back in 1979 for adults but they never implemented the law because when citizens make a law through these citizen’s initiatives, we don’t just make a law and walk away, we have to implement it. Because of the legal environment they were not able to implement that law. When we came to Berkeley in about 1992 to 1993, Dr. Tod Mikuriya[1] said why don’t we work on implementing this law. Eventually, we opened an adult Cannabis Café, just like in Amsterdam. The police would come and we would be like, “We’re just implementing the law Officer!” At that place, it was a community center which is where we built on our philosophy, but it was also a political action. Everybody who walked in the door, we would sit them down and look them in the eye and say, “You know this is about politics, right? You know this isn’t quite legal? You know the police are going to arrive.” And then we would explain to them their rights: here’s how you interact with the police to be most safe; here are the magic words – 'I choose to remain silent and I want to see my lawyer. No I do not consent to this search.' Politicizing people is just as important as getting them their medicine because we are in a fight for our lives and people are going to jail and prison for life for marijuana still. We had to let people know that this isn’t all fun and games, this is a political movement. Combining politics, music, fun, marijuana, kindness, political action – it was a winning combo. When we eventually did get shut down by the police we opened up a Medical Marijuana Dispensary – Berkeley Patients Group. Eventually, I left Berkeley Patients Group after about 10 years for a lot of the normal reasons. If you sit at the same desk, and do the same thing for 10 years your creativity stalls. You are not able to think of things anymore. I just felt that my creativity was not working the way I wanted it to work so I had to get out of that desk and do something different. I personally decided that my path was supporting small business people because at that time, this is now 6 years ago, we were all afraid of Big Business coming in and taking over the medical cannabis industry. If we did not give our own people a leg up by helping them with some knowledge about how to run their business – how to incorporate, how to do their finances, how to manage consignment accounts - just the basic nuts and bolts of business, that it was possible our mission would get overlooked and people would come into the movement from outside that only wanted profit (which is what we are seeing to some degree but we are also seeing places like Magnolia Wellness which has become the new standard for medical marijuana dispensaries). People don’t necessarily identify with the old big business methodology. People are looking for medical marijuana to continue on a non-profit path or at least a community-giving path. These are still healing centers where people can come out of the cold and find an ear that will listen to them and find people that care and a medicine that actually helps. At Magnolia, we employ a nurse part-time. She is on the floor Monday through Thursday. If you need an ear, you come to Magnolia because we are here for the community and we have a health professional ready to serve. Magnolia exists to create funding for progressive issues, which has never been more important that I know in my past than right now, creating centers for progressive free-thinking politics. We are here to make money and invest it into causes that are getting trampled on by what is happening at our Federal level right now. It is pretty fun and exciting.

Weed World: There is another piece to this that is equally important right now - Magnolia is pretty much a woman-centered organization when it comes to the people who actually run the dispensary. Could you speak to the feminist aspect of how this is consciously set-up?

Debby Goldsberry: Sure. Magnolia was founded by a man, Dave Spradlin. Dave knew the best way to run the business was to surround himself by powerful women. I don’t know if he did it intentionally or what, but his executive team has always been women. Dave has always stood aside and let people run the place with compassion and intelligence. A couple of years ago I told Dave, I like your place and I would like to run it one day. He told me, that’s a good idea but everyone here works their way to the top so you’ve got to start at the bottom and work your way to the top. At that time, I was 12 years into the dispensary industry after having already run a multi-million-dollar business but I really liked the passion of that: the idea of working my way to the top again. And so I did. I came in as part of the marketing team. It took me almost 2 years to work my way to the top. But I did become the Executive Director here. And I hired a woman named Amber Senter[2], who comes from a marketing background and me and Amber have been running this place. She started out as the Marketing Director and now she is the Chief Operations Officer here at Magnolia. The place is infused with the best talent, of all types of people, not just one type of person. We are in Oakland, California which is one of the most diverse places on earth. And our staff matches the diversity of our city – all kinds of ages and types of people and we are really proud of that.

Weed World: That segues nicely into our next question about Oakland and the role it plays in what you are doing. Maybe you can talk to us a little bit about the equity laws?

Debby Goldsberry: We could not do what we are doing if we were not located in Oakland, California where the city government is incredibly supportive of medical marijuana. They get this issue inside and out. They want to lead the development of the medical marijuana industry right here from Oakland. And they always have which is great. A lot of city governments ban or shut down. They stop innovation. They are afraid. But in Oakland, we’ve always embraced it. It is in large part thanks to our City Council and the Mayor. We’ve changed Mayors quite a few times but the mayors have always been very supportive of the industry. It is really sort of boots-on-the-ground; in order for the cannabis industry to succeed you have got to be able to get a business, a building, a license, and then have a regulatory system in the city that supports operations by the books.  We need to be inspected by our fire department. We have to have our planning department in here. We need to pay our taxes just like everybody else. The City of Oakland has taken our tax money and infused it into the city to help make Oakland, a city which lost most of its manufacturing jobs long ago, and where there has been so much poverty that the city has turned to medical marijuana as a way that we can lift the city out of poverty. They are creating permits. Right now, it is really a kind of a wrestle because we want to bring new cannabis businesses to Oakland but we would like Oaklanders to start those businesses. We do not want people from out-of-town coming and buying up the real estate because they have more money than our local Oaklanders who have been suffering in poverty all this time. The city is really wrestling with how to make these new manufacturing permits and create new dispensaries – how to do this without outsiders coming in and taking away the permits from our own Oakland residents. We see a lot of confusion at the city/government level right now. A lot of proposals going back and forth. They passed a law that did not work, so they did not implement it. And now they are trying to pass a law that works so that we can keep Oaklanders in the cannabis industry, and Oakland people can own the cannabis businesses that are going to be opening up. I think it is going to be pretty amazing. It is going to be a challenge, but I think that what is going to happen is once we pass our laws, other municipalities are going to pass similar laws and make sure that medical marijuana and the marijuana industry is equitable.

 

Weed World: I know one of the things that the City of Oakland was looking at was this idea of having some kind of system based on equity. There was one that was a little controversial that wanted to limit the number of dispensaries based on neighborhood the owner came from. What is the latest in creating the equity platform for Oakland that allows everything to move forward?

Debby Goldsberry: People of color in Oakland have been targeted by the War on Drugs, exponentially more so than any other persons. We still see 300 people of color arrested every year in Oakland for marijuana. It is just an outrage. How do we stop that? How do we identify that the War on Drugs has always been a war on people, and particularly people of color? And what do we do to repair that historic harm? It is very tricky. The way the City of Oakland decided to do it, or the first thing that they tried is looking at the arrest statistics in the City of Oakland. They identified the six neighborhoods in Oakland that were the most heavily impacted by marijuana arrests. Those were six very low-income neighborhoods, most centered in East Oakland. There were so many people that weren’t in those neighborhoods that were also equally effected that is why the law did not go forward. We have to come up with a way that more people can get equitable permits because what happens is these permits are competitive. In order to compete to get one, you have to have a location, you have to have money, you have to be able to prove your concept. And that is hard. Especially if you are competing against people who have more money and more proof that they can put their concept together because they have founded other businesses or they come from big business, they went to Wharton and got a business degree. People in Oakland didn’t do that. People in Oakland suffered through poverty and are trying to rise up and lift themselves out. They have just as good ideas and the ability to run businesses as outsiders, so how do we make sure these opportunities are available to people all over Oakland and not just those six neighborhoods? Interestingly, what we found out was one of those 'high crime neighborhoods' is downtown Oakland which happens to be where our wealthiest people are moving. They are building these big condo projects. The idea of doing equity neighborhood-by-neighborhood did not pan out. And now we are looking for a different solution.

Weed World: You talked a little about the community outreach that your dispensary does, what is the long-term 5-year vision for the dispensary? What can the dispensary be for the community over time?

Debby Goldsberry: We are in the process of expanding by an extra 5,000 sq. ft. We are going to open a community center, a restaurant, a vape lounge, and hopefully a spot where people can just get off the street and just smoke marijuana. Unfortunately, smoking marijuana is not allowed in businesses in Oakland right now. You can vaporize if you get the right permit, which we have secured. I think we are the only place in Oakland that has secured the vaporizing permit so far. The anti-tobacco law in Oakland says no smoking of any kind. Marijuana is unfortunately covered under that. We have to change that law and get marijuana allowed inside. The idea is to build a place where people can come. People need a place to gather to be together. In a marijuana dispensary, it is not just one kind of person: it is every kind of person coming in here. There is something so special and unique about a gathering place where every kind of person can come. It is very equalizing. For one thing, we are creating this gathering place where people can come and be together and they can be equal. They can be treated equally and be given equal access. The other thing is that we are making a funnel that people have to pass through so we can give them info. Come in the door so we can give you info about whatever the cause is we want people to know about. You know it is the holiday season and we are very concerned about people during this particular holiday season because of how depressing it is frankly with poverty, joblessness, with people not being able to feed their families, get gifts for their families. We are doing a lot of work around suicide prevention. We are making sure to be here for people to listen, to actively listen. We find people who need help and guide them to help. We have a nurse on staff who is there for people so that is our goal right now. Different times of year our goal changes. Trying to educate people before the election was a big goal here. We wanted to get the word out about Prop 64[3] and the importance of passing that law so we could get people out of jail. We spent a lot of our time educating people about the truth around Prop 64 because the Proposition was targeted by fake news. There was a lot of false information being purposefully put out on the airways, so bad. That was our focus before the election to get reliable info out. Before that focused on a big campaign, and we still do, to work with the marijuana lifers. There are about 100 people who have been locked up for life. We work with a group called Marijuana Lifers Project[4] from out of Southern California. A woman Sheri Sicard founded the group and we want to support people who are non-violent marijuana offenders. Sheri has sorted through the prisoners and has, loosely I guess you could call it, adopted about 100 prisoners. We work directly with Sheri to provide funds, to write letters, to do cards for people on their birthdays and the holidays, to pay particular attention to people whose clemency has been denied, who are maybe losing hope, to spread the money around to prisoners who need it. Some prisoners are kind of famous and getting more funds. And then also to help with the clemency efforts to write letters, to get the word out, to let people know when a push is on for clemency so maybe we can get some of these people freed. Two people have gotten free already from our project. It is really thrilling.

Weed World: To wrap this up, you know it is the holiday season (during the time when we are doing this interview) and you mentioned your work with the suicide hotline but I understood also that you guys do a bunch of different community outreach so that if people out there are looking for cannabis-centric non-profits or charities to support how do they find the charity that is reputable and merits the support from the community?

Debby Goldsberry: Of course, Charity Navigator[5] is an incredibly important tool for anybody looking to where they are going to give their non-profit funding, even in the marijuana industry at least for the big ones – The Marijuana Policy Project, Americans For Safe Access, The Drug Policy Foundation. You will find them on there rated “good” so that you know that they are doing good work and they use your money right. As far as the marijuana movement goes what we do here is two things. We are looking to give to local non-profits that are supporting people locally to marijuana non-profits so we donate a lot of our funding to Super Nova Women of Color[6], a local non-profit that is supporting equitable access to marijuana permits and ownership for people of color and teaching people the skills that they need to gain ownership. And then the other thing that we do is we support a couple of big national organizations when they are campaigning for special campaigns. But I think even more important for us is giving back to our local community. We ourselves are a marijuana non-profit, and we want to give to the community to make a better Oakland. We are giving funds to Oakland’s only women’s shelter[7], which has 9 beds and is the only woman’s shelter in the City of Oakland. We are funding scholarships for high school graduates that are going to go to college as the mayor started a scholarship fund so we are supporting that. We have a local non-profit group here in our neighborhood called One Fam[8] that is trying to build up the neighborhood, do job training, make a community center for our neighborhood so we are supporting them. It is incredibly important that marijuana organizations work within the community on the issues that matter to their home town.

Weed World: Thank you so much for your time today. It’s been great talking to you.

 [1] Tod H. Mikuriya From Wikipedia: (20 September 1933 – 20 May 2007) was a psychiatrist, and author of books such as Marijuana Medical Papers: 1839 - 1972. He is known as an outspoken advocate for the legalization and use of cannabis for medical purposes. He is regarded by some as the grandfather of the medical cannabis movement in the United States, most especially California.

[2] http://amberesenter.com

[3] California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as an initiated state statute. Supporters referred to the initiative as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It was approved. For more details see: http://www.canorml.org/news/what_will_be_legal_and_what_wont_after_Prop_64

 [4] Marijuana Lifer Project. For more information go to:  http://www.marijuanaliferproject.org or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/liferproject/?pnref=lhc

 This article first appeared in Issue 127 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

Royal Sour Hashish

Thursday, 20 April 2017 14:34:44 Europe/London

Grown by Swami Select and processed by Frenchy Cannoli

by The Dank Duchess

Every so often we are lucky to experience a collaboration between people whose deep understanding of our unique connection to the plant produces an extraordinary creation.  Reverence for the terroir (the soil, water, micro climate, natural soil composition) infuses the cannabis with a special quality inherent to its place of growth.  Royal Sour Hashish is of pedigree stock, grown in expert conditions, and processed with the utmost care.  When given the opportunity to smoke eye popping combination of factors, I expect this experience is going to be practically holy.

Royal Sour (Sour Diesel x Purple Kush x Highland Afghani) is a Indica dominant Hybrid Cultivar bred by Aficionado Estates (IG:@aficionadoestates).  This crop of the 2013 4th Place Emerald Cup finisher was grown by Swami Select (IG: @swamiselect) in 2015 at Turtle Creek Ranch in Mendocino County, California.  Dedicated to outstanding, organic, outdoor cannabis, Swami and his partner Nikki Lastreto, who have both lived in India for many years, are the co-directors of the Ganja Ma Gardens Collective.  They take extraordinary care to give their seeds the very best start, beginning with mantras and  dripping the water of the Ganges River in India on them before planting them.  The cannabis plants on there farm delight in the bountiful sun and mindful attention they receive at this sacred, spiritual place.  Gently guiding the plants along their journey, Swami listens to the needs of each plant, and harvests only when the plant says she is ready.  Cutting down the entire plant at the peak of its ripeness, Swami captures the resin at its most viable level.  The plants are dried slowly, but thoroughly.  Preferring dried, and cured material, Hash Master Frenchy Cannoli (IG: @frenchycannoli), who  in India learned how to make Charas, the oldest concentrate, was very pleased to receive the Royal Sour which had been well preserved over the last year.  Washing entire buds, Frenchy produced absolutely beautiful resin; high in quality and at 22% yield, which is almost twice average, very forthcoming. Believing in the intrinsic value of whole plant medicine, Frenchy collects a full spectrum of the resin for pressing.  Frenchy aims to age some of the Hashish he produces and he stores palm sized temple balls in organic cellophane, which is in turn housed in an airtight Jyarz container.

Three months after storing, the temple ball has matured enough for me to taste it.   The cellophane paper is transparent and I can see the shiny brown mass sealed tight within.  I begin to untwist the wrapping and the barest aroma of perfume wafts out. Being very partial to floral flavors, my mouth starts to water.  Opening the paper fully, I am greeted with the full bodied presence of deep, dark muscadine grapes.  The surface of the Royal Sour Hashish is shiny and slick, bouncing the light from the overhead lamp.   The trichome heads, pressed with heat to create a cohesive mass, glisten.  A deep inhale reveals notes of pine, camphor, and dark chocolate.  I do not favor chocolaty flavors, but Swami's cannabis flowers are always a joy to smoke and I love everything Frenchy makes, so I am justifiably excited.  After staring at the gorgeous ball of Hashish for a little while longer, I gouge a dab out of the surface. When Frenchy first made Royal Sour Hashish, time lapse video depicted its melty transition from a perfectly round ball to a thick slab of resin as its shape collapsed under its own weight.  At this time, the Hashish retains its shape and  the texture is smooth like cream cheese. Taking a low temp dab, I glance into the banger to watch with glee as the Hashish bubbles wildly as it coats the quartz surface.  Eventually the sizzle fizzles to nothing and a little puddle has been left behind.

Waste it to taste it and boy is it worth it!

Sweet, bulbous grapes burst into my mouth and I savor the juicy flavor.  I am unprepared for the fuel that rumbles into my mouth afterwards and just as I feel the tickle of a cough beginning, smooth chocolate evens out the inhale and the urge is quelled.  Exhaling, a complex mix of berries and spice rolls out, like drinking a chai tea while eating maraschino cherries.  I grasp the firm mass and dig in again; this time with even more gusto.  I am willing to overindulge just about anything that I really like, and with a dank chunk like this, I can afford to be greedy.  The full-bodied taste and sensation of full spectrum, full melt Hashish is incomparable.   I scoop out a larger dab and slide it onto the banger.  This time I notice the pine aroma coming off the banger, followed by warmed cocoa butter.  The warm vapor slides easily up and down my throat; exiting robustly, but with ease. Almost immediately, my body is awash with thousands of mini fireworks like when your leg wakes up after having gone numb, but not unpleasantly so.  Pleasant sparks dance along my skin and I am ready to walk.

Packing away my travel rig, I step outside of my car to the site of my latest adventure: Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  Conceived while the construction of New York's similarly Central Park was underway, Golden Gate Park is a large urban park that was completed in 1870 as a place of respite among urban sprawl.  My husband, Nicholas, and I have our own precious memories of growing up in urban forests.  I learned the ways of the natural world in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and he, a Vermont native, fostered a great love for the outdoors both in the forests of the green mountain state and in the well tended confines of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC.   We are here to de-stress, find some peace, and leave feeling more energized than when we came.  I have a vague notion of a mile long walk until I reach Huntington Falls, one of the two artificial waterfalls in the park.

Walking jauntily past the Conservatory of Flowers gleaming in the bright sunlight on this cold and damp day, I alternately take puffs from my vape pen and suck on my lollipop.  Along the way I see, huddled together for warmth, nervous and giggly teen aged girls sporting high school track team shirts, defiant and oblivious young men skateboarding, and health conscious moms jogging by; tirelessly pushing baby carriages made for this punishing activity.  Barely stifling a smile, I skip forward with a  light heart, buoyed by the effects of the Sour Diesel portion of the plant.  With what feels like rocket ships on my ankles, we will be over at the falls in no time.

In the blink of an eye, we are at the base of Strawberry Hill, an island in the middle of Stow Lake.  The 404 foot (123 m) hill angles up to the sky steeply, much like the mountains that surround the city.  Not one to be deterred by a slight effort, I make my way up the first step of stairs that wind around the hill.  Raspberry bushes, stripped bare of their delicious fruit, cover the hillside, overshadowed only by coastal ivy, an invasive vine slowly strangling the native species like the wood strawberry for which the Hill was named.  Nevertheless, on close inspection, I see the little red jewels dotting the landscape; reminding me that all is not lost, just merely muted for a moment.

As the top of the hill beckons me from Narnia, the Indica effects begin to hit me and the hill seems as insurmountable as a mountain.  I take a few deep breaths and continue to walk up the stairs. Just as I feel I may pass out, we reach the apex.  I am relieved when I see that there are several benches at the top of the hill as I need to recharge and possibly think about getting fit with an dedicated exercize program.  As I make note of my less than ideal physical condition, my eyes land upon a large crumbling chimney-like structure standing before me.  I slowly walk around into the clearing and realize I am in what is left of a hall of some sort.  Using Google search, I find out I am standing in the remains of the Sweeney Observatory.  Touching an uneven surface, I close my eyes, and I try to envision the stately building that once stood here.  Constructed as a beautiful vista point, the observatory afforded views of western San Francisco before it, and 80% of the city, was decimated in the devastating 1906 earthquake.  Now the ruins of the foundation is all that is left, obviously destroyed, and yet still retaining the majesty of the aforementioned building.  Thoughts in my head are swirling and suddenly this quiet, shaded hilltop is re-imagined as a castle.  The large pine trees tower above my head and I cannot help but feel like I am in in a pine tree cathedral.  An eerie calm settles over me and turning around in a circle, I see glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, Mt. Tamalpais, downtown San Francisco, and San Bruno Mountain, and I feel like a queen especially dialed into her domain and perfectly in the flow.  I try to express how I feel to Nicholas, but a barely audible grunt is all I can manage. A multitude of thoughts are dancing around my mind and, not being able to verbalize really anything coherently, I keep quiet.  Nicholas makes one mention of my introspection, but getting no response, lets the issue die.  The wind is picking up and the temperatures have dipped into the 50s.  I am thankful of my purple leather jacket, but the exposed parts of my body feel no discomfort, in any case.  The sky is now overcast and a dull, grey-brown blanket cloaks the city.  However, somehow, on top of Strawberry Hill, everything is still glowing in afternoon light from an unknown source.  Perhaps I alone see this golden light.  The soft, pine needle covered ground is gently springy beneath my feet, comforting me with every step.  Though the chill factor is growing by the minute, I feel like I am engulfed in a warm embrace of quiet gratitude.  I feel positively alive, and yet at ease and reserved.

I take two long drags on my vape pen and let out the smoke.  As expected the flavor profile is weak compared to when using my rig, but some of the berry sweetness still comes through.  I can hear the rushing water of the Huntington Falls though I cannot see it in its glory.  Following the sound, we arrive at the top of the waterfall, and stop to read the informational plaque.  I turn away as the words and their meaning fail to capture my interest.  I want to try to touch that water.  I head to the stairs along the side of the flowing water and note to myself that  curiously, just as I am getting higher, I am simultaneously taking myself lower; walking down the tiers of the waterfall.  I remember when I first started smoking cannabis, Nicholas stressed the importance of allowing my high to plateau before taking in my cannabis to get to the next level.  Now I find myself getting lost in thought at each landing; absorbing the spellbinding view of the rushing waters caressing each moss-laden rock before hurdling downwards to the man-made like.  Always fascinated by the concept of finding place, I sink into the reverie of decades past, when women in tight corsets and parasols stood in these same nooks and admired the same wonder of gravity.  Were they as intrigued as I by the human drive to create, manipulate, and arrangement the environment?  Did they feel transported as do I, to a tropical paradise, entirely out of place in the urban mecca of San Francisco?

I take another puff and descend until I am at the very bottom of the cascade. At this time, I can hear nothing except the symphony of the water, the singing birds, the rustling trees, and the soft thuds of my footsteps.  Right here at the base of the waterfall is a small slice of heaven. Artificial rocks have been fashioned in such a way that the water from the gushing waterfall collects in a small pool and then “seeps” through cracked earth to eventually spill into Stow Lake.  One the surface of the pool, two mallard ducks bob lazily without a care in the world.  I feel like those ducks.  I am coasting on the sea of life right now.  I feel badly that I am not being an overly cheery partner right now, but I actually feel quite fabulous. My skin is buzzing with electricity and I feel like all of my hairs are standing at attention.  I am in perfect communion with everything and here where I am is where I will always need to be.

Sanctity can be created in any place we choose as we can feel blessed and spiritually connected no matter the circumstance.  Strolling through the lungs of San Francisco while puffing on the Royal Sour Hashish, I am able to appreciate the wonder of every moment and enjoy the banal and the mundane just a bit more.  High spirits, an open mind, and boundless energy are quite th recipe for bliss and may we all have any more occasions to experience it.

This article first appeared in issue 126 of Weed World Magazine

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Shredding the new Cristal Candy Auto® from Sweet Seeds®.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 13:04:53 Europe/London

Recently Sweet Seeds® celebrated the 11th anniversary as a seedbank and just like last year there will be many surprises not only in the social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) but also in cannabis forums where they have their own commercial subforums. Do not forget to check these websites every day because you will find contests and many news shared directly from their new blog. The offer of 3 + 1 free seed and 5 + 2 free seeds with each pack will still continue and new varieties are expected very soon, some of them rich in CBD.

During all these years Sweet Seeds® carried out a painstaking work of plant test and selection to create a catalog full of diversity that each grower can easily find its favorite cannabis strains. Being one of the world’s leading banks in the production of Cannabis seeds, each new release is turned into a challenge to be achieved by the Sweet Seeds® R&D team. As some of you might imagine, there are many parameters that play a role when evaluating a new genetic in order to determine if it is suitable for distribution. It is also important to consider the tastes and personal preferences of each grower but what a good breeder ultimately brings to a new strain is an adequate balance between all of them.

In order to find a strain that is easy to grow, with a high germination rate, vigorous growth, moderated size and suitable for both indoor and outdoor grows, allowing for high yields, with excellent effects and tastes, Sweet Seeds® relies on a large team that struggles every day in the research and improvement of genetics so that everything goes perfect when you grow them. For some reason they are one of the seed banks with more Cannabis Cups in the whole Spanish territory.

Concurring with this celebration and as the main part of this article, they announce and release one of the many new strains that they have prepared for this year of 2017. It is time to present the brand new Crystal Candy Auto® (SWS61).

Sweet Shot

When I see a new strain with such a positive performance and, simultaneously, with a taste and effect so well balanced, it is difficult not to recommend it to my friends. I am telling you this while I taste a good vaporization of Crystal Candy Auto®, harvested about one month ago and I can say that day after day I enjoy it even more. It is the kind of strain you can 100% enjoy not only while growing it but also while smoking or vaporizing it.

This new autoflowering comes from a cross between the latest photoperiod-dependent stain released by Sweet Seeds® in 2016 - Crystal Candy® (SWS58) - and an autoflowering strain with very similar aromatic tones: Sweet Special Auto (SWS35).

The combination of both genetics results in a very aromatic plant, with compact structure and dense flowers covered by trichomes. The effect is very clear, leaning to the Sativa side. This strain can be harvested 8 weeks after germination. It features very vigorous and accelerated growth, producing multiple side branches and a big main cola. Taste and aroma are absolutely great and you will love it if you enjoy plants with fruity, sweet and exotic tones. A plant to fall in love with.

From my point of view Sweet Seeds® designed a new autoflowering variety with its own character, exuberant taste and high yield. Taking in consideration the results obtained in my grow, I am sure most of you will agree with me once you try it.

Indoor Growing.

I usually share grow diaries in different cannabis forums in which I put all my effort to show in the best way possible the techniques I use to grow my plants so that everyone can compare results. When I write an article for a magazine I always do it the same way and from the moment I open the seed package I pay special attention to the modus operandi, so that it is as clear and clean as possible, always respecting the plants and giving them a dignified and pleasant life. All the love you give them will be given back to you.

But in this case the beginning was not so benevolent for the 6 Crystal Candy Auto® seeds that I soaked because the germination occurred simultaneously with a lack of coordination with a friend of mine who keeps the soil in his house and so the plants were nearly 10 days without a pot with soil. As many of you know, because you are enthusiastic growers, delaying the transplant of an autoflowering plant recently germinated always has consequences, particularly in the final size of the plant. And, therefore, a decrease in the final yield is also inevitable. This time span is crucial for their normal development because autoflowering plants start to grow slower by the 4th week of life when flowering begins.

Luckily, and thanks to the fact that the 6 seeds were still alive after my friend came back, I hurried to give them a good soil and an adequate pot for the cycle and light potency that they were going to receive. In this case 600W High Pressure Sodium for a cycle of 20 hours of light and 4 hours of darkness, from germination to harvest.

I keep both air extraction and intraction working almost in a continuous way and inside the closet there are also two medium-sized fans and a heater that keeps the temperature above 18ºC. I recommend keeping the temperature stable between 18ºC and 28ºC with moderate humidity, between 40% and 80%, as this ensures that plants always have the right growing conditions. As this grow matched with the Autumn rainy season there was no need to add humidity, which remained stable.

I used 10 L and 20 L Airpots. By using two sizes I can see the difference between them and then decide which ones to use in the future. But I usually prefer the 20 L ones because they make the task much easier. In addition, since Airpots feature side holes, the soil dries much faster, so the smaller ones required continuous watering. This is good because it allows us to raise the watering frequency and you can obtain big harvests but, in my case, I prefer to choose bigger pots that make cannabis growing easier although at the cost of loosing yield.

With autoflowering strains I always use the same soil I would use with any other Cannabis strain. According to this I make sure that the plants have enough food for the first 4 or 5 weeks of life. It is important to help with bio stimulators to promote the growth of roots and flowers.

Using a root bio stimulator helps the plant to generate outstanding root growth, which is ideal to improve nutrient absorption and, most importantly, to keep the plants in perfect health. I recommend the use of the flowering bio stimulator whenever the plant reaches to a certain height and the first pistils appear, indicating the beginning of flowering. In this grow I started using it at day 28, when the first flowers started to appear. At that time they had an average height of 35 cm which does not reveal their maximum potential, but considering the initial delay I could not complain.

All the plants were very healthy and at this moment there was no need to add anything else to the water besides flowering bio stimulator. This was the main fertilizer that I used because almost all the other nutrients that Crystal Candy Auto® needed were already present in the soil mix. The most critical moments happened between the sixth and the seventh week, when some plants started to ask for more nutrients, especially the taller ones. Besides that, being in smaller pots they consumed the available nutrients very fast. If this is your case, you can add some blooming fertilizers. They usually also need a bit of Calcium and Magnesium at this stage, but this time I did not have to add it. I only gave them blooming fertilizers twice because they always looked very healthy, with shiny leaves and an outstanding flower structure.

Adding nutrients when a plant does not demand them tends to cause undesired accumulation of salts and usually blocks correct nutrient intake. If you pay attention to the pictures you will see that the plants were never hungry and the flowering formation was great. By the way, the bloom nutrients used were totally organic.

Crystal Candy Auto® produces large central and lateral buds. Once flowering begins it becomes worth of admiration because the pistil and crystal production is extreme, leaving all the buds and their surrounding leaves fully loaded with trichomes.

By the end of the 7th week the plants reached to their final height, with between 50 cm and 70 cm. The plants that were grown in 20 L pots ended up with a more robust structure and produced side branches with compact buds, while the plants grown in the 10 L pots grew a bit taller. With each watering the differences in the flower formation of both pot sizes was perfectly visible. The flower bio stimulator used at its highest dose together with the vigor of Crystal Candy Auto® were the perfect combination for an explosion of pistil production in the buds. While avoiding to saturate the soil with several types of fertilizers I managed to get healthy plants without any spots by the end of flowering. Maybe they missed that extra week of growth but I can not complain about the final results.

After observing the way they develop I think that this strain may be very adequate to Low Stress Training techniques (LST). You can try to do this or other type of technique that is not too aggressive to the plant, allowing it to level its side branches with the main bud. You will probably be surprised with the results.

They were harvested with 60 days from germination, just before I made a video and a good photographic session that you will be able to see on the Internet very soon, together with the pictures shown in this article. I could not weight the harvested flowers but I can estimate that it was very close to a gram-per-watio grow operation.

The flowers of this magnificent strain feature a sweet, wild fragrance, with shades of mature fruit and acid hints that are reminiscent of melon or strawberry. It is one of these aromas that make you want to stick your nose inside the bud for a long time to be able to discover it. You can already imagine the taste of the buds after they cure for a while. It is Iberian chorizo, as my colleagues like to label good marihuana.

For this article I used a couple of buds that were already very well cured. After I used one in the vaporizer I was able to taste the freshness of Crystal Candy Auto®, full and very powerful in the mouth. If features a lot of mature fruit hints, between acid and sweet. The effect is noticeable after a very short time and allows for a truly lucid and creative feeling.

The other bud has been rolled into a joint that I just finished smoking right now and, as you might well imagine, nothing compares to the pure taste of the vapor but I have been a smoker for many years and for me the best way to evaluate weed is in the form of a joint. This allows me to compare it with all the other strains that I have tried in the past. Vaporized Cannabis is usually very fresh and pleasant in the mouth, but not all the weed is equally good when you put them into paper and set it on fire. This one is excellent and very rich in aromas, filling your lungs and pleasing your sense of smell.

I hope you enjoy this strain as much as I do and that you find space for this beauty from Sweet Seeds® in your next run.

Crystal Candy Auto®

Variety SWS61

Indoor Yield: 400-600 g/m2

Outdoor Yield: 50-300 g/plant

Indoor/Outdoor Harvest: 8 weeks from germination

Height: 70-130 cm

Thanks for reading and sweet grows!

Jaypp

This article first appeared in issue 127 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News

The Magnum Opus

Tuesday, 18 April 2017 12:56:50 Europe/London

A Living Memory of Ras Truth 

For the past 20 years, the top-shelf California cannabis market has been dominated by cultivars defined by bouquets of exotic fuel-tones similar to the piercing fragrance of diesel and gasoline.  In regards to the four definitive terpene profiles indicative to ganja (i.e. earth, floral, and fruit, and fuel) fuel-based strains have proven to be the undisputed favorite in the market making them among the most sought after varieties commanding the highest premiums.

 With origins of various fuel hybrids stretching from Southern Florida to So-Cal, all the way up to Oregon, California's Emerald Triangle region has remained the dominant realm in curating and creating a diverse ecosystem for avant-garde petrol-based strains. As the producer of over 70% of the cannabis in the US, the Triangle has stood for over 40 years as the elite proving grounds for developing, breeding, and commercially cultivating the world's most prized and respected gas selections.  Famed for its dense community of world-class commercial and top-shelf cultivators, the Triangle serves as the home to many pivotal breeders in the boutique-breeding scene. 

 Arguably one of the most influential breeders in Emerald Triangle history is Mandlebrot of Emerald Mountain, creator of the infamous Royal Kush line.   In an era when it was difficult to acquire solid fuel genetics in seed, Emerald Mountains collections were available in a few clubs and often immediately sold-out upon release.  Much of the original seed release was from 2009 it was bought and resold on the hills of Humboldt and Mendocino for staggering premiums.  It wasn't uncommon to find his work being pushed for $80-$100/seed in some areas.  Emerald Mountain maintained the stance that “clones didn't like being on shelves for long periods of time” and that seeds were the best possible route for healthy genetics so very few of his work before 2013 was available as a clone. And many growers reported huge success with the original seed releases.

 However, his most famous work to date is an elite cutting selected by himself from a sea of 3000 starts from the original Royal Kush F1 seed stock.  Bred on the Mendocino coast and further developed in Northern Humboldt, The Royal was a game changer during a time when your common choices for fuel were your classic OG or Sour.  Given the common body for most of these strains echoed distinctive notes of sour milk, spilled diesel, and lemon zest, the Royal Kush was the first to cultivar to overwhelmingly transcend both worlds of extreme fuel funk and fruit. 

 The nose was a blend of gasoline diluted Pine-Sol and meyer lemons woven into a core of blackberry cobbler and raspberry scented diesel. For growers she was often described as the end-all-be-all of kush plants. Large yields screaming of gas, no pests, no mold, and flowers stacking into bluish-purple pillows covered in white snow finished earlier than any other fuel strain at the time with a photoperiod of only 50-55 days versus the 70-75 days required for most OG's and Sours.

 In the years of 2011-2013 when law enforcement ramped up their raids on grow sites throughout the triangle; the presence of the original Royal elite clones and the Emerald Mountain seed collections slowly disappeared from clubs and nurseries throughout the state. 

 During Emerald Mountain's brief absence from the industry, the Long-Valley Royal Kush (LVRK) project between Mandelbrot and Aficionado Estates aimed to preserve the strain's presence in the market. The focus was to strengthen the definitive sour-diesel characteristics found in the original elite as well as enhancing her raw gasoline expression and adapting her to the rigorous Long-Valley climate. Unlike the short and stout clone-only, the Long-Valley grew long-legged noodley branches shooting off into dozens of heavy crown bud sites. Her leaf structure wasn't as broad as the original and her serrations hinted at the diesel lineage with closer more hacksaw-like cuts. The nose was composed of intense layers of jet-fuel and acetone integrated into a bouquet of lemon cleaner and skunk spray as opposed to the more balanced and nuanced floral and fruit, and gas tones found in the original.  Although the LVRK expressed herself differently from the initial release of elite clones, the more pronounced fuel profile found itself to be increasingly resistant to pests and high-humidity mold prone conditions.

 As time progressed, Mandelbrot would continue his search for the original F1 clone and dedicate himself to increasing the long-term genetic diversity of his collections until his untimely death in 2015.  During the LVRK project, he would often mention during long selections in the greenhouse of “How awesome it would be to track down the original and backcross her to a male from each subsequent LVRK generation in order to restore the strains original genetic diversity found only in the F1 genetic code.”

 In late 2015, the clone was found in the hands of a single 3rd generation farmer, Nick of HappyTrees 707 and gifted to world-famous Kevin Jodrey of Wonderland Nursery for preservation.  Returning full circle, Kevin Jodrey is known as one of the exclusive clone providers of the F1 Royal Kush elite cut from back in the mid-2000's. 

In helping complete one of Mandlebrot's ultimate breeding goals, The Magnum Opus was created to realize his dream of returning the original elite back into the finest evolution of the current Royal Kush line.  During the LVRK project, there was a handful of phenotypes selected by Aficionado and Mandlebrot that were found to express themselves with heavier resin profiles, 27%-29% THC test scores, and resembled the F1 elite more than the predominantly sour-leaning progeny found in most LVRK seed stock. These specially selected family-only varieties of LVRK would be known as Long-Valley Reserve and shared only between select group of farmers in the areas between Laytonville and Leggett, CA.  The Magnum Opus being the fusion of the highly prized 10th Generation Long-Valley Reserve Male with Mandelbrot's original F1 clone will be the end of the line for breeding Royal Kush and serve as a salute to one of the greatest breeders and visionaries in the history of the Emerald Triangle.

 It is certainly a blessing to see the growing number of farmers and seed companies honoring Mandelbrot's work in the manner that his strains will forever live on and continue to bless the world with the magic he has created.  He has touched countless hearts and if remembered as one of the most prolific organic farmers on Mendocino and Humboldt.  Ahead of his time, he was among the first to recognize the power of 100% organic biodynamic based indoor commercial farming and predominantly plant-based eco-conscious fertilizer inputs. He was not only a teacher and a mentor but a dear friend to us all and will be dearly missed.  One love for Ras Truth. #MandelbrotLivesOn

Originally printed in Issue 127 of Weed World Magazine

Posted in Cannabis News
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