A fellow grower in need of some advice:
This past year, I had problems and I’m not sure why. I had a decent
yield, with most of my plants giving about a pound, and several up to 2-3
lbs. Prior to harvest, the buds seemed big and dense. Once dry
however, they were fluffy and the dispensaries did not want any of it because of
I noticed while late in the vegetative cycle, I was seeing deficiency signs
… yellowing leaves, interveinal mottling, and reduced growth overall. I
pumped the basic N-P-K fertilizer into them, along with trace nutrients. I
periodically checked soil pH — was consistent at about 6.7-6.8, same as
I thought perhaps it was my soil. I have my “holes” out back, and
restore them annually with composted steer manure, vermiculite and a bag or two
of commercial soil containing bat guano, worm castings, alfalfa meal, and
kelp. My holes are large, having augered them 42 inches in diameter and
3-feet deep. Prior to adding my soil mix, I had scarred the sides of
the holes (this was 5-6 years ago) so that there would be no hard wall resistant
to possible root expansion. We’ve been having a drought for the past
several years, and so I wondered if perhaps I was getting a salt build-up in my
soil that restricted nutrient uptake. But then again, I had several smart
pots (those fabric ones) that had new soil in them, and those plants still had
fluffy bud and I fought to keep them green.
At transplant, I dose with a mild solution of NPK fertilizer and B-1.
I give slow-release phosphorus throughout the grow and flower cycles. When
flowers first appear, I switch the high nitrogen fertilizer to a lower % one
that’s higher in phosphorus and potassium. My finishing fertilizer has no
nitrogen, but just hi phos and potassium. During flowering, I give black
strap molasses every 3rd watering, about a cup per hole. I have never
noticed wilting afterwards, so I don’t think that I’m giving too much of
that. Early in the vege cycle, I do give a dose or two of Super Thrive,
which is supposed to contain plant hormones to stimulate growth. I don’t
use it throughout growing though. I suspect it might contain auxin, which
could explain plumping up with water when green, then drying fluffy. But
the one or two early doses of Super Thrive should have dissipated after several
months of bi-weekly watering.
Then I thought perhaps it was my strain. I had been growing durban
poison, OG kush, green crack, blue dream, pineapple, chocolate thai, etc.
Then one year, some “free” seeds came with others that I had ordered (I usually
just do clones, but wanted something different). These seeds were from
something called Erpino rapido fantastico. Yuk. Horribly fluffy
small buds, slow to finish (although mold resistant). One of those went
herme on me, having only 2 male clusters hidden deep inside the buds.
Seeded my entire garden. Last year, I had planted mostly seeds from the
ERF crossed with my DP, BD, OG, etc. I’m thinking that perhaps it was the
ERF genes that caused the problem (although it doesn’t answer why there was
difficulty with nutrient uptake). Then again, I had also planted seeds
from a strain my ex-husband had developed from Jack Herrer and a bad ass strain
he had from the 1980s (again, his own). That too had trouble and fluffy
I seem to be at an impasse. If the soil in my holes is the problem,
why would plants in smart pots and new soil also be having difficulty? If
the strain contamination is the problem, why would my ex’s strain also have
The only issue I can think of that is consistent regardless of soil or
strain is that our area was invaded with new type of mite that is microscopic
(darned if I can remember what it was called now). I did find that on my
plants, but aggressively sprayed for it and seemed to have defeated them.
I know some growers lost most of their plants to it before they recognized
there was even a problem. Can kill an entire plant in days.
After initiating my spray routine, I looked at leaves under my
microscope, and confirmed that the organism was getting wiped out. The
plants would have had at least a full month to finish before harvest.
So, do you have any ideas why my buds were fluffy? For every possible
issue, I can find exceptions or contradictions and am frankly at a loss to
figure it out.