I’m going to tell you the story of this unnamed seed which is the result of research carried out by the Spanish seed bank, Buddha Seeds, and is not yet available on the market. Its harvest time REALLY is in late September, there are many banks offering varieties that, in theory, are harvested at this time but the reality is quite different. So far, after interviewing hundreds of cannabis growers, we had not yet seen such a thing in reality. Normally if you’re told that harvest time will be by late September it’s actually by October 10th, as it depends on the lunar cycles to a greater or lesser extent. Therefore, let’s trust that this super-indica will see the light of day in the market very soon since its quality is overwhelming.
A cannabis grower asked me for some seeds, knowing that I had a direct relationship with the bank concerned, and I asked the bank who kindly gave me two seeds. They said they still had no commercial name since the seeds were only for research, the only thing I was told with absolute certainty was that they were super-indicas in every way. That’s what I said to the grower. I asked him to let me see the evolution of his cultivation for informative purposes, he gladly accepted and got to work.
I gave him the seeds on June 15th but he forgot about them until July 1st, when he began germination; he put them between two damp paper towels and did not look at them again until July 3rd. When he saw that roots were growing fast, he immediately placed them in a normal substrate bought from a garden centre. It was not his intention to grow them in a 1 liter pot, but he wanted the seedlings to develop before putting them into soil. Once they showed that they possessed the right quality and strength to blossom there would be enough time to put them in a better substrate, but until then he would not spend a dollar.
Soon the seedlings started to grow faster and larger than expected. In 15 days they were large enough to relocate them to their final place in the field, with a better substrate.
The grower made a hole of about 40 liters and filled it with coconut fiber and some vermicompost. This provided them with the definitive contribution of nutrients, not only at the early vegetative phase but also at the rest of the plant stages. Worm humus is black gold when it comes to keeping the substrate consistently spongy, which is absolutely crucial when it comes to growing cannabis.
So as to not disappoint novel growers, it has to be said that the plant roots were not very effective; our grower had to make things easier for them if he wanted to get good cannabis. He also added a significant amount of volcanic lava, arlite and perlite to improve oxygenation of the final product. In fact, the proportions were the following: 70% of coconut fiber, 20% of worm humus and the other 10% was a combination of the products mentioned above.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Bob Baars, one of the most highly regarded biologists and botanists in the world. Bob knows a lot about growing cannabis because he was intensely dedicated to it for years in his native Amsterdam. His opinion was conclusive: coconut fiber and vermicompost are the perfect substrate for cannabis and, of course, they are!
The day after the harvest our proud grower showed us some of the weed he got and we could hardly believe it. The plants were enormous, entirely covered with such a smelly and sticky resin that you couldn’t approach them without getting dirty. Not to mention their organoleptic properties…
At first, the grower fertilized just once with an organic mineral product with 7-6-4 NPK having accounted for the fact that the amount of worm humus in the soil would provide the plant with everything needed for a flawless development. He did this on July 25th and didn’t bother anymore until a week later, when he applied an organic tea made from worm castings. He filled a 100 liter bucket with water, hung a pantyhose filled with worm castings and submerged it. He placed an aquarium oxygen pump at the bottom of the bucket and plugged in the bubbler so the water was aerated all day long. The pantyhose was placed above the rising bubbles, which were stirred with the worm casting, extracting all its nutritional richness for 24 hours.
Many organic farmers who use only this fertilizing method for their crops get spectacular results. Furthermore, the product obtained can be used not only for roots but also for foliar fertilization.
Foliar fertilization is a great contributor to success when done properly, but there are certain guidelines that should be followed: You cannot fertilize in broad daylight since water droplets on leaves act like magnifying glasses and cause burns from the sun’s rays. It must be done early in the morning or when the sun goes down. Our protagonist chose to wait until the sun was setting, “In my area there is a scorching sun during the day in summer”, he says, “so you cannot imagine how grateful this fresh shower is for plants at the end of the day.”
Another interesting thing to consider is that the grower resorted to mulching. Mulching consists of putting a layer of material around the base of the plant, above the substrate, in order to protect it from high temperatures. The shade provided prevents the scorching sun’s rays from overheating superficial roots. This cultivation was carried out in the south of Madrid where temperatures normally soar rapidly during the day and drop to 11 degrees overnight. This vast difference involves a strong heat stress for plants, so mulching means that plants receive less heat during the day but are well protected at nightfall, leading to a lessened thermal impact on the crop. Besides, if it’s made from well-composted organic matter, it also releases key nutrients.
Indeed, in our case, the grower chose to mulch with pine bark. Pine bark is sold in any garden centre, basically for decorative uses, and has the capacity to release tannins during irrigation. The irrigation water in this case had a pH of 8.0, since tannins are acids they lowered pH levels of both the water and the substrate.
When mid-August came, the girls were beginning to bloom; they were super-indicas that showed their gender very early. They had to be pruned three times before mid-August since they were more than two meters high and the grower did not want them to exceed that length. On August 19th the grower fertilized one more time, but just the root system. In fact, he didn’t do foliar fertilization anymore because the emerging buds could be affected by the excess of moisture caused by foliar spraying.
An organic fertilizer was chosen containing 6% potassium, 5% phosphorus and 1% nitrogen i.e. 1-5-6 NPK. So, why this dosage and not another one?
Firstly, because the nitrogen input was minimal and this is essential if we want to get marijuana of good quality. Some fertilizers used in the cannabis industry are of great quality…but not for cannabis! They make plants look beautiful, with not a single yellow leaf, but what about the quality of the buds? In order to get the best quality buds, a plant needs to feel that there is a lack of nitrogen so that it takes nitrogen needed from the leaves. Indeed, nitrogen (N) is movable and is accumulated in the leaves and when a plant is blooming, and buds begin to grow, it takes up small quantities of this macronutrient from its leaves. This explains the yellow color taken by leaves as long as flowering and bud formation go on. It is a great sign, so do not worry, and believe me when I say that the trouble arises when leaves are fully green; your plants may look fantastic, but you won’t get marijuana of great quality.
Secondly, our grower used that dosage because of the high content of P and K. In a “real” way, the highest P and K values tend to be untrue as any plant is only able to assimilate 13% phosphorus and 14% potassium. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong and shows ignorance of cannabis, and other plant species’, botanic physiology and biology.
Plants were fertilized with this product only three times, the last one being on September 4th. The grower used a supply of amino acids on September 10th, which he did in combination with a special treatment to the plants in their last days of life.
On the one hand, he made his girls suffer some water stress by applying a tiny watering every X days (he wanted them to be thirsty in order to produce more resin). Thanks to the controlled contribution of amino acids, plants would take enough strength to focus exclusively on resin production.
The fact of being such an early variety even saved the grower from a robbery. Indeed, one week after harvesting, some slackers entered his garden to find that there was only the bottom of the plants left. Fortunately, our grower had already harvested most of the crop on September 27th. However, this fact reflects the lack of protection suffered by many cannabis growers in Spain; they cannot denounce the robbery and this impunity only makes the thieves stronger.
I cannot conclude this report without making specific mention of the organoleptic properties of this plant. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best plants for aroma and flavor that I have ever tried. Its smell of mango is amazing and is retained also in dry form. Smoking it is like tasting a generous piece of mango, the fruit of paradise, and it also has hints of citrus but it is mostly mango that comes through in taste and smell.
The high is strong and intense, but never enough to knock you out; despite being very indica, the cerebral high is clearly noticed and the narcotic effects are highly relaxing.
It’s ideal as a medicinal herb but also for recreational purposes.
To sum up, it has been a privilege to try this new variety. It’s a shame that Buddha Seeds has not released it on the market yet but I want to take this opportunity to beg the owner to do it. In addition to its quality, yield and harvest time, this is one of the best plants I’ve had the opportunity to try.
Marquis of Esquilache
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 106