Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SEASONAL DIARY: 2004 Somewhere in the Midwest Part 2

As I write this, Chicago is getting hit with a freezing rain storm, and high winds, so the last thing on my mind is to be out in the fields working on a guerilla garden site, or hauling supplies out into the fields! Although, if you are a really hard core, guerilla cannabis cultivator, this kind of weather situation would virtually guarantee that there is no chance of running into another person...perfect for the high security that clandestine cannabis cultivation demands.

If you are a swamp or wetlands grower, this kind of freezing weather turns standing water into solid ice. The grower can use this "ice highway" to move supplies into areas of the swamp that are virtually inaccessible during warmer weather due to deep water. These could be areas where there are topsoil islands that are surrounded by deep water. Once the supplies are in the area,and stashed, the guerilla grower can wear fishing waders to move thru the water during warm weather, but all of the heavy lifting can be done during the freezing cold weather. My favorite way to move supplies in this manner is to strap the supplies to a sled, and pull that sled over the surface of the ice to the desired gardening area.

Well, here we go again...what follows is part 2 of a chapter titled "seasonal diary" that did not make it into my book "Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets" because the damn book was getting way too long at this point at almost 400, 8.5 x 11 inch pages, and more than an inch thick.

Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets

Chapter 31

"2004 Somewhere in the Midwest"

Seasonal Diary (Part 2)

July 22,2004: Went out today to check on the plants and see if they needed watering, or when they would need water next. I did not take any water with me this time as it was simply a reconnaissance and intelligence gathering mission to check on security and conditions at the grow site. Since it is late in the year, and the cattail heads are turning brown and seeding out, I plan to use the excuse (if I am challenged) that "I am collecting cattails to soak in oil and burn as torches"; since cattails are used everywhere as bug repellent. The cattails heads are soaked in lamp oil for 24 hours or so and then burned as torches. The smoke that they give off is very effective at repelling mosquitoes and other insects, so I will always cut a few down and leave the area with them, again, just in case I am challenged about being in the area or coming out of the swampy area.

July 25,2004: (SUNDAY) I was planning on watering today, but we got a heavy thunderstorm this morning that dumped rain for a good half an hour. What I will plan on doing is bringing the plants about 5 gallons of nutrient fortified water, probably tomorrow night, just before sunset.

July 26,2004: Rained all day today, sometimes hard and sometimes a heavy drizzle, but it did rain all day long. I think that the grow season (what's left of it) has been saved, along with my back from carrying water! Although you will always need to carry some water and fertz in to the ladies to keep them flourishing. Now, with the rain falling again, I can wait an additional day to carry the first jugs of water (12 gallons with added compost and bat guano) to the 23 plant site. The rain should help them to establish, and I will plan on carrying water in on Thursday.
July 29,2004: Carried in twelve gallons of water the back way (through the swamp) to the 23 cutting site (a good quarter mile) and watered the soil directly into the channels over the water absorbing polymers, hoping that some of the irrigation water soaks the polymers and recharges them a bit. The ground was still a bit wet from the rain a couple of days ago, and they got a pretty good soaking from the twelve gallons of water that I hit them with, so I can probably wait about a week before watering them again. I added 20-20-20 at about ½ strength, along with high-P bat guano, and some Superthrive.

August 3, 2004: Went to the local grow store and picked up a 10 pound box of Hi-P bat guano today. When I got home, I mixed up 12 gallons of irrigation water using Earth Juice Organic Bloom at double strength and 10-60-10 chemical fertilizer at 1.5 tablespoons per gallon. One capful of Superthrive, and about a quarter teaspoon (no more) of Maxicrop seaweed concentrate was also added to each six gallon watering container. I also measured out about a half pound of bat guano for each grow bag out there, and stored it in a ziplock baggie. The bat guano will be sprinkled on the surface of the soil and then watered into the soil mix using the enriched irrigation water. I also added a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to each of the 6 gallon containers so that the water would soak into the grow mix faster.

August 5, 2004: Just arrived at the 8 x 30 foot in ground garden location. I am using the same fertilizer mix on this plot that I used on the Hindu Kush out in the swamps; 12 gallons water, Earth Juice Organic Bloom, and the initial shot of chemical 10-60-10 flowering fertilizer. It just rained yesterday for about an hour, so the grow mix is already pretty wet. Some of the large water absorbing polymers have absorbed a lot of water and are larger than 1 x 1 x1 inches! They look like ice cubes sitting at the base of the plants. Each plant will receive 12 gallons / 23 plants = ½ gallon of water fertilizer solution per plant. The plants are tall and lanky from being stored in the shade for two months, but the main stems are starting to thicken up and the plants are standing up on their own. The fan leaves are bright green, and the new growth tips are healthy and lime green.
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August 18,2004: The HK's in the swamp are starting to crank out the flowers and are already looking like little pine trees. The grow mix is moist due to the bottom moisture from the swamp soaking up through the bottom of the mix thru the holes cut into the bottom of the grow bag. I poured more Hi-P bat guano over the surface of the grow mix, and watered it in with six gallons of water fortified with Earth Juice Organic Bloom at double strength, as well as a little liquid Budswel at about two tablespoons per gallon of water, and a capful of Superthrive per six gallons of water. The bales of grow mix are well irrigated due to the swamp water wicking up from the bottom. The bales are sitting in about an inch of water, and the bottom two to three inches of peat based grow mix is very wet, while the grow mix above that (another 12 - 16 inches) is at an almost perfect moisture content, with healthy, fat, white roots intertwined throughout.

August 20, 2004: Got a half inch of rain today and some high winds (40 mph). The Hindu Kush cuttings at the 8 x 30 grow hole should have tons of moisture, and some pretty charged-up water absorbing polymers. I will wait another week now to go and water and fertilize this site; that will be on August 27th or so. The bales of grow mix at the swamp location will probably be sitting in 3-4 inches of water after this storm, and will probably not need watering again until late in the harvest season. A good hard rain like we had today will also water in the rest of the bat guano that was spread over the surface of the grow mixes, adding a shot of P and micronutrients along with the fresh water.
August 27, 2004: Carried in 25 pine 1 x 2's (four foot in length) to the 8 x 30 grow site to use as stakes for the plants, along with some steel rebar wire, and wire cutters. Some of the plants were pushed over by the high winds, but just continued growing upwards from a ground level horizontal position. None of the stems snapped because they were green and flexible from being grown in the shade along the fenceline. Each of the four foot stakes had a small hole drilled in it every six inches from the two foot level all the way up to the top of the stake at the four foot level. While installing the support stakes, I will be very careful not to trample down all of the camouflaging weeds and other vegetation that are growing around the edges of the grow site. The stakes were pushed about one foot into the ground next to each plant. The end of a one foot or so length of steel wire (ask for rebar wire at the hardware store) was then run thru the drilled hole three or four times, twisting it around the board each time. The wire was then run around the mainstem to the other side of the stake, fastening the other end of the wire back to the wooden stake the same way that you attached the other end of the wire; by running the wire through the drilled hole three to four times and then twisting the wire over on itself two or three times. The loop allows the mainstem to be able to move an inch or two in any direction, and should not grab or squeeze the mainstem in any way. This allows the stem to move a bit with the wind instead of fighting against it and snapping.

A good rule to use is that the mainstem and your index finger should be able to both fit into the wire loop at the same time. My goal here is building a kind of plant cage that provides support to just the mainstem, kind of like a spinal column. Another piece of steel wire was then attached, every six inches, to each of the other drilled holes, and run over the mainstem. This operation took over an hour to complete, so I stopped and listened intently for any noises that seemed out of the ordinary every couple of minutes or so. The time invested is worth it, because, once the plants are fully tied up, they are one, solid unit and it would take a MAJOR windstorm to do them any damage.

I then spread another ½ pound or so of bat guano around the base of the plants and watered it into the base of the plants with about 5 gallons of irrigation water. The soil still has plenty of moisture from the thunderstorm a week ago, and the water absorbing polymers look to be fully charged with water. They just pop out of the mix and onto the surface of the soil when they expand; some of them are golf ball sized. These things are amazing!

Order your copy of Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets at www.tradesecretspublishing.com
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Order your copy of Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets at www.tradesecretspublishing.com
Also, check out a really cool 80+ page flash viewer preview that gives you a taste of each and every chapter of this amazing cultivation book
On my next visit, I plan on bringing in 23 four-foot 1 x 2 stakes, and wiring the main stems to the wooden stakes once they are pounded 6 ~ 8 inches into the ground.
These Hindu Kush's are also starting to show female flowers at the branch and stem crotches. Since all of the plants are female cuttings, I will not have to worry about a stray male popping up and pollinating the ladies, so I can now wait two weeks to water and fertilize once again. Without using the water polymers, I would have to water at least once in that time period.

Just got onsite and the first thing that I noticed was that the plants are now showing thick, white pistils at the stem and branch junctions. All plants look fine, and they look like they are really starting to take off now-just in time for flowering! I pulled out the ziplock baggies and spread the bat guano ration over the top of the grow mix in each of the three bales, and watered it into the soil using the 12 gallons of irrigation water.

Also went and checked on the six Hindu-Kush in the "outdoor room" in the swamp location, and they are looking very healthy and very bushy; even the plant that was uprooted twice by the animals is catching up and is about 3 ½ feet tall and starting to bush out a bit. The grasshoppers have munched some fan leaves here and there, but everything is looking pretty good. Because of all of the rain that we have had over the past week or so, the ground in the swamp has been saturated with moisture, and there is even some free standing water starting to collect on the ground. The grow bags are now sitting in about 1 inch of water. Now, I am never one to turn down free irrigation water, so I tipped the grow bags on their sides, and, using a sharp knife, made several 4 - 6 inch long slits in the bottom of the bags and then placed the bottoms of the bags back into the swamp water.

One other calculation here; the Hindu Kush finish up at my location on about October 2nd or 3rd and the HK strain flowers for about 8 weeks time. This means that it is now time to start hitting the HK's at both locations with some Hi-P bat guano, some organic liquid bloom (ie Earth Juice Organic Bloom), and a single one-time dose of 10-60-10 just to make sure that all of the needed nutrients and micronutrients are there when the plant needs them to start her flowering cycle.
What I am going to do today is to plant the rest of the 23 pre-rooted Hindu Kush cuttings in a grow site that was prepared and last utilized about four years ago. The HK plants have been kept in their original one gallon pots, stashed in the shade, in the tall grass, along a fenceline, and watered on a regular schedule for the past couple of months. The grow site being used is the 8 foot by 30 foot patch that was mentioned in one of the above posts. These plants are being planted late in the season, will be somewhat crowded together, and will veg for only a short time (a week or two) before starting heavy budding. Late planting will keep the plants short and very well concealed. They will end up as four foot tall main stalks with one very heavy main cola, as well as some side branched budlets.

I went out yesterday and dug up the soil at the grow site, turning it over and chopping it up good with the shovel. After that, I dug up two "channels" in the soil, both of them about 8 inches deep and extending the full 30 foot length of the site, and dumped approximately 1 pound of pre-charged water absorbing polymers into each channel, spreading the polymers the full length of the water channel. In order to "pre-charge" the water absorbing polymers, a five gallon plastic bucket was filled almost to the top with water and 20-20-20-20 fertilizer solution; dry polymers are then added to the water until all of the water/fertilizer solution is soaked up. The charged up polymers were then buried under the soil, in the channels, and the cuttings were planted along the channels, right on top of the polymers. The roots will grow down amongst and even through the polymers, providing them with a very good water supply. The polymers will then recharge with water and store it right in the root zone every time that it rains.

When I got to the grow site, I approached slowly and cautiously so as not to warn anyone else that I was in the area, just in case the plants had been discovered, and I sat at the edge of the clearing in the cattails just observing and listening. Since the grow site is surrounded with cattails and brush in every direction, I usually approach it using a different path and direction every time so that I don't start leaving a beaten down path to the grow site. Everything looked and sounded cool, so I proceeded to check out the grow site.

One of the six plants had been uprooted again (the same one as before), but it was the entire root ball that had been lifted out of the wet peat moss grow mix, like some kind of an animal had been digging in under it. The root ball was exposed completely, and was sitting on top of the grow mix, but the plant was still growing so I pushed the roots back down into the grow mix and covered the top over with more grow mix. I don't know what kind of animal it is that keeps uprooting this one plant, but next time I water I am going to bring in two dowel rods, about 2 foot long and ½ inch in diameter and I will push these dowel rods through the solid root ball and into the surrounding grow mix so that the dowel rods will prevent the root ball from popping back out the next time that animal digs in there. Maybe it has lost interest by now after uprooting the same plant twice and finding no actual food or water down there (I hope).

The other five plants are looking good and healthy with no deficiencies, and are really starting to bush out and stretch upward, and one of them has about tripled in size! The grow bales are still extremely heavy with stored water, and the water absorbing polymers that I put into the grow mix are also charged up to full size with extra water. I figure that I can wait to water them until about July 25th or so, since they are good and charged up with water and nutrients.
Coming next month: September 1st through on to harvest day in October! That will bring us to the end of this unused chapter, but i think that I will extend it beyond that; detailing harvest techniques, trimming and manicuring, and storage and curing techniques. All of these topics are covered in my book "Guerilla Growing Trade Secrets: Hints kinks and Tips for the Clandestine Cannabis Grower" which is available for $39.95 on the website www.tradesecretspublishing.com . Thanks for reading and we will be talking to you again very soon!