Under newly adopted NM House Bill 2, every adult 21 and older (with a maximum of two per household) may grow their own cannabis, consisting of six ‘immature’ and six ‘mature’ plants each (twelve per person and 24 in total). Our local laws define immature as a “… plant that has no observable flowers or buds.” Growers typically call these ‘immature’ plants ‘Veg’ plants, meaning they are in their VEG- etative growth cycle. This phase of the plant’s lifecycle is when they put on robust branching and numerous sprouts or nodes, which will become bud sites as the plant moves to mature enough to bloom. The eventual flowering stage of the mature cannabis plant is caused by a diminishing of the light cycle from longer to shorter days, as cannabis is an annual, not a perennial, type of plant. During this ‘Bloom’ phase, the plant will start to show its flowers and is considered by law to be ‘mature.’ Now is the time of year, during late summer and fall, when maturity peaks and the ripeness of the cannabis flowers shower the air with their enticing aromas. Harvest season has arrived, and here are some points to consider as you reap the fruits of your garden.
As your plants and their flowers mature, you may want to taper off and eventually omit certain nutrients from your feeding schedule. As your buds ripen, they will require less and less of certain nutrients to be ready for harvest. In the lead up to taking down your crop, we recommend dialing back the amount of Nitrogen and any Nitrogen-containing product you might be using and increasing Phosphorus and Potassium. Most nutrients you will find have an N-P-K rating, something that looks like 3-8-5. This reads almost like the beginning, middle, and end of the plant’s life story. Nitrogen (N) comes first and is responsible for plant development. Secondly comes Phosphorus (P) and is a significant component of bud site development and flower growth. Lastly is Potassium (K), which is a vital nutrient for the plant throughout its lifecycle and crucially comes into play by keeping all parts of the plant healthy significantly while the buds develop and start swelling. (Experienced growers will sometimes use a P-K boost late in flower to push their flowers to the next level.) Typically, for soil media, in particular, we suggest omitting ALL nutrients at least a week before harvest and using only pure water for the final leg of the plant’s life. So you can have an idea when to gauge your own crop’s flush; most modern cannabis cultivars (strains) have their own timeline and will finish indoors between 8-10 weeks of flowering (56-70 days) and outdoors here in NM between Sep- tember 15th and November 1st. Examine your plant for pests and disease during this time (we have insights and strategies to avoid diseases and pests, which will be explained further in upcoming articles and on abq-live.com).