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Cannabis seedlings and low-stress topping


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#1 Myc

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Posted 22 December 2021 - 01:08 PM

As promised, here is that thread which details planting and topping of cannabis seedlings.

 

Let's start with some Sunshine Advance Mix #4 - any peat based seedling starter will do. I just like the Sunshine mix because it offers a lot of things to the grow while still being mild enough for seedlings.

Simply hydrate the Mix and evenly distribute moisture. I usually use warm water and let is sit for a couple of hours - running it through with my hands and crushing all of the clods. (The Mix comes in a compressed bale. You'll have to break it up like coco coir.)

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Once hydrated, measure the moistened substrate into 3x3 seedling containers. Do not pack the mix into the containers. A gentle shake will fill any voids. Then level the top with quick sweep of a spoon handle. You may tap the substrate down about 1/4 inch or so to give some breathing room between the top edge of the container and the soil surface.

It is important that you allow the seedling substrate to be light and airy - like with a PF Tek style Brown Rice Flour cake. If it becomes impacted the soil populations will struggle and the seedling will suffer as a result.

 

Once the substrate is loaded into containers simply use a dibbling stick (chopsticks are handy) to make a hole in the substrate surface roughly 5 times the length of the seed body.

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Drop a seed into the newly made hole and gently sweep some loose substrate over the seed. Again - do not pack or impact this seal. Think light and airy. Just enough to cover the seed and prevent light penetration.

 

Once planted keep the soil substrate moist but not wet. Bottom watering can help so as not to disturb the substrate surface or displace the seed.

Since I'm using T8 flourescent for this project I'll get the containers as close to the lights as I can manage without risking having a sprout touch one of the lamps. Three to four inches of clearance should be fine.

Here are the fast-forward photos showing sprouts emerging from the substrate.

 

Seeds were planted on Dec. 15th and all of the sprouts had emerged by Dec. 21st.

I have a lower wattage LED grow light coming today which will replace the 400w metal halide fixture I normally use for veg.

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Edited by Myc, 25 December 2021 - 11:15 AM.

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#2 Myc

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Posted 25 December 2021 - 11:27 AM

The new LED came in a couple of days ago and I put it into service immediately. Seedlings were moved from under the T8 flourescents to the new LED veg light. The distance between the light and the seedlings was increased from 3-4 inches (for T8 flourescent) to 18 inches. The new light is equivalent to 250w of HID style lighting so the output is way stronger than the flourescent fixture.

 

I suppose I should mention the importance of spacing the plants properly from the light source.

If the plants are too far away from the light - and starved for light - the baby seedlings will stretch and reach out to the light source thereby developing long, weak main stems. The little seedling will be pulled down by the weight of its own leaf structures and usually perishes as a result.

Plants left too close to the light source suffer as well. Too much light is just as bad as too little light and will cause leaf spots from heat or simply turn the little plant to steamed spinach.

The other thing I didn't mention is that you'll need a small fan to gently move air within the enclosure 24 hours / day. Lacking lungs, plants can't "breathe". Instead they rely upon gas exchange which is facilitated by the gentle movement of air. Just like with lighting - too much air movement dries out the plants - too little air movement will suffocate them.

 

In another thread I was having trouble with an Afghani #1 phenotype. After planting a fresh seed I can see that the parentage of these genetics may have become compromised. The second planting is behaving just like the first planting with irregular leaf structures forming even in the early stages of development. I still have three more seeds to try so I guess we'll see if any of them are happy campers/

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Edited by Myc, 25 December 2021 - 11:38 AM.

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#3 Myc

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Posted 27 December 2021 - 01:28 PM

These little treasure are growing like weeds. ;)

They need water every 3 days. The rest is just watching.

The second true leaf set is coming along fine. In another week or so we should be able to begin the process of topping.

 

 

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#4 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 29 December 2021 - 05:15 PM

It is nice to see someone's grow work out in real time and compare it to how I do mine. I started using that fox farm soil on my last grow and I have to say I was impressed. A little pricey but you can get away without fertilizing as much if that's your concern.

 

Back when weed was illegal I tried to build my own little stealth nursery/grow cabinet.  Bought some of those mini computer desk fans and they work great for keeping air flow moving in a small cabinet or enclosure. You can easily adjust airflow by angling the fan and they don't push enough air to worry about hurting your little seedlings. Turns out that same wooden enclosure works pretty good when drying out mushrooms.

 

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#5 Myc

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Posted 29 December 2021 - 05:24 PM

Your comment in my other thread is what prompted me to post-up the method I follow for seedlings / veg.

 

You'll see in a very short amount of time how to cause your plants to be bushy as opposed to being tall and singular in stature. Just three little moves per plant - cleverly timed and executed.........and you get what I have in the Grow Show thread.

Our first move will be to top the apical meristem at the 4th true leaf-set.

The next move is to top the two resultant apical meristems..............and done.

 

Hoping this can help.


Edited by Myc, 25 January 2022 - 07:29 PM.

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#6 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 30 December 2021 - 10:34 AM

I remember trying some topping in the early days and for some strange reason stopped doing it. I was so proud of the huge cola on my last grow but very sad to find mold in the dried core. I thought I remember someone saying the topping will help prevent that so I do want to try topping again  :biggrin: 


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#7 Myc

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Posted 01 January 2022 - 11:52 AM

In my observations with cannabis so far I notice that the plant will only put on so much bud - related to vegetation period, available lighting and nutrition.

 

Topping allows the indoor gardener to even-up the canopy so that all of the bud sites will be approximately the same distance from the lighting source.

A tall, thick cola is beautiful - but tall. Light penetration is usually not optimal along the length of the cola. And it can become quite dense and susceptible to mold (an indication of inhibited fresh air exchange).

Topping forces the plant to distribute the buds among many branches which can all attain uniformity of height which allows more even distribution of lighting to all of the bud sites. Air exchange is more readily facilitated and mold usually ceases to be a problem (unless you have very high humidity in your region).

 

I'll post up pics tomorrow with the weekly update.


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#8 Myc

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Posted 02 January 2022 - 12:49 PM

Time for a seedling update.

Everything looks to be progressing wonderfully.

The seedling in the middle is Afghani #1. She is struggling in the same manner as the former cultivar - currently featured in the Grow Show. I'm just glad I didn't put all of my eggs in one basket (so to speak) - since I normally only order one strain at a time.

Given that all the seedlings are being treated equally - and given my 14 years of experience with this cultivar - I tend to think it is genetics and not the caretaker causing the odd growth patterns.

 

Anywho, here's a pic of progress so far:

 

 

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#9 Myc

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 11:37 AM

I got busy last week. Took pictures but didn't update progress.

Here is the image taken from last week:

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#10 Myc

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Posted 16 January 2022 - 12:52 PM

With this week's update we'll be able to finally do the first topping for each of the plants.

Here is the overview of all cultivars. Afghani #1 is in the middle and is doing poorly compared to the neighbors Blue Cheese and Heavy Grapefruit.

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Note the yellowing of the leaves - they are going pale green. This is because the soil is not nutritious and the seedling has exhausted its stores of food. Notice the seed leaves on all plants are turning brown and shriveling.

So along with topping, they'll be re-potted into more nutritious soil - the regular grow mix in which the plants will mature.

 

In the first photo I am attempting to show the area which I intend to gently push and break free from the plant. The apical meristem is not always easy to get without overly molesting the plant. Allowing the plant to go to the 5th leave set and then breaking that portion off is not overly stressful to the plant.

I'll count up from the bottom to the 4th true leaf set and break off the remaining growth above that set. This will cause the plant to form a "Y" shape as is progresses.

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Clean hands and quick work are of the essence. Plants can get infections too and we are coated in bacteria, fungi and molds.

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Edited by Myc, 25 January 2022 - 07:32 PM.

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#11 FLASHINGROOSTER

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Posted 17 January 2022 - 02:55 PM

Looks like I was starting fairly late with my topping. Good stuff Myc


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#12 MushLuvR

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 11:13 AM

Looking Good in here, I can tell your plants need to be transplanted, I see the twisting of the lower leaves and it's usually an indicator of almost Rootbound and definitely Due for some Food.  Otherwise, you are on track for success.  I top my plants at the 5th Node as well and cull the rest for 4 nodes.  I used to run 6 (nodes) indoor, but 4 is easier to manage and side branching will happen anyway.  Less nodes, LESS Larfy material.  I'm IN and my babies are just behind yours.  About 12 days old.  Keep EM Green!

 

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MushL  


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#13 Myc

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Posted 23 January 2022 - 04:15 PM

Those are some nice looking seedlings ! 

 

Just touching base to keep up with weekly progress.

Everything looks great. The seedlings were transplanted last week - immediately after I took photos and finished the week's update.

I put them in the regular soil mix and watered with plain water - with the exception of dissolving some Great White in the initial watering to boost microbial activity.

 

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We'll top each resultant branch from the "Y" at the 3rd or 4th node depending upon the orientation of the nodal growth.

 

 


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#14 Myc

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 01:17 PM

What a difference - in only one week!

Two of these seedlings were ready to top today. Afghani #1 is struggling and having problems due to poor genetics.

 

Man, I don't know what I was doing wrong yesterday but I couldn't get the photos to upload. Crown Royal for breakfast I guess.

 

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I just made two little moves per plant. Afghani #1 is lagging behind so I'll be waiting to top her in the next couple of days.

Beyond this step there is really nothing more to do but tend the soil and take clones in a few weeks.


Edited by Myc, 31 January 2022 - 01:41 PM.

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#15 MushLuvR

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Posted 31 January 2022 - 12:20 PM

Sorry to hear the BAD news @Myc, ... I hope you get it Sorted out.   :meditate:

 

MushL


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