The month of June was unfortunately mostly rainy and cloudy, and as a consequence my plants are only about 1/2 - 2/3 the size they were this time last year. This is due to a lack of consistent direct sunlight in the early stages of growth. I also had to delay my first nutrient feeding a little longer than I would have liked due to all the constant rain. This also did not assist an optimal growth rate.
Despite obstacles, these plants are healthy and thriving. The only issue they are experiencing thus far is an aphid attack, which is normal for this time of year. I would have liked to start my pest control treatments a little sooner as well, but once again, the rain would have washed a lot of the applications away. I addressed the issue for the first time by applying the first application of Azamax yesterday (6/21), which is used to treat mites. Three days from that first application, I will then apply Safer Soap which should stifle the Aphid infestation quite well. Three days after that I will spray them with a low dose of lime sulfur as a general insecticide. Finally, in another three days I will apply BT spray to prevent caterpillars during flowering stage. I will repeat this 4 stage pest control treatment every 2-3 weeks (about 3-5 times throughout the grow), and then discontinue sprays once the plants are far enough into flower.
I usually use a 1-2 gallon hand pump sprayer to to apply organic pest control products. This season I decided to get an atomizer - and electronic misting spray applicator designed for gardening. This tool usually costs over $250 usd, which is why I waited this long to get one. But after using one on another farm, I honestly don't know how I was gardening for so long without it. The atomizer is absolutely amazing, and may do a post just about that soon.
The other major thing I was doing in the garden during this two day stretch (aside from mowing, weed-whacking, hand weeding, moving dirt around, and finishing construction of our raised vegetable garden bed) was trellising & training.
There is a particular type of "fencing" that is ideal for trellising cannabis if you are caging the plants. It has thick steel and ideal spacing between squares - a roll of it also costs about $160 usd. The first roll I got was complete crap as the steel was so rusted that it would snap from slightly bending it - it looked like it had been outside for 20 years. When I went to exchange it at the hardware store, all the other ones they had were in similar condition. I eventually found a brand new roll at a different location. I could not settle for a used item when it was advertised as new and had such a high price tag. It is almost impossible to find this particular type of caging used (or at least at used prices) - I have tried for a long time.
After the long trellising retrieval ordeal, I then proceeded with the also lengthy and arduous cage manufacturing process. After making all the cages, I then staked each one down over each plant with two pieces of re-bar and tie wire.
I then trained each plant by stretching the tops out and using the cage to hold them in place. This opened up the center of the plants, allowing much needed sunlight to enter and grow up additional tops that are currently small in the middle of the plants. I also plan on topping them tomorrow or the next day - usually waiting three days to top after a feeding. I will also be watering everything with organic compost tea tomorrow morning.
My replacement plants were root bound when I transplanted them a little late, hence why they look so sad here:
After getting them in much bigger containers, they had all the room they needed to stretch out and be happy.
I was also able to finish construction of my raised vegetable garden bed today. Tomorrow I will be hunting down established starts to transplant into it. Stay tuned for the my post about that coming soon...