Simo78’s Big Comeback with AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud:
Practice makes perfect. For some people, growing cannabis the first time ends in a disaster. Others fare better but not that great. After a not-so-pleasant experience the first time, what can one do? Decide that cultivating marijuana is a waste of time or continue to grow other strains? Simo78 had all the reasons in the world to walk away, and he did – for eight years. He is back again, and this time, it is AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud.
After an absence of eight years, Simo78 has not forgotten the first thing growers should do – and that is to prepare the things he needs.
- 2 x 1 x 6 feet cupboard
- (2) 225 watts LED lights
- 130 watts CFL
- 24 watts cool white CFL
- 45 watts LED
- 400 watts MH/HPS globe ballast
- Drip/DWC system
- Air pump
- Water heater
- Cable ties
- Bloom nutrients
- Composted cow manure
- Peat moss
- Clonex rooting gel
Simo78 Starts Growing AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud
The reason why Simo78 stopped growing cannabis was because ‘life happened.’ Now, there is a saying that no one can predict the future. Who is to know that after many years, he would be holding in his hands the seeds of AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud?
Of course, he has a reason to cultivate these cannabis plants. He had been suffering from chronic pain. Unfortunately, the codeine and anti-inflammatory medication he was taking are also possibly harmful to his liver. Because of that, he planned to extract the oil from marijuana and use it for pain relief.
Simo78 has a 2 x 1 x 6 cupboard that will house the plants. One of the first things he did was to install one 130 watts CFL, and two 225 watts LED lights. He also prepared the soil mixture by mixing 1/3 cup each of composted cow manure, perlite, and peat moss.
A few days before, he already placed eight-year-old bag seeds in a wet paper towel with Clonex rooting gel. While hopeful, he knew that there is a higher chance that those seeds will not germinate. Hence, he also ordered feminized Super Skunk from I Love Growing Marijuana. At the same time, he also ordered AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud.
The AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud arrived first. Naturally, he started germinating these seeds. Of five each, three of the AK-47 and one Big Bud sprouted. These are the ones he transferred to peat pellets.
Later, as the seedlings grew, he transferred them to pots containing coco and perlite mix. At this point, he was using two 24 watts cool white CFL and two 45 watts LED lights. In the past, he used HPS and MH lamps. Having decided that he should stick to what he knew, Simo78 ordered a new grow light system.
The LED lights did not work to his satisfaction. While waiting for the new grow light system to arrive, he replaced it with 130 watts CFL.
The temperature was hovering at 37 degrees Celsius. To lower it, he installed an exhaust fan. At the same time, he also fitted a carbon filter for odor control.
This guy is a master of backups. It has been two weeks since the seeds are set in the pots. There were some who did not sprout so he had to place a new Big Bud seed in its place.
Instead of germinating the through the paper towel method, he placed them directly in jiffy coco pellets. This one had a quicker growth than the others.
As the plants continued growing, he installed the new 400w MH light. Because it is adjustable, he set the digital ballast at 50% to be sure not to burn the young plants.
Another thing Simo78 did was to rearrange the placement of the plants. He placed the AK-47 XTRM at the back while Big Bud is now at the front.
A week after, it appears that the seedlings are growing nicely. So far, so good.
Four weeks since he started, Simo78 set up the drip/DWC system. It allowed him to use smaller pots to make room for Super Skunk. However, he did notice that some of the plants showed signs of getting burned. Because space is tight, he could only raise the grow light 3 or 4 inches higher. By then, the ballast was on 75%, so he had to adjust it back to 50%.
Simo78 thought that in the past week, he subjected the plants to a lot of stress. Of course, he is correct. Besides transplanting, he also miscalculated the height of the new grow light. Fortunately, after he made adjustments, there was no further harm to his babies.
One thing that did please Simo78 is that his Super Skunk has started growing just as well. At this time, he elected not to use the dripper nor give it nutrients. Quite simply, he wanted the new plant to adjust first.
Five weeks in, the plants are doing as best they can. It has shown signs of recovery from the light burn. Unfortunately, the Super Skunk did not make it. So, he had to start with another seed. While the AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud plants are at an ideal size for flipping, he had to wait for the new Super Skunk to catch up.
One concern is the temperature. Because it has remained in the mid to high 30s, Simo78 thinks it could be a reason why there is not much lateral branching. At any rate, the plants seem to be coping with the heat.
Before the month is over, a new problem arises. Simo78 noticed the appearance of rust spots on the lower leaves of the plants.
The spotting could be a sign of potassium deficiency. Simo78 thinks it might be due to waterlogging in the coco, which may have impeded the absorption of this essential mineral. At this time, most of the plants are potted in mostly perlite except one. So, what he did was to remove the lone plant from the dripper, electing to manually water it while the others remain on 30 on and 30 off.
Although he felt the plants are behind in growth, it is not as bad as the second Super Skunk. It died.
From his experience, Simo78 knows that there should be more lateral branching. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So, he decided to super crop it. Hopefully, by stressing it a little, it can stimulate a bushier growth. In fact, it might even improve its yield and potency.
Lately, too, it had been hot with the temperature hovering at 39 to 41 degrees. Even so, Simo78 feels that the plants are coping well. To reduce the excessive heat, he has the lights off during midday when it is hottest and turns it on at 6 in the evening. His exhaust fan, though, operates non-stop 24 hours a day.
A week after topping the plants and putting them through High-Stress Training, it appears that there are improvements in growth. Mainly, what he did was bend the plants and then give them a couple of days to recover before doing it again.
As the plants did become bushier, Simo78 tied the larger branches of the plants. He also switched from MH to HPS lamp. After washing the tub, he added nutrients suitable for flowering. Using a tester, he made sure pH is at 6.0 and EC is at 1.5.
In the first few days since he started the bloom phase, he trimmed the leaves to allow for better light access and circulation. The plants responded well and had grown tremendously.
Two weeks since he switched to 12/12 cycle, Simo78 is very pleased to note that of the six plants, five are female.
To ensure that he has the next batch of plants to cultivate, he took clones too.
A problem he encountered during this time was that the plants were too close to the light. He could not raise them any further, so he did the next best thing. Bend and snap some branches.
So far, the environment is stable and conducive to optimal growth. The temperature is a shade under 26 degrees Celsius, and the humidity level is at 46%. The pH is at 5.8 while the EC is 1.8.
A quick look at the rooting system of the plants showed a healthy growth with excellent branching.
As a grower, who does not want an explosive growth of plants? Simo78 though has one problem. He really could use a little more space. Unfortunately, it is not a luxury he had. One thing he did was to cut off a plastic part of his exhaust fan. It allowed him to move up the lighting fixture by only half an inch.
Space is now becoming a big problem. Three weeks into flowering, Simo78 had been bending and pinching. The idea is to keep the plants from further upward growth. Unfortunately, this is something he should stop doing as it can cause a huge problem later as the stems harden.
About the only thing he could do at this point was to move the small fan away to have a little more space for the leaves to spread.
The buds have also started to appear. Here is AK-47 XTRM.
And here is Big Bud.
25 days into flowering, the Big Bud is ahead of AK-47 XTRM.
31 days into flowering, here is Big Bud.
AK-47 XTRM is not that bad at all.
An observation made is that there is not much to see when looking at the plants from the top.
Under the canopy though, an impressive sight awaits.
The proximity of the plants to the grow light is troubling. Heat, if not a concern, might be soon. On the positive side, the plants are now starting to smell good. AK-47 XTRM has a lemony scent while Big Bud has a hash-like odor.
After a few more days, some of the buds have started to stack up. It may have taken a while, but it is better for it to occur rather than not at all.
Some 40 days into flowering, Simo78 had a heartbreaker. It turns out that one of the plants is a hermaphrodite.
Simo78 only had five plants left. The good news is that the sacks are starting to form.
Eight weeks into flowering, Simo78 started preparing to split the stems of the AK-47 XTRM. It is a method done before harvesting. The idea here is that it causes the buds to become denser. Also, it improves the production of THC.
On his next update, splitting the stems did appear to work wonders. The buds are forming very well. Simo78 could also see amber trichomes too.
Inspired by the result, Simo78 went on to split the stems of three other plants. He also filled the tub with pH’ed sugar water.
Not too long after, with all the problems he encountered, Simo78 decided to cut his losses. These include the rise in temperature, for example. Because of the tight space in his cupboard, there was nothing he could do. The plants were too close to the light, and it’s excessively crowded.
In freeing up space, the Super Skunk from ILGM now finds itself in a new home.
Meanwhile, these are the harvest from the ones he chopped.
All in all, Simo78 had a decent yield considering all the problems he encountered. Dry weight was 4-1/2 ounces. Not that shabby.
Adjustments Saved the AK-47 XTRM and Big Bud
“The most valuable lessons in life are not taught, they’re experienced.”
After eight long years of absence, Simo78 made what should be regarded as a triumphant return. No, he was not cultivating cannabis for personal gain. Instead, it was to address a nagging medical condition. He had hoped to use the AK-47 XTRM, Big Bud, and Super Skunk as a pain reliever.
While he did not solve all the problems, he did try to minimize the potential harm. In the end, the tight space of the cupboard became too much of a hindrance. Even as he has started growing clones, there is a reason to believe it will be better than the previous. After all, he has seen the limitations of his cupboard and will no doubt deal with it better.