A Growing Journey Vol.1 (AK-48)
Hello Growers! I’m Bud, together with my partner Leaf, we are the Desert Growers! The following is our first recorded grow for the masses. Together we have over 35 years of experience growing everyone’s beloved Mary Jane. We share this experience with you in hopes to help guide your grow while hoping you learn and create your own techniques and eventually hone your skills as a green thumb.
This Journal will tell and show you everything we did to get these AK-48 plants from seed to harvest; including, but not limited to: mediums, nutrients, light types, photoperiods and more! In the end, you should have a comprehensive understanding and blueprint even for the most novice of growers to get a nice yield of smoke-worthy buds! Enjoy!
AK-48 Strain Information and Origins
- AK-48 is a Hybrid (sativa + indica)
- Sativa Dominant
- Parent Plants: Ice +Jock Horror
- Effects: Uplifted, Energetic, Relaxing, Inventive
- Average Flowering Time: 7-9 Weeks
- Smells/Flavors: Lemony, Earthy, Dank-ish
- High-Level Scale 1-10: (Strong 8)
Mediums and Nutrients
First, we would like to thank Sea of Green Hydroponics (Tempe, Arizona) for supporting this grow and shipping us all those awesome products!
We’ve decided to use Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil Mix as a base for our pro mix. We love this shit because the plants love this shit!! Use it.
So we used a 3-part mix 1/3 per part.
- Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil Mix
- Perlite (generic brand will do)
- Peat Moss
Now for nutrients; me and my partner use many different types – as we both have many different methods between the two of us, which is why combined we make the Powerhouse that is D.G. Leaf & Bud.
For this grow, we used our staple in base nutrients,
- General Hydroponics 3-Part Series available at any grow shop or hydro store.
- Cal-Mag Plus
These four (4) products are all you will need to get a plant from start to finish – as far as nutrients go. They work with Soil, Coco, and Hydro Systems.
We also used some extra supplements along the way and during flowering to help promote root growth, stalk and cell wall development and primary and secondary bud production.
Extra supplements include but are not limited to:
- Mykos Microryza
- Fox Farm Grow Big
- Fox Farm Big Bloom
- General Hydroponics Liquid Kool Bloom
- Advanced Nutrients Bud Candy
Tool’s and Equipment
- PH Pen/PPM Pen
- PH up/down
- Droppers/measuring syringes
- 30x Microscope or jeweler’s loop
- (2) inline fans/oscillating fans
- (2) 8x4x4 Tents & (1) 2x4x4 Tent
- (8 ) Mars Hydro 300w LED lights
- (1) 1400w Fluorescent Light
- (1) Sun Systems 400w High-Pressure Sodium Light
- (2) 100w side fluorescent lights
We start by soaking our seeds in tap water, (with a drop or two of Hydrogen Peroxide to kill any bacteria on the outside of the shell and in the cup.) for about two days, or until the seeds soak up enough water to sink to the bottom of the container.
Then we place our seeds in a paper towel with a little of the water from the container on it, so they don’t dry out. We put this inside of a sandwich or zip-lock bag.day
In a day or two, you should see a tap root, (the tiny white thing reaching out of the bottom of the seed.) We then put the seeds in starter cubes. And the cubes themselves into Solo cups filled 4/5 the way up with the 1/3 pro mix mixture.
(People will argue over what Day 1 is. For me, Day one is the day the seed shows its first leaves, not the day the seed comes out the ground.)
Things are looking good — seeds made a strong push out of the ground, at this point, we feed our seedlings just a few drops each of regular tap water. There’s enough calcium in the water to carry them until you need to start adding Cal-Mag.
We keep our seedlings domed in a tray, and heavy misted with water for the first week to give the roots a strong environment to start and thrive in.
At this point we also have a regular LED grow light right on top of the tray lid to induce water vapor and keep the humidity at a level that’s conducive to their first week.
The babies are looking Great! More leaves are showing up. We’ve taken the domes off of them to let them breathe. But we’re still keeping the LED lights close enough to reduce stretching in between nodes.
The babies are reaching their fifth nodes (set of leaves), so we now TOP the plants. You basically clip off the new growth at the top. (Learn more about “Topping”)
This creates two new growth areas where there would have been one.
We also transplanted the plants out of the Solo cups and into 3-gallon pots.
Transplanting is fun to do, but you can fuck your plants up doing it wrong. So take your time. Watch a couple of videos and, read up on it as well before you do it!
We begin our transplant by first prepping because we’re also going to give our plants their first feeding after we do it (albeit a light feeding).
So first get some water and add about a third of the recommended amount on the back of the G.H. 3-part series or whatever nutrients that you’re using.
You will also need your Cal-Mag and Microryza.
Moisten your medium slightly with your Properly PH’d nutrient mix. (5.5-6.5)
Then fill your pots with your medium, and dig a Solo-cup-sized hole in the middle. Sprinkle a little Microryza in the hole.
Turn the plant upside down and squeeze the cup sides slightly until the root ball comes out. It should hold together with healthy roots! Sprinkle a little Microryza on the roots as well, and plant her into her new home! Fill in the sides and cover up any showing roots.
Water and let any air pockets out but don’t over water her.
The Ladies are loving their new homes, and it shows! At this point, we water and feed on the Aggressive Growth Schedule on the back of the General Hydroponics 3-part Nutrients feeding chart.
We do this to get a jump on the growth of our babies and to get them acclimated to the supplements we will be using early on. At this point, we are using the Silica-Blast and Cal-Mag as well as the G.H. 3-Part.
(Watch for nutrient burn and other signs of deficiencies on your leaves!)
Water your plants in-between feedings as well to flush out extra salts and nutrients in the soil if you’re using soil or coco.
We’ve also started our LST of the plants.
LST stands for Low-Stress Training. There are many….many ways to execute Low-Stress Training, but our favorite is the squeeze and tie down. For this, you squeeze the stalk of the plant in certain places so that it will bend and not break. Then we tie it down to the sides of the pots so that when they get light and reach for it, they won’t get far.
We do this for a few reasons. Firstly to keep the plant short (It’s a closet grow, remember?). Secondly to increase bud yields by increasing the amount of light that gets to bud sights further down the stalk that normally wouldn’t get as much light; therefore increasing the number of tops (Colas), the part of the plant with the biggest fattest buds!
These ladies are plump and ready for a good flush and transition feeding afterward!
To “Flush” Your plants you run pure PH’d water through the medium “Soil/Coco/Whatever” until the water comes out to your desired PPM (parts per million).
We flush to a little under 200ppm, we don’t want to wash all the salt out of them!
Day 70, (Week One Flower)
They are no longer “Girls,” they’re our little Women. They are showing some sexy legs, White pistols shooting out of the corners of the nodes indicate that the flowering phase has officially begun!
Day 84 (End of week 2 of Flower)
The pistols are getting longer, and the Girls are still growing new leaves every day! Still getting taller as well!
Plants normally double in size during the flowering phase so be prepared to adjust your growing conditions for the extra growth.
Day 98 (Week 5 Flower)
We’ve been giving the plants a full dose of the supplements
- Fox Farm Big Bloom
- Advanced Nutrients Bud Candy
And the plants are really loving it. The bud structures are starting to take shape as well.
Day 113 (Week 7 Flower)
As you can see it doesn’t take long to see the results of hard work and good nutrients! The buds are fat & juicy, and the flowers are colorful and Stanky!
At this point, you will hear different opinions about a final flush for the last 2 weeks. To do this, we give the plants plain PH balanced water for every watering until harvest.
We do this to let the plant detox of any extra nutrients that it hasn’t used up in the medium and in the plants themselves.
Some will argue over whether or not this gives the flowers a better smell/taste and cleaner smoke when properly cured after harvest. We believe it does!
One week left until Harvest day!! And these Ladies look absolutely gorgeous. Might let them go another week or two depending on what the trichomes look like. You typically want to wait until they are 80% cloudy and most of your pistols are no longer white. (Read “When to Harvest” for more harvesting tips)
At this point, we like to bring the up and coming budding flowers into the big flowering tents as the bigger ladies are almost done, and shift some things around. Gardening is an ever flowing journey, ever evolving. We also use the “Sea of Green” set up, In which we always have plants ready for flowering, so there’s always work to be done. Plants need to be re-potted, so the week before harvest is always busy!!
You can check the status of your plant’s ripeness visibly, but it’s best with a 30x microscope or jewelers loop.
Harvest Day (week 10 of Flower)
We let the AK-48 grow another 2 weeks before harvesting, and the buds just kept getting fatter, covered in crystals and sticky resin!
(Unfortunately, we were much too busy on that day to take photo or videos and our helpers are more than a little photo-shy.) Our average yield on one plant was a little under 3 ounces dry, so about a pound per (4) plants in 20Gal pots! Not bad at all for a closet grow, huh??!
Now the time comes to chop, trim, hang, and cure your medicine. You should review the multitude of methods available and choose one that you feel the most comfortable with. We hang dry our medicine for 5-7 days and cure in mason jars for a minimum of 2 weeks. (Keep an eye out for moisture levels because mold will ruin your whole crop!)
In the end, AK-48 will always be one of my favorite grows, and we’re so happy we got to share this experience with you in hopes to further your growing knowledge. Whether it’s a passion, a hobby, or just a passing craze. Let it be a journey for you like it is for us at Desert Growers Leaf & Bud!
And again Stoners, AK-48 is a really easy grow for first timers and is an enjoyable holistic process from a novice to the most experienced growers.
Until the Next Journey.
D.G.Leaf & D.G. Bud