Fatten up your buds

It's that time of year for outdoor grows. As days get shorter, plants start to flower, sprouting hairs. This stage is the moment of truth for your yield. There are two main tools to fatten up your buds: trimming and fertilizing.

The idea of trimming is to cut out most of the big fan leaves. This allows more air and light to circulate in the plant, which prevents bud rot. It also nudges your plant along in the process of bud formation, rather than maintaining vegetative growth.

On your cannabis plant, the fan leaves are the bigger leaves that attach to the stalk right underneath each budding site. You will notice that at this time, at least some of these leaves are turning yellow as the plant gradually cuts off flow of nutrients to those leaves. Another sign that it's time for a leaf to go will be the color of the leaf stalk. When the leaf stem turns color, it's an indication that the leaf is ready to go. Pull gently down on the fan leaf to expose the leaf stem, them clip.

DO: Do a few rounds of trimming, allowing a week or so between times for the plant to recover.

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DON'T: Don't clip the smaller leaves that grow next to the buds until after harvest. After the fan leaves get trimmed, these smaller leaves provide the photosynthetic fuel to form the buds.

Don't cut off a whole arm at this point, unless it is looking sickly and clearly draining energy from the plant. Lollipopping or mainlining is something to do much earlier in the season. At this point, the plant already channeled a lot of energy into growing each branch, and they will all yield bud.

Fertilizer: After trimming, break out the guano! This is the number one tool for fattening up buds. Most guanos work well, but Indonesian bat guano is Joe's personal favorite. Follow instructions on the package for mixing--don't be tempted to go way overboard, as this could burn the plant. Joe likes to use 1 Tbsp. per gallon of water for feeding. At this time, you want to move away from spraying water onto the plants and move to watering from a can, to avoid getting buds wet, which can lead to bud rot.

Stop providing guano and other plant foods 2 weeks before harvest, and switch to straight water, to flush out the plant and get nice clean-tasting buds.

Happy trimming! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

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