A question new growers always ask is when do outdoor plants start to flower in California? I created this blog entry as a reference for your own grow. If you had trouble growing in the past, try and mimic this approach and see if you can improve your results. I cannot guarantee you will have the same success as I did. I have invested countless years with research and trial and error. If this is your first time, hopefully this blog will set you up for success.
Outdoor Grow Journal Southern California
I started my grow on March 20th when I received a White Widow from a good friend of mine. He said he ran out of room in his garden and this White Widow was an extra. He also assured me it was an amazing phenotype. The picture above gives you a good idea of what I was working with. The White Widow was nitrogen deprived and root bound. For new gardeners, a plant in this condition would be a extreme challenge to overcome, but I have years of experience in rehabbing plants like this. I was ready too; I had all my supplies and wasted no time. The moment I got home, I had her repotted into a 20 gallon and loaded with my favorite organic fertilizers.
The white Widow is definitely loving her new home. Look at her branch tips reach for the sky! She is almost unrecognizable from when we started. She is flourishing and obviously growing at a substantial rate. In just two weeks, she has change from a light green color to a nice dark green color. The picture above was taken on August 5th. If you notice, she doesn't have any pre flowers yet. White Widow is a 50/50 hybrid so she won't finish the earliest, but definitely won't be the last either. Generally in Southern California, Indica's finish first and Sativa's take a little longer.
Its is crucial to have your plant as healthy as possible before entering the flower stage. A plant entering the flower stage that is weak with deficiencies never turns out well. Notice how I panted my black pot with white paint. Southern California is known for hot summer days. Keeping your soil temperature in a hospital range is critical. Black pots can attract a lot of heat and some white paint can be the difference of 20 degrees. If you are concerned that your soil temperature is too high, you can easily verify your diagnoses with a laser thermometer. They are cheap and work great!
When Do Outdoor Plants Start to Flower in California
September 14th, 2017. More than a month has passed since the last photo. The White Widow has filled in a substantial amount and is almost 3 weeks into the flower stage. Time to switch to a Bloom fertilizer!
By September 14th, this 50/50 White Widow Hybrid is already weeks into flower. From this point on, she won't grow much taller and ill shift from nitrogen based fertilizers to fertilizers high in phosphorus. My favorite is Bat Guano like this one. Overall bat guano is a little expensive, but definitely my favorite bloom fertilizer. Its really good for all flowering plants, especially those that bud because it makes them more dense.
Lets go back to the question that got us here. When do outdoor plants start to flower in California? Well, assuming you followed the same range of dates as I did. I feel pretty confident that most hybrids will flower around the beginning of August. It is also important to note that not all strains are triggered to flower on the same date. Indica's generally flower earlier in the year when compared to Sativa's. Certain varieties like Landrace Sativas or Haze begin to flower as late as September and can finish as late as February.
October 20th was Harvest. Her buds were swollen and falling over. Instead of harvesting over multiple weeks, I decided to do it all in one day. The sun in October is still quite good, so trimming the tops and letting the buds below time to get bigger can pay off. I actually recommend harvesting over time because it is less strenuous and easier in stages. Harvesting a 5 foot plant requires a good chunk of time.
I take pride in my buds. Farming and cultivating is a lot of fun and I really enjoy the journey. When I grow for personal use, I try to keep my harvest in the best condition possible. Since its for me, I want the best. My trimming strategy for elite buds is simple. When you cut down a branch, start by removing all large foliage. Pulling big leaves by hand works great, but scissors work just as well. For removing the large foliage, I prefer a slightly bigger scissors. I really try to remove as much green foliage as possible without touching trichomes. When I hang my branches, they are cleaned up pretty good.
After 5 days, you should check on your buds daily. The day they feel brittle is the day I finish the job. I prefer to trim my buds brittle because the leaves just crumble off. Using a fine pair of scissors definitely helps. There usually isn't a lot of cutting involved. I use the fine blade point to bend and break the small remaining leaves. The trichomes are never touched.
Since your buds are too dry, you need to rehydrate them. In the old days, people use to put lemon or orange peels to rehydrate theirs buds. Ive also heard stories of people using bread. Fortunately we can avoid the mold and hydrate our buds with some humidity packs like these. I don't smoke my buds for at least 3 months after harvest. I am a firm believer that letting your buds sit creates a more enjoyable experience.