As a staunch believer in the sun’s energy as the most efficient way to grow vibrant medicine, we are limited by the biology of the plant and the rhythm of the seasons. Most areas of our country simply get too cold to effectively grow Dagga outdoors and for us in the Western Cape’s winter rainfall areas, it can get miserable for the outdoorsman. Our desire to learn more about this amazing plant keeps us growing, however, and through the years we have learned some hacks to squeeze in that third outdoor crop before the longer days of spring forces the plant into re-veg.
If you are in an area with milder weather, very little frost, and good sunshine through the late winter months, nothing prevents you from squeezing in another grow before spring. And late winter means that the days are slowly lengthening as our plants’ flower cycle unfolds, hitting the desired DLI levels towards the end of flowering. We often use the winter months for our first level of strain selection and are always amazed at the data that we generate from it. The quality of the flower is often as incredible, even though the yield may be lower. To achieve this, you need to learn some tricks, and we are happy to share a few.
First, you need access to ready-to-flower plants that have vegged out for at least 6 weeks. This used to only be possible if you dedicated time and an area with supplemental lighting to be used through autumn and winter for the supply of ready-to-flower plants. Nowadays, there are nurseries that do the work for you, and at Dagga Farmacy, we pride ourselves in always having ready-to-flower plants available for the courageous grower wanting to venture into the brave frontier of out-of-season growing.
Strain selection is important, and even though you want to ideally go for the shorter-flowering indica types, there are some sativas that give excellent results in winter, especially those derived from landrace strains out of mountainous areas. Experience is key here and our guidance can only take you that far, you must find what works in your garden.
Find the sunniest spot in your garden and make sure there is no light leak from flood lights or windows. The soil will probably be quite soft and does not need to be worked beyond the digging of the holes and the addition of some amendments. Limit those to what the plant needs now and it must not contain high amounts of nitrogen. The addition of a good source of microbes, molasses and matured compost will generate the life and heat in the soil we need now.
Mulching with a thick layer of straw or leaf litter will further help in feeding microbial activity in the soil while preserving heat. We feed our soil weekly with a weak nutrient solution that is chelated in fulvic acid and balanced with the addition of microbes and a sugar source. In overcast conditions, we found that foliar application of fulvic acid aids photosynthesis. Foliar silica strengthens the cell structure and brings weather and pest resilience. We use less magnesium in winter than in summer. Pests and diseases are less of a problem in the colder months, but you need to watch out for botrytis rot. Curative sprays contain copper and does have a withholding period before harvest. Other problems are best kept at bay by preventative measures and growing healthy plants that receive what they need from their environment.
We are so excited about getting our members growing this winter that we are running a special on some ready-to-flower medium and large plants. We are also offering 10% discount on all our nutrients when bought with your plant adoption to help you get the most from your grow. Advice is free and our team is ready to guide you through the coming months.