NYGC Desserts: Growin' with the Cool Kids 🦄🍨
As some of you may know, as an OF* grower, I have mostly grown classic strains: Grandaddy Purp, White Widow, White Rhino, Northern Lights, Sour Diesel, UK Cheese, etc. But, I've finally decided to explore some of those newfangled genetics the kids are all talking about!
So, I'll be growing Unicorn Sherbet by Cult Classics Seeds. None of these strain names mean much to me, but here's how their website describes it:
Unicorn SherbertUnicorn Sherbert
Sherbert X Kurple Fantasy – CO lineage
6 seeds per pack.
Flavor: Like sweet, berry candy with a kushy gassy note
Potency: highly potent – advanced smokers high 20% THC- possibly low 30s
Effects: Silky high- more couch lock than Sherbert. Time lapse while in happy land. Almost like you’ve been impaled with a rainbow unicorn horn of splendor.
Ease of growth: easy- consistent, outdoor looks like indoor; heavily resinated, oil. Fills in fully. Structure is stacked like Sherbert but performs better. High in terpenes.
Other notes: Highly recommend this. Rare like finding a unicorn roaming in the wild. You’re going to find a magical 45 day pheno. Wide range of fruit flavors.
My plan is to grow them in the 100x100cm tent under the Mars Hydro FC3000. I need to slow down my growing (or speed up my extracting and gifting) as I have too much in jars already. I have a 6-pack of feminized seeds, so I figure I'll start just three of the seeds. Assuming all three germinate and survive to be seedlings, I'll grow two trained with manifolds (this will be my first time doing a manifold!) and one unicorn horn for the One Cola challenge. That gives me more seeds for backup or a future grow.
So, that's about it for now. More once I start setting up the tent!
*OF stands for "Old Fart"
I use Dr. Coco's germination instructions ( https://www.cocoforcannabis.com/germinating-cannabis-seeds-a-step-by-step-guide/) with a few changes.
15:00 Three Unicorn Sherbet seeds gently scuffed and soaking in warm distilled water on the warming mat set to 30°C.
Also, started warming up the pyrex dish, and started soaking my starter pellets in warm low-EC water.
16:00 I am using unamended coco coir pellets for my seedling starts again. Although this is not recommended, I'm a glutton for punishment trying to do pure coco grow without the unsustainably harvested peat moss used in Jiffy pellets. I am doing something different this time. After soaking for an hour in low-EC water until they were expanded, I gently squeezed most of the water out to rinse out any fine particles, and put them in CalMag water (2 ml stock solution to 1 L) to buffer. Before I put the seeds into the pellets, I'll rinse the pellets down to a lower outflow EC the same way I prep coco for planting seedlings. Should be interesting.
Meanwhile, I finished cleaning out the 100x100-cm tent, wiped down the walls and the tray with a weak bleach solution, and let it dry with the exhaust fan on low. There's nothing like a clean growing space!
17:30 All three seeds have sunk, so I placed them between damp paper towel in a pyrex dish on the heat mat at 30°C and covered it with a towel to keep the warmth in and the light out.
13:00 (46 hours after starting soak) Two of the seeds have radicles almost 1 cm long, and the third is starting to crack!
I rinsed the buffered coco pellets in distilled water until the runoff EC was below 100 µS/cm, then warmed them up, snipped a hole in the top of the mesh, and made a 1-cm deep hole in each one. Then, I tore the moist paper towel so each seed was on its own piece, and carefully transferred the seeds with radicles into the holes with the seeds just at the surface. I pressed the sides of the pellets gently so the coco firmed up around the radicles to keep them moist and protect them from light. I'll check the third seed before bed and get that into the pellet if it is ready.
Yesterday, the third seed grew a small radicle, so I planted it in a starting pellet too.
By the afternoon, all three seeds were above ground. One was opening its cotyledons, the second had pushed its seed almost out of the pellet (I replanted the radicle deeper), and the third was just poking up above the ground.
14:30 today, the first two sprouts are photosynthesizing and are just starting to grow their first true leaves. The third is starting to lose its helmet head. I'm keeping it moist and every now and then gently swiping the seed coat with the corner of a damp paper towel to see if it will move.
19:30 today, the helmet head is off the third sprout, and the two bigger seedlings have already grown tap roots several centimeters long out of the starting pellet! I have some leftover coco that I buffered for my last grow, so I rinsed it down to about 200 µS/cm EC. That's a bit more than Doc calls for, but I'm being lazy and don't want to use that much distilled water. My tap water has an EC of about 200, so I can't get much below that. Hope it doesn't come back to bit me, but the extra conductivity in my tap water is calcium carbonate, so I'm not too worried.
And my little seedlings have a picture of something they can aspire to.
Somehow, I seem to have let a week go by without updating my journal! Here's a whirlwind recap.
Day 6: Now that all three seedlings are green and photosynthesizing, I started feeding them a weak nutrient mix at an EC of 460, and I'll increase this gradually. Moved the seedlings, their dome, and the heating mat into the tent under the FC3000. I realized that the T8 fixture I was using draws about 65 watts of power, and I was only getting the light from less than half of it. With the FC3000 turned down to "min" I measured a draw of 44 watts.
I graphed out the watts to max PPFD response curve based on @dr-coco's dimming test of this exact fixture ( https://www.cocoforcannabis.com/grow-light-guide/mars-hydro-fc-3000-par-test-review/) and it is remarkably linear. While that might change outside of the range he measured, if I extend that line back to 44 watts input, I get a max PPFD pretty close to 100 µmol/s/m2. That's good enough for me!
Day 7: The seedlings were getting a bit spindly, so I lowered the light a bit. In retrospect, I should have increased the brightness. I'm just not used to having an easily adjustable light. RH was fluctuating a bit, with it going up to 90% immediately after fertigating, then dropping down to 60%. Tried fussing with the vents on the dome, adjusting the heat mat setting, etc. Oh, and I finally remembered to re-calibrate my Apera EC/pH meter! Other than being bit spindly, everyone looks healthy.
Day 8: I realized my mistake with the light, and raised it back where it belonged at 43 cm, but also turned it up to a measured wattage of 123 W, which should be a max PPFD of about 400 µmol/s/m2. I also realized that the condensation on the dome was probably blocking much of the light, so I removed the dome and put a small humidifier in the tent. EC of the seedling nutrients is up to 750 µS/cm.
They are really growing slowly compared to previous grows. I don't think I really have done anything differently, so I assume it must be the strain. Maybe they are putting all their effort into roots or something.
Day 9: Still growing really slowly and still spindly. Checked the outflow EC and it was only 214 µS/cm! I need push the nutrients a bit higher and with more quantity.
Day 10: The circulation fan blew over the spindly seedling on the left. I readjusted the fan to be even more gentle, and added some supports using soft-tie to keep them from blowing over but still be able to wiggle. EC of nutrients going in is up to 939 µS/cm.
Day 11: The leaves are finally starting to expand a bit. The plants are still far behind where I would expect them to be, but I am hoping they are ready to start to explode now. I'm starting to think that when I flushed my buffered coco down to a low EC for the seedlings, I may have gone too far and it took this long for the nutrients to fill the coco's cation exchange capacity and start becoming available to the plants. Looking back at my notes, I see that my outflow was initially 580, then 248, then 214. I should have noticed that earlier, but now that I've upped the input, I'll check the outflow EC later today and see if it is finally starting to rise instead of fall.
Every grow is a learning experience.
Day 12: All three plants are starting to grow their 2nd sets of leaves.
Day 13: With the small size of the tank on my humidifier, it keeps running out and I am having trouble keeping the RH up. But the plants seem to be picking up their growth anyway. I love this stage when every day brings something new!
Day 14: Brought the nutrient EC up to 1180 µS/cm today. The second leaf sets are extending nicely on all three plants.
Day 15: Wow! I guess they really wanted a bit more nutrients. Look at how much they are growing! First picture is in the morning, second in the evening. You can just see a hint of the third leaf sets on a couple of the plants in the evening picture.
And here's a top view in the evening of Day 15. Every time I open the tent for too long, the RH drops way down because my lung room is so dry. I need a humidifier for the lung room. I have a little humidifier in the tent, as well as a tray of water, but it does drop down below 60% in the morning when the humidifier tank is empty and the lights come on. I should probably move the plants off the heat mat, and put a tray of water on the mat for more humidity.
Day 16: Everybody is looking so happy that I figure it is time to bump up the light a bit more. I increased it to 50% which my watt meter measured at 148W input. Thanks to the fact that @dr-coco did a full dimming test on this fixture, I have a lovely linear response curve between watts input and max PPFD. Based on that curve, my 148W should be about 520µmol/s/m2 max PPFD at the center of the fixture. That might be pushing them a bit fast, but I'll keep an eye on them today and dial it back if it looks like they are getting stressed.
All three plants are showing good growth of the third leaf sets. Based on the last few days of growth, it won't be too much longer before I need to pot them up to their final 8.4L air-pots and then start thinking about training!
Day 17: The RH is still all over the place, dropping way down whenever the humidifier tank runs out. So, I moved the heat mat out from under the seedlings (they don't need it by now, but I sort of forgot it was there). Instead, I put a tray of water on top of the heat mat. This should provide a very slow source of moisture and heat which I hope will help stabilize the RH. My lung room is at about 19°C and 40% RH, so if either temperature or humidity gets too high, the exhaust fan will kick in. I really should think about getting an Inkbird controller to only turn on the humidifier when the RH is low.
Grow babies, grow!
Numbered the plants in the order the seeds germinated.
Day 18: The outflow EC is up to 2400 µS/cm! I'm at the bottom of a jar of nutrient solution, and I think I haven't been stirring it enough and the humic acid was settling out and raising the EC of the last few fertigations. The plants look happy, so all I did was fertigate with 100 ml each of the regular mixture, to do a mini-flush. Oh, and I moved the smallest plant to the middle to soak up the extra rays.
Day 19: The third node is now growing well on all three plants. The tray of water on the heating mat seems to have really stabilized the RH well.
So it is time to prep some coco to pot these up. I filled one of my holey #5 nursery pots (I drilled a few dozen holes in these to make not-quite-air-pots) with coco+perlite from my recycled coco bins, compacted it moderately well, placed it in a 5-gallon (20-liter) bucket, and filled it to the brim with double-strength cal-mag water to buffer. Since this is reused coco that has its cation exchange sites mostly still filled from the previous grow, I am only buffering it once.
When I pot up, I give the inside of the hole and the outside of the root ball a good coating of Mykos Rhizophagus intraradices mycorrhizal fungus innoculum. I forgot to do that when I first planted the starter pellets in the 500-ml cup. I tried to top-dress with the innoculum, and it looks like a few of the roots have been colonized, but most aren't. Nonetheless, the roots look healthy, if small, so I think they will thrive in the bigger pots!
I put the two most similar plants into sterilized 8.4-liter air-pots. The third one is a bit smaller, and that will be my entry in the One Cola challenge. @n-grower is sending me what I need to try kratky. Once that arrives, I will carefully rinse the coco off the roots of the third plant, and put her in a kratky jar. This will be my first attempt at any kind of hydroponics, so I will be doubly challenging myself! Kratky Cola!
Once the up-potting was done, I adjusted the light to the right height (43 cm), and increased the power to 180 Watts, which should produce a max PPFD of about 630 µmol/s/m2 in the center. I'll keep increasing that to 700 for the rest of vegetative growth, then increase to 1000 for flowering.
Started getting ready for the manifold and one cola training. I pinched off the branch tips on the first node of each plant but of course left the leaves! The 2nd node branches should be big enough to pinch off in a day or two.
Here's everyone in their new homes. The guard gnome has moved from the re-veg tent to help out here.
Day 20: The tray of water has stabilized the RH right where I want it, and temps are also stable. Everyone is doing well with the brighter light, although the unicorn horn in the party cup is looking a little bit stressed. Trying to remember to water it more than twice a day!
Day 21: The 4th leaves are starting to emerge. I decided to hang the feeding bag while I wait for the Kratky setup from NG. I also started a bit of LST to begin the spiral horn. I really should have done a 90 degree supercrop of the mainstem, but I'm not that brave.
Day 22: The 5th leaves are just starting on the bigger plants, even though 4th node is not complete yet. Won't be too much longer until it is time to top them!
Here's a closeup of the One Cola unicorn horn being tortured.
And closeups of the other two plants. The red arrow shows where I pinched off the growth tip on one side of the 2nd node. FIM. Looks like I may have left a tiny bit there. I'll have to make sure it doesn't keep growing!
Day 23: Time to refill the feeding bag for the unicorn horn already. It is hard adjusting the thumbwheel to get a slow enough drip without it stopping completely. It really wasn't designed to drip this slowly! I noticed that the roots are now growing out the bottom of the party cup. With the outflow draining into the mason jar, I may end up with a coco-Kratky hybrid! Also, I added a second restraint to the unicorn horn to start spiraling. Either today or tomorrow, I will get the auto-fertigation system for the larger plants setup.
Day 24: G5 26°C 74% The Mars Hydro FC3000 grow light is now turned up to 203W or about 700 µmol/s/m2 max PPFD, and everyone is happy! The roots from 🦄🍨#1 have grown down to meet the outflow in the jar, so my transition to Kratky has begun! I added some Oregonism XL to the feed bag for 🦄🍨#1 on the advice of @n-grower, so the beneficial microbes can make their way through the coco and colonize the roots.
Day 25: G5 24°C 70%. The 🦄🍨#1 kratky jar is now wrapped in aluminum foil to keep light and heat off the jar and nutrients and roots. Because I am still drip feeding the coco until my net pot, hydroton, and rock wool arrive (they are in the mail from @n-grower), I'll probably have to pour off a bit of the outflow to keep it from getting overfull. This is fun!
The 5th leaves are well underway on 🦄🍨#2 and 🦄🍨#3, and the 6th should be appearing soon. This will be the first time I've cut off this much of a plant when topping, and I feel as trepidatious as I did the first time I topped a plant!
Today is the big day! 🦄🍨 #2 and #3 are ready to be topped, and 🦄🍨 #1 is being transformed from a strange hybrid of coco and Kratky to a real Kratky, assuming she survives the operation.
I know I am really supposed to wait until the 6th node is fully grown, but the plant just started a big growth spurt with the leaves expanding enormously. I suspect that is a sign that the root system is well-developed enough to support that growth, so even though the 6th leaf set is only partly grown, it feels like it is time.
And close-ups of the start of the mainlines.
I want to see if I can root the two top cuttings to make clones. So I removed the larger leaves, and put the stems into my new hydro-cloner. Unfortunately, because I didn't let the 6th nodes develop completely, there also was barely enough stem to reach down into the cloner! I managed to make it work, but I have no idea if these will make roots or not, especially as this is my first time using the this cloner. If it doesn't work, I'm sure I'll have other cuts I can try later.
Okay, on to the Unicorn Horn Kratky! Thanks again to @n-grower for the net pot, hydroton, and rock wool, as well as for showing me how to put it all together. If this works, the credit is all his. If it turns out to be a complete disaster, that's on me. I'm betting it works!
The roots are growing amazingly well, coming out of the bottom of the party cup through the tiny holes. My goal is to remove the cup from the plant without damaging the roots, gently wash off the coco and perlite, sandwich the bottom of the stem/top of the roots in rock wool, put it in a net pot with hydroton, and then set the net pot back in the jar.
Removing the cup, piece by piece, with scissors and gentle tearing.
Washing the coco out of the roots—GENTLY—starts out very easy. I warmed the water to the same temperature as the tent and coco, so as not to shock the roots any more than necessary, and the coco just washes out with nothing more than a gently swirling in the bucket of water.
Then, I hit the center and discover that the mesh on the starter pellet I use hasn't broken down yet. "Oops." Now what do I do! That's right where I need to put the rock wool to hold the stem in place.
I carefully tear and cut the mesh on the pellet without breaking too many roots. That lets me wash the coco out of the pellet itself. I'll leave the rest of the mesh entangled with the roots. It doesn't seem to be bothering them, and I couldn't get it off without really destroying the roots.
Here's the next "Oh. Shhhhhure." moment. This's the biggest hole I can cut in the bottom of the net pot without the plant just falling out the bottom. How the heck do I get that enormous root ball through that tiny hole? It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a giant root ball to enter the kingdom of Kratky. Clearly, if it can't go through the hole, it'll just have to go around the hole. I cut the side of the netpot all the way to the hole. If need be, I'll use duct tape or a cable tie to hold it closed.
That lets me spread the pot apart and carefully slip the stem into the crack without damaging the plant, then pull the top of the roots up into the pot, right where I want them, and then sandwich that between the halves of rockwool cube soaked in nutrients. That should hold the stem steady, once I fill the net pot with hydroton balls.
And, here she is with the hydroton in place and her roots hanging out. I put the net pot into the same jar of nutrients that the roots were hanging in before, since that's what she is used to. If she survives the ordeal, I'll swap out those for fresh nutrients (and a clean jar) tomorrow
I wrapped her up in foil to keep out the light, and hoping she makes it through the night. I know it looks like she is wilting already, but that's just the bends I trained into her before to start making the spiral horn. Once she recovers from her transmogrification, I'll go back to LST to keep her spiraling up.
Oh-oh! Mr. Newsletter Guy hasn't updated his journals in two weeks. This will be a mega-update because so much has happened.
Day 28: 26° 58%
Everyone is recovering well from yesterday's topping and Kratkyfication. Loads of growth on the topped plants and no wilting of the Kratky. I'm happy, although the RH did drop down to 58%. I really need to get that auto-fertigation system plumbed in so they can get fed more than twice a day.
Day 29: 24° 65%
It's almost like they never noticed that I topped them.
Day 30: 26° 66%
It's time to start low-stress training (LST) on 🦄🍨 #2 and #3 to spread the branches out.
And also time to install the hydro halos and connect them up to the auto-fertigation system. The One Cola unicorn horn is starting to adapt to her life in a Kratky jar.
Day 32: 26° 68%
Switched the nutrients in the reservoir with the Late Veg formula yesterday. Today, It' s time for more LST. #3 is growing super fast, and #2 is not far behind. The lower leaves on Ms. Kratky are wilting a bit. I'll have to keep an eye on that.
Day 33: 26° 42%
🦄🍨 #1 is definitely suffering from her transition to Kratky. Those lower leaves are definitely senescing, and the new upper leaves are showing signs of drought and not expanding much at all. I am sure the low RH is contributing; I need a humidifier with a bigger tank. Fingers crossed that she pulls through. Meanwhile, #2 and #3 bounce right back from every bit of LST.
Day 34: 26° 74%
A bit more LST, and second topping, cutting the main branches just above their third nodes. Also, Kratky gets a pole to dance around. I realized there was no easy way to continue the spiral LST since the only things supporting the stem are the hydroton balls in the net cup.
Day 36: 26° 65%
The Kratky plant has started growing some serious new roots, and is perking up. All the plants get a dose of beneficial microorganisms (Roots Organics Oregonism XL). I'll have to do this repeatedly for the coco, unless I decide to add some carbohydrates (molasses) to their nutrients. I don't really want sugar in the reservoir, but I might add it by hand. This is the second step I am taking (the first was using Mykos when repotting) towards my eventual goal of figuring out how to grow organically in coco without losing the growth and yield I've been getting with the GH synthetic nutrients.
Time to replace the nutrients in the Kratky jar. Rinse as much of the old coco and perlite out of the root mass as possible. I really don't want anything growing in the jar other than my bennies, so I swap in a clean jar with the new nutrients.
Meanwhile, a bit more LST for the girls in the air-pots. Also, time to do a bit of weeding!
Day 39: 25° 73%
I am amazed at how fast 🦄🍨 #3 is growing.
Day 40: 26° 75%
And it is time for the third topping!
Day 41: 26° 75%
Day 42: 26° 71%
🦄🍨 #1 is finally growing enough in height to resume the spiral LST.
Day 43: 25° 74%
Day 44: 26° 74%
Nutrients in the Kratky jar are down to about the 600 ml level, so I fill them back up to 1000ml. I also use some soft-tie and binder clips to reinforce the post at the base. 🦄🍨 #2 and #3 need more training, so I add in 4 stakes in each pot and LST the branches to spread them out.
Tomorrow is flip day!
Okay, so it has been even longer than it should have been. It looks like my last full update was on Day 44. How did that happen? So, another mega-update for you.
Day 45: 25° 75%
Flip Day! Changed light cycle to 12 hours on and 12 hours off and refilled reservoir and Kratky jar with transition nutrients. The breeder estimates 52-70 days of flower, but I don't know if that is from the flip or from pistils. Time will tell. If they go the full 10 weeks from first pistils, I'll be overlapping the end of this grow with the start of the Spring Auto-Flower Challenge on 4/20. Unless US#3 is the magical 45-day phenotype mentioned by the Cult Classics Seeds.
Did a bit more LST today. Unfortunately, the stems grow so fast on this strain that I keep breaking the branches instead of bending them. Nothing a little grafting table won't cure. I hope. The Kratky spiral unicorn horn (One Cola) is still growing very slowly. I think I have decided that if you ever want to stunt a plant's growth, Kratky is the way to do it!
Day 48: 26° 49%
US#3 continues her wild growth and needs more training to keep her from going through the roof!
Day 49: 26° 49%
Swapped light cycle to have lights on at night. I know this stresses the heck out of them, but RH was getting high overnight as the temperature dropped in the tent. The stretch is definitely on, at least for US#3.
Day 50: 21° 54%
Increased light to 279W (max PPFD of about 960 µmol/s/m2). Changed nutes in Kratky. Added Oregonism XL and and B. amyloliquefaciens D747 to reservoir. Why? Just for fun.
Day 51: 28° 47%
More training! Scrop and bend 🦄🍨 #3 to spread and lower. Spread #2 a bit. Continue spiral on #1.
Day 52: 28° 41%
Temps in tents were 10ºC this morning heat was off in the lung room! Plants seem no worse for the wear. In fact, everyone has lovely new leaves growing.
Day 53: 26° 51%
Remember those broken branches back on Day 47? They are doing fine. Unfortunately, I broke another on the same plant. Sorry US#2!
Day 54: 18° 55%
Refilled reservoir with transition nutrients at EC 1070 pH 5.99.
Day 55: 24° 57%
A quick look at my first mainline, and the massive stems on the Unicorn Sherbert.
Day 56: 28° 60%
Close-up of the training for the spiral Unicorn Horn for the One Cola challenge.
Day 57: 24° 55%
It's a girl! First pistils on US#3. Refilled reservoir with Early Bloom nutes EC 1125 pH 6.17.
Day 58: 26° 59%
The initial fan leaves on the Unicorn Sherberst are enormous. While I usually #leavetheleaves, these were touching the coco and blocking airflow. I'm paranoid about mold and mildew, so I did a bit of judicious removal of those problem leaves.
Day 60: 24° 60%
It is hard to tell from the pictures just how much faster US#3 is growing than US#2, but I actually have US#2 up on a riser to get it closer to the light! #3 is growing about 10 cm a day in height!