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Diary of a Cannabis Growing Preacher: The Balkh Province

As my alarm clock was going off this dark and chilly morning, my mind went to work as panic flooded my veins. It sucks to be a person ridden with PTSD, but this plays a big part of the reason we are having this discussion. After coming so close to hospitalization because of these panic attacks reaching a critical level, I had to make dramatic changes in my life. My dreams of growing out all the legendary hybrids were crushed by the realization that the unstabilized chemistry that makes hybrids into turbo-charged plants is also what makes these beautiful plants unfriendly to people who suffer from disorders where stress, anxiety, and panic are critical factors. 

So here I am, ridden with panic over starting this adventure into a world that, after so many years, has become alien to me. Until I grow out these landrace strains, I have no idea of which will bring peace and rest to my troubled mind and which will not. 

One of the big questions I hope to answer is, ‘Can I return to sativa strains, or are they off the menu forever?’. Much of the information I am running across gives me tremendous hope that people who are plagued with panic and paranoia will be able to pick from a wide selection of landrace sativa strains and not have their psyche driven to ‘Reefer Madness’.  Let’s keep hoping.

So, what strain should we pick to get started with? Since my legal plant count is for 55 and I want to start 24 plants per strain to ensure diversity. This means I can only run two strains at a time if I do nothing else. 

For now, I will start with one just to get my rhythm going and this will leave me room to work with clones and play around a little.  I haven’t grown the strain I have chosen before, so I need to see how it handles before I start another. I also have space and equipment issues to solve so I don’t want to overload myself so early in the project. If I can control these runs half as well as I hope, or I figure out a better space, I will increase my plant count to 75-99 on my next license renewal.

I need to figure out how much space and light these little monsters are going to need. It is a rookie mistake to throw a bunch of seeds in the dirt only to find out that you are ill-equipped with space and light to handle what comes. Some of the best growers I know can fill a 3-meter by 3-meter room with 3-4 plants and harvest a year’s supply of the finest herbal remedy in one crop. These guys are truly artists, whose methods are worthy of duplicating once you have found your ‘Holy Grail’ strains. Everyone should have at least six strains to prevent tolerance buildup. This may very well be why the base legal count in most states is six plants. I have never really thought about that before. 

After much study, thought, and of course prayer, I am going to take us to the Balkh Province of Afghanistan.*

Although there are several choices that carry the promise of high CBD phenos, Balkhi speaks loudest to me. With three commonly known phenotypes that include a sativa, an indica, and an extreme CBD, Balkhi is sure to fill my immediate need to find a landrace CBD strain. This region is the heart of ancient hashish/charas trade routes. I have read about this strain on several preservation sights that give this region the highest praise. You will find Balkhi Regular Seeds from The Real Seed Company reasonably priced in the menu from The Real Seed Company here on Seedsman.  

I recommend that you grow out a full pack to help you find the phenos. If you have the necessary space, and legal plant count, run two packs to ensure you get the full diversity. This is what I will be doing, especially since I am working to isolate the various phenotypes and produce replacement seed stock for future grows and to share with my friends. It is possible, with some luck we will find the rumored black pheno and round the count to four phenotypes. 

Let’s get started. After a lot of research and Youtube videos, I have placed an order for some state of the art LED lights.

This was a tough choice between Ceramic Metal Halide:



and LED’s

that I already have, or spending serious, hard-earned money on newer tech. I was very impressed by both the visual and scientific results of this newer breed of LEDs. Unlike the ‘Burple’ color we have become accustomed to, the outputs from these lights are white like the sun.

There are at least a half dozen companies to choose from but I am going with the Spider Farm Dimmable. Most guys I know, like the bigger lights, but I want to spread my light out to reduce shading and burn. So, instead of buying the larger central light I will pay a little more to get the individual panels and build a frame to spread them out about 30cm apart. I have noticed that some of the gardens I have seen are burning directly under the four panel, 400w+ LEDs, so I don’t want to do that even though it adds to my cost to split the lights up. I expect a more even light distribution and less heat focused into the middle of the plants by distributing the 4 panels. 

Since I haven’t figured out the cost of building a new metal building that I need, for multiple reasons, I will open the door into my messy garage that we ended the last article with.  I will show you the results of what happened when I attempted to use this space last season. I would have already cleaned this up, and to be honest, I have already cleared half the mess, but I wanted to show you the ‘Trouble with Tribbles’,

Star Trek – Paramount Television 

 in other words, rodents. Living in the mountains may have some advantages when it comes to growing true hashish/charas quality plants, but the rodents are a real problem. These little muscle-bound critters have stolen entire plants and, as you can see in this photo, they wreaked havoc with my soil. What a mess!

As I stated earlier we are starting from the ground up. So when we pick up next time I will show you some photos of the setup process and discuss any issues I had to get around. As you can see my space is a real mess. 

But this grow requires a much larger and taller space than a bedroom. I hope to keep this initial grow small but some of these plants might have other ideas. Next spring’s run might be in a greenhouse, so I hope that is easier to deal with. 

The new lights have arrived so we will get them unboxed. I will go over some ideas I have come up with to keep the tribbles out of the garden. 

So, you have some time to get your order in for Balkhi seeds if you want to follow along and grow your own. With the first snow under our belts a couple of weeks ago, I can’t set this up in the greenhouse. But, it’s the last week of September and the feel of winter is here to stay for the next 6-8 months. I expect to be through this amazing strain by then. 

I have decided to use a coco coir soilless media, that will give me the ability to run a hydroponic style of grow if I choose. I can set up a pump and reservoir on a timer to allow us the ability to get away for a few days if we choose. But, being in pots, I can change up feeding without missing a beat. 

I am looking at fill and drain tables for the initial vegetative phase but that is yet to be set in stone. I will have to stew a little on what to do with 24 pots as we move to flower. I don’t intend to let these monsters reach full size in Phase One. This is all about getting the phenos isolated and making more seeds. Once I have enough nodes to take cuttings I am flipping the switch to flower. 

I hope these plants will have distinct characteristics that make pheno selection easy. I will have to test every plant to determine where the CBD is hidden but I have bought an effective home testing kit from Cannalytics Supply that should make this easier and budget friendly. 

Let’s Get Growing!

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Johnny THCeeds

Johnny THCeeds started growing cannabis in 1990 to help his wife who suffered from debilitating epilepsy. Circumstances lead Johnny into Christian ministry in 1995 and he now preaches in a small mountain community church. Because of his faith, he ceased growing until 2008 and 420, when he obtained a medical license to grow because of injuries. He has become an advocate for Landraces and their preservation, after discovering that hybrids increased his symptoms of PTSD, like paranoia and panic attacks.