Where were we?
As usual, let’s do a quick review so you have a proper reference. Below is a view of the girls at the end of week 16. They were just getting their first wind and were not too impressive at that point. Within a week of this photo, the flower size tripled. And, as you will see, 3 weeks makes a huge difference.
No.3 vs No.15
Let’s take a look at the evolution of our two favourites, No. 3 and No. 15. I still need to figure out the best way to get consistent photos. Since I am shooting these shots a week apart, I am having trouble matching the conditions that existed previously. The grow lights make terribly inconsistent photo lighting, so I have some new lightboxes on order that should solve this issue in time to give us good quality images for our final plant review.
No. 3 weeks 16-19
No. 15 weeks 16-19
We can see that the flowering is very aggressive at this point. Sadly, I suspect that flowering will begin to slow now, at least in the visible aspect. I have to remind myself that these are in very small pots so the finish will not be as impressive as it could have been in 10-20 gallon pots or in full sun.
The foliage is very heavy with the majority of this strain, however, it appears that trimming most of these plants during harvest will go quickly. At this point, I am unable to determine when harvest will take place. Since we are only at week 7, out of an estimated 8-11 week flowering period, I will have to keep a close eye on things. Some of the girls seem underdeveloped compared to the others. It will be interesting to see how much they catch up in the next three weeks.
Since these two girls seem to be the shining stars of the group let’s take a look at the end of week 19, flower week 7.
No.3 is a few inches taller and the internodal spacing is longer. The flowering is heavy and the stalks are very thick and strong. The foliage is lighter in color and looks like it will trim easily.
No.15 is the shorter of the two with thicker flowers and dense, darker foliage that is very uneven. The stalks are also very thick with tight internodal spacing. This plant will likely be the more difficult of the two to trim.
Full plant views… No. 3 & No. 15
No. 3 full plant view
No. 15 full plant view
I think this is one of the hardest things I have ever done on purpose. It’s one thing to pollinate plants by accident but to infect an entire crop on purpose is new to me. I had a male open up on me last season just for a day or two and I ended up with thousands of seeds.
I was hoping for more flowers at this point but I have to remind myself that this is an indoor crop and the pot size is very limiting. For you new growers, remember this mantra, “The bigger the roots the bigger the fruits”. In other words, bigger pots equal bigger plants. Some plants have genetic limitations and small pots will do, but some are only limited by their conditions. Some of the plants I plan to grow out boast finished plants in excess of 4 meters. However, these two girls are pretty much solid flowers. It is still too soon to tell how well this experiment will turn out.
I also do not know what the seed maturation time is for this strain. With the new curing method I intend to use, these plants should continue to ripen their seeds for at least a week after cutting. I am testing it on the CBD girls that I was wintering. Since I had limited growing space I let them run with the Balkhi. I cut them all at the end of week 7. CBD plants are best harvested before pistils start to turn colours. Once colouring starts the CBD begins to degrade in many strains.
No. 3 view of the main tops
I will assume that Balkhi’s overall indica dominance will lend itself to faster seed maturation. However, since the bottom time for seed maturation is about 4 weeks and the top end of this plant’s flowering time is 11 weeks, it is time to act. Even with 4 weeks to ripen, I may have to allow the plants to sit for another 2 weeks beyond their optimal maturity. I should have pulled this trigger a week ago.
Pollen harvest has been an ordeal, to put it mildly. A couple of the plants really did their job well, while others barely produced any pollen. One of these males has a rare attribute and began producing female flowers towards the end of its cycle. I have heard interesting things from different sources about this. My first impression is that this would be a bad thing, and if it were a female throwing male sacks it would be. However, this is an extremely dominant male producing female pistils.
A couple of old-timers, I have known for decades, tell me that this male will ensure none of its progeny will have hermaphrodite traits. Only time will tell me if this is true. This male is the biggest and strongest of all the males. It would be a shame to leave it out of the breeding. I might be able to give it a few branches throughout the girls to isolate this phenotype. Down the road, I will have a few friends grow this one out to see what happens. I am curious if it will develop seeds.
In order to attempt to protect the three main tops of No’s 1, 3 & 15, I bagged them when I blew pollen over the crop. I am a little concerned that I may have waited one week too long for the best pollination results. The flowers shifted to a slightly more mature appearance from week 6 to week 7. Sometimes pollination is not effective on mature flowers. Since this strain has an 8-11 week flowering cycle I chose week 7, but week 6 would have been a better choice.
The majority of clones continued into flowering, so I should get plenty of seeds from them to run this strain again if the mothers fail to produce seed. I still have two vials of Balkh seed from two different preservation groups that I can add to the next run if this seed harvest disappoints or I don’t find a CBD phenotype.
I’m not too worried at this point and I will know if seeds will form on the mothers in a couple of weeks. Since I need the space that the males are taking up, I will be doing one last pollen harvest before I cut them down.
I still have a pair of Oaxaca plants (also known as El Dorado) leftover from my test run last summer. As it happens, one is a male and one is a female, so I will be moving them out of the garden room to prevent cross-pollination with the Balkhi. The male is a few days from opening and I want some seeds from this matched pair. They are almost identical and should provide exceptional IBL seed stock.
If you recall from the earlier articles, finding a CBD phenotype is a top priority for me. It is my hope that one of these lovely ladies will not disappoint me. Unfortunately, my samples are not dry enough to test and it is time to submit this installment, I will give you the results of the testing next time. Hopefully, I will get good results despite still being new at testing.
Since we just pollinated, I hope the harvest will be about 4 weeks out. Depending on what happens over the next three weeks I may wait a little longer on the next article. If the seeds are not close to harvest in three weeks I will give you a quick update to hold you over until the harvest is complete. As I said, it will depend on how long it takes the seeds to mature.
So, hang in and we will see how things develop over the next three weeks.