I grow organically and really try to set up my soil ahead of time rather than adding too much fertilizer while the plant is growing. My recipe tends to vary, but the basic mix is as follows:
1/3 Worm Castings
For amendments I choose bat guano and sea kelp. My favorite types of guano are the SuperTea and Budswel products. These are a mix of worm castings, seabird and bat guano. I really like this stuff, but I use other guano too. Guano is applied as a top-dressing and mixed into the soil at the rate of approximately 2-3 tablespoons per gallon. If the plant is going to be big, I will take a couple of tablespoons of unsteamed bone meal, and mix it into the bottom 1.5-2″ of soil before placing the root ball in the larger pot. Dolomitic lime is also necessary, and used at the rate of .5-1 tablespoon per gallon.
During early flowering I use a catalyst product to enhance microbial action and to release nutrients. This is really important if you’re using organic amendments. I also use a product called “Dark Energy” made by American Agritech. It’s a mix of amino acids and complexes that shortens flowering time, enhances floral development, and adds subtle characteristics to the scent and flavor of the final product. A little goes a long way with this, and I only apply it for the first four weeks of flowering.
Harvest is simple. Before chopping the ladies down, I make sure to view all the trichomes, either using a small hand held magnifying glass – or, as of more recently, my digital camera. Getting a close look at the trichomes is really helpful. Generally, I harvest when the trichomes are half amber and half whitish-opaque. This is just a general rule, and really dependent on want you want your final outcome to be.
I cut the plants down, and hang them on a line with a fan blowing underneath them, but not on the plants directly – basically just to keep the air circulating in the room. Once a few days have passed I might go and clip off the big fan leaves, and allow the rest of the plant to hang. It usually takes a couple weeks to fully dry. You need to make sure the buds aren’t moist before putting them in jars. DJ Short has a good technique using paper bags (CC Best Of, #1, 2002). I sometimes do that, but usually just wait until they are done on the line.
I manicure the rest of the buds, being very careful not to handle them too much. Once happy, I store them in wide mouth mason jars. Let them cure for several weeks, and enjoy!