SO WHAT KINDA FERTS AND SOIL MIX ARE YOU USING?
Any high quality potting soil you have confidence in is fine. Use a mix you are familiar with. Sometimes I add extra perilite and sometimes I don't, but I always add perilite in my standard mix at 1 gal of perilite to 7-10 gal of soil. Don't use ANY ferts until the cotyeldons ( the very first two little round leaves that come up when they sprout) begin to turn yellow. Than you can give them some earth worm castings (EWC) tea or top dressing. It's important to remember here we are trying to LIMIT growth so we're not feeding the plants much. Especially not N. Sativas don't need as much nutes so if you are going to use nutes in your soil I reccomend just a lighter feed of the basic mix most ogranic growers use. 1 1/2, to 2 tbsp of powdered dolomite lime per gallon, and about half the doses of nutes. (you're supposed to use 1tbsp kelp, blood, and up to 2tbsp bone meal per gallon, you wanna use maybe half this.) As always the secret to organic soil is using myco a beneficial fungus that breaks down ferts into a soluble plant ready form, and two weeks sitting time for the lime to buffer the ph, and for the nutes to break down into something that will feed slowly and evenly and not burn the plants or have hot spots in it.
But here is the kicker. Plants need nutes. Its a fact. You can't just starve them. So you either have the option of having a less controlled slow release fert like the blood, bone, and kelp as your main food source, and feed with additional teas, or you can do what alot of people do. Especially small scale growers (400w and less) and only feed the plants nutes as it needs them with Pure Blend. This is a more controlled way to grow, but if your garden is of any size you will go broke paying for all that PB every day. So you see how much dry ferts you add is going to depend on how much additional teas you plan to feed them.
*!*!*!*! You can't just feed nutes solely, every day. The will get salt buildup and ruin your grow. You want to feed as little as necessary for healthy growth. If the plant refuses to respond you must repot to a larger container or risk reaching toxic levels of salts in your soil.
I SEE YOU RECCOMENDED ALL ORGANICS. IS THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU"RE AN OLD HIPPY?
Nope. Nope. Quite the contrary. I am actually much younger than that and started out guerilla growing mexican and jamaican sativas with chems to keep pests away and have no problem with chems for people that wanna use them for growing weed. Jacks Classic is the brand I used and it works great, I just don't reccomend them for sativas. Sativas can be very finicky little plants, and hydroponic nutes have instant effect. Its very easy to burn them. This is also why I don't reccomend guano except as a mild top dressing and I don't reccomend home made fert teas. I mean hey if you're good enough with your teas that you feel confident than go for it, but if that is the case you probably don't need my sativa grow tips.
IF GUANO TEAS WORK FOR ALL OTHER ORGANIC MIXES WHY NOT THIS?
Guano is a very variable organic source with a quick release and hot material that is hard to get specific fert levels on. As are most organic teas (hard to get a real read on). When you are growing in larger pots, with a sustainable soil ecosystem this works fine. The nutes are there and the plant takes it as they needs them. Thats the basics behind organics. But when soil restricting in small pots it very quickly comes down to basically some sort of dry hydroponic grow. I realize that doesn't really make sense but what I'm saying is this is a very watering intensive way to grow. You have got to be johnny on the spot with the correct nute levels or you're going to be another person with sativa grow horror stories. Unless you feel comfortable enough that you've thought of making your own organic HYDROPONIC solutions I would leave the pure blend pro or your preferred nutes up to do the ferts. Unlike most ferts (no I am not a salesman) PB is not only a complete fert for both veg and flower but it is PH stable, made of all oganics, and amazingly prints the correct nute levels on the bottle. ( most #s on bottles tells the minimums of what it contains, not the exact levels. a BIG difference) The only thing it is a lil low in is MG and trance elements which are easily added with one of the numerous supplements like liquid karma. PB is actually so well balanced despite it being an organic fert tea it is equally usable in a regular DWC hydroponic system. So it lends itself VERY well to sativa growers in small pots who are trying to control the exact nute levels of their plants to manipulate growth and yield almost daily. If you do wish to fertilize stronger than you can use a mild tea or top dressing. But be wary. It's usually not necessary.
I often accidentally say PBP (pure blend pro) but I actually mean pure blend grow and bloom (3-1.5-4 and 1.5-4-5), however I have used PBP too; and it works fine.
Like I said the only problem is if your grow is of any size you will go broke. So if you're on a budget don't be afraid of the blood and bone meal with kelp. They are slow release and the plant won't be able to gorge themselves and grow wild (Not to mention readily available and dirt cheap). Nevertheless if you do plan to use the dry ferts I reccomend much stronger that you use several pots and not only one, so you can help prevent the plant from using too much nutes. You can let it have more dry nutes when you transplant and help keep a more stable nute diet with less risk of salt buildup.
NUTRIENT SECRETS AND FLUSHING. A FORGOTTEN KEY PART TO SATIVA FLOWER TIMES
This is something I don't hear very often and is pretty important. The amount of nutes you feed your sativa is also going to effect how long it flowers to a pretty dramatic amount in some cases. This is another place people try to grow sativas like indicas. With a hybrid plant as we all know those last 3 weeks or so is when all the real weight is put on. And you don't wanna skimp on ferts at this time. If the plant runs out of N its not going to produce as big of buds as it could've. So people usually feed up until about a week or a lil longer then they quit feeding. Which is what you should do for most plants.
But sativas aren't most plants. The reason those hybrid buds get so big and resinous those last few weeks is they think winter is coming. They are secreting resin trying to catch pollen, and desperately trying to produce enough energy in the buds to take care of seeds before a frost ends their life over night. Since there are no seeds they produce bigger buds.
But alot of sativas are from places there is no real winter to speak of. Most have no genetic background to be prepared for the concept of finishing for a frost. What determines finishing time for tropical sativas is nutrients. When they are in the wild there is no frost that forces them to try to make seeds. But if they run out of nutes they will die and so will their seeds. So when they start feeling nutrients running out in the ecosystem full of other nutrient thieves they know they need to put all energy into bud production for seeds and not growing more stem and leaves.
By keeping feeding your sativa N as fan leaves die during flower you are accidentally telling your plant that their ecosystem is thriving and they should compete to outgrow other canopy. Stem and leaves in other words which also extends the plants flower time dramatically. New growers often accidentally flower plants for nine months and stuff confused why new growth keeps coming out. Wondering when its going to end. This not only effects flower time but also the high. All those clear trichs aren't ready and produce anxious headache type stone mixed into your euphoric sativa.
As the plant yellows during the last month... good let it. Its natural. As long as it has P and K it will produce nice buds that are ready to finish in unison. Without all that new growth popping out of old growth. Sativas need very little N to produce growth; trust me. Let it finish you'll be happier with PROPERLY mature sativa buds for a change in a shorter period than you would have. This is the mistake so many growers make and why their weed is anxious and takes so long to flower. Also leads to alot of negative opinons about sats.
Flushing is real simple. just don't drown them. Its just like getting rid of a hangover. coffee or a cold shower don't do anything. only time and detoxing. Just use plain old water that last month with that sativa and you'll be fine. And thats about it for the grow.
PROS AND CONS OF THIS METHOD OF GROWING
Alright so in retrospect lets talk about this methods shortcomings and its saving graces.
PROS- without question the fastest way to get off a sativa harvest. The narrow diameter and manageable size allow them to even be placed in as hole fillers in your main garden to get a variety of smoke. You can identify moms, asess a strains potential, grow several varieties, put it in a harvest time frame comparable to most grows, and not waste much time growing males.
CONS- High plant numbers in individual pots. Aside from legal reasons watering is a chore not to be understated in this type of grow. Plants go though their water and nutes daily and you have to be johnny on the spot. Without a good understanding of your plant its easy to build up salts in the soil. And if you have a larger grow the watering task is enormous. By the time your done you can just start at the beginning again. They'll probably need another watering. That is an exageration of course; but you seriously may have to water twice a day. and with alot of individual pots it takes alot longer than what you'd like to think. This method of growing is for people with stable predictable lives who have A LOT of time to dedicate to their plants. Not for people who only see their plants a few hours a day at unpredictable times; and definitely not for those who only see their plants every couple days. If you choose to use only PBP it can be a pricey way to grow, and growing from seed leads to unpredictable results with different yields, growth rates, nute needs, and quality varies. Which is why you want to pick a mom as soon as possible and flower clones once roots are healthy enough. You also can't take clones with this method. Which means to get a mother you have to Re'veg a plant you liked and hope it does re-veg. I lost some of the best weed I've ever smoked from failed re-veg's and it breaks your heart to lose the cut you've been chasing.
HARVESTING- CURING- AGING
Wait until she's ripe. It's really silly to grow a plant that flowers so long and harvest it when the stone is mild and undeveloped. Contrary to what you may have heard sativas should be harvested with the same amount of red hairs and color trichs as they look on any of your other plants. My personal harvest time is this. I am in love with what I call "mirror head" trichomes. When they turn from clear to amber there is a transition where they reflect sunlight like a mirror. When as many of them as possible are mirror I catch them before they decay to amber. They layout tends to be about 1/4 amber. half mirror, and 1/4 still semi clear. Thats when I like them.
Sativas usually have pretty airy buds that dry out pretty quick when chopped and hung upside down. The faster weed dries the harsher it smokes and the greener it tastes. So you don't want to cut it up into buds you want to hang it whole. Cut above the roots or a few inches below the first bud node. The large stem will help slow drying. Once you've slow dried the cure process is the same as it is with any other bud. Brown bag it, don't let it dry out, don't rough handle. Some sativas tend to smoke a little hotter than hybrids so its really important you don't do anything to make the smoke any harsher than it has to be.
The next thing that is heavily overlooked is aging. Sativas really smoke best when cured for six months or longer. A nice aging process really takes the edge off the stone and makes it much more enjoyable. Many sativas as I said earlier smoke a little rougher than baby face indoor plants like sensi star or something. A nice age will knock off alot of the harshness from the smoke if it was there to begin with. Though the main advantage to aging is not to cure the smoke, it's to cure the high. Many pure sativas are racy and edgy and can produce an unpleasant stone. Given enough time for the trichomes to age and mature the same strain can become very enjoyable and upbeat.
Some growers prefer aged herb enough that they don't smoke it less than a few months cured. Some even take the herb they plan on smoking for a few weeks ahead and break it up into small chunks, then expose it on a piece of tin foil to the sun for a several hours or as they see fit. They do it as they need more until the other herb is aged enough. This is something I have never personally done, but I know people who are pretty smart and they like it better this way. But only if its going to be consumed within a couple weeks afterward. Don't sun cure and then long term store. It will decay very quickly. It could be placebo, but some claim sun cured weed will degrade the exposed trichomes and change the chemistry of the stone into something still energetic and upbeat but with less anxiety.
All there is left to do now is get high and plan for next grow. How its going to be bigger and better. When you REALLY know wtf you're doing you might be able to call a sativa room like this yours one day. Star Crash is a great grower. super silver haze (not flowered from seed)
Which is the finale. Not having to grow runts, and males, and being able to have high quality moms of several sativa strains to do as you want with. LST, scrog, SOG, whatever is best for your grow. Which we'll elaborate on later.
PRAY FOR A SUCCESSFUL RE-VEG
Despite all this sativa from seed talk really I believe in SOG sativas from a well chosen clone. gets rid of all the insecurity, variability, and raises yield dramatically. But the premise of root binding is equally important on clones.
There isn't a whole lot to re-vegs. If you let your soil properly flush by letting the plant drain it of nutes it should be pretty nute depleted soil. If you didn't let all the nutes out you'll have to flush it with water. Cut the main stalk below the last node you can't give up. The more buds and foliage you leave on the plant the better your chances of a succesful reveg. If you trim the main stem too close it can kill the plant. After you cut the plant pull it out the pot and trim it the roots to a small but healthy root mass about the size the plant would have if it was naturally that size (instead of you cuttin it for harvest) and then transplant in fresh clean soil. Don't put it in intense sunlight, just fluro or edge of your veg space. Give it a mild dose of veg ferts, anything very low in P. Then wait. Within two weeks a surprising amount of vegative shoots should be popping out the old buds.
Only problem is they don't always work. I've lost some great plants due to failed re-vegs. But most turn out fine. You can take cuts or with a much faster rate or re-rooting you can use the cut for your mom and the re-veg bush for a scrog or something. Many new shoots come out and they become a bush surprisingly fast.