Growing the Purple Widow: A High Stress/High Yield Training Program

On the first full Moon in December 2020 I dropped a single ILGM Feminized White Widow seed into my ritualized “Lucky Beans" shotglass along with an ounce of warm spring water and a drip of hydrogen peroxide. In due course, that seed matured into a memorable plant that I call the Purple Widow.

That was over a year ago now, but the four months of that grow are still fresh in my mind. The circumstances were auspicious in that I had just spent an entire year repeatedly growing sister seeds of the same strain in order to dial in one or two improvements each run. The feminized White Widow plants were fun to grow, and I pretty much knew what worked and what didn’t.

I was also fortunate in assisting a veteran grower in compiling his unique high yield cannabis training method into a step by step tutorial. In the process I became friends with that gentleman and as a result he has agreed to allow me to discuss his methodology.

This retrospective grow log is the result. This is how I grow, combining his high-yield training program with my own tweaks and techniques. The genius belongs to him, the flops & flails are all mine. My plan is to relate this story in a series of posts under this topic that each cover a phase of the grow. I’m writing this while travelling and I don’t have my notes with me so I ask for a little slack on some of the specifics. There may be some lags in between postings and I’ll defer discussion of some details of the training program to a later time.

Before I continue, A word about privacy, some of you may be familiar with the technique I will be describing; you may already know what I’m talking about and who my mentor was. I’d ask that you hold your tongue for now, I am unsure what his comfort level is despite him happily agreeing for me to introduce his ideas here. Just keep it cool, ok?

After learning this Method in detail, I was motivated to try it myself. I mean who doesn’t want more full jars after harvest? Right? Ironically, I may be the one oddball who ISN’T looking for an epic yield at this time. I’ve already got a closet full of heinous bud jarred & curing, so now I’m growing for fun and knowledge. I’m focused on understanding the cannabis life cycle better and as a result I grew a single strain, White Widow, repeatedly using different training methods, nutes, lighting etc.

White Widow tends to be easy to grow and medium to low in height, but that suits my purpose. I wasn’t anticipating producing a huge yield from this grow due to some unavoidable constraints, but I did expect to learn some important new skills as the experiment unfolded.

As luck would have it, December began with a glorious full moon. Like many New England growers, I was wrapping up a Fall Harvest and had grow room space for a new planting. So, I have popped a frisky White Widow seedling and I intended to grow it using this method and see how things go.

So, here’s where we stand:

  • Feminized ILGM White Widow seed sown on 1 December after an overnight soak then snuggled into damp paper towels, ziplocked in a warm & dark spot.
  • Sprouted a healthy looking white tap root the next day. Moved into a Rapid Rooter and setup in a sprouting tray with a dome above and a warming mat below. High humidity.

In the next episode we’ll transplant, top and start LST bondage on the little Widow!

I hope to make this a worthwhile read for you all, I’ve certainly learned a lot at OG and this is a way to give something back.

Peace be upon you all,
-Grouchy

Here’s the obligatory baby picture:

2 December 2020 (021220)
Our Young Widow snuggling into the RediRooter cube. Vibrant life Wants To Live! Soon she’ll ditch the helmet, escape the tray and meet SuperSoil, her new best friend!

Much more to follow, anyone interested is invited to cop a squat.

Tagged: @Nagel420 @Gpaw @ShiskaberrySavior @Bobgrows @JohnnyPotseed

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I’m front and center for this one!
…and taking notes. :+1: :nerd_face:

Cheers
G

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Me too old dogs need new tricks.

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Right behind you…

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Happy to tag along!
Love your writing!

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I’m in, of course lol

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Think Ill join in.

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You’ve got my attention. Ooh look something shiny! :crazy_face: just kidding, great write up so far

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Thanks for the support!
I realize this is an unusual format for a grow log and I hope to keep it entertaining as well as informative.

:v: :green_heart:

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Interesting subject, I have used drought stress training through my grows for the last 4-5 years since it was passed on to me through a friend. Another thing he showed was how to air trim roots inside your pots. Pulling up a bean bag and bong…

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It’s purple, and I’m following! lol

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Same here!
:green_heart: :seedling:

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121220
Our young widow is thriving in a three inch pot with equal parts Fox Farms Ocean Forest, Perlite, and Grouchy Compost. I build compost for my orchard and veggie garden using a double bin tumbler. I make lots of highly enriched compost and it all has a purpose. The ILGM Widow youngsters don’t mind a “hot” soil so I start them off on the same soil mix as their final home.

122020
Into a 15 gallon pot for the duration. I layer the soil in these big pots so the roots hit more nutrient rich horizons as they mature and can handle it. Bottom layer is pure compost that has mellowed for a year. Usually there’s a handful of earthworms living there as well as a few billion microorganisms. Next layer is compost mixed 50/50% with Fox Farms Ocean forest and the very top layer, about six inches deep, is the 33/33/33% blend with the added perlite that she has become used to.

When putting a little plant into a big container I adapt the watering technique to force the roots to stretch out and find their way to the water. I water sparingly in a circle about six inches away from the main stalk. This seems to make the roots stretch out and eventually explore the entire pot.

We had a terrible blast of frigid air down from Canada about this time, the “2021 Polar Vortex,” and it overwhelmed my grow room heater for a few days. That is why she’s still so small, but she will be pampered from now on.

122321
Sacrificial Lamb: The training program kicks in around three weeks. The 4th node must go per The Method.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt cheap. I generally pop these right into my upper lip like a wad of dip.

I leave a little stub instead of trying to cut flush. It helps avoid mistakes and I think the stub scabs up quicker reducing the chance of infection.

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I leave a stub as well.
I’ve split the main stem (while strapping down the branches) and it is really handy to throw a tie-wrap around while it’s healing.

Cheers
G

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Count me in! I got the popcorn and notepad out :sunglasses:

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Thanks for dropping in!
It’s about to get a little more interesting…

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122820
The recently topped stem has dried up and closed, and the two main stems are lengthening. Extreme LST will applied, where needed, up to the point of supercropping branches into the desired shape. This method insists on a specific structure as convincingly as possible.

I use steel garden stakes as anchors in the soil. They are deployed wherever necessary to direct individual branches. As soon as they touch damp soil they begin to corrode and that makes them firmly anchored for training.

Plastic coated tie wrap wires are “hooked” to the branch in between nodes then routed and secured under the anchors. This allows very precise control in both direction and applied force. This is an essential tool in achieving our desired end.

Tip: buy the tie-wrap wire in a spool for small money. Reuse the various length cuts for multiple grows. There’s also a special “Snubber” hook shape useful for grabbing the branch without harming it, OR letting it wiggle free. More on that later, but You can kinda see it in this pic.

I’m not going to bother much with describing The Method in this thread. It’s more than I want to cover so, we’ll just stick to the results rather than the theory for now. Note the damp watering line circling around the stem, those roots are stretching out towards it. When she gets a little bigger, we’ll begin flooding the pot and adding a little Cal/Mag. With enriched soil I only want to see a trickle of runoff after watering.

I’d also note that the lowest branches on this youngster have only escaped trimming temporarily. They are my insurance policy in the event I totally kook out and snap either of the main NS mainlines above.

010421
Here’s the completed Phase 1 structure from the side. Everything below the 3rd node has been removed leaving the two mainline branches. The two lowest fan leaves have also been removed since the will get in the way of Phase 2 LST. The fan leaf stubs are helpful in guiding our main lines and they will dry up and fall off in a week or so.


If this seems like feckless defoliation, rest assured. This method defoliates with intentional timing and strategy. The balance between Sinks & Sources of energy are kept in synch throughout. Take a look at the ratio of light gathering leaves and muscular stretching branches in this picture. This plant has plenty of vigor, what it needs is circulation of fluids and minerals. Big healthy roots, not a forest of overlapping humid leaves is the order of the day. You can see the first branching of the NS mainline tied off as EW primaries.

A word about terminology . The geometry of the plant structure we’re creating will consist of two mainline branches and the secondary and tertiary shoots off them. Done correctly this will produce at least 44 viable budsites. In implementing the plan, it is sometimes useful to be able to refer to a specific branch in the pattern. I use the compass rose to refer to the pattern in my logs, e.g. “NS Mainlines” refers to the primary North and South branches you can see tied down in the picture. “N1W” refers to the first branching off of the northern main pointing “West.” The directions are fixed but arbitrary, meaning “North” doesn’t mean the North Pole by compass, just the North end of my grow room. It’s a silly system and I’ll try and refrain from relying on it here as much as possible.

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It’s your grow and thread so use your cardinal system if it works for you!

I am :eyes:.

:robot:

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011421
Phase 2 training in progress. Now we are shaping the second and third lateral branches outward. The two NS mainline growth tips have been topped once more leaving two cola sites at the end of those branches. The two tall vertical branches will be trained towards each other to fill the “Donut Hole” in the center of the plant.

If you look closely at the LST tie downs, you can see why I prefer this system. The anchors can be placed exactly where needed to apply both vertical and horizontal force. I can control it incrementally and adjust it bit by bit. If you are serious about making branches go where they must to create the perfect horizontal canopy filled with buds, this is worth a try. I swear the steel garden stakes get better with use, those rusty crusty stakes hold down even the most determined Cannabranch!

During this phase of training, all branches and leaves pointing downward are removed along with the large fan leaves on either side of the lateral branches. This time, the tradeoff is ventilation in return for the understory. The goal is open and significant airflow under and around the plant. The understory leaves are becoming sinks rather than stores of plant energy as they lose their light and their efficiency. And, excellent ventilation over, under, around, and through the plant is essential for health and resistance to the inevitable problems. Thus Spake Zarathustra!

The environmentals: For lighting I have a ViparSpectra XS1500 LED. In my experience it is state of the art 2021. The spectrum is intentionally tuned for cannabis, from a smidge of ultraV, fat in PAR range, and a bit of IR & Far Red. PPFD under the center hot spot is like 1400, which is pretty efficient for 150 watts from the wall. I need to use the dimmer to ramp it down for youngsters. I can adjust the height up to about seven feet above ground and the pot sits on a Lazy Susan rotating table and I turn it frequently to even out the light received. A poor man’s light mover! During veg growth I shoot for a DLI values between 20 and 30 over the growth area using the Photone app on my cellphone. (Highly recommended, AND Free!) I’m still watering with pH 6.7 water and Cal/Mag supplement. The soil is providing all the nutrients needed and she looks healthier in person than the picture shows. Growth is slower than I’d like because New England is so damned COLD!

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Invoking Nietzsche… I didn’t see that one coming!!
:laughing: :+1:

Cheers
G

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