I call this sexy girl Sugar Diesel - the mother of our White Diesel line. As you can see she’s packing on very respectable resin at just 28 days into bloom. What you can’t see is the intense bouquet of candy diesel terpenes that waft off of her like a gasoline fight in a SweetTarts factory.
We all want big ‘ol buds that sparkle like diamonds and reek up a room like a dead skunk fart fest, but this is often easier said than done. Any glance down the aisles of your local grow shop will prove this point: jugs upon jugs of bud boosters, resinators, and terp enhancers, all over-priced with flashy packaging like so much tits and ass.
You want the truth? You don’t need any of that nonsense to get cannabis cup quality flowers that impress even the headiest of connoisseurs.
In this next series of tips, I’ll give you give of my secret methods that will take your grease game to the next level without breaking the bank.
Tip 1: Humic and Fulvic Acids
These two organic byproducts of soil decomposition provide many growth and health benefits to your plants, not least of which is noticeably enhanced aroma and resin output. They both act as chelators (“key-laters”) that shuttle nutrients into your plant as well as provide an excellent food source for soil microbes and fungi They also allow nutrients to be absorbed over a wider PH range.
Growing in soil will provide both humic and fulvic acid to the plant as the soil breaks down, but I have found that supplementing your soil with much larger amounts of these soil conditioners will provide your ladies with a noticeably stronger aroma and sweeter flavour; all while speeding plant growth and reducing nutrient demand. I have also discovered that plants that have been fed with extra humic and fulvic acids are noticeably more potent.
I get my humic and fulvic acid in bulk powders online (very inexpensively I might add) which I then mix into concentrated liquid solutions and store in 1 litre bottles. The Jamaican Vacation in this photo was fed 15ml/gallon of each of these liquid concentrates each and every time it received water, with negligible impact on EC/PPM. The end result was some of the strongest sativa smoke I have ever experienced.
If you’re looking for ready-to-use (but more expensive) bottled products, Diamond Black from General Hydroponics, and Ancient Earth from Advanced Nutrients are good quality humic acid products, although I don’t believe they contain fulvic acids.
Kelp4Less.com is where you can find the bulk powders as well as other things like soluble kelp and the like. I would also like to point out I receive no payment or kickbacks for recommending any of these products.
Tip 2: KMAG
This White Diesel is growing in 10 gallons of Professor Sprout’s Mix that has been supplemented with 1/2 cup of KMAG. As you can see, the resin production is off the charts.
This is one of the single most incredible flower, resin, and bud boosting ingredients I have ever found for organic soil grows.
KMAG is a naturally occurring substance that contains a perfect balance of three essential nutrients: potassium (K) , magnesium (Mg), and sulphur (S); all of which are critical elements in enzyme formation, DNA synthesis, and many other vital aspects of plant physiology. Since I starting using this amazing stuff I have noticed a major boost in resin production and potency. I have also noticed that my buds take on a much stronger scent much earlier in flower.
KMAG has an NPK ratio of 0-0-22, but it comes in a granular form and is slowly released to the plant at a steady rate, so don’t let that number scare you. Normally you have to be very careful with how much potassium you add to your soil as it can raise ph too much, however due to the sulphur in KMAG (which lowers ph) the net result is essentially neutral.
Potassium is a key element needed in large amounts during flowering, and if you look at the NPK ratios on many bud boosting products such as Advanced Nutrients Big Bud or General Hydroponics Kool Bloom, you’ll notice they all have very high levels of Potassium.
A great thing about KMAG is how cheap it can be found. If you avoid big brand names and do a little searching around at agricultural supply stores, you’ll find it to be very inexpensive. I buy bulk 40kg bags at my local orchard supply shop for less than $50, and this will allow me to mix over 200 gallons of my Professor Sprout’s Mix organic cannabis soil.
Tip 3: Molasses
Have a look next time you’re in a grow shop at all the flavour enhancing products lining the shelves. Products like Carbo Load, Bud Candy, Flora Nectar, Sweet; the list is nearly endless. Do these products actually work & why the fuck are they so expensive?
Yes, they work. And they’re expensive because they know they can sell anything to us stoners by putting a flashy label on a bottle with promises of big ass sticky buds. Truth is most of these products are little more than watered down sugar & maybe a pinch of epsom salts.
I am just as susceptible to this nonsense as the rest of you. I once paid $80 for a gallon of “liquid weight and flavour enhancer” that I swear to Christ was nothing more than heavily diluted molasses.
Fool me once you greedy motherfuckers. Fool me once.
So why all the hype around feeding your plant sugars?
Plants produce sugar through photosynthesis & this sugar is then used as energy by the plant to produce cellulose, starch & other vital substances.
However, feeding sugar to your root zone has a different effect. In this case the sugar feeds the fungi, archea & bacteria in the soil. Feed the beneficial microbes and you’ll enhance every aspect of your plant’s health and metabolism. This in turn leads to enhanced terpene, resin & bud formation without resorting to chemical bud boosters which can result in a much less palatable smoking experience.
But you don’t need to resort to these expensive grow shop products when regular ass molasses will work even better.
Molasses is packed full of micronutrients along with loads of potassium, calcium, iron, sulphur & plenty of sugar. It is an absolute feast for the critters in your soil & most certainly contributes to much greater resin and terpene production, and a very flavourful smoke. Plus, it’s cheap. Especially if you just steal it from your wife’s pantry like I do.
I fed the Hawaiian Puff in the photo above with 1 tbsp of molasses per gallon of water every week up until 10 days before harvest for an outstandingly potent & delicious smoke.
Tip 4: Fungi for Funky Flowers
In hydroponics, plants are force fed with high phosphorus nutrients during the bloom phase, usually with very expensive “PK boosters” that cause the flowers to swell.
In soil, it is fungi’s job to break down phosphorous and make it available to the plant. As you can see in this photo above of an organically grown Jamaican Vacation plant, her resin production is already off the charts and she’s only just getting started. This is thanks to a very diverse colony of mycorrhiza fungi in the soil pumping her full of top shelf nutrition.
There are many mycorrhiza supplements on the market that supply these vitally important microorganisms; products such as Great White, Piranha, and Myke are just a few. If you have the budget for them, they are a convenient option. But if you want to get really exotic with your plants terpene profiles, look to the earth.
When making your soil mixes, spend some time collecting soil samples from different areas with lush and healthy tree and plant growth. Take plugs of soil with grass and plant roots still intact, and mix them into your compost pile to breed an extremely diverse and exotic fungi blend that will be unique to your cannabis garden.
One of the reasons that classic strains like Maui Wowie and Colombian Gold were so popular back in the day, is that they were grown in a very exotic terroir with it’s own special blend of soil organisms that created an entirely unique flavour, aroma, and effect. Winemakers know this well. The same grapes grown in different locations produce very different wines.
So if you want to grow some of the most flavourful, exotic, and robust plants that commercial and hydro growers could only dream of, head out to the woods to hunt for some special soils. But please be respectful of Mother Nature. When you take something, leave something. Carry a bottle of water and a small bag of alfalfa meal and leave a small offering of food and water wherever you collect something. It’s good karma.
Tip 5: Used Coffee Grounds
This is one natural bud booster that I came to realize, by complete accident, dramatically enhances terpene and resin production. I have used spent coffee grounds in my garden for years, dumping copious quantities in my blueberry patch to acidify our very alkaline soil, but had never thought to add them to my Cannabis soil mix.
Back in the day when I was first developing Master Medica (as you can tell by this old photo above, my photography skills were sorely lacking back then) I had run into a ph issue with our water. Unbeknownst to me, the alkalinity of our water had jumped when our neighbourhood was switched over to a different water source, going from a ph of 6.5 to well over 8.
Once I figured this out, I started top dressing with a little used coffee grounds every other week to bring the ph down like I do with my blueberries. I had a few other Master Medica clones growing indoors at the same time, and since they were receiving filtered water, I didn’t bother giving them any coffee grounds.
It turned out that the Master Medica that was given coffee grounds produced substantially more resin, larger buds, and was waaaay stinkier. To this day I still think of that plant and how fantastic the smoke was. I now have come to learn that soil microbes, especially fungi, love used coffee grounds (see previous tip) and will significantly improve the resin and terpene production in your flowering cannabis plants.
You don’t need much to see a benefit. Just a couple of tablespoons of used grounds per gallon of soil mix will do. Just top dress, cover with mulch, and water in. Add a bit more every other week until two weeks before harvest and see for yourself what a difference it can make.
Tip 6: Epsom Salts
Magnesium sulphate - AKA Epsom salt, is a natural mineral salt that is one of the cheapest organic bud boosters you can find. This sativa phenotype of Majestic 13 shown above was supplemented with one teaspoon of epsom salts per gallon of water from the first week of bloom until 2 weeks before harvest and the results were phenomenal. Resin production was more than impressive and she developed an amazing minty bubblegum aroma that was absolutely mouthwatering.
Cannabis demands a lot of magnesium, especially in bloom, but sulphur is equally as important. Both are essential ingredients and catalysts for terpene and resin production, and deficiencies in either of these important minerals will seriously hinder your quest for the stinkiest and stickiest bud possible.
If you check out the label on many bud sweetener products, I can almost guarantee you’ll find magnesium sulphate listed as a primary ingredient.
I know for sure that Advanced Nutrient’s Bud Candy, and Botanicare’s Sweet both contain magnesium sulphate along with a healthy dose of sugar. I’ve used both of these products, and while they are expensive, there is no denying that they do improve terpene production and flavour if used at reasonable levels. But have you checked the price of Epsom salts? Way cheaper. Add a little molasses to the mix and you’ve got yourself a bud-boosting home brew for pennies on the dollar.
The key to using Epsom salt is to balance it with adequate calcium. You need to keep calcium levels to at least double what your magnesium levels are to avoid nutrient lockout. If you are using a calcium-magnesium supplement check the label as the ratios vary widely between brands.
I personally prefer General Organics CaMg+. Using epsom salts at 1 tsp per gallon of water with this product at their recommended dosage works very well and will not cause nutrient lockout.
So there you have it; 6 cheap and natural bud boosting tips that will aid you in your quest of achieving maximum bud size, stank, and stickiness.