Here we are, moving into the dog days of summer. The sun is high, rains are scarce, and the storms tend to pick up wind speed. Mother Nature will weed out the weak to reward the strong. Let’s look at what we can do, to provide some assurance that your plants can take the extremes, and flourish.
Firstly, at this point, you should be sure to have at least 1 long stake in the ground to assist the main stalk with wind resistance and train it to grow straight. Long stakes are highly recommended as the branches mature, to provide a great support as the colas grow fat and dense. Green foam coated stainless steel wire is the best choice for making a 1-inch loop around the branch, approximately, ½ way to the end, and attaching to the stake so that it is tight and will not slide down. Secure as many as possible to the stakes (in my experience, the foam wire can be about 10 inches long between the branch and the stake, before the wire loses its own strength to the span). The length of the stakes will be dependent on the height of the branch plus 6 inches, plus the depth it is being put into the ground (eg. Branch is 60 inches from the base at the location of to secure, 12 inches is going into the ground, plus the 6 inches to be above the branch = 78 inch stake). Can you over secure branches? No.
Trellis netting is the best way to secure your plant. White nylon trellis netting with 6-inch spacing will allow the branches to grow through the spaces, and can be adjusted (trained) out of an adjacent hole to space out the branches for maximum light. This setup does require pre planning of the trellis structure. Running in a track line over a row of plants, the trellis can be in a number of configurations to maximize the branches through it, spaced for maximum light and air flow. Ideally, the trellis will be installed when the plants are about 3-4 feet tall. If you have never used a trellis before, definitely call a friend. Boxing the trellis around individual plants, like in a fabric pot is easy for 1 person to accomplish. Driving 3, to ideally 5, 8-foot stakes around the outside of a 25- or 30-gallon pot, attach one end of the 6-foot trellis to the stake with small zip-ties or gorilla tape (keep in mind this material will need to be able to last until October). Wrap the trellis around to itself, making sure the branches come out the appropriate holes, and secure it with zip-ties or gorilla tape. Add some zip-ties/tape to the other stakes near the top-middle-bottom to hold the trellis in place. Longer branches can be additionally secured using the same method as in staking, with the foam wire being able to attach to the trellis.
Finally, there are nutrients. Essentially, plant food. This is a master key to amazing, crystal coated colas, that should be weighing down the branches, so they better be strong! The plants in the pictures below are using General Hydroponics FloraGro, FloraMicro, and FloraBloom. This 3-part system gives an excellent balance of what flowers and vegetables need to thrive. The amount of nutrients these plants will consume is quite remarkable. The leaves will indicate what may be missing from the nutrient bed in the soil, and they will also indicate when they have too much of something else (this information gets very involved). Using the GH Flora 3-part system, on a cycle of water, water, feed, will keep the leaves a forest green colour, roots healthy, and the stalk strong enough to handle the final weeks. The flora system totals 7-6-8 for nitrogen, phosphate, and potash, along with numerous secondary nutrients and minerals that benefit the plant, which in turn, benefit us.