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Letters to Rev – Enhancing Smells and Flavors

Letters to Rev – Enhancing Smells and Flavors

Enhancing Smells and Flavors Growing Cannabis in Containers

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Welcome to Letters to Rev, everyone. Just a little Q&A with yours truly, and today’s subject matter is Enhancing Smells and Flavors. Not only enhancing them, but just making sure to have them expressing to their genetic potential, or close enough for rock-n-roll baybee!

Let me share a quick tip on today’s subject matter regarding the whole enhancement side of things. One of the moves I always (and I mean always) make is a little top dressing I start at 3 weeks into flowering in 3 gallon containers, under 400 watt MH, HID lamps; or 400 watt LED. I use a heaping ¼ teaspoon of bird or bat guano in a little pile immediately after watering and always in the same spot. I continue this move every watering until three weeks before harvest time. Bird works best, but bat guano also works very well here. Don’t use any high P (phosphorous types) versions of guano. Something like 10-6-2 NPK values are all good.

Alright then, earthlings, let’s rock and/or roll with today’s “Letters” to Rev…

Enhancing Smells and Flavors, Question #1: Vanishing Terpenes?

FROM: Darby

“Hello Rev. I had a weird thing happen recently. I had gotten some old Blueberry Blast clones from a friend. I grew them and harvested them and they were awesome. Super potent, berry stinky, and tasted great like blueberry hash. Then, I grew a second run doing exactly the same things. Same lights, soil, and nutrient program (top dressings and teas), and hey still turned out potent but hardly smelly at all with very minimal flavors. What I was wondering is if you know something that you have experienced that may explain this to me? Like, wtf did I do wrong that I’m not seeing? Thanks, Rev. I’m super excited about your new book.”

Rev’s Answer to Q1

Howdy Darby. You know that something was different that second run, and you really need to keep unraveling that until you solve it. Start with the simplest potentially problematic things. Overwatering is a highly likely cause here. When you overwater, especially a couple of times in a row, you can create conditions highly counterproductive to terpene expressions regarding smells and flavors. The pH in the plants’ rhizosphere changes considerably. Things like nitrogen become highly available while other key nutrients become less or unavailable. That’s my first thought, amigo.

Wet and Dry Watering Cycle Must be Closely Adhered to During the Last 4 Weeks of Flowering
Wet and Dry Watering Cycle Must be Closely Adhered to During the Last 4 Weeks of Flowering

Another thought… Clones can take damage that is permanent and can pass that damage on to all clones made from that plant/clone. Sometimes, when your cuttings are rooting, if they have a really rough time—rough as in flirting with death—they can mutate. I think these are referred to as Sport Mutations, or Sports. Most of the time, these are inconsequential, but sometimes they can have negative outcomes. Like messing with terpene profiles and resin profiles more generally as well. Always make sure your cuttings are from good green and healthy branches, and keep them happy until they are rooted. Additionally, rooting cuttings that are flirting with flowering is a bad idea and really drops your odds of perfect success.

A Last Couple O Thoughts Darby…

Lastly, were your ambient temperatures the same during both runs? Running your plants even a little cooler overall can have big effects on the plants’ metabolism. What that essentially means to you is that your plants are less mature at harvest than they were the first time if temps were warmer the first run. As you well know, taking plants too early is a “death sentence” to terpene profiles regarding intensity. Use a 20x or 30x Jeweler’s Loup and look at the trichomes on top and middle buds. When most of them are amber—say, 70 to 80 percent—it’s time to harvest. Don’t go just by time flowering; study the buds as well.

Enhancing Smells and Flavors, Question #2: Iron and Flavors?

FROM: Mark B.

“Hey Rev, long-time fan, man. Keep up the great work. Okay, I recycle my soil, and I’m on my third recycled batch of soil ever, so a bit of a noob. My plants ran well on my third batch but it seemed to me like the flavors and smells were subdued. I also noticed what looked like a very subtle iron deficiency to be going on but they were still growing fine. Am I lacking iron, do you think? What is the best way to bring iron into my soil? The very tips of the plants are kind of pale, like iron issues. Thanks, Rev man.”

Rev’s Answer to Q2

Hey there, Mark man, heh heh. I’m pretty sure I know exactly what your problem is here. I say that from experience, and specifically experience of what you speak. First of all, it is probably not iron. Expressions have subtle differences. Like the difference between pale yellow/white, and yellow. If iron issues are showing, the plant tips are more yellow than pale. But, if there are sulfur issues showing, these be more pale than yellow. You have to be aware of this difference in order to see this difference, you savvy?

It is Very Rare to Actually Have a Deficiency It is Normally a More Fundamental Issue
It is Very Rare to Actually Have a Deficiency. It is Normally a More Fundamental Issue

I wish I had the photos to show you this difference. Pretty sure I had those pics but I couldn’t find them, sorry—ugh. Anyways, sulfur is one of the very few elements I had an actual deficiency of early on in my recycling soil days. Sulfur plays a large role in resin properties regarding terpenes, so having some in your soil mix is important. Adding straight-up sulfur is not ever a good idea. In fact, that’s an uber-bad idea! I use gypsum (Ca x S) to cover my sulfur input almost exclusively. Soft Rock Phosphate is another source in my mix that has decent sulfur; greensand even helps out there. For a faster fix, you can actually add a very little bit of Gypsum to your living teas or to your Churn (The Churn is a True Living Organics Tea Dynamic). Once you have your soil rolling with some gypsum you should be fine. It totally fixed me.

Enhancing Smells and Flavors, Question #3: Smelly Until Smoking Time?

FROM: Kelsy G.

“I’m so happy to see your new book available on March fifth. Congratulations Rev!

See Also
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My buds smell so sweet and dank and deadly, and then when I pull them out of the curing jars, they are just average smelling with some green-like flavors I don’t dig. I hang them for 30 days and they seem super dry. I can’t figure it out. Can you help me? Thank you.”

Rev’s Answer to Q3

Moisture-moisture-moisture… This is most likely your issue unless you have mold in your buds because that’ll do it too. Okay, man, lemme break this down for ya, and we’ll start with what I think is your issue here…

  1. You thinking your buds are dry enough to seal up and them actually being dry enough to seal up can be two very different things. A real failsafe move here is this: Let your plants hang drying until you can try to bend a large diameter stem, and it SNAPS like an old dry chicken bone. Bingo!
  2. Make sure your plants didn’t have any access to sudden available nitrogen in any real amounts during their last 3 or 4 weeks before harvest. This is very counterproductive to terpene development, as well as to resin production period.
  3. Last but not least, it is better to have them too dry than too wet before sealing them up. Always opt for certainty of dryness. You can easily rehydrate buds in a jar by just leaving it open in an environment with at least 55% ambient humidity for a day. In higher humidity it takes less time to slightly rehydrate your buds.

That should fix what ails ya Kelsy, and thank you regarding my new book release ?


Well, my friends, as far as most likely problem when it comes to enhancing smells and flavors is simple. Sealing up buds before they are dry enough. I see it all the time. But even more fundamental is your wet/dry cycles watering your plants. This can greatly affect smells and flavors (terpenes) during the second half of flowering. Make sure your watering dynamic is as close to perfect as possible, during this time particularly.

In today’s article I mentioned top dressing immediately after watering your plants. Yup. This is the way amigos. The moisture absorbs into the top dressing from the wet soil/mulch and since there is so much air up there, the decomposition process happens very fast. The roots and microlife also have time to adapt themselves in that exact area to use that good food. It’s a winning move.

For Sure Try Some Cannabis Varieties Over at KOS Baybee
For Sure Try Some Cannabis Varieties Over at KOS Baybee

Want some more Rev? Check this out by yours truly: Humidity and Mold by The Rev. Also, take a cruise over to Kingdom Organic Seeds (KOS) and have a look around at some very exotic varieties of cannabis seeds. Make sure to visit the Gamblers Section at KOS for some awesome F1 hybrids at great deals. That’s it for me today, hope you enjoyed the read my esteemed homeskillets. L8r G8rs.

  • REv ?
New True Living Organics Book by Rev Now Available on Amazon Preorder March 5th
New True Living Organics Book by Rev Now Available on Amazon Preorder March 5th


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