When LOCAL'd gave me the choice between several varieties to review recently, I didn't hesitate to select Marionberry. I'm into blackberry flavor and kush for nighttime, but I've also always found it interesting how this strain has found popularity in DC a la former DC Mayor Marion Barry. I don't think this is the forum for anything political so all I will say is that the Mayor seemed to be a fan of weed (according to wikipedia he tested positive for it in a 2005 mandatory drug test) and that's ok with me. They shouldn't be testing for it anyways IMO!
This particular batch of Marionberry strain is clearly local grown. I love that. It always makes me happy to see local people cultivating some of God's gift. In fact, as mentioned in past articles, Local'd is a huge proponent of local DC area businesses. They only sell local products and it seems that this is often the case with their flower gifts as well. Go local!
That said, I've gotten some grief over past articles where I mayyyybe gave too much of a thumbs up to something that wasn't all that amazing. I've thought long and hard about this and, while I want to give everyone in the local I-71 scene props for trying their hand at cannabis entrepreneurship, I wouldn't be benefitting the community if I wasn't being somewhat critical - or at least pointing out how everyone can get better. Right? Let's all make the bud in DC better! Right?!? OK
So, for this batch the genetics are solid and the trichome production is excellent as a result. However, there are a few areas of improvement I'd like to point out. First, some of the sugar leaves and the remnants of some fan leaves have yellowing discoloration and shriveling. Second, the structure of the bud is a bit wavy. Third, when you break it up, it has the proper fruity kushy smell (this is the genetics), but it also has the odor of nutrients. Last, the calyxes or bracts are mostly miniscule.
Here's what all this tells me (so you can look for it too). The discoloring and shriveling in this case are most likely due to nutrient burn. That means the cultivator was using too much in the way of nutrients or the wrong NPK values (N = Nitrogen, P = Phosphorus, K = Potassium) for the flowering phase of the plant's lifecycle. When this occurs, the PH of the plants' system can get out of wack and it can't absorb the nutrients properly. This often
results not only in the discoloration, but also the inconsistent growth that leads to a more wavy structure. These types of issues are negative stressors on the plant - hence why the plant looks somewhat stressed out and, potentially, why the calyxes are small as well (although this could also be due to light deficiency - a topic for another article).
In all hydroponic AND soil systems, the ph of the water in which the nutrients are being delivered is incredibly important. The type and style of nutrients is almost as important as ph. The medium used to grow, while not as vitally important, can have some of the most dramatic effects. However, one of the most important, and yet simple, parts to pay attention to in cultivation which can have a massive impact on taste and aroma, is the pre-harvest flush.
You've spent all this time bringing these lovely ladies up, they've got the perfect buds all around, you cut them down at the perfect time. Perfect...right? WRONG! You forgot to flush these mofos! What I mean is that before you harvest, you have to flush the excess nutrients out of the buds. Otherwise, you'll end up with the smell and taste of nutrients in your final product. If you've ever hit something that looked incredible, but tasted super harsh and chemically, this was probably not flushed properly. Another sure way to tell is by the color of the ash. If your tree burns pure black, it's not been flushed. If it burns hyper white, it's been flushed and cured to the max. Got it?
The process of flushing, in brief, is where the cultivator runs pure water, without nutrients, through the plants for a period. This can be anywhere from a week for soil medium to two days for hydroponic operations. I, personally, include various organic compost teas at the beginning of the flush to ensure some final nutrient absorption of a very high caliber. It's often amazing what kind of finishes you can get and flavors you can bring out with different styles of flushing (could dedicate a whole article to this).
So....if you've grown and harvested without flushing, are you just SOL?
Should I just throw this sample away?
No! Of course not!
You can always make some excellent butter (cooking with old samples coming to an article near you soon). Of course, you can always roll it up and smoke it if it catches your fancy - I'm not here to tell you what to do with...you. The truth is...I enjoyed this Marionberry. It wasn't bad. It was pretty good. Would I smoke it again? Yep. Is it going to go on my list of best batches ever? Nah. Should I use it as a way to help everyone understand how to grow and select better cannabis flower? I feel like this was already addressed...
If you're into local goods, and you want to toast local trees, holler at LOCAL'd. Will their shit be better in the future? Maybe. Would I be down to help them make their crop awesome? For sure. Can I be certain that their gifts never travelled inside of a vacuum sealed bag from elsewhere? Fairly. What's important to you? That's for you to decide ;)