Posted on August 14 2020
We've seen a lot of debate back and forth, and thus a lot of bad info, about the concept of flushing. As Shakespeare once said - "To flush or not to flush. That is the question." Or something like that like...
First, since this is indeed a "primer" article, let's make sure we all understand what flushing actually refers to. Flushing is the process of removing (or, hence, "flushing") all of the nutrients out of the soil (and therefore out of the plant) before harvest.
Ever hit someone's bowl and have it be really harsh? Well, there are a few things that can cause your cannabis to be harsh, such as smoking a lot more plant matter (plain leaves and stems, etc.) than trichome-laden leaves, overly dried out herb, old herb that's lost its potency, and so forth. But this article is written for the home grower - if you're growing your own at home with The Armoire, then you have full control over making sure you're trimming properly, removing stems, etc. Not flushing will lead to a harsher smoke.
Like any living organism, your plant needs nutrients to grow. The soils we use and recommend are so-called "super soils" loaded with organic nutrients out of the bag - phosphates, nitrogen, magnesium, and various salts and minerals. These are all necessary to grow a nice, big, green and happy plant! But when you're finished, you only want pure cannabinoids in your smoke - you don't want to be smoking salts and minerals - that just makes it harsh and doesn't add anything positive to the experience.
Depending upon how you're growing, the process can vary. For our audience, using The Armoire, we employ a week-long process. The goal is to do two things at once: get the plant to "use up" any stored nutrients already in it, and to stop the plant from ingesting more going forward. Because we're trying to "bleed" the plant of its nutrients, we do this as the very last step towards harvest after we're all done growing and don't need the nutrients any longer. This process, in our unique protocol, also include a live wet trim process on the first day of flushing. Again, this process dovetails together -- there are multiple reasons we do the live wet trim, but one of them is to quickly prune away the unnecessary leaves that are storing nutrients so that the plant has less to absorb. (There are additional reasons for the live wet trim process, which we will talk about in another blog article).
When we flush, we pour a LOT of water through soil and let it drain. We are literally flushing the nutrients out. We also recommend using a product such as "Flawless Finish" from Advanced Nutrients. This product is a formula of chelates that essentially bond to chemicals in the soil, like salts and minerals, creating molecules that are too large for the roots to absorb. Are you familiar with "clumping cat litter"? Think of it sort of analogous to that. So, even if we didn't flush it all out of the soil, the plant still can't absorb it.
We let the plant rest and drink pure water for a few days, while it burns off the nutrients it has stored. Again, this is analogous to burning fat in the human body -- if you don't eat for several days your body will start burning off the stored fat it already has. We flush three (3) times during the week. By the end of the week, the plant has consumed all of its nutrients internally, and isn't taking up any more from the soil.
When all other variables are removed from the equation (making sure you get good quality herb, etc.) you can tell the difference between flushing and not flushing when you hit the bowl and see how smooth or harsh it is. You can tell the difference immediately! Commercial (particular black market) growers are often in a hurry to get product to market and it's sold by weight, so they will cut corners to rush it out a week sooner and don't mind the added weight of the salts and minerals. But when you're growing your own at home, you can take the extra 7 days to "do it right" and get the highest quality product (no pun intended).
THIS is why we grow our own!