Friday, November 30, 2018

[Review] - Sensible Seeds Cannabis Seed Bank

Products:  Cannabis seeds, hemp products
Location:  UK
Price:  Medium-High
Rating:  4.7 of 5 stars
Website:  www.sensibleseeds.com 

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Sensible Seeds is a UK-based seedbank that carries a wide variety of seeds from many well-known breeders.  Not to be confused with the similarly-named "Original Sensible Seed Company" (originalsensible.com), sensibleseeds.com is its own entity with no connection to the others.

After buying my VERY first pack of seeds on eBay for a great price & somehow getting very lucky with the quality, I branched out & tried Sensible Seeds as my first real seed bank.  I was in the market for something high in CBD & low in THC that autoflowers, which is not easy to find.  Sensible had a fairly great selection of options in this category.  I spent a few weeks researching my options & finally settled on Industrial Plant Auto CBD by Dinafem.  They also had Tonic Ryder from World of Seeds, Baby Boom by Kannabia & CBD Auto Compassion Lime by Dutch Passion to name a few of the strains that ended up in my Wish List.  You can narrow your search according to traits like yield, feminized/regular, autoflowering/photoperiod, harvest time & THC content which makes it super easy to find what you're looking for.  In addition to well-known breeders like DJ Short & Mephisto, they have their own line of "Premium Seeds" which includes medical-grade strains like Night Nurse & Old Man Socks as well as a number of bargain strains from lesser known breeders such as Irie Vibe, Black Skull & OG Raskal Seeds. 

When it was time to check out, the process went very smoothly.  I was able to use my preferred payment method & chose the $13 shipping option (where they remove the seed from the breeder packet & put it in a plain envelope for stealth).  They offer a ton of more expensive & elaborate shipping options that I won't get into here so as not to blow their cover, but some of them go up to the $80 price range and get pretty complicated.  But I can see how you'd want that extra assurance if you were placing a large order & needed to ensure your order made it through customs.  I was only ordering 1 seed so I went with the "cheap" option.  😁

My seed arrived in a plain white envelope about 2 weeks after ordering, which was much faster than expected.  Might've even been a bit sooner than 2 weeks.  I wasn't overly impressed with the stealth of the packaging but it apparently was good enough to make it to me so I can't complain too much.  With only the one seed I put all my hopes into it & really prayed it would sprout.  Couldn't get it to sink in the germination cup for hours...bad sign.  Ugh.  Just my luck.  But finally it took off & became viable, growing into a healthy female autoflowering plant!  (See grow log here).


In conclusion, I give Sensible Seeds a 4.7 out of 5 stars.  Their selection is huge & shipping time was super fast.  I was highly pleased they took my payment method & I received a viable seed, but stealth of shipping could've used a tiny bit of work.  And the price for that one seed was a little exorbitant.  Think I ended up paying a total of $27 for the seed when shipping cost was factored in, and the shipping didn't come with tracking or the guarantee of a re-ship if the seed was seized.  But I can't overstate how important it is that they took my payment method since it's the only one I had.  You should definitely give them a shot if you're looking for a reliable seed bank with a huge selection. 

1st Grow vs. 2nd Grow - A Progress Report in Pictures


Since I'm still a newbie with one grow under my belt, I thought it'd be fun to compare my first grow to my 2nd to see if there's been any progress.  I'm still using all the same equipment (lights, soil, nutrients) but have upgraded to a 3-gallon fabric pot from an 18-oz Solo cup.

The pics on the left are of my 1st grow, which was NYC Diesel Auto in the Solo cup.  The ones on the right are Industrial Plant Auto CBD in the fabric pot.  Both grown under 84-watts of soft white CFL with some 20-watt LED clip-on lights for side lighting.  The only nutrient change was the switching of banana tea (1st grow) for potassium humates (2nd grow) during the flowering phase. No bottled nutes in either grow.  As you can see, the rampant yellowing starts around the same time in both plants.  It's actually a bit worse in the full-size pot.  Guess I need to start using some real nitrogen ferts.  

Photos start in the flowering phase since vegetative growth is mostly unremarkable.  And with that, let the show begin...

WEEK 5 

     

    

    
       



 WEEK 6

     


     


    




WEEK 7

    

    

    




WEEK 8

   

   

   




WEEK 9

    

    

    




WEEK 10 

    

    

                 

      





HARVEST

      

    

       

        




Final dry yield, Grow 1:  4.0 grams
Final dry yield, Grow 2:  4.3 grams

CONCLUSION

Welp, I'm a bit disappointed this plant didn't yield much more than the one grown in an 18-oz cup but whadda ya gonna do?  You'd think with all that extra space for the roots to stretch out & prune themselves in the fabric pot, the plant would've at least produced a gram more.  What's more, this plant was even more finicky than the one in the cup, requiring much more frequent watering in flower (which is NOT what I was told by experienced growers--they said I'd have to water the small container much more frequently).  For as much haranguing as I got about growing in a Solo cup, I actually think it was easier & stealthier than using a large pot.  The 1st plant created less smell by far, grew taller with more bud sites & didn't require as much water.  And it used up less soil. 

In theory a full-size pot is going to be more conducive to growing a healthy plant, but in my case it's not necessarily the best way to go.  I definitely need to add some more lumens to my grow space & start using legit store-bought fertilizers that contain nitrogen to prevent this yellowing problem.  But since I can't accompany a large smelly plant due to my living situation, I'll have to make due with dwarfy girls for the time being.  I still have the vast majority of my 1st harvest which shows just how little I actually smoke.  So yield isn't everything. 

Industrial Plant Auto CBD is a mild smoke with a sour fruity smell that starts out energetic & mellows out into a chill body high rather quickly.  It motivates me to exercise & do things like clean my room which is exactly what I need: motivation.  5% THC + 10% CBD content is just the right balance for my needs.  I do enjoy the effects of this one much more than the speedy, paranoid high of NYC Diesel Auto. 

Anyhoo, if you're a new grower on a budget or just want to learn some nifty growing tactics, check out my 8-part series that will take you from novice to closet growing king (or queen) in no time!  There are tons of grow guides out there but most involve expensive, complicated lighting setups, grow tents & other advanced items.  Not mine.  I'm writing for growers for whom stealth, space & funds are major deciding factors in whether to grow at all.  Those for whom yields are a distant second priority behind not getting caught.

Got any comparison pics of your 1st & 2nd grows?  Share in the comments below.  I'd love to see how you've grown as a grower.  📏😆

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Terry Hall: The "Special" Singer Who Never Smiled

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Okay, maybe "never" smiled is a bit of an exaggeration, but from his early days as the frenetic frontman for ska group The Specials, Terry Hall was pegged by reporters as a guy with a mask-like face who looked utterly bored with everything he was singing.  Which looked quite out of place in the midst of his uptempo, energized sets with bandmates Jerry Dammers, Roddy Radiation, Neville Staple, Lynval Golding, John Bradbury, Horace Panter & occasionally instrumentalists like Rico Rodriguez.  That's a big band, and they made full use of the stage--dancing, "skanking" & often dodging projectiles thrown by racists like the one who stabbed Black Specials member Lynval Golding in the ribs.

But for the most part, the band was all about good fun & bringing together the various subcultures in England at the time:  punks, skinheads (the good ones), rastas & working class kids.  And when they weren't fighting racism, they were single-handedly popularizing the "rude boy" style with their pork pie hats, Mohair suits & short haircuts--every middle & high-school kid in the UK wanted to look like them.  The 2-Tone label's artists also partook of many a substance in their day:  One documentary describes a tour bus segregated by prank-pulling amphetamine users in the front & weed heads in the back, so as you walked farther back it just got mellower & mellower.  Can you imagine all the fun?


And even at the height of it all, the lead singer didn't appear to be enjoying himself.

But it didn't me take long to realize why Terry wasn't smiling.  In 1981 after the group's biggest hit "Ghost Town," he & two other bandmates abruptly left The Specials to form Fun Boy Three--a New Wave sort of act that was far less political.  Their songs were mostly lighthearted but there was one, called "Well Fancy That," in which Hall describes in great detail something no child should have to go through.  I actually teared up the first time I heard it.

This was 1983 before #MeToo when it was much less socially acceptable for grown men to talk about such things, so he deserves a great deal of credit here.  Apparently he'd never even told his own mother what happened when he released the song.  In it he mentions the "nervous breakdown" he suffered shortly after the abuse, which, upon further investigation, I found included heavy Valium abuse & dropping out of school at age 14.  Here's a snippet of the lyrics from the song:

"I was 12 & naive...
As I changed, I could feel your eyes watching me,
I crept into bed, you pretended to read,
The lights went out, I fell asleep,
Woke up with a shock, and your hands on me,
I couldn't shout, I couldn't scream,
Let me out, let me dream,
I turned onto my side,
I laid there and cried"

Terry recently came out in a 2019 interview & discussed the incident in more detail.  Apparently he was kidnapped by a pedophile ring in France, sexually abused by several men for days and then punched in the face before being left alone by the side of the road!  What a horrific experience for a 12-year-old child.  It's amazing he was able to overcome that and make something of his life & talents rather than becoming a wandering alcoholic on the streets.  The man deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his consistent message of peace & tolerance after surviving such brutal treatment.  Wow.

As with The Specials, Terry abruptly left Fun Boy Three in 1983 after completing two commercially successful albums with them.  He then formed a group called The Colourfield that stayed together for, you guessed it, two full-length albums.  It went on like this for the rest of the '80s & '90s.  His reasoning for abandoning successful bands is that all of his favorite bands only made 2 truly great albums together & there's only so far you can go creatively with the same people.  But it struck me as odd.  Most career performers, particularly those with bands as popular as The Specials, stick around & milk them for everything they're worth--if not for the financial success then at least to keep the fans happy.  But not Mr. Hall.  He had a habit of bailing at the peak of each band's success.  This created more than a few rifts with former bandmates like Neville Staple of The Specials & Fun Boy Three, who held a grudge against Terry for 15 years.

Recently I found a great short interview with him that explained a lot.  Terry had gone through most of his life with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, self-medicating with alcohol.  Whether that could account for his impulsive band-hopping I don't know, but it certainly explained his deadpan expression.  He's joked about being "unable to smile" but has also expressed sincere annoyance with people telling him to 'smile' when he's got a real illness that affects his moods.  (Thank you for saying this!  Women are told to smile all the time & it's incredibly offensive/presumptuous). He also mentions his suicide attempt in 2004. 

Here's that interview:


All that said, The Specials have an album of new material that came out this February and is definitely worth a listen.  Their music is as fiery & passionate as ever & the album includes a wide range of sounds from disco to reggae to oompah.  While the lineup is noticeably diminished, they sound as fresh today as they did in 1979.  I hear they put on an amazing live show as well.  They've quickly become an obsession of mine that I admire for their bold political views & groundbreaking vulnerability. The topics they cover range from ditching racist friends to not mindlessly reproducing to date rape & the pointlessness of working for the 'rat race'.  All 100% relevant today.  Maybe more than when they were released.

(P.S. - For any young'ins reading:  this is what people are referring to when they talk about how great pop music USED to be.  It had both style & substance.  The Specials wrote their own music, played instruments, danced & sang music with a purpose.  Terry Hall has made a huge contribution to popular music not in spite of but in part BECAUSE of his mental health struggles & emotional vulnerability.  Here's hoping he stays healthy & happy (but doesn't put on a fake smile for anyone). 

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The Specials today
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Circa 2013

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Looking particularly wasted

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