GSC, formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, was named ironically – behind its innocuous title lies an extremely potent marijuana strain. Its THC content ranges from 18% to 28%, and it is known for rapidly producing a euphoric cerebral high. Even seasoned smokers feel the power of GSC, and it’s hardly a surprise that so many marijuana lovers are attempting to grow their new favorite strain.
In this growing guide for Girl Scout Cookies, we offer eight steps and tips. Make sure you follow them as closely as possible or else you will end up growing a different, and inferior GSC strain.
1 – Focus on Top-Shelf Genetics
Girl Scout Cookies is an indica-dominant (60%) hybrid that’s a cross of OG Kush and Durban Poison. Although it is known for its hard-hitting nature, it gradually courses through your body, and you’ll experience a lengthy feeling of relaxation. Its sedative properties mean it is a great evening smoke as it enables you to stay energized for a few hours before helping you sleep.
Regardless of how much care and attention you put into growing GSC, you will not enjoy a high-THC crop if you settle for mid-level or low standard seeds. Most newbies grow seeds any way they can, but try as they might, they’re never able to produce crops as good as the buds they found them in.
You need to locate a reputable seed bank and acquire clones, which isn’t an easy process with Girl Scout Cookies despite the popularity of the strain. When you purchase clones with top-shelf genetics, you are virtually guaranteed a healthy and potent GSC crop unless you mess up the growing cycle. Fortunately, this guide will ensure that doesn’t happen!
2 – Consider Growing GSC Using the Sea of Green (SOG) Method
As Girl Scout Cookies is an indica-dominant strain, the famed SOG method, renowned for forcing flowering at an early stage, is a viable growing tactic. Typically, you can expect your plants to remain in the vegetative stage for 6+ weeks, but with SOG, you force the issue to ensure the phase lasts just two weeks. As a result, you will be able to harvest your GSC crop much sooner.
The SOG method has an array of benefits. For instance, you can use it when you only have access to a small grow room. It lets you enjoy a bountiful yield even if you don’t have a huge amount of space. You speed up the growing process by subjecting your plants to a 12-hour light, 12-hour complete darkness light cycle which helps it move into the flowering stage faster.
Here’s a quick primer for this indoor growing method:
- Either germinate seeds or take cuttings to create clones.
- Use the 18-6 light cycle (18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness) until your GSC plants are at least 10 inches tall.
- Change the positioning of your plants and try to fit two per square foot of space.
- Use the 12-12 light cycle.
- Your GSC plants should begin to enter the flowering cycle. Wait for an especially dense formation of buds. Trim the branches underneath, and use them as your clones.
- Wait until at least 70% of the pistils turn an orange/brown color, then harvest.
- Girl Scout Cookies has a flowering time of 9-10 weeks.
3 – Train Your Crop to Achieve the Greatest Yield
GSC’s yield is typically described as moderate, with 10 ounces per square meter when grown indoors. This figure equates to around half of what you get with the cannabis strain Blue Dream, for example. As a result, it is important to consider all possible methods to produce a generous yield. This is where the process of ‘training’ cannabis plants come in. There is High Stress Training (HST) and Low Stress Training (LST). HST involves removing parts of the plant, while LST doesn’t directly damage your Girl Scout Cookies crop.
Related article: 5 Ways to Prevent Plant Stress [And Save Your Weed Crop…]
The purpose of ‘training’ is to change your crop’s chemical balances. Naturally grown weed produces a main cola (the highest bud), which grows as tall as possible. It looks nice but isn’t a good growing plan if you want the largest possible yield. The plant hormone auxin is responsible for dictating the growth of your cannabis, and it is concentrated near the top. This is the reason why your marijuana plants focus much of their growth via the main stalk.
When you use the right training techniques, you decrease this upward growth and benefit from more colas and more weed! Here’s a snapshot of the methods available.
High Stress Training
- Topping: This is the easiest HST method and involves removing the top of the plant with your fingers. The top buds become two new branches, and the plant receives a ‘shock’ which helps growth in the lower branches as well.
- FIM (F*** I Missed): This complex method involves taking away a small and specific part of the top of the marijuana plant. When you do it correctly, you produce four off-shooting branches. It is time-consuming, difficult, and places your plant at risk of infection, but it does produce spectacular yields.
- Stem Mutilation: You bend the branch until its fibers break and the branch folds. Be careful not to tear the stalk’s skin or break the branch! When done right, stem mutilation provides more light to the bottom part of the plant.
Low Stress Training
This involves bending the plant during its growth cycle. You tie down branches that become overly long. When the top of the cannabis plant is pulled down into an ‘L’ shape, the chemical auxin is more evenly distributed throughout. Eventually, you’ll expose a significant number of bud sites at a level height. During the flowering stage of a cannabis plant, the colas grow upwards and produce more even colas.
4 – Creating the Ideal Climate
Girl Scout Cookies is a sturdy plant and handles temperature fluctuations better than the majority of marijuana strains. Even so, it grows best in a mild, dry climate; think the Mediterranean in fall. Overall, you can’t go wrong if you keep GSC growing in a room with a temperature of between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
To be frank, maintaining the right temperature is the easy part of the equation. Humidity causes all manner of problems for new growers and causes a raft of problems. As a rule of thumb, maintain high humidity during the vegetative stage to reduce salt levels. As the plant enters the flowering stage, reduce humidity. We also recommend exposing your GSC to drier air during flowering to increase trichome production and reduce the risk of mold.
Rather than delving into a complex outline of the right humidity levels, it is best to keep things simple. Make sure your Girl Scout Cookies plants are in the 50-60% range during the vegetative stage. Reduce the rate by 5% each week until it is 30%. It is especially important to get the level down to the low thirties in the last two weeks before harvesting; use a dehumidifier if you can.
The extra dry air will force the buds to protect themselves with extra resin. As you probably know, resin is a beautiful sparkling outer layer of trichomes which are loaded with THC.
5 – Boost Terpene Content
Girl Scout Cookies is known for its sweet and earthy aroma with hints of mint and chocolate. As you break up the bud, the smell becomes stronger and more alluring. If you enjoy the scent of GSC, it is essential to try and increase your crop’s terpene content because that’s what is responsible for the pleasant scent.
There are a variety of ways to improve terpene content. Here are a few quick tips:
- Avoid chemical nutrients if possible: Check the ingredients of the product. If it includes the likes of Ammonium Phosphate and Magnesium Carbonate, avoid! When possible, use nutrients made from living things such as worm castings, bone meal, and kelp.
- Reduce nitrogen in the flowering stage: Although your plants need lots of Nitrogen during the vegetative stage, they require more Potassium and Phosphorus when flowering.
- Restrict nutrients six weeks before harvest: Your plants need nutrients to power their vegetative growth, but once they stop growing new leaves and stems, it is time to reduce their intake significantly. If you continue to add large amounts of nutrients, especially nitrogen, your crop could have a chemical taste and smell.
- Add blackstrap molasses: Sugar-based or carbohydrate supplements claim to improve the smell or sweetness of your buds. However, they are often expensive, and blackstrap molasses works just as well. You can buy it at a grocery store, and it adds trace minerals, sugars, and amino acids. Add it to the water used on your plants in the final few weeks of growth. 0.5 teaspoons per gallon is normally enough. Don’t use molasses if you are growing your Girl Scout Cookies hydroponically.
- Expose your plants to UV-B light: Although UV-B light exposure is very bad for humans, it potentially increases the trichome production of your plants. If possible, expose your GSC to as much sunlight as you can. Failing that, CMH /LEC grow lights are arguably the next best source of UV-B light.
6 – Grow GSC Indoors
Although the yield from outdoor growing is perfectly fine, GSC produces the greatest yields when either grown indoors or in greenhouses, where you can maximize the performance of the cannabis training techniques outlined above. Unless you decide to use the SOG method, it will probably take four months for your cloned seeds to become usable marijuana.
Like all strains, GSC has a 5-step growth cycle:
To ensure a guaranteed female plant, choose cloned seeds with high-quality genetics. If you want to do it correctly, a proper indoor setup will cost $1,500+. It includes grow lights; a grow tent, fans, growing supplies, and of course the cost of the seeds. Supplies include different sized containers because you have to move your plants as they get bigger.
Then there is the small matter of lighting. Remember, your GSC needs 16 hours of light a day during the vegetative stage and 12 hours during the flowering stage. You will use a substantial amount of electricity, and if you live in a state where growing weed is illegal, this energy use will attract suspicion.
Girl Scout Cookies is hard to find outside of Colorado or the West Coast, and it normally has weak side branches and stalks. Make sure your GSC is properly fed. As it has OG genetics, your Girl Scout Cookies will need extra magnesium and calcium. You can increase the strength of the plants by feeding them with potassium silicate.
Overall, GSC is known for its ability to handle an above average level of base nutrients and boosters during early and peak bloom. If you see burning on the leaf tips, dial back the nutrient intake. Make sure you also check growth for signs of deficiencies.
7 – Harvesting
The ‘pistil method’ is an age-old way of determining when a marijuana plant is ready for harvest. The pistils are the ‘hairs’ on your buds. However, experts prefer the trichome method because it is even more accurate.
When the majority of pistils on your GSC plants are sticking out straight and are still white, it is still far too early for harvest. By the time 50% of the pistils become darker and curl in, you are very close to the right time. Remember, the longer you wait, the higher the THC content.
For a GSC strain with the highest level of THC, wait until 60-70% of the pistils have darkened. If you want to exacerbate the sedative properties of Girls Scout Cookies, wait until 75-90% of pistils have achieved that brown/orange color.
This method requires using a magnifying glass to check out the trichomes on the plant’s buds. Look for trichomes with a tiny ball on top, as this is where most of the THC and other cannabinoids are located. If your GSC plants are glistening with gorgeous mushroom-like trichomes, it is time to harvest.
8 – Drying & Curing
You have waited four agonizing months (less if you adopt the SOG method), but finally, you can cut down your plants and use them, right? Not yet! Failure to cure and dry your weed will reduce its potency and overall quality. The first step is to dry your GSC. This can be as easy as hanging the cut and trimmed plants from hangers in a storage room. Ideally, the room will have a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 50%.
After you cut down your Girl Scout Cookies plants, you have to trim away the extra leaves before trying to dry the buds. We recommend purchasing wide mouth mason jars for storage and a hygrometer to measure the humidity of the inside of the jar when the weed is finally stored there.
The cannabis drying process can last 3-7 days. You will know it is time to cure your weed when the outsides of the bud feel dry to the touch, and the smaller stems snap rather than bend. At this stage, store your buds in the mason jars but make sure the containers are only 3/4 full. There needs to be a little space because you have to shake the jars daily for the first few days.
Open the jars once a day for a week. Then, check every couple of days. Make sure the humidity in the jar remains at 60-65%. Although you can use the weed after a couple of weeks of curing, leaving the buds in the jars for 6-8 weeks should provide the most potent, aromatic, and tasty cannabis.
Final Thoughts on Growing the Girl Scout Cookies Cannabis Strain
An ounce of GSC costs around $200 in Oregon but routinely exceeds $300 on the west coast. If you live in California and produce 20 ounces of GSC from a grow cycle, you have anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 worth of beautiful, potent marijuana and it should cost you far less to create a premium quality indoor setup.
Best of all, you can grow it as often as you like. By using the SOG method, you could produce dozens or even hundreds of ounces a year depending on the size of your grow room. Follow the tips outlined above to produce potent Girl Scout Cookies that potentially boost appetite, aid restful sleep, and ease the aches and pains associated with a host of medical conditions.