I grow a lot of things every summer such as tomatoes and kale, but none of them are as fun and rewarding to grow as marijuana. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I smoke marijuana, and don’t smoke kale. But to be fair I found growing marijuana to be fun and rewarding for other reasons too.
Growing other things usually takes a long time, and there’s not a lot of changes in the plants from day to day. I can stare at a cucumber plant everyday and it seems like nothing is happening. Compare that to growing marijuana, where you see changes constantly. The most exciting time of my day when I grew marijuana was when the lights kicked on, and I got to see the plants for the first time that day. I would notice all kinds of new growth virtually every time. I never grew outdoors, so obviously that would slow the process a little, but my friends that grow outdoors tell me they can relate to what I’m saying.
The marijuana plant is such a beautiful plant. I don’t mean to bash on zucchini plants, but they just aren’t as pretty as marijuana plants. When a budding marijuana plant is nearing harvest, it is so lush and sparkly. I find purple strains to be particularly pleasing to the eye when it’s late in the flowering cycle. And the smell, my goodness the heavenly smell that accompanies most marijuana plants! My blueberry trees don’t smell like anything most of the year, and even when it’s bloom season I don’t smell that much blueberry scent coming off them. Compare that to my friend’s garden that is stocked with various blueberry strains. Just amazing.
There is a lot that goes along with growing marijuana, and I always tell people to temper their expectations. People hear stories of harvesting pounds off of one plant, and they assume that it’s easy. ‘It is just a weed, right?’ That’s a sentence that I have heard more times than I can count. I just always chuckle and reply with, ‘well, not exactly.’ The fact of the matter is growing marijuana, good marijuana, is not easy. It involves a lot of ups and downs that provide learning opportunities. While there are solid growing principles that everyone should follow, there is no ‘one size fits all’ way to grow marijuana.
Indoor grow rooms and outdoor greenhouses are all different. Different geographical areas present their own unique issues such as not enough humidity, too much heat, or too much moisture that will cause powdery mildew. What I always tell people is don’t count your eggs before they hatch, meaning don’t get blinded by visions of grandeur that the harvest will be epic. Keep reminding yourself that you will get what you get, and whatever the final outcome, you had fun doing it and get a smokable (hopefully!) reward at the end. If you take that approach, you will never be disappointed.
From there it’s just a matter of getting in there and getting dirty. Acquire a marijuana strain or two, and start the process. A lot of people are tempted to load up on different strains. I know that’s how most of my friends were when they started growing. I had the benefit of following in their footsteps, so I saw that growing so many different strains was actually detrimental to their garden’s success. It is definitely cool to say ‘out of my six plants, all six of them are different strains.’ But it creates logistical and educational issues.
Different strains require different space, different feeding cycles, different light cycles, etc. That’s not to say that you can’t find strains that can grow alongside each other, because you definitely can. However, when you are first starting out, you will be basically rolling the dice and hoping that you can superimpose the same processes and protocols for all the strains. I have seen people have a plan, just to see it wrecked because one strain needed to go from veg to bloom faster or longer, or one strain grew like an elephant and basically bullied the other plants for light.
I say pick one cannabis strain, and use it to learn. If you have a bunch of different strains, you won’t become ‘one with your strains.’ You won’t be able to do the trial and error with the strain to know how to get it to reach it’s maximum potential. Most of the top marijuana that is grown out there is the result of a master grower growing that strain for a long time and knowing what it likes and doesn’t like. It may sound silly to someone that has never grown before, but veteran growers know exactly what I’m talking about. They can literally tell if their plants are sad or happy, and how to turn that plant frown upside down or keep the happiness flowing.
If you are new to growing, you will get overwhelmed fast. Take one step into a marijuana garden equipment store, and you will see exactly what I mean. There are so many products, so many bells, so many whistles out there for growing marijuana. And those sales people at the garden store are savvy. They are there to sell products (no knock on them, just doing their job!), and they will describe stuff in a way that makes you think that you need every single thing before you even start.
Take baby steps. Get a small room, grab some cannabis seeds or clones, some soil, and some quality lights, and build from there. Maybe your first harvest won’t win the Cannabis Cup. That’s perfectly OK! I assure you, the people winning the Cannabis Cup didn’t just start yesterday, and definitely didn’t go into the grow store the first time and drop tens of thousands of dollars on every shiny thing that they saw. Look at your first crop as the first of many, and much like other hobbies, aim to do better with each attempt.
I can’t think of too many feelings that are as good as when it gets to harvest time at your very own garden. Cutting down the plants and curing and trimming them is absolutely fantastic, and if you are like I was, you make an event out of it. You invite some friends to help with the harvest, and hook them up with some goodies when all is said and done. I have been lucky enough to consume some of the best cannabis the world has ever seen over my years as a consumer. And while all of those award winning strains are awesome, none of them made me feel as awesome as when I consumed the marijuana fruits of my own labor. And that’s not to say I didn’t grow some dank nugs, because I did, but even the not as dank nugs still tasted like glory because I had grown them myself.
I hope to start a garden again sooner than later. But until then, to all of you aspiring rookie green thumbs, seasoned veterans, and full on cultivation experts, happy growing! I look forward to putting your product in my consumption device or edible/consumable soon :)