By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
Inquiries on how to cultivate marijuana have slightly increased in the past few years, according to Michigan State University Extension plant experts. MSU-E, mainly involved in more mainstream agricultural pursuits, is a resource for some medical cannabis suppliers looking for good information.
Having received about seven calls since medical marijuana became legal in Michigan, MSU-E senior educator Thomas Dudek said he tries to relay basic information on plant physiology to novice growers, reports Sara Qamar of Capital News Service.
?"People need to have a fairly good knowledge of fertilizer, irrigation and growing media," said Dudek, who specializes in horticulture and marketing and is based in Ottawa County.
Dudek said he takes existing information about growing other indoor plants and "adapts it to the situation" when answering marijuana inquiries.
"Obviously, we're a land grant university that creates knowledge for people in businesses," Dudek said. "If we have a business for growing plants, then you tend to look at MSU as a resource for that type of information."
Jeanne Himmelein, another Extension educator, is based in Kalamazoo and works with state greenhouses and nurseries on production and environmental quality. She said she has received only five marijuana-related calls in the past two years.
"The people that call me are very educated in regards to growing this," Himmelein said. "They are not hobbyists. They are licensed to produce their own medical marijuana. Strictly the calls I get are production issues, from people who are licensed growers."
The primary questions from Himmelein's callers are about insect and disease control, she said. For answers, she directs them to biological control suppliers.
"If this is a business and a medical thing, I am comfortable with giving them as much information as possible on insect control and nutritional advice," Himmelein said. "I just want them to do it the safest way.
"I'm impressed with the people asking about insect and disease control instead of going to a local nursery and grabbing something off the shelf," she said.
"Growing Indoor Plants," an upcoming bulletin from MSU-E, will educate readers on techniques for keeping house plants, including optimal light conditions and the basics of plant nutrition.
The bulletin won't be aimed specifically at medical marijuana growers, according to Himmelein, but "would be a decent guide for anyone growing any type of indoor plant."
Michigan State University Extension is a lot more friendly to medical marijuana cultivators than the staff of Colorado State University Extension. CSU-E prohibits staff and volunteers from providing any advice or assistance whatsoever about marijuana cultivation, although medical marijuana is protected by the Colorado state constitution.