Growing cannabis legally in the US for the past several years has definitely been enlightening, even for an OG grower from the eighties. Cannabis growing can very well be scientific and much of it is, but there is also some “magic” involved and there really isn't anyone out there explaining it.
When the industry was young, the magic was strong. Growers had been perfecting how to grow for flavor and potency for decades, and now that the helicopters and the dogs had been called off, we could share what we knew with a new generation of growers freely. It was an absolute blast, those first few years even though government in those states had done what government always does, and regulated it to the point of shackles and taxed it to the point of sending some back to the guerilla side to find profits. But those of us who stuck with it learned the ropes and created some very special medicine while sharing what we knew from before.
My cannabis growing education started back in 1984 with stopping by the only gas station in our little city that carried High Times Magazine the second Tuesday of each month to get a fresh copy. Ed Rosenthal, Kyle Kushman and Jorge Cervantes are names that will always headline answers from me when asked who I emulated. Thanks to growing in Colorado, I was able to shake hands with Kyle and Ed at two cannabis events. Those three were some of the leaders of a movement that made this all possible and they will always have my respect for that.
My first seed to pop made me so excited. It had tiny little leaves that were obviously cannabis and I did everything I thought about to help it grow. It made it about four inches high and those tiny leaves were about the size of a dime when its weak stem fell over and it crashed. It’s funny now but it was the first step on the journey.
During the journey of this Grimoire, I will be a guide who will explain what and why things happen to your plants and how we can correct them and use the plant’s own defences to increase taste, aroma and potency. Along this journey, we will also be pushing production just to the edge. Part of the reason I am writing this is because the industry that has been created around our medicine has been driven by greed to the point where production weight has become the dominant goal. In a way, it is evolving from an industry of creating healthy medicine to the domestic beer industry. That isn’t the end of the world, after all. But some of us growers out there want our product to be memorable, in a good way. When someone sees, tastes or smells it we want them to ask “who grew this?” or “where did you get this?” So while the majority of this new industry is struggling to be the next Budweiser, I am perfecting my Vanilla Porter and working on my Guinness.
Don’t take that the wrong way, I come from a generation when the smell of cannabis smoke immediately caused concern because something illegal was happening. Now we pass a joint to our neighbors across the back fence when we are talking about the local sports team and that is an amazing feeling. The fact that it is becoming normalized and mainstream is important. And whenever something becomes mainstream, the majority want to find the easiest way to mass produce the product so that they can create a foundation for the market. These are all important steps to create a steady price and a sustainable market that doesn’t have dips where demand overtakes supply.
What I am writing here obviously can help new growers, and I will start early enough for people who have never grown before. But a lot of people out there can teach you the basics to help supply that market’s sustainability. What I want to share are the things that can make your grows different and your product special.
“Every grower has their own magic juice.” I have said this about a thousand times in my career in cannabis. The only time you will ever walk in two different grows and they have the same nutrient mixtures are when those growers either work together now or have in the past. This industry is still relatively new and it is changing daily, and great growers always have some changes started here and there to see if they can improve their “Magic.” I am not going to sell you the perfect mix, I will leave that to the growers who believe their mix is the holy grail. Just remember that if someone tries to convince you their mix is the best today, that probably won't be true six months from now even if it is true today.
I am going to close with some advice for the growers who are just getting started with cannabis. I am adding this to my introduction because it was my answer when someone asked the most important advice I can give any new grower.
It doesn't matter if you are growing one plant for your first time or starting a grow as a caregiver. For the next four to five months, that plant needs attention every day. You can’t take vacations, or sick days or let your buddies take care of it for a few days. If you can’t dedicate a little time each day for the next four to five months then you probably shouldn't even try. It’s called weed and in some aspects it does grow like one. But if you want something special at the end, then it will be your pet. You will feed it and talk to it and trim it and make sure it is happy every day. Some strains are tougher than others, but time is important and every failure I have ever seen can be traced to someone not spending the time that was needed.
Thanks for your time,