Introduction: The Elevated Agriculturalist
I first started cultivating cannabis back in January 1990, in a converted closet out on Hogback Road. I was attending Johnson State College, studying environmental sciences, and a friend gave me four 18-inch plants, which I grew under a converted street light with a 400-watt bulb.
Those four ladies were grown with love and care, enjoying constant 75-degree temps and a gentle electric fan breeze while winter raged six short inches of newspaper-insulated walls away.
I used to studying in this room, snow dumping outside, in shorts and sunglasses, my presence (and heavy breathing) increasing the CO2 levels for my plants. I also acquired a very nice grow room tan. Twelve weeks later, I harvested the best cannabis in the world!
In truth, the quality probably wasn’t all that great. Aside from a basic knowledge about growing plants, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know about adjusting nutrient levels or proper pruning or flushing. I ended up harvesting the plants about a week past their prime because I didn’t know how to read the trichomes. But, it was cannabis that I grew, and so that made it the best!
It’s my hope to impart some of the wisdom I’ve gained over the past three decades, so that our state’s home cultivators have all the information they need to successfully cultivate high grade organic cannabis.
That experience had me hooked, and began my decades-long relationship with cultivating this plant. I’ve been growing cannabis about as long as I’ve been using it, and in that time I’ve experimented with every possible growing method you could think of, and probably a few you couldn’t imagine.
For example, a couple of years ago I was working with a friend trying to improve his yields in a medical grow in the basement of his house.
We decided to try a technique called sonic dissonance. Simply put, plants have openings on their leaves called stomata, where they ‘breathe’ in CO2. Plants seem to enjoy listening to music because sound waves increase the aperture of the stomata, thereby allowing them to breathe in more CO2, and in turn enabling them to grow larger.
We bought a machine specifically designed to emit sonic waves, which maximize the size of these openings. Unfortunately, the sonic waves also knocked out the the entire neighborhood’s internet service. Repeatedly. After the fourth time, there was a rap on the door, and we discovered the cable guy standing there with a police officer. We explained what we were doing, and agreed to try another method to increase our yields.
With the Green Mountains getting greener this summer, we’re joining an already-burgeoning cannabis industry. It’s my hope to impart some of the wisdom I’ve gained over the past three decades, so that our state’s home cultivators have all the information they need to successfully cultivate high grade organic cannabis.
My wife always says that ‘farming is wrought with misadventure,’ and that colloquialism couldn’t ring more true than when cultivating cannabis. It’s called a ‘weed’ because it’ll grow just about anywhere, but to get a flower worth consuming requires lots of attention, proper care and most of all, ingenuity.
This series will guide you through your home cultivation experience. I’ll introduce you to proper strain selection, take you through the different phases of growth, offer tips for managing pests, and share to the best way to harvest, trim and cure your finished product.
So get ready, Home Cannabis Cultivators of Vermont! With a few seeds, and lots of love and attention, you too can grow medical grade, organic cannabis that I’m sure you’ll feel is the best in the world. And you’ll be right, because the best cannabis is cannabis you grow!