High Yield Marijuana Growing: My Journey to High Yield
By: S. Caldwell
Last year was a big year for me – I graduated from college and shortly after my mom was diagnosed with lymphoma (advanced).
They started her on chemo treatments right away. Despite the nausea medicine, she has little to no appetite, throws up a lot and is really tired. I have been talking with her doctors and doing some research online and from what I can understand, people who are undergoing chemo seem to benefit from smoking marijuana. My mom is “old school” and is afraid of trying it, but I have finally convinced her it’s okay and won’t hurt her and may actually help! I thought maybe I could grow it for her so she can have a constant supply and we know what she’ll be consuming because I’m growing it. She agreed.
So I’ve made it my mission to learn as much about growing marijuana as I can so I can grow for her at our house. I’ve been researching every day for about a month. At the beginning I knew nothing about growing medicinal marijuana or even gardening. The first time I sat down to research I seriously typed “how to grow marijuana” into the search bar. To say I was overwhelmed with the amount of information would be an understatement. But, I am finally sorting through the weeds, so to speak, and I wanted to share with you guys what I have learned. Maybe this info will help other newbies.
First things first: Where you live greatly determines what you can grow.
Stop! Before you go buy your seeds and clear out some space in your backyard – first you must educate yourself on medical marijuana legislation in your area. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states, but rules vary from state-to-state and even from city-to-city. www.Norml.org is a great site for finding out more about medical marijuana legislation in your state.
In Michigan where I live, caregivers can only grow 12 plants per patient. But luckily we are allowed to grow both indoors and outdoors.
Next, set a good foundation.
Begin with the end result in mind. Every decision you make will greatly impact the overall production of your plant. So why not start from the beginning, using the best products and creating the most optimal growing environment. Marijuana cultivation is fairly easy but it takes dedication, time and energy to grow a quality plant.
Your root system is the beginning stage of marijuana cultivation and the most important. If your plant gets off to a bad start, then it’s only downhill from there. To create a good root system remember the three S’: seeds, soil and setup.
I know what you’re thinking. “Good soil? Can’t you just get dirt from your backyard?” Not even close! What you grow your plant in is called a growing medium and there’s an insane amount of them on the market that all serve different purposes. To find a product that is good for you, think about where you are growing and what you are looking for in a medium. It took me months of research, but I finally decided on PRO-MIX HP because it has Mychorrhizae, which stimulates root growth and helps the plant absorb more nutrients. Since I’m growing indoors I went with a soil-less mix. I found PRO-MIX HP at the Home Depot close to my house. This product also has 4-5x more perlite than other mediums, which helps with plant drainage – especially important for me as I tend to over water all plants! So you can recognize it easily, there’s a tomato plant photo on the package. I found this site that talks more about it: http://goo.gl/UZDCo4
But just because a product worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you.
There are tons of different methods to growing marijuana. Look through grow journals on forums and you’ll see there are many recipes for how to grow a healthy plant with high yield.
With recent medical marijuana legislation, the marijuana community has grown into a large sub-culture.
There are websites, forums and groups dedicated to the discussion of medical marijuana growing, use and legislation. Community members even have their own language, like nutes means nutrients and myco for Mycorrhizae. I found this great glossary of terms I reference whenever I come across a word I’ve never seen before. A group of forum members compiled the list of most used terms. Check it out: http://goo.gl/V5iWr0
But even with the growing acceptance of medical marijuana use, people are still afraid to talk openly about it and most of the nurseries or retailers carrying products don’t fully understand the cultivation process.
If you go to your local nursery or home improvement store you won’t see a “marijuana growing” section, but after a little research I learned growing tomato plants and marijuana are very similar. Both plants are water-sensitive, flourish in warm temperatures and need similar levels of fertilizer. As I said earlier, when looking on packaging, products with tomatoes (primarily green) can also be beneficial if you are growing marijuana.
One of my mom’s hesitations about using marijuana is the common notion smoking marijuana is bad for you and people will think badly of you if they know you have smoked it. For my mom and I, we have found the online communities a great place to be able to talk openly and a great resource for finding out what works and what doesn’t. There are discussion topics on just about anything. Whatever problem you are having with your plant, there is someone who has gone through it, found a solution, and is willing to help you out.
Alright, that’s what I’ve learned so far. I hope this post has taught you something. Stay tuned to hear more about my journey.
Sarah Caldwell is a newbie grower and a recent journalism graduate living in Lansing, Michigan, who hopes to use her writing to help other growers.