Want to Grow Your Own Cannabis? Get Ready to Fight ‘Big Marijuana’

Want to Grow Your Own Cannabis? Get Ready to Fight ‘Big Marijuana’

[Canniseur: This definitely is a case of follow the money. You’ll see who is behind this asinine concept. Homegrown should be an American right, just like home brew. Everyone needs to voice their opinions to counteract this movement. ]

Illinois is about to make history as the first state to legalize recreational cannabis and allow commercial sales through the state legislature instead of via a voter initiative, pending the governor’s signature. But this historic piece of legislation almost died along the way over the increasingly contentious issue of homegrow.

Eventually, lawmakers compromised by allowing only medical cannabis patients to cultivate for themselves; recreational consumers can’t grow at all. This may sound like politics as usual, but it actually represents a worrying trend for those who believe that the right to grow your own cannabis is an essential part of a truly equitable legalization plan.

Currently, every state—except for Washington—that allows recreational cannabis dispensaries also allows homegrow. So far, none of these states have seriously considered rescinding the policy, and in Washington, there’s a growing push to add homegrow to the mix.

So what gives? Why has growing six plants at home become so controversial?

Illinois lawmakers actually passed an admirably equity-centered legalization bill, other than deciding that non-medical-patient adults can’t grow their own. And now lawmakers in New York and New Jersey appear poised to make the same mistake when considering their own legalization bills.

To find out why, let’s follow the money a bit.

It’s Like Home Brewing, But for Cannabis

In a recent interview with Cannabis Wire, New York State Senator Diane Savino described homegrow as a major sticking point in trying to pass legalization.

“The truth is, if you’re going to have a legal, regulated market, it’s hard to manage homegrow. I don’t know how you really do that. And every state that has it, has said to us, ‘Don’t do it,’” said Savino.

Savino’s office did not reply to several inquiries from Leafly seeking clarification on which states advised against homegrow and for what specific reasons. But apparently she hasn’t spoken with Shaleen Title—one of five members of the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts—because Title put “Allow Homegrow” at #1 in her widely disseminated list, “10 Must-Haves in Any Cannabis Legalization Bill.”

Meanwhile, we do know that some of the biggest players in New York’s nascent cannabis industry have been aggressively lobbying against allowing individuals to cultivate their own cannabis for personal use.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the advocacy website Marijuana Moment gained access to a 29-page document that was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo by the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association (NYMCIA) roughly a month before he announced a legalization plan that specifically excluded homegrow.

The NYMCIA represents a who’s who of Big Marijuana in the state, including Acreage NY (featuring John Boehner), and MedMen (yup, those guys). The industry group’s policy statement featured an entire chapter titled “The Fallacy of Home Grow” that cited five reasons why allowing at-home personal cultivation poses a supposed risk to public safety.

Here are those five reasons, and my response to each:

1. Homegrow will make it impossible for the state to eliminate the black market.

An adult growing six plants securely in their backyard or basement no more represents a dangerous black market in cannabis than someone who brews small batches of beer at home.

Read the rest at Leafly:

Original Post: Leafly: Want to Grow Your Own Cannabis? Get Ready to Fight ‘Big Marijuana’

The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

[Canniseur: Markets develop and evolve. IMHO, Oregon is doing their growing right. OK, there’s a surplus. A huge surplus. If some of the growers thrive, it will probably be because their product is superior. Perhaps not, but eventually a market rewards those who can grow the best cannabis or make the best concentrates or whatever. It rewards them with higher prices than commercial grow or extraction enterprises because they’re creating better product. People will pay more for the best…if it’s better.]

By now many of you have heard the devastating news: There’s too much marijuana in Oregon. Perhaps I should have told you to sit down first; for those who fainted after reading that sentence, my apologies.

All jokes aside, this is apparently a huge deal. State authorities put the surplus from last year’s harvest alone in excess of 2 million pounds of marijuana. With supply outpacing demand in the state, prices have plummeted, putting many businesses in the cross-hairs of failure.

The plan to rectify this is to cap the number of cultivation licenses. But the worry among state officials is that much of the surplus marijuana will end up on the black market out of state, where is can bring higher prices.

Under market conditions, much of the surplus would flow out of state, to areas where supply is not quite meeting demand. Some growers would go out of business and some would survive as the market continuously pushed toward equilibrium of supply and demand. But here we hit a problem that most legal products don’t face: Oregon growers can’t legally sell their product out of state.

This fact alone dictates much of what happens next. Faced with financial destitution, most growers will run the risk of selling their product illegally to other states. This is a big no-no in the eyes of the feds, something state officials in Oregon live in fear of.

So while the best solution – interstate commerce – is forbidden, the state will try to adjust the supply of marijuana relative to demand within the state while cracking down on the black market, i.e. prohibition.

Oregon is home to slightly more than 1% of the United States’ total population. This means that growers there are legally barred from selling their product to roughly 99% of the market. Will many fail under those conditions? Absolutely. How many growers in Oregon will turn to the illegal market? How many will get busted? How many lives and families will be destroyed?

While impressive in many respects, the rollout of legalization across the U.S. has been haphazard and incredibly inefficient. How much investment has been wasted because the legal cannabis market in the U.S. follows no logical sense?

Government is not the solution to this “problem”. The federal government needs to get out of the business of marijuana prohibition and let the legal cannabis market develop like every other legal market.

Original Post: 420 Intel Business: The Big Freak-Out Over Oregon’s Marijuana Surplus

Cannabis Harvest Timing: Earlier vs Later

Cannabis Harvest Timing: Earlier vs Later

Every time I harvest cannabis, I make a conscious choice; do I want to harvest a heady, clean buzz that borders on psychedelic, or a descent into the depths of my couch, with my eyelids growing heavier by the second, and the room slowly falling dark?  Harvest timing (among other things) has an enormous effect on the properties of any strain you’re growing. At it’s extremes, it can make even the best Sativas act like an Indicas or vice versa.

It’s About the Trichomes

At the simplest level (it’s still very complicated), it comes down to trichome development.  To understand this we need to understand what a trichome is and why we should care.

Trichomes & Harvest

Photo: Royal Seed Company

Trichomes are small glandular hairs found on Cannabis plants, which probably first developed as a protection mechanism for our favorite plant.  If you’ve ever looked at a poster of a big juicy bud while waiting in your favorite dispensary, you’ve certainly seen trichomes.  They function to keep away insects just like the way capsaicin in hot peppers exists to stop animals from eating them.  The irony is that these same compounds such as THC, CBD, and terpenes, are the ones we’re interested in.  As the plants develop, the trichomes start out clear, progressing through cloudy into amber. Each phase has very different qualities.

Earlier Cannabis Harvest

When I talk about an early harvest, it means most of the trichomes are cloudy.  When trichomes are cloudy but still whitish, their mix of chemistry provides an extremely clean sort of psychedelic experience.  On a haze, it allows my consumers to toke as much as they desire, boosting the psychedelic qualities while simultaneously bringing “couch lock” down to almost zero.  It’s very energetic and energizing. You won’t become sedated, and the effect can mimic narcotics or other compounds.  Many may doubt me, but I’ve absolutely hallucinated on weed harvested in this way.

Later Cannabis Harvest

I’ve taken those same strains and harvested later (some trichomes are amber and some are cloudy) and produced something reminiscent of a hybrid. Lemon Haze is a favorite for this since later harvesting boosts its flavor.  Feelings of couchlock are reintroduced, with higher levels of CBD forming in the amber trichomes as they oxidize and degrade. Harvest timing is a tool I use to customize different strains.  There are drawbacks for either earlier or later harvest.

Earlier vs Later Cannabis Harvest

The more time I allow for my plants to flower, the easier it is to pack on more weight.  It’s in my best interest to make my buds heavy, compact, and potent, for both my bottom line and my consumers experience.  No one wants fluffy buds but I’ll talk about what I look for when purchasing fresh flower later.  It’s all a balancing act, where a day or two can tip the scales.  The longer I wait, the more amber trichomes I have, the more THC breaks down and forms CBD (and other compounds), and eventually flavor suffers.  However, if I’m too early those same compounds have yet to peak.  In some cases, this may be what I want.

Harvesting Time for Medicinal Cannabis

When growing strains for medicinal purposes, I usually harvest late.  They wouldn’t be considered recreational by most consumers due to their highly sedative effects, which is why demand is generally lower (less demand means less profitability).  Most have massive CBD contents and very little THC, which was aided by a late harvest.  Cancer patients don’t care about getting high, they just want to be able to eat and sleep.  This accomplishes that goal (in conjunction with good breeding).

On the flip side, the last time I grew Trainwreck I harvested a portion early for a more recreational feel and it blew my mind.  I sacrificed a small amount of weight, which would have gained back by letting it continue to grow. The earlier harvest created a product on another level of high.  The trichomes were mostly milky, and lent to an incredibly clean buzz.  Early harvests also cause diminished terpenes such as Myrcene which are notorious for couchlock, helping drive a mind-altering experience.  For some, it’s a bit too strong and may not be a pleasant experience so choose wisely.

The Typical Harvest Time

When in doubt, a normal harvest where 25% of the trichomes are amber and the rest are milky is fine.  It’s (fairly) standard and will still give you amazing products.  For those of us in the industry wanting to tweak strains a bit further, timing is one of many tools available.  Next time you’re curious, grab a magnifying glass and take a look for yourself.

About the Author

Joey d’Artagnan holds a multiple degrees from top institutions including a bachelors in chemistry. He also has comprehensive education in botany and horticulture, and has spent over 10 years consulting extensively for both the craft beer and cannabis industries. His experience includes both indoor and outdoor production-scale grows, encompassing soil, hydroponic, and aeroponic methods. Additionally, Joey has developed cloning, breeding, and edible programs for a variety of top-tier cannabis and hemp operations spanning both coasts. Joey currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.

Grow Tech: Gadgets for the Home Cannabis Cultivator

Grow Tech: Gadgets for the Home Cannabis Cultivator

[Canniseur: The expression; “There’s an app for that” has never been more appropriate. And now there’s an app so you can watch your cannabis plant grow or at least control the grow box. One plant might give you several ounces or more, so it could be worth your time and effort to consider it. As an added bonus, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting from your plant.]

With the array of cannabis legalization laws taking effect in the U.S. and around the world, it’s becoming much easier to grow your own crop. By becoming your own master cultivator, you gain autonomy throughout the entire growth process, ensuring both safety and quality.

Home cultivation can improve your health and wellness. Certain pesticides, funguses and fertilizers found in cannabis originating from industrial cultivation facilities can have detrimental effects. Having control and full transparency of your cultivation process will help to avoid these harmful health effects.

Home growing allows patients to make sure they’re never left without the specific strain they require, which their dispensary may one day decide to stop selling. With lots of skepticism surrounding the pharmaceutical industry, home growers can also ensure their medicine is of pure quality and natural ingredients.

It’s the Era of the Grow Gadget

As with any agricultural crop, there’s a lot of knowledge required to grow a high-quality product. Tech is having a huge impact on home growing with helpful gadgets at your fingertips to make the process more efficient and doable. For instance, Kamoer’s automated plant irrigation system for home gardens allows you to water cannabis plants anytime and anywhere by using a smartphone to keep them healthy when you have a busy schedule.

Maintaining optimal plant growth can be difficult. HHHC’s Xiaomi plant monitor permits you to follow plant vitals by sticking the device in the soil and pairing it to your smartphone. The monitor helps determine whether the plants are thirsty or need a bit of sunshine.

Home cultivation can be a solution to the risk of consuming a laced product and the instability of cannabis throughout the industry.

For the amateur, Leaf’s grow box can be useful. It’s essentially a mini fridge-like contraption that incorporates all elements of the growth process. Elements such as air control, hydroponics, LED lighting and automated nutrient dosing can all be controlled by any smartphone.

These gadgets will help the first-time grower get started. More and more people are considering home growing now that cannabis laws are rapidly changing. Many now realize that home cultivation can be a solution to the risk of consuming a laced product and the instability of cannabis throughout the industry.

The home cultivation movement could play a significant role for patients suffering from the unstable nature of the industry. While analysts predict home growing will die out as the industry consolidates, the specific issues of this young industry pushes the trend the other way. Expect to seeing increased numbers of home cultivators in the next few years.

The industry will continue to grow and expand into the homes of individuals who’ve never considered cultivating their own cannabis, helping people take control of their health and wellness like never before.

Original Post: Freedom Leaf: Grow Tech: Gadgets for the Home Cannabis Cultivator

You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis

You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis

[Canniseur: There’s nothing as good as lighting up a bowl of your favorite flower and enjoying the taste. There’s nothing worse than lighting up a bowl of your favorite flower that’s not been dried and cured properly. The process of drying and curing your cannabis is as important as growing it. Once you’ve harvested, the important process of drying and curing begins.]

Properly dried and cured cannabis flower buds burn evenly and have a smooth, rich taste. When smoked, the embers have an even glow and enter the body smoothly. When vaporized, there should be no apparent “green” taste.

If flower buds are dried too quickly, chlorophyll and other pigments, starch and nitrates or other fertilizer salts are trapped within plant tissue, making it burn unevenly and taste unpleasantly “green.” If buds are dried too slow, or not at all, they rot.

Gardeners can lose some or all of their crop to poor drying and curing. Here’s how to do it right:

Drying

Drying converts 75% or more of a freshly harvested plant into water vapor and other gases and converts carbohydrates to simple sugars. Drying also converts chlorophyll and other pigments so that no “green” residuals remain.

You can harvest an entire plant, individual branches or strip flower buds from branches to dry. When stems are severed, the transport of fluids within the plant continues, but at a much slower rate. The natural plant processes slowly come to an end as the plant dries. The outer cells are the first to dry, but fluid still moves from internal cells to supply moisture to outer cells, which are dry. When the drying and curing processes occur properly, plants dry evenly throughout. Removing leaves and large stems upon harvest speeds drying; however, moisture content within the “dried” flower buds, leaves and stems can become uneven.

Drying time depends upon temperature, humidity and bud density. Ideal temperature is 60-70°F and the best humidity range for drying is 45-55%. Most flower buds will be dry enough in three to five days before passing to the curing process, but they may take longer. It can take up to two weeks before all chlorophyll — the stuff that gives the “green” taste — has dissipated from foliage. Big, fat, dense flower buds can take three to four days longer to dry than smaller buds. Gently squeeze buds after they have been drying for a few days to check for moisture content. Bend stems to see if they are dry. If the stem breaks rather than folds, it is ready to cure. The bud should be dry to the touch but not brittle. The bud should burn well enough to smoke when dry.

Curing

Even after plants, branches or buds have dried on screens or been suspended in a drying room for five to seven days and appear to be dry, they still contain moisture inside. This moisture affects taste, fragrance and cannabinoid content (potency). Curing will remove this excess moisture and all it contains.

Curing makes buds uniformly dry and pleasant to consume, and preserves natural cannabinoids and terpenes. Curing after drying helps remove any remaining chlorophyll, other pigments, latent fertilizer salts and so on that have accumulated in flower buds, leaves and stems. If dried too quickly, flower buds retain more chlorophyll and have a “green” taste, and when vaporized or smoked are harsh on the pallet and often burn too hot. For some, curing is not essential. In fact, some medical patients prefer the often minty flavor of uncured cannabis.

Curing also allows cannabis to fully dry so that mold does not grow when it is stored. Well-cured flower buds are soft and pliable but dry inside. Flower buds should feel like they are dry and only the dry pliable foliage is holding resin onto stems. Here’s how to cure bud:

Gently place “dry” flower buds in an airtight container. Clear and opaque turkey bags are popular. So are food-grade sealable plastic buckets. There are also bags that reflect heat and are airtight (when properly sealed) and infrared-proof, which protects them from heat.

Write the date on the containers and place in a cool, dry, dark place. Moisture inside buds will migrate from the center of the stem outward. Check the container after two to four hours to see if buds feel different. Gently squeeze a couple of buds to see if they feel moister now, but be careful, resin glands bruise easily.

Open the drying container two to three times a day for the first seven days to release moisture. Take a whiff the instant you open the container. The fragrance should be sweet and somewhat moist. Close the container quickly. If necessary, remove buds from jar for a short time to inspect for mold and disease.

After the first week, open containers once or twice a week for a quick whiff. Do not open too many times or the slow-curing process will stop. Some gardeners cure flower buds slowly for six months or longer. However, after two to three weeks they should be fully cured and remain fresh, firm and pliable. Flower buds can be sealed in containers and stored.

Things to Avoid

Light — especially ultraviolet (UV) rays from natural sunlight — heat and friction hasten biodegradation of resin glands and cannabinoids. Do not place dried cannabis in hot automobile glove compartments, and keep it away from heat vents and so forth. Friction and rough handling can bruise and rupture resin glands. Even with proper drying and curing, brutal handling of harvested cannabis will diminish cannabinoid content.

By Jorge Cervantes

Jorge Cervantes is a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cannabis cultivation. His articles, books (“Cannabis Encyclopedia” and “Marijuana Horticulture”) and YouTube videos have helped teach millions of people how to grow top-quality cannabis. Connect with Jorge on his site, marijuanagrowing.com.

You’ve Grown It, Now Own It: How to Master Drying & Curing Cannabis was posted on Cannabis Now.

Ridgeline Farms: The Cannabis Growers That Brought the Emerald Cup Back to Humboldt

Ridgeline Farms: The Cannabis Growers That Brought the Emerald Cup Back to Humboldt

[Canniseur: Ridgeline Farms in Humboldt County is the kind of craft cannabis farm we want to thrive in the new world of legalized pot. Jason Gellman tends to the land with love and his winning plants shine.]

Ridgeline Farms has won some of the biggest awards in cannabis in recent years, all while working to stay afloat as they watch a sea of their small farmer peers fail to make the bar set by cannabis legalization in California.

Jason Gellman is a second generation Southern Humboldt cannabis farmer, hailing from lands known to produce some of the finest outdoor cannabis on the plant. He says the lands are a part of his blood and his way of life, which is why he says he hopes the culture of the hills will survive through this tumultuous period in California cannabis.

Gellman, who is the founder of Ridgeline Farms, recently took home that culture’s biggest prize. In December 2018, the farm won first prize in the full sun category of The Emerald Cup for their strain Green Lantern. For those uninitiated, the Emerald Cup is essentially the world championship of outdoor-grown pot — and winning in 2018 was a huge deal, since it was the first competition since California’s adult-use market officially opened on Jan. 1, 2018.

Following the Emerald Cup, on March 28, a limited line of Ridgeline Farms’ Green Lantern is now available (while supplies last) for purchase in a few select California dispensaries, through a partnership with Flow Kana.

Ridgeline Farms Covered Grow

Like many other growers, Gellman spent years working under the guidelines of California’s medical marijuana law, Proposition 215, as well as the guidelines that then-Attorney General Jerry Brown provided the California cannabis industry in 2008. But a new era began following the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, which legalized adult-use cannabis in California and ushered in the brand new world of permitting.

While the challenges of regulation proved too much for some, Ridgeline has survived so far. But Gellman admitted that it’s been an uphill battle.

“I don’t even know where to start. This has been a part of my life forever and it is for everyone else around here,” Gellman told Cannabis Now. “I’ve been working on the permitting for about three and a half years — and it’s been nothing but a struggle, to be honest.”

Surviving California’s Regulations, With a Little Help from the Emerald Cup

Gellman said at times it has been very difficult to come out from behind the curtain of the past. The first challenge was becoming a business, as Ridgeline Farms is a family-run and owned operation without the backing of any mega-investors. Gellman is still jumping through the hoops that followed in getting his permits with the county. He said he had to downsize from two properties due to the challenges he faced with regulations.

Prior to the Emerald Cup, Gellman said he wasn’t sure what he was going to do about staying in the cannabis industry or not. Farmers were finding various methods to get their legal product to the world, be it organizing amongst themselves or signing on with large distributors who have made their way through the hills. But even then, their cannabis wasn’t really getting out there.

“Everyone was struggling, nobody was moving product,” Gellman said. “There has to be money to make the wheel spin. We’re paying taxes from every end. To grow is super expensive.”

A field of Green Lantern grows at Ridgeline Farms.

He noted that the kind of soil used to produce champions takes a lot of love — i.e., time and money — just like the plants do.  

“Then, you add in the county fees and the state fees. So, we’re doing all that and then you grow all this product and suddenly there is nobody there to buy it,” Gellman said. “[Licensing] made a real roadblock for a lot of people.”

After winning the Emerald Cup, Gellman was finally pushing his product out to the masses.

“It’s funny because I’ve been growing Green Lantern for years, and nobody has ever wanted it,” Gellman said. “I mean, they like it, but our town has kind of been in the OG Kush or Sour Diesel generation for about 12 to 15 years.”

Green Lantern: The Award-Winning Strain

Gellman first got his hands on the Green Lantern strain from a good friend. He says back in the day there were barely any strains, and Green Lantern was one of the few on offer. “Not like nowadays where there are a million different crosses, there was just a couple,” he said. Gellman and all his buddy’s parents were growing seeded weed.

Gellman’s pal had some OG seeds from many years ago and was always doing crosses. On one of the pairings, he got a lone seed in a bag of some high-end full sun cannabis. He paired the OG-heavy strain with something a bit fruitier, eventually finding single bag seed. After more seeds were produced, Gellman weeded out his winning phenotype from between 50 and 100 plants. It was the combination of fruit and gas he was looking for.

“We stuck with that one and we’ve been growing it a while. Now I know people like it,” Gellman said. The Green Lantern has topped off at over 30 percent THC.

Gellman is proud of the hype being driven by Green Lantern, despite its old school roots.

“We didn’t send out genetics off, we didn’t test it, we didn’t know any of this stuff,” he said. “Everyone getting into it now is so scientific. Listen, I can tell you it will knock your butt on the floor. I can tell you it’s really strong and good. And that’s how we test it.”

Gellman admits the next generation of Green Lantern genetics he’s working on will have some lab work involved, as he hopes to get the genetics out to an even wider audience. He says what people notice about the strain — if they’re lucky to get some, because there isn’t that much out there — is it’s not a pungent smelling strain to grow. However, when you grow it to perfection and dry it to perfection, it smells great.

The batch that won the Emerald Cup was a random 20 plants they threw in late and let go the full light cycle and it came out amazing.

The Future of Ridgeline and Humboldt Cannabis

As for the future, Gellman said “we’re staying small.” Despite a flurry of folks that would love to financially back an Emerald Cup champion looking to scale up their operation, Gellman said he’s not interested. “I’ve been growing for my whole life, and so I’m kind of burnt out a little bit,” he said. Gellman said he wants to focus on doing the best he can at a smaller scale.

Gellman spoke of looking up at the ridgeline of King’s Peak, the namesake for the farm. “I just love my home. I love Southern Humboldt. I love this way of life. It’s a really great community — and 99 percent of the people grow weed, even if they say they don’t,” he said.

He also hopes the recognition he is receiving at the moment is passed on to the Garberville community that been such a major part of cannabis in America for decades with little to no props given.

“Everyone knows the Humboldt name, but we’re starting to get pushed out,” Gellman said.

While Humboldt has the perfect climate to grow cannabis, it’s hard to compete with the acres on acres of fields or greenhouses in places like the Central Valley or Salinas.

“More than anything, I just really want people to know this recognition I’m getting, is because Southern Humboldt grows some of the best weed. I have so many friends and family members, you can’t beat it,” Gellman said.

Ridgeline Farms: The Cannabis Growers That Brought the Emerald Cup Back to Humboldt was posted on Cannabis Now.

Spring Tips: How to Prep Your Home Garden to Grow Cannabis

Spring Tips: How to Prep Your Home Garden to Grow Cannabis

[Canniseur: Grow season is here. Get fabulous basic grow tips for growing your favorite cannabis strain.]

For home cannabis growers, springtime means laying the groundwork — literally — for a successful harvest come fall.

It’s the end of March, and that means it’s prep time for marijuana home growers.

While cannabis is similar to plenty of other crops that home gardeners might be used to, given that the same key ingredients are soil and light, the cannabis plant still requires some unique expertise. Ahead of the 2019 planting season, Cannabis Now spoke with two experts to get their take on how home growers should prepare their gardens for a successful marijuana cultivation season.

The first expert is the legendary Ed Rosenthal. Rosenthal has spent decades educating people on marijuana cultivation, and he said that this year, he will be personally working with mostly older genetics this year. He expects the strains he’ll be working with will be a bit closer to landraces than some of the newer stuff out at the moment.

The second expert is Dark Heart Nursery founder Dan Grace. Grace’s catalog of genetics provides a big chunk of the clones that make their way to California home growers.

Both Grace and Rosenthal said that there are four main things that every cannabis cultivator should consider when setting up their home garden.

1) Building Healthy Soil

“Your garden’s success depends on the quality of your soil. Invest now to feed your soil,” Grace said. “Compost, Guano, worm castings — these are all great.” He added that you’ll want some nitrogen to get your plants off to a strong start, and some phosphorous and potassium to promote flowering later into the season.

“But one overlooked element is calcium,” Grace said. “Cannabis plants consume as much or more calcium as nitrogen! So bulk up.” He noted that oyster shell meal is a great organic supplement for calcium.

Beyond the compounds in the soil, the soil’s structure also matters. The experts recommend turning your soil over with a shovel while amending it with new nutrients in order to improve structure. With enough time, you can even plant a cover crop like clover, which naturally improves the quality of the soil. When it’s time to plant, you can till in the cover crop — and the decomposing vegetation helps build soil.

Rosenthal said that it is “ideal” for home cannabis growers to also have a vegetable garden. He says the similar soil preparation can save you time — and who doesn’t love fresh tomatoes?

2) Selecting the Proper Site

Rosenthal next stressed that home growers should make sure that they choose a spot that’s sunny in the fall, which is when the plants will be flowering — not just in the summer. “You get long shadows and blockages in the fall because the sun is at an acute angle,” Rosenthal said. He also noted if the grower feels another part of the yard is going to be sunnier in the fall, maybe they should plant the cannabis in movable containers.

“Cannabis thrives in the sunlight,” Grace said. “Even partial shade can cause cannabis plants to flower early, especially if they’re planted early in the season.”

Grace also mentioned that if you’re not sure how the sun travels across your garden, try Google Earth’s sun feature. “It’s a great way to see how sun exposure changes over the course of the year.”

3) Thinking About Appropriate Plant Size

If privacy isn’t a concern and you want to go as massive as possible in your home garden, you need to start the vegetative process inside, Rosenthal said.

“People who grow these big plants outdoors, in general, they start them indoors and they’re already three to five feet high when they plant them outside,” Rosenthal said. This saves the plant an extra two months of vegetative growth.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if privacy is a concern over size, you can just plant a bit later in the season as to not worry about height. Rosenthal says sometime around July 1st should do it.

4) Investing in Simplicity

Grace’s next tip for making life easier this summer is cheap automation. 

“We all get busy, and a few missed waterings can really hurt your plant health,” Grace said. “Invest in the spring in a simple drip irrigation system on an automatic timer. This will save you when the summer heat comes around.”

Another time-saving idea for keeping a low-maintenance garden is to cover your soil with a layer of 1-ply cardboard and cover with 3 or more inches of mulch, making sure to leave a few inches between the mulch and the plant stems.

“The sheet-mulch will prevent weeds and retain water,” Grace said. “If you do this on top of a drip irrigation system, you’ll have a practically care-free garden.”

Grace’s final advice was to have fun.

“Don’t stress out about it too much,” he said. “Think about placing your plants someplace you’ll most enjoy them. If you’re concerned about visitors or the neighbors, hide them in the back. If you want to enjoy the aroma from the porch, put them in the porch.”

Spring Tips: How to Prep Your Home Garden to Grow Cannabis was posted on Cannabis Now.

What Puts the Purple in “Purp” Weed?

What Puts the Purple in “Purp” Weed?

[Canniseur: Want to grow purple cannabis? Here’s how it’s done. And yes, it actually exists in nature.]

Weed porn spreads in magazines usually feature one plant with insanely purple flowers. Chemovars or strains like Purple Pineberry, Grape Ape, Grand Daddy Purp, Mile High Purp, Purple Kush, and KF7 can more closely resemble violets than they do cannabis. How does cannabis get such a wide range of colors? And how can a growers cultivate these hues in their own plants?

Cannabis Chemistry: Anthocyanins

The cannabis plant, like any other plant, contains several classes of chemicals. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD remain the most famous, but terpenoids like pinene and myrcene are gaining popularity as the public learns more about cannabis. Flavonoids and polyphenols are additional compound categories slowly coming to the forefront as researchers continue to crack cannabis’s biochemical profiles.

The purple color found in cannabis comes from another category of molecules called anthocyanins. Technically a blue-purple pigment, anthocynanins are responsible for the full range of cooler colors displayed by cannabis plants, from blue to violet. Other purply plants, such as plums and eggplants, also produce anthocyanins. Additionally, these compounds may confer health benefits, such as antimicrobial or antioxidative properties.

The green in cannabis comes from chlorophyll — the little verdant organelles that generate the plant’s energy from sunlight. Anthocyanins naturally reside in all cannabis plants, but the presence of chlorophyll often buries the purple light that would otherwise reflect from the flowers.

Because of chlorophyll’s purple-masking effects, anthocyanins become most visible after the curing process breaks down some of the buds’ chlorophyll. Growers can also force the coloring by fiddling with temperatures in a grow room.

How to Grow Weed So Purple It’s Practically Black?

Black weed? That’s a real thing. BC Bud Depot in Canada sells a plant called The Black known for its unusually dark, deep violet shade. Although The Black’s lineage is a mystery, it likely doesn’t grow this way on its own.

In fact, it’s possible to cultivate purply cannabis plants in a way that minimizes chlorophyll production. To do this, simply lower the temperature during the 12/12 light cycle to 10°C (50°F) during the dark phase.

By lowering the temperature, the plant behaves as if autumn just started. Like brown and red maple leaves littering the streets in the fall, triggering a false autumn forces cannabis to cease chlorophyll production. If the plant already produced ample amounts of anthocyanin – strains such as Black Widow, Black Mamba, Black Diesel, or The Black – with the green gone, it will eventually appear black due to the anthocyanin concentration.

For growers looking for feeds or nutrients to jack-up anthocyanin production, there aren’t any. Only climate changes and genetics can get Mary Jane looking so regal.

What Puts the Purple in "Purp" Weed? was posted on Merry Jane.

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