When growing cannabis, everything matters.
All of it. Especially the little things. It’s a wormhole that can drive you bonkers at times, and a little crazy perhaps, but it’s incredibly interesting. Anyone can grow, all you need is light and water. The rest comes in time.
It’s a blank canvas. You can paint it however you want. It’s your masterpiece.
Growing boutique cannabis revolves around a personal relationship that I choose to have with my plants. It’s a special relationship that is hard to bottle. It comes from within. Just as a parent has an instinctual bond to their children, that bond can be created between humans and plants; a selfless love.
Growing boutique cannabis is a direct reflection of your sacrifices and efforts.
The plant is basically Santa Claus. It knows when you’ve been sleeping, it knows when you’re awake. It knows when you leave and go on vacation. It knows when your efforts are mediocre, and in return, the plant will mirror your effort.
Just as the plant mirrors your neglect, the cannabis plant can also mirror your love and time put in.
You know, instead of going out with your friends on Friday night, the choice to stay in the garden and defoliate or clean your walls and floors one more time makes a big difference. Those sacrifices compound. Think about it, if a plant blooms for 70 days, and you make one sacrifice a week for the plant, that’s 10 extra days of love given to your plants. If you make a choice to give 3 days, that’s 30 days out of 70! Imagine what being there every day could do for a garden?
Although not necessary, having a personal relationship with your plants can give you some keen insights that will level up your grow.
When growing, I pay attention to all kinds of things. I observe the size, shape, frame, stem thickness, amount of leaves and whether they are skinny or fat, internode spacing, density, flavor, visual appearance, colors; do the colors change with temperature or naturally through senescence? I pay attention to the color and thickness of the hairs, how it yields, and whether the yields can be manipulated easily with different techniques.
The more you’re in or around your grow actively doing something, the greater that personal relationship is.
The more insights you will gain, and the more your plants will reciprocate that intention. There’s always something you can do in the garden to help your plants. Always. Because of that, the plants will give you what you put in. Consider it being married to you garden.
A big step in any garden is dialing in your environment.
Once your environment is dialed, well, be prepared to dial it in again, because seasons change. Depending upon where you live in the world and your climate, there will likely be 2-3 different “seasons” in your indoor garden. I specify indoor garden, because this is where I believe boutique cannabis is cultivated, indoors.
Various adjustments will need to be made throughout the year to keep your environment dialed.
Having a personal relationship with your plants will give you insight into how a plant is responding to its environment before it affects the plants negatively. Having that insight is a key part in seeing opportunities to fix potential issues in the future before they happen.
If the plant is already suffering from neglect, it becomes a game of catch up.
Each and every hiccup in a grow becomes a game of one step forward and three steps backwards. Compound that a few times, and there goes 1/4 of the flowering time. Just like that, and there’s no making it up once you get that far behind. At that point, all you can do is help them through the hiccups. The plants will likely be fine, they will survive. However, they will not thrive.
The difference in end product from a plant that survives versus a plant that thrived is quite drastic.
You may not even see it with your own two eyes, (some extreme cases you can visually see) but you will notice subtleties when you taste and smoke it– especially when you smoke it. Once your environment is relatively dialed and you’re able to predict seasonal changes, you will have more time to give to the plants.
Neglect is one of the most harmful things for a grow, which is why care and attention to detail are so important.
It’s easy to walk into a grow and say to yourself, yeah those plants look alright, and close the door. Another option is to open the door and observe – really observe. Look at the color of the leaves. Look for spots, or yellowing, or browning.
Do the plants have turgidity? Are they perky or are they droopy? Somewhere in between?
Is the garden crowded, or receiving enough light penetration?
Is there enough air flow? Are the floors clean or is there dead plant matter on the floor?
Taking time to observe the garden and question everything will give you a personal relationship with your plants.
You will get to know your plants just like you do when you meet new friends. You learn what they like and don’t like. You learn what their needs are and help them when they are down. It’s not a one size fits all.
If you’re growing more than one plant, you will learn that the needs of each plant are different.
What makes one happy, might not make the other happy. For instance, you may enter your garden and see that most plants are perky, but one is sad. Their leaves are down, with a mild droop.
Go the extra mile and place that plant off to the side, further from the light. Give the plant a break and see if it responds in a positive way. Once the plant is strong again, slowly introduce it back into the light.
If a branch is falling down, put a plant stake in the pot and tie it up or clip it. If a leaf is 30-40% yellow, remove it.
Help the plant focus its energies on thriving instead of fixing all the imperfections and hiccups.
For many years when I first started growing, I would get frustrated by this amazing plant. I experienced all kinds of frustrations because I didn’t have the skills to problem solve the various situations that growing cannabis will throw your way; anything from floods, to bugs, to pathogens, intersex traits, equipment failures, light leaks, over or under feeding issues, light stress, you name it. There are solutions to each of these issues.
Once I realized my frustrations were from lack of my personal skill set, it allowed me to further my curiosities, questions and become a better problem solver and grower.
It’s too easy to throw up your hands and blame someone/something else. In all reality, my frustrations were because I lacked knowledge and an understanding for this plant. A personal relationship with cannabis plants has taught me many skills. Now, I take the time to learn and understand instead of react. That’s when the magic happens.
Everything I do and see is an opportunity to grow.
I hunger to grow better than my previous cycle, always. I desire to be better than I was yesterday and every day moving forward, in competition with myself. Giving your all to something is exhausting at times, but the most rewarding thing I’ve ever accomplished in my life.
I’ve developed a relationship with my plants that has taught me how to love, sacrifice, put my needs aside for theirs.
Some ask why; I wonder why not? When I smoke the flower I grow, I know exactly why I did all that. It’s obvious why and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The secret is having a relationship with the plants.
When they are sad, it makes you sad. When they are happy, you are happy. Just like with a person you love.
You know that feeling when you fall madly, deeply in love? Falling in love with your plants will allow you to look at them differently and they will respond to that energy.
You want them to succeed. You want to help them stay happy. You want to give them anything they need because you love them. Lights, nutrients, genetics, environment, all of that plays a role, but there’s something special that happens when you develop a deeper relationship with your plants.
It must be an honest relationship, not a selfish one.
You must make sacrifices at times because you love them. Allow yourself to fall in love. The secret is love and positive energy, and that only comes when you have a personal relationship with the plant.
It’s all about the little things. Little things add up.
Never underestimate the power of many small thoughtful and intentional steps. They are the quietest of footsteps, but can also be the most profound.