Cannabis and tomatoes have quite a few similarities, like sisters might. They have been developed by people to create a great number of sub-types suitable for a wide variety of purposes. With tomatoes, you might grow one variety for sauce, one for slicing onto sandwiches and a third variety could be those little cherry ’maters perfect for tossing a few feet into the air and catching in your mouth in order to impress your friends and family. With different cannabis strains, you might produce a field full of industrial hemp that could be refined to make hemp paper like that used to draft the Declaration of Independence, some dope-ass sneakers or medicine used to treat a list of ailments from glaucoma to pain to seizures to PTSD. Or you could simply cultivate some gorgeous, chunky, stinky, resin-laden buds that will get you high as a kite without a tree in sight.
Tomatoes and cannabis also grow in remarkably similar conditions – similar soil, lighting and care will yield similar-quality finished products. So, if you’ve grown tomatoes but resisted the urge to grow your own marijuana, maybe 2016 will be the year that changes with a little help from your friend here.
Why would you do this when you have dozens of strains and products available at your local weed shop? Amendment 64, passed in 2012, allows for the cultivation of six cannabis plants by residents ages 21 and older, provided no more than three plants are in the mature/flowering stage. Three plants don’t seem like a lot, but the reality is that outdoor plants (which will be the main focus of this discussion, if only for the reason that electricity consumption and the attendant bills are real issues), done right, can yield significant amounts. Three flowering plants is plenty, especially for a new or inexperienced grower. The three nonflowering plants can be put to excellent use as mother plants, which can be used down the road to take clones from, creating an eternal cycle to your continued growing endeavors.
Indica and indica-dominant hybrids are likely to produce the best results in Colorado. These strains often originated in mountainous regions with harsher climates than the primarily equatorial sativas. They are bushlike, shorter and more sturdily constructed, characteristics that make for easier care and maintenance in the long run. The one pure sativa strain that Charlie and I grew back in the day had the habit of throwing itself to the floor like a 2-year-old in the throes of a temper tantrum if it got even a little bit too dry. It was unfortunate because I do love the sativa buzz, but, hey, it’s Colorado, we can just make a quick stop on the way home and grab an eighth of Haze, Deisel or your friendly neighborhood budtender’s latest recommendation. That would also be the time to grab some shatter, oil or wax if that’s your thing. It’s nice to know that these things are commercially available while you plunge into a whole new universe of soils, nutrients, pruning, harvesting and curing techniques, cooking methods and tincture preparations. Plus, you’ll have more than enough buds to squish into rosin using your significant other’s or sister’s or roommate’s (or mom’s or grandma’s) straightening iron.
Next week, we’ll get down into the nitty gritty step by step of how to get started; until then, be well, DGO.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good.