Now that you have begun your cannabis growing journey, it is time to allow your mind to alternately expand in reverie in order to see what is to come at the end of the growing season and to focus with laser precision in order to take the necessary steps over the next few months that will allow your plan to come to fruition. In that vein, I will offer a few suggestions of things to look out for as you work your way through the process of growing your own lovelies and some possibilities of what you might be able to do with the fruits of your labor.
The next couple months are the time for you to enjoy your plants as they traverse the course from little baby ladies to full-bore grown-n-sexies. The first thing to do in order to flip their internal switch from vegetative mode into the flowering phase is to choose a starting date; this can occur when the plants are four inches tall or when they are four feet tall, depending on the limitations of time and space that you have. On that day, you need to find the darkest place you can and put your plants in that area for one complete 24-hour cycle. This is the signal for them to begin to produce the buds that will be your pride and joy come autumn. After their day in the dark, they can be switched to a 12-hour on/12-hour off cycle using the sun, high-pressure sodium grow lights, or some combination of the two. Check them once a day. Most days, there will not be much to do except to make sure the leaves are healthy, that there are no little creatures building a city on your crop (add some neem oil in your supplies to instantly address and defeat any potential infestations), and that they are sufficiently watered.
Frequency of watering will vary depending on your individual setup with regard to heat and air circulation, but, if you can stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle and not feel moisture, it is time to water. When you do water, do so thoroughly and deeply. If they are in pots, my recommendation is to pour enough water through each plant so that it drips all the way through the bottom, then cycle through the rest of your plants to come back and do it a second time. Beyond that, just pull off any mostly-dead leaves. I’ll touch base back here in July to give a few pointers on some tricks to assist yields.
Now, let’s skip ahead to the fall when your plants are ready. They have grown large and healthy and the past few weeks have seen your colas expand to a state of gorgeous lushness, their trichromes have turned a lovely amber color, and they are ready to be taken down to enter the next stage of existence. At this point you can do whatsoever you wish with them, with one small exception. You can simply cure the trimmed buds in preparation for smoking and be done with the process, or you can decide that you would like to use the remaining trim (and possibly dedicate some of the bud) to create one or more of the possible further refined products possible from cannabis – hash, butter, oil, tincture and the like. That is well and good, but, to paraphrase Mr. Loaf’s 1993 masterpiece, you can do anything you want, but there is one thing that should absolutely, positively be left to the professionals: Butane hash oil, or BHO. Don’t do that.
Starting next week, we will walk through some of the possibilities of distillates, concentrates, and other wonderful concoctions that you can create with your 2017 cannabis crop. Be well til then.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected].