Posted on May 10 2021
WHAT IS HOME GROW?
(Hint: Do Some research!)
We're going to start with some ground rules for this article.
First, let’s start with what it’s not: "home grow" is not a side hustle. Currently, there are no commercial licenses available to the legal home grower. So, the assumption throughout this article (and anywhere the term "home grow" is used in a legal sense) is that we're talking about growing for personal use.
How much flower do you need for personal consumption?
Again, for the purposes of this article we will focus on growing enough for personal use and smoking (maybe making some cookies as well…) will be our goal. If you want to make edibles or tinctures there are many ways to do so and we have and will be covering those options (including using pots and pans, table top gadgets, recipes and dosing methods) in other articles. All of this is legal, no matter where you live. Everything you need (except germinating the seeds) is technically legal. You might even want to grow some organic heirloom tomatoes after reading this! But for the purposes of this article, we're just focusing on producing flower.
Let’s also assume it’s an indoor grow. Outdoor is possible but you will be fending off bugs—some of which mostly eat your flower! In addition, there’s bird poop, insect poop, wind blown dirt and dust, extreme weather conditions / frosts, and more. And at some point, the temptation to use pesticides may become hard to resist as you watch your crop disappearing before your very eyes! Outdoor is an order of magnitude more complicated, so we're going to assume we're talking about INDOOR grows.
But... how do you actually grow your own Top Shelf bud? How do you get enough for “personal use”? You need to start somewhere… After all, you will need seeds, soil, nutrients, lighting and more.
Ultimately, what we really want is flower that looks, smells and tastes great. Maybe you want to make edibles. Anything is possible. What you also need is THC—arguably the main ingredient in cannabis and the number one reason its been illegal since the 1940s! How much is up to you. If you have trouble sleeping you might want a strain with less THC and a strain that was specifically developed with a cannabinoid profile to help send you into a blissful sleep—maybe after a bit of a “couch lock” high, a late night snack and then you are ready for sleepy time. This would indicate a Cannabis Indica dominant strain—known for their ability to kick your troubles to the curb and help you sleep! On the other hand, maybe you play guitar and want some inspiration to write a new song or come up with a cool new riff. That will call for a Cannabis Sativa dominant strain. Something that will lift you up, also kick your troubles to the curb, and put you in an inspirational, focused (for awhile) headspace from which you may just write the next great teenage anthem!
Maybe you have MS or Cancer. If so, you really need to do some research. Got the Shakes? gone. Nausea? gone. Appetite? It’s back… Pain? It’s better… Maybe someday, compounds in cannabis may lead to a cure for many illnesses. It's already starting... Time will tell.
Sounds great, right? So where do you start?
I recommend a small set up that can deliver 4 ounces per plant, maybe even 6–8! One or two plants. If you use Autoflowering strains, you can achieve that every 60-70 days, sprout to harvest! After a few weeks of curing, you're off to the races! (Testing and sampling along the way of course!)
By the way, there are hundreds, if not thousands of strains available at online seed banks.
Let’s assume you live in a state or province where it’s legal to grow 4 plants. If you do your research, or buy a system with superior customer service, you find you should be able to grow your own Top Shelf bud in as little as 60 days from sprout. Cool! Great! Surprising, even!
Then again, maybe you’re thinking you can just buy some every month at your local dispensary… I highly recommend you do some valuable research first. You will soon find that there is a “cornucopia” of content — opinions and articles, videos and podcasts out there. You have a secret weapon - the internet! As you do your deep dive, you discover articles that will really make you think twice about what you are consuming. You will find that there is truly no Organic certification for cannabis. You will learn about PGRs (Plant Growth Hormone Regulators)—Holy Crap, Batman! The research suggests that although these chemicals have been used for decades on non organic produce—think green and red apples (it's why the entire pile of apples all look exactly the same!) All the green apples are basically the same size, color and ripeness… the red ones too… the Gala apples as well… hmm… So, they must be safe, you trust the government—right? Anyway, I digress.
The point here is that when you drill down to growing commercial cannabis, much (maybe all?) of it is grown using these growth “boosters”. And then you see it—the words “linked with cancer” when combusted and or processed using decarboxylation (that’s the word used to describe how THC gets “activated” — to work, it must be heated first). These compounds are called carcinogens. You have probably heard of them. Not good. I don’t know about Apples, but the research regarding cannabis cultivation is not good news. Why do they use them? For Apples and other fruits and vegetables, they are used for many reasons—look and feel (aka "shelf appeal") being the number one reason. Arguably, a lot of produce is tasteless…
With cannabis, we have been conditioned to believe that “rock hard nugs” are one of the the best defining traits of Top Shelf bud. The smell we all love so much—Terpenes (be it a Pine/Christmas tree smell or Skunk smell or nice fruity or even cinnamon/nutmeg smell)—you will find they use products (while growing) to “boost” the smell/odor/Terpenes. Chemicals in fact. A very long list. Words you can't even pronounce. Suspicious at the very least.
In fact, many nutrients are artificial as well. The bottom line… you really have no idea what’s in the cannabis you buy—be it flower or gummies or whatever. Most states, like California, allow for up to 12 pesticides to be used (think strawberries). After all, they are used on produce and the FDA says they are safe to consume. Articles abound regarding random testing of cannabis by the government with up to 80% of the samples in violation of one or more laws or allowable amounts of pesticides or unhealthy molds (yes, mold!).
Bottom line: if you are a medical patient, you probably don’t want any part of that. At $300- or more per ounce and an average 15% local sales tax, it gets pricy fast. Buy 1/2 ounce of flower, a tincture for your arthritis and a vaping device… you are down $600- or more—this month! What about next month? Think about the year… thousands of dollars.
After doing the research, you decide to try your hand at growing a few plants. How hard can it be? Hint: there wouldn’t be thousands of articles, videos and podcasts—not to mention social media groups at places like Facebook—devoted to just this subject if it were as easy as riding a bike. Some of the information is useful but Trolls abound—real jerks too! Reader beware.
Anyway, let’s summerize.
Main considerations: learning curve, electricity cost, odor (some strains—even one plant—can make your entire house smell like a skunk for a month or more... hmmm…). Where to set up this “Home Grow” system?
Assume you can get rid of all the odor. Assume you can easily buy seeds online—for whatever ailment or mood you seek. Further assume you can even find devices to help make your own tinctures and gummies!
Where do you get the equipment? Typically, almost every town in North America has a “hydro store” (where you can buy everything you need for a small or larger set up) — if not, Google it! Chances are, Amazon has it. These systems can range from 100% DIY to pretty much pre-assembled, ready to rock and roll, like The Armoire. You will pay more for a complete system with customer service (hopefully plant growing advice as well), but you get get a lot more too.
Like anything else, you can go cheap or first class. If you choose a high end, mid range priced system (with good customer service), think of it as an investment. It should pay for itself in the first grow cycle — With Autoflowering cultivars, that’s 60-80 days maximum.
So what is "Home Grow?" There are many ways to execute a home grow, and that's the beauty of it. Home Grow is the ability to grow your own flower at home, for personal use. Home Grow is being empowered to grow your own greens how you want and when you want. Home Grow is the ability to grow clean product, free of pesticides, mold and other nasty side effects. Home Grow is the ability to grow exactly those strains you prefer. Home Grow is the ability to save money. Home Grow is...freedom.
Mr.Bitetti is President and Chief Cannabis Officer at Green Goddess Supply and the inventor of The Armoire — a complete system for personal use with 90 days of Free Concierge Service.