Growing medical Cannabis outdoors sounds as easy as planting it and then watering it and maybe feeding it and walah Buckets of Buds right? Not Exactly!
I was born down south in a climate where you could grow giant reefer trees but alas the laws of the land did not allow this to be so it has always been a dream to see plants grown in full sun in optimum conditions. I had the opportunity to document a very nice medical garden this year and I was given full access so that I could record the growth of the patch every 7 days. Over the next few months I will provide an inside look to what is a remarkable amount of work and dedication to provide healing herbs to a lot of sick people. All of the medicine you will see grown that isn’t attacked by caterpillars, chopped out early and fed to cows or thrown away do to boytris mold or mildew is given away to those in need. This isn’t some cash crop so lots of the lower branches went to patients as they were harvested, these early immature buds were life savers for those with no or limited access. What you won’t see if some huge money shot mound of buds at the end of the story. This medicine is given away to those with cards as soon as its ready and many people pitch in to do the hard job of harvesting.
As I start this article all but a few plants have been harvested and the bulk of the work is done. This may be a legal garden following state guide lines to the letter but we all know there’s some evil people that would prefer even a legal garden not be allowed so I waited till the show was over to tell you this story.
I first met “Dave” as we will call him in this story ( Dave’s Not Here) in my forums and we happened to share some of the same online friends so there was a trust based on the reputation among these people. After chatting online he invited Jill and I out one day for a smoke out session. He taught me how to make the now infamous, glycerin tincture that day and also send me away with 6 ounces of tasty outdoor meds. Where I come from no one just gives away weed and over the next few months I saw Dave’s Charity repeated over and over again. Now without sounding to weird I need to say this all had a profound effect on me and I started seeing Cannabis in a whole new light. Back east no one would understand this but in medical circles in Oregon Medical Cannabis is Free! Its not falling from the sky continuously but here if we have we share. This simple concept and way of thinking has created a new way of life for me and through meeting Dave I am a much better human and a much more giving person, ok enough sappy stuff lets see the garden. If the world would adapt this simply way of thinking it would be such a better world.
Over the winter Dave and I kept in contact and I started attending his medical events providing clones and seeds to those in need and I was introduced to an entire circle of people that looked out for each other and generally gave a shit about the planet and human kind. Dave and I grew as friends and when it was time to plan out his medical garden I was able to donate a few clones to him and one plant from seed he started just after memorial day.
The first time I saw the garden, I was led down to the secluded area and immediately I spotted the JTR clone that was vegged and trained for 2 months before even going out and was quickly becoming a small bush. Jack the Ripper can be slow to grow indoors and tends to form a short bush with very tight internodal spacing. I could not wait to see how she will perform in the outdoors with the Sun over head to bring out her best.
Dave grows on a hillside that gets almost all day sunshine. In Oregon with a limit of cards a grower can grow 24 plants to maturity under state law. Since we can only grow for 4 months here in our extreme climate these meds have to last patients for a full year so just like any type of farming you hope for the best but plan for the worst. This plot was previously a horse coral and is in a perfect location for this garden. Only in the late afternoons does the sun fall behind the trees and shade the garden. In our area the hard part is finishing the plants before the wet and cold invites mold and mildew, it’s a long long wait before these small plants will become buds. Before the rains come the plants will be covered with green house plastic using metal frames that form a Quonset tent that will prevent rains and morning dew settling on the plants.
Dave uses heavy equipment to dig a bed eight feet deep and thirty-five x forty wide pit. This pit is composted and cared for during the winter months and before each planting season additional manures and compost along with truck loads of worm castings and rich soil are tilled in. The plants seem to grow very slow at first but it’s deceiving because the work is going on underground. Dave is known for his huge plants and I set out to learn his secret, it wasn’t some magic trick healthy plants with huge root mass produces huge Bushes. This confirmed a theory I have had for a very long time and now I understand why plants grown indoors in 11 gallon pots do so much better than ones grown in 5 gallon buckets, it all comes down to root mass When you walk in the garden there are specific areas you have to walk in. This is yet another reason these plant get so large is the soil bed is never compacted. No one steps inside the 4 foot area around the root base and its kept loose and soft allowing the roots to grow very fast into the soil bed.
The first pictures start way back in July when they were transplanted into the soil and its was a nice warm day. I have never seen my genetics run in an outdoor garden personally so I was really looking forward to my first photo shoot at the ODC.
This was a learning experience for me each time I visited and I will try and pass on what I learned.
These are the strains in the garden:
Great White Shark
Jack the Ripper
Jacks Cleaner 2
The plants are lovingly transplanted through out the garden and foliar fed with vulvic acid which helps the plant uptake Nitrogen through the root base. Dave is a firm believer in both Vulvic and Humic acids and uses them through ought the growing season.
I did not get a chance to return to Weeden for almost 2 weeks 12 days to be exact. I expected them to be larger to be honest getting full-unobstructed sunshine every day but Dave explained that most of the energy was going to establish the root base first.
Now I want to tell you about Sportsters Bucket,. Sportsters bucket honors a good friend of ours that makes his way up at harvest and sitting on the bucket helps Dave process mountains of medicine, with him in mind we feature his bucket at each visit, it’s a tease but it’s all in good fun.
I decided to get out and get some late sunshine and fresh air and go smoke a joint with KA and take a few pics of the progress on Tuesday a tradition that would be repeated each week until harvest.
I arrived about 4 pm and by the time we walked down to the garden it was 4.20 so we fired up a hogleg of Cheese and KA made these signs.
Want to see just a spectacular place to get high and talk about life?
Now that the roots are established watch these things go crazy over the next few weeks. I am not sure he left enough room.
July 28th was my third visit to by now my favorite place on the planet to contemplate life was a learning visit and I got to actually watch the installation of the wire cages that will help support the lower buds once they add weight and start drooping due to gravity. The plants are cleaned up at this time by removing any of the lower “sucker” shoots and this allows the plants better air flow and in theory the energy wasted on these lower branches will be diverted upward to the main colas. The remaining lower branches are carefully weaved through the wire cages opening the plant for more sunlight and better air flow.
Before we got started we enjoyed some nice hits of some indoor Jacks Cleaner a Sativa to give us some morning energy and reduce some of the pain that Dave deals with everyday. Dave makes a stern general as he commands everyone around the garden to help with each plant getting them secured just like he wants them.
You can see the plants starting to take off but your going to be shocked when you see our next updates.
In our next article you will see giant plants forming, Cannabis Loving Cows and the erection of the covering tent and the first Bud Shots!
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 97