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!
When we last visited the garden we spent the day caging the plants and removing lowers to allow better air flow. I didn’t understand how big they were going get and I was concerned with the amount of shoots Dave removed but I didn’t need to worry. Thinning the garden became a must as the plants grew into each other and air flow was reduced. We stopped by on August 4th early in the morning so I could capture some shots that included some nice sun beams and what a glorious day it was. Dave met us in the garden with his Oregon Green Free T-shirt on and a sprayer full of Fulvic acid that he was spraying the plants with. Fulvic acid Dave tells me helps the plants uptake of Nitrogen and he swears by it veg and even in early budding. Lots of old school growers think you have to start from seed to achieve giant plants but you’re going to see Dave prove this wrong. One plant that clearly stood out on this visit was Eric77’s California Orange a famous cutting that I have grown indoors myself many times but I had never seen it in full sunshine. It already towered over Jills head and the stem was already so think she almost couldn’t close her fist around it. We also tried our hand at Cow Catching that day and when we spotted a few of the neighbors cows over near the fence Dave made up a line with a fat fan leave on it and went to casting. I howled in laughter as the cow actually came over and sniffed the leaf. You will see cows munching down on leaf in the harvest chapter. They love the stuff and we even named our favorite cow “Bogart”.
This was the week of Hempfest so I drove over for a quick evening shoot as the sun went behind the trees. The first thing I noticed was all of the plants seemed to have doubled in size. Dave explained that on my first few visits while the plants may have seemed to be growing fast the real growth was going on underground as the plants dug their roots deep and formed a giant web filling the entire bed he prepared. This is one of the secrets to the amazing size of his plants. I am convinced no one can gets plants like these in containers. Keep in mind Dave is not pouring hundreds of gallons of water on his plants like people growing in huge containers. Water can be a serious issue in the summer and the fact this garden requires very little is a huge plus. The JTR was a good 12 feet around by now and the Great White Shark was over ten feet tall.
The only plant started from seed came from a pack of door prizes given out at an OGF event that we called Memorial Day Mix. It was growing straight upwards reaching for the sky. You can see Dave has started installing the supports that will hold the nursery grade plastic that will keep out the rains and Dew that will start forming shortly. When you see these amazing plants understand it’s a long way to harvest, Dave has to manage them to the very end. Mildew is really bad here and no chemicals will be used in this garden, instead it will be controlled using lemon water and keeping the moisture off with a cover. I would like to see Dave run power down to this area so he could run some fans but hes been doing this a long time and this is his 17th consecutive grow so I tend to keep my mouth shut and just be a good observer. In the garden you feel really close to God or Nature and you feel a over all calm that gives you the feeling of being meant to be! I took time with Dave to smoke a few bowls of Bubble in this amazing location.
When we arrived for our weekly visit Dave had a nice surprise waiting for us. He had his portable vaporizer heated up at Pistils Perch and we started the photo session with a smoke session to shake out the morning cobwebs. Dave spent all week getting the thick plastic up and then daily adjustments so that no water pools up anywhere and equal tension is applied so that it doesn’t sag and touch the plants. In fact he was still making small adjustments when we arrived. This was a bit early to be covering the plants but the weatherman was predicting some heavy rains and the plants are thick enough you really don’t want that kind of moisture to accumulate. The bed that he grows in is nice and dry and that has to help prevent mold and mildew from taking hold. I walk down into the canopy which now towers over everyone’s head in a few areas. The Romulan is over 9feet tall and really starting to stretch out and the massive California Orange and Dannyboy are in danger of touching. It’s hard to believe this is the same garden now as the cover and the size of the plants give it a jungle feel….as I mentioned, this is a very cool place to hang out and we have always felt very honored to have this type of access to such an amazing reefer patch. I won’t ever forget this experience! The Cheese clone and the Jack the Ripper which grow pretty slow indoors were achieving rates of growth I never expected. It was so fun to watch the plants just grow so fast under these near perfect conditions, the Memorial day mix, the only plant from seed was growing several inches per day and was over my head already. You still haven’t seen anything yet as this is the day when the plants actually start budding.
By this point close to 10,000 people had viewed the documentation of this garden at various forums and I think Dave became self conscience because he hand trucked in some cedar chips to make the place look really nice. Actually just another old school trick he uses to keep pest away and keep the dust down. Since this is essentially now an indoor garden this upgrade will keep the plants nice and clean from dust. He also put up a cover over Pistils Perch to block the harsh sunlight that streams down in midsummer giving us a small retreat from the heat of the garden. I broke my bong over the weekend and I had driven up to The Third Eye, a glass shop run by Jack Herer’s son and picked up a new piece and I brought it down for a wake and bake session with Dave under the new cover. Coffee and Bingers at Weeden cannot be beat! It’s kind of hard to gain a perspective of how large some of these plants have grown to so I brought along 2 pieces of wood with eight feet marked off with a black marker. While the marks didn’t show up so well in the pictures each stick is an even 8’ so it allows you to see how big these things are getting. The Cheese and JTR plants are much wider than the poles! Dave tells me by next visit some of the larger plants will be totally grown together. I had to use my wide angle lens just to fit the plants into frame.
In September we will see the plants start budding and start filling out. The Kush’s start to mature very early and turn a beautiful shade of purple and pack on the buds nicely.
Originally Published in Weed World Magazine Issue 98