“After 25 years of being in the public eye,” Kyle says, “I’ve probably taught thousands of growers. Everyone is different and learns in a slightly different way. A good teacher is a good listener: You need to be able to identify their needs and make adjustments to enhance the learning experience. Robert and Janelle were both excellent students. They asked a lot of questions and were diligent in the application of the methods and techniques they were taught. The finished product lived up to our toughest standards and was very well received by the patients at Buds & Roses.
“Robert’s Veganic Blue Dream was very popular,” Aaron notes. “The majority of our patients love a good sativa — and they prefer the flowers we produce. Of course, it didn’t hurt that we also produced Veg- anic Omrita, a high-CBD strain, which is very popular these days. But the Veganic Platinum Cookies flew off the shelf! Since winning the High Times US Cannabis Cup, anytime it’s in stock, our patients will pour in for it. It’s a good problem, I admit.
With no legally safe growing possibilities available in the “Land of Lincoln,” Robert left Illinois and headed west, where opportunity was knocking — hard. Kyle, whom he’d met at the 2013 Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, had offered to take him on as a student in what academia calls a “practical curriculum.” Robert was going to get his hands dirty and, in time, become certified as an expert marijuana grower. Even better, Aaron promised to buy his crop if it was up to Buds & Roses’ standards.
Kyle, the Coach
So Robert, accompanied by his partner Janelle, moved into a spacious bungalow in a nondescript suburb of LA and began his tutelage under Kyle’s watchful eye.
“Over the years, I’ve seen so many first-time growers in small areas succeed above their wildest imagination. Why? Maybe because growing isn’t that hard … but creating the perfect indoor environment is. Focus most of your attention on growing the healthiest plants possible — most certainly, they’ll be the healthiest for you to smoke. If you’re going to call it medicine, as I do, you’d better make sure it’s good for you. That’s why, after growing with every methodology, I’ve returned to organics. And with Veganics, I’ve taken the concept of ‘healthful’ to a whole new level, eliminating any chance of contamination from pathogens, which are transferred by using animal products.
“The most incredible thing I learned was supercropping, watching Kyle break and bend the stems. I was in shock when I heard the cracking of stems the first couple times he showed me. It was hard to believe the plants would even survive, let alone get stronger because of it.”
Robert, the Rookie
Luckily, Robert had a strong family connection: His cousin is married to Aaron Justis, the president of the Buds & Roses dispensary in Los Angeles — one of the nation’s premier medical marijuana outlets, which has garnered 19 Cannabis Cup awards ranging from flowers to edibles. And Buds & Roses’ resident grow guru is none other than Kyle Kushman, the personable, highly approachable cultivation expert (and former HT staffer) who is the creator of Vegamatrix, a line of vegan and organic nutrients.
“The plants grow fast. If everything is right and the plants are maintained correctly, you can actually watch them grow overnight! Also, our crop grew taller than we expected, which led to problems with our fans. You always want to keep circulation above the top of the garden, so the fans have to be higher than the plants.
Proper airflow is essential to a successful grow. When developed correctly, it can help alleviate most issues relating to temperature and humidity. Indoor and greenhouse cultivators have much larger concerns with airflow than their counterparts in outdoor horticulture. As full-sun gardens are at the mercy of Mother Nature, the best advice an outdoor cultivator can get regarding airflow is to not plant a garden in a cold, shady, and damp area.
Proper fertilization and water pH techniques are vital to pushing cannabis plants to their full genetic potential. However, new growers do not need to be overly concerned with the ins and outs of N-P-K ratios, micronutrients, and living soil. For novice gardeners, an obvious first step in understanding fertigation is simply following the directions and schedules of a chosen nutrient line.
In other words, cannabis thrives in sunny and dry conditions. Growers attempt to recreate these ideal conditions in efforts to push their plants to their full genetic potential. For novice gardeners, it is important to understand that all cannabis cultivators, no matter how advanced, are after this same goal. The best way to work towards this goal is by developing environmental conditions and fertigation techniques to which cannabis plants respond favorably. Here are four areas newbies can focus on to help grow the best buds.
Airflow, Temperature, and Humidity
Cannabis plants love light. When planning a garden operation, be it be indoor, greenhouse, or outdoor, light is the most essential variable for success.
There are several ways to ensure proper airflow and subsequent temperature and humidity controls in a greenhouse or growroom. For most hobbyist grows, a relatively simple and affordable intake and outtake air exchange system will do the trick. Expert gardeners recommend that the air in a growroom or greenhouse should be entirely exchanged every one to three minutes for optimum growth and vigor. While a simple air exchange system is generally suitable for most novice grows, certain locales and geographies also require the use of air conditioning units or dehumidifiers.
While indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor gardens each have different environmental constraints that dictate how often cannabis plants should be watered, basic irrigation rules apply to all these cultivation practices. Novice gardeners are notorious for overwatering. While there are countless reasons as to why this happens, a primary one is simply that new growers like spending time with their plants. It is well and good to be excited about cannabis growing, but being a skilled horticulturist requires patience and attentiveness. Overwatering causes countless problems with essential plant functions, from nutrient uptake issues to root rot.
Water For Cannabis
The cannabis plant finds its evolutionary origins in the steppes of Central Asia, so the climate of this geography is rather telling concerning ideal growing conditions for the species. After all, thousands of years of evolution can teach one far more than any grow book. This region of Asia reports 250 days of annual sunshine, as well as dry summer weather averaging around 80°F. Looking worldwide, other famous marijuana growing climates, like those seen in California, are akin to the species’ evolutionary home in Central Asia.
Water presents an extremely important yet difficult-to-master variable in cannabis cultivation practices. As such, proper watering technique is probably the most problematic factor for new cannabis growers.