Grow Your Own

Garden Clippings October 20, 2018

Experience is the best teacher.

To set the record straight, I’ve had no experience growing Cannabis. None. But, I’ve had my fair share of teachers.

Teachers have been easy to spot, they usually come in twos, mostly males and not well dressed. The toque was a dead giveaway. They would jump out of a decade old Dodge pick-up and come straight to the cashier asking for pots, soil, and fertilizer to grow their own “tomatoes.”

I’ve given plenty of tips to bring their “tomatoes” to a successful harvest.

Growing Cannabis outdoors is not a lot different than growing anything else outdoors. You don’t need a greenhouse to grow Cannabis. It will nicely grow from seed to harvest within the time frame of April to October.

Like tomatoes and peppers, if you want to grow Cannabis year-round you will need a greenhouse, because Cannabis won’t withstand frost.

For now, your only source of Cannabis products is the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.  It is expected that certain licenced retail stores will soon be open to sell seeds.  For the foreseeable future you won’t be able to buy a 6-pack of Cannabis plants from your local garden centre.

Once production is on stream, it likely won’t be difficult to purchase starter plants. Like all plants, there will be plenty of varieties to choose from. Be sure to look for a variety that is suited to our climate.

In order to comply with government regulations, your garden plot needs to be secure and not adjacent to playground schools or parks. Plants should not be viewable from outside. There ought not be signs or labels drawing attention to the plants.

There will be a limit on the number of individual seeds or plants that can be cultivated for homeowner use. Once the supply chain is opened, you will likely be able to buy more seeds than numbers regulated, to allow for possible losses or germination failure.

To get a head start on growing plants, start germinating indoors in mid to late April, a month before the last frost date. Put your pot in a sunny window. Several folks have suggested putting seeds in cold water for a few days. Once the seeds show their first signs of sprouting take them out of the cold water and plant in a small pot.

Use a quality soilless growing medium such as Pro-Mix. Soil from the garden won`t do the trick.

At the end of May, when the danger of frost is past, transplant outdoors into the garden or a larger container. Give plenty of light, sunshine and space.

Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning there are separate male and female plants. Females are more desirable because they produce flower and seeds.  In due time it is expected that you will be able to purchase genetically modified female seeds.

Fertilize with organic plant food such as bone meal, blood meal, fish meal and kelp.

Keep an eye out for pests. Spider mites are a threat and are difficult to control without pesticides. If spider mites become an issue, prune the plant, give a blast of water and keep your plant healthy. Powdery mildew, a fungus characterized by greyish powder on the leaf surface might also appear.   Prune and add ventilation.

By the end of September Cannabis should be ready for harvest. Prune the plant and bring it indoors. Put your harvest in large glass jars and burp the jar daily to allow moisture and gasses to escape.

Keep the plant indoors through winter, but don`t expect continuous healthy growth unless conditions are ideal. Return the plant outdoors again in May.

For drying, harvesting and storage tips, I`d suggest consulting with two-toque wearing guys driving an old pick-up truck.