Simplifying The Indoor Home Grow

written by Kaylynn Wohl, photographed by Kimberly Harris

Extended time in isolation has fueled the sparks under our joints to finally pursue the indoor home grow. Although there’s ease with mastering the outdoor grow during Oregon’s glorious 12 hour day/ night cycles, there’s also intrigue to leveling up by bringing the buds inside. 

When parenting your own micro ecosystem, every tiny detail and decision is crucial for the success of your plant babies. Being a baller on a budget creates some constraints on the process. It may be intimidating to start. This simplified guide serves to inspire every homebody home grower to get the process started. Doing your own research for your unique situation is highly encouraged. 

Step 1: Where are you growing?

My first attempt at an indoor grow had failed miserably in Arizona while choosing to set up in a closet with very little airflow. I was also in the process of moving which undoubtedly put the youngling under immense stress during relocation. My research on setting up in a closet was very limited which is how I quickly learned the hard way after coming home to a crispy green carcass.  

The first question you should ask yourself is: where will I grow?

If choosing a room, remember that any and all light the leaves can access will induce photosynthesis. As each strain requires its own specific lightcycle, access to other light may confuse the plant if it’s outside of the scheduled ‘daytime.’ The amount of intended light the plant receives should be consistent. It’s also necessary to monitor for signs of too much or too little light as indicated by the leaves. 

Closets are ideal for a DIY situation, it’s just crucial to make sure the space between the plants and the light source are far enough to prevent burning the leaves or cooking the plant entirely. Depending on the strain choice, some plants may need to be closer to the light source than others. In small closed off areas, you’ll most likely need fans for cooling and venting purposes.

Step 2: What are you growing?

If you’re a real baller on a budget, odds are you may have stored some random seeds you found in your buds. Experimenting with these are low stakes; alhough, the sex characterstics of these seeds will be unknown until investigating after the vegetative stage and before the flowering stage. I do encourage doing your own research if going this route. 

Back to elementary bean sprouts, starting cannabis seeds can be as easy as wet paper towels and a plastic bag. This route allows you to witness sprouting and daily progress growth. Otherwise, using a seed starter that places seeds directly into a soil can feel like a guessing game, though totally manageable.

Researching beginner strains is helpful in the long run while causing far less stress on a new grower. Autoflowering strains are known to provide successful yields due to strong genetics that allow the plant to do most of the work with low maintenance. Personal favorite strains like Jack Herer, Northern Lights or Blue Dream can be a good place to start, depending on what the grower wants for the end product. 

Local shops do provide seeds, though some hunting is required. These are relatively pricier than what I was able to find online like Seedsman Seeds, a European company known for super discreet packaging. Online options are seemingly endless, allowing any grower to find exactly what they’re looking for and see reviews of the process or yield. 

If you’re hoping to get growing sooner, skip the germination process entirely. Plenty of dispensaries around town offer clones. It’s like pet adoption, but they won’t pee on your couch. 

Step 3: What lights do you need?

This question also reflects how much you wish to yield. Monthly energy cost is also a considerable factor. Before making the purchase of what is considerably the biggest investment within this process, I highly recommend surfing the internet for used lights first. 

The three ideal types of lighting for indoor growing are fluorescent, high intensity discharge and LED. For the purpose of simplification, fluorescent lighting is ideally a good start. CFLs (swirly-looking light bulbs) provide an average yield of one to two ounces, great for a beginner. These can be beneficial for smaller spaces where big lamps wouldn’t fit. T5 tube fluorescents are also recommended for a higher yield and can be easily found in gardening and home improvement stores. 

For a slightly spendier commitment, LED lights are highly common for indoor growing. These have a safety component by having built-in cooling elements while also not needing to be frequently moved like fluorescent lights. Typically, more vertical space is needed between the plant and the LED light. Fans are still recommended since LED lamps can be tricky to get the hang with no set standard.

Step 4: What containers, soil, nutrients?

On a tight budget, I’ve tried using local compost but the critters that came along with it made it hard to control the indoor environment the way that I needed to. I was able to bake the soil at 140 degrees F, killing the pathogens and allowing beneficial microorganisms to survive. If needed, I could go this route with cannabis while more attention to nutrient levels would be needed.

Soil is something I don’t mind spending on. Foxfarm soils provide a nutrient dense environment that plants thrive off of until needing later-in-life assistance. During the vegetative stage, your plant is craving nitrogen (N). The flowering stage calls for very low nitrogen, instead needing phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Getting to know the plant’s signs throughout the process is helpful in understanding when to feed it what. Don’t be shy, these are your children. 

When choosing a container, keep in mind that the size of the root space is relevant to the size of the growth. Breathable root pouches are my go-to: they last a long time, washable/reusable and provide the root space sufficient aeration and drainage. Otherwise, five gallon buckets with proper drainage are plenty fine.

Step 5: Happy Growing!

Of course the process of successful cannabis cultivation requires far more intermittent steps and a healthy dose of trial and error. Get to know your grow; usually it will communicate in some form about what it needs from you. If you’re ever unsure, YouTube has everything. We all start somewhere. 

Hopefully this simplified guide reminded you of your green thumb while taking away some of the intimidating aspects. Besides, it’s pretty cool to be able to give your friends a nug you raised. 

If this guide assisted your set up, show us on Instagram @GreenEugeneMag!

Cannabis and The Climate

written and photographed by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex

If anyone has ever grown a cannabis plant or two, you know that they require a lot of love and can be a lot of work. There are both genetic and environmental factors that influence how a plant will develop and what it will look like. It is commonly known that the difference between “indica” and “sativa” varieties is the morphology, but somewhere down the line, it became misconstrued into describing the effects.  

Cannabis has two main subspecies, Cannabis sativa subsp. Sativa and Cannabis sativa subsp. indica. The domesticated varieties of these subspecies include: Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. sativa (Broad-leaf hemp or BLH), Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa var. chinesis (Narrow-leaf hemp or NLH), Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. indica (Narrow-leaf drug or NLD), Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica (Broad-leaf drug or BLD). If you’d like to read more about the indica vs sativa debate, you can do so here, but today we’re going to focus on Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. indica (Narrow-leaf drug or NLD) and Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. afghanica (Broad-leaf drug or BLD). These are the “drug varieties” of cannabis with moderate to high levels of THC. Plants within the narrow-leaf drug category are what some consider to be the standard morphology of a “Sativa” and plants within the broad-leaf drug category would be considered to have the morphology of an “Indica.”

Cannabis morphology is largely based on the genetic origins of the plant. Certain plant adaptations occur in cannabis due to certain climates that they develop in. This is why many Afghani/Hindu Kush strains can have purple shades to them—because they evolved in colder mountain climates, they genetically adapted to their climate by producing more anthocyanins. These plants are also shorter and bushier than other varieties due to their adaptations to colder climates. Through selective breeding of these purple genetics, we have strains today like Sirius Black from Oregon Breeders Group. In the case of your “sativa” narrow-leaf drug varieties, the plants are typically taller and the leaves less dense due to the hotter climates they developed in and adapted to. Next to genetics, the weather is one of the most important factors. The colder the weather, the more stressed the plant can become if it is not native or adapted to the climate. If the climate is too hot, the plant can get burnt by the heat. 

The cannabis plant comes in many shades, such as greens, reds, and purples. Much like chlorophylls give plants and leaves their green color, flavonoids like anthocyanins give plants their orange, red, pink, purple, blue, and even black colors. To begin, flavonoids are consumed by humans through fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods and drinks. Anthocyanins are a specific group of flavonoids. This group of flavonoids includes over 400 different kinds of anthocyanins. Just a small fraction of the anthocyanins you may see expressed in the cannabis plant include cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and petunidin.

In addition to providing color to the plants, flavonoids and anthocyanins have shown to have both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties (Weston-Green, 2019). This is among the many reasons that people recommend using whole-plant extracts and concentrates like RSO and tinctures to aid in certain medical conditions. In particular, the cannabis plant also contains two specific flavonoids, Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B. Most recently, researchers have looked at their potential to help fight pancreatic cancer. Although the research is still new, it is something to keep an eye on in the future (Moreau et al., 2019).

References

McPartland, J. M. (2018). CannabisSystematics at the Levels of Family, Genus, and Species. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 203–212. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0039  

Moreau, M., Ibeh, U., Decosmo, K., Bih, N., Yasmin-Karim, S., Toyang, N., Lowe, H., & Ngwa, W. (2019). Flavonoid Derivative of Cannabis Demonstrates Therapeutic Potential in Preclinical Models of Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer. Frontiers in oncology, 9, 660. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00660

Weston-Green, K. (2019). The United Chemicals of Cannabis: Beneficial Effects of Cannabis Phytochemicals on the Brain and Cognition. Recent Advances in Cannabinoid Research, 83–100. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.79266  

Campfire Cannabis

written by Alexandra Arnett @calyx.alex photographed by Kimberly Harris

Oregon, California and the rest of the West Coast have had their fair share of wildfires throughout the years. Here in the city of Eugene, we have been fortunate enough to not be directly affected by these wildfires outside of the smoke. However, many cannabis farms have not been so lucky when it comes to wildfire, and outdoor operations across Oregon have all had to deal with second-hand effects such as smoke and ash. 

Outdoor growing and greenhouses operations were some of the most affected by this year’s fires. The OLCC reported that over 20% of their licensees were in evacuation areas for the fires. Several dispensaries were lost in Southern Oregon, including Talent Health Club, Grateful Meds, Canyon Cannabis, Fireside Dispensary, and Blue River Grass Station. Roganja Farms and Primo Farms were two farms we are aware of that had plants destroyed by the fires. One cannabis testing lab, EcoTest Labs, reportedly lost their building as well. 

I took this opportunity to speak with a couple of growers located in Oregon to get some information about their experiences with the fires and smoke. Heroes of the Farm is one of several northeast Oregon farms that had plants affected by the wildfire smoke and ash. Pat, head grower and owner, combated the ash that fell on his plants with a backpack leaf blower which seemed to blow most of it off. Pat also noted that the heavy smoke from the fires turns the pistols of the plant dark orange. This, he stated, gives the appearance of plants that are ready to harvest when in reality, the plants have a few weeks to go before they are fully mature. He says he hopes the smell of smoke doesn’t stick through the harvest and curing process.

The next is a southern Oregon farm located at the top of the infamous “Emerald Triangle.” 42 Degrees Farms is an outdoor hemp farm that is focused on growing craft hemp. Shane has been growing cannabis for over 10 years and this last year decided to grow hemp varieties of cannabis. 42 Degrees was extremely thankful that their farm was spared from any flames coming from the Alameda Fire, which started just about three miles north of their property. While the plants did have some days where the sun was clouded in thick smoke, they believe the rains in the days before harvest may have helped clean up the plants. While their plants didn’t show any significant changes, they did have other friends experience similar changes to what Pat described above in their own plants. During the fires, the 42 Degrees team continued to put in the hard work through the hazardous air conditions in order to have a successful harvest this October. 

So we have to ask the question, what does all this smoke and ash mean for the plants? You may remember back in 2017 when the entire state of Oregon was harshly affected by several wildfires, much like summer 2020. That year’s outdoor harvest of cannabis was extremely difficult for growers and many lost money on their harvests. Almost any pound of outdoor cannabis you could find was never more than $800, some were as low as $300, which means that there was plenty of cheap cannabis to go around at the dispensaries. This cannabis had some caveats though. No matter what strain you got, it all smelled like a campfire. 

Back in 2017, as a budtender, I did not hear many customers complaining about the prices for this campfire cannabis. However, no one seemed to be wildly concerned about the quality of the product either, or how the fires may have affected it. Oregon currently has four testing categories for cannabis products; pesticides, water activity/moisture content, cannabinoids and microbiological contaminants (Salmonella, E. Coli, etc). 

Cannabis products in Oregon are not tested for mycotoxins (mold), heavy metals and terpenes unless requested and paid for by the grower. In addition to these testing requirements, there are also strings attached. For example, in Oregon, you can take cannabis flower that did not pass its initial testing and then process it into an extract instead. As long as that final product has a passing test it can be sold. These products can range from not only the dabs you buy at the shop, but cartridges, edibles, topicals and tinctures.

A large part of what makes smoke and ash so toxic is the materials that it burns through. Think about what you have in your own house; cleaning supplies, electronics, wood, paint, kitchen appliances, etc. All of these create toxic chemicals when burned, including heavy metals, which are then present in the smoke you breathe and the ash you see. Fire retardants can also pose risks if used near plants and any water supply.

When dealing with cannabis that has been contaminated by wildfires it is important to run a thorough laboratory analysis. However, this isn’t always an easy thing to do as there are no set procedures on how to analyze potential hazards resulting from smoke and ash damage. Laboratories also are not held to a single standardized testing method.

Aside from testing the cannabis for safety to ingest after being exposed to wildfire smoke and ash, another thing is overall quality. Cannabis plants that have been exposed to smoke and ash undergo a lot of stress, which can be a huge detriment to the plant. This affects the maturity of trichomes, which are what contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes we all love so much. In extreme situations, you could end up with a far more inferior product that is not likely to smell, taste, or look good.

This season, dispensaries may not be letting you smell the cannabis before you purchase because we are still in a pandemic, so trusting your budtender and taking their word for it will be the best way to avoid smoking some campfire cannabis. 

If you would like to donate money to help cannabis businesses that are in need, Southern Oregon grower Noah Levine of Benson Arbor graciously set up this GoFundMe fundraiser. 

Putting “Marijuana” In The Ground

written by Skyla Patton, photographed by Nina Compeau

Cannabis has a world of controversy surrounding it on all fronts, whether it be legalization, decriminalization or social acceptance. While people immersed in the industry work tirelessly to strip the cannabis plant of it’s shrouded stereotypes and narratives, other problematic aspects can slip through the cracks as we try to deal with the big picture. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find the dark roots of a commonplace term in the cannabis industry: marijuana. 

Weed, dope, grass, herb, cannabis, cannabaceae, mary jane, the good green stuff; casual and professional slang thrown around to describe cannabis. Even with the plethora of language that surrounds cannabis, marijuana is the title that has remained dominant over the years. It’s suggested that one origin story of the term comes from Chinese “ma ren hua,” or hemp seed flower (cannabis is the genus of cannabaceae, or hemp when referencing non-drug usage). Underneath the seemingly innocent and casual lingo of marijuana in America lies a trail of xenophobia, racism and societal injustices. 

At minimal face value, the word has contributed to the furthering of harmful and inaccurate stereotypes throughout history. The word “marihuana” (also spelled marijuana) was weaponized in the early 1900s with the rise of immigration from Mexico and the consequential steady employment in available cannabis fields for Hispanic workers. Prior to this, cannabis had been marketed by pharmaceutical companies as a sleep aid and pain reliever and it came in a liquid form. This product was most widely available to the wealthier (and whiter) population, but lower socioeconomic classes had significantly less access to this form of cannabis and were more likely to smoke cannabis flower. Even though the various classes and races generally use cannabis at the same rate, people of color and impoverished communities are systematically targeted for it. This dynamic of class-based privilege is still represented today in the gentrification of high-end dispensaries developing locations in communities that still actively suffer from consequences of the war on drugs. 

Following the wave of immigration, the upper classes of America quickly associated the disparate increasing financial depression and social strain with Hispanic and black communities, seeking somewhere to point a finger of blame. This included their well-known cultivation and consumption of marijuana, rapidly snowballing into an ordeal of systematic racism perpetuated with stereotypes that would have long-lasting consequences on both marginalized communities and cannabis. This downward spiral initiated the path for cannabis to exist as Schedule 1 Drug to this day, defined by the DEA as “drugs, substances or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Elites and politicians of the time, such as Harry Anslinger—the ‘godfather’ of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics of which he served for 32 years—used the unabashed xenophobia and racism of the nation to racialize marijuana and paint an image of violence, crime and fear over both the plant and the communities cultivating it. 

This stereotype spread like wildfire through the United States and white America ate it up as quickly as they could. Images of pot-smokers rapidly evolved from a wealthy white party appetizer to degenerate, dangerous criminals and offenders who were determined to rob the rest of the world of their nice things and sanity. Marijuana took up a new “exotic” persona, and Reefer Madness or The Devil’s Lettuce took hold. 

Narratives spun by politicians such as Anslinger included forming an addiction to marijuana and resulting violent tendencies (including murder or assault), communist brainwashing, and the (dark organ music playing here) furthering of racial equality. Anslinger was quoted in a statement saying, “the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races… reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

These stigmas pushed the images of violence and racism that championed the prohibition of cannabis—not dissimilar from the prohibition of alcohol which would follow a few decades later—which many still struggle in navigating today. It also largely contributed to the deep-seeded institutionalized racism that has carried over to today in casual industry usage of the word marijuana and rampant injustices against minorities within the cannabis community.

While many individuals, either as casual consumers or active participants in the industry, are catching on to the dark roots behind the word marijuana and switching to the friendlier formal term cannabis, it’s important that we get the facts straight. The continual use of terms that are outdated, inaccurate and harmful to any grouping of people is simply another avenue of furthering oppression and institutionalized racism, regardless of historical erasure of meaning and connotation. While it’s important to note that many still debate the origins and etymology of marijuana, it’s also crucial that we as a society are able to identify harmful microaggressions as we see them and address them unequivocally to best protect all members of the communities we’re in.

The pursuit of intersectionality in our verbiage is particularly important to focus on if you happen to be of a community that is in no way disadvantaged by racial or socioeconomic stereotypes and systems—AKA, check your privilege and go from there. Outside of adjusting our vocabulary and understanding the deeper meanings behind the words we use, the next step is to educate the cannabis community on the harms of the drug war and the true science behind the plant. 

For more information on cannabis and its relation to race, check out Race and the Drug War by drugpolicy.org or The War on Marijuana in Black and White, an article published by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Leap Farms: Where the Plants are Happy and the People Are Too

words and photos by Emma Routley

While it may be a struggle for some companies to set themselves apart from the competition, Leap Farms knows exactly what makes them unique — and they’re not afraid to show it. Leap Farms is one of the finest organically operated cannabis producing companies in the Pacific Northwest. From the special ways they care for their plants to their business plan for the future, Leap Farms stands out in the spotlight of the recreational cannabis industry. They work endlessly to ensure their consumers receive the best quality products every time.

Leap Farms especially prides themselves on their 100 percent organic materials. They do not use pesticides or any other chemicals when growing, ensuring the process is all natural. “We don’t grow cannabis, we grow better better people and better soil. The plant and the flowers are just a reflection of our commitment to the other two,” said Beau Rillo, owner and founder.

Part of this process and what helps make Leap Farms unique is their use of Kangen water, along with other methods of integrated pest management, such as predatory mites and other beneficial insects.  Kangen water is an ionized health-based water that comes from a scientifically proven technology, allowing the user to adjust the pH balance (how acidic or alkaline) of the water. Leap Farms uses an alkaline pH of 11.5 to create conditions on the surface of plants where mold and bacteria cannot survive, and a low pH for poison-free pest control.

“We have more control over the water and what it does for the plants. We also keep it readily available as healthy drinking water for our people. What’s good for the plant is good for us and vice versa,” said Brittany Rillo, co-owner of Leap Farms.

Leap Farms began applying this innovative technology on their plants after Brittany discovered its value when adding it to her mother’s lifestyle diet after having been diagnosed with cancer.

“The basic idea is to keep your body at a healthy alkaline levels in order to better combat the basic day to day diseases we all fight while simultaneously battling cancer,Rillo said.

Leap applies this technology throughout the plant’s life cycle, according to Alex Roveda, Leap Farms nursery manager. This homegrown, family corporate structured company cares about what their customers are consuming, and consistency in their products is incredibly important to them. In fact, Leap Farms has never in its history failed a test. Another low-tech practice that Leap Farms swears by is to play exclusively happy, uplifting music on the farm. It isn’t unheard of for the owner to dismiss a grumpy “leaper” from the garden to gather themselves and focus their energies. This lighthearted, self-care focused standard ensures that the plants are around the most positive energy and music at all times.

In addition to their innovative and caring process, Leap Farms also provides the best products for consumers through collaboration with other leaders and like-minded companies in the industry. There was a time when companies were trying to hold up their place in the cannabis industry entirely independently: growing, managing a dispensary, running all the product lines, processing, wholesaling and more.  

Although this method is ambitious and inspiring for entrepreneurs in the industry, doing everything alone doesn’t always appear to be the best method of operation. Leap’s top-notch sales and marketing team came to the conclusion that collaboration within the cannabis industry is far better than trying to do everything by themselves. Through extensive industry outreach, Leap’s sales team has been able to partner up with other companies such as SugarTop Buddery, GreenStar Growing, Pineapple Society and Kumba Hills to name a few. This collaboration leads to the best possible output.

One of the reasons Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery chose to work with each other is because they share the same values and family centric mentality. Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery have many common goals, including giving the consumer the best quality products possible. According to Tyler Carpenter and Cory Eicher, sales and marketing directors for Leap Farms, the value of collaboration comes through teaming up with people that have mastered their craft. This is where SugarTop Buddery comes in: outstanding ability and packaging for the project, on top of being in the heart of Eugene.

Together, Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery are combining forces to create high-quality products for the consumer, such as the Goodsmoke Multipacks.  This product replicates cigarettes visually, however each pack contains ten .5g joints. A single pack of ten prerolls costs $20, and the larger size packaging contains five packs of ten .5g joints costs $100. Leap Farms and SugarTop Buddery are proud of the amount of work they have poured into this product, right down to choosing the perfect rice paper to ensure best quality for taste and burning consistency to making sure every aspect about the product is geared towards giving the consumer their money’s worth.

“Pre-rolls are a consumer product, not a byproduct. I think we are one of the few who look at it that way. We’re trying to change the game,” says Brennan Anderson, SugarTop Buddery’s chief operating officer.

A single pack of ten prerolls costs $20, and the larger size packaging contains five packs of ten .5g joints costs $100.

The future of the cannabis industry also looks bright, and Leap Farms has big plans to keep up with the growth.  During the next five years Leap Farms hopes to evolve into a national distribution company, and within the next ten years they hope to have an international footprint using their foundations and ideals to bring rising nations cannabis and hemp. They also intend on continuing to innovate with new ideas, applied technologies and further develop Leap Farm’s true passion of cannabis and hemp genetics.  

“Leapers” are just as dedicated and devoted to Leap Farms, and describe the working environment in three words: loving, innovative and passionate. They love their jobs and their products, and they are proud of their constant search for new, groundbreaking ways to increase productivity and quality. Most of all, the family and staff at Leap Farms is proud to embody the balance between love and innovation, trailblazing the way to their success in the cannabis industry.  The doors of Leap Farms are always open for tours and information, and they encourage their consumers to get to know their grower and come on by!

Tips for Growing Your First Plant

words by Skyla Patton | photo by Sierra Pedro

The day of reckoning has come: it’s time to grow your own plant. Roll up your sleeves, grab the gardening shovel and … now what?

Facing down the huge checklist that comes with putting your first marijuana plant in the ground can be a daunting challenge. We talked to local Eugenians and a local company, SugarTop, to get the best tips for putting your first plant in the ground.

Environment is crucial to producing healthy, happy plants that will reward you come harvest season. Try to think about it like you would with any average tomato plant or flower; they can’t grow successfully or produce a good bounty in a dark closet or in freezing temperatures.

Prepare your grow space carefully before introducing your clones or infant plants to the conditions. One place to stop by for your environmental gardening needs is Down To Earth Home & Garden. The shop specializes in durable, recycled products and its wide selection of organic, all-natural fertilizers and gardening tools will make for the hardest decision yet. Check out their Eugene location at 532 Olive St., open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closing at 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to consider the air circulation and the space that your plant has. Think of it like your own living environment and if you would have enough room or if you think it’s too cramped or confined.
  • City water can be detrimental because it often unfiltered and can contain chlorine, so make sure you’re thinking about it if you live off of city water. Most often, a cleaning process will be necessary and can affect the overall result you get out of your plant in the end.
  • Keep it simple. Stay away from heavily advertised soils or fertilizers that come with intricate, excessive fancy systems. Mother Nature has set the best examples and should be followed accordingly. Healthy black earth, clean water, some good ol’ chicken poo fertilizer and lots of sunlight will make for the happiest plants.
  • Bonus Tip: Don’t make it too hard on yourself when selecting the strain you want to grow. If it’s your first time, try Lemon Kush, Girl Scout Cookies or Sour Diesel. They are all commonly grown strains that thrive in the Oregon climate.

Lighting makes a huge difference in a person’s level of productivity, so it makes sense that it would do the same for a growing, changing plant. Fluorescent lighting is easily accessible and common in the use of cultivating marijuana plants and can replicate the outcome of their outdoor-grown brethren who receive vitamin D straight from the sun. Heinke’s Electrical & Lighting offers a selection of products, and their store slogan of “catering to do-it-yourselfers”  is the perfect attitude for prospective growers looking to get their hands in the dirt. Heinke’s, open at 645 Adams St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day and closed on Sunday, is the one-stop shop to hook up your lighting.

  • The dim glow of your 60-watt bulbs is not enough to satisfy a growing marijuana plant. Reflective lighting, light deprivation and appropriate timing on the lights can be key to growing a small-scale operation and getting a good yield on your plants.
  • LED is the only way to go. Pay attention to the proximity of the light to the plant; see how it reacts and make changes accordingly. The bulb should never come in contact with the plant itself.
  • Bluer lighting is the best when you’re waiting for your plant to flower. LED lights put out a really nice broad-blue spectrum and generate half as much heat for the plant.

Research the best ways to ensure your plants get what they deserve. Compare and contrast answers you see, fact check their validity with as much reliable information as you can, and then repeat the process all over again. Beautiful, bountiful plants come out of well-rounded growers who spend huge amounts of time getting to know the plant and hitting the books.

Oregon’s Constant Gardener, a local, family-owned company, is a great place to start looking for any of your gardening needs. They offer a wide variety of products to start a garden or maintain an existing one. The Constant Gardener’s Springfield store is located at 2053 Laura St., and the Eugene store is on 990 Garfield St. Both locations are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bonus: Oregon Constant Gardener is offering an Indoor Gardening Basics Class Dec. 2 for $10. Get more details and sign up in store or online at ocgfam.com.

  • Read as much as you can stand, learning the plant is one of the only things you can do to make proper judgment and decisions on its growth. Watch YouTube videos from other growers, find online discussion forums, soak up all of the information. Check out  “The Marijuana Horticulture Indoor Medical Grower’s Bible.” It has all of the fundamentals and basics to putting your first plant in the ground (or pot).
  • Grow only females or mother plants if you’re a beginner. Producing male plants can cause a serious amount of issues across the board if you don’t know what you’re doing. Learn how to sex a plant or have a more experienced friend (or expert) come and check for you to make sure you have the right plant.
  • Make sure your resources are reliable ones, or at least ones you consider to be trustworthy. Follow the information you read in published pieces of work and look for keys that are repeated; it’s more likely to be valuable and useable.
  • Be selective about which strain you want to grow first. Each strain has a different growth period, looks different and needs a slightly different environment. These changes will hugely affect how you go about creating an environment for your plant, so you need to know about it.

Now that you’ve got some helpful tips under your belt from experienced growers, here are a few reminders on how to stay within the regulations for indoor growing in Oregon.

  • Plants must be on your own property.
  • You must be 21 years of age or older to grow marijuana in your home.
  • Four plant maximum in a household. Oregon legislation defines it as any location where you live — it does not clarify the number of people in the home or the qualifications to be a “household.”
  • Remember, the law does not protect you from the federal government or your landlord. Both parties are able to override these rules, so be sure to check your lease agreement and the federal regulations before choosing to grow in your home.