Cannabis: My very first home-grown cannabis plant
When I smoked a joint for the first time in my life, it didn't take long before I was sold. The psychedelic experience in which the world got a certain magic and I suddenly noticed details that I didn't notice in my sober state, such as listening to music, or watching a movie, was very much appreciated. Pretty soon I decided that weed was something I wanted to spend money on.
Go to the coffee shop or grow your own weed?
I was still in high school at the time and was usually broke. That's why I only owned weed sporadically and could usually only enjoy it with friends, who were never shy about it. They grew their own plants. In those days it seemed to me that growing your own plants was impossible, you probably had to know a lot about it and at that time I didn't feel able to do that. When I finally had a steady job and earned some money, a large part of my wages went to tobacco and weed. In hindsight I spent quite a bit in the coffee shop, before I realized that I was better off with weed from my own cultivation (or that of my friends). Only much later I realized that I didn't need tobacco at all to enjoy cannabis, on the contrary! The psychoactive and medicinal effect of cannabis is much more interesting without the intoxicating, addictive and toxic addition of tobacco. My cannabis growing friends declared me crazy, that I didn't have a plant of my own, even though I love gardening so much! I guess I secretly had a little fear of failure, afraid to make a mistake and invest in something that would not work out anyway.
A good preparation for growing cannabis is half the work
Another spring was coming and I knew: now I should more or less start growing. In the meantime I had started with some tomato plants and watercress. The pleasure I got from growing was great, so why not a cannabis plant? When another spring came, I decided it was time to buy my first cannabis seed. By the time I actually put in the effort, a lot of weeks had passed and I turned out to be on the late side. In the store I was dizzying: what kind would I choose? I realized that I still had a lot to learn about different cannabis varieties. One variety made my mouth water even more than the other... The salesman let me quietly browse through the different descriptions. Eventually I couldn't see look further anymore and decided to go for a 'typical' strain: Amnesia Haze. In the coffeeshop I went for this as well, just like when you order a pizza at a restaurant, because you know that’s always a good idea. I had made a mistake: the small letters had completely escaped me: Amnesia Haze wasn't suitable for someone who didn't have green fingers yet and especially couldn't take care of the right environmental factors, like lots of sunlight (a south-facing garden is highly recommended), enough space... Once I got home, I wasn't quite prepared. I didn't find a suitable pot, didn't know which earth to use and hadn't thought about the fact that I only had space inside the house. In the end I removed a small basicilum plant from its grow box and put the seed in it. I then put this on the windowsill and forgot about it. The next time I went to take a look, the earth had dried out to such an extent that small cracks had appeared in it. When, after another week of waiting, I saw no sign of life, I knew I had ruined it. Immediately I ran into town to buy a new seed - far too late, of course. The salesman strongly advised me not to try to grow a plant now. I begged him to give me some advice anyway. Now that I had finally decided to start the growing adventure, I couldn't accept that I would have to wait another whole year. I chose the fastest growing autoflower I could find: Quick One from Royal Queen Seeds. I could harvest her in two months, from the moment I put her in the ground.
How do you know the difference between sativa and indica?
This time I prepared myself better. I had chosen a fast growing Autoflower with an indica dominant profile of 60%. Indica is a cannabis genus that differs from her sister sativa in several ways. Although there is some discussion nowadays when these comparisons are made. Probably you've heard that sativa is rather psychedelic and causes a more 'creative' high. It would also give you more energy and is not so suitable for people who suffer from anxiety. In contrast to indica, which is much more calming and causes the typical 'stuck to the couch' effect in which you prefer to listen to crazy music, cuddle and drink chai tea with lots of honey. Current research, however, shows that the differences between cannabis are much less due to whether they belong to indica or sativa, but are mainly based on their chemical profile: the combination of, among other things, terpenes and cannabinoids that together produce a specific effect. There is currently a lot to do about these two types of cannabis ingredients. Also in the world of CBD there is more and more talk about the aromatic substances (terpenes) that can have a therapeutic effect on body and mind. Think of relaxation or just energy, removing migraines, relieving joint pain etc... On top of that comes the effect of for example cannabidiol, the amount of THC present in the buds and so on. Now, of course, it is easier for a beginner to make a clear dividing line between the calming indica and the invigorating sativa and then the middle line of the so-called 'hybrid' varieties (about 50% indica and 50% sativa). However, if you dive deeper you'll see that it's not that simple. In terms of effect, a sativa can just as well have an anxiety-inducing and calming effect. An indica strain can also give you energy and make you feel high rather than stoned. Hopefully in the future even more emphasis will be placed on the specific content of a variety and users will be able to make a choice that suits them best.
Physical differences between sativa and indica
Now we only talked about the content differences between sativa and indica. As a grower there is a clear difference between the two.
- Originates from subtropical area (Morocco, Central Asia, North India, Nepal)
- Remains compact in shape
- She has broad leaves with short fingers
- She has a relatively short flowering time
- Originates from tropical area, around the equator. She likes a lot of sun and warmth
- She grows long and lanky. This is imprinted in her genes, because in her natural habitat (for example in a jungle) she has to fight for sunlight.
- She can easily grow 3 meters high in the open ground.
- Her leaves are long and thin
- She has a long flowering time
As a novice grower it is usually nicer to start with an indica (dominant) variety. Commercial (indoor) growers also go faster for indica, because her growth remains compact and she takes up less space and can generate huge yields. Sativa, the slender sister with the long fingers, can reach enormous heights and generally produces less fruit. For true cannabis connoisseurs it is of course very interesting to grow sativa. Most strains are anyway a combination of sativa and indica, to unite the best of both worlds. A good friend of mine has made it a personal quest to find the purest sativa strains. He has enough experience and knows what he's doing! It's not so much about huge yields, but more about unique flavors that you don't encounter very often. When I smoke a joint from his weed it's every time a surprise of taste and effect. Sometimes sweet with tropical fruit, sometimes an effect and taste like walking through a quiet pine forest, sometimes silky and very subtle.
Harvesting my first cannabis plant
As a rookie this was future music and for a long time I was happy that I had bought Spongepots. In these I put the seed, according to the description, and moistened it. After a day of waiting, the seed germinated and I saw a tiny sprig appear. It almost felt as if I had had a baby. I was happy and decided to take care of her as well as I could. Tips I asked here and there and little by little I started to learn. I moved the plant to a large pot and bought some grow food. I made room in my backyard and gave her a nice spot there. Because there wasn't a lot of light and I started growing too late, she stayed small. Still, this was my first step in becoming successful at growing cannabis plants myself. In the process one learns!
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