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Episode 30 - Growing Up




This month Scott and Miranda talk to Charlie, a home grow enthusiast from Virginia, about getting set up, tips, and tricks, and the passion behind growing your own cannabis.



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Transcript


[INTRO MUSIC: "Sweet Leaf" by Black Sabbath]


Miranda

Hello, and welcome to The Heady Conversations with Scott and Miranda.


Scott

Yes, welcome back. We've been gone for a while now.


Miranda

A little more than a month.


Scott

Yeah, something like that. But we are happy to be here talking to you with some useful information. At least we hope you will find it useful. We certainly found it useful.


Miranda

I thought so.


Scott

Yeah, we're going to be talking with our friend Charlie, who is lucky enough to live in the Commonwealth of Virginia where growing your own cannabis is legal, and has been for almost two full years now.


Miranda

Right.


Scott

So Charlie's done a few different grows and has had some great success. He's been kind enough to kind of vicariously take me along on the ride with him through photos and videos of his grows along the way. And we thought with legalization coming up, not only here in Maryland, but in other US states and internationally as well. That you all might like to hear it straight from the horse's mouth, somebody who's been doing it and has had good success and has some words of wisdom to share with you.


Miranda

I really found his interview super helpful. So I hope you all do too. And here's Charlie. So how's it going? In the Great State of Virginia?


Charlie

It is going fantastic. A little cold. Last few days, but good hash making weather. Utilize that to my advantage over the weekend. So yeah, it was I think it was like 18 degrees or started at nine o'clock and did it underneath our deck so it's outside because you want it to be cold. And our neighbors probably thought I was doing something crazy as they were walking by but luckily with it being you know, 19 degrees, you don't have too many neighbors walking by.


Miranda

Like the time I pulled four full body deer out of the trunk of my car that we're wrapped in plastic bags. I do Taxidermy, so yeah, my neighbors were like, we're just gonna go inside and pretend we didn't see that.


Scott

are the time I saw my neighbor pulling broadswords out of the trunk of his car. And that's when I figured out that I lived a few doors down from the king of the Renaissance Festival. I pull up in this guy's taking swords out of his trunk. I was like, I don't mean to pry. But, you know, like, What the hell is going on here? And he looks at me and he goes, Oh, there for work. As if the conversation and right I just like shrug that you know, I'm Italian. I talk with the hands a lot. So yeah, I look at it with the hands up in the air like, buddy, you didn't answer anything. He's like, Oh, I'm the king. And I'm like, oh, okay, now we're getting somewhere.


Miranda

Of the Block? Of the world?


Scott

Medievil Times?


Charlie

Now, I didn't know they got to bring the swords home. That's pretty, pretty neat. And I thought they would stay at work. So that's pretty interesting.


Scott

He had all his stuff. Anyway. So yeah, we will go through and do like a little intro after we're done talking to you. And, you know, explain who you are, and all that good stuff. But in the meantime, yeah, I guess let's just start at the beginning. You know, give give people a little bit of background on how long you've been doing this at this point.


Unknown Speaker

So, I haven't been doing it too long, Virginia actually started the legalization process in 2020. And then kind of revote it on some stuff and pass some stuff where July of 2021 it was legal to start growing. So I found out about that. I believe that in May, and immediately started doing my research and had my tent all my equipment, everything ordered and ready to go for July 1 2021.


Miranda

That's fabulous.


Scott

And that's why, you know, in case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, that's why we're talking to you now. Right? Because we try to focus on education, we try to focus on what different laws are going to mean for the cannabis end user in Maryland or in whatever market they happen to be in. Right and but it just so happens that Maryland legalized growing at the same time that a few other states did too. So there's a lot of people that are in the position right now where you were in May of 2020 You know, going shit, I gotta get ready. You know, I want to be ready to roll till the minute I'm allowed to put put seeds in the ground and get rolling. So yeah, I mean, that's the, you know, the fact that you haven't been doing it long is kind of perfect, because, you know, we talked about having somebody on from a commercial grow. And that's certainly a conversation, we still want to have an expertise that, you know, that we are absolutely interested to.


Miranda

Right, because none of us are goning to be growing on that larger scale, either. So, you know, getting the perspective of someone who grows at home, I thought it was way more or we thought was way more important than a grow. And to talk about growing, essentially, right. Yeah.


Scott

Had you had any previous growing experience? You know, I've talked about some of my juvenile experience before, just throwing seeds in the ground or whatever. But


Charlie

Similar experience there throwing seeds off the back deck when I was a younger kid. And, surprisingly, they popped up. I did make one serious attempt that ended up turned out to be a male plant, which was such a bummer.


Scott

Sad trombone.


Charlie

So yeah, live and learn.


Miranda

Do you generally like to plant with feminized seeds, or auto flowers? Or what's your what's your poison in that regard?


Charlie

Sure. I'm stuck to feminized seeds. And my kind of reasoning a methodology for that was, it's a little bit more expensive, but time effort, all that stuff, it's a limited resource. And I just don't see from a home grower perspective, when you only have the opportunity in Virginia to legally grow four plants, to roll the dice like that and spin risk getting a male plant in there and potentially having to pull it out and start all over again. So I've definitely stuck to feminized seeds, for all my grows.


Scott

And we've talked about before on the show, there's, you know, you can get auto flower seeds, feminized seeds, you can get--


Miranda

Feminized auto flower.


Scott

Right. I mean, it's, it's like you said, Pick your poison a really is a pretty large market at this point. I think you mentioned that you order your seeds online.


Charlie

I do. So I would say if you guys are out there, you knew you're looking to get started with this, do your own research, get online, check it out. There's quite a few good sites online, I actually ended up going with a company called North Atlantic Seed Company, which is Maine base, and I think a woman owned company out of out of Maine. So they're here in the States, so not having to come across any sort of, you know, interstate lines or anything like that sketchy. So the other one I was actually looking at was ILGM, or Ilovegrowing marijuana.com. It's a, it's a great site. They're I think they're based out of the Netherlands, though, and definitely more expensive, I would say where you weren't, I wanted to be able to try to grow a couple of different strains every time. So that didn't really kind of interest me as much just because they were doing deals for like 10 packs of seeds and wasn't quite what I wanted. So I stuck with North Atlantic Seed Company.


Scott

So so how many of the seeds per strain? Do you get at a time?


Charlie

Typically, I try to stick to the three packs. Yeah, pretty good deal. I usually like to do that because it gives you a little variety. You can do two, you can do one. Mix it up a little bit.


Scott

That's cool.


Miranda

Do you do one seed per pot?


Charlie

I do one seed per pot. Yes.


Miranda

Okay. Because I when I grows all sorts of messes of stuff. I don't always put one seed in the pot. So just to clear up for clarification sake.


Charlie

No, no, that's good question. I've been sticking to one seed one pot. Initially, I did just kind of let it grow to see how things worked. Let it grow like a Christmas tree. But the last two grows that I've done. I have mainlined each of those and just off of one seed starting off with that and it's worked out really well.


Miranda

Right on.


Scott

Let's see. You mentioned that you grow in a tent, right?


Charlie

Yeah, yes.


Scott

So what size tend to you in Virginia you're allowed to grow four plants currently, right?


Charlie

Four plants currently per adult. I'm sorry, four plants per household. I thought it was gonna be adult so I actually thought it was going to be able to grow for my wife as well, which was super exciting to have eight plants and then read the fine print of the law and it was four per household. But I would say, I'll tell you about a mistake I made here, I started off and made the mistake of kind of focusing on just getting everything up and going and I wasn't thinking long term, and ended up purchasing a five by five, Mars Hydro Grow tent think it was maybe six feet tall. And it works, right, you can fit four plants in there. But the kind of thing I learned and kind of the pitfalls of that, were having that square configuration, you have to kind of stack your plants instead of having them in one row, side by side, I had to wait you know, too deep side by side. And you don't think that's going to be an issue until you actually get into your flower phase. And later on in veg when you're trying to trim when you might have to, you know, kind of actually have to take those plants out. And that's not something you want to be doing when, especially when you're flower phase because you don't have to move the plants, breaking something dropping the plants. So that was a mistake I made. And immediately after going through that first grow, I kind of cut my losses and said, I'm going to move to a rectangular four by eight tent. And that's what I'm sticking to now. I absolutely love it. It's four by eight and I think it's about 96 inches tall. So eight feet tall. You want a taller tent? And people are probably like, why do you want such a crazy tall tent, you do a couple of things that you most people won't think about that. I definitely plan for but not as much on that first five by five, but more on the four by eight. When you put in your pots or your mesh fabric pots or whatever you're using as your, you know, whatever, you're gonna keep your plants and that's going to take up close to 10 to 12 inches right there off the base. So this, you're gonna put the seed in the soil there at the top, you're already losing a foot of Grow Room at the top of the tent, you've got to have space for your lights at the top, because you don't want them right up against the ceiling. You know, you don't want a potential fire hazard there. And you're also going to want to have room to have a carbon filter in there to remove the smell. Because if you're like me, you're growing indoors in your house in your basement. And you don't want your entire house to smell like cannabis. So one of those things that you do want a taller tent. Just because you're gonna lose a foot to the pot, and you're gonna lose a foot to two feet at the top. That's that filter as well as your your lights.


Scott

Awesome.


Miranda

Right.


Scott

And I would imagine, I mean, you're not a short guy, I would imagine it's just generally easier to get in and do the work that you've got to do. When when you're not hunched over or ducking under your light to get to things.


Charlie

So much easier. That height is again, so critical. Because you're right, you're going to be bending over it. And I'm telling you it is going to it's going to bother you're back to being in that hunched over poses your trimming, trying to get all the branches and kolas to be spread out and get light that height really helps. And again, having that rectangular 10 as opposed to a square and not having the plants kind of stacked in there just having them that nice long row. It was so much I mean, I can't tell you guys, I really did not want to spend the money on the new tent. But I'm so glad that I did. It was totally worth it.


Scott

So you mentioned mesh pots, I think is that what you use for your your grow?


Unknown Speaker

I use fabric mesh bots, this time decided to go that route. And I decided to go with a soil based grow medium. That was a decision just based on personal, you know, that is a personal decision. I gone into our local grow hydroponic store that we have here. I think they're called Lucky roots. I talked to the people behind the counter and kind of they walked me through some hydroponic setups, and I'll tell you guys, you're gonna spend a lot of money on your lights, your tent, your other things, trying to get that hydroponic setup was just a little bit too much money for me at the time. So I went with the fabric mesh pots and just a regular soil base to start. And I think that is definitely the way to go for new growers just because it's cheaper to go and get that soil and start like that. And as you're growing soil is a lot more forgiving as it comes down to it. It's gonna allow you a lot more room to make errors and, you know, not mess up on your nutrients.


Miranda

So, that's interesting, because I thought that hydroponics would be a little bit easier with the investment, but that's good to know.


Charlie

I think that if you're somebody who's savvy and really on top of your stuff, I do think and looking back on it, you know, hindsight is 2020 Right? If I could do it all again. I do think I probably would have gone with a hydroponic setup from the start. I'm glad that I went with soil to learn some stuff. But I'm at that point now where I think hydroponics can be the next step. So definitely something to look into.


Scott

Interesting. Yeah, I mean, when it comes to, like you said, it's more forgiving with the soil, I wonder if that's because the delivery of those nutrients is so instant, in a hydroponic system, right? Those roots are living in whatever solution you're giving them, as opposed to, you know, no matter how, well you're getting your nuits down into the soil, it's still getting absorbed through that layer of whatever the medium is, well, like you said, you're using soil, but whether you know, cocoa husk or, you know, whatever, different people that, but yeah, I mean, the consensus online to that I see definitely seems to be to start with those fabric pots and soil. And what what size pots are you using.


Charlie

So they initially started off with five gallon pots. Now I'm using 10 gallon pots. And that was a spatial thing. The five gallons worked better in that five by ten. But moving to the four by eight, I had this space, I went to the 10 gallon fabric mesh pots, and I've reused those fabric mesh pots now for two grows, and I'm hoping to reuse them for a third. So they've worked really well. You would think that the root ball in there would you know, take up the whole space. It actually doesn't. It's kind of surprising. I'm hoping at some point in time, clean all the roots, the root ball and kind of dip that in the resin? I think that'd be a cool kind of thing to keep around down there in the room though. But um, yeah, that was something I was just like, as an emptying those out, I thought it was gonna have, you know, the roughest time and they slide right out if you kind of let them sit in the dehumidifier for a couple of days.


Scott

Speaking of humidifiers, are dehumidifiers, right? I mean, what do you need to grow? You need your lights, you need your airflow. And you need humidity, so what are we what are we using inside the tent to control those those growing engines?


Charlie

Okay, so I can kind of run you guys through my list here and mind you, I have gone crazy and spent a little bit too much money, I want to put that out there because I don't want people listening to think that they need to get everything on this list. They don't. This was just, it's one of those things where it's like golf, if you play golf, half the fun of playing golf is getting clubs and all of that. Right? Same kind of thing here. So I started off with a 650 watt LED. I think it's like a six or an eight row of LEDs. Broad spectrum with red light and all that good stuff. I ended up adding another 250 watt LED light when I got the four by 810. So as you can see, it's I think I got what 900 watts right in there. I've got two smaller circular modulating fans that are oscillating, I should say that are on the ground that kind of helps circulate the air. Keep everything moving there. I've got an irrigation system that actually went a little bit crazy for but that actually wasn't too expensive on Amazon just to get the tubing and stuff and why did I go in that direction? I don't know I'm getting older now and bending over to have to like hand water the plants was like really bothering my back. And I know that sounds ridiculous but oh man.


Scott

Honestly, a lot of people who are going to be growing their own medicine are people that have serious medical issues. Maybe people that are dealing with you know limited abilities physically or what have you. So yeah, irrigation, if you can set it up and figure it out. Why not?


Miranda

Why not simplify it for yourself.


Charlie

Super simple too I thought it was going to be something where you needed an engineering degree, but everyone on got a simple one that they make for your yard, cut this stuff myself and got a pump for your aquarium and that runs the whole thing. And again, my friends are kind of saying it was a little overkill, but the thing that if you have a water source in your grow space, kudos to you and that's fantastic. I was not fortunate enough to have that. So I unfortunately have to walk through my basement out one garage door and then another door to our outside spigot to turn on the water. So hauling back. I think it's doing eight gallons every couple days there towards the end of Our that can be very tedious. So being able to make it simpler have that irrigation system was super crucial. The most important thing I would recommend for everybody out there besides the carbon filter, if you're growing in your house, I know that we all love that smell. But I'll be honest with you, if you don't have that filter, it's going to be to the point of being overpowering and make you nauseous. So invest in that filter. And as part of that filter, you're going to want to get a nice inline fan. That is probably the most important thing, I would say I have it's eight inch inline fan that it's got circular flex running into the tent. And then I had to kind of running out and just over into another room because really, with a four by eight tent, you only need to control the conditions in that tiny space. That's really the advantage of having a tenant is having that controlled conditions there, you can keep it at the exact humidity and temperature that you want. So adding that fan on there, my fan has an auto programmer for humidity and temperature that I auto set that if it hits too high and temperature kicks on and cycles it out, if the humidity gets too high or too low, it cycles it on. That is definitely I would say one of the better things that you want to invest in as a good fan. As well as a good program programmable, like outlet plugin, that is probably the most clutch thing that I have. You set it all up, you set it and forget it if you will, which can honestly be really nice. But you do want to make sure you go back and check it every day. But having that programmable plugin outlet is worth its weight in gold does are actually really cheap online, too. They're only, you know, maybe 10 or 15 bucks. But having that seven day programmable, so you can program your stuff. super crucial. The only other thing I think I have in there that I was, I would recommend to people just because this is a lot of time money investment, you know, you don't want anything to happen to your plants while you're out of town or something like that. I did get a temperature humidity sensor that has Wi Fi so I can monitor it. If we go out of town. I don't know what good that would do me while I'm out of town. But I could hopefully call a neighbor and ask them to do something. But that was also just like I said, Give me peace of mind that was really helpful, you are going to want a humidifier, smaller one, one of the tiny ones you can put beside your bed for the seedling stage, you'll probably use that for the first couple of weeks. And then you're going to want a larger, you know, in basement dehumidifier towards the end of that veg and your flower phase. So again, lots of stuff to buy, you want your lights, you want your fans, you want your mesh pots, you want your irrigation system, your liners for the ducted fan, your carbon filter, all that good stuff. If you had to like pick on a budget, I would say stick to tent, Invest in a good light. Don't skimp on your light. That's one thing that I would say don't do that, I know that the initial cost of the light is probably going to freak a lot of people out but the better quality light, the better quality your end product so don't don't get sticker shock and and walk away and think about it as an investment as we kind of looked at it, you're gonna be running that light for hundreds of hours for each grow over the course of three to five years hopefully. So that is something I would definitely say if you're hesitating and you're trying to pick where to spend your money buy good tent with good zippers, buy good light by yourself a couple good things.


Scott

You said the original tent was a Mars Hydro and we're not sponsored by anybody and Charlie's is not sponsored by anybody but we just want to give people information that they can use right so. Was the second tent Mars Hydro as well?


Charlie

I actually ended up going with a Gorilla Grow tent for the next tent. They're a little bit pricier and the higher end for your tent market and again, don't feel like you need to go and get that top end of the line. And it is an investment though so you're going to get what you pay for but I went with the Gorilla because the support system that they have at the top of the tent and there's the support system is insane I can actually go and do a pull up off the top of my tent with the way the bars are set up. And I weigh close to like 200 pounds. So I you know you've done all that heavy stuff, your lights, your your filter, all that other stuff in there. I ended up going with the Gorilla Grow tent and they actually and again I'm not sponsored by them or anything but they are one of the taller tents that are out there. It comes with a natural 12 inch extension that will put you at 95x96 inches, which again that's close to eight feet so definitely, definitely Something that, like I said, Mars Hydro, I think is another solid brand. I picked that up off of Amazon. Amazon actually has an amazing selection for all this stuff. It's pretty wild. But yeah, it's pretty interesting. But I ended up getting the Gorilla Grow tent from our local hydroponic store because I wanted to buy local.


Scott

Nice. Yeah, I mean, that's what we always recommend as well. And I was about to say most of the head shops now have grow tents right in their window. Yeah, they want you to know that they are here to help. And we were talking about one of the head shops just posted about seeds for sale the other day as well. So it's definitely a part of Yeah, a market that people are being catered to. And I think what type of store you go to, for those products is going to determine your selection, because we definitely have like actual hydroponic grow shop, right.


Miranda

And then there's ValleyView Farms and all of those other places, right.


Scott

But then there's also just Karmic, and I shouldn't say just Karmic Connections, a great shop that I've been going to for a long time, also not a sponsor. But yeah, they've they've got tents now too and different supplies, like lights, man, I think, nutrients and things like that as well. So yeah, shop local, if you can, for sure. Like Charlie said, don't feel like you've got to get the biggest tent right off the bat.


Miranda

Right.


Scott

I've got friends that are literally growing, the tent that they have is the size of a dorm fridge.


Miranda

Oh, my goodness.


Scott

And it's just one plant, you know, and that's what they're, that's they're growing, and they actually grow up a nice flower. But yeah, you know, if you've got the room to grow, four different plants, four different strains, right? Is that what you do, Charlie?


Charlie

That is what I've started doing. initially started off, I was doing two and two. And I just wanted more variety, I guess, just started going to one screen, one seed per pot.


Scott

And how do you select the seeds that you get the strains that you pick? What do you look for when you--


Charlie

That's actually kind of funny. So the first the first strains that I picked, which, I mean, this was going back to my teenage kid, and I was given that kid like, it's like, I got you kid. I went off the pictures. I mean, I got online, and I had the coolest looking plants I could find. And I, you know, I don't think I had anything based on any THC content, any of that stuff. I picked what I thought looked coolest and ended up being and I think it ended up growing a Blue Gelato and Cream Caramel. The Cream Caramel came out great. The Blue Gelato did not. On the second run, actually did focus more on THC content, and ratings from a couple different spots on line. And then most recently, I selected all of my strains to do a hash run, so it's gonna make hash out of the entire product.


Miranda

Wow.


Scott

Right, so tell us a little bit about that. You're talking about Bubble Hash, right?


Charlie

Yes, sir. So, and again, I want to give you guys kind of advice from pitfalls that I've run into. I love growing, I think it is the coolest hobby, and I'm gonna continue to do it for the rest of my life. It's very soothing, very therapeutic, I find it to be quite relaxing. However, at the end, when it comes time to trim, it is absolutely miserable. The first time I trimmed, I think I took some it took something like 27 to 34 hours. That was me individually trimming. And it was awful. The second time, again, another 24 hours. So that is where I've now decided that I'm going to try just to try to make bubble hash out of the entire grow that I did just a few weeks ago and finished up on so little bit different thing about Bubble Hash. What you're doing instead of trying to dry sift, some people might be familiar with that where they'll take the the flower, they'll put it into a container or a box or something like that, shake it get that screen they get all the kief to drop off. With Bubble Hash, you're still trying to extract this trichome heads and get them to break off the flour. But you're actually doing that and utilizing water to do that. So through the use of a mechanical means like a smaller kind of personalized laundry machine or just in a bucket. What you do is you kind of add an ice add in the flour, add in water, agitate for 10 to 15 minutes, let it sit for 5 to 10 And then you use a series of they're called bubble bags is the one that I was using. But they are a set of screens that you'll put over like a five gallon bucket. And you'll take that slushy mixture of water, and cannabis and all that stuff that's been mixed up, pour that through their screens. And then as you remove each screen, you'll just scoop out the trichome heads which are going to be what is going to be made into your bubble hash. So that is what I'm trying this time. In an effort not to trim. But I will say for anybody going this route, do research beforehand, you don't want to just decide to make bubble hash without doing your research, you want to pick strains that are good for making hash that have tried them as they're going to break off easily, they're a little bit more oily. If you don't pick the right strains, you could completely waste your flower. And that is not what you want to do. I'm currently debating whether or not I have wasted the last girl right now. If I'm being perfectly honest with you.


Miranda

Oh, no.


Charlie

But um, it's just one of those things where when you go in and you see all the flower, you get big eyes, and then you just have to realize, if you're committed to making hash, your yield is going to be I think 3% of whatever your weight is. So Oh, yeah, it is. That was eye opening. I didn't quite get that little bit when I decided to make it. And then this weekend, after spinning pretty much all of Saturday out there and 18 degree weather. I was looking at my yield. And I was like, man, I've got like 7 and 10 grams. It's still wet. I think it's 10 grams, what the it's dried down to like 6 or 7. And I started off with a 217 grams. So huge loss in yield. But you live you learn you try everything once, right? So--


Miranda

If you could see our faces right now.


Charlie

I'm sure.


Scott

Well, Miranda hasn't seen the pictures I have. Charlie and I are in a chat together. And Charlie shares progress. of his grow, with myself and a few of our buddies and I've seen the giant bags of product that got turned into that teeny amount of hash.


Charlie

I'm sure that was only one bag, only one bag. So okay, we've got more to go. But I mean, again, you're talking 217 grams down to seven. So I don't know, I'll be honest with you guys. Again, try it if you want. But be open to the fact that you know that yield is just not quite there. So far, though everything's gone really well with it. I am on target for the 3% yield. But I do not know that I will do this again. This way. Now, to not totally freaky I did cherry pick all of the tops of the kolas from each plant I had.


Scott

I saw the pretty bag you set aside, I set those aside as a couple ounces, right?


Charlie

It was a couple ounces. So I did save it I'm in the process of curing that by itself right now. The good thing with making the hash though is you can set it in your freezer, the you know the flower and all that and make it as you have time and recently I've been busy with some stuff going around the house and haven't had the time where if you were committing to trimming, you are committed to trim it you can, right just not not trim. If you pass that window, you're going to have that hay tasting smelling flower. But again, plan that all out. I mean, the last time that I trim, I ended up taking off two days of work to do that. I tried to time it where it was going to fall on the weekend. And I did in a trimming on the weekend for Saturday and Sunday. But that was only eight hours. It took me like 27. So yeah, but trimming is not fun, but it's worth it. It's definitely worth it.


Scott

Well, I mean, you get crazy yields off your plants. And I you know, that's not a problem that some people are going to have for quite a while. If we're if we're being 100% honest, not everybody has the same level of green thumb and the--


Miranda

The patience.


Scott

Yeah, the patience, the resources, the conditions, right. I mean, you've got to be able to control the climate, not only in the tent, but outside the tent to a certain degree too. I know. One of my buddies that grows, loses a huge portion of his year because his basement gets so hot in the summer that he cannot you know he would he could control it but he would have to be spending ridiculous amounts of resources to do so. And, you know, at that point, what's the point, right? You know, you're it's, it's like I make wine with my family, and it's delicious wine, but it's like $22 A bottle, when you do the math on it, it's not the most economical way to drink wine all year long, but to make a couple of cases of it, to have a nice story and have something to give people as gifts. So cannabis is kind of the same way, if you're trying to make an industry out of it. That's one thing. But if you're just trying to grow a decent amount of smoke to keep yourself in our medicated for a chunk of time, then yeah, not as much of a time drain or resource drain as as a setup like Charlie's All right.


Charlie

Again, you don't need more than four plants, four plants is going to suit you fine. That'll four plants. And Scott, you know, kind of how much I smoke, probably smoke up there. I mean, too much, way too much. I mean, it was way too much. Before plants, for an individual user, even somebody like me, who's smoking three, four ounces a month, you're gonna be able to smoke in your own supply, assuming you do everything. Well, to have a good yeild, you should be fine for several months. I mean, it's definitely something that I would say can be economical, as long as you just don't go too crazy with it.


Scott

Yeah, I should point out, you know, you said that four plants is fine, that assumes going from seed to harvest, right?


Charlie

Correct.


Scott

As opposed to the other method that we've discussed a lot on the show. And that's why I argue that programs should have more plans and the Pro and we applaud the programs like Missouri that do that recognize that some people are keeping a mother plant, and then they're cloning off that mother plant and developing those clones to a point to sex them, and then figure out which ones look the biggest and baddest. And then go and, you know, so I'm not arguing with what you say about four plants being enough to you know, produce a good yield, but that's in the system where you're, you know, either acquiring clones from someone else, or going from seed to harvest yourself, and not somebody who's decided to go the cloning route.


Charlie

Well, 100% agree. And that's one thing that I really am in agreement on, because I just missed out on that. I mean, with only growing four, you don't have the ability to do that as much. So understand, agree, I'd like to see a change around here, just so that you could get to that mother plant, because you're buying seeds and having to go from seed to plant each time seeds, they add up after a while.


Scott

They're definitely expensive. I mean, obviously, the, the give and take on that is that you have the ability to grow your four different strains every time and pick and choose, you know, based off of those reviews and things like that. Whereas, you know, my buddy grows a great White Widow, but I think he got sick of White Widow, about the fourth or fifth time he grew that White Widow.


Miranda

I feel that.


Scott

Yeah, I think they now use to the point where he has, I think four or five different Liberty Haze, White Widow, I think five different mother plants going now. And then clones coming off of those. Yeah, he's got a good situation. He's got a good mix at this point last year. But um, but you know, I'm, I'm a variety person myself. So I'm always jealous of the fact that Charlie was able to do new and different things each time. So we talked about some of the learning with the equipment and with the size of the grow, but what about technique stuff? You know, I know personally, what you've done differently kind of in your different stages, but you want to tell us how you kind of evolved from whatever you did that first time in 2022, what you're doing now as far as manipulation of the plant, nutrients or anything like that?


Charlie

Sure. So, back there July 2021. sole focus, as you can imagine, was just to get something to grow. Right. That was the sole focus. I mean, I was all I was concerned about was having some sort of flower at the end of the grow. And I was sticking to pretty much all the I'm on forums, watching YouTube, consulting, The Cannabis Grow Bible, all that good stuff. And I just let everything go that first run. I started off with Techniflora Nutrients, I'm still using this to this day, what evolved in what changed? Overall, I would say, realizing that the four by four, five by five tent that wasn't the way to go move into that rectangular tent that was a game changer in terms of airflow space for each of the plants to be able to grow. And then really focusing on mainlining was where I really started to see a lot of success with the flower a lot more compact, tighter buds a lot better smelling product at the end. And the main line, if you guys aren't familiar, typically when cannabis plant grows, I'm sure you guys are familiar. But for everyone else, when a cannabis plant grows, it typically grows once one main kola straight up and down like the Christmas tree. Mainlining is the process of going in actually manipulating the plant. So I took the one kola, cut it and forced it to grow into two, then cut each one of those kolas, forced them to grow into two more, which took me to four and then cut each one of those forced it to grow into another one that took me to a kola. So mainlining was probably something that was the biggest game changer for me. I did not start off with that, because that is a lot of high stress training for the plant. So as you get into it, you're going to see low stress training, we can get in there and you can bin stocks in the in the kolas and the leaves and everything and kind of move them around. That's your low strress training, but mainline is actually a very high stress, where you're actually going in there, cutting the plant, forcing it to bend a certain way and actually forced it to grow a certain way, I actually kind of like to think of it almost as like a bonsai trees, what it kind of felt like to a degree. But it takes a lot more patience, I would say. And you have to be willing to accept that in Scotland is just because you see my pictures, you're gonna break one of your kolas, you're just going to do that, it's going to happen, you're going to snap it, you're going to think that you're getting that thing spread out the way you want. And inevitably, it's going to split down the middle. Don't panic, as as in everything else in life duct tape is your friends go ahead. I'm dead serious, Scott's seen the pictures I've had to call a split on me with that now in a duct taped them both back fine. And the yield was not affected or anything like that. But that was the biggest thing I would say that kind of changed my growth technique was going towards that mainline in high stress training. And as I went towards that, I went towards kind of the moderated quote unquote SCROG, which describe this, what does it screen of green is what it's called when you're trying to get the plants out as much as possible. I do use an abbreviated version of that, where I do have a mesh net in there that I try to space the kolas out, that helps a lot more light to the flower sights is what you want. So the better space and airflow you can get in there, the more success you're going to have. And I would say that what another thing that I can at first grow, I was afraid to touch it and do anything. Second grow. I was involved more I was trimming I was you know, influencing the kolas a lot more. And that's where I saw my success. My yield dropped a little bit I would say from that first grow, which was interesting. And then if that was strain based, or what but I would say the quality of the end product of the flowers after going to that mainline technique was substantially better for the end quality. And I would say the other thing and this is why I will say support your local hydroponic stores, your local wherever you can buy local support them, especially if it's a dedicated hydroponic store, there's going to be a time when you need to go in there and talk to them about what's going on with your plants. And they will be super helpful. And that's, I mean, that's really who kind of helped me with the main line and walk me through the nutrients and the best piece of advice that I got was from one of those guys at the store who actually kind of walked me through the drying process and explain that a little bit better to me. When I initially dried I just I cut each kola and each stalk off and hung it individually with clothes hangers and my my grow tent and just let it run at whatever temperature was at and I think I kept humidity close to 50 after talking to my local grow store, he said that's mistake, you know, that's what you're gonna get that hay, I bet you're you know, you didn't have a great taste good smell on there and he was totally right. So he suggested that I go low and slow. And so he described it. And that's how I had it stuck in my head. So barbecue. Yeah, exactly. So with that being said, I picked up that. And so I started drying at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, around 50% Humidity for seven to 10 days, letting it run a little longer. But since you're keeping it cooler, I for whatever reason, that has worked out phenomenally, the terpenes everything carried over to that final taste that smell, all of that has really stayed with it doing that were just letting it hang and not really controlling the temperatures much just letting it roll. That really resulted in a lot of hay taste, and on the first one definitely was worth it too. And I was able to do this relatively cheaply. I mean, not everybody's gonna want to purchase it, but I purchased a portable AC and kind of jerry rigged that into my tent, I have a piece of tubing running off of it into a pipe, it's in a tent. And that's how I cool the tent. During the summer had that same issues that Scott was talking about with one of his buddies during during the summer here in Richmond, it's so hot. I mean, I've been here at two o'clock in the morning, it's been 102 degrees still. So it is a problem. My basements not conditioned. So I was having huge issues with the temperature getting up over 80 degrees, which you want to keep it around 78 degrees with the lower, you get over 80 you're gonna run into issues you might see bleaching with the lights, you might see, you know, kind of curling with the leaves. Some other issues like that, so did have to go to that kind of AC based system there. But I don't know you live and learn and just kind of start tweaking here and there and seeing what works. But it was definitely something where don't get stuck on one thing be open to try something else I would say.


Scott

Nice.


Miranda

Word.


Scott

As far as one of the things that we had as a user submitted question, and you were just mentioning undesirables that you might get if you've got bad conditions, do you use any sort of digital microscope to inspect your plants while they're growing, or while you're curing or any of that?


Charlie

So I use, and I think most of the people out there uses it, I've just got like, it was, I think I got it from one of the hydro companies was on there. But it's a jeweler's loupe. It's 60 degree magnification, I mean, you might have to spend 10 to 20 bucks on that. I spent 20 and got one with a little light on the end of it, which is a waste. But that honestly, that is it is a waste because there's like you don't need the light, you're looking at it with the lights on, you fool. But they got me on that one, right. But that 60 degree magnification of that loop that is going to be more than enough for you to get in there. See your trichome heads, see if they're cloudy, see if they're turning to amber. And that's what you want to look for. As you get closer to harvest. You're naturally going to see the buds swell up, they're gonna start to tip over, but when is it time to actually cut those things down? Get out that loupe, take a look at the trichome heads. That's that's basically what I've been using as far as other stuff. I did splurge and get a and you guys, I would definitely say this is one thing. You have to have it no but does it help absolutely a pH tester for my water so that I could make sure that my water was where it needed to be 6.8 or whatever it was a little bit more basic water here. So I did splurge and get a Ph tester for the water. It's just one of those things water having that right pH for your water, you wouldn't think it's a huge thing. But I have noticed when it's one of those sorts like I don't need to measure out the pH tonight I'll just throw the water in there. Inevitably A few days later, you've got something going on with it being yellow or something just because it wasn't able to take up those nutrients that it would it would normally want to. I have not had any issues with pests, or anything like that so far. As you start with soil if you guys are going to start with soil, one thing that you'll want to be aware of more than likely you're going to see fungus gnats. It's inevitable. They're gonna show up the best soils that are out there I use Foxfarm Ocean Forest


Scott

Okay, I've seen them talked about a lot.


Charlie

Yeah, they're fantastic. Put it in soil you've got 30 to 40 days and nutrients with it as it is. It's a little hot. And when I say hot, little strong and the nutrients and all that stuff for sea lanes, but I've run it from seedling through flower that for the last three grows. It's worked out great If you aren't, like I said, you're gonna see fungus gnats, though, what are that? What's that coming from over watering having too much water in your soil. That's why you want to stick to those fabric mesh pots. But fungus gnats are only going to be there for a little bit, get yourself nicely ordered something online where you just it was a thing you could stick into the soil and the top of it was super sticky. He put a couple of those in there, the fungus gnats will go away in a week or two, they'll inevitabley get stuck on that sticky thing. And that'd be it. Outside of that though, I've not had any issues with any sort of internet think what is it the spider mites and stuff like that, that I've seen in the past where seeing flower that spider mites has gotten into or it's just like, Oh, but I have fortunately not run into anything like that. And again, that's the benefit of growing in a tent and as indoor conditions. To give you guys an idea my parents decided to grow because I pretty much pushed them to grow their house, and--


Scott

Dad, grow some weed, mellow the fuck out.


Charlie

Pretty much, pretty much is exactly how it worked. And my mom absolutely loved it. She had a fantastic time. She's almost 60 now. And again, it's a very therapeutic experience interacting with the plant I cannot, you know, push that enough a really there's something about working with the plant and all that she loved that. But outdoors, they ran into a ton of bud rot, despite the fact that they had trim their plants and kept them very fit. And she had it in a good area to get circulation and even a little shade. Just because Virginia is super hot during the summer, still had a ton of bud rot, my other friend who grew outdoors, same thing, he had bud rot growing on the plants. And then he actually did not monitor the humidity and his dry conditions. And he had bud rot when he went to dry the plants, which was really, really unfortunate. That's something where I will say going out of town leaving your plants for a couple days. Totally fine. At the end, though towards flower, you don't want to leave them and you want to be checking in every day during the dry process just to make sure everything's going well.


Miranda

Right on. Yeah, I was I was very curious about the whole watering aspect because I was surprised that you were using from a spigot and not distilled water, which is what I would have, as someone who grows a lot of plants would have used. That's what I use with my orchids.


Charlie

I was honestly thinking I was going to have to get one of those reverse osmosis filter things. But again, it's the money adds up when you're spending on things. So I was able to and I was worried about that. But I guess we have. It's like we live next to a reservoir. We're actually on a reservoir. So I guess it's that water, like I said a little hard. So what's happening pH treated each time but no issues outside of that didn't have to go for the reverse osmosis had no issues. But I did have to like I say, splurged for that pH tester, which was unfortunate because he is that thing like two or three times. And then you know your pH is and you never have to really test it again, you know, because I need eight drops of the pH down or eight drops the pH up like you know, but it is worth splurging for just to get that initial thing down. That is such a pain there. Like I said, I'm having to walk out, take my five gallon bucket to the outdoor hose spigot that I've got, turn that on, fill it up, walk back inside poured into the reservoir for the irrigation system. It's a nightmare. So I would definitely say if you can set up your tent in an area that is close to water source just because like you guys said, moving that back and forth moving eight gallons of water every couple days, especially towards the end. It's tedious and it's pain. And inevitably, you're going to spill something and kind of have those moments where it's like why don't I have water in here but make you with what you got?


Scott

Yeah, I think my buddy's tent is up in his third floor. So I definitely think he's slogging water up and down. He does do distilled water and he was just asking if anybody was getting rid of a still, because I think he's trying to distill his own water at this point. So save from having to buy distilled. But yeah, I think in the summertime he does rain barrels and uses as much rainwater as he can for his grows. Because yeah, the thing that that I've heard about is root block, I guess. If you don't use distilled water that basically it stunts the plant to a certain degree and you want it. But yeah, I mean, obviously that's going to depend on where you live the quality of water, like Baltimore does have pretty darn good water. But I think we do have high levels of like chlorine and pharmaceuticals. Like a weird shit that plants are not. It's the electrolytes they crave not. Well, right, exactly. And I know you're Xanax, og all of a sudden, that oxy Kota and the haze whatever. Yeah, not not what you're trying to do. But yeah, if it works for your plants, obviously, that's awesome. And I know that it does work for your plants, because I've seen the end result. Pictures.


Unknown Speaker

I think, I think you have something to say there, though. Because me and again, like I was telling y'all, I thought that the roots would reach right down to the bottom of my fabric mesh pots, and they're not. And so that could be, like I said, that little bit of root block there going on. Because of that, I hadn't thought about it. But again, like you said, Didn't hurt things too much. Maybe just making things take a little bit longer, I would say.


Scott

Yeah, what is the for folks who don't know? What is the life cycle? You know, from the time you germinate a seed, and make sure it's viable and put it in the soil? Until you harvest? What do you do? And I know it's gonna vary from strain to strain. But on average, how long have your your girls taken?


Charlie

So right now with with mainlining, because, again, high stress cutting and having to wait, kind of type deal, it's taken about 60 days in veg, which is about two months, and then I'm flipping the flower after 60. And depending on the strain, it can take anywhere from 56 days, up to 75, and the longer the longer strains during flower. So it definitely, you know, it's gonna be a four or five month haul for sure. So really take the time to pick those strains and make sure they're the ones that really want, because once you've started, it's on. But again, you don't have to do 60 days on veg like I do, but I do that just because I like to get my plants bigger, like the the yield up if I can, you could easily on some of these auto flowers you guys were talking about? Do a 30 day veg and then flip it right and the flower might already be ready at that point.


Scott

Well, that's that's what I was gonna say it's important to note that we're talking about it out because obviously, you talked about flipping and for folks, yes. You know, that's when you change the light cycle to encourage flowering and force the plants into flower. Auto flowers don't require that auto flowers will say they do. Right. And that's I mean, a lot of people criticize auto flowers because I guess bad auto, I don't know, I don't know enough about growing to speak authoritatively on this. But you see a lot of people talking shit online, because they say you don't get a good yield from your autos. Because like you said, they don't vegetate, as long, they don't build up enough mass to create, you know, a half a dozen to a dozen different kolas, as opposed to, you know, four or five, six, whatever.


Charlie

I had read that the THC content autoflowers was also lower. I don't know if that's true. But it would make sense. I mean, if you're getting into the history of the autoflowers, wherever I guess they have some sort of strain from what Siberia they've taken and has that short life cycle, that's why it's in its data like that, and then crossbred it and to get it to be a quote unquote autoflower. So I'd read that you'll use a little bit THC as you're going into that, but if you have control conditions, I don't see any reason why you would, you know, have to go with an auto flower, I think you can go with a regular photo period. Since I'm talking about that, you're gonna go photo period seeds, you are going to need to give them 18 hours of light and six hours of darkness during the veg phase. So plan accordingly for that new grower tip, look up the high usage hours in your area for whatever your electric provider is. I have mine set to where they're off during whatever the peak usage hours are. So that's something you're gonna want to plan in there. And then plan in for flower and you switch to that 12 and 12 plan to be able to run that where you're gonna be able to have 12 hours of darkness that's gonna be the hardest part. It took me some tweaking with that, but we ended up doing it where I think in it Running where the plants were running while we were sleeping essentially. So off peak hours and no kind of issues of anybody turn it on anything or anything like that. So definitely something to think about. Yeah, definitely look at your peak hours. Because even with LED lights like I have, we have definitely noticed a little bit of an increase in our electricity bill, not a ton where it's going to deter me and really take away from you know, what's going into it, but it's something to think of, you know, every every little bit counts. Sure.


Scott

Well, awesome, man. We will get a list of Charlie's references--


Miranda

Or favorite things?


Scott

Yeah, I mean, you know, I know you mentioned a few different podcasts or YouTube or books that you used along the way to educate yourself and kind of formulate the the methods that you now employ to get the the yields that you do. And yeah, so we'll make those available to folks that want to look into, you know, what Charlie's done to get himself where he's producing these big beautiful buds that I've seen you produce.


Miranda

You know, local. I can't speak, guide to where you can buy some things as well.


Scott

Yeah, I know. There's that. What is it All Good grow supply. That's who I've seen.


Miranda

Baltimore hydroponics?


Scott

Yeah, there's a bunch of different shops that are starting to do it. Now. Like I said, check with your local head shop too. Because if they're not selling that stuff, they're probably partnered up with somebody that they're doing classes with or whatever. I'm really hopeful that we start to see some clone giveaways and seed getaway. Because I know in Cali, that's the thing. And I know some other markets, that's been a thing where, you know, the hydroponic shops partner up with seed banks, or whatever. And yeah, give people plants to get them started those people that are intimidated by--


Miranda

The seed.


Scott

Yeah, the seed getting it to germinate and all that stuff.


Miranda

That will be awesome.


Scott

But yeah, man, thank you so much. I mean, is there anything else that you feel compelled to tell the people before we go?


Charlie

No, the only thing I would say is be open to a lot of different ideas, don't get into an echo chamber of thinking, one thing is the way to do it. There, there's so many different ways to do it, just because you listen to me, work for me today does not mean it will work for you, or you might have success doing something else. So again, try different things and just want to end with and really re emphasize this, support your local hydroponic store, support your local stores that are supporting your cannabis market there. That is so crucial. I buy everything from local and again, you're going to need to go in there and talk to those guys at some point in time. And ladies, by the way, the person who started me off was a wonderful woman at Lucky Roots in Richmond, who sat there and talked to me for two hours. And she has a customer for life, customer for life out of me. And again, you're going to inevitably have one of those situations where you're going to need to talk to somebody about it and bounce an idea off of it. And if it's for no other reason just to scratch that itch in your head of plants, your little yellow should go talk to them and again, support local because you're going to need them as a resource, they're going to be there to support you, so support them, dolt, and again, this is just something from a newer cannabis market here with everything being legalized, don't get locked in on one vendor when it comes to local stuff, continuously search because you guys are gonna see it. As it becomes local. As more people get into it. You're gonna see so many more shops open up. We actually had a shop open up five minutes down the road from us through the builder. The Build A Soil guys, which is a whole organic soil thing that inevitably I will try because again, we want to support local and try new stuff when it comes to growing. But keep your eyes open because they're going to be open in stores left and right. Once everything is going.


Miranda

Right on. Getting everything set up, ready to go.


Charlie

It is the most fun like I said, just like picking out all that stuff quite quite fun. And once you get that first little shoot breakthrough, it is just all worth it.


Scott

Hanging out listen to music with your plants.


Charlie

Yeah, you know me, man. Got the tunes on in there.


Scott

I don't think we talked about that. But yeah, Charlie, Charlie's definitely one of the people and this is not uncommon in the growing world. You will see lots of people just chilling with them say that it oh, well, now I specifically play music for that. Yeah. It tends to be a pretty common thing, actually, where people say, plants like the music.


Charlie

They respond to love, they respond to love.


Scott

Well, thanks so much, dude. Speaking of love, we greatly appreciate you taking your time to speak with us and our listeners today. And yeah, if you don't mind, we'll share some pictures even too.


Charlie

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.


Scott

Give give people some reference so that they can see you know, we're not just talking to some random guy that I know that grows, grows his own cannabis like Charlie really grows beautiful, beautiful plants. He's definitely come a long way in the progression of his grows over the last few years. And I am very excited to have you as a reference for my own experience. As I'm going forward. So, yeah, we'll be talking to you and our local hydroponic store. Yeah, we appreciate portraits. A lot. Yeah. Well,


Miranda

You to be well. So thank you, again to Charlie for sharing all of his knowledge, knowledge and learned expertise on the subject of growing, that's going to be a fabulous undertaking, I think for everyone who decides to go in that direction.


Scott

And Charlie was kind enough to send us that list of references and resources that he used when he was starting, getting his operation up and running. So again, we will make those available to you all. If you have any questions about the episode about growing about Charlie's setup in particular, let us know your feedback. And we'll be happy to get you an answer from him or from us or from somewhere else. But yeah, and let us know how your grow is going. Have you gotten started yet? Do you got your seeds? Do you have your tent?


Miranda

Are you all set up and just waiting for the clock to tick by?


Scott

Yeah, what? What resources? Are you using? What? You know, YouTube videos or podcasts? Are you listening to that are specifically about growing that we might get


Miranda

to Yeah, let us books.


Scott

Give us give us that feedback. As always, you know, like, subscribe, share with your friends if you so choose. Thank you so much for spending the time with us. Be well to yourselves and each other. And we'll see you next month guys. Yeah, we'll talk to you about the happenings in the world of cannabis and legalization once again with a RoundUp episode.


Miranda

Yeah, we'll see you soon guys. I am Our Lady of Maryjane on Instagram.


Scott

And I'm Your Cannabis Coach.


Miranda

We'll talk to you soon. Take care.


[OUTRO MUSIC: "Sweet Leaf" by Black Sabbath]




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