....Well, At Least the Beginning.
Home Grow Co. was born from a passion for cultivating high quality cannabis at home and the desire to simplify, structure, support, and share the growing process. Whether you’re a first time grower, or someone who has encountered some issues during previous grows, or maybe you’re just disappointed with the quality of your end result, you’ve come to the right place!
My First Grow
Let’s start with a little background. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, or steal my own thunder so I’ll save most of my grow stories for a little later on. We’re going to have plenty of time to laugh at my expense while we’re growing together.
I decided to grow my first cannabis plant in the spring of 1996 in my one bedroom apartment in Oceanside, CA. At the time, I was in my early 20’s (please don’t do the math) and didn’t have the income to pay $50-60 for a small bag of what we affectionately referred to as ‘the green bud’. Instead, I’d buy a half-ounce of brick weed from a friend and spend that evening picking out seeds and stems. It was ugly, dry, and barely looked or smelled like cannabis. I’d then cough my lungs out from the harsh smoke, get a headache from whatever was in there, and tell myself I shouldn’t buy this stuff any longer….until I ran out, and then the cycle would repeat itself. Don’t get me wrong. I would treat myself from time to time, but my financial situation didn’t allow for consumption of truly exceptional cannabis, at least not as often as I’d like. What a bummer!
I was fortunate to have an apartment manager who was down with the idea of cultivation. I was able to get my hands on an Orange Kush Queen seed and started a Grow in my closet. Home Depot was my grow store and knowledge was not something that would be weighing me down on my first attempt. 4 CFLs (compact fluorescents), a pot of Miracle Grow soil, some tin foil duct taped to the wall, and I was on my way. I used powdered Miracle Grow with almost every watering as I had no clue that I should be on some sort of feeding schedule. Before long, I had a fairly nice looking plant and felt I was doing a decent job. The Grow progressed nicely, even with the Miracle Grow fertilizer and underpowered CFLs. It was a skinny, scraggly plant (much like myself) and didn’t get quite tall enough to reach the first shelf in the closet. It was green and upright – so I was happy! Unfortunately, timing has never looked fondly on me and a really good job opportunity came up right as things were getting really interesting. I decided to move away before ‘The Queen’ was finished. My apartment manager took over the last 3 weeks of the Grow for me and, from what I was told, it turned out pretty darn good. I didn’t get to sample my first plant though and that fact still gets me a little choked up.
My Second Attempt
Upon my triumphant return to the San Diego area an incredibly long 6 months later, I was determined to grow again. I moved back to a different apartment complex, but had the same manager who had become a very good friend. In addition, I was introduced to several of his friends that had a wealth of experience to share, along with some much needed equipment upgrades. I should probably stop here and say I’ve never dealt drugs and have given away more flower than I can remember. For me it was never about making money, it was about the experience. To this day, I share what I grow with others, and the one ounce gift rule with California’s recreational cannabis legalization seems tailor made for me. I get more out of the reactions, critiques, enjoyment, and medical relief I witness from those who enjoy this amazing plant. That’s really what it comes down to – just give a little green and help someone out. Anyhow,…
To re-set the stage, I had returned to Oceanside just as Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 had taken effect. I was not a politically aware youth and the means by which I was obtaining and growing cannabis was still very much illegal in California. The stories about people getting busted were everywhere. “Don’t take your car to a Grow store! Cops or the DEA hang out there, take down your license plate number and then follow you home.” Another went something like…”Police helicopters with infrared cameras fly over your neighborhood looking for the heat signature your lights put off.” And probably the one I was most concerned with…..”If your electric consumption goes up, the power company automatically notifies the police to start an investigation.” Fear of being caught was a big deal, but it also made things quite exciting! I know for some of us in legalized States (and Countries – yeah Canada!!) this might seem like a joke. It is. I still can’t believe I would have been thrown in jail, had a felony follow me around for the rest of my life, lose my voting rights, etc., etc., all over a plant. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but that’s just flat out stupid.
Back to growing….On Grow #2 I was committed to attempting to use a real setup, system, and process. It was a significant decision, as I’d be exposing myself to the aforementioned risks, but I felt drawn to growing cannabis and wanted to do it right. This time, I had a 400 watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) light and planned to grow multiple plants….a whopping 2!!! I had also moved up in the world. I now had a two bedroom apartment and was utilizing my spare room for the plants. I was still using Miracle Grow (ugh), but had decreased the amount and frequency to prevent over feeding and burning the plants. I had also improved my soil medium by combining a quality base with Perlite and Vermiculite. Still, I was on a huge learning curve. I was vegging the plants 24 hours straight, which works, but never lets the plant relax or focus its energy on the root zone. Once I flipped them to flowering schedule of 12 hours light, 12 hours dark, I had to physically move them into the closet to ensure total darkness every night, and then move them back out under the HPS in the morning before leaving for work. It still amazes me that I didn’t completely crush one of those plants! Please don’t attempt this stunt at home.
I was lucky to have friends with experience who were more than happy to check out my Grow, make suggestions, and encourage me when I felt I was doing a terrible job. I’m very grateful to my friends and credit each of you for nurturing the very early stages of development of what I feel is my true calling in this life. A truly heartfelt Thank You to the four of you – you know who you are.
For this Grow, I was fortunate to have scored an original San Diego Catpiss seed as well, as a G13 seed. The Catpiss, as we called her, is what hooked me on growing my own cannabis and is still referenced on occasion when good friends are all together reminiscing over a beer and/or blunt. Although the G13 is a phenomenal strain, mine didn’t respond as well to the growing conditions and was outpaced by a substantial margin by her Catpiss sister. In the end, I would classify this second Grow as a success. I was able to run both plants to finish, and although I had no clue how to check for potency, properly cure, or manage the plant for better production, they both turned out very well for the conditions I described. The odor was never a huge issue (it should have been), the flowers popped and sizzled when smoked (indicating I didn’t flush the fertilizer out of the soil before harvest), and I managed a meager 2.5 ounces off of the two plants. Even so, I didn’t kill them, they definitely got me and my friends high, and it was a really rewarding experience to partake in the fruits of so much labor and love. This was the first time I got to smoke a plant that I had grown. It’s an amazing feeling and one that I will never forget.
As I think back, that second Grow above any other is what Home Grow Co. is all about. I had very little experience and wouldn’t have attempted growing without the support and encouragement of my friends. They helped me dial in my process, provided invaluable feedback, and were just as excited as I was to ‘talk shop’. I took their suggestions to heart, implemented most of them, and took comfort in the fact that I could blame them if things didn’t work out! But it did work out, thankfully.
I didn’t realize how seriously those 4 months of growing were going to impact me as a person, or set me down the path I am on today. Since then, I’ve grown a countless number of plants, including different strains, sativas, indicas, hybrids, bag seeds, and high-end genetics from some of the best companies out there. All of it has helped me develop my process, and now it’s my turn to give something back.
Finally, I’m not professing to be the best cannabis cultivator out there, or know every answer to every question. What I am offering is a well refined, structured, simple, and productive manner in which to cultivate cannabis at home. I’m also passionate about supporting those who choose to grow with me. This is where I feel Home Grow Co. has an advantage over YouTube, grow forums, and text books. Please check out the Home Grow Co. Advantage on this site. It will give you a bit better understanding of how we do things, and the benefits our system provides you.
If nothing else, I hope in some way I can help you make the decision to start a Grow of your very own. Growing quality cannabis isn’t that difficult and the benefits can be life changing. It just takes dedication, some simple guidance, a safety net if things go off the rails, and encouragement to take that first step. Please feel free to ask questions via our contact page. We’re always happy to meet fellow cannabis lovers and offer some guidance, or just chat about what’s good.
That’s it. Now it’s time to get your Home Grow on!
Seed • Water • Love