People who don’t know anything about cannabis assume that it’s easy because “criminals do it.” As a farmer of many crops, I can say with objectivity that we spend exponentially more time, effort and energy to farm cannabis than we do ANY OTHER CROP.
Each plant can have hundreds of branches. We stake and tie every one of them for support at least twice; broken branches create a place where pestilence can capitalize on the weakened plant defenses. We tie with an eye to the development of the new growth, the sun-path during different parts of the year and the ever-present balance of light versus plant.
Making Way for Sunlight and Air
You need as much air movement and light as you can get without affecting the growth curve. Every branch has many leaves that will have to be removed as they lose their vibrancy to support vigorous growth and to maintain light and air movement to avoid the buildup of pests. We build strong structures with 10 ft fence posts, bamboo and fencing to support and cradle the plant.
When we harvest, every branch again is cut. Every branch is then hung on strings; each will be cured and then each will be gently placed in food-grade plastic bags to cure for later trimming. Each branch will be broken down from a large flower into individual nugs, again a process of careful, specialized handling that requires attention and skill.
Quality Control at Harvest & Spotting Mold
Occasional morning dew and potential rains will add 10 times the weight when the plants near harvest; without very strong support systems, plants collapse into the mud and the quality of the medicine is irreparably damaged. Water and rain are not an inherent danger unless they remain for more than 48 hours; when you get into day three of moisture molding can occur.
Like wine grapes, cannabis is at the mercy of the natural elements; this is as it should be. The crucial steps in the process are in the harvesting, curing, processing and trimming of the flowers. A skilled cannabis farmer knows the telltale signs of mold, pestilence or disease and is able to spot and segregate bad product for the compost pile. Unskilled, untrained or unscrupulous farmers do not provide good Quality-Assesment/Quality-Control (QAQC).
Spotting mold or powdery mildew is as specialized as anything else in farming. Like all things cannabis, it requires knowledge and a culture of practice to even know there is a problem, let alone maintain awareness of it. The first (and only) indoor I ever grew was in a closet in college; the cannabis had such bad powdery mildew that it was frosted with it. I was excited about my harvest and I smoked the hell out of, shared it with all my friends; I didn’t even know what powdery mildew was at the time.
Exceptional Cannabis is Not Easy
Anyone can grow cannabis; it takes vast time, effort, skill, knowledge and sometimes a bit of luck to grow Great Cannabis.
This article is part of a larger piece Cannabis Farmers’ Good Practices Stimulate Communities, Improve Land.