How To Be A Top Shelf Grower

By The SD OG Grower

Everyone in the medical marijuana business, especially in CA, has been seeing the market change dramatically in a short period of time over the last two years and more. The market is being flooded, stores and clubs are opening on every corner, and everyone and their mother is getting into growing! But don’t you think the quality of our buds, flowers and produce should be getting better, not worse?

I see growers come and go all the time: big, small, and everything in between. I have friends who have invested over $500,000 into large commercial grow ops thinking they’re going to make lots of money off this new Green Industry! But what often ends up happening, is that people who have never grown before are trying to do way too much without the knowledge and know-how! You can’t just say that you want to be an engineer and read a book and then become a master engineer overnight! This applies to anything in life.  There is going to be a learning curve and mistakes made along the way. But a mistake is only a mistake if you do it twice! See, if you learn from your mistake, then it is a learning experience and therefore a valuable learning lesson and you’ll never do it again if you learned from it! I see many growers invest loads of money into a large operation who have never grown before, and are doing it solely to capitalize on the Green Revolution. They end up failing because they had no idea how to do it the right way, how to create and build a proper “GROW MACHINE”! One that can produce consistently and of quality!

Well, first link in the chain starts with genetics of course. The nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree, which means your features are going to be similar to those of your parents, and the same goes for seeds and clones! The clones or seeds you are growing are only as good as the stock or parent plants they came from. So basically if you start with crappy genetics, the best you’re going to create is a crappy product. Start with TOP SHELF genetics, and you will harvest and reap TOP SHELF product!

See, what you have now is an onslaught of new people getting into growing, trying to cut corners, getting bad advice and bad clones. If you were going to be an engineer or get into a specific field, don’t you think you should take a class, study and educate yourself on the subject, which is in this case horticulture, to understand plants and what they need, like, and what makes them happy? One must first understand the environment needed to grow healthy, heavy yielding plants and understand their plants’ basic needs!

Most growers’ rooms I visit to fix or evaluate a problem, have simply forgotten, or overlooked the little things or the basics! Many times it is airflow, environment, forgetting to change out charcoal filters for scrubbing; even humidity, especially at this time of year, stumps a lot of growers and causes several problems. If humidity drops below 50%, especially anywhere below 40%, it can cause serious problems that look like nutrient deficiencies or lock outs, but in actuality it’s the low humidity! A plant transpires and sweats a lot more, just like we do, when the humidity levels drop below adequate levels. A plant likes to be in the 60-70% range in humidity! You can drop it a little too, about 55-65% towards the last couple weeks of flowering, but otherwise the plant is not functioning properly at low humidity levels! It will mess with you and cause all sorts of problems!

Another common problem right now, which is very simple to fix but commonly overlooked IS WATER TEMPERATURE! During the summer, the grow rooms are a little hotter, and the reservoir nutrient water is getting heated up to temps above 75°F where good bacteria turns into bad bacteria! Just as it is 68°F one ft. down in the earth anywhere, your water temperature should be the same at about 68-70°. If it gets colder than this, plants will go dormant and be in shock! If it gets much warmer than 70°F, then root rot and all sorts of diseases are highly possible and likely as good bacteria turns into bad bacteria! A water chiller is the best method of controlling water temps, especially on large grows. But on small grows, you can freeze 32oz. Gatorade plastic bottles and put them in your reservoir to take the edge off the high water temps! Replace them as often as needed, and have a water thermometer in the reservoir so you’re not just guessing the temps!

But if all this is known before setting up a grow op, then it would all be calculated and taken care of with proper equipment before it happens, and would be in the budget for building out the room in the first place!

A smart, educated grower starts his project off with the proper ventilation, Air Conditioning units, and does not cut back on proper filtration, environment and overall quality control! A smart and successful grower is also educated, or has been trained by an expert grower! I personally have learned everything from my teacher, best friend, and mentor over the course of over 15 years and have paid my dues! Old school growers from northern CA like him had to learn things the hard way, by trial and error! They did not have the luxury of walking into a garden or hydroponics shop and ask questions, and many of the products needed to grow indoors were not available. These old timers built ballasts from reading a book and buying transformers, capacitators, and igniters and wiring them up from a diagram in a book and screwing them into a sheet of plywood! They had to mix up and make their own nutrients by mixing up all 17 plus minerals in the proper ratio to get the right nutrient! Then of course, General Hydroponics came out in the ‘70s and was the standard till the late ‘90s. Then, the market exploded and everything needed to build, and grow your own was available to everyone at local hydroponics shops! And soon there were many different nutrient companies all competing with the same formula, just different packaging and labeling!

But not all had the knowledge, and many were just selling product! It was the old school growers who were teaching the new school growers how to adapt, and what to do and what not to do, which saved them years of experience and lessons learned in mistakes made, so the new school growers would not have to go through all those learning curves or years of mistakes! I remember paying my dues! Giving 50% of my harvest, and paying all of the electrical bills, rent, equipment, nutrients and everything out of my half, and giving 50% of the harvest to my teacher just to learn how to grow! It was worth every penny! I looked at it like an apprentice program, a sort of school or college, paying for my education! Working my ass off for a veteran, experienced grower was an honor. It was the school of real life in growing, and it taught me more than I could ever learn in school or by myself that quickly!

What’s the point to all this? You are not going to learn to be a TOP SHELF grower if you don’t educate yourself and know and understand plants, horticulture, environment, sealed rooms, and what makes her happy! I think more growers should start off smaller, and learn the game and how plants grow and thrive, and what it takes to do and accomplish this! Understanding how to build and lay out a grow room, how and why circulation, filtration, humidity, temperatures, CO2 levels, and everything else in a grow room functions, operates, affects and controls a grow room and its outcome in the harvest!

The best produce, buds, flowers, or any plant or fruit can only be produced in the perfect environment and grow machine! Top quality products and nutrients are crucial, and most important is good, educated, trusted, information and advice! I suggest taking a class or learning from an expert! Put some apprentice hours and hard work in for a veteran and learn from the best, or better yet, just go take a class, like at IGS Hydro in PB. My good friend Scott teaches classes through the summer most Saturdays and is one of the most knowledgeable growers at one of the best stores in the So CA area. Knowledge and information is priceless and can make you an expert grower much quicker than by trial and error yourself. A lot can be learned from our elders, and those who have been through it before we have can hand down the knowledge they learned and improve us as growers generation by generation!

If you’re going to grow, do your best and grow the best! Don’t get just any clones. Search for the right, true quality genetics and don’t be afraid to pay good money for those genetics! It is an insult to an old school grower to bargain with them on prices for TOP SHELF GENETICS!

Start with TOP SHELF genetics, good advice and proper information from a qualified veteran grower; and build and grow right, and we will all have TOP SHELF quality buds and fruits!

bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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