What I learned from growing my first potted plant under COVID

Almost since I knew the cannabis plant, I wanted to grow my own grass. This is partly because I love everything in it; not only the psychoactive effect of burning and inhaling, but also its appearance, from the slender, serrated fan leaves to the densely dense flowers that sparkle with crystalline spraying (these trichomas, these tiny, hairy structures are home to the high-yielding THC compound). I love the bustling scent of live plants and appreciate that only females of the genus bring with them.

But the desire to develop further also has a lot to do with how I grew up in rural Vermont.

As a kid, my family had a small farm (so small that it could hardly qualify as a farm by Vermont standards) that started from a cow and consisted of a pig, chickens, and a flock of sheep grazing in a field outside of us. vegetable garden. Only the dairy cow, Star, who came into our family as my brother’s 4-H project, has ever been named. From an early age, we were taught that the other ungulates and clawed creatures around us were a herd of animals (as opposed to pets) and warned them to form an emotional bond.

In addition to participating in bringing eggs, bacon, chicken, and milk to the table, my brothers and I saw how wool would turn into yarn. We learned how to make a rhubarb lab (in the morning the first kid on the stairs usually stirred well the pot full of fermenting fruit), how to bake bread on a wood stove (the Dutch oven came in) and how to rotate it. the sap of the trees around us into maple syrup. In short, we worked from farm to fork before we even talked about farm-to-table, and that appreciated the effort I put into things that I would otherwise have taken for granted.

This is why when faced with the boredom of a pandemic, in a state where cultivation is legal (under the laws of California, anyone over the age of 21 can grow up to six plants for recreational purposes) and an unused everything but the seeds in stock A -from. Pot for Pot (I bought it while researching The Times 2020 Holiday Cannabis Gift Guide) lurking in the corner of my home office, I decided to get in touch with my roots and try to get a potted plant to put down the same. I thought if I followed the process from start to finish, I could better appreciate how the instant dehydrated little lumps get from the ground to the pharmacy shelf.

It wasn’t the only relationship I was hoping for. I have seen that becoming a potty parent in Los Angeles is a way to enter an invisible social network in this city as those who raise children here form lifelong relationships with strangers who happen to have had children at the same time. Instead of making contact between the hastily arranged ride-sharing schedules or sitting on the sidelines of a football game, I imagined I would first talk to my mothers and drug dads about marijuana in Lowe’s gardening supply corridor, share leafy green chlorophyll beans . healing tips and yield hacks.

I knew these people would be there somewhere like me and they would jump on the quarantine garden train for the same reasons – and no doubt for other reasons. Some would plant their own pots to run around corporate cannabis (which looks more and more like Big Pharma and Big Tobacco day by day). Others save money (buying grass in Los Angeles – legally – includes taxes that increase the cost of THC-containing products by more than a third) or have a green thumb in their eyes. a cosmically satisfying return on decades of cannabis bans. (Own cultivation is legal in the Golden State, but still illegal under federal law.)

I planted my first seed on October 19, 2020, and chose an easy-to-grow strain called Lowryder. Considered one of the first self-flowering strains of marijuana — meaning the plant blooms after a certain amount of time, rather than referring to seasonal changes in light — Lowryder is a cross between marijuana. Cannabis ruderalis, ‘Northern Lights No. 2’ and ‘William’s Wonder’, which creates a compact, indica-weighted plant. Based on the growth guide in my kit, my plant is ready to be harvested before Christmas. Nodding to the schedule of the festive period, when the first green shoot popped out of the ground a few days later, I named her in honor of the singer, whose 1994 album “Merry Christmas” blooms year after year as a clockwork.

The first seedling, Mariah, at 8 weeks. His small stature was probably caused by a late transplant into a larger pot.

(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

Fast forward to two months, and instead of the towering, THC-lined tannenbaum I had hoped for, I arrived for Christmas week, and a 5-inch-high seedling bent out of the pot at a 45-degree angle. Since A Pot for Pot purchases also include cultivation advice via email, I sent some photos and a request for help. A few days later, I heard from a cheerful counselor named Taylor who wrote, “Thank you for contacting me! What a cute little plant! ” Then came the bad news: based on the photos I sent and the schedule I described, Mariah won’t be much bigger. Taylor’s theory was that I had probably waited too long to transfer Mariah from the seedling cup to the 5-gallon tissue pot, and in the meantime, unintentionally, a bonsai bud had formed. But the silver liner, as Taylor pointed out, was that because of its diminutive size, there would be more than enough nutrients in the soil mixture to make a second experiment in the same pot.

So after a few weeks of mourning, I decided to give it a second try with potty education. And once again, I’m determined not to spare any expenses – any tax savings are damn. I invested in a bathroom scale to measure the plant between waterings, and when Taylor involuntarily suggested an LED cultivation lamp to raise my green little girl inside, I immediately ordered one and cleaned a place in my garage not far from the place. my hard partying friends regularly smoked plants like him in pre-epidemic times.

If you’re wondering why anyone in God’s green land who has been blessed with SoCal sunlight would grow an indoor cannabis plant — and sacrifice money for a lamp to do it — it’s worth taking a little detour here to give him the drug. on the cultivation of its own doping in the state of California (and, more broadly, in Los Angeles, as the city does not have its own regulations on personal cultivation).

Unlike becoming a parent, there is a lower age limit – 21 years – to be a parent of a recreational potted plant legally (medical marijuana is subject to different regulations). And those six plant limits? This means per apartment – not per inhabitant – which means you can’t legally grow a dozen plants just because you share the rent with a roommate. This leads to another wreck that greatly affects who will and will not be a potty parent in this beautiful city. While not impossible, it is much easier if you own the place where you live and grow a potted plant. Even if your landlord does not explicitly prohibit the cultivation of cannabis on site (which you can legally do), your lease may not cover any changes you may make in off-premises sales. -grid shepherd.

And there’s one last little bump in self-grown dizziness – and that’s especially important in a city like Los Angeles where most people live one after the other: every plant you grow must be in an enclosed place that isn’t visible to the public. .

All in all, this means that being able to become a legal potted plant parent in Los Angeles – no matter what your biological (or botanical) clock shows – depends on who owns your house, how big your yard is, and how much money you’re willing to pay. to spend on growing kits (like the 5 gallons, $ 99.95 I used), LED lamps ($ 169.95) and feminized cannabis seeds ($ 89 for five Lowryder Autoflower seeds).

I planted my second seed in mid-January. When it popped out of the ground on January 19, the carcass seed clinging to the top of the green shoot resembled an armored helmet. After watching the movie “Wonder Woman 1984,” I suddenly decided that this huge woman would bear the name of the secret identity of the Amazon superhero: Diana Prince. Diana Prince could hardly wait to avoid my previous mistake and was only put in her home forever five days later and then safely locked in my garage under the new lighting (20 hours on, 4 hours off). I visited my baby every day, I drank just enough to keep it healthy and prosperous.

    A man stands with his arms around a cannabis plant.

The Times senior features writer Adam Tschorn and first potty parent with his drug daughter, Diana Prince.

(Booth Moore)

In late March, Diana Prince reached for the sky and entered its flowering stage. Two months later he was almost as tall as me and seemed ready to harvest. From my previous experience, I was shyly asked for one last consultation. (“Just deviating from the timeline, it’s definitely ready,” Taylor replied, breaking the sentence with a green emoji heart.)

On May 8, I tore the branches off the stem and felt a sharp sadness. This was followed by a number of activities, which included drying the branches upside down (using hooks, tie clips and a rolling hanger), then cutting the buds and finally drying them in an airtight container. (Final yield at this point: 26 grams – barely an ounce.) According to Taylor’s email, this last part – the hardening – is what highlights the flavor, eliminates chlorophyll, and results in softer smoke. It is recommended that the herb be cured for two to eight weeks. Taylor noted that some prefer to slow down and heal their nipples for up to six months.

In early July, the healing phase of Operation Ganja Green Thumb reached Week 8. From the beginning of this botanical adventure, it was the moment I thought about and waited for while I had the dancing visions of the sticky nipple in my head. It was time to literally taste the fruits of my labor and consume something I planted and watch as they ripen. It was the culmination of my very first journey from seed to sesh, I had the opportunity to bring all the lessons of my adulthood and my enthusiasm for cannabis to the fullest at the same time. The time has finally come, and even without fear of legal retaliation, I was reluctant to pack a pipe or roll a joint and taste my own medicine.

As the eighth week stretched into the ninth, I dutifully burst into the pot every few days and looked at its contents in awe before snaping back the lid and storing the pot, but didn’t try it. On some subconscious level, was I afraid I wouldn’t get high enough (or worse, not at all) of my own-made hands? Maybe the excitement was really in the process – a aspiration from happiness – all the time and not about healing the herbs in my pantry. Or maybe I wanted the best for my baby and only pulled my legs until Diana Prince was healed for a full six months?

Then I burst at me: When I hurried to marry the nostalgic, farm-to-table experiences of my childhood in Vermont with my love for my grass, I forgot the part of not forming an emotional bond, and that’s exactly what I did. What’s worse, I gave him a name and imagined a personality for him. By naming her Diana Prince, I would be less of an urban herbalist picking up her head and more of a Kronos Titan of Greek mythology swallowing her offspring.

The repair was pretty simple. Moving my P-Touch labeling machine, I printed the text “Lowryder strain, seed two” and glued the label to the container of the drying buds, directly on top of the container labeled “Diana Prince”. I immediately felt better.

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