A lot of people ask me about cannabis farming, but what they should be asking is how a girl survives being stuck on a cannabis farm with nothing but boys. Barely, is the answer... but I’m going to tell you not only how to survive being stuck on an all-male farm but how to really make the best of it and grow some dope at the same time!
I’ve been stuck on farms with boys my entire life. No wonder I’m a feminist who knows how to do hay, throw a punch and blow my nose in the wilderness. Pity me, deeply. I have helped men harvest and trim cannabis since I was about 15. A decade and a half later, and I’m still stuck growing pot with the less fair sex. Feels like a curse, doesn’t it? If there is a cannabis farm without men on it, I’ve yet to find it and may have to create it when I’m not quite so transient.
There are a lot of right ways to grow cannabis, and I think everyone should have a natural sort of adventure in figuring out what that is for them. I’m going to tell you about what feels best to me, though. Simply due to the fact that large-scale indoor grows mean being stuck in a building with men for far too long, I’m an outdoor kind of woman. By outdoor, I mean good old hippie farming practices: manure, sun and water. Thanks to cannabis prohibition, also: a gun, a dog and a good security system.
You need seeds, but soil is everything. Someone asked me to start a grow for them, and they told me where, and I was like, “No way I’m messing with that dirt.” Soil needs nutrients, and it is nice if it doesn’t have rocks in it, for a whole plethora of reasons. I think the soil and crop rotation will have to be in the next class, but for now, let’s worry about just nutrients and rocks. Yes, you can get good soil, buy it and bring it to where you want it, but that feels like too much money and work.
Soil can be totally useless and deadly if you depend on your garden to live—or it can produce life at astounding rates. Soil needs a lot of different things to be great, and different plants are into different things, but if you live in North America, I think you should get a cow. So you can have good manure. Or live next to someone with a cow, whom you can bake muffins for in exchange for bovine shit. In summation, now you need a gun, a dog and a cow, and you definitely need cats to keep the mice out of the grain. Luckily, the zoo you are curating means there is more than just you and the men on the farm. Which is nice.
There are a lot of right ways to grow cannabis, but I think everyone should slowly figure out what feels right to them. Maybe ask your plants what they want, too. Personally, I think gardening is more of an art than science, but I guess it is a super interesting blend of both. If you are interested in growing your own, as with any pursuits, you should follow your passions, heart and gut and read everything you can. Don’t believe everything you read (stay off Yahoo answers), and when the lads you are stuck with try to explain things to you, make sure your eyes totally gloss over.
If your soil is well fed, you’ve probably noticed there are a lot of really annoying rocks in it. They are going to be quite the headache in an unworked field. You will probably be picking rocks out of the soil for the rest of your life. What you need to remember while picking rocks is that men—like bulls, roosters and raccoons after puberty—can’t be trusted. She who throws the first rock or dirt clump gets the war over with, and I personally like to start the battle rather than wait for it. Rocks tend to knock bottom teeth out and swell eyes up so start with the dirt balls.
I live in an area that is subject to harsh winters, and it is right in the middle ofthem when I start tothink about seeds. The most-messed up part about this stage in the farming process is the fact that you are probably going to have to buy seeds from a man, unless you really look. One of the worst things about being stuck on a farm with boys or having to buy seeds from them is how much they talk. Their chatter seems to be totally incessant at times even if you never listen to them and often stare at moving objects off in the distance when they ask you a question.
Winter will melt away, and your seedling will grow under a UFO light indoors and then, when they are big enough, they will be ready for the next step: outside. There are lots of tricks when it comes to transplanting, and timing is key. Personally, no matter the herb I’m planting, I like to do it in the rain and pretend I’m in an old dramatic black and white film. Mostly because I’m lazy, and the soil can’t be dry when you transplant, or your plants will be very sad and maybe die from shock. So you either have to time it to plant in really wet soil, water tons after, or plant in the rain. See why I choose the latter? Another rather enjoyable fact of planting in the pouring rain is that men by nature are delicate and tend to avoid it, so you will be out there on your own, in the quiet.
When your plants are young and out there on their own, anything could happen to them, really. A deer or some other hoofed animal could trample them, birds could pluck them from the ground or skunks could uproot them for no good reason! Nature wants you dead, in case you’ve forgotten; well, in this case, nature just wants to kill your buzz. During this stage, you really need to be around in case you lose some plants and need to pat the men on their backs, saying “There, there, at least we’re still alive.” The worst thing about emotional lads is how slow they weed the garden. Make them some kind of baked good if they are still mopey by the end of day. It can feel degrading and sexist, but just amuse yourself with how well it works.
In my estimation, you can blame your inability to partake in the least fun cannabis farming activities for approximately 10years before a man will figure out the pattern. There’s the beauty in men—they are easy to trick for a long time—so act accordingly! Know all the medical words for your female anatomy and use them to get out of everything for as long as you can, everything but smoking the crop of course.
Okay, so you had terrible cramps when it was time to prep the soil, buy the seeds, sprout the seedlings, transplant, but now what? Just like there are a lot of ways to do things right as a green thumb, there are a lot of ways to do things wrong. Herb farming is a test of mental and physical strength. There will be points you feel you cannot go on, and you have to keep going. Or you will lose everything. An example is when you are pulling weeds while having to listen to a man talk about the new shirts he bought the entire time. Then you come out the next day, all the weeds have grown back, and he is still talking about clothes.
One fun part of farming with men is when you find a male plant (which you should always check for) and get to chop it up with an axe downwind while cackling like a witch. Oh, another tip, if you are stuck weeding with a bunch of chatty men, tell them you’ll start on the other side of the field and work your way to them. Their feathers will get all fluffed up at the idea of a competition involving both speed and strength. Really, it isn’t only the clucking you want to avoid, but also the stench of man and his desire to explain why his technique is better than yours.
When the summer sun is at its hottest, you will start preening more often and weeding less and less. The most difficult part of trimming, other than the boredom and hand strain, is having to watch man-movies. I’m not talking niche-market pornography, but rather Tom Cruise films, repeatedly. Sure, everyone loves Tom Cruise once in a while, but dude flicks get as mind numbing as the trimming, and if it isn’t Tom Cruise, it is Star Trek, Star Wars or some ridiculous film involving fast-moving cars.
Alright, let’s recap. Ignore the men as much as possible, and you will be okay. Also, you need good dirt, and prep the land you want to plant in the late summer or fall at the latest. Dig it up whatever way you want, pick the rocks out, put good cowmanure on it and, if you can, rototill, rototill, rototill. You need to buy seeds, and buy them locally if you can as customs takes some of ours every year. Start the seedlings in the winter and plant them in the spring in prepped and moist soil. Battle the real weeds in the garden, and hope no birds eat your tiny babies. You can put stakes up around them, but the bigger the plants are, the safer they are. Weeds that outgrow your plants will be one of your greatest enemies unless you happen to live next to a cop. Battle the weeds—a sharp hoe will be your best friend. Kill any males you see in the garden, downwind and rather far away from the plants. Male plants, that is.
Prune your plants, give them food and water, do some trimming on the plants while still in the field. When the plants are mature, cut them down and hang them out of direct sunlight, somewhere as dry as possible with air flow. Most of the trimming is already done, now finish it and dry in indoor climate-controlled drying racks. When properly stored, enjoy your crop to the fullest. Smoke, bake and vape it in the cold winter months while you give yourself an apple cider facial. Until it is time to prepare yourself for another year of cannabis farming, surrounded by men and their problems, and their blah blah blah.
All photos by Onya Ganja.