Article by Sarah Samedi With HK Abell, High! Canada
Welcome, friends! This is the first of a series of articles about how to homegrow. My partner HK Abell and I have embarked on our first attempt at growing our own marijuana under the advice and careful watch of experienced growers (thank goodness).
I say I’ve been smoking marijuana since 1995, but I’ve never grown it. Not even tried. The reasons were many: I have a black thumb when it comes to caring for plants. Marijuana plants (I’d heard) were fussy and needed lots of care. The smell; I didn’t want to get caught. But the time has finally come around to make the attempt, since the government is cracking down on dispensaries.
I’m a stage four cancer survivor and live with well-managed type 1 bipolar disorder. When it isn’t well-managed, I’m unapproachably anxious, depressed to the blackest depths, and have cycling thoughts that are incredibly unhealthy. I medicate not only for my physical health, but for my mental health. When I was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2016, I did one run of prescription anti-this and anti-that, that I was supposed to take every time I’d have chemotherapy, then decided I wanted to medicate my poisoned body with cannabis. I started paying attention to the strains and products I was putting in my body, taking CBD supplements and smoking high THC strains to deal with pain and inflammation. I used topicals to give relief to my sore joints, and still do. I use medicated bath bombs. Cannabis is very much a part of my wellness routine.
HK and I met on an online dating app, and when we met in person, it was very obvious to both of us that our first encounter was going to lead to something serious. Over our first coffee, he asked me if I smoked marijuana, and when I answered yes, it was like meeting a kindred spirit; a soulmate. Six weeks later, we moved in together, finding out we shared plenty of interests, habits, likes and dislikes. Love, quickly and easily.
As we got to know each other, I found that HK lives with deep bouts of depression paired with crippling anxiety, and he medicates to feel better, looser, more at ease with the world. I worry when he isn’t doing well, but we make sure to pick proper strains for both of us to medicate with.
When the idea came up to grow our own cannabis to maintain our wellness, HK and I were both very excited to make the attempt. We did our research: seeds, pods, an incubator, a sun light, fans, a grow tent, LED lights, fertilizer and grow food. So many things. We approached Homegrown Hydroponics to assist us, and we’ve come across a good relationship with lots of advice. We were sold all the materials we needed to start up. We were also preparing for a web series that will accompany the serial articles.
Seeds from Elite Kings Genetics and Royal Queen Seeds, Peat pads for when our seeds began to germinate. An incubator/barn with a 24/7 T5 sun lamp to make our little babies grow. From here, it was time to begin. Our seeds sat for three or four days in damp, warm paper towel before germinating. We had the oven set to roughly 200f and sat the plate on the stove to keep it warm from underneath, giving heat without needing a heating pad. It was so interesting to watch these seeds darken, then watch a white line along the kernel, and then they split open to reveal a tiny little root! I’m such a proud mother. Once the roots were approximately a centimeter long, they were transplanted into peat pads that had been soaked in warm water until moist and plump.
Over the next few days, we watched the seeds anxiously, waiting for a sprout or a leaf, or something. Overnight, our little ones emerged from the peat, empty kernel still clinging to baby leaves. Tending to them was easy, make sure the peat is wet but not soaking, and leave them with lots of air. Homegrown Hydroponics gave us great advice on signs to look for as our sprouts grew. I’ve loved documenting their growth, too! Lots of photos and videos, as proud parents to a number of cannabis plants, our irst little green family. I have to admit I’ve loved talking to them (plants love CO2, which we exhale), encouraging them as best I can. In a matter of a couple of weeks, we’ve seen them go from seeds to seedlings, sprouts to baby plants. The serrated leaves are starting to present, giving them the look of baby marijuana.
I’ve also been nervous being around them. I’m the sort of girl who can kill a cactus, so a brand-new, delicate green sprout is terrifying. I’m making sure not to over-water them, to take four or five stop-motion pictures a day as well as getting plenty of close-ups. I’ve done plenty of research on each strain as well, to make sure we know what we’re looking for in growth habits and signs of an unhealthy plant. I’ve had tonnes of advice from friends who are also experienced growers, and it’s very consistent: how close the lights should be to the plants so they’re not using all their growing energy reaching for the light. How much water. When to transplant.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of this grow plays out, and seeing the quality of the lowers we harvest. Plenty of pictures, plenty of agriculture and plenty of enthusiasm. HK and I make a good team.