Ever wonder what it’s like working in the Cannabis Industry?
What these weed growers do all day?
What a normal day actually looks like as a licensed marijuana grower looks a lot different than what the average person imagines.
I’ll dispel some of the common misconceptions surrounding growers and what we do. It’s hard work being in the Industry, much more than most would suspect.
(and no, no joints or bowls are being smoked anywhere, it’s highly illegal and can cost you your place in the Industry.)
So let us dive into what we growers do in a day.
Good Morning Ladies
I like to start my mornings off with a walk through my Veg garden and inspect the plants and systems to make sure everything is running smoothly. The Veg room or garden refers to plants in a vegetative state which have not been put into a flowering state.
As I walk down the aisle ways, head swiveling from side to side, checking on the health of my little ladies. Female plants are the ones that produce the flower, the bud, that cannabis is generated from.
I run my hands over the small, vibrant green plants like Russell Crowe in that scene from Gladiator… with gloved hands, of course! We are always compliant here at the grow. So those of you working for the M.E.D., put your clipboards and notepads down, no need for a surprise inspection.
A sea of green leaves dances in the artificial wind as I continue with my rounds. I have close to one-thousand plants here in Veg, a hundred of those being Mother plants, most of which will feed our four bloom rooms on the other side of this indoor grow. The Mother plants, our strain library, will produce twelve-hundred cuts (clones) to supply the demand we must continuously meet.
Every two weeks we harvest five-hundred plants, averaging between 180-215 lbs, that come down out of a flower room. Compare this to some of the goliaths in the Industry who pull down one-hundred to two-hundred plants every day!
Our demand averages three pounds a light in our large 64 light rooms with 1000w Double-Ended HPS (High-Pressure-Sodium) hanging overhead. Life is good, sipping a drink on the beach like in those commercials, good.
Once I’m satisfied that the plants are happy, not displaying any signs of deficiencies or underwatering, the next step in the process is to get some plant work done.
Dive in and get your hands dirty
We start our work in Veg with a laundry list of plant work tasks,
–Leafing, removing the large fan leaves from the plant to stimulate new growth and remove the unneeded old growth.
–Pruning/Skirting, removing unnecessary branches, leaves, and nodes (bud-sites) from the bottom up. This gets rid of weak growth and diverts energy and resources to the growth above, closest to the lights.
–Topping, This usually only occurs when the plants are in a vegetative state and is a training/shaping strategy to take the plant from one single main stalk, think Christmas tree, and train it to grow multiple main stems (or tops) think of a menora.
I take my time here and make sure each plant receives the attention it needs and the structure I want it to have. These are essential steps to take to ensure good health and overall quality before these young plants make their journey to the bloom rooms where they will go from a vegetative state to flowering.
After I am sure my Veg room is taken care of, timers are set to the 18 on 6 off light cycle; I head to one of the four flower rooms in the back.
I enter flower room three and am hit with the stunning array of pleasant aromas from the different strains in the room. I smell pine, sweet citrus, and more, all mingling together in a bouquet of smells that make me smile; this is my favorite part of growing, the different wonderful smells that this amazing plant can produce. Each one having a unique terpene profile that lends itself to smell, taste, and the high.
I walk past the large six-foot-plus plants all supported by a trellis, a plastic net-like material attached to polls on the sides of the benches. This combo gives support to the large plants keeping them from falling over as they grow.
I run a practiced eye over the canopy to make sure there is ample spacing for side branches and top colas to receive enough light from the DE’s overhead.
I arrive at the table I had left off yesterday and quickly get to work leafing. I start plucking leaves to thin the dense, jungle-like, canopy before me; a practice which allows the light from overhead to penetrate more deeply, thus enabling the bud-sights to receive more light then if they were covered up and shaded as before.
My hands work deftly through the canopy as I move down the table going about my task as music blares through my headphones, whittling away the hours. Before I know it, two large 40-foot benches are completed and the day is nearly over.
It’s time to clean up and get mixing!
End of day Hustle
I sweep the aisles of any plant waste in my area and head out. My crew will finish the rest of the sweeping, mopping and general clean up needed in every grow to stay clean and compliant.
I approach my nutrient cart where I find jugs of pre-made nutrients and a recipe guide to follow, all labeled in milliliters. I pour each one individually, carefully measuring each one out, and dump it into the 300-gallon reservoir.
Roiling bubbles caused by the four large air stones lurking in the depths of the reservoir, keeping the nutrients mixed and the water from going stagnant. The pumps that supply air to these stones make a loud whirring sound that competes with the music in my earbuds.
Sounds of air pumps, fans, heaters, A/C, and the electric hum of lights all combining to create a low drone that dominates the air space all around. Sometimes all the noise is maddening, other times comforting, either way, these sounds are the lifeblood of every indoor grow. Without these integral pieces of equipment, there can’t be any indoor grow operation.
The last of the nutrients are poured into the resi (reservoir), and I quickly stow all the containers and start heading to my final checks of the day.
I take one last look through the grow, making sure timers are set for both the light cycles and the feed/watering timers. All the systems seem to be humming along as it should be, as it needs to be before I can call it a day.
I notice Room 4, the next to be harvested, has its light timer box open and I double-check that the 12 hours on 12 hours off day/night schedule I have set hasn’t been tampered with.
All is well.
I can feel good now about leaving everything alone overnight without any nagging worries if I forgot something that will end in frail, wilting, or dead plants. No grower wants to come into that nightmare in the morning.
It has happened at other grows but not here, not on my watch, and this is precisely why the final checks at the end of the day are so crucial. By taking a few extra minutes, I know without a doubt that everything is as it should be and I can now, at last, call it a day.
In the End
For those of us where growing is not just a passion but a way of life not only for cannabis but all things green, the daily grind is worth the sweat. It’s hard work that comes with a host of challenges, yet the beauty and love for the plants themselves are what keeps us going.
It’s what keeps us coming back.
It’s what keeps us growing.