Perspectives From A Grower And The Origin Of The Term 420

Damien S. Wilhelmi 4m 982 #420

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Read This Confession To Me

I managed to get an interview with a local Colorado grower to get his perspective on growing marijuana in the Rockies, and decided to share it with you all. So without further ado, let me share my little tale.

I am greeted at the door by a guy in his late 40’s, clean cut, respectable member of society. We will call him Joe to protect his right to anonymity. His modest basement style flat is neat and clean with a mariner theme, including an antique diving suit helmet, which I thought was very cool, but I digress. Joe offers me a Toke and a Coke, which I accept graciously as my southern upbringing would have me do.

My first sample of his organically grown nugs is the strain “Sweet Tooth.”  It’s a smooth leafy smoke, a Sativa heavy hybrid and Joe’s favorite strain.  After settling in we start with the questions before being shown his grow area.

Me:  How many strains do you generally grow at one time?

Joe:  I generally have three strains growing at one time.  Sweet Tooth, Skunk #1 and Bubblegum.

Me:  How long have you been growing?

Joe:  Off and on for about 20 years.

Me:   Do you prefer to grow from seed or from clone?

Joe:  Both.  Now that they have feminized seeds out there you can buy seeds without wondering if you’ll have a male or female plant.  After I grow out a few seeds I pick the best grower and take clones from her [the plant].  Because it all starts with genetics.  If you don’t have good genetics you won’t have good bud.

Me:  You grow in a basement setting where two of your walls are mostly rock on the outside.  What are some of your more common problems?

Joe:  My main issue, which isn’t really all that much of an issue, is heat management, but I just turn on a fan.  The way my room is insulated by the rock I really don’t have many issues.  I don’t really have any problems with bugs, the humidity stays pretty constant.  Temperature is a big thing though, you need it to be fairly constant.  You’re best bet is to try and stop problems preemptively and to try not to get too carried away with the information in books and the internet.  Use them as guides but remember there are just some things you will learn as you grow.

Me:  No pun intended?

Joe:  [Laughter] None at all.  The thing you have to remember is that this is a weed.  It wants to grow so over-tending your plants can hamper their growth.  Just be observant so a little problem doesn’t become a big problem.

At this point Joe brings out another tasty strain, Skunk #1, and it is as it’s name would have it. Skunky, sticky crystalline bud. The smoke is thick and heavy, perfectly cured. We are now pleasantly toasted and ready to take a look at Joe’s Grow.


The grow is a modest affair with flat white paint on two walls and a mylar type covering on the other two walls.  He grows in soil with nutrients from Fox Farm added to the water.  He vegetates on a 17 hour on cycle using T-5 fluorescent lights, and flowers under 1000 watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps.  It’s a simple, yet effective, setup usually yielding a harvest in under 65 days.

Having seen all there was to see I am treated with a nugget of Bubblegum to take home and emailed a few photos of some of his best looking plants as shown above.  It was a laid back experience with a laid back individual and is proof positive that you can have great home-grown marijuana without breaking your pocket book.

420 Genesis

What time is it?  If you answered 4:20 when the actual time is 12:15, then you probably are about to smoke pot.  With as many myths as there are strains of marijuana, where exactly does the term “4:20” really come from?  Well gather round and I’ll tell you a story.

The year is 1971.  The location is Marin County, blocks from the San Rafael High School in California.  The players: a group of five high schoolers known as the “Waldos” due to their chosen hang out being a wall outside of the school.

After hearing of an orphaned marijuana garden near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard Station, the five Waldos decided to detach from their wall to search out the unguarded stash.

With treasure map in hand, this being before the time of GPS, the Waldos chose to meet under the statue of Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurization, at 4:20 to begin the search for the poor orphaned and untended plants.

Why 4:20 and not, say, 5:35?  According to my research, the Waldos, as well as being stoners were also athletes and practice ended roughly at 4:20.  Passing each other in the halls they would remind each other about the upcoming venture by uttering the phrase “4:20 Louis” eventually abbreviating it to “4:20.”

The story goes that the Waldos searched often for the clandestine garden never finding it, but in the process giving us a term that practically coins the present cannabis culture. Anyone with the time 4:20 on their lips are either looking for other’s who smoke, looking to smoke or looking to find some smoke.

So there you go, a little light reading for you, and as always arm yourself with knowledge and remember to live well!

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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @JakabokBotch. If you decide to do your own growing, remember there are tools to make the job easier, such as a Bud Trimmer. Also be knowledgeable and respectful of the laws in your area.