In Alaska, it’s been legal to grow your own for more than 40 years, but finding good advice on how best to go about it wasn’t always simple.
The number of answers to any given question could pretty much equal the number of people the question was put to. And that can still be the case.
As the authors of “Grow Your Own: Understanding, Cultivating, and Enjoying Cannabis” explain, “with all the big cannabis questions, you’ll hear self-righteous hard-liners preaching a One True Way. This sort of prescriptive, high-and-mighty attitude is common in the industry, and we want to reiterate that there is no one right way to grow your own.”
“Grow Your Own” is a collective effort from four contributors, all part of Raven Grass, a thriving, woman-owned, organic-focused grow operation in Olympia, Washington. The authors present a friendly and lighthearted but simultaneously thorough and highly informative walk through the process.
The quartet bring diverse backgrounds to the enterprise. Raven Grass owner Nichole Graf hails from the New York fashion world, but her interest in alternative medicine prompted her to relocate to Washington and launch a healing-oriented cannabis business. Micah Sherman has worked in architecture and brings knowledge of lighting, airflow, and temperature control from an experienced builder’s perspective. Master gardener David Stein has been growing for decades and knows the ins and outs. And Liz Crain is a food writer who offers recipes in the closing pages.
The result is a broad-ranging but easily accessible book that newbies will find welcoming while offering tips that even longtime homegrowers will appreciate.
The book begins right from the start by explaining exactly what cannabis is, followed by explanations of the differences between ruderalis, sativa, and indica. Then there are charts that describe 15 of the most popular strains, along with a quick exploration of THC and CBD.
Those versed in these variances can probably skip the early pages. But once the book turns to growing, there’s an enormous amount of information found here that would be bewildering were it not presented in such a clear and helpful manner, with plenty of accompanying graphics and photos.
The authors list the tools and equipment needed (with a special emphasis on lighting), explore the pros and cons of both open air and closed air grow rooms, discuss climate control, soil options, plant nutrients, and the full growing process from seed to harvest. They delve into the hazards of insufficient as well as excess nutrients and devote several pages to pest management. Drying, trimming, curing and storage are also explained. The last 40 pages are devoted to the many ways to enjoy the results of your labors.
The authors state at the outset that one of their goals is to avoid the uppity attitude sometimes encountered in the industry and help diversify a growing market. They’ve accomplished that with this nicely written, visually attractive, and richly detailed book that weaves in plenty of humor, never talks down to its readers, and is printed on quality paper with good binding that will keep it sturdy and usable if stored in your grow room.
Grow Your Own: Understanding, cultivating and enjoying cannabis
Nichole Graf, Micah Sherman, David Stein and Liza Crain
Tin House Books
David James is a freelance writer in Fairbanks. Comments about this story? Email editor@AlaskaCannabist.com.