I am not a mother, but I imagine growing cannabis is something like having a baby girl. You spend nine months watching it grow from a tiny seed. You nurture it, you feed it well, you sing to it and whisper sweet nothings as it gets a bit larger everyday. You think of clever names and prepare the nursery for its grand arrival. Family and friends anxiously await the birth. It can get a bit nerve wracking at times, like when a mother frets over every inconsistency. You imagine the color of her hair, her sweet baby smell and how she’ll make you giggle with delight.
Then the big day comes. At just the right moment it is time to bring her into the world, where she will be appreciated by so many. Gently and lovingly, she is extracted from the garden womb and brought home, wrapped delicately in swaddling and kept cozy as can be. Everyone admires her beauty, her long limbs and reddish hair. Meanwhile, the proud parents “ooh and ahh” and look forward to knowing her as a grown daughter.
As with postpartum blues at birth, there is a certain sadness when the garden becomes barren as each plant is pulled. Only simple piles of soil remain, a testament to a full season of caring. While a mother may have to worry about diaper rash, cannabis farmers worry about the late season mold and powdery mildew. This past season we were all hit particularly hard, as the torrential rains lasted for much of the harvest season.
In contrast, last year it was dry for all of October, which was perfect. So it was with heavy hearts that we needed to clip several large top buds because they were moldy from all the dampness. The only alternative to cutting off the moldy tops is to do “Trophy Cutting,” which is to take only the thickest tops in before the rain starts, to preserve them. However, this means that they are not necessarily ready and the product could be inferior. We choose to let the girls go to fruition, saving what we can and knowing it will be really ready to be cut. But that can be a tough decision to make.
Towards the end of October, when the plants are all fully dried and ready for curing and trimming, we can breathe a sigh of relief. They are all healthy baby girls with bright futures now. Our trimming area becomes a beauty parlor of sorts, where the girls are doted upon, each bud finely crafted into a little jewel, shining with crystal trichomes. Due to the wet season this year, careful attention must be made to assure that all pathogens are gone and each plant is completely pure and beautiful.
Trimming is an acquired skill that requires a certain type of temperament. Everyone thinks they can do it, but it’s just not the case. It takes a calm and detailed-oriented person who doesn’t mind sitting for long periods of time. They need to develop their “moldar” as it is called – an ability to spot any mold or powdery mildew on the buds. They also need to be gentle and only hold the bud by the stem as much as possible, so as not to disturb any of the precious crystals. We are particularly neurotic about trimming here at Swami Select, but time has proven that the energy that goes into the plant is what you will receive when it is imbibed. Hence, if your trim room is full of a bunch of rowdies not paying close attention to their work, it will show in the final product.
We have learned this first hand from being judges in The Emerald Cup. It is never the rough growers who win, but always someone with a delicate and caring hand who has babied their girls from seed to sale. Cannabis may be the most psychic plant on the planet, and she knows when she is happy. The key is to keep her happy and then pass that joy on to the patient. It is our duty.
However, the baby girls are not fully ready to be presented to the world until they have been fully cured and packaged. I have heard of farmers loosing everything due to an improper cure. We are blessed with wonderful cool temperatures on our ranch, as the buds like to kept in a dark and cool space. Like the Three Bears’ porridge in Goldilocks, when put into storage they can’t be too wet or too dry, they must be juuuust right. Then, as time passes, they will mature into tight hard and juicy flowers with “jar jumping terpenes” as we call them.
The care doesn’t stop there, though. Packaging is also super important. We now only use violet glass jars, which only let in the good UV light, and actually continue the cure and heighten the fragrance. It is recommended not to expose the buds to the air as much as possible, as it dries them out and reduces the potency. Once the buds are cozy in their containers, let them be until they are opened by the fortunate patient who will find them farm fresh and delicious.
Such is the life of a baby cannabis girl. Like all children, treat her with love and respect, care for her every need yet give her space to blossom, and let her go out into the world to share the goodness. Being a responsible parent is never an easy job, so take it seriously and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor a thousand fold. We can change the world with this plant in so many ways. Whether you are the farmer or the patient, I hope you recognize the privilege of raising or enjoying such a lovely lady. We are truly blessed.
TELL US, have you ever loved a plant you’ve grown or cared for?