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A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis at Home

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A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Cannabis at Home

In most states with recreational or medical marijuana programs on the books, it is legal for adults over 21 to grow a certain number of cannabis plants in their home. The exact details of the rules can vary; for example, Oregon places the absolute limit of cannabis crops at four, regardless of how many people live in that home or at what stage of maturation the plants are, but in Maine, adults can have up to six flowering plants per household more that aren’t flowering if they hold a medical card. In contrast, marijuana users in Arkansas must visit a dispensary because home growing is prohibited.

If you are interested in growing cannabis in your home, you should start by checking your local laws to determine that it is safe and legal. Then, you can follow this guide to raise your weed seedling to a healthy, flowering, valuable crop.

Make Space Indoors

Most places prohibit outdoor growing, or at least growing in areas visible and accessible by the public. Unless you live on several acres with impeccable security, you probably want to make some space indoors for your new cannabis garden.

Though you can adapt almost any space to growing marijuana, if you want to limit your energy expenditure, you want to select an area that receives plenty of sunlight but isn’t visible to the public; in other words, you don’t want to use a window facing the street. Homes that don’t receive 10 or so hours of sunlight might need to invest in grow lights, which are special UV lights that give plants the right nutrients.

Additionally, cannabis plants don’t often thrive in areas with high humidity, like bathrooms and kitchens. If you live in a region that maintains high humidity year-round, you might consider using a dehumidifier around your crop. Regardless, you should be growing in a large container with well-draining soil, to prevent water from building up around the roots and causing rot.

Choose the Right Strain

Before you start growing, you might try to sample a few different strains from a recreational or medicinal dispensary near you to determine what you like from your cannabis experience. Different strains have different concentrations of cannabinoids like THC and CBD as well as different terpene profiles, which not only provide varying aromas and flavors but also contribute to how the high feels. For example, strains with limonene, the citrus terpene, are likely to provide more energy whereas strains with linalool, the lavender terpene, are likely to be more sedative. You can always talk to budtenders or correspond withmore experienced cultivators in online forums for help finding strains that suit your needs and are appropriate for beginner growers.

Endure the Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage is when the cannabis plant is growing rapidly from seed to sprout to seedling and beyond. At this point, the plant is nothing more than a vegetable — root, stalk and leaves — and it has minimal quantities of cannabinoids and terpenes. All of the plant’s energy is going to growing to maturity. The vegetative state can last between four and eight weeks, depending on how old your cannabis plants were when you acquired them.

For the most part, a cannabis plant’s needs are simple during this stage: light, water and nutritious soil. You probably don’t need to dote on your plant too much, but you should monitor its health and make changes if it seems to stop growing or wilt in any way.

Tend the Flowering Stage

The flowering stage, as the name suggests, is when the cannabis plant develops flowers. During this phase, you will need to increase the amount of light your plants are getting to at least 12 hours per day, which will provide them with enough energy to produce big, bountiful buds. You should also monitor your crop for signs of males, which produce smaller buds that fertilize your females and create seeds instead of marijuana nugs — a result you probably don’t want. You will need to physically separate your male plants; in fact, you might want to throw them away, since they won’t produce a harvestable flower.

Harvest and Enjoy

Once your buds stop growing new hairs, it is time to harvest. All you have to do to collect your bounty is use scissors to trim off the flower matter, and hang the nugs upside down in a dark, cool, dry and well-ventilated space. This will help them dry and cure without generating mold. Once your harvest is appropriately dry, you can place them in an airtight container and use at your leisure.

If you have a green thumb, you could end up with several months’ supply of the good green stuff after just one harvest. Then again, it takes some growers several tries to get the vegetative and flowering stages right. As long as you are patient with yourself and your plants, you should enjoy the process of growing weed at home.

Choosing a Summer Camp

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Horse Back Riding
Horse Back Riding

The Benefits of the Camp Experience

When you begin to plan what your child will do over the summer break from school, you will notice immediately that there are many summer camps to choose from. The idea of making a decision about which one is right for your child can seem overwhelming! A safe, fun opportunity to learn something new ranks highly on most parents’ lists for possible summer camp choices. The camp experience is a great way for kids to learn skills of independence, have positive social experiences or gain new skills. Parents often rely on word-of-mouth references for summer camps. Indeed, that is how our family has chosen most of our children’s summer camps. However, note that your child might miss out on some important benefits of camp if you enroll them with their friends. Perhaps your child is interested in drama, but they go to a school that doesn’t consider drama “cool.” You might want to include drama in the types of camps you’re considering. Camp can give kids a “blank slate,” freeing them from the social pressures of their school context or clique, resulting in an empowering experience for them.

Factor #1 ~ Goals and Activities

Consider what you would like your child to get out of camp. Choose a camp with a curriculum

Kayaking & Watersports
Trackers Camp ~ Kayaking

that supports your child’s growth and interests. Decide whether you prefer your child to attend a single-sex camp or a coed camp. Get a sense of what the daily schedule will look like at camp. The schedule will give you information about the focus of the activities. Will your child have an appropriate amount of exercise or sedentary activities, or do you want a camp that focuses primarily on physical activity? Here are some examples of interests that summer camp can support: Team or Individual Sports, Watersports, Adventure, Creative Arts, Performing Arts, Science, Education, Travel, Faith-based, Green/Ecological.

Factor #2 ~ Day or Overnight

If you are considering whether to do a day camp or an overnight camp, you might wonder if

The Skill of Archery
Trackers Camp ~ Mastery of Archery

there is any benefit to sleeping over. Sleeping over at camp can, in fact, have valuable benefits. Children learn independence and resilience during the short-term separation from parents that the camp experience provides. Note that there are more day camps than overnight camps, with 14,000 day camps and 7,000 overnight camps nationwide to choose from (American Camp Association). Overnight camps should have a doctor or nurse on staff. The ratio of counselors to campers is a key consideration for safety. Here are the recommended ratios for counselors to campers provided by the American Camp Association. Notice the ratio is much lower for overnight camp:

Day Camp Overnight Camp

Summer Fun Together
Summer Fun Together

Ages 7-8 1:16 Ages 6-8 1:8

Ages 9-11 1:8 Ages 9-14 1:10

Ages 15-18 1-12 Ages 15-18 1:12

Factor #3 ~ Special Needs

There are many specialized camps focusing on a plethora of interests and experiences, and this

includes special needs. Parents must always consider cost and distance when deciding whether a particular camp is right for their child(ren). The perfect camp for kids with ADHD might be in a neighboring state, and it could be worth it to arrange transportation. Be sure to inquire about the staff’s training and expertise.

Factor #4 ~ Understand the Philosophy of the Camp

You want to make sure you’re on the same page (at the very least, in the same chapter) with your child’s camp on issues that are important to you. You definitely want to understand their policies on discipline. If your child often inspires impromptu teacher-parent conferences, you want to understand the rules before you get a call home. You could even discuss these rules with your child ahead of time. A discipline policy can protect your child and helps to establish boundaries. Simply ask how does the camp handle conflict between campers?

Factor #5 ~ Know the Key Staff’s Credentials

Fun & Encouraging Staff
Fun & Encouraging Staff

Great counselors can enhance the camp experience for your child. Indeed, they can make something that would usually seem boring to your child the most fascinating subject on earth. My daughter participated in a drama camp at a university a few summers ago. She remembers learning about the technological aspects of a production more than anything else at camp. I asked her, “Why? I thought acting was your thing.” She said, “The counselors were awesome! They made learning about tech so much fun. We played tag on the stage to learn how the lights worked.” Check out the staff’s credentials if you are trying to choose between two camps. Previous experience as a camp counselor and academic experience in the camp’s main theme are good indicators that their heart will be in it.

Factor #6 ~ Start and Keep a “How To Make A Decision” Checklist

1. Actively listen to your child’s needs/desires in a camp (archery, music, special interests etc.). Involve them in the whole process (if age appropriate).

2. Confidently know your family’s requirements (location, budget). Write these down.

3. Write a short list of possible camps based on answers to the first question.

4. Consider which camps you can eliminate from the list.

5. Narrow your choices down to two or three camps. Review the info you gathered.

6. Establish a relationship with a key staff member.

7. Ask the staff if there are a few parents to call. Speaking with these families can give you valuable insight about the camp and the families that send their children there.

8. Inquire about the camp safety plans and security of its campers.

9. Find out about what medical facilities are available and what medical staff is on site.

10. Inquire about a refund policy if a camper leaves early.

Factor #7 ~ Research Early. Plan Early. Decide Early. Apply Early!                   Summer Camps logo

Camps fill up months ahead of time! You must apply early in order to ensure your child will be able to participate in the camp you select. Now is the perfect time to get the conversation started! After all this is a big financial and perhaps emotional decision for your family, and you need to feel confident that you are making the right choice. So take your time (tho now is the time to start the research), do your homework, and don’t be bashful–ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!

Next up I will be taking a closer look at local area camps. Summer Fun is just around the bend!