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Minimalist Grower

Carlos Swan is a budtender for Bridge City Collective. Along with being a knowledgeable strain connoisseur, he strives to do more with less in order to keep the cannabis plants in his attic healthy.


Over the past three months I have been keeping some canna-babies alive and kicking in my attic and musical jam space. I heard from a master growing once that the plants like music. Mine seem to like my rock & roll vibes. My goal from day one was to be a minimalist grower, to see how much shit was needed to produce something worthwhile. The things keeping my dreams alive include: a medium U-haul moving box, a sheet of plastic floor covering for painting, battery powered mini fan, Bio Biz algae-magic, Portland tap water, a ceiling sky light and a tiny bit of light from the occasional 120 watt blue GE plant light. Sound crazy? Nope, but I would say challenge accepted.

It was a hard winter and I lost three darlings along the way. Heat was the biggest deciding factor over the wet and stormy season. As I’m speaking with y’all, I have two, and I have big plans for them. One is an OG Kush and the other is a Silver Satori. In the next few weeks I’m going to germinate some new seeds of my strain, Hipster Magic, a mysterious purple strain I picked up in a bag of cannabis my mother had given me. The story goes that she had got the green from a half ass deal she made with a farmer to clean a small portion of his crop. In return for cleaning, my mom had got some samples of this stuff that was nothing short of purple sticky punch. This is only part of the story of how it got into my hands.  Fast forward a little and two successful grows later, and I’m about to start the third generation of those seeds.

Bridge City Collective Minimalistic Medical Marijuana PlantUltimately I don’t plan to grow cannabis indoors for the length of the grow season. They will go outside and into the ground by June. The point of this is to use my attic space as a greenhouse incubator for a series of starts. These last few months have been tough, but the weather is looking up. This means my attic space will be warmer and getting more natural light. Free light! I use the 120-bulb setup two-four hours every other day. Sometimes more when the temperature drops below 60. Some will say this is not enough.

I realize this and my point is to find the least amount of energy needed to keep cannabis plants healthy. Another one of my inspirations for the minimalist approach to growing is my paranoia of leaving fans and grow lights plugged in when I’m not around. I have this legitimate fear of burning my damn house down.  Not to mention the fact some squatters burnt the back side of their flophouse cooking up some trouble about 500 feet from my front door. Before that there was another fire about baseball toss away in a townhouse on my block. That place is still tarped and gives me a hard lesson every time I see it. Accidents happen. Pay attention. So, as a paranoid farmer, I will continue to only use the light when I’m home and use an itty bitty battery powered fan.

Cat Smelling Minimalistic Medical Marijuana PlantSome cool features of the setup included push pin holes hand poked around the sides of the box for maximum breathability and more holes poked into the plastic that covers the top of the box and creates the greenhouse effect. I also use my mic stand to clamp the ballast housing the grow light. Perfect fit.

Did I mention I have a kitten named Ginger that likes to eat baby cannabis plants? I lost two to her as well. She ate them all. Gone. The two remaining plants are looking great. With the help of ALG-A-MIC, a powerful organic seaweed concentrate from Bio Biz, I have been able to keep my plants well fed. They must be happy because they stink so good. It has stimulated the growth noticeably and made the transition to larger pots smooth. It’s funny to sit back and imagine little live organisms helping another life form grow big and strong. It looks like a sea of ant like creatures with a million squiggling legs slowly but steadily putting the plant together piece by piece, day by day.

Field Notes:

Silver Satori

  • skunky citrus chemy
  • getting bushy
  • 20 branches and counting
  • height on 4-30-17: 8.75 inches

OG Kush

  • very musky, earthy, woody and piney
  • nine branches and counting
  • long and lean\
  • height on 4-30-17: 11 inches

Next Time: Germination, pondering compost tea & future homes

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