Speaker Series Highlight: Experts #1 Advice on Growing!

What better topic could there have been to kick off our April Speaker Series than getting your garden ready for the year? Last month The Pass assembled a panel of experts to discuss the ins and outs of growing cannabis and non-cannabis plants, and how to best optimize your gardens this year. Over an hour long discussion led to many important and interesting insights from our panel of experts, but by the end of it, they each had their own take on their number 1 advice for growers. So let’s get into what each one of these expert panel members had to say. 

Cannabis cultivator extraordinaire Pete Steimer’s advice was simple and to the point: quit over thinking it. While he’s clear that it’s important to understand the science behind what’s making your plant grow and how it’s important to tend to your plants with purpose, he emphasizes that many new cannabis cultivators are “over-reactive” when it comes to monitoring their plants. They may see one flaw or imperfection in leaf structure leading them to overcorrect the problem in a way that actually hurts plant growth. According to Pete, “There’s a balance there, where there’s a lot of scientific data you should be grabbing during your grow, but I think for a new cultivator you should start basic. Learn the process, learn the plant, learn how it grows, what signs of overfeeding are, what signs of overwatering are, and get a good educational base.” 

Danny Vinkovetsky, formerly Danny Danko of High Times, current author of Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana, echoed Steimer’s point, about looking after the basics of the plant. He remarked, “Be patient, but be vigilant. Take notes too. If you end up having to deal with the same problem, you’ll know what you did last time, when you harvested, when you planted – all those things you think you might remember you might forget… check the undersides of your leaves, check the surface of your growing medium everyday. Don’t overreact to any problems, but deal with them appropriately.”

Doug Muller, Co-Founder and Managing Director for Hudson Valley Seed Company, recognizes that it’s difficult to give direct advice for a vegetable garden because there are so many divergent needs and personalities of all the plants a garden can contain, but that’s the beautiful part about it as well! His advice for beginners is that, “The most fun and enjoyable approach is to be free with what you start doing. Be ambitious and don’t worry about it. Be optimistic and see what happens. Things will fail for sure. Your first year growing, you will not get the results you want in some way, but other things will succeed naturally. That’s sort of a plant’s generosity coming through… Take what you observed your first year and apply it next year… The interesting thing about growing, at least for vegetables, if you’ve been growing tomatoes for 10 years, that means you’ve only started tomato seeds probably 10 times… The accumulation of knowledge in growing is a slow process, so give yourself patience, give yourself permission to fail. Identify what’s doing well, identify what you’re enjoying and have your efforts move in that direction naturally.”

For Melissa Beeson Higgins, Founder and Primary Operator at Berkshire Compost, it’s all about the compost. From a simple setup in your backyard to a compost service, Melissa believes that compost is vital at whatever level grow you have. She speaks on the importance of this saying, “Typically composting people are very happy people. I think it’s a sense that there’s joy that you’re actually part of a solution. You’re connected to the whole cycle of your food. You know that farm to table? This is table back to farm. Even in the backyard when you’re doing it, there’s a giddiness to it that you had an effect out of something that you helped move along.”

Interested in learning more about our panelists or want to check out their services?

  • Doug from the Hudson Valley Seed Company hooked up The Pass community with an exclusive offer. Enter PASS10 at checkout for 10% off any order placed by Oct 31, 2022.
  • Melissa from Berkshire Compost also has an exclusive offer for anyone who lives in Great Barrington. Get 4 months of service for the price of one month ($20) – a savings of $50! Mention “The Pass Speaker Series” to redeem the offer.

To hear more from Danny, take a listen to his podcast, Grow Bud Yourself or check out his book, Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana.

To listen to the entire April Speaker Series, click the video below.

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