Marijuana gardening is a productive outlet during self-isolation. (Unshu/AdobeStock)
Right now, all across the US, the President, state governors, and local officials are ordering everyone to go home and stay there. They’re trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which threatens to overwhelm the US healthcare system in the coming weeks.
Millions of Americans are taking mental inventory of their preferred indoor hobbies.
Trust me, Leafly’s California editor: Cannabis gardening should really be at the top of the list.
Starting a March garden benefits from perfect timing, low costs, and easy logistics. You can keep it simple, or go PhD-level deep into the hobby. And it can provide real mental health benefits.
Here’s five reasons why gardening is the way to go right now.
The timing is perfect
Let’s face it: chances are, the government has already ordered, or will order you to stay at home for the coming weeks.
Now is literally the best time of the year to start that special houseplant you always meant to. That’s because cannabis is a fast-growing annual weed that naturally germinates in the spring and flowers in the fall in North America.
For outdoor crops, February and March are the best months to acquire and germinate cannabis seeds in order to maximize a harvest. You can nurture the plants indoors, then transplant them outside in May when the ground is warm enough and the nights are short enough. They’ll grow big and tall through the fall.
Save money growing exactly what you want
Everyone loves to complain about the cost of cannabis. Well, grow your own pound and save a few thousand dollars this year.
The sun is a free source of power. One fully grown outdoor cannabis plant can potentially yield a pound of dried, cured buds. That’s enough flower to keep a one-gram-per-day gardener baked for more than a year.
Your crop will be as cheap as seeds, soil, water, and patience. If and when you do need equipment, the costs will pay for themselves over future harvests.
A home garden is also the best way to ensure your cannabis is organic. You can explicitly control what you spray or don’t spray on your plants.
You don’t really have to leave your house or yard
You don’t really need to leave your house to grow a dank pound. Many folks have gardening gear lying around.
You can order seeds online and from local licensed cannabis stores. Some of those stores deliver, or offer online ordering and pickup. Gardening equipment can also generally be ordered online, including soil, cups, dirt, lights, containers, pots, nutrients, and the like.
I’m currently firing up Black Dog LED’s all-in-one, professional-grade indoor grow kit, which starts at $2,194.53, plus shipping. The kit contains everything but the seeds, down to the duct tape—so you never have to live-action role-play the film Contagion at Home Depot.
We need hobbies today
There’s only so much Netflix you can watch.
We’re all going to need a bunch of hobbies while we’re dealing with self-isolation. You can’t spend all day fearfully checking Twitter and spinning out.
A bit of gardening every day is a great way to focus on the now. Focusing on the needs of others, including your plants, is a healthy, productive way to lose yourself for a bit each day.
You’ll have to find a space, source supplies, and make a plan.
Make and keep a grow diary to set goals and track progress.
Join a new online community. Share your project online in forums, and get help with questions. Ed Rosenthal likes to say that cannabis isn’t addictive, but growing it can be.
The plants are different every day, and their needs change. You can name each one and give them the kind of personal attention a factory farmer never could.
Some days, the plants drink more. Other days you can almost watch them grow in real time. Pore over every detail of each seedling, making sure there’s no bugs, and they have enough light.
Now more than ever, you have the time. Plant a garden, and you will live in better rhythm with night and day, the seasons, the weather, and the soil.
Mental healthcare for the months to come
On the secret of life, French Enlightenment writer Voltaire once wrote, “Happiness lies in the cultivation of a garden.”
As I type this, over in the corner, underneath a windowsill, sit six Supreme Diesel seedlings (a mix of Jet Fuel Gelato and Sour Diesel, from Compound Genetics of Portland).
They bask in the weak winter light. Two compact fluorescent bulbs augment the sun. The seedlings’ stalks stretch to the light. Their first serrated leaves grow larger by the hour. One little girl needs help ditching her seed shell. A tiny gnat needs killing—bastard! One seed cup could use a little more soil. An hour just flies by.
Growing plants gives you something to look forward to. And, come on—we need something to look forward to right now.
When you pop new cannabis seeds, you can’t help but say a hopeful little prayer. Every gardener has a version of it, probably ever since man began agriculture.
To plant is to hope and keep faith with the cosmos. Hope for a fruitful future. Faith that it’ll happen. So many things remain beyond our control. Every gardener, no matter how agnostic, prays for sun, curses pests, and gives thanks at harvest.
Sowing seeds today is a physical, intentional way of saying: “There will be a tomorrow. The seasons will turn. The problems of now will not be forever. We will work through this. This too shall pass.”
And when it does, the dankest of buds await us.