There comes a time in every man's life when he must intern at an alt-weekly and grow pot on a roof.
My time came this summer, when I managed to nab a position at WW and was promptly given responsibility for our office's batch of pot plants. Growing weed on our roof has been an annual tradition for three years now. Harvests have been solid but unspectacular.
Too bad I have no idea what I'm doing. Worse: I'm pretty sure my boss could tell. His response, complete with a slight sigh and subtle eye roll, was telling. "Just, you know, do it."
Sure thing. My ineptitude as a weed grower wasn't going to stop me from blogging about my experience. And now that I'm a few months into the grow, I figured it was time to get you caught up.
My first week on the job was…kinda rough. Our four plants were all in misshapen cardboard boxes and barely tall enough to peek over those boxes edges. This was my first time growing pot—or growing anything—and I was completely unprepared.
Google helped, especially when I was learning about our four initial plants: Dream Lotus, Girl Scout Cookie, Headband and Texada Timewarp. But knowing how long it would take to harvest didn't help me very much when I couldn't read the instructions on the back of a fertilizer bottle. That's right, folks—I didn't dilute the fertilizer.
Couple my negligence with a brutal heat wave—it reached triple digits in July and August—and it only took a week or two for the plants to die. All of them. The massacre was as brutal as it was completely my fault.
Thus began the search for new clones. I left my email at the bottom of one of the posts, betraying every warning from my baby boomer parents about the dangers of the internet, in a desperate attempt to get someone's pot. Somehow, it worked. I got around 10 emails from some of our readers who had plants with which they were willing to part. It was pretty amazing that I didn't receive any hate mail, especially considering I had just emerged from a bloody botanical genocide.
We secured a couple new strains (Harlequin and Dogwalker) from a kindly gentleman named Ron, who drove an hour just to drop them off. Shoutout for the assist, Ron.
Next came the repotting process. You see, Harlequin and Dogwalker were in 15-gallon pots, both of which had to make it onto the roof. Climbing a ladder with that kind of hindrance isn't exactly efficient (or possible), so we had to remove the plant from the pot as gently as possible, place the plant in a plastic bag, carry that bag up a ladder and pot the plant.
It worked out pretty well. And by "pretty well," I mean the Harlequin succumbed to the heat and died in about a week.
The Dogwalker—bless her heart—has grown into a beautiful, healthy plant.
At the end of this very rigorous learning process, it's clear I suck as a grower. But I'm learning, and there was no way I was going to let Dogwalker die. I threw myself into making her happy.
This time, I occasionally tossed a couple teaspoons of fertilizer into the bucket of water I use—that's right, I'm actually diluting it—and she's been growing at a fast rate ever since.
In fact, I found a couple of bees hovering around her the other day, which probably means we have flowers on the way. Exciting stuff.
I've been told that I'm the worst pot-growing intern this newsroom has ever seen. It's not even close. Yet here we are, six weeks away from harvest, with one healthy plant.
Remember, a D minus doesn't technically count as failure. It's just really close.