Learn How To Setup and Grow Cannabis In Your Coat Closet
The cannabis industry is filled with individuals who claim their growing technique’s/methods are the best. In my opinion, a lot of these growers aren’t humble, so it’s nice to meet an individual that is humble and is open to learning new things.
I was fortunate to talk to “Jack” from “JackGreenStalk.” He was humble and honest with his first micro grow. He spoke openly about his growing mistakes, what he needs to improve as he continues to grow and surprised him about growing indoors.
Jack and I talked about the upfront costs associated with growing. He indicated he isn’t a doctor but he made it a point to say growing your own in the long run is not only healthier for you but the amount of money you’ll be saving on your first, second, third run is going to yield you significant savings. He made this point around the 30-minute mark in the conversation.
Overall, I believe this was Jack’s point about growing. Why rely on a third-party a pharmacy or local cannabis retailer when you have the resources to educate yourself and produce medicine that will make you feel better and save you money in the long run.
Underneath Highlights, Notable Quotes and the YouTube and SoundCloud video files is a copy of the transcription:
A few critical highlights during our conversation:
- Jack has grown using hydroponics, organic soil, and coco coir
- You can learn how to grow your own cannabis for less than $2000.00
- LEC Lights can create a more potent medicine
- Depending on your space setup is relatively easy and stealthy
- You don’t have to shell out all of your costs at once, costs accumulate over time, which is easier on your wallet.
- Swap medication with local growers
- Training is essential in a small environment
“It excites me that I messed up because I still got myself a great product and I’m happy. I’ve got medication for myself.”
“If you’re looking to medicate yourself and you’re looking to make yourself healthier and better, I suggest knowing all the steps of the process, know your grower.”
Shane McCormick: Hello everybody. This is Shane McCormick from Cheap Home Grow interviewing Jack from JackGreenStalk on Instagram. He’s going to be talking a little bit about himself, and his first micro grow. Jack, if you don’t mind, tell my audience about yourself.
JackGreenStalk: I am a medical grower. I’m living in southern California currently, but I was raised in Ohio and the medical scene there is not entirely so legal and open like it is out here in California. Living out in California, I’ve had an enjoyable experience of being able to grow legally. I’ve learned a lot of things with my first trial run and taking my first steps into micro growing. I’m growing in a coat closet, and I just love to share some information about how to get started, costs and how everything goes.
Shane McCormick: If you know nothing about growing and you want to grow your first micro grow, how would you go about getting started?
JackGreenStalk: I’d say there’s a wonderful resource online with the website growweedeasy.com. They have a great selection of free information with pictures as well as step by step tutorials for different styles. They’ve done stuff even smaller than what I’m doing, such as a space bucket where you use basically five home depot buckets. Then every few months you can pull a few ounces. I took the next step up from that, which is a small tent and they discuss, growing in small spaces and how to maximize your yields. If you aren’t an experienced grower or know anything about the plant, they can break it down from the most simple all the way to the most advanced.
Shane McCormick: What type of grow tent do you use and how big is it?
JackGreenStalk: I’m currently using a Vivosun grow tent it is five feet tall by three feet wide and one point six, seven feet across. It’s about a half meter if you’re one of the metric people out there who understands those things and, how yields work? We’re looking at about half a meter. It’s about a three by three space cut in half.
For your listeners in the US, it’s about the exact size of a coat closet, it’s about like a little bit wider than your shoulder width. If you reach your arms straight out, you can touch the back wall, and if you’re five feet tall, you’ll be looking straight up at the top of the tent.
Shane McCormick: You don’t have to tell me this but where in your house is your grow tent?
JackGreenStalk: No, it’s perfectly fine. It’s actually right across from the bathroom. It’s in a hallway about the center of the house. I did that because one, there’s a two closets side by side and Lady Greenstock was not using, at least not so much that she felt it necessary to keep stuff in there. We cleared it out and with my background and experience of knowing how to grow both outdoors and indoors a little bit, that why not try and do some micro growing. Seeing some of the results other people have had online. Basically give it a shot because now in 2018, the legality in California is driving the quality of the medicine down for both recreational and medical users. That’s a topic we could get into pretty deeply if we really want to, but in short, it’s basically a supply and demand.
Big corporate growers are coming in and funding people that might not necessarily know how to grow quality medicine. They have the money to get the licenses, so the small mom and pops are getting shut down. The big corporate people are coming in and growing buuf or junk weed and just trying to sell as much of it as they can to meet the demand of the greater size of the market. Unfortunately, that leads the medical users like myself who have pretty serious ailments to try and find good quality medicine is even more difficult than it’s ever been. Being able to grow your own in a tiny place and get even a large volume in just a couple of months is a really great experience.
Shane McCormick: What are some challenges have you incurred with your first micro grow and also the costs associated with growing your own?
JackGreenStalk: This is actually my first microgram. I’ve grown before, I started about 2006, 2007 and we talked a little bit about how I grew a thousand plants of AK 47 from 2007 to 2011 all deepwater hydroponic in a more industrial setting. It was more to supply the black market, not so much supplying the medical market and myself.
I’m not saying the AK 47 wasn’t quality, we were trying to get people as high as we could. We weren’t looking for terpene profiles and things of that nature. It was just a different game back then versus now. This is my first time growing in coco coir, which is a different medium. There are a few different ways to grow for the newer growers or people that haven’t gone before. You can either grow in soil like nature typically has it.
A lot of people that are doing organic will use soil bases, which is an option both indoor and outdoor. I chose to use coco coir, which looks like soil, but it acts more like hydroponics. It’s a ground-up coconut husk, and we mix perlite to help drain when we’re watering the plant. So that’s mixed at a ratio of 70 to 30, and it’s actually relatively cheap.
The benefit of using coco coir is it dries much quicker than soil. So you have much less likely to get root rot. And newer growers, especially an issue could be over watering or under watering and get issues in your roots that you really can’t see and you’ll understand that more as you continue to grow.
But some of my issues, because I grew in hydroponics where the roots are sitting in water in the past, growing in coco now indoors, it dries so much quicker than in soil, which I grew in outdoor. It’s amazing sometimes how fast the plant can drink.
You’ll sometimes see within 24 hours the medium is completely dried up and they’ve eaten all their food, and they’re just begging for more. At least the blue dream, I was running from Humboldt Seed Organization, it’s a heavy feeder. There a Sativa hybrid and it just kept wanting more and more food. I used heavy 16 nutrient line, and I felt following the ratios exactly worked wonderfully once I got everything set up and dialed in. I had some issues early on. I ran from seeds versus a clone.
I started four seeds, all four of them germinated, but with my schedule being busy, I had a little bit of help from my companion LadyGreenStock, and she, unfortunately, had some poor watering practices on some of the seedlings and we overwatered two of them, and they inturned died.
With that, we also left them in the humidity dome a little bit too long. I know after they sprout, I should either take them out of the humidity dome, or I should crack the seals on the top and maybe even put a spacer to allow a little bit more air in. So it’s not so humid that the seeds fall over because of too much humidity.
With a clone, you could have as much humidity as you want early on and it’s not going to negativity effect, it’s actually going to help the growth. But with the seed, once it’s terminated and it sprouts the extra humidity actually killed off two of my girls. Fortunately for me, the strongest survive and I think it helped me hunt the more vigorous of the four that flowered.
Shane McCormick: What was your biggest mistake?
JackGreenStalk: The biggest mistake I made because in the past, my indoor grow I had 10-foot ceilings, and I could grow the plant eight feet tall if I wanted to. Now growing into a five-foot tent, you have to consider that about a foot of that is the pot, the pot holder, and the drip tray. Then you have a few inches for your light at the top.
I decided to run a LEC or light emitting ceramic, which is also called a ceramic metal halide bulb versus using LEDs because I think that it creates a more potent medicine. But if I would have ran led, I probably would have had more headspace because they are thin now.
My surprise was I’ve veged for 53 days because I was training and in the past I’ve grown Afghanis and when you flip an Afghan Kush, if it’s 13 inches when you’re flipping flower from 18.6 light cycle to 12 hours light, 12 hours dark, the stretch might double at the very, very most in height.
So from 13 to 26 inches, that’s what I was accounting for, but then when I flipped the Blue Dream, it went from 13 inches to over 45 inches over triple in height. It was fighting through two Scroggs or trellis nettings.
I was bending them and training them and doing everything but after 53 days of veg, they still wanted to grow and be monsters. I grew up sort of into my light a little bit so unfortunately some of the buds I just let get bleached out and damaged. At first, I was cutting off the damaged bleached parts whenever it would happen and then bending it deeper down into the net, but I realized after I’d cut it, a new part would just grow up and get bleached out. I decided to let a small portion that was the closest to the light, take a little bit of damage and allow the rest of the bus to finish beautifully.
They were a tiny bit of re-vegging, you saw some white pistols start popping at the parts where there’s bleaching happening and some Foxtailing, it’s a more wispy lighter bud instead of a denser, full heavy pack nug. The blue dream came out really nice. The video I took on my Instagram is one of the lower buds. It’s what I’ll call Larf because it was dried and cured quicker than the buds that we’re actually ready. Visually it’s not the most appealing, but when you smell it, and you smoke it, it’s one of the best medicines that I can find.
It’s true to the phenotype of a blue dream, it’s long-lasting, and it helps me mellow out. I had a lot of concussions, so I am manic, I can go on and on and on, but blue dream helps me come down and focus and gather myself. If I just smoke general Sativa sometimes, I’ll be too racy, and my thoughts skip from one to another. The beautiful thing about a hybrid where you’ve got the blueberry mixed with the haze it allows you to have a little bit of an uplifting feeling from the Sativa. It also grounds you in the body, and it’s surprisingly a great pain reliever. I wasn’t actually expecting that. I use girl scout cookies more for my pain relief was in a car accident this January, and I’ve been having severe neck pain from whiplash.
I got, and it’s made gardening more difficult. This whole process is worth it because when I medicated with my own medicine that I grew, it surprised me with how potent it’s pain relief was and that’s a big reason that I use medical cannabis in the first place. So that’s a huge win.
Shane McCormick: I know where you’re coming from. A few months back I interviewed the team doctor for the Chicago White Sox.
JackGreenStalk: I actually listened to that interview. I’m a big fan of the site. That’s why I was thrilled when you reached out.
Shane McCormick: Well, thank you, man. I appreciate it and hopefully be a subscribe button as well.
JackGreenStalk: The cannabis industry is only getting bigger, and you’re interviewing legitimate doctors and respected people in the industry. It’s great to get the knowledge out. Some people in the old school wanted to hide all the tech and keep it real secretive but more and more open to giving out the knowledge. To me, it’s no competition. It’s all about sharing the information so everyone can grow their best medicine and then we can trade with each other. It’s all about seeing what medicine works best for you. I’m happy when I see somebody crushing it.
When somebody is doing well on Instagram, I’m really excited for them. I don’t feel this envy and jealousy. I think it’s great to see other people do well. It should inspire growers not upset them.
Shane McCormick: Absolutely. I don’t understand what the big deal is, if someone invents a new way of doing something, everyone is probably going to benefit, I don’t see what the big deal is.
JackGreenStalk: Unfortunately more people don’t think like that, there’s so much infighting. Like, “should I run feminized seeds? Or regular seeds?” or “photoperiod or auto,” or should I do this or that? And it’s “Indica verses Sativa” etc.. I think we should be more of a cannabis community, not cannabis arguing, childish group, which a lot of the times we do become, it’s like, “Yo, my ghost is stronger than your fucking pure Kush or whatever.”
And it sounds like a bunch of kids on a playground. Sometimes it sounds like snake oil salesmen if they don’t have lab results. A lot of labs get criticized because you’ll see stuff like that 30 percent THC and then medicate with it and don’t really feel that much of an effect. Then you have some stuff that has 18 percent THC in it, and it trips you out. It makes you question the accuracy of THC percentages from lab results or is it more about the terpene profile? And I really think it’s a little bit of both. That terpene profile has a significant impactful of how the medicine is going to impact you, but some labs are going to say to retailers your terpene profile is high, so they’ll keep testing there because they’ll make more money.
Shane McCormick: Coming from a brand new growers perspective, what are some of the costs associated with setting up a new mico grow?
JackGreenStalk: I’ve got a sheet in front of me with my full cost, down to my latest power bill. I have every cost calculated from start to finish through my first grow. I broke it down in categories. The first thing that I have is, and I’ll call this “startup.” We’ve got a tent, fan, filter and ducting. I use a fan silencer, so it not too loud, but it’s optional. Also, I use a light, a fan (a clip on fan for inside the tent), a Super Sprouter Kit, which is just a T5 light bulb and a humidity dome to sprout the seeds or clones into. A Seedling Heat Mat, grow room glasses, rope hangers for your lights and your carbon filters also a headlamp to check your plants at night or when the lights are off, humidity sensor and a small and large thermometer. I use multiple thermometers. Here’s a big piece of advice before I actually reveal the cost.
Thermometers are really finicky, so if you get a humidity gauge or humidity sensor, it likely will have the temperature on there as well. But growing in a grow room, with a lot of higher intensity lights will trick that sensor into reading way high. So you might think that your room is a hundred degrees.
I did a dry run before I put any plants in there just to see what the temperature and humidity of the room was with nothing in there for the first few days when I ran the light. I realized that the humidity gauge was reading 108 degrees. I looked at it, and I talked to the guy at my hydro store and said “there’s no way my tank and be 108 degrees. I stick my hand in there. It doesn’t feel right.” He said, “you should get one of those red stick thermometers, their ninety-nine cents at Walmart.” Basically an old-school thermometer. I stuck that in there, and it floats between 70 and 80 degrees. So that’s just a little piece of advice on gear when someone is starting up.
So I’ve got thermometers and humidity gauges. I also have Ph paper to test the Ph of my runoff and my feed. I needed wood and screws because my tent, although I figured out the dimensions of my closet, it actually did not fit. There’s like a metal frame for the tent and the bottom of the tent fit, but the top would not fit inside the walls. I had to DIY a wooden frame out of screws, metal and I used a little metal line to mount things to it.
Then we’ve got coco slash perlite mix, plant supports, an extension cord and a pin timer for the light and all of that roughly ran me about 650 US dollars, that’s with taxes. A lot of this was purchased on Amazon. The tent was VIVOSUN, the fan filter ducting and silencer was VIVOSUN. The fan was $70, ducting and filter the carbon filter which scrubs the air to get rid of the smell. My parents, for example, visit town and they’re not cannabis friendly, and I was able to close the door of the tent with the silencer. They had no idea. They didn’t hear it. They didn’t smell anything. It’s like it was never there. I bought a little, a runner for the hallway to cover up the extension cord that goes into that closet and they were none the wiser. They never even saw it.
As much as I am my own independent adult, it’s always good to stay in good graces with your family. The whole don’t ask, don’t tell policies on Cannabis.
Shane McCormick: I know where you’re coming from even though it’s still legal you have to keep a low profile.
JackGreenStalk: Yeah. I’ve used it as a medicine and people that use Percocet and other ADHD medicine they don’t go around spouting, “oh, I’m on this medicine, you know, like check me out.” I go about my day and live my life and do my job and try and make the world a better place.
I use cannabis as an outlet to help me get over pain from arthritis. I’ve broken every finger in both hands playing football. I’ve had over ten concussions. I have horrible insomnia and migraine headaches occasionally, and I find that cannabis treats my pain and issues so much better than any pharmaceutical medication ever did.
Shane McCormick: I feel your pain. I used to play hockey for the Boston Junior Bruins in the EJHL, and it takes its toll on you.
JackGreenStalk: If you played sports and you don’t use cannabis, I’m not a doctor, but I suggest starting with a very low dosage realize how much anti-inflammatory effects it has and how much less pain you have.
Shane McCormick: It beats going to your local pharmacy and potentially getting addicted to whatever they’re selling.
JackGreenStalk: And dying. I’ve spoken at my local council meeting one of the criticisms of cannabis is if it’s a pharmaceutical then we’re going to look at it as a medicine, and you’re going to use it every day for the rest of your life. Then why not just use what we already have like the pharmaceuticals? and my response to that was, “all of those pharmaceuticals, every single one has deaths associated with them.” You can overdose and whether or not it’s intentional. They’ve had deaths associated, and there have been zero deaths related to cannabis use.
So if I’m going to be using medicine for the rest of my life. I’d rather trust the one that hasn’t killed anybody regardless of effectiveness. Even if it was less effective, which in my case it’s been the opposite, it’s been more effective with less adverse side effects.
As far as other costs, that was what I’ll call one-time purchases. When people calculate how valuable their buds are, you can calculate everything from electricity to nutrients to what the cost of your seeds or your clones were and things like that.
When you look at that upfront cost of $650 bucks, I’ve got a couple other things like food and a few extras. For example, I have two shears for trimming and measuring cups and shot glasses. I have bubble bags to make Pash. I’ve got a few miscellaneous things that add up to about another $150 bucks. Then I bought 20 seeds for $150 which brings down to $7.50 per-seed. Then I got to Trellis nets which were 15 bucks. I would like to point out these costs are built up over time. It sounds expensive when you say $670, but like at first I bought a tent for $70.00. Then I got fan filter ducting and like I just got the necessities upfront and then all this other stuff accumulated over time,
With my feed, I started off with my veg A and B. I didn’t buy the whole line, like the flowering and the additional stuff that I was going to be using later until I needed it. In doing that I personally go to a local hydro store and they offer free consulting. Even though I’ve been growing for a while and I know a fair amount about the plant, I’m talking to guys have been growing longer than I’ve been alive. They’ll make suggestions and say “this is how I do it”…. and I’ve swapped medication with them and they grow way better than I do. I’m not afraid to say it. They’re unbelievable what they do. What they’ve grown is better than the stuff that I can get at a dispensary. I’ve been able to trade clones and get full grown meds from them and vice versa.
I’ll say these things piecemeal. I’ll buy my Veg-A&B, $22.00. I don’t have to buy another nutrient for maybe a month, but I stop every Sunday because they offer free compost tea. I get my organic feed that lowers the parts per million in the coco and helps prevent burn. With the blue dream I was feeding twice, and then I’d give it pure ro water and a lot of the time some strains that aren’t as heavy of a feeder, I’ll just feed and then water with soil especially. I feel the parts per million in soil with all the microbes and natural organisms, feeding teas or even doing no-till organic, you can get a lot of nutrients built up that will burn younger plants and be too much nutrient.
It sounds counterintuitive. You want to make the plant as fat as possible. You have to feed them as much as you can without them getting sick. It’s like if you feed someone too much, they’re going to throw up. If you feed your plant too much, it’s going to start yellowing, and the tips are going to claw, and there’s going to be a whole range of issues that show you you’re pushing it too far. I love the term dialed in. Once you get it dialed in, you know your feed, you’re mixing it, you don’t even have to look at the feed chart anymore.
There are all different types of methods of growing, but however, you decide to do it, you’re basically providing a range of nutrients from nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and a few others that the plant needs to grow and thrive. That’s one of those other things, the community is very polarized. I’ve grown hydroponics, organic soil and now I’m growing in coco. I’ve tried all three, and I’ll tell you, all three can produce excellent medication, but you can also grow shitty medication if you’re not knowledgeable and paying attention.
The biggest advice for a new grower, especially in a microclimate, is you need to pay a lot of attention to your plants. In a small environment, you should be training, you’re going to have to see how they respond. If they bounce back quickly, you know that they might be a pretty vigorous growing plant and you can give it a lot of training and really increase the yield. Some plants hate it, you bend it over and it takes three, four days to bounce back and it’s stunting the growth and delaying when you’re going actually to get to harvest. It’s a balancing act.
Shane McCormick: Am I missing any pressing questions and do you want to make any final statements?
JackGreenStalk: Let’s talk about yield because everyone freaks out about how much am I gonna get and I like to use grams per watt as a measurement. I’m only referencing high-pressure sodium or light emitting ceramic or ceramic metal halide bulbs. I’m not talking about LEDs at all right now as far as numbers are concerned.
Gram per watt means the light uses x amount of watts, mine uses 315 watts. We’ve calculated roughly if you grow very well, you can get dry bud about one gram per watt. When you’re first starting off, you might get half a gram per watt, 0.5 and that’s actually not bad at all. Some people that are doing really well get a little bit over one grand per watt, I’d be hesitant to see the people that are claiming two grams per watt, it seems ridiculous. That’s wet weight, or they’re not drying or curing their buds properly.
What I ran were 315 watts. If I did everything correctly, I could expect 315 grams of dry flour. I’ll be honest, my first run I did not end up with 315 grams. I ended up with 215 grams of dry flour. Here’s what’s the most important thing my total costs were just under 1700 for everything including the electricity, water, nutrients, light, and tent. Some of these things that I’m never going to have to do again was under 1700, and I harvest over 200 grams. So let’s just say it was $2,000 and I harvested 200 grams to make the math easy, that would be $10 per gram for me, and I actually did better than that.
For me to buy medicine in California, I would have to spend typically between $7 to $10 a gram depending on how much I get. If I get an eighth, it’s going to be about 10 bucks a gram. If I buy an ounce, it’s going to drop down to around 7 and change per-gram. That would be the best quality medication from people who are actually also growing it themselves.
If I’m calculating what you would pay in your future runs, which is your nutrients, your water, and your electricity. My cost would drop down to between $2 and $3 per gram, for people that are looking to start growing, that’s the most tangible thing to me. It doesn’t matter if you yield 200 grams or 500 grams or 700 grams, you might do a four by four tent and pull pounds out of your room and your running 600-watt lights.
With that being said, it comes down to how efficiently can you grow. A lot of people now are growing between $1 and $2 per gram. I looked at what I cut off which was my bleach bud, the 125 grams of wet bud, which if you cut that in five, that’s an extra 25 grams that if I didn’t over-veg and I didn’t grow into my light, magically that 215 is now 250 grams.
It excites me that I messed up because I still got myself a great product and I’m happy. I’ve got medication for myself, and I’m processing Rick Simpson oil for Lady Greenstock. She has a family member who’s battling cancer, and Rick Simpson oil is actually the only thing that has shrunken his tumors. He was stage four on a feeding tube, and it saved his life.
I’m so thankful for it, and it’s really fantastic medication, and I think more people should just try growing. It takes a lot of work, due diligence and reading. I would say reading is the most beneficial thing if you take the time to read and know the information, for example, when your plant’s going to flower? How long has your flowering period? Are you growing autos or photos? Knowing all the lingo and the ins and outs are going to help you be a more efficient grower and researcher.
Shane McCormick: To summarize what you just said regarding growing, you basically got your money back within the first grow?
JackGreenStalk: Yes. I’ll say I saved money by growing my own bud on my first micro grow just barely, I saved about a $1 a gram. But on my second grow, let’s just say I grow the exact same quantity and quality. I’m going to be growing it for $2 per gram, and that is entirely feasible for me. I’d rather pay $2 a gram and know what strain I’m getting, know what was put into it and what was put on it. If you look at brass knuckles has been allegedly being sued for having pesticides that are creating health issues in some of their vape cartridges. You have people like Exhibit promoting them saying that they don’t have pesticides in their products.
I’m not going to say whether they’re guilty or not, that’s not for me to judge, but it’s out there that there are big companies with seemingly credible individuals backing them that are pumping out medication that might have poison in it.
If you’re looking to medicate yourself and you’re looking to make yourself healthier and better, I suggest knowing all the steps of the process, know your grower. There are some places here in California, when I got in my car accident, my doctor gave me a packet with a bunch of options of places to go and one of them is a direct number to the farms. You can call the farm and talk to them and see what strains they’re growing and get more information about it. I think being informed is so important and the knowledge is power, that’s what I’m here for talking on this podcast, even though I made mistakes and even though I’m sure people will shit on my grow or Blue Dream in general.
My goal is to medicate myself for my medical ailments if it’s helping me focus and it’s getting rid of my pain, and it’s keeping me on task with that in mind, everyone just needs to know what their reason is for growing or medicating in general. That will help them decide what’s best for them.