Cannabis sativa or Indian hemp although indigenous to Central Asia may now be found in most parts of the world. A hardy marijuana plant flourishing under widely varying climatic conditions, although optimum growth requires a hot dry climate. It has long been used as a commercial crop and he oil extracted from the seed is used to make paint. The seed has been used as a constituent of bird food and also as a form of gruel in times of famine. For as long as medical history has been recorded, cannabis has been used for medicinal and religious purposes and as a euphoriant. With such a broad pedigree, descriptions and opinions have varied.
East Plot Garden Club, American Gardening Journal from the turn of the century.
"The color of the plant is of deep green, sometimes with a bronze tinting on the stems. When the foliage is disturbed by the wind it has a silvery frosty appearance due to the presence of innumerable small plant hors on the underside of the leaves. On a warm day and with a light wind blowing there are few things more pleasing to the eye than a field of growing hemp."
President George Washington
George Washington, as a gentleman farmer was interested in growing cannabis, but chiefly for its value as a fiber crop.
"Take ye the hemp seed and sow it everywhere."
William Drake, Jr.
Mary Jane Superweed
From the The Complete Cannabis Cultivator 1969
"In some parts of Mexico, farmers simply stick the marijuana seeds in the soil and depart until harvest time. But they are very cautious that the moon is right for planting. It should, most moon-conscious farmers say, be full and in a water sign (Scorpio, Pisces, or Cancer). Experiments in which people prayed over plants indicate that prayer is beneficial to plant growth. Perhaps the plants just appreciate that someone cares enough to pray, EEG (Electroencephalograph) tests end support to the green thumb concept. A former police lie detector expert found that when violent and negative feelings were being experienced or when pain was being inflicted upon any animal life, the plants in the immediate vicinity showed disturbed patterns on the EEG. Many pot farmers claim that playing sitar music augments resin production. It is prudent not to get too strung out on any of these claims, but it is also wise not to scoff at them too readily."
From the The Complete Guide to Growing Marihuana 1972
"If you are having trouble with insects chewing the leaves and stems, have no fear as they are easily eliminated by ladybugs and praying mantises. These two insects are friends of all plants as they feed on other insects, not plant matter. What a trip, getting stoned and watching a praying mantis in action, really fantastic. Many companies breed these insects and your local nursery should be able to provide you with the address of the nearest insect farm. Spiders will occasionally nest in the branches, but they do not render the plant any harm. They just seem to groove from leaf to leaf, enjoying the stony atmosphere. However, if these spiders prove to be a nuisance, place a toad or two in your garden. Toads just love stoned spiders and stoned toads seldom become a problem." —Dave Flemming.
There are plainly a considerable variety of opinions on the proper method of pot cultivation. For that matter, drying and smoking also seem to fall prey to variance of technique. Which way is right is whichever style gets you and your plant off together. Literally there are no rules, and the following paragraphs are only guidelines subject to the regulation of circumstance.
Should your crop be growing in a natural field situation, with both males and females planted together in the same area, cannabis matures generally as the short days begin and male plants fertilize the seed bearing female. Here the key is the sexual development of the plant. Following fertilization the male dies and the female stops almost all structural development. Also, in both sexes production of the intoxicating resin is considerably reduced. If you have both males and females you can check the seed clusters at the ends of plant stems to see if seed development is complete. Crush a seed cluster between your fingers for inspection. Should there be dark brown, light brown or greyish as well as smaller undeveloped green and white seeds the plant has plainly done its thing, so to speak. If half the seeds are dark in color you can harvest.
On the other hand, if there is a predominance of light green and white undeveloped seeds, there is still plenty of time, so wait a while. But despair not; in the latter case you needn't rush off to score a lid from the friendly stranger. Instead pick the big shade leaves, all of them, if you like. More will grow back although perhaps not as large. The plant will look very spindly without its bulk of foliage, but the preliminary harvest will actually stimulate continued development.
If, on the other hand, your particular growing situation is a little more controlled, with only a few plants growing out back of the garage or another discreet location where they may have had regular attention and pruning throughout the summer, the task of getting the best from a plant may be a little more complex. If there are males and females together, the preceding 'open field' procedure is in order.
If there are only females you are well on your way to growing hybrid grass. As before, pick off the big leaves, leaving the small seed clusters and tiny leaves intact. If you have been following this practice regularly through the last couple of months the top of the central stem and ends of lower branches should be covered with undeveloped seed clusters. Out of each seed bract small delicate white pistil should have formed by now. These feathery structures eventually turn brown or reddish. Further down each stem, these clusters develop the more successful you are at producing the very stony hybrid. Only female plants grown in the exclusion of males, regularly harvested of all shade leaves will produce this exotic smoke. Remember the female is typified by a 'Y' like formation of the branches and the lower stem. She produces seed clusters at the branch and stem tips. You will not find white or light yellow flowers anywhere on the female normally.
Should you find male flowers forming on a female plant, which does happen occasionally, as the species, one of the few in all the natural world so capable, is hermaphroditic (able to produce both sexes on either plant). Remove the little blooms very carefully. Be careful not to break pollen sacs if they have formed from inside the flower. This process may have to be repeated for the next two months, but the time and patience is unquestionably worth it. Eventually Mother Nature will win out and the plant will pollinate itself. Following that, the plant may be harvested. Be mindful that the key again is seed production. The goal is to forestal hermaphroditic pollination as long as possible. Then keep your eye open for that mature seed pod. It will be two, three, or even four times the size of immature seed bracts and much bigger around. Keep that seed, plant it next spring, repeat all the preliminary harvesting techniques and you are on your way to growing seedless marijuana which is very stony, very rare, and very expensive. The majority of American pot smokers have never seen seedless marijuana but it does exist and can be had basically for free in your own backyard.
These techniques are equally applicable whether your pot patch is big or small, indoors or out. The relative degree of success one has is directly related to the individual's harmony with the plant kingdom. Generally, success can be had by anyone who provides for a growing condition that resembles the natural growth cycle of the plant. It may take several seasons to breed your cannabis into highly intoxicating super grass, but a good yield can be had by anyone the first year if the planting occurs early enough in the spring at a location that will get direct sun all day.