Three pounds per light? Josh Haupt says it’s the standard response when he tells experienced growers that he’s developed a method for harvesting three pounds of pot for every light in their room. There are more colorful reactions too, like “Give me a fuckin’ break!” or “You’re so full of shit!”
The fact is that most growers would kill for two pounds per light, and experts warn not to expect more than one.
“That’s the fun of it,” Haupt says. “The Three a Light phone rings off the wall. I’ve been answering it for the last six months, and we get two types of calls. One is, ‘I’m a brand-new grower. Is this book too advanced for me?’ Absolutely not—it’s perfect for beginners! The second is, ‘I’m growing right now and I’m getting two pounds a light, and I’m calling bullshit on your book!’ They’re the best calls, because then we get to talk about details and I get to win them over. When they see what’s possible, they’re blown away!”
Last November, at a lavish bash in downtown Denver featuring performances by Ky-Mani Marley and Redman, Haupt unveiled his secrets in a massive volume aptly titled Three a Light. He’s another one of those highly motivated twenty-somethings who populate Colorado’s cannabis industry. He owns Pomo Publications, which issued the book. He markets Success Nutrients, a three-part blend designed for Three a Light grow ops, but applicable to both soil and hydroponic gardens. And he’s the CEO of Tree House, a group of commercial gardens in Colorado powered by the Three a Light method.
Redman and Ky-Mani Marley helped Haupt celebrate his book release.
Haupt grew up in Grand Junction and became a registered med-pot patient at an early age for his epilepsy—which marijuana has virtually arrested. He put his first seeds in the ground at the age of 15, then moved indoors when he relocated to Breckenridge to grow in snowboard country. It was there, he says, that he perfected his technique, which he describes as a “nine-spoke wheel.”
“Those nine spokes,” he explains, “are temperature, humidity, CO2, room dynamics, genetics, food, water, manicuring and pruning, and, of course, TLC. All of these play into your yield. Once you understand how they need to be applied, you’ll roll your way from seed all the way to the finished flower. But if you remove any of these spokes, the wheel won’t roll as smoothly.”
The art of growing often seems terribly daunting to those who are considering it for the first time. Hell, even veteran gardeners can find it frustrating!
“We’ve tried to keep our process as simple as possible,” Haupt continues. “The average guy who just got his medical card, who has no idea how to grow, usually grabs High Times or goes for Jorge Cervantes, who’s an amazing author and grower. They piece it together, and maybe they become an expert grower. Or they can check out my book. You can sit and smoke a joint and teach yourself. It’s doesn’t overwhelm you with scientific jargon. It’s step-by-step, as easy as can be; it’s thorough, and it’s full of beautiful photos. That’s the approach Three a Light takes. Any home grower can create a situation where they can grow solid medicine for themselves. It can be applied to home gardens with just a couple of lights in the closet, or to big commercial grows. Essentially, we’re filling a niche in the market—breaking down pot growing for maximum success—which doesn’t exist right now.”
One of the keys to reaching that 3-pound benchmark, Haupt says, is the “schwazze.” It’s one of those oddball terms that cannabis lovers coin, like “schwag” or “dabbing” or “shotgunning.” Haupt picked up the term from his mentor: It denotes the practice of removing every single fan leaf on day one of flowering. Then the plant is schwazzed again in the third week of flowering.
“You’re looking for optimum light penetration through the canopy,” Haupt says. “Not only that, you’re refocusing the plant’s energy toward the top to generate new growth. When you schwazze your plants, you’re removing a lot of their ability to uptake sugar. The fan leaves are sugar factories and feed the flower. When they’re removed, you now have to feed the plant all that sugar and the micro/macro nutrients.”
That’s where Success Nutrients come in, providing the primary and secondary pH-buffered nutes necessary to sustain healthy plant growth.
The photography in Three a Light is first-rate and illustrates Haupt’s pot-growing protocol perfectly. The shots of the aftermath of a schwazzing session are downright frightening: Can a garden actually survive such a process? But turn the page and you’ll view the lush, vibrant jungle of green that exploded a mere three weeks later.
Whether it’s detailing the correct technique for cloning or providing tips on proper mediums, lights and water, Three a Light’s primary strengths are its comprehensiveness and its A-to-B simplicity. At $500, it’s a very pricy book, to be sure. But when you consider what three pounds per light means in terms of money saved (or earned), it’s eminently worth it.
The day after the book-release party, I toured Tree House gardens in metro Denver to see the Three a Light system in operation. A dedicated crew maintains an assortment of veg and flowering rooms in a warehouse setting. Haupt’s childhood friend and partner, Nick Costello, oversees the garden operations.
“Every nine days, we harvest,” Costello tells me. “We harvest on a 70-day schedule. Every room has about two days of downtime for us to go in and clean it and bake it. Then we’re good to go again.”
I was led from room to room and checked out the various crops of Juicy Fruit, Lemon Skunk and Burkle (an exquisite cross of Bubblegum and Purple Urkel) in ascending stages of growth.
In the final room, the one closest to harvest, it was bud city—like looking upon a massive crowd of green-headed people. Thousands of buds stretched out before me, not unlike what the pope must see when he delivers his Easter Sunday sermon from the Vatican balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
Thanks to Haupt’s Three a Light method, this garden is a huge flock to tend. But three pounds of pot per light is definitely a holy trinity to believe in.
Haupt admires the fruits of his labor.
Photos c/o Dan Skye