“Field of Dreams”
Article by Chris Simunek (Gene Christian), photos by Kent Sea Grower: Jack the Dirt Farmer
Plant count: 300
Medium: Soil and cow manure
In 1995, our intrepid then-reporter, Chris Simunek (now High Times’ editor-in-chief), traveled below the Mason-Dixon Line to visit one of the ballsiest and most eye-popping outdoor gardens ever grown. The breathtaking centerfold tells it all: hundreds of flowering plants grown in full sun, just barely concealed by the surrounding cornstalks serving as camouflage. And all this was taking place in the Deep South, where the penalties for pot growing are beyond harsh.
The plants would go outside around the first of June and then grow all summer long in the hazy Southern heat. By harvest time, the huge colas on these naturally produced plants — fertilized by cow shit — towered over the corn. Jack’s simple but highly effective methods resulted in super-healthy plants and one of the most iconic High Times covers of all time.
“The Million Dollar Growroom”
Article by Professor Afghani, photos by Kent Sea
Grower: Professor Afghani
Plant count: 320
Medium: Hydroponics, using a rockwool drip system in trays
Announced on the cover in big, bold letters, “The Million Dollar Growroom” was irresistible to cultivators interested in using innovative techniques to make piles of cash. Seemingly overnight, the grow game had been changed forever, and high indoor yields became the new reality.
In this well-ordered garden, row upon row of buds were planted in rockwool cubes over slabs in trays containing nutrient solution, which dripped back down into the reservoirs. This was not some closet grow with a couple of buckets of smelly dirt, but a laboratory setup capable of real production. Professor Afghani’s straight-forward article is a step-by-step review of the basics — from starting mother plants and rooting clones to irrigating the flower room and utilizing ventilation and CO2 enrichment to harvest over a million dollars’ worth of pot in a single year.
“Trichome Technologies: A Scientific Approach to Growing”
Article by K, photos by Kent Sea
Growers: K and Sharky
Plant count: 219
Medium: Rockwool with an automated-drip hydroponic system
K’s approach has always been to apply science and maximize efficiency in the growroom, and as a result many of his gardens have appeared in the pages of High Times. The penultimate Trichome Technologies article from 1999 featured one of his most inspired creations: Clean, automated and with three 15,000-BTU refrigeration units to control the humidity and temperature, K’s futuristic setup inspired many HT readers to strive for more greatness. Using different feeding schedules for every week of growth and sensors with solenoid switches to master the environment, this was not some stereotypical hippie’s idea of a pot garden, but rather an all-out geekfest. And dabbers, take note: K talks of “developing a laboratory capable of producing honey oil with an 80 percent THC content” … way back in 1999!
“Eddy Lepp’s Healing Fields”
Article by Kyle Kushman, photos by MG Imaging Growers: Eddy Lepp and friends Plant count: 32,524
Medium: Organic soil outdoors
If you want to talk about game changers, nothing shocked the system like Eddy Lepp’s massive grow op in Lake County, CA, in the early 2000s. Eddy’s medical marijuana collective employed teams of workers to produce massive amounts of pot for patients, pioneering light-deprivation techniques and starting their seeds indoors in December to get a minimum of two to three pounds per plant.
My friend and HT colleague Kyle Kushman lovingly detailed the great work being done at Eddy’s Medicinal Gardens twice in the mag, and Eddy was named Freedom Fighter of the Year at our next Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Sadly, the DEA raided his garden in 2005, and Eddy was later sentenced to 10 years in prison. In a poignant reminder that the War on Pot continues, he’s still serving that sentence today, at age 61, with a release date of January 13, 2018. Eddy loves getting letters, and you can reach him at:
Article & photos by Jorge Cervantes Growers: Nick and Pato
Plant count: Thousands
Medium: Organic jungle soil
This tale finds the intrepid Jorge trekking into the Colombian jungle, a.k.a. la selva, to visit a five-greenhouse plantation producing literally tons of marijuana. Protected by a 15-member paramilitary unit armed with AK-47s, these growers in the foothills of the Andes Mountains are assisted by locals trained to do the daily chores like pruning, pest control and, most of all, humidity reduction.
The growers decided to plant 118 varieties from 14 of the most reputable Dutch seed companies, and the story features an amazing two-page spread of 90 of these strains meticulously dried and labeled. One interesting revelation is the growers’ use of predatory Encarsia formosa wasps (called avegas in Spanish) to combat whiteflies in the greenhouse. Jorge’s jungle journey still stands as one of the all-time-best pot-growing articles ever published.
“Jungle in the Bronx”
Article & photos by Danny Danko Grower: Papers
Plant count: 320
Medium: Pro-Mix in three-gallon buckets
Of course I had to include one of my own articles, and since the latest and greatest, “The Indoor Acre” (Aug. ’14), is way too fresh, I decided to go back to my first big grow piece, from June 2005, called “Jungle in the Bronx.” This feature detailed a massive urban grow op in a section of the New York City borough that’s “not featured in any of the guidebooks.” The building’s rough exterior concealed a sophisticated, oversized growroom running almost two dozen 1,000-watt lights — virtually right under the noses of the NYPD.
I interviewed the grower, nicknamed “Papers” for his ability to make himself and his partners plenty of money, and he revealed some of the benefits and disadvantages of growing in the inner city. For the first time, the average Joe got a glimpse inside the kind of clandestine grow house that fueled the Sour Diesel delivery-service era of New York cannabis connoisseurship.
“The Gold Standard”
Article & photos by Nico Escondido
Grower: Noel Manners of Camp Cool Farm
Plant count: 25 plants per land parcel
Medium: TLO (true living organic) soil
My esteemed Cultivation Department colleague illuminated an off-the-grid pot farm that opened many readers’ eyes to the possibilities of sustainable marijuana production. Utilizing primarily wind and solar power, as well as composting to create a living soil that feeds the plants’ roots, Camp Cool Farm offers a truly progressive example of how to grow great pot.
The farm’s Prop. 215–compliant medical marijuana plants, including legendary NorCal strains such as Jah Goo, Purple Jasmine and Afghooey, are grown in massive 8′ x 8′ frames, providing an enormous amount of room for roots to explore and expand. Plants this big also require serious amounts of water — up to 10 gallons per day! For that purpose, Camp Cool Farm employs a system of water-holding tanks that uses gravity to move H2O from a natural spring on the property to thirsty plants. Come harvest time, many of them reach as high as 12 to 14 feet and yield over 10 pounds of dry bud each.
“Inside the Bud Bunker”
Article & photos by Erik Biksa
Grower: A licensed Canadian producer
Plant count: 250
Medium: Peat-based soilless mix in raised beds
Marijuana growers talk a lot about being “underground,” but this garden in the Great White North — chronicled by HT’s Canadian correspondent, Erik Biksa — absolutely deserves the term. Surrounded by concrete on all sides, this sealed bunker produces federally licensed medical marijuana for patients throughout the country. It’s a massive operation presided over, for the most part, by just one person, from the build- out to the harvest.
The bud bunker employs more than 150 1,000-watt lamps, but it also has impressive air-conditioning units (offering literally 250,000 BTUs of cooling power) that are able to keep the temperature at optimal levels for healthy growth. State-of-the-art equipment maintains the proper humidity and carbon-dioxide levels as well. Because the room is sealed, pests are not an issue — and even more importantly for patients, neither is pesticide use.