Lessons from a Hawaiian Garden Part 1 Growing Culture


Jared, a breeder from Pakalo Seed Company, in the trial garden.

Hawaii is fabled for its fine cannabis. I attended the Hawaii Cannabis Expo in February 2017 in Oahu. I expected to sample some fine entries, and I was not disappointed. The intense sun at latitude 21° (for reference, Key West, Florida is latitude 24°) and the mild island weather create great cultivation environments.

Some of the plants were placed in large containers, while others were in the ground and irrigated using drippers off of irrigation hose.

I wasn’t a judge when I attended last year, but I did try many of the varieties of cannabis. The samples included several fine sativa and indica-sativa hybrids, which do especially well under the intense sun and are genetically inclined to resist flowering under short days. However, there was better to be had.

The fluorescent lights were kept on all night to prevent flowering so plants could get to a larger size.

I was innocently hanging outside the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu where the conference was held, and I was invited to join a small circle of newfound friends. A fellow named Dustin pulled out an extra-wide pre-roll. I understood immediately that he was a successful grower who was confident of his product’s quality.

Some of the plants that were not close to the lights began to flower after they grew past taller than the lights’ reflection.

The mildness of the draw, combined with the fine terpenes and high levels of THC and I suspect, THCV, was a recipe for pleasure-creation and key to mind opening awareness and creativity. It was proof that cannabis liberates the wandering mind opening it to emotion, love and beauty. This was certainly excellent weed.

Until Hawaii legalized cultivation of medical cannabis, outdoor growing was policed heavily by law enforcement. Happily, following legalization, the gardens have moved to backyards and other domesticated spaces.

Hawaii has a climate similar to some low latitude areas of the U.S. such as Florida, portions of the gulf coast and Southern California. It stays warm enough and gets enough light to support plant growth throughout the year. The problem is dealing with day length. The closer a place is to the equator, the smaller the difference between summer and winter light and dark hours.

On June 21, the longest day of the year, there is 13 hours and 25 minutes of light. On Dec. 21, the shortest day, there is 10 hours and 51 minutes of light. Cannabis is a short-day plant that chemically measures the number of hours of uninterrupted darkness to determine when to begin to flower. Most varieties require 11 hours or less of darkness to flower. When a plant is placed outdoors under natural light regimen any time in Hawaii, they begin to flower no matter the season.

I saw just two gardens while I was there. The plants were in vegetative growth, filling out a bit before they were allowed to flower. This was accomplished simply by using strategically placed fluorescent lights around the garden that were kept on all night. Once the plants grow to desired size the lights are turned off and the plants initiate flowering.

Next month, harvest!


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