Medpot Minstrel: Hydroponics Medical Marijuana

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Blind Justice in Butler, Alabama

A courageous young woman named Loretta Nall is running for Governor of Alabama. She is an outspoken advocate of medicinal marijuana, and recently posted a very moving article about a cancer patient named Don, who is facing prison time because his Marinol was no longer covered by insurance, so he resorted to acquiring his medicine in other ways.

(Marinol, as you know, is the synthetic drug containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana—it costs seven hundred dollars for a month’s supply, and only a few can afford that.)

Ms. Nall drove out of her way on small roads in order to find Butler, Alabama, where Don is about to stand trial. Her insightful account of her journey can be found at the website of the U.S. Marijuana Party. She comments on injustice, dire poverty, and the resilience of the human spirit. She’s a skilful writer—it’s worth reading.

Don not only suffers from Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, but also from diabetes and neuropathy. He’s on insulin, diabetes pills, Oxycontin, Loratab, and Prozac, not to mention chemo treatments every three months. He has tumors the size of tennis balls under his arms, and at other lymph node locations.

He is small, pale, weak, and walks with a cane, according to Loretta. She expresses her outrage with the following words: “I am immediately angry that our government would dare to pick on someone so sick and helpless and defenceless. What BASTARDS!!”

I couldn’t agree more. The picture Loretta paints of Don’s predicament represents the worst of the so-called American system of justice. As the late sixties folksinger Richard Farina sang a long time ago—“Blind Mother Justice on a pile of manure.”

I pray that Loretta Nall becomes the next Governor of Alabama, Short of that, I hope that her valiant efforts on behalf of medical marijuana patients will awaken the consciences of some citizens, not just in the South, but throughout the United States.

My six pot plants are three-quarters of the way to harvest. In August, I’ll be treating them with Colossal Bud Blast. Right now they get their regular dose of Iguana Juice Bloom during the periodic flooding of the hydroponic buckets from the reservoir.

My home office is next door to the grow room and I was concerned this past week about an infestation of fruit flies. I inadvertently left a banana in my office and it ripened and attracted these bugs. They’re hard to get rid of and my fear is that they’ll fly into the grow room.

I purchased some yellow sticky traps at a garden store, and already I must have snared dozens of them. They are usually a problem in the kitchen, around the compost bin, but this is the first time in my office. I’ll have to be careful with food from now on.

Just to be on the safe side, I sprayed some Bug Away on the little buggers to stop the infestation.

Good sanitation measures around the grow room also include personal hygiene when working with your plants. Unwashed clothing or hair can take pathogens or pests into your grow space, as can the bottom of your shoes. It’s a good idea to leave your shoes at the door and work in socks, or slippers if you’re afraid of getting your feet wet.

Speaking of getting your feet wet, we need more courageous young women like Loretta Nall to enter politics, since they seem to have more balls than men when it comes to speaking out on behalf of true justice and compassion.

posted by Wes @ 1:45 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Anxiety, War Crimes, and Samadhi

Many years ago, a close friend gave me a book, called “The Origins of Illness and Anxiety.” I’ve misplaced it since then, but the central thesis has stuck in my mind. It was that all illness is psychosomatic—the state of our minds controls the condition of our bodies.

I was glued to CNN for a couple of days, following the unfolding of the tragic events in Lebanon. Lobbing explosives into densely populated cities is a criminal act as far as I’m concerned, whether it’s done by the Israeli military or the Hezbollah or Hamas guerrillas. The woman judge at the World Court warned both sides this week that they could be charged with war crimes.

I worked myself into a tizzy, then I remembered the psychosomatic nature of disease. If you’re not at “ease” you’re in a state of “dis-ease!” It’s all interconnected! Eureka! I used to know all this stuff, but I’d forgotten. The Lebanese war brought it all back with a vengeance.

My cancer is in remission (knock on wood) so I don’t want to jeopardize my long term health. I rolled a slim joint of my medicine, shut the TV off, and took a few deep breaths. Put on a Steven Halpern “Relaxation” CD and sat in my recliner, slowly inhaling the life giving smoke. Within a few minutes, a feeling of well-being and peace enveloped my entire body and my spirit could finally relax.

Wayne Dyer says that forgiveness is all-important. We must forgive our enemies. He is just repeating Christ’s teachings, I know, but he brings them into a contemporary reality. So I closed my eyes, and forgave the Israeli military, as well as the Hezbollah and Hamas zealots. Halpern’s celestial music carried me into a state of samadhi, nirvana, or whatever you choose to call it.

After a lengthy, conscious reverie, I fell asleep. When I awoke, I felt refreshed, renewed in some way. I realized that peace comes from within and that I must have the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change. Still, I went to my computer and sent an e-mail to G.W. Bush at the White House, imploring him to help stop the hostilities. I felt cleansed of all the anxiety with regard to the Middle East.

I went next door to my grow room to check on my ladies. Next to the two Northern Flame and three White Russian plants, is an Afghani plant, which I grew from a seed left over from my last order. I grew one of these last time, and Claire and I appreciated the quality smoke. That’s my quota, six female plants. If I grew any more, I could get in trouble with the law.

I checked the reservoir and made sure that enough Iguana Juice Bloom was circulating into my hydroponic buckets to ensure a robust and healthy harvest. Advanced Nutrients Medical kept me well supplied with the world's best plant nutrients.

The timer allowed for 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of total darkness. Some growers use a green bulb to work in the grow room during the dark hours, but I choose not even to do that. It could interfere with the rhythm of my plants.

As I looked at my graceful medpot plants filling out and growing quickly toward the overhead light, I gave thanks once again to the Creator for giving us dominion over these healing herbs. I read Genesis before I went to sleep last night and the Bible clearly states that all seeds and herbs were given to us in order to nourish us. The opponents of medpot ought to look into the Holy Book more often.

I could almost sing the lyrics of that Anne Murray song in my head:

“Every time I look into the Holy Book I wanna tremble, When I read about the part where the Carpenter cleared out the temple…”

I wondered what Jesus might be thinking, now that the Holy Land is once again a battleground.

posted by Wes @ 7:52 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tempers rising along with the heat

I must warn you, I’m on the warpath today. Not only has Israel decided to start a full-scale war over two kidnapped soldiers in Lebanon, but I just read about the DEA busting 13 medpot dispensaries in San Diego. It happened on July 6th, but I’ve been away and too laid back or busy to pay attention to the news.

What on earth did these legal dispensaries do to the feds to make them so vicious? Even if there happened to be some irregularities with regard to who got pot and who didn’t, do the feds send in the riot squad when a pharmacist misreads a prescription or someone gets some extra painkillers that they’re not entitled to?

Congress defeated a very wise amendment that would have stripped the DEA of its funds to carry out such misguided raids. The good news is that 163 representatives, including some Republicans, voted for the amendment. If we could build up those numbers, perhaps next year the medpot forces will succeed.

There are wars raging all over the place, but none as totally useless as this crusade against medicinal marijuana undertaken by the federal government. Where is the governor of California—a tough guy in the movies—when his state’s laws are trampled upon in such a fashion?

Closer to home, Squirrel had a bright idea today to raise money for her Internet buying sprees. She drew a poster of a purring cat, advertising a spa for cats. She wants to put it up all over the neighborhood. I doubt that she’ll find any takers, but it might be a good lesson. Like the lemonaid stand on a street with but a few passersby. Besides, she only has a vague idea what to do with the cats if they do materialize.

I also read in the paper that there is a law on the books that penalizes students who have been busted for pot. They are being denied financial aid to complete their education! So far 200,000 students in the U.S. have been thus punished. What an insane idea—they’re into drugs, deny them an education. That will solve the drug problem—NOT!

The mind boggles at the stupidity of politicians. Like Bush saying that Israel didn’t overreact to the two soldiers being kidnapped. How many civilians have to die in return? How many airports, bridges, power stations, and six-story buildings have to be demolished, before Israel considers the score even? (Don’t get me wrong. I think that the Muslim extremists are just as insane.)

My blood pressure is rising, so I go into my grow room to meditate. My ladies are coming along nicely. I’ve switched over to a regular High Pressure Sodium bulb, with its light on the red end of the spectrum, because they’ve started the flowering process. I’ve also fed them with Organic B, a comprehensive B vitamin supplement for your plants, which combined with Piranha and Tarantula, causes the plants to burst forth with buds.

At a later stage, I’ll be using Colossal Bud Blast to insure the most potent medicine possible. Claire and I have smoked schwag in the past, and we swore that when we grow our own, we’ll smoke nothing but the best. It’s like being a connoisseur of fine wines. In addition to Northern Flame, we’re trying a hybrid called White Russian. It’s showing promise, although it’s not as prolific in buds as Northern Flame.

Claire had another migraine today, and I had to administer her some medicine from the last batch. She woke early with searing pain, but after our communal joint she went back to sleep and awoke refreshed. She would be a great poster girl for medpot—I can just see the before and after shots. My heart went out to her as tears were streaming down her face, and she was saying that this was the worst possible pain anyone could imagine.

The longer I live, the more I realize that it’s all interconnected. We’re joined up with nature and all the financial stresses that the ordinary family experiences take their toll—literally—as a pain in the neck. Claire claims that today’s doozey of a headache started in her neck. Some people differentiate between tension headaches and migraines, but I see that line as blurred.

My own bouts of pain seem minor, compared to hers. Once you’re diagnosed with cancer, everything else fades by comparison. So you lost your job—well, at least your cancer is in remission. So you go hungry for a day—at least…you get the picture.

With regard to the wars raging in the Middle East, I can only refer to the Buffy Sainte-Marie song, “Universal Soldier.” You might recall it as a hit for Donovan back in the sixties.

"He’s 5 foot 2 and he’s 6 feet 4
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17.
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years…

But without him,how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He’s the one who gives his bodyas a weapon of the war.
And without him all this killing can’t go on."


posted by Wes @ 11:31 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Credit Burn Out and Flowering Ladies

Back from our short-lived holidays, I’ll just make this a very short posting. Even if you’re lucky enough to go away, work always catches up with you when you come back. I have a number of things to attend to not having to do with growing pot.

Squirrel, our nine-year-old daughter, has discovered the magic of Internet shopping (provided you have access to a credit card). Due to a failed business venture a number of years back, we only have one credit card and it is up to the limit. So Squirrel was very upset when we told her that no, she can’t buy all the stuff from the American Kennel Club that she would like.

The absurd ideas of little girls who haven’t yet learned the value of money. $199 for a bed for our dog! Hey, I slept most of my life on a mattress that cost less than that!

My ladies (female marijuana plants) are progressing very nicely, and soon I will switch over to Iguana Juice Bloom in their reservoir. So far we’ve been feeding them with Iguana Juice Grow, but after the vegetative growth is finished and the flowering cycle starts, they require food that is balanced differently, between the macro and the micro nutrients.

You know what Squirrel said when I told her that we don’t have enough money for her shopping spree? “You better start working overtime, dad.” Yeah, thanks. I’m only working ten to twelve hours a day. Maybe I should forget about sleep entirely. And send my paycheck to the Kennel Club directly…

posted by Wes @ 7:59 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Temperature's Rising

I don’t know what the weather is doing in your part of the country, but where we are it’s starting to get incredibly hot. Sunny day after sunny day, and the mercury is shooting up the glass tube. Now that school is over, our daughter wants to spend the whole day hanging out at a water park. I don’t blame her—if I didn’t have to work during the week, I’d be frolicking in the cold spray myself!

In this heat, needless to say, I’ve turned off the CO2 burner in my grow room, until the fall. I’m reminded of the importance of keeping accurate track of the temperature in my indoor garden. The ideal for indoor marijuana cultivation is 72 to 76 degrees F. A 10 to 15 degree drop in temperature is permissible at night. However, if the fluctuation is more dramatic than that, your plants could suffer.

In the daytime I have my two inline fans going full blast, one bringing in cooler air, one sucking out the hot air. My 600W High Pressure Sodium light fixture has a conversion bulb in it, since at present my “ladies” are still in the vegetative stage. If global warming persists and it gets any hotter next summer, I might have to invest in a portable air conditioning unit.

They have standalone models some of which use water as a coolant, and some others use air. I would have to save up for one, since they come with (for me) a hefty price tag.

Temperatures above 85 degrees F are not recommended, except with CO2 enrichment. But leaving my burner on defeats the whole purpose. I’d rather try to cool the room to below eighty-five, than fire up my burner which is sure to make it hotter than ninety, ninety-five, above which the plants will expire, even with CO2.

If the grow room temp drops 20 degrees or more, the excessive humidity thus produced will inadvertently lead to mold problems. A good way to avoid these is by using Advanced Nutrients Medical’s Scorpion Juice, which inoculates the pot plants against pathogens. It is of course prudent to prevent such extreme fluctuations by cooling in the summer, and heating in the winter.

According to Jorge Cervantes, “more than a few growers have lost their crops to heat stroke during the Fourth of July weekend. This is the first big summer holiday and everybody in the city wants to get away to enjoy it…temperatures can easily climb to 100 degrees or more in grow rooms that are poorly insulated and vented. The hotter it is the more ventilation and water that’s necessary.”

So please don’t forget, just as you require to drink more and cool off more, so do your medpot plants. My grow room is in the basement, which is the coolest part of the house. Still, it got so hot one summer, that I had to move my computer from my home office into the bathroom, which was quite a few degrees cooler. My home office is next to the grow room in the basement.

I like to order in Indian food in this heat. The hot spices of Lamb Biryani, or Curried Vegetables, or Butter Chicken are great foods to eat during a heat wave. There is something about hot peppers that cancels out the overwhelming feeling of heat. Your throat and mouth are burning, but you feel cooler on the outside.

It’s the same logic that makes me want to take a hot shower during the hottest days of the year. It might be unbearable when you get in but it’s so cool (literally) when you get out. And that refreshed feeling stays with you for hours.

It is imperative, when growing hydroponically, that you measure the temperature of your nutrient solution regularly. If the liquid goes above 75 degrees F, the roots can literally cook. It takes about 2 weeks for the roots to grow back, so you’ve lost some valuable growing time, as well as risked the health of your plants.

Claire and I have sent our daughter to spend time with her grandparents, and are taking a few well deserved days off to celebrate our national holiday. We have, however, put my grow room on a number of timers, that control the lighting, cooling, and nutritional systems of our six pot plants.

We double checked everything before leaving and now are relaxing next to a pool as I write and submit this on my laptop. Happy Fourth of July!

posted by Wes @ 10:12 PM 0 comments links to this post