Jeff, who preferred not to give his last name, is a Trinity County cultivator of 15 years who owns the Little Hill Cultivators medical cannabis collective.

He specializes in light-deprivation greenhouse cannabis cultivation, but has grown using a variety of methods such as hydroponics and using organic soils. Jeff says he utilizes sunlight for full spectrum plant growth as well as for powering equipment such as his fans in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.

Here, he answers common questions about both growing cannabis at home and the cultivation industry.

Q: Is it better for someone who’s new to growing cannabis at home to start with seeds or with clones?

A: Starting with seeds will help make your first grow a success. Seeds have increased vigor and this will make your first plants stronger to deal with the stress a new grower may put on them as they learn. Seeds will also be pest and disease free. This cannot be guaranteed starting with clones. Eliminating potential catastrophe that mites or powdery mildew can bring to a novice grower dramatically increases the chance of a successful first harvest.

The only downside would be identifying male and female plants. This is not difficult with a little help from Google images. One could also purchase feminized seed.

Q: How many hours a day does it take to maintain your plants? What’s your daily routine like?

A: A small personal garden does not take much time to maintain, but you may find yourself hanging out with your plants when there is no work to be done on them.

A Southern California grower tends plants in his home garden. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Observing them while watering every other day or so will be sufficient. Occasional transplanting, pruning and training will periodic and enjoyable when needed. Harvest and trimming will take some hours, but this can be done incrementally as you consume your home-grown bounty.

Q: How much water does marijuana growth use compared to standard agriculture levels?

A: Well, this is a sticky subject for some.

There has been a lot of bad press about water consumption of marijuana on the North Coast. But when you look past the reefer madness-like propaganda, the actual numbers look quite good. By my estimates, it takes me one to two gallons of water to grow an eighth of bud, depending on the method used.

Light-dep greenhouse flower being on the low end and large full season plants on the high end. Compared to beef at 441 gallons per pound and wine taking 90 gallons per bottle, I’d say us growers in the hills are growing a pretty low water-hungry crop.

Q: How would you like to see the tourism industry evolve for marijuana?

A: I would love to see Emerald Triangle become a tourist destination for stoners around the world.

People already come from far and wide to visit wine country, stand amongst the giant redwoods and visit the beautiful coastline. Why not add cannabis to the list? What we need is for local government to embrace the idea and allow the local community to open businesses that would cater to the industry such as farm tours, bud and breakfast inns, tasting rooms and canna-friendly resorts.

Have a burning question about how to grow a personal cannabis garden or become a professional cultivator? Send your questions to, and we’ll try to answer them in a future column.

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