Mar 102012

If you’ve ever spent any time in a grow shop, you can spot the pro growers the moment they walk in. They may be smiling, but they have hundred-dollar bills in their pocket and they’re getting ready to haggle with the owner. Good growers know what they need to grow primo bud, and they view the tools of the trade – lights, fans, nutrients, soil – as business investments that pay off down the line.

Cover art for "Marijuana Made Simple"For beginning growers, those investments don’t always pay off. They get bad advice from their well-meaning friends, buy a bare-bones “starter kit” made from cheap materials or – even worse – buy expensive materials and use them incorrectly. That’s why “Marijuana Made Simple: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Like A Pro” is such a useful book. From setting up your grow room to maximizing your yield, Canadian author Mediman offers a step-by-step plan that virtually anyone can follow.

One quick caveat: “Marijuana Made Simple” doesn’t address outdoor growing methods, so if that’s your primary interest this book isn’t for you. But it’s not an oversight or a concession to Canada’s shorter growing season; it’s the author’s opinion that indoor growing is best for growing quality medicine in a secure environment.

“Even if you are a legal marijuana grower, you should treat the situation as though you were growing illegally,” writes Mediman. “If your secret gets out, you might find yourself the victim of a home invasion or, at the very least, discrimination from your neighbors.” That’s worth thinking about in California and other U.S. states where a lot of medical marijuana is grown outdoors. Being legal (or not) is one thing; being discreet is quite another.

There are many other pearls of common-sense wisdom in “Marijuana Made Simple,” but it’s an illustrated instruction manual, not a cultivation bible. The short form is apt given Mediman’s earlier experience as a technical writer. Pro growers and self-appointed experts will find the text lacking in detail, but the format is perfect for beginners who often drown with “too much information.” Follow the author’s instructions. I repeat, you are going to follow the author’s instructions to the letter, and you’re going to like it. As he writes, “Practice this growing system until you have it down pat – then you will be in a position to start changing variables of the growing process to your liking.”

Even better growers could learn a thing or two reading Mediman’s four detailed feeding regimens, as well as his chapter on “upgrade yielding” for better results in a limited grow space. That doesn’t mean maxing out plants on fertilizer, either, since the author never lets you forget that you’re growing medicine, as cleanly as you possibly can. The final chapter, “How Should You Use Medical Marijuana?,” seems out of place in a growing guide, but it’s a rare gem in describing how medical users can navigate the fine line between getting buzzed and getting healthy.

Metric Systemophobes: Some readers may lack the author’s ability to shift between quarts and liters. For dumb Americans like me, just remember that 15 liters is almost exactly four gallons of liquid. You could use a gallon milk jug to be precise (which the author would recommend, of course) or mix the same amount of nutrients in a 5-gallon bucket, which will dilute the resulting solution by 25 percent. For dry materials, 15 liters is a little more than half a cubic foot, so a bag of potting soil that holds one cubic foot U.S. is just under 30 liters. If you’re truly math-challenged, just look at all the pretty pictures in the book, more than 350 of them in full color.

“Marijuana Made Simple” does not mean “Marijuana Made Easy And Cheap.” It takes money to construct a safe and secure grow room and even more money to operate it. Mediman empowers beginning indoor growers with proven techniques and practical advice in a book from Green Candy Press that sells for less than $20 U.S. This is one investment that’s guaranteed to pay off. Just follow. The. Instructions.

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