The KiTchen - UptownGrowLab
WARNING: Although using marijuana may not be addictive, growing it is...
— Ed Rosenthal
renowned cannabis grower and advocate.
The Kitchen chronicles the evolution of a hassle
and money-saving effort that eventually turned
into a full-blown passion for the marijuana plant.
If you’re looking for a highly technical, step-bystep guide to growing and harvesting marijuana,
you won’t find it among these pages. Are technical
steps in our personal journey outlined in the text?
Absolutely. But more than that, you’ll find a story
about the supreme adventure that your authors
have embarked on with this wonder plant, including
our pitfalls, setbacks, and triumphs.
I’m a baby boomer. When I was in high school in the early 1970s, I thought it’d be cool to score some
grass and be part of the ‘counter-culture’ evolving around me. Despite thinking I was hip, I was actually horribly
naïve and inept, which resulted in getting ripped off more than once due to my trusting Midwestern upbringing
and plain stupidity. When I look back, I realize I didn’t truly get stoned until 1974, as a college freshman.
Unlike many of my friends, I wasn’t just looking for a quick buzz. Instead, I sought relief from an extremely painful
condition called ulcerative colitis that I’d struggled with since early adolescence.
But as soon as I took my first real hit, my curiosities turned into enamor. Not only did I want to smoke this stuff,
I wanted to grow it.
In 1975, I snatched up a copy of Murphy Stevens’ book, How to Grow Marijuana Indoors Under Lights, and
put some bag seed into the ground – or in this case, under t wo, 4-foot, ungrounded, fluorescent fix tures
that hung from the ceiling in my basement apartment. It’s no surprise to anyone familiar with this setup that I
zapped myself with low-grade electrical shocks whenever I got too close.
Stevens’ was one of my earliest inspirations
Just like the pre-packaged foods hitting the
Throughout the mid-80s and early-90s, I took a hiatus from
didn’t worry about the tall dude nervously shuttling materials into
grocery store shelves, my plant food followed in toxic form.
gardening and focused my attention on marriage and children.
his garage. That brings me to my current garden.
‘MiracleGro’ fertilizer and store-bought dirt were the order of the
But my passion for the plant didn’t die, and unfortunately, neither
day. The finished weed snapped and popped when smoked from
did my colitis.
all the nitrogen hiding in the nutrients. Real headache material.
Then in the summer of 2011, I met Tweezy, a young man who
shared my passion for growing. He’d spent years reading and
A page from Richardson’s book
Around 1996, I traveled to Amsterdam on a family vacation
learning about the plant and various grow techniques before he
and ended up visiting the Cannabis Castle, The Hash Marijuana
ever touched a seed. By the time he got around to planting and
Hemp Museum (www.hashmuseum.com), and many coffee
cutting, he’d amassed serious knowledge.
published the book, Sensimilla Marijuana
shops, discovering a wealth of fabulous strains and ideas about
With what seemed like an almost intuitive sense of what the
Flowers, with featured photographs by
indoor growing. Back home, I continued reading Ed Rosenthal,
plants needed and how to give it to them, his abstract studying
Arik Woods. They showed me an entirely
Mel Frank, Mel Thomas, High Times, and any other marijuana
leapt off the page and into a successful reality - certainly no easy
new and truly beautiful plant, the potential
publications or literature that I could get my hands on.
task. From the first moment he started getting his hands dirty, it
of which seemed unattainable by mere
was clear to me that the time and love he devoted to the garden
mortals such as myself…unless you lived in
On another family trip, this time to Vancouver BC (are you
Hawaii and called David Crosby a friend.
noticing a trend?), I inadvertently found myself at 307 West
was special and from his heart.
Hastings Street and discovered Marc Emery and Cannabis
After getting to know one another and sensing that our
As my knowledge grew, so did my palate. A period of smoking
Culture. I brought a few seeds back home, bought a 250-
respective experiences and resources would complement each
better weed, hashish, and honey/hash oil followed.
watt magnetic ballast, and started running some plants in a
other on many levels, we began working together. This volume
homemade, free-standing, 3x3 closet.
documents key points on our journey.
The Bicentennial (1976) was a banner year for me as a
consumer because the variety of cannabis products seemed
endless: Columbian that looked like gold flake and cost the
My hiatus was over. I was back.
unprecedented sum of $45/ounce; temple ball hash with an
alleged dusting of opium from Nepal; and a smattering of the
I jumped into experimenting with hydroponics and deep-
purest honey-like hash oils. Likewise, my gardening ambitions
water culture, though I finally settled on using organic soil and
progressed from a corner in my bedroom to a huge walk-in
amendments in two tents used for vegetative growth with LEDs.
closet in my apartment.
I had a 4x3 foot kitchen floor covered with flowering cannabis
plants, which shone brightly when illuminated by the two hanging
When I moved to Gotham in 1978 to pursue a graduate degree,
600-watt, high-pressure sodium light fixtures.
those same two florescent fixtures came along for the ride. I
vividly remember trying to track down worm castings - worm
The electric bills were extraordinarily high and the results
excrement/excretions - based on something I’d read about how
only satisfactory at best. The excessive heat in the building and
they added a wonderful element to the soil. Unfortunately, no
recurrence of plagues and predators, particularly mealy bugs,
one – and I mean no one – knew what they were. I’d heard a
combined with a lack of space, proved too big an obstacle for my
rumor that a nursery in an outer borough had some, but that
seeds and clones to reach full genetic potential.
location seemed too alien a land for me to ever try and track
those castings down. Thirty plus years later, worm castings are,
Further, security concerns and the desire for better results
in the gardening universe, mainstream.
pushed me to move my little green friends. I uprooted and headed
to a neighborhood where folks minded their own business and
Welcome to The Kitchen.
I’m a flower child. I was born and raised in NYC in a diverse neighborhood that was predominately Latino
with a healthy representation of Black, Asian, and Italian families. People smoked and sold cannabis freely in
my ‘hood but I wanted to be a ball player, so I steered clear. Along with the other athletes on the block, if you
smoked Mary Jane, I looked at you funny because I valued sports above getting high. As time went on, rap
music started getting global recognition. In the music, the artists frowned upon smoking but if you peeked behind the closed doors, it was easy to see they were all major potheads.
Even that didn’t matter - I was still scared straight. My pops was a soldier in the Army, drafted right out of high
school like in the movie ‘Dead Presidents.’ Fortunately at the last minute his battalion was sent to Panama, not
Vietnam. I still remember his warning to this day. His exact words to my brother and I: “If I ever catch you smoking rope, grass, dope, weed…I will break your fucking neck!”
After he and my mom split up, basketball didn’t seem so hot to me. I was still young but I grew up around
OG’s and would see them handling the little manila envelopes, Bambu and EZ Wider papers, Phillie Blunts, and
White Owl cigars. The beer of choice was Olde English 800, or if they were into spirits, Bacardi Dark.
25 years later: I’m still steaming, “Willie Beamen!” As time
Chinese Thai, Pakistan, Peru Blue, and Cambodian Indica.
went on my opinions and feelings about cannabis changed
Rastafarians and Latinos, especially in the neighborhoods I
drastically. It started with smoking in staircases and on
grew up and hung out in, dominated the cannabis scene in
rooftops to studying guys like Mel Frank, Jorge Cervantes,
Gotham during that time.
Ed Rosenthal, Max Yields, and Kyle Kushman. My man Prince
(R.I.P.) who was an ill metal head guitar player – man, he could
City times were tough in the early 90s, but the cannabis
crunch! – originally introduced me to “High Times” and more.
was getting better and better. I was reading “High Times” and
anything and everything else that had to do with weed. A friend
I bought my first “High Times”
by myself when I was 15 on the
Lower East Side and I’m still
surprised the guy sold it to me. I
guess I was big for my age.
and I went 50/50 on the book Indoor Marijuana Horticulture –
Totally Revised by Jorge Cervantes, Robert Connell Clarke,
and Ed Rosenthal. Published in 1993, this was and still is the
bible of cannabis horticulture. I wasn’t even of ‘legal’ age yet!
We studied that book front-to-back and back-to-front.
While studying, we bought a 175-watt halide light system from
Greenfield Hydroponics out of Milwaukee, plus soil-less mixes
I started getting into rap and hip-hop, writing rhymes and searching through old records for break beats or
loops to rhyme over. The music dudes were big potheads and I used to tease them all. Then one day we were
in the projects chilling out as they smoked some Red Hair Sinsemilla. I’ll never forget it. They passed me the
blunt and when I started to protest, they told me to shut up and take a pull. Peer pressure in full force!
The smoke embraced my lungs like a lost friend. I took another pull and blew it out through my nostrils, and
then coughed for what seemed like minutes. My head was mildly throbbing, my body was getting warm…ah
yes! After smoking, we went outside and I remember asking the fellas, “This is what high feels like?” They
laughed hard as hell and said, “Yep, that’s what it feels like.” I was high for hours and told them, “If this is what
being high feels like, I’ma be high everyday!”
During those early years there was a lot of great commercial
and nutrients and started growing in a closet. Our first run was
cannabis going around, along with brick Mexican, and some
Panama Gold and Lambsbread. The plants were healthy - nice
very potent Indicas and Sativas. This was also the era of the
and strong under our light and eating the nutrients nicely. But
smoke spots - legal businesses that sold weed, almost like an
it wasn’t enough. We let them stay in the vegetative stage for
illegal dispensary. Some of the most sought after cannabis in
too long in that small closet. We didn’t even get to taste the
those times included strains such as Skunk No. 1, Buddha,
fruit of our labor as we jarred it before it was completely dry
Chocolate Thai, Lambsbread, and Gold Leaf Indica. The scene
and our beautiful flowers turned gray with mold.
evolved into much higher grade (read: more expensive). If you
had the cash, the smoke spots had so many different varieties
Time went on and my musical efforts continued to make
and grades - it was insane. We saw strains like African Black,
headways. I toured London and Amsterdam in 1996 with
a few other artists and what I saw there was a revelation to
me. Everything I’d read and studied about was there. Many
legendary strains were just making their debut or being
hoarded for both good and bad reasons by breeders.
At around the same time, a fire broke out (unrelated to
growing) at my partner’s place and damaged our equipment.
In 2011, I met Jay while I was
managing two hydroponics shops.
He always came to the shop early,
always knew what he wanted, and
always paid cash.
He moved out, but he left me with the book. Even today, I read
it as if it’s a newspaper that never gets old. The pages are
One day we were talking about calcium peroxide and
resin-spotted from hours reading and medicating.
Amsterdam when we discovered that he had made his
pilgrimage the same month and year that I had. It was during
Then in the early aughts, I met B-Science. He was from
the summer of 1996: Hashplant was just introduced, AK-47
the far northeastern part of the country and consistently ran
was a baby, and Jack Herer wasn’t stabilized yet. During that
Northern Lights. A Jedi Master at the ebb and flow technique
conversation, I saw that he had my same hunger and love for
of growing, he schooled me in the style in 2001. With him, the
the plant and that he was trying to cultivate the best medicine
words in the book came to life. I learned that I preferred to grow
he could in the same way: stress-free with no restrictions.
organically in soil, but I still experimented with new things if
I thought there was something to learn. I kept studying and
We kept trading genetics and notes, eventually partnered up,
trying different methods, but continually found myself held
and now you have The Kitchen: a book, a journal, a montage
back by the lack of space to run things the correct way.
of the work we have put in over the years. I hope you enjoy it.
My unbridled passion to cultivate the best medicine known
to man, woman, or animal continues to drive me to this day. At
that time, it was the Haze era, which was incredible. Now it is
Sour Diesel, OG, and Chemdog-dominant strains that rule the
streets I run.