Many of us who grow our own for personal consumption are always concerned with those who don’t understand. Be it the police or a nosy neighbor it only takes a single phone call to have that nice strain of preferred weed gone for good. Not to mention a bunch of legal hassles that go along with trying to survive in the world of the self titled righteous. For those who grow plots away from their own home, the tips I have outlined here are used and proven. However, at all times, a healthy amount of stealth is always recommended for all who grow off site or in remote locales. If you have to grow away from your own property, water is always the number one issue, but you have to keep it inconspicuous. When you visit your plot do not carry nothing more than a Camelback type water bladder in your backpack. These are widely available at Wal-Mart, Cabela’s and other outdoor recreation retailers. This way it is easier and more plausible to explain why you have that instead of having to explain why you are toting two 5 gallon water jugs! The bladders hold 2 gallons of water and larger ones can hold 5 gallons, which allow them to serve a dual role. One, you have always got clean drinking water and two is that you’ll have enough for your plants too. Many do not have the option to plant close to a natural water source like a stream or pond so being able to think outside the proverbial box will benefit you. Those kiddie swimming pools that you can blow up are super for retaining rain water and can be concealed very easily with scrub found nearby – fully inflated or deflated. They can be either stashed on site or carried in & out. Add a hand-operate pump or small 12 volt electric pump that you can pack in a battery for and you are in business – don’t forget some tubing! A pump can also be used with a natural water source too if you have access to one. Just be sure to make a filter for the end of the tubing by using a small piece of pantyhose material or something similar. My good bro in Colorado uses this very setup and during the winter, simply takes it home and stores it all until the spring. The neat thing is that it all fits in a small backpack and should it have to be ditched, it’s nothing that expensive that can’t be replaced. Other water solutions are collapsible water tanks that can be bought at many department stores as well as dollar stores. These can be handy where fellow growers have well defined growing plots that are semi to fully private and can store water on site with no issues regarding getting spotted toting water containers in. If you grow on your own property always plant well away from your house. This way you stand a better chance of explaining that you just found the plants & growing plot versus having to come up with a lame excuse why the plants are 6 foot tall next to your patio! If you are lucky enough to actually own a moderate to large amount of property use the edges of your property to your benefit. By doing so, you add an amount of deniability should your plot or you – while standing next to it – be discovered. Plant your seeds in an uneven pattern to suggest wild or unintentional growth instead of a purposeful pattern, no more than 2 to 3 plants in a group with at least 35 or more feet in distance from each group. Eyes in the sky (airborne law enforcement) look for patterns in growth when looking for plants from the air. In general, marijuana grows like a bush with the common Christmas tree shape and from the air, as I have seen for myself, it is easy to spot. Now you’re probably wondering, “how does he know that?” No, I’m not the man, but I do have a friend who is a pilot and I have seen my plot from the air several times. I have tweaked my plot growing style to incorporate several disguises found in nature that can hinder or altogether conceal plants. Here is what I do – and it works: • Use camo netting found at surplus stores and in hunting departments in department stores. It works great and if you cut it into strips of varying lengths & widths it will break up the plant shape signature. Place the strips in irregular patterns over the top of your growing plot and secure them using any number of common sense methods. Remember, the color and signature shape of the plant is what law enforcement looks for. • Take your efforts seriously and do not get cocky. Avoid taking friends or aquaintances to your plot to show off your plants. Take photos if you are that proud and show the pictures of your plants instead of disclosing your grow plot location. You would be amazed how many growers I know get ripped off by so called “friends.” Trust no one! • Avoid planting in open spaces. Although it would be nice to have all of the available sunlight during daytime hours that planting in wide open spaces would obviously allow for, it is the number one reason many plants are spotted. Plant your crop alongside a wood line that is facing towards the south, as that is the direction with longest exposure to the sun within a 24 hour period. By doing so you can actually plant a little inside the wood line helping to disguise the plants. Northern facing directions are to be avoided if at all possible. Remember, if you see moss on a tree then you are on the north side of that tree. • Utilize vines and other natural plant growth to disguise your plants. This makes detection more difficult when natural growth is incorporated into marijuana plots. If you are lucky enough like me to be able to plant in a private plot on your own land (or a trusted friend’s) then make yourself a really good garden by doing what I do. Now I know everybody’s style is different and what works for me may not work for you depending on a wide variety of factors. But this does work for me and I believe it will for you as well. First I buy 7 large sized bags of Miracle Grow potting soil (it’s a good heavy type soil) and then dig myself a 6 by 6 foot area 1 foot deep in the shape of a square. One well kept secret of mine regarding fertilizer is that I own horses and they produce the best fertilizer around. You must dry it first to rid it of its high acidic properties otherwise it will burn the seeds or the plants. If you have access to horse manure, get some for sure but allow it to dry out. The manure, when dry enough to apply to your grow plot, will be much lighter in weight and will “crumble”. The best way I have discovered is to prepare it for application is use your hands to crumble it up and mix it in the soil. Use medical latex gloves if you must, but all of my plants are fertilized in this manner by turning the manure into my soil and over the past 20 some years, I have never had to worry about fertilizer. A word of caution: Check the pH first (after drying) because certain supplements and medicines given to horses involved in high stress activities like dressage, roping etc can produce undesirable levels of pH in the range of 6.3 to 6.8 which is preferred by soil based bacteria. This usually will not be the case in manure from pleasure horses or horses kept at pasture. I then add the potting soil and also add Osmocote Smart Release plant food. The ratio that I use is very simple yet proven, I sprinkle a light coat of Osmocote on the top of the bedded soil, then mix in but not by scattering the beads all over. I just lightly push the beads into the dirt where they landed. It is slow release and contains all of the NPK you need in the soil for about 2 months. I do highly recommend to all to always monitor the leaves of your plants as that is the best way to determine if they have enough light, nitrogen, potash, zinc or other related minerals & signs of deficiencies. Your plants will tell you what they need or do not need, but YOU have to know the language of cannabis. That is a future article, though. I have been successful with Northern Lights, Cinderella strains and the basic seeds of unknown strains found in many private stashes! I’m not one who worries about all of the technicalities like some folks do. I have found that after growing alongside many friends over 20 some odd years that their plants were no bigger than mine or possessed any better quality of smoke than mine using my rather rudimentary simple techniques versus their high tech prowess. When the bed has rested for 4 days after a good misting of water and turning the manure/osmo mixture, I take my seeds after soaking them in water to expose the radicle. I plant them with the radicle (root) pointing downwards at 1/2 inch underneath the soil. Lightly…repeat, lightly cover the seed up. The spacing is 6 inches apart. I use a tomato trellis of the circular cone wire type for plants that begin to get “wild” in terms of size and branch growth. The tomato trellis trains the plant upwards within a nice shape and I have found through years experimenting that the plant is easier to manage if you’ll keep it in the trellis. Plus it helps support plants with nice big heavy moist buds. There are many commercial growing aids that greatly enhance the growing experience so visit your local garden center. You’ll find a lot of growing goodies to help you when applied to growing good bud. I am very picky about the quality of my plants and do highly recommended that anyone who grows outdoors use a mosquito net to protect their plants from pests and insects particularly if you live and grow in a humid & hot part of the country. They can be installed by using stakes placed in the dirt upright then the net layed over the top of them and properly secure the netting using thumb-tacks. If you spray them with pesticide then allowed to air dry before placing it over your plants it assists with keeping pests out too. The sun will still shine on your plants while protecting them at the same time. Of course the best is to find a nice locale and plant then allow nature to do the rest. However, we all know that when we are growing sometimes nature has it’s own intentions that do not jive with our final outcome. One cannot be afraid to experiment, because if you don’t, then you’re only at the mercy of the problem that’s confronting you. Marijuana, as I have found, grows better when left pretty much to it’s own will when growing outdoors. Agree with me or not on that – it’s totally up to you. There are many “experts” on growing marijuana and you can become overwhelmed by some of the stuff out here on the subject. The fact is that it grows better outdoors. It grows easier than you might have been led to believe by some of those “experts” and when it comes right down to it YOU can grow your own easily! Until next time, may the sun shine on what you plant and the fruit be bountiful.