Live and grow weed in Hawaii on a budget. It’s easier than you think. Work trade on farms to save money.
Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program allows registered cardholders to grow cannabis at home or a caregiver’s location.
Moving to a new place and starting over from scratch can be intimidating and costly, but if you do it right, you don’t need to spend that much at all.
If you’re looking at purchasing property but don’t want to buy it before you get here, consider other cheap ways of staying in Hawaii—like renting somebody’s cabin or doing work trade for rent.
WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. It is a program that works basically as a classified ads directory for farmers who are looking for work in exchange for housing and/or food supplies. Farmers post what they need (the hours of work and type of work) in exchange for what they offer (a place to stay and food arrangements, if any).
In other words… free rent.
It’s up to each farm host to decide what they will offer for the work they want to be done. Some of these farms suck, to be honest—they expect very long hours of work (40+ hr/week) just for rent. Seems like a wasted effort to me. I like the more mellow ones, like 16 hr/week.
There’s a big community of growers who have been at it for a long time. Guerrilla growing isn’t as popular as it once was due to Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis program, now growing plants on your property can be done no problem.
The Poor Man’s grow
If you can’t get your hands on some property of your own, then maybe you can work something out with another property owner. A lot of people are doing these sort of caretaking deals because they always want someone guarding the property.
If you don’t have the cash to start growing, you gotta make do with what you got.
The cheapest option is to do a seed-in-soil outdoor grow with no lights. If you can afford a cheap LED grow light, you can manipulate the plants’ flowering cycle with only a few lighting hours after the sun goes down.
Hawaiian strains are here and adapted to the climate. If you make some 420 friendly connections around the Island, maybe you can score some for free. Many super chronic strains are going around, but just as many bunk, low-vigor hybrids. Buying seeds from a marijuana seed bank is always a good option.
Some people have lava rock for their backyard but if you’re lucky enough to have rich Hawaiian soil, just know that it’s slightly acidic and very young (Big Island is the youngest island being only 800,000 years old). Calcium helps—lime and oyster shell flour work great for this.
Foxfarm’s Happy Frog is a cheap organic mixed fertilizer. Organic and filled with a large list of the best known natural fertilizers and supplements all in one bag. FF Happy Frog also comes packed with mycorrhizal fungi inoculant, which is key to taking advantage of all the nutrients in your soil and pumping up your micro-life. Happy Frog contains many slow-to-breakdown components, keeping nutrients constantly available for your plants with correct use and application.
Dolomite lime is an essential additive for Hawaii’s acidic soils. Lime raises the pH of the soil it is added to, and a better-balanced pH will make nutrients more easily available for your plant. It also contains calcium, a crucial element local soils are lacking. There are only two amendments you really need for growing in Hawaii’s soil, and this is one of them (the other is nitrogen). This mix is a super-fine powder for a quicker pH buffering effect.
Pointers for Growing Weed in Hawaii
- A grow spot should ideally have at least 5 hours of full sun. This will be crucial as the plants are nearing harvest. If they are in the shade all day, mold and bud rot will become a problem.
- The sun moves south as fall approaches and north again, coming into spring. Ensuring your plants have good light exposure during their flowering cycle is a key component to having full-figured buds.
- Amend your soil and plant your seeds—don’t use all the fertilizer at once, it will be too much for the tender seedlings, and they’ll burn right up.
- You can add more nutrients later as your plants mature. Just sprinkle fertilizer onto the topsoil and lightly work it in. Also, making spikes works well for plant boosts (small, finger size holes in the soil around your plant that you fill up with dry fertilizer).
- Fan leaves—to pluck or not to pluck? I don’t pluck the fan leaves off until they’re starting to die, but most of my buddies do them earlier.
- Watch out for moldy buds. Mold can be surprising; gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) will come in sneakily and start in the inside of the bud, developing into a devastating problem left unnoticed. Be sure to remove any mold infected buds immediately and clean the surrounding plant matter with rubbing alcohol.
Drying weed in Hawaii
Hawaii is a dank, humid place filled with mold spores (in most areas). Drying marijuana is a whole different game out here. Don’t think you can get away hanging your buds in a dark closet without a dehumidifier, or you’ll be like the rest of us who have met Mr. Moldy Buds.
How to dry buds in the rain?
You can make a stove out of a propane tank by cutting out the front and top using a Sawzall. Just buy some cheap chimney pipes and jimmy together a chimney cap with a piece of scrap tin. Fill in the gaps with aluminum foil. Read more here—DIY propane wood stove.
Note: keep your weed far away from the stove. It shouldn’t reach past 90°F where your buds are hanging.
Install this wood stove and keep your room at lower humidity and provide heat to speed up the drying process. It will also keep you from going crazy in the rainy season.
Getting marijuana too dry too quickly will result in their resin turning powdery, and any stickiness of the buds will be lost forever. Be careful!
Time to roll up some monster fatties in celebration of freshly harvested home-grown pakalōlō!
If you don’t know what long season and short season are in Hawaii, read this: Growing Medical Marijuana in Hawaii.