massive cannabis tree

A highly entertaining article appeared in The Willits News yesterday and quickly moved to the top of their "most viewed" story list.

The article, written by Linda Williams, takes a stab at explaining typical marijuana plant yields and growing techniques, but unfortunately leaves out a lot of information. Also, we were greatly disappointed that no photo of any kind was included with the online version of this story.

Williams writes about the differences between indoor and outdoor growing, stating that outdoor plants have higher individual yields than typical indoor plants, which is generally true. She says that in recent years outdoor growers have been moving their gardens out into the open more frequently to take advantage of full sunlight conditions. This used to be a big no-no, because it was common practice to attempt to hide outdoor gardens from the DEA and CAMP helicopters, but once everyone realized that these agencies are using infrared signatures and other high-tech tools to identify marijuana plants from the air, it made little sense to continue planting crops inside manzanita bushes and underneath cammo netting.

So it's out in the open these days, with some growers clearing entire mountaintops and cultivating hundreds of gigantic pot plants without any concealment. They figure that with so many thousands of outdoor growers in the state, CAMP can only bust a small percentage of them each year, so it's safety in numbers all the way. One Willits career grower who has been operating a large outdoor garden for nearly 30 years was raided by CAMP in 2005, but the end result was little more than the loss of his crop. No arrest, no search warrant, no follow-up of any kind, and the very next year he simply tried again and succeeded. It seems that, while CAMP and the DEA seem to be aware of nearly every outdoor garden in the state, they pick and choose which to raid, and rarely raid the same garden twice.

Anyway, back to Linda's Willits News story. She explains that, in Humboldt County, growers with Prop 215 recommendations are legally entitled to 100 square feet of canopy, but no more than 99 total plants. And here's the news to us: No more than 1500 watts of light! Does anyone in this county actually garden under less than 4000 watts of HID lighting? Maybe now that 600W digital ballast technology is stable, some growers may garden with just 2400 total watts, but seriously, most 215 patients are unable to grow enough medicine under 1500 watts to actually support their needs. Especially when the cost of electricity, garden supplies, and especially rent forces most growers to sell at least part of their harvest to cover the extreme expense of growing marijuana in Humboldt County.

And let's talk about electricity costs for a moment. PG&E charges residential customers depending on their home's "baseline" usage. This means that they use square footage, number of appliances, and perhaps some other criteria to determine how much electricity a given residence should be using. Once the customer burns through that baseline quantity, the rates start to increase dramatically. Once you burn up 3 times your allotted baseline amount, the price per kilowatthour more than triples to 37 cents in the Eureka/Arcata area. If you own a personal computer, you probably exceed the baseline quantity each month. If you have a 2400 watt marijuana garden in your spare bedroom, your energy costs per month are over $500, sometimes double that depending on how efficient your garden schedule is and your non-garden energy usage.

Why does PG&E triple the price of electricity for high-use customers? And why is the baseline allotment so low that running a personal computer bumps us over the limit? Because they know they can get away with it. Growers aren't going to say anything, and every last one of them pays the high prices without complaint, because they don't want to bring attention to their gardens. It's a big time grow tax, and PG&E is cleaning up with it. Unfortunately this forces medical growers to sell major portions of their harvests to cover the high electricity costs, which means growing more, which means buying more electricity, which quickly turns into a vicious cycle.

Just another aspect of the marijuana economy here. We sure hope that PG&E is doing something for the community with that triple-cost power money. At least there haven't been as many massive blackouts in Humboldt since the typhoon of 2006.

Anyway, back to pot plant yields. Yes, some people get a pound or more per plant growing outdoors, but indoor is a much different story. Indoor growers are forever chasing the "pound-per-light" goal, that is, trying to get 1 pound for every 1000W lamp per grow cycle. Some growers pull it off, but in general this yield is not realized in normal gardens. Instead, smart growers try to speed up their grow cycle times to get more harvests in shorter periods, thereby gaining higher overall yields from their gardens by doing more turnovers per year. Typical yields per 1000 watts? Half to three-quarters of a pound is probably normal for the average indoor grower. Those who do actually get one pound per light are likely operating their gardens on 3-month cycles, which means they are only realizing four grows per year. Shorten the length of the cycle and you can get higher annual production despite lower individual cycle yields.

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mostly true

By anon, on May 30, 2008 - 9:38
about the yields in indo grows, i know of growers who get more than a lb per light by using co2 in their rooms, but its true the option isn't for everyone. Glad to hear that i'm not the only person unable to get a lb per light!! lol!

By, on Jun 2, 2008 - 11:18
Excellent post. I'm trying to collect info on indoor growing to help our community make informed safe, environmentally sound decisions. Pieces like this one are helpful. Thank you.

By the authors, on Jun 2, 2008 - 16:21
Dear kymk: Thanks for reading, we love your blog, too! And thanks for the link in your blogroll... as soon as we figure out how to create one of those you'll get a link from us, too!

By OfiCiAl ToKeR, on Aug 7, 2008 - 17:27
i also have found this article very intresting. being a grower myself i have always struggled 2 get that magic pound a light. although do have occasional plant flourish more than expected. once again thank you for the article

By michael frank, on Feb 22, 2009 - 22:09
smoke weed everydAY

By Secret Stoner, on Apr 17, 2009 - 14:10
yay mountain growing is best

By Stoner Secret, on May 22, 2009 - 2:04
i like turtles.


By weed man, on Jun 3, 2009 - 12:04
you guys may get a not get a LB per night but i get at least three per night

how much elec is to much

By Need weed, on Jun 6, 2009 - 20:12
I am looking at a garden using 4500 watts of power in a small vacant house. after renting how can I explain useage. no one will live there so all power will be used for garden. Thought of explaining useage as a saltwater fish or reptial raising operation... should I notify the electric company prior to the useage. I will also spread the useage out over the full 24 hours. no spikes.. any thoughts would be welcomed

By wuss, on Jul 3, 2009 - 12:32
to Need Weed: Dude, what are you talking about? You don't have to explain your electric usage to anyone. PG&E doesn't give a shit, they just charge you out the ass for your consumption. Grow your shit and cash in, that's what everyone else does. There are 10,000+ growers in Humboldt, you think your measly 4500 watts makes any difference to anyone? Fuck it. Don't sweat it bro, just grow it.

By lewmoney, on Jul 17, 2009 - 9:42
Wuss is right, you don't have to explain to anyone. No point whatsoever.


By kakala, on Sep 12, 2009 - 22:27

astig 2 pre

By ron-ron, on Oct 28, 2009 - 0:58
angaz noh??

By Farmer Doug, on Nov 19, 2009 - 1:21
Just make sure you pay your bills. Get a note and a state card or whatever you want; try to stay outa sight. Plan for smell! and enjoy

By Dank Weed, on Dec 15, 2009 - 18:26
Politicians are 10 years behind the times when it comes to pot use. People have been fighting for a long time against cannabis and hemp prohibition with some movement going on now. Still too slow for those caught up in the jail system for possessing a little weed. Our freedoms have been trampled on by folks who know nothing about how beautiful marijauna can be for someones life, if one learns about growing cannabis. Keep up the good work.

Legalize It Already

By LuckieThirteen, on Jan 1, 2010 - 15:20
You kno the Gov. would make a much better profit if they would just let it be out their and legalize it and let us smoke it, It aint hurt no body, talking about people are more effected by drunk driving the high driving, how often do u hear about people driving while high getting into accident over drunk drivers but yet alchol is legal wat about marijuana!?! LEGALIZE IT ALREADY!!!! Ha Fa realz Stoner here layta's.


By Caveman, on Mar 4, 2010 - 10:22
Ok I just started growing and ive been researching a bit bout it and I haven't come across that rule.the lb per light I mean.a cupl ppl I talked to said they get a half pound a plant indoors and they grow 6-10 plants with a 400 watt HID light

112W grow lights

By Maddog, on Mar 13, 2010 - 15:43
I'm using a ultra bright LED lamp it produces 760 of luminance but draws 112W of power, the results so far are amazing,

co2 tablets

By weedstrain, on May 7, 2010 - 18:41
u should try co2 tablets, cheap and very effective!

i use them myself from No Mercy co.

By anon, on Jun 11, 2010 - 9:45
I've read that you can expect to yield 1 gram per watt under HID lighting. That's 250 watts every 3 months from a 250 watt bulb, around 8 oz. With a 4500 watt setup you should be harvesting 4500 grams every 4 months. So... that is about 10 pounds of marijuana every 3 or 4 months. I think the real problem is that you clearly have no job except selling weed. You've reached the "point of diminishing returns" as far as your cash crop there it sounds like and perhaps even given statemetns about the cost of energy maybe you would be better off with a 2000 watt setup. Peace.


By KushKIng, on Aug 14, 2010 - 4:38
For very experienced indoor growers a gram per watt can be achieved, although for most people on 4month cycles .75-1g per watt is fairly normal. I only use 2000w MH then 2000w HPS and average about 3lbs per cycle, give or take depending on strains. Keep in mind Im fairly new to indoor growing, only 4 harvests so far, but Ive been growing outdoors for 5 seasons now. I just got a co2 tank for my current cycle, I have noticed a slight improvement in growth, not quite sure about the numbers quite yet but it obviously allowed the plants to grow faster during the veg stage. Im running some larry og and berry blue dream, so the og's typically arent huge producers but the dreams do really well, another 4wks or so and we shall see, but I got trees outside and thats my main focus over the next few months. Happy growing everyone, Peace.


By bigbud, on Sep 23, 2010 - 15:48
dont drink and drive smoke dop and fly

Solar Panels

By Logan, on Oct 25, 2010 - 10:14
Sounds like a good case for solar panels. Could probably cut your electricity bill by half.

By peteC111, on Dec 26, 2010 - 13:17
have a tall thin plant covered in three fingered leaves and it is going to head at Christmas in sub tropical Australia. the seed came from a plant grown hydro which had some 3 fingers on it, lots actually. the smoke is seriously in the head.the leaf stems have a purple colour to them. Any ideas please

By Jerry1991, on Jun 14, 2011 - 20:29
I use 7500 watts for my hydro op in my basement and i got about .6gs per watt last year


By jebi, on Aug 10, 2011 - 21:20
I like growing those stuff they are good for our health...


By rich, on Jan 6, 2013 - 17:55
I run 20,000 watts and yeild about 42 lbs every 60 days. i dont pay a dime to pge. goodnight

By MrSkuNK, on Jan 8, 2013 - 1:46
Grow under 1000s (HID) then bloom under 600 (HPS) also add an extra hour to the grow cycle and subtract one hour from the bloom cycle, Co2 systems are over rated. Buy a slab of dry ice and pour water over it. Lights have to be off and turn all fans and filters off. Dutchmaster gold is best for grow 4(weeks). Then swap to bud rite for bloom 8(weeks). Add shooting powder in week 2,3,4 of bloom. Works 4 me!

By Dr hydro, on Jan 8, 2013 - 2:36
Pete, what u have there is a hemp plant lol.

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