There are a number of reasons why cannabis growers started down the path of cultivation. For some it was the financial benefits, some enjoyed the recreational fruits (or flowers) of their labor. For East Coast Gardens proprietor, setting up a grow was much more personal.
A mother’s pain was more than enough for a son to jump into the trade regardless of the legality at the time. “In 2016 my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I didn’t like the side effects she felt from all the meds and radiation. So, I started giving her RSO. Within 2 weeks she wasn’t taking any other meds. She started eating better. She was more functional. She had a better overall sense of well-being.”
The quality-of-life improvement made it all worthwhile. A deeper understanding of the plant and its legitimate health benefits was all that was needed to start a grow room himself. “Seeing her improvements was a big turning point in my growing career. So, I started growing because I wanted good clean meds. That led to me becoming more in touch with the plant and gain much more respect for the medicinal qualities of cannabis.”
Living in Western NY where cannabis was still prohibited, legal concerns made sourcing and sharing information sketchy. Yeah, there was the internet, but maintaining secrecy was still paramount. So East Coast Gardens actually started working at a local hydroponic supply shop not just to learn and network, but to be engrossed in the field he came to love. “Finding proper information without raising awareness meant jail time was always a concern in the back of my mind. But at the same time, being able to help others and provide my own meds made the reward worth the risk. That, and any kind of gardening has always been relaxing for me.”
The Upstate Gardens operation is always being refined and tweaked for optimal output. To ensure consistency across the board they use a Trolmaster nutrient management system along with Mammoth LEDs in each of their three rooms – veg (10’x10’), flower(20’x10’), and mothers (8’x8’).
At the end of the day, Upstate gardens hopes to become a fully licensed entity in New York and be done with cultivating in secrecy. Scaling up his love of growing high-quality cannabis but in a legal way has always been the dream. “I’m waiting for licensing so I can start building a small craft cannabis facility. Most of my time is already spent working my grows. I put a lot of TLC into it.”