How to Attract Lots of Unwanted Attention to Your Garden

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SWAT raiding team behind a shieldAn unorthodox approach to keeping your garden safe.

In this post I’m gonna share a strategy with you that I’ve used for decades now to keep my gardens off the radars of those who might want to come and destroy it, steal it, or worse…

Now, this strategy may go against everything you’ve been taught about keeping your gardens safe from detection.

And it’ll probably also go against your intuition.

But let me explain…

As you probably know, I’ve been growing marijuana for over 30 years—and helping others do the same for nearly as many.

Well, years ago I learned a big lesson that’s helped me keep my gardens free from unwanted intruders to this day.

It involves a skinny dog.

black skinny dog with wierd looking eyesThe skinny dog story…

Back long before medical marijuana was legal and EVERYTHING had to be kept on the super down low, one of  my guys had a 50-light grow going in a giant garage. It was one helluva sweet garden; a growers dream.

But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare…

You see, Jerry (fake name to protect his identity) had a dog to help protect his garden. It wasn’t one of those big pitbulls that could scare the shit out of the Devil himself, but it was a decent guard dog none the less. He could bark and scare uninvited people off like a good dog should.

Now, this dog was fairly lean—it was actually a retried greyhound racing dogs that Jerry had saved from being euthanized.

Anyway, one day Jerry gets that knock that we all dread. Ya know, the big loud one made with a flashlight, the fist of a 300lb swat officer or a battering ram.

cops-w800-h600Now, it’s not like Jerry could just hide, run out the back or flush the entire grow down the toilet. So, being a reasonable man, Jerry opened the door. There stands two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers—he knew right away that since there wasn’t 17 of them in ski-masks and bulletproof vests so it couldn’t be a raid.

And it wasn’t. It was just two constables doing a welfare check. You see, the nice little lady across the street—who Jerry didn’t even know—hadn’t seen him around for a few days.

But she HAD seen Jerry’s skinny dog.  She thought that since the dog was so skinny—like maybe it hadn’t eaten or something—and that she hadn’t seen Jerry around, that he must be dead in the house somewhere.

So being a good little neighbor what did she do?

She called the cops. That’s right. She called the police and told em’ that she thought her neighbor was dead inside his own house.

An image of classical police officerDoh!

Now the cops are at Jerry’s front door wanting to make sure that everyone in the house is OK.

And while they didn’t have a search warrant, they insisted on looking around—since ya know, there’s supposed to be a dead body in there and everything.

While looking around they stumbled onto Jerry’s garden. The officers told him that since they weren’t there for the weed and since they didn’t have a warrant for it, they weren’t gonna bust him. But they were gonna come back in a week and the garden had better be gone—or else.

So Jerry had to take down the entire 50-light grow.

There’s an important lesson in this. Now sure, Jerry’s situation was just a stroke of bad luck, which we can all have from time to time (his luck could’ve been a lot worse though). But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from the mistakes of our fellow growers.

I know I did.

A man taking care of his outdoor gardenIn fact, ever since this incident, I started doing something that’s counter-intuitive to us as a community.

Wherever I’ve had gardens, I got to know my neighbors. Seriously, I go introduce myself to the neighbors and get to know them on a “Hi, how you doing this morning Tom?” first-name-kind-of-basis.

I stay away from the whole living-in-secrecy with a huge blood thirsty guard dog kind of thing, and actually become friendly with the neighbors of all my grow houses.

When you live closed off like a hermit and have some big angry beast protecting your property, it creates questions in the minds of people who live around you.

Questions like “I wonder what’s up with that strange dude who lives over there?”

It’s much better to become the friendly face they love to see, who they feel good about knowing, and it takes away that whole mysterious vibe to what I’m up to. And what is it that I’m up to? I’m just living here like a good neighbor does.

Beautiful woman in front of marijuana plantsBe the friendly neighbor who everyone knows, likes and trusts.

I remember one time some undercover cops were snooping around one of my grow houses, and Margret from two doors down actually came and told me about it!

Now that’s a nice situation to be in. Because of Margret I was able to handle things before it all went south. And it DID go south, but thanks to Margret, there was nothing left to find. The place was clean.

And then there was the time one of my grow houses had an automatic sprinkler unit for the lawn that causing a bunch of run-off to flow into the next door neighbors yard and giving him a bunch of messy puddles to deal with. I went over and asked him how long it had been going on. He told me a few years because the previous tenant never did anything about it. It drove him nuts.

So being a nice “neighbor” I immediately fixed the problem by making a few tweaks to the sprinkler and irrigation systems. The dude loved me after that.

Another time I was applying to rent some property from a guy up in Canada, and I actually told him exactly what I was planning on doing with it and offered to pay him an extra $500 in rent each month as a bonus—since my situation was a little unique, you could say.

He rented me the property and he and I ended up having a long lasting friendship. In fact, I eventually ended up rented places out from him all over town. The relationship was a win/win for both of us.

Now, I’m not saying to go tell people what you’re doing, but what I am saying is to go meet your neighbors, be friendly, smile, wave, and say “hi” each time you see em’

Get to know them on a first name basis.

A book cover from the author Dale CarnegieThis has worked well for me and countless growers I’ve taught it to over the years, even though it’s the complete opposite of what most everybody does.

And if you don’t have the best people skills in the world, go read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People“. It’s a classic book that’s packed with some of the best, most timeless wisdom on getting people to like you that you’ll ever find.

In fact, I’ve even used the skills in the book—which have been like second nature to me now since I read it almost 30 years—to get the ball rolling in legalizing medical marijuana here in Bulgaria.

You see, in Bulgaria, the old school of thought stigmatizes anyone who uses marijuana as derelict of society. They’re just not as progressive as a lot of the states in the U.S. are, and because of this, tons of people—who by all rights should be able to use marijuana to cure what ails them—are either hooked on highly addictive medication that’s so much worse for them, or they end up suffering through a life of undue pain that could easily be alleviated by some good ol’ fashion medical marijuana.

A logo of medical marijuana BulgariaIn fact, our movement, Medical Marijuana Bulgaria, is really starting to take off. I’ve actually put together a round table that’s getting together next month to discuss taking the steps necessary to legalize marijuana and allow the people of Bulgaria to medicinally use marijuana, just like they to deserve to be able to. We’ve got many of the country’s head doctors, lawyers, lawmakers, politicians, elected officers, celebrities, and change-makers attending.

I’m not sure I would have had the skills to put this together had I not read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” back in my 20s, embraced it’s philosophies, and made it such an integral part of my life.

Everyone likes a friendly face.

I urge you, don’t be the mysterious neighbor with the pack of blood thirsty guard dogs. Be the friendly neighbor who everyone knows, likes and trusts.

Your future as a grower will thank you for it.

Talk soon,

BigMike 🙂

P.S. I’d love to hear your comments below

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24 Responses to How to Attract Lots of Unwanted Attention to Your Garden

  1. Robert Watson January 22, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    Hi, Big Mike,

    Being a good neighbour and adopting a friendly civil attitude to one’s neighbours is always good for you (and your family) in all circumstances. Where I live in our part of town in Scotland we all know each other’s names and family members and have a long established sense of community which is a great help and comfort in times of distress. This “extended family” approach has proved over the centuries to be good for everyone involved and certainly lessens the strains and stresses of everyday living never mind growing a little weed in the back room and being visited by the local police.

  2. Eljay January 23, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    I have had situations like this too. Actually in Oakland, CA growing has become so common that I was flipping units to one neighbor, 3 others were growing in various sizes, and there were only 10 units in the complex. All the neighbors were in on the trade in some way, kind of cool.

    And when a dude finally figured it out and threw a brick through my retail spaces window, it was my neighbor looking down on him from a second story with a weapon aimed right at him, needless to say that my new visitors left, and I was still upstairs playing video games and never even knew it was going on.

    Being cool with the neighbors and landlord if possible is the only way to fly.

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 23, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Damn Eijay, awesome story, love it – thanks for a sharing

  3. Fongu January 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I look forward to the day when Cannabis is legal all over the world and especially the USA.
    As a person in terrible pain since an injury in 1996 and taking pain pills that damage my liver and organs, I would love to take some Cannabis for pain. I had to stop smoking two years ago because the government mandated I had to piss in a cup to get my pain medicine. Good luck with your efforts, Big Mike.

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      thanks Fongu, I look forward to it as well my friend

  4. Shaun Clark January 23, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    You know I was not having that great of a day until I read this. My first two grow houses I did with partners and there was constant friction between my theory that a good neighbor is NOT a suspicious neighbor. I would go out of my way to talk to everyone. Shit, some of them probably started hiding from me I was such an affable neighbor. (just joking). I would do what every good neighbor does, wave and say good morning, help the elderly neighbors with chores…etc.

    Anyway, I really needed this today. I am the age where I get tired of debating with people. I know that I am right most of the time and it’s not worth the effort to try and enlighten a closed mind.

    I think we would get along well Mike. I hate that I can’t use your line any longer. My local store owner “says” that the minimum order was too much. I have a feeling that it’s really because she does not understand growing and it’s more difficult explaining your line than, for example Earth Juice.

    I enjoy your blog, and I also think your staff is the absolute best for answering questions. I have had only one problem and that is with some of the labeling inconsistencies. Mainly why Sensical does list the magnesium content.

    Besides that very minimal problem I like AN. Mike, what do you see the as being the major areas of advancement in cannabis growing? LED? Improved HID spectrum and efficiency? understanding plant genetics better. For example to I have found that a key factor for getting the most of my plants is to pump them up early on, like as soon as rooting takes place. I think mycorrhizae is used improperly. With just a little googling I found a substance that improves mycorrhizal growth by three fold.

    Anyway, thanks for the post, always enjoyable.

    shaun
    Finca Vigia
    “Lookout Farms”

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      Hey thanks Shaun

      You’re so right, a good neighbor is not a suspicious neighbor

      Ya know what… I won’t be able to do your questions justice here in a comment

      I do get into it a little bit in this interview I think http://www.growersunderground.com/hydroponics-secrets/underground-growing-strategies-blind-james-buds-radio-show

      But maybe I’ll come out with an entire post on the subject in the near future Shaun

      Those are GREAT questions my friend

    • Makaveli February 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      Dear Shaun
      What substance that improves mycorrhizal growth by three fold??
      Please share with your fellow comrades.
      We are always looking for ways to maximize our yields/harvest.

  5. Tim January 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Excellent book.I read it when I was a teenager and it helps.Keeping your place clean and the yard mowed goes a long way as well.

    Tip for the day- when out look for yard sales.They all seem to have the bar b que utensil sets.Grab that burger flipper for cheap.They make great stir sticks for five gallon buckets full of concoctions.

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      Hey thanks for the tip Tim!

      And yeah, damn good book isn’t it?

  6. Shaun Clark January 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    You know I was not having that great of a day until I read this. My first two grow houses I did with partners and there was constant friction between my theory that a good neighbor is NOT a suspicious neighbor. I would go out of my way to talk to everyone. Shit, some of them probably started hiding from me I was such an affable neighbor. (just joking). I would do what every good neighbor does, wave and say good morning, help the elderly neighbors with chores…etc.

    Anyway, I really needed this today. I am the age where I get tired of debating with people. I know that I am right most of the time and it’s not worth the effort to try and enlighten a closed mind.

    I think we would get along well Mike. I hate that I can’t use your line any longer. My local store owner “says” that the minimum order was too much. I have a feeling that it’s really because she does not understand growing and it’s more difficult explaining your line than, for example Earth Juice.

    I enjoy your blog, and I also think your staff is the absolute best for answering questions. I have had only one problem and that is with some of the labeling inconsistencies. Mainly why Sensical does list the magnesium content.

    Besides that very minimal problem I like AN. Mike, what do you see the as being the major areas of advancement in cannabis growing? LED? Improved HID spectrum and efficiency? understanding plant genetics better. For example to I have found that a key factor for getting the most of my plants is to pump them up early on, like as soon as rooting takes place. I think mycorrhizae is never fully utilized. With just a little googling I found a substance that improves mycorrhizal growth by three fold.

    Anyway, thanks for the post, always enjoyable.

    shaun
    Finca Vigia
    “Lookout Farms”

    • Shaun Clark January 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      I meant the Sensical Label doesn’t list the magnesium content.

  7. DrHerba January 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    Hey Mike…
    Thank you for posting this kind of things that are necessary to do when you want to establish good relationship with anybody aroun you. I practices this kind of living just like you, and not because I’m grower. It was like natural.. or maybe cultural for me. And I’m agree in all with you when you say that later your neighbours become on good last friendship. I’m very closed to a Old woman neighbour on the front house. She has 70 yeas old and im only 25, and we togheter work on our house and food gardens.
    Again, thank you for your words and advices.
    Good path!!

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      Oh hey that is so cool about you and your neighbor – so cool

      thanks for your comment Dr Herba

  8. Mitch January 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    You are absolutely right that when you are secretive it makes people ask questions.

    I see you are answering the responses Big mike so maybe you can tell me ( Iknow its maybe not the place but Im desperate )
    I have the whole recipe 4 Bundles , but I am so confuse when to start feeding and how much , and when it starts bad the whole grow is bad . What would be the best ppm to start with and when from seed or clone do I start to feed. After that I should be ok .I raise 1 or 2 hundred ppm per wk unless they burn , then I back down a bit .I cant seem to get this answer anywhere . By the way I love advanced nutrients 100% Nothing bad to say at all .Im faily new to this so any help would be great.

  9. tiempo January 26, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    completely agree. I live in an ultra-conservative area of a very conservative country. Being on good “hello” terms with neighbours is v important as to not to arouse suspicions!

  10. Daytripping January 26, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    Great info Mike, I totally agree with being friend with are neighbors. I live in country on 80 acres but all the neighbors help each others on are farms, plowing snow, one neighbor has a pheasant farm & raise 30,000 from eggs every year. I spend may days helping him but I know that my neighbors always have my back. Even with all the help I give my friends, I still have plenty of time for my garden!:)

  11. icysurfer February 21, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Couldn’t agree more. Being a good neighbor is essential. In the Em Tri, I kept the lawn immaculate, no abandoned cars, no barking dogs, no late-night visitors. Always offered to help if anyone had an issue in the Country, such as a lost Dog,or whatever.

    I met and cultivated moderately close relationships with my nabes, They ultimately respected Me for it.

    One of said neighbors became real friends – An earthy Guy, with a rifle collection married to a Police Officer Female. She told Me, at Thanksgiving Dinner (yes, I was invited to their house) that I was their most normal neighbor – and Yes, they know what I was doing – they were the only ones who could see a corner of my greenhouse behind the ranch I rented.

    I was there for almost 5 years. ‘Til a different crackpot Whack-Redneck neighbor accused My Garage operation of messing with His HAM radio. It was in fact, HIS next-door neighbor’s digital ballasts that were causing His problems, but I did not mention that Because the neighbor with the digital ballasts was a friend of Mine, who owned His house. My magnetic ballasts at the time were not able to disturb his EMF world..!

    I realized My time was up in that house, as the Crackpot was a 20 year resident of the street, and He was about to call on Me. I shut it down proactively, and moved to another house.

    Part of the Job description sometimes, being aware.

  12. jdeezy June 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    In Vallejo,Ca. I was growing outddor as was the other 3 neighbors on my block. I remember sharing nightwatch for the ripper’s. It was very different to look down my block in the very, real ghetto and see plants. We had them hidden with fences and such but were were on illinios and sutter so main traffic area and on a alley so foot traffic. we had to keep a vigil at one point almost 4 weeks straight through. I haven’t seen any writing on rippers or security not from cop’s but other people. Good article idead….:)

  13. Roxon Gitarz August 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks Big Mike for the great advice!I was fortunate enough to have a great neighbor for the last 19 years who was a great friend and even though he didn’t still “participate in “extra activities” like he did when he was younger,he still looked out for me and had my back and I did the same for him up until about 3 weeks ago when he passed away!His name was Bud,no kidding,really,that was his name! Bud was the best neighbor I’ve ever had,and I’m almost 55 years old!If my band was going out on a tour,or just playing a weekend gig
    and I was going to be gone for a few days or a few weeks,I’d walk over and let Bud know and if Bud’s “Country Boyz Van Club” which he was the president of,was going to be out of town for a weekend or so he would walk over and ask me if I was going to be around home for the weekend,and if I’d mind keeping an eye out on his place,and we both knew that we didn’t have to worry about things as much at home when we weren’t going to be around! We had a trust and a friendship that was more like family than just neighbors! Bud knew what I was doing and he would even water my garden for me! I never had any problems! I sure am going to miss him and I can only hope that whoever my new neighbors will be they’ll be half as good of a neighbor as Bud was to me! I live about one mile out in the country from a small town like”Mayberry”in N.C.that has a population of less than 500 people,so everybody knows everybody,and there are those who try to know everybody’s business also! Thanks again Big Mike for your great advice and I agree with you 100%! I look forward to reading more of your great, informative articles! Have a good one!!!

  14. Theresa September 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Thank you for your help with the decriminalization of this viable plant. I have 100% belief that this is truly a natural resources. And, yes I do believe that cannabis/hemp is a naturally resource for countless ailments. I support and stand up for the medical properties that this plant is holds. Why not exploit it for the good it has been proven to do?

  15. headinthetrees December 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Out in mendo the typical assumption was that behind any locked gate was a pot grow. So the thing to do was leave an unlocked gate near the road for the neighbors to see, and a locked one out of view to stop the LEOs. I’ve tried to always have a vegetable garden wherever I was growing so I’d have lots of free veggies to give out to neighbors. In reality I planted way more than I knew I’d be able to eat, but I’d always play it off like they were just “extra.” Whenever we had heavy equipment around we’d offer to fix neighbors driveways, or communal thruways.

    Meanwhile, some indoor warehouse growers from the bay come in, drop a few dozen 100+ foot trees and throw up two gigantic greenhouses which can be seen from the road on a property they were renting. Nobody knew them, but they sure knew they were there. Needless to say in a tight-knit community, that didn’t go over well. It wasn’t a few weeks before cops came in from every direction in full cowboy mode. In addition to getting themselves busted, they got us busted on several adjacent parcels because of the attention they brought. Luckily we were up already tending our gardens at 6am when they showed and none of our people got arrested. Still it was a huge setback for us, involving the seizure of 30+ lights and accompanying gear, and a 2000+ sq ft greenhouse torn to ribbons (along with its contents.)

    Pot growers don’t have to be a detriment to the neighborhood. But they often are, and it sure sucks.

  16. Baron of the suttons October 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    That’s what I have did for as long as Iv had grows. I am thirty now but when I was eighteen my house was broken into while I was at work and my grow was discovered. It sucked, but back to the nabors thing the nice lady across the road that I talked to frequently was the one that called the cops. Because she was being a caring person and looking out for my place. So sometimes it works sometimes it back fires, but I still always at least introduce myself to nabors

  17. Some Guy February 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks man I’m going to start being that guy everyone wants to be around. Thanks for the info.

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