How to Become an Epic Grower

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Green road sign nexto a forest saying "weed next 3 exits"I wanna share something with you that all the best growers in the world have in common.

Even though this may seem a bit counter-intuitive (which is why so many growers avoid it all costs), I urge you to embrace it, for it truly is one of the biggest factors in your success as a grower.

I originally experienced it back when I started my first indoor grow at age 23.

I used twelve 1000 watt lights—8 metal halides and 4 high pressure sodiums. I put the plants in 5-gallon buckets with gravel and couldn’t wait to see what they could become. Boy, was I excited.

A picture of little baby making "facepalm" emotionUnfortunately I didn’t ventilate the room properly…doh!

Within 24 hours all the plants were dead as Dillinger. They were like these sad shriveled little green carcasses…seriously, these poor things couldn’t have looked worse off if I had tried to grow them in the middle of Death Valley without a drop of water in sight.

Fortunately, it wasn’t after months of careful nurturing that I lost them. Now I have lost plenty of other crops after months of hard work, especially outdoors (and I’ll be sharing some of those stories with you in the near future), but these little babies were dead right out of the gate.

I mourned their loss for about 5 minutes and then got busy installing proper ventilation and replacing their lifeless remains with some new and eager soldiers.

This is also when switched over the Sea of Green Method.

The point I want to drive home is that we all make mistakes. In fact, the most successful growers I know are actually the ones who’ve made the most mistakes. That’s how they learned to become to the best at what they do—through trial and error…lots and lots or error.

Black and white image of a baseball player Babe RuthIn 1923, Babe Ruth broke the record for the most home runs in a single season, as well as the record for highest batting average. But you know what? In that same year Babe also struck out more times than any other player in the Major League.

You see what I’m getting at here?

If you wanna succeed, you’ve gotta be willing to fail—A LOT. You’ve gotta embrace it as part of the process.

Now I’m not telling you to go out and make stupid mistakes, especially when it comes to the security of your gardens—mistakes like that can cost you not only your entire crop, but possibly even your freedom—depending on your situation.

What I am saying is, be willing to strikeout. Sure, learn all you can from this blog, the forums, magazines, books and mentor growers, but then you gotta get to work. You can only REALLY learn by doing. And when you do, you WILL make mistakes and experience all kinds of set-backs.

The great ones know this.

They aren’t trolling the forums like know-it-alls, talking shit, and spewing hate trying to make themselves look better. Reading about how to do something, or watching videos about doing it, is NOT the same as doing it.

And when you do it, you WILL screw things up. It’s just part of the game.

In fact, in life, if you’re NOT screwing things up, you probably aren’t chasing dreams that stretch you and force you to grow.

Fully grown light green marijuana budSuccess likes velocity and chaos. And sometimes it’s gonna get ugly.

Be willing to get in there and get dirty. Be willing to break a few things, make a mess, and even spill some blood on the floor. THAT’S how you learn.

And when you screw up big, don’t beat yourself up for it. Don’t dwell on how things should be some other way. And definitely don’t quit.

You can ALWAYS turn things around—(Read about the time I got kidnapped in Canada and I how I turned that one around.)

Just accept the situation as it is, see what you can learn from it, make any necessary adjustments to how you’re doing things, and tenaciously move forward.

THAT is how you become an epic grower. Fail a lot and fail fast. Fall down 19 times, get up 20.

Talk soon,

BigMike 🙂

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

Marijuana buds under yellow light

Thanks for the pics T.G.!

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26 Responses to How to Become an Epic Grower

  1. Tim January 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    My first two indoor grows were abject failures.I hit the books and vids and discovered advanced.Lot of good stuff out there but a lot is repeat.Thats life.Now Im pulling out some good stuff regularly.If your reading this Mike do me a favor.Talk to the sded folks you know and encourage them to start making labels for their different varieties.That way we can download them and make labels for our stuff here.We always need to keep up on the marketing front

  2. ClamperGrown January 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Mike,
    You couldn’t be more right.. I think thats why so many people give up right away. They are not prepared to fail once or twice.. They then cant pay there rent. Because they have put every last thing into that grow… Never count your eggs before they Dry..

    But Mike.. I have got to say after 20+ yrs growing.. Your new Sensi Coco ph perf line is fukn great… could make me a lazy grower. lmao.. LOVE THIS STUFF

  3. Ray January 26, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    Mike, those words are so true. I don’t consider myself an epic grower, why not after 30 years? Cause I still screw up but in my own defense it’s because I’m always trying something new. I don’t do it with one or two plants to check it out either, I’m crazy enough to use half a crop just to compare it to what I know with the other half! At he moment I’m working on my sideways growing technique (great for SOG or SCROG), I’ve had my mishaps in the beginning but still working on it and hope to make it easier and more hassle free. This is aimed at those with height restrictions though it doesn’t need to be the case! I’m still not at the end but if I quit after my first attempt I would have never known that there is promise for this method, just one more bullet in the gun. This isn’t a shameless plug but Advanced Nutrients have never let me down, they are my staple in my grows and I know it’s not the nutes when I’m trying different methods if there are problems.

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Awes hey Ray thanks for the nice words about AN

      You are in the trenches my friend… testing, tweaking and evolving

      Sounds pretty epic to me

  4. dave January 26, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    thanks big mike i dont feel like such an abject failure now i have just done the same thing you just described but have learned from it the hard way. i have a question i think a plant may be showing me iits sex how can i tell male from female. i have a pineapple chunk and at the base of the sprouting branches there is a red dot that is protruding and on either side are small sacks are these pollen sacs ifb so what course af action should i take. id appreciate any advice on neuts you may have as well thankyou again for your advice and for sharing your experience with us.. it means a great deal to me that someone else has been where i am now…..

  5. J. P. January 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Yes Mike, believe it or not it has taken me 2 years to become a good grower. Mt first grow was epic and after that it seemed to go downhill, looking back it seemed that I’d done everything correct the first time around but then as most growers do, they try to “re-invent the wheel”. I called it beginners luck, no, it is a learning curve and everyone has to go through it. Think about “high stress training”, you can watch and read all you like but it doesn’t matter until you get the FEEL for it. Just one example !

  6. Shaun Clark January 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    I would like to know why you switched to SOG?

  7. foam January 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    experience or the school of hard knocks is a much more expensive education but far more valuable. Risk scares most people from even trying but the ones that manage it well become the Titans of industry

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      hellyeah foam

      gotta take well calculated risks

  8. Deano January 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    WOW…
    Incredible buddy, to be able to sit here today look outside , and read this inspiring story is Awsome! Two years ago I was givin 30 days to live because of cancer. Let me tell you how much passion I share with you on the “never give up rule” . Shortly after my diagnoses a friend dropped off a small little plant , some basic instructions , and just some little bottles of advanced products. During those thirty days I spent a lot of time staring at that little plant hoping that something inside that little girl could help me some how, but I didn’t have a lot of time, I sure the hell knew nothing about getting that little girl to help my dumb ass. I ended up in surgery and stayed in the hospital for over a month, the docs gave me 50% chance to make it a month. Real inspiring huh. This is the the time I found out who I really was! My dearest wife,( who I owe my life too..). Picked my sorry ass up from the hospital and told me we were goin to do anything we needed to do to stay alive. We got home and my little plant was not so healthy but very purple and full of flower. It was the most gorgeous plant we had ever seen.

    From that day on I have had multiple sessions of chemo, and multiple docs trying to push new drugs. I have to say without my special little purple plant ,….I might not be here today! I have gotten to spend time watching something grow in front of my eyes that helps people , and Mike that is what builds a fire inside of me that keeps me going! Two years later , I’m still here , healthy as hell! My wife and I are helping other patients find out about our special purple plant. We have failed , and buddy have we learned… We have used AN from the beginning and two years later we are getting over 1 1/2 light , for that my friend I thank you for all the inspiring letters, and the Great products!

    Bulldog Farmz

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 27, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

      DAMN DEANO

      Now THAT”S inspiration

      thank you so much for sharing your story here my friend

    • mortes December 29, 2014 at 12:48 am #

      what kind of purple flowers, my wife has stage 4 brain cancer

  9. patty sylvester January 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    As I have been doing this for years. No truer words have been said. There are so many growers now. Lol but only a few like us that know and have learned because of trial and error, thefts and yes the mighty government. But the never ending desire to grow the finest green has kept us going and because of people like you and I we are now where we are in the world of green. Thank you Mike for creating some of the finest nutrients on the planet. May the true grower continue to thrive.

  10. Kris January 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    So true. I’m not on any forum & I learned by doing. Lots of mistakes no one knows about but me. Blood – yes, sweat – most definitely, tears – for the ones who didn’t make it.
    Love your product, just started reading your post in Dec. & enjoy them very much.

    • BigMike
      BigMike January 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

      Hey thanks Kris

      Yes, nothing can replace good old blood, sweat and tears

  11. Peppylepew January 27, 2014 at 2:44 am #

    Brilliant words spoken by the best in the biz!

  12. groyrown February 2, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Edison. Babe.
    Every serious Canny Grower all have 1 thing in common: Doing work every day, FAILING a Lot, considering the root cause of the Failures, designing a correction and Executing.

    Growing since 1989, my 1st garden was a 2′ x 5′ Closet, hamburger joint Free 5 Gal pickle buckets, 400W HPS and a Dirt mix and Nutrient application just this side of laughingly incompetent:) 100 degree temps, no root consideration, over watering, “mir-acid” nutrients from a building store…just about every error i could have made, I made.
    That 1st garden opened 3 decades of learning this Cannabis plant/how she grows and how to try to mirror nature, Indoors.

    Thanks Mike, for all your efforts to bring this industry some humor with the professional attention to detail that we all want in our Grows;)/

    CJW

  13. andy April 10, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Optimal learning occurs when you have the maximum number of failures consistent with your survival… just saying!

  14. Tim April 27, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Hi Mike,

    I am in Florida where we are going to vote in November for the passage of the rite to have alternative natural Medical treatment options for the very ill. I plan on being in the forfront of this effort and with your approval, I will be posting up “My” story as time goes by. I hope everyone will find it interesting and informative to some degree I am inspired by this website and all the participators and hope that I can learn enough to take what is normally an upward learning curve for a novice to a more linear level. Time will tell but I feel the passion or a calling deep inside for learning something new and helping others who have been told that they have no other options.

    Regards,
    Tim

  15. Deb June 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    This story really hit home for me. We just built our grow room and are nearing the end of our first go-round. We have had a few problems that were largely made ourselves, which I definitely chalk up to experience, which you hi light throughout your story. My son and husband however are very upset with each other. I have been an avid vegetable and flower gardener my entire life and can’t number the plants I’ve tried and failed at growing! I just wanted to thank you for the support of failures and will forward your experience to the in the hope that everyone will calm down…
    Deb

    • Johnny September 22, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

      If every one of my grows died I’d happily smile if my father was right there growing with me.

  16. Johnny September 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Just wanted to point out that Babe Ruth didn’t have the highest batting average in 1923 he was second… and he also didn’t lead the mlb in strike outs either that year. But that would of been cool.

  17. bmore mobster January 2, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    i had been trying to successfully grow since i was about 12 of course i made retarded mistakes like trying to grow in the closet without any light ever and another time growing with 1 regular light bulb with tons of miracle grow it wasnt until i turned 21 that i completely learned from my mistakes and eventually tried things my own way now i live in the heart of the city in a building all the way in the sky but i knocked the screen out of my window and i nutritioned my soil with urine as instructed by my family in the dominican republic because weed loves nitrogen and urine is very rich in nitrogen and then after my seeds germinated i planted them in the urine treated soil and i watered them every 3 days with fiji water for the whole summer and then i started fertilizing my plants with the allergy water from my fish tank which is also very nutritious the whole time i grew these plants in my window seal in the heart of the city and nobody ever noticed and when i finished my first harvest my plants had reached the level of medically grown herb and the thc level was mean it had many triclomes on the buds oh and i also want to point out for flowering i used to put my plants in the kitchen cabinet and release co2 cartidges from my pellet guns and the largest one was white rhino it grew almost 28 inches and it yielded close to 3 ounces of pure buds and the other 11 plants did almost as well but i loved the white rhino i used the trimmings from it to make bubble hash and boy was it good and every other year after that i did it successfully so thats my story of how a novice grower becomes a professional grower

  18. Beaugrow February 2, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    I’m newly inspired from all your stories cheers to each one of you in ur endeavors I’m in northwest. Or wa. Area have 10,000 sq ft indoorstate of art operations wish to be more outdoor as well any advice thanks Beau Hibdon

  19. dano February 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    i got to say i love this hobby.

  20. Algenon May 10, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Big Mike,

    I’m totally impressed and in awe of your story. I look up to you not because of anything else but your passion for what we do. I’m a relative noob in this, but I love it so much. I ran in to troubles a few years back, but am rounding out of them and wish I would have read and adsorbed your story during that time because it would have helped me pull myself up. I am thankful for this story and information very much. I am a sponge at this point and can’t thank you enough for sharing all of this with us.

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