It’s May, when (this year) taxes are due, flowers bloom, and babies destined for birth next September are conceived—but most important, it’s the month cannabis connoisseurs in Michigan who want to grow their own can start thinking about planting, with the help of green-thumbed Detroit native and cannabis grower Michael Fisher.
Fisher, 39, does business and property development for the cannabis industry through his company Overgrow. The name harkens back to an online community he started following 20 years ago, during his first deep dive into indoor growing. “I spent thousands of hours there and got the opportunity to speak with some of the world’s best breeders,” says Fisher. Those included Bodhi, a breeder who’s been around many years and produces classic seeds like Goji OG and Mother’s Milk; and the recently deceased BOG (Bushy Older Grower), a “breeder’s breeder” who, Fisher says, released good work for decades to growers and breeder.
Between his start and now, Fisher has grown or consulted with growers in the production of tens of thousands of pounds of cannabis. His expertise has gone from something he felt was stigmatized before legalization to one called “a serious business and you’re kicking ass” by people (some of whom he would describe as “the people who were most against it and conservative”) who now contract Fisher to help them build their businesses. Travel through Michigan—or Oregon, Washington, Colorado, California, Nevada, Florida, Oklahoma—and if you shop in a dispensary, there’s a good chance you’ve seen product from one of Fisher’s clients.
But Michigan is where he took seeds out of a bag of weed at age 15, planted them, and grew his first producing female. Every year since then, he’s continued to grow, even as a lot as changed. “The caregiver system isn’t just symbolic in Michigan,” he says. “People can get as much as they need. I believe everyone should be allowed to grow what they want, but not everyone can; and for someone treating their cancer, they might need a high dose. That could be prohibitively expensive in a dispensary, but not when an adult can grow 12 of his or her own plants, plus 12 for five others as a caregiver.”
Fisher loves sharing his passion and wisdom for planting, growing, and harvesting cannabis, as he does in the following tips. Happy cultivation, Michigan. May you always find, plant, and smoke the perfect breed.
Things to Know Before Starting Your Own Grow
1. Not all seeds are created equal.
Fisher’s favorites come from growers mentioned above—Bodhi (whose charitable work Fisher loves, in addition to his strains), and BOG (find his thoughts, if not him, on Instagram at @bogseeds), just as he supports DJ Short, another “living legend,” Michigan native, and breeder of the heritage strain Blueberry; and Happy Little Tree Company, which has “good diversity of flavors and good intention,” says Fisher. For more inspiration, check out greatlakesgenetics.com, or, if you want to go old school, keep an eye out for online auctions.
2. You can grow weed anywhere.
“You can grow wonderful weed in a container, and a on deck, in the bushes, or in the woods,” says Fisher. “In Michigan, any adult can grow in a compliant fenced in area.”
3. It’s almost time to start planting.
According to Fisher, in Michigan, people start their plants indoors at the beginning of May, and it’s safe to transfer them outdoors after Memorial Day Weekend. Most plants start flowering right around the end of the first week of August. They tend to grow taller as flowers form along the stems. Throughout the season, they will swell up and ripen until the resin glands mature and the plants are harvested—usually mid-October in Michigan, for most plants.
Fisher’s Additional Quick Tips for Growing Delectable Bud
Keep it simple.
There are many ways to grow successfully. Go with the one you’re drawn to and that isn’t too complicated. Check out YouTube and message boards like icmag.com. And don’t keep changing the game plan. Once you’ve had a couple of successful crops, make improvements slowly.
Strain selection is important.
Some are better suited for the outdoors and for any individual climate. In Michigan we have a shorter season, which can end cold and wet. Not all genetics are suited for this, while others have proven successful (such as Afghan Kush, which was bred to be hardy and resistant to issues that plague Michigan’s plants.)
If you see a problem or think you see a problem with your plants, do your research and get advice. It’s not uncommon for an inexperienced grower to do more damage with their solution than the problem would have.
Airflow is crucial for the plant, both above it and below the soil.
Pot plants don’t like waterlogged soil, and it’s good to prune and train for airflow through the canopy.
Post-harvest care is key.
Learn how to recognize the ripeness of trichomes as they go from clear to cloudy to amber while slowly drying them for 10–14 days. Cure them by storing them in sealed containers in a dark, cool place. Properly storing can make or break your season.
Stick with it for success.
With good-quality soil and nutrients, and a sunny spot, you can grow your own cannabis. Do your research, use a light hand, and keep going when you make mistakes.