My First Time Growing Weed

Every stoner has dreamt of growing ganja. Some don’t mind tending to a couple of plants because there’s immense satisfaction in smoking what you grew. Let me take you back to February 2014 when I took this bold step…

Outdoor grow

Back in 2014, I and a close friend decided to grow a few plants in his large backyard. February is usually a sunny month with moderate temperatures, so the good weather motivated us. Plus, this was in an upmarket neighborhood where there paid more attention to their mansions than neighbors. 

Growing Isibania Sativa 

Isibania is a small town located in western Kenya. It’s a border point between Kenya and Tanzania but also has a reputation of weed cultivation. 

So, how did I get this strain? My past dealer was born and raised in Western Kenya. He was once a long distance truck driver and his former colleagues helped him get pounds from Isibania to Nairobi. 


The possibility of growing our own weed was so exciting that we didn’t do any research on how to germinate marijuana seeds. I grabbed the nearest empty bucket, filled it up with soil, and threw in my seeds.  

Out of the five seeds I planted, three made it seedlings. My buddy and I made the mistake of overwatering the seeds because we expected results within two days but it took around four. To make matters worse, we planted more seeds in another bucket and repeated the mistake.


After seeing the seedlings, I told my dealer what I was up to. He told me that Isibania Sativa matures after 5-6 months. Honestly, I thought it would only take around three months but nature moves at its own pace.

During the first month, we observed the seedlings growing taller by simply watering them every morning. Around the third week, our plants had grown to 1.5 feet. At this point, the young leaves had developed into the trademark leaf. 

Bad pruning

Unfortunately, neither me nor my accomplice knew how to prune cannabis plants. Our method was based on fear of drawing attention to our grow op. We chopped off the apical buds because we didn’t want our plants to get too tall to hide conveniently. Did this pruning method work?

Credits: Getty Images.

Despite our ignorance on the important roles of apical buds, our marijuana plants didn’t show any deterioration. Our pruning approach made the plants divert more nutrients to their branches. Little did we know that we were actually slowing down growth by making our plants waste nutrients on unnecessary branches.


June 2014 marked the fourth month of our grow op. At this point, we had to uproot two plants because it got a bit crowded in one of our growing buckets. It was hard to water all the plants evenly due to the excess branches as a result of bad pruning.

Fueled by blind optimism, our projections pointed to an early harvest around mid July. Since most of our neighbors practiced dairy farming, it was easy to get a handful of fresh cow dung every two weeks. This rich organic manure comes in handy when your plants have yellow and droopy leaves. 

On the 1st of July, our cannabis plants had grown to 5 feet in height. The stem and branches that were once green,flexible, and weak grew bigger and became woody. You could see small buds developing on the apex branches. Also, the leaves and branches left your hands smelling like cannabis after touching them. 

Wrong projections

As time progressed, our marijuana plants began shedding some of the leaves. This affected branches growing at the bottom of the canopies. Leaves would gradually turn brown then shrivel up. 

Our hopes of harvesting around 14th July got dashed after monitoring the slow development of Isibania Sativa buds. My co-farmer suggested adding more manure but my dealer warned me about the high possibility of corroding the roots due to excess nitrates. So, we continued with our daily watering routine while paying attention to the buds.

Harvesting time!

Despite our inaccurate projections, my friend and I exercised patience. At this point, the terpenes on our plants were so strong that you could smell weed from about five feet away. We also noticed that buds growing on branches close to the base turned brown. Also, most of them were the size of popcorn nugs.

After 5 months of trial and error, our Isibania Sativa was mature. The plants had grown 6 feet tall and the branches formed dark green bushes. Also, the buds were prominent and averaged around three inches. Generally, they were light green in color and had a strong earthy taste.


One of the biggest mistakes we made from the jump was poor research on how to grow marijuana. 

How did this affect our yield? Well, our incorrect pruning approach made the plants waste nutrients nourishing unnecessary branches. As a result, about 80% of our buds were wispy because they were undernourished.

 Also, we could have harvested bigger and better buds if we grew each plant in its own bucket to avoid unnecessary competition of water and nutrients. It’s also very likely that as our plants grew older, their roots might have entangled because the buckets were shallow .

Winding up…

Growing weed for the first time is awesome because watching your seeds growing consistently is quite fulfilling. Despite the unappealing appearance of our cannabis, my friend and I had enough weed to smoke for two weeks. However, the biggest lesson I learned was always do sufficient research before growing ganja.

Published by East Africa Genes

Since 2020, I've been passionately collect landrace sativa strains found in East Africa. Feel free to follow me on Instagram so you can see me in person doing strain reviews and live streams.

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