We are excited to share our interview with legendary cannabis grower Jorge Cervantes, known for his books and videos on cannabis cultivation.
In this interview, Jorge shares his techniques for germinating seeds, choosing a quality growing medium, and defoliating plants. He also shares his personal story of why he started growing cannabis, the hurdles he faced, and his favorite cultivars to grow. If you’re a new cannabis grower or just looking for some expert advice, this is a must-read!
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy our conversation with Jorge Cervantes.
Who is Jorge Cervantes?
Jorge Cervantes’ public career spans 39 years. His books and DVDs (50 total) are published under his given name, George F. Van Patten and pseudonym, Jorge Cervantes, in Dutch, English, French, Italian, Japanese, German, Russian, and Spanish.
Self-publisher, Cervantes’ (Indoor) Marijuana Horticulture book was christened “The Grow Bible” in 2000 by indoor, greenhouse and outdoor growers. His knowledge and hands-on experience inspired millions of growers worldwide to apply simple, effective techniques to grow more and better cannabis.
Countless growers opened their gardens, greenhouses and grow room doors to help Jorge share their know-how with you.
Why did you start growing cannabis and what were the biggest hurdles in getting started?
I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to always have great cannabis to consume.
Overcoming ignorance and not getting arrested were the biggest hurdles. I wore a disguise in public from 1983-2010. I did a DVD series, “Jorge Cervantes’ Ultimate Grow DVD Series” in the late 1990s and early 2000s with High Times magazine where I wore the disguise.
Why share your knowledge at the risk of going to jail?
I saw so many friends and growers going to prison for cannabis cultivation and sales. I thought if we all started growing, they could not arrest all of us. But, it was scary a lot of the time. I had many relapses and continued to grow cannabis too.
I know how to read and write well, and I worked at a newspaper, so I knew about printing. I put my skills together to write and self-publish books. I thought I could help more people grow more and better cannabis. And it turned out to be true.
What’s your advice to potential cannabis growers who have never grown a plant before?
Follow one method. Do not listen to many different growers.
Start small and grow more plants over time.
If possible, start seeds indoors and move to a greenhouse or outdoor garden filled with organic soil.
Pick up one or several of my books as a basic guide. Watch my YouTube channel for more tips and inspiration.
What are some of your favourite cultivars to grow and why?
I love Northern Lights #5 x Haze. This is my go-to variety. It is incredibly THC-potent, and I love the taste too.
What’s your technique for germinating seeds and how do you help improve the sprout’s chances for success? What’s your tried and true method?
I publish all of my techniques for germinating seeds and growing seedlings into big healthy plants with big fat flowers. You can find all of my books on amazon. You can download my new 100-page digital book, We Grow Cannabis! for FREE here, www.marijuanagrowing.com It is packed with information on seed germination.
The key is to start with stable, strong viable cannabis seeds from a reliable supplier. Healthy viable seeds should have near 100 percent germination rate. Viable seeds usually sprout in 24-48 hours. However, some seeds have a hard outer shell. Water penetrates the shell slowly and these seeds take longer to germinate. I give complete instructions for germinating difficult seeds in Marijuana Horticulture, available on amazon in English, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian. You can also hit my YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/@jorgecervantesmj to find several videos about germinating seeds.
How would you choose a quality growing medium for your cannabis plants? What factors make one growing medium better than another?
Container-grown cannabis requires a fast-draining substrate that holds plenty of air at the same time. A very popular mix is coco coir and coarse perlite. Or peat moss and perlite mix. Other people fill containers with organic soil. But it is difficult to truly employ organic principles in a small container of soil growing a crop for 4-6 months. In this case I prefer a substrate that is easy to control.
Outdoors, organic principles can easily be employed. The key is to monitor soil health and mineral content. Building organic soil over time is my favorite garden soil. The Cannabis Encyclopedia has a huge chapter on organic cultivation.
When is a good time to start defoliating your plants? And what should growers keep in mind when removing branches and leaves from the plant?
Defoliating plants, removing strong healthy leaves, is counter productive. Strong healthy plants that are grown properly will develop large flower clusters. Avoid growing leafy varieties or promoting too much leafy growth with overfertilization.
Remove only leaves that are more than 50 percent damaged. Remove spindly lower branches by cutting at the main stem. I made videos about this subject and all of my books advise the same.
Mike Drouin is the co-founder of Reefertilizer. He’s an experienced craft cannabis grower and a writer of many articles regarding the process. Mike enjoys cycling and camping and will sometimes combine the two.