Growing is a journey that can take us anywhere. It can test our patience, and it can provide a series of small victories along the way to the ultimate goal of a healthy, bountiful harvest. We spoke to three different growers who use Advanced Nutrients products about the ins and outs of their process and what they’ve learned in their growing journeys. We will publish a new interview each day through Saturday. For part 2, we sat down with Mauricio Rojas, an experienced grower from Chile. This is what he told us.
Big Buds: What motivated you to start growing?
Rojas: The need to find the variety that helps me the most with relief of some chronic diseases that I have, the taste for finding new flavors, and ways to make the cannabis plant flower. All of that fascinates me.
Big Buds: What was the learning curve when you started to grow?
Rojas: I have been growing for 10 years. I did an intensive apprenticeship when I started working at one of the first grow shops in Santiago. A few years ago, a seed bank in Barcelona, Spain invited me to Spannabis 2013. In that month, I had the opportunity to visit many crops and even help pollinate some varieties. I have traveled on different occasions to Spain and have been taught a lot on each trip.
Big Buds: Where did you learn the basics of growing?
Rojas: There were two very important internet forums for 2010 in South America. One was the Spanish forum Cannabiscafe.net, and the other was the Chilean forum ADC. That’s where friends of cannabis shared their experiences of cultivation, techniques and opinions of fertilizers that had not yet reached Chile. The contribution Jorge Cervantes has made with his books was also very important. But without a doubt, the trips to Barcelona, where I have been able to share with high-level growers in their crops, have helped me improve my technique more and more.
Big Buds: What’s the most valuable thing you have learned?
Rojas: You have to understand the importance of the quality of water that we use to cultivate and to hydrate. Tap water is terrible, and if that’s what they’re given to grow, they’re not going to do us any good in the end.
Big Buds: Can you share some advice that you have learned over the years?
Rojas: Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning — prevent pests and fungi. Make good pruning along the way toward the flowering stage to define a firm structure where large buds can be made. Observe the plants and how they react to fertilizers and stimulants — plants have different tolerances depending on the genetics. Remember that less is more.
Big Buds: How did you start using Advanced Nutrients products?
Rojas: In 2013, Advanced Nutrients began distributing in Chile, but not all the products were available so I could only use some. I saw spectacular results — Carboload dazzled me as I picked flowers of an incredible density.
In the following years, I was sponsored by a Dutch organic brand with which I had results, but I always ended up adding Carboload to complement it. In 2016, JuaniJuana, the current distributor of Advanced Nutrients in South America, arrived in Chile and then we were able to choose all the products. I did not hesitate, and I started using the Iguana Juice line and all the organic supplements that are of unmatched quality.
Big Buds: How are Advanced Nutrients different from other products?
Rojas: The main difference, in my opinion, is the quality of their raw materials to make their products. They are very effective and the results are very dense.
Big Buds: What else are you trying to learn with growing?
Rojas: I find myself selecting genetics from US banks, so that in the future I can make my own crosses — my seeds. I am learning how to use water pumps on 1,000 liters of water, because in the future I intend to be in charge of large greenhouses.
Big Buds: What do you do when you face a growing challenge or problem?
Rojas: I consult my closest sources. I have had the opportunity to meet some great and experienced European growers who, with their opinions, advice and experience, help me to correct any errors.