Where to Grow in California
Even the most regular cannabis users might not know that the sacred green herb got its start on the cold, dry Eurasian Steppe. Though cannabis has changed substantially from its humble beginnings in Mongolia, the truth is that cannabis crops continue to prefer plenty of sunlight, low humidity and soil on the dry side. This is perhaps why California has flourished as a cannabis cultivation center: Its climate is near perfect for caring for cannabis crops effortlessly.
Still, there are places in California where outdoor growing is a bit easier than others, whether that be due to local regulations or to regional weather patterns. Here are a few of the best opportunities for outdoor cannabis gardening in the Golden State:
Eureka is a funny little town way north on California’s coast, nestled deep in the redwoods of Humboldt County. Considered by some to be the capital of the Emerald Triangle — the three counties in NorCal that have been quietly producing huge amounts of cannabis for decades — Eureka remains today a cannabis cultivation hotspot. In fact, weed is so ubiquitous around town that most residents here call cannabis simply “the plant.”
The ocean breeze drives off the cold temperatures that plague regions inland, keeping Eureka somewhat dry and somewhat chilly all year long. As a result, cannabis plants have been rumored to grow as big as trees, with yields to match. Home growers can garden up to 50 square feet of their property with cannabis crop, as they do so on their personal residence and have no intention of selling their harvests.
Napa boasts a terroir that rivals France in its ability to produce delectable wines — and apparently the same climate and soil that grows wine grapes also benefits the cultivation of cannabis. In fact, cannabis farms do so well in California’s Wine Country that some vineyards in nearby rural regions are fighting for tourists’ attention with cannabis grow ops.
Currently, Napa Valley proper prohibits commercial cannabis cultivation, but home growers can set up their own gardens as long as they don’t exceed the number of cannabis plants allowed by the state: six per adult individual with no more than 12 per household. This will allow home growers to take full advantage of the cool and mild temperatures, dry air and fertile soil that ensure cannabis will thrive.
On the southern tip of the Central Valley, Bakersfield is the beginning of the breadbasket of the United States. The Central Valley is where a good portion of America’s food is grown — and it is rapidly becoming a location for cannabis cultivation, as well. Farther south than many Central Valley towns, Bakersfield is a bit warmer and drier than many other agricultural areas in California, but that makes it all the better for cannabis growers.
Like Napa Valley, commercial growers are not welcome in Bakersfield, but Kern County does allow home users to grow cannabis gardens. Here, adults are only permitted six plants on their property. Given the higher temperatures, it might be wise to seed with a sativa strain, which typically tolerates warmer weather better.
Berkeley sits on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, which means it suffers from typical San Francisco weather: cold, wet summers and cold, wet winters. Even so, there are plenty of cannabis crops that thrive in this weather, preferring lower temperatures and a bit of moisture to improve their yields.
Famous for its notoriously progressive university campus, Berkeley unsurprisingly has some of the most lenient cannabis laws in the state. All of-age adults can grow up to six plants — as is California’s typical regulation — but Berkeley also permits adults to cultivate up to 200 square feet in a collective weed garden. Gardens visible to the public can only have up to 10 plants, but that is still a significant crop in the middle of a city.
There is hardly a justification for rural cities or counties to outlaw outdoor cannabis cultivation, especially on a small, personal scale. Even so, outdoor opportunities to grow are few — and opportunities where the weather is amenable are even fewer. Those interested in growing a natural cannabis garden in the great outdoors should take full advantage of the above options.