In the interest of full disclosure, I received a review copy from Kyle.
Written by Dustin Fraser with the help of Kyle L. Ladenburger; Outdoor Performance Cannabis is a practical guide to growing cannabis outside.
Dustin Fraser is a well known member of the Smart Pot(TM) team, and Kyle L. Ladenburger is a respected gardening author known for his insightful Maximum Yield Magazine, Hydrolife, and Garden Culture Magazine articles.
At 77 pages and written in a conversational tone, it is a quick read that doesn’t get bogged down in overuse of scientific jargon or overly abstract theories. This is a booklet about how to grow big cannabis plants outdoors in Smart Pots(TM) written by someone who grows big cannabis plants outdoors in Smart Pots(TM) in the Emerald Triangle using a method he calls “performance gardening”.
Included are suggestions for best practices based on years of experience, and opinions on the ideal cannabis garden. A chapter at a time, it walks the reader through site selection, propagation, growth, flowering, harvest, and even advice on sales.
Not everyone has the opportunity to sit down and pick the brains of growers from California’s famed Emerald Triangle, but reading Outdoor Performance Cannabis is about the next best thing.
I would recommend this to anyone curious about the methods used to grow exceptionally large outdoor cannabis plants (hint from the book: Start early), that prefers a no-nonsense direct explanation that emphasizes on the major points of what you need to know and doesn’t dally around about it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t pay for my copy, and on page 92 they used (and paid a flat fee for) some of my photos.
First of all, it is big, over four pounds big. The pages are thick (unlike some big books that use a cheaper, noticeably thinner paper), and there are 690 of them. There are over a thousand color photos, and the layout is nicely organized for ease of reading.
Since it is such a big book, I recommend that before diving into it, take a few minutes to break it in by limbering up the pages. For those unfamiliar with the process, while taking care not to break the spine or separate pages from the binding :
1) Set the book on its spine.
2) Open the front cover, make sure it bends along the crease, and run your finger along the inside to ensure the opening fold is along the crease and not on either side of it.
3) Then repeat with the back cover.
4) Open a few pages in the front, and using light pressure, run your finger along the page near the binding. Repeat with a few pages from the back.
5) Return to the front of the book, and repeat with the next few pages.
6) Alternating between the back and the front, continue though the entire book. If done correctly, you should end at the center of the book. When finished, the pages should be more flexible, and less likely to split from the binding.
It should only take a few minutes, and may extend the life of the book, which in this case is a good thing since it is the sort of reference book that begs to be opened repeatedly. It is worth noting that due to the nice wide inside margins, the text has plenty of room for reading when the book is opened despite its impressive girth.
Inside the Book
The first chapter is a quick overview, and while brief, people have successfully grown plants on less information, and it gives a glimpse of the tone and information to expect from the rest of the book.
The second chapter concerns the cannabis plant itself, with history, classification, and physical characteristics. Chapter three includes information on procuring and selecting appropriate seeds, and chapter four is about getting them to sprout.
The following nine chapters are filled with hundreds of pages on how to grow cannabis, indoors or out, organic techniques, hydroponics and more. These nine chapters would comprise a respectable grow book all on their own, and I’ve read plenty of entire grow books that don’t offer as much information presented as well.
But wait, there’s more.
Chapter fourteen is a cannabis pest problem solver, fifteen harvesting and curing, and sixteen is one of the better chapters on cannabis breeding that I’ve read. Chapter seventeen discusses popular varieties.
Chapters eighteen and nineteen are about concentrates, their construction and consumption. These chapters only address traditional hash, and infusions, but also dabs, oils, rosin and other topics not covered in many older publications. Chapter twenty is a nice concluding cap to the experience.
For the beginning grower, this book would be an excellent start. While I am a strong proponent of not getting all your information from a single source, I must admit this book has enough information to give a solid foundation to build further studies on. If a grower was only going to buy and read one book, this would be my suggestion.