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OPINION: What Makes a Master Grower?

What makes a Master Grower?

What separates the home/hobbyist from the master grower? I know home/hobbyist growers that I would consider master growers. Some of the most intelligent growers I’ve ever met. But they don’t grow in a facility or an operation.

Clearly, the needs and requirements for growing on scale are vastly different than the needs growing in a 5 x 5 grow tent in the basement.

But there doesn’t seem to be much qualification or guidelines for Master Growing.

I met an investor at CannaGrow last October who was waiting for his shuttle back to the airport. He told me he had just received a 3,000 plant cultivation license (good for him.) His only experience with growing was growing for 9 months (yikes.) He then told me he hired a master grower based on the color of the grower’s skin.

This is your industry.
These are real conversations and real decisions being made.

Can standards be created and enforced?
Can guidelines be made?

How do we prepare the better grower for tomorrow? How do we take Joe-Grower at home and get him ready to take on a facility but have a reputable way to teach that and verify that education?

What do you think, Growers Network?



I would love to hear your thoughts on this based on our phone call the other day!

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I agree that there should be some standards applied for sure, otherwise anyone could call themselves a master grower with nothing to back it up (as many do.)

Off the top of my head, I’d want them to have in-depth knowledge of a litany of topics, leaning towards indoor cultivation but outdoor growers need most of the same knowledge:

Plant physiology and morphology
Botany as it applies to cannabis and THC
Hydroponics, preferably several styles
Cloning and maintaining mothers
Nutrients and their effects
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Disease Management
Extracts and processing
Drying, Trimming and processing
How to design a grow room, including power, cooling, dehumidification, crop management, water purification, monitoring, maintenance, labor pool management, airflow, lighting and how to write procedures for all of it.

When I say in-depth knowledge, I want someone to feel qualified to give a lecture on each topic. The catch is, if you don’t know it yourself, how do you determine if the candidate is blowing smoke up your butt?


In my view a Master Grower is a title analogous to Chief Engineer, startup CTO or Senior Architect. In this view and a commercial cultivation context, the Master Grower is the primary cultivator and responsible for selecting the cultivation and irrigation style, genetics, nutrient mix, etc., and directing all cultivation efforts as he sees fit.

Like a CTO in your typical Silicon Valley startup, he is responsible to the CEO of the company for the primary money-making end of the business. Also, like a CTO, he is expected to be the most knowledgable in his responsibiities, i.e., cultivation and related matters.

Standards are great where interoperability is a key requirement, such as devices communicating via the Internet. With each cultivation/group essentially being stand-alone, I don’t see the benefit. Also, standards development processes are extremely tedious and typically take years.

That said, in the context of cultivation there are many perspectives* and each one will have key driving factors. However, what I think is most valuable for this discussion is to provide a means for helping the cultivation owners and financiers understand what is involved in and required for a successful commercial cultivation operation.

*One such perspective, which I find fascinating, can be found in the book ‘Bread from Stones’ (1894), by Julius Hensel. pdf at the end of this article:


I generally agree with you @Lazyman. Except for the part about grow room technical design (power, cooling, lighting, water filtration, etc.). Certainly he should have input into these requirements, but not primary responsibility for them, imo, unless the operation is smaller-scale. In what I would consider a properly functioning commercial-scale cultivation, there should be a team for those factors as well as for cultivation.

Why? Because attention is a critical component for both successful cultivation and for the myriad of technical matters. Attention spread too thin becomes counterproductive, to say the least.

This is what the business owners/financiers need to understand and buy into.


Great topic btw!
There is a huge difference between closet and factory growers. I know personally when I went from 50 plants in 3 rooms to 1000’s of plants in a factory I had to upgrade my knowledge! A factory needs serval skilled individuals to accomplish success while a closet grower could do it solo. My father for instance is a professional HVAC tech with 30 years exp and I know without his knowledge our grows would have had hard times. For my personal resume I put Student- Master grower. Student first because I’m always learning, master second because I have the skills and knowledge to teach other growers and train them to the level of master grower. Having success in training others and watching them take off with your knowledge and succeed in factory growing is what I call a Master grower.
I did a one hour grow consulting class here in Tucson several years back. Two of the students ended up in the Arizona news for their grow opp. Super humble by that.
Maybe Growers House/Network can make a class and certificate to help separate the closet growers from the factory ones. So when companies wish to hire on, they know this “guy/gal” has such and such knowledge.



We are actively building an educational series behind the scenes. These resources will be for the entire spectrum of the industry, from home growers to commercial growers. Think “Khan Academy for Cannabis”. We tend to build first, talk later. So more information will be released as soon as we have the Beta ready for testing. Growers Network members will of course get first access, as with any of our products. :slight_smile:


Not to be pedantic, I find the etymology of words a great aid in understanding…

master (n.)

late Old English mægester “one having control or authority,” from Latin magister (n.) “chief, head, director, teacher” (source of Old French maistre, French maître, Spanish and Italian maestro

Think maître d’ - head waiter

expert (n.)

early 15c., “person wise through experience,” from expert (adj.). The word reappeared 1825 in the legal sense, “person who, by virtue of special acquired knowledge or experience on a subject, presumably not within the knowledge of men generally, may testify in a court of justice to matters of opinion thereon, as distinguished from ordinary witnesses, who can in general testify only to facts” [Century Dictionary].


“I’m an old man but a young gardener.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Some traits of a master grower:

Cleanliness. Conscientiousness. Diligence. Thirst for knowledge. Silly pants. Dedication. Unbridled passion. Discipline. Patience.

The rest can be taught.

Res ipsa loquitur.


For consideration, a job posting from Europe for a Master Grower: