Earlier this month at the New York City-based “Let’s Get Growing” event hosted by the Cannabis and Hemp Association (CHA), city slicker stoners were given the chance to learn some of the most vital tips to a successful grow operation.

Uncle Pete Tranchemontagne, who operates Uncle Pete’s Re-Leaf caregiving business in Maine with his wife, and his son Steffon, who owns and runs The Tranch Ranch in the Pine Tree State with his wife, gave the presentation. After Uncle Pete started to see his health falter, the entire family decided to go all-in on the cannabis caregiver business, and are now some of the top growers in all of Maine. Together, they’ve branded their work Green Gold Inc. and proved that cannabis cultivation is best when a family affair.

Uncle Pete Tranchemontagne and his son Steffon.

Steffon admitted that it was impossible to cover all of the steps to running a successful grow in a 30-minute presentation, so he and his father focused on personal determination as much as the necessary equipment and procedures, offering the CHA crowd a number of tips to help kick-start their own operations. Here are six tips that Steffon and Uncle Pete shared during their talk:

6) Put in the Time and Effort

The father-son duo were clear about this from the start: If you don’t put in the time and take your grow operation seriously, then don’t even get started. There’s no half-assing it or letting nature run its course. You need to be present and attentive during the entire process, especially at the beginning. Like most things, time and effort are two of the key factors to how successful your grow will end up being.

“We just want you to understand that you will completely fail if you don’t take it seriously,” said Pete. “You’re not going on vacation, you’re not taking off anywhere, your plants are growing. You have to put the time in—just dropping a seed in is not the answer.”

5) Don’t Show, Don’t Tell

Although it might be enticing to show your friends and family your budding grow, Pete and Steffon were adamant about not showing off and bragging about your operation. Not only will some people have bad intentions—or will just want to get in on the action—but allowing people in and out also poses a risk to the cannabis product. Make sure your ship is operating tightly and refrain from giving tours to those who don’t need to be within the operation.

“You don’t give tours—that’s the kiss of death,” said Pete. “Say one of your friends is a grower, and they’re a terrible grower and they have all of these pathogens on them and you’re here showing off your grade-A buds. You have to be on top of everything.”

4) Have a Purpose and Passion

The cannabis industry is certainly profitable, but if your primary motive is to make money, you’re in this thing for the wrong reasons. Pete and Steffon made it clear that they view their product as a medicinal remedy and not simply a profitable commodity. This is a product that has helped sick people with their pain and despair, and if you’re not passionate about helping people with your cannabis, your grow operation will not reach its full potential.

“My passion is to keep people alive, my passion is to make sure legalization protects medical programs, and this is the way we have to do this,” said Pete. “Every walk of life is in here, we need everybody to make a difference.”

3) Stick to the System

Decide right away what path you’re going down and stick with it. Whether you want to specialize in growing clones, or your focus is on sprouting seeds, make sure that you’re doing your thing and doing it the right way. You have to set up a proper and consistent system, especially when you’re growing with medicinal purposes. Your patients and customers are dependent on your product, so there’s no time to screw around and provide inconsistent medicine.

2) Get a Generator (and Don’t Be Cheap)

Believe it or not, one of the biggest reasons for a failed grow is lost power, something that can happen at any time and ruin all of your progress. When you’re looking at the total expenses for your operation, it may seem a bit daunting—electricity use is major cost in cannabis—but you need to spend money on the necessities in order to succeed in cultivation. With a generator, you can ensure that your plants will always be kept safe, even if your power suddenly goes out.

“You’ve got to have a generator. You have to make sure that your product is not going to fail,” said Steffon. “If you cheap out on something so small, then you’re done for. It’s a lot of time and money, but you’ve got to spend a lot to get a good return.”

1) Be a Sponge, Know Everything About Every Strain

Every strain, medical need, and grow is different, and there’s no way for you to grow one strain well and know it all. You have to keep an open mind and absorb all of the knowledge that you possibly can. Listen to your patients, listen to your fellow growers, and remember that you’re dealing with the livelihood of others. This isn’t just information that you need to know, it’s information that you should take pride in knowing as well.

“In this industry you have to be a sponge, you have to absorb everything,” said Steffon. “I’m going to ask if you know about this, about that. I’m going to go and research the hell out of it. I’m going to look at your ailments, see what can I do to help you right now, and I’m going to find the best strain available for you.”