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The Revolution of Solventless Cannabis Extracts

The Revolution of Solventless Cannabis Extracts

live rosin cannabis extracts colorado

We’ve come a long way from hand rolled hash balls tossed in with some tobacco.

While basic concentrated cannabis products are still a popular product in places like Europe, in legal cannabis hubs like the U.S., the competition driving extraction has produced the next generation of cannabis extracts. Chris Williams with his new craft cannabis extract company Souly Solventless is at the forefront.

 

The Evolution of Cannabis Extracts

If you walked into a legal cannabis dispensary in Colorado in 2013, there were only a few options when it came to cannabis extracts. Wax and shatter were the two most prevalent extractions at the time. Both are produced using Butane as the solvent, where it is then heated over time to vaporize the solvent, leaving the extract behind.

Through pouring out the mixture and letting it sit and harden, extractors could produce shatter. By whipping the mixture for a time after pouring, wax was formed. Over the next few years, extractors would hone these methods, creating more efficient processes, and new processes to manufacture new solvent based products.

Eventually extractors began to use a method called distillation, where similar to alcohol, producers could separate the specific cannabinoids they wanted from the plant and create homogenized, purified cannabis extracts. While distillate has much higher THC levels compared to wax and shatter, the distillation process isolates THC from other cannabinoids and terpenes, making the extract nearly odorless and flavorless. This would eventually be made better by reintroducing the desired terpenes for better flavor profiles.

The introduction of more flavorful extracts led to a branching off of consumers. While many still sought high THC cannabis extracts, a new desire for terpene-rich extracts with unique flavor profiles and processing methods became prevalent.

The Hair Straightener Method

Around 2016, a wise extractor decided to try putting some cannabis buds in a hair straightener. With heat and pressure, the oils inside of the cannabis were pushed out, creating the first solventless cannabis extract. Being more flavorful, cleaner and easy to produce, this method would develop over time.

Extractors would introduce hydraulic heat presses, making it even easier to press large amount of cannabis flower to produce higher quantities of the extract. The greater amount of trichome content on a cannabis plant typically meant higher production of solventless cannabis extracts, which led breeders to try and produce the most trichome rich cannabis possible. Others learned that by harvesting their cannabis plants earlier than average when trichomes are still in their final maturation, one could produce extremely clean solventless extract that looked nearly white in presentation.

This new, clean, solventless extract would become known as Rosin. When the plant is picked and frozen straight from harvest and then extracted, it may be called Live Rosin due to the plant being frozen in its “live” stage.

Using the old to make the new

As knowledge about Rosin production has grown over the last few years, extractors decided to bring back an age old extraction method to make it better.

Ice water hash is one of the original cannabis extracts, created by simply adding cannabis flower into a bucket of water full of ice and stirring. The cold water separates the trichomes from the plant matter.

By separating the trichome/liquid mixture and allowing it to dry, you’re left with a cannabinoid and terpene rich, powder-like extract. Pressing ice water hash into rosin created an even cleaner and tastier product, making it the most popular method today.

What Does the Future Hold?

Cannabis extracts have evolved exponentially over the last 5 years alone, with no signs of slowing down. Rosin vape cartridges and rosin edibles are just the tip of the iceberg. When live resin exploded onto the scene, many thought it was the as good as concentrates could get. With Rosin at the front of the pack now, consumers are anxious to see what comes next.

Chris Williams has been making his own Rosin since its inception, and formed Souly Solventless in 2019 to bring it to the public. Now he’s sharing his knowledge and predictions for the future of cannabis extracts.

In This Episode of The Real Dirt Podcast

This week on The Real Dirt, Chip and Chris talk about rosin and the revolution of clean cannabis extracts. The two discuss different methods of extraction and how they have evolved, the new products being made from the latest extraction technologies and what the future holds for cannabis extracts.

Roll one up, heat up the rig, turn on the PuffCo Peak, and sit back and enjoy another awesome episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker!

Transcript

Chip: What up! This is Chip from The Real Dirt Podcast. Man, today we are talking about one of my favorite subjects of all time. That is solventless extracts. That’s right water-based extracts. Today, I’m talking with my good buddy Chris from Souly Solventless out of Denver. And man, he’s been really like pushing the bounds of extraction, water extraction, and rosin extraction in the Colorado area. If you’re around Denver, or coming to Denver, definitely check it all out. Hey guys, if you haven’t joined already, please join us at therealdirt.com, subscribe on iTunes, and check out our new YouTube channel. You know, we’re just working on it, but should be all of our episodes loaded up there real soon. I believe that is The Real Dirt Podcast on YouTube. Thanks again for joining us today. And as always, sit back and fire the largest joint you can, and enjoy this episode of The Real Dirt. This is chip from the real dirt. Good morning. Hello, one and all, another episode of The Real dirt Podcast. This is 2021, and today we’re going to talk about extracts, concentrates, how they’re kind of made, and what they are. The first time I ever heard of a concentrated course, it was it was called hash. We didn’t quite know what it was. This guy, Kevin Price, was like, “Hey, I got some hash.” We looked at it, and we’re like, “Man, this looks like rabbit shit. Are you sure this is hash?” And to this day, I’m pretty sure he sold me rabbit shit as hash. We didn’t know any better, so we smoked it. But it’s come a long way. As soon as I got real extract, which was Jamaican Hash Oil back way long time ago, I realized the potential of extracting the trichome and extracting the molecule from cannabis. I have really been fascinated with it since then, in all its forms from traditional, hand-rolled hash, to sieved and pressed hash, to bubble hash, to subcritical CO2, butane, propane solvent lists. I’m really fascinated and interested in it all. And today we have Chris from Souly Solventless. Chris is a good friend of mine. Say hey, Chris.

Chris: How you guys doing out there? Thanks for having me, Chip.

Chip: You know, Chris is an unsung hero. He has some of the finest extracts on the market. They’re boutique and rare to find. And if you ever see them, absolutely scoop them up. They may be a little bit more expensive than the one sitting next to it. But you know what, it is absolutely worth it, isn’t it? Chris?

Chris: I appreciate all those nice words there too. Yeah, I’m just paying attention to detail and really having a love and appreciation for this plant and its power that it entails. You know, we’re small, small batch; we’re just starting out. If you do happen to catch us on the show, like Chip is saying, you definitely got to give us a shot. You won’t be disappointed. And we like to take our time. Like I said, attention to details is important when it comes to solving these extracts. It’s a few things you definitely have to pay attention to, as far as the input, or the material you’re using to get that output that we all desire, or what the customer desire in these days. 

Chip:  One of the biggest things about extract is quality material and get exceptional quality out. Many people just use the trash, you know, to make it, and you can absolutely do that. But to make the best gear possible, you use the best buds possible.

Chris:  That’s right, my friend. Yeah, a lot of credit goes to the actual cultivators first. The flower has to be top notch. the flowers hanging, and at some point, usually, the hash comes out what you would like. As far as quality, numbers, that can all vary from a few different things. Different genetics may yield different numbers in those areas. You know, it’s all interesting; it’s all experimental. It’s just great to learn every day, whether it’s something that really throws down a lot of hash. You know, it’s in the family of the GMOs or the cakes, or something like that. Something that doesn’t really throw it out as much as more of, you know, on the turf side. I mean, that’s all important, you know. It depends on what you’re looking for.

Chip:  What are you starting off the day with? Do you smoke weed at the beginning of the day? Are you one of those people? 

Chris:  I mean, probably like three or four times at the beginning of the day.

Chip:  Four times at the beginning-

Chris:  I mean, the weed I had this morning. I had a little bit of some of my rosin; I made them myself. I call it the Gumbo Mix, or you know, my term for the mix. 

Chip:  That’s right because Chris is actually from Louisiana.

Chip:  Yeah, you’re right. 

Chip:  He’s also our resident go to have anything Southern cooking food as well. He holds the Gumbo and Shrimp and Grits title at cultivate Colorado currently, right? Nobody competed.

Chris:  I mean, I take that pretty proudly. Anybody want to step up? Right on; I’ll take it, you know. But- 

Chip:  Oh man, when you made shrimp and grits down here in OKC, my friend here never had it. And literally the other day, they were like, “Man, that time you guys made Shrimp and Grits.” He actually said, “Chip, you made Shrimp and Grit?” I didn’t take credit.

Chris:  I mean, it was a team effort, man. Come on.

Chip:  We watched you do it. Extracting hash is just like cooking. You can be a cook, or you can be a chef. You got all the right ingredients. You got all your temporaries together. You prepare everything properly, then you got something. Right?

Chris:  Yeah, a hundred percent. You know, a lot of people may not go along with the mix material washes, but I particularly like those because as you were saying, I like cooking, flavor profiles, and things like that. You take two different hashes and mix those together. You never know what you’re going to get, man. You can be in a mood this day. Take a hit of the same hash that you hit two days ago and get different flavor profiles because you might be in a different mood or something. You know, it just really depends. Like today, a mix of Tropicana Banana and Monkey Berries, and I really like that. That’s my gumbo mix for this morning, Tropicana Banana and Monkey Berries. They’re pretty well. They’re about 4% together, so not bad numbers –

Chip:  You’re mixing these you’re mixing these flavors in the bag?

Chris:  Yes, I like to actually mix material together and wash it together at the bag. You can do it separate if you’d like, and then mix the resin at the end, and press it like that if you want. That’s a preference thing, man. Everybody got their own way to do it. The way I like to do it, you know, so it works out well for me. I don’t have any issues with it. It tastes fire, love the taste.

Chip:  So, we’ve been babbling a little bit here. I realized there’s a lot of people that listen to these podcasts that don’t really understand what hash, or, extract, or rosin, or resin, or solventless, or bubble, or co2 or any of this stuff is. Let me get your opinion of it. Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s have like a 101 basic extract course from Chris.

Chris:  I will tell you this. I’m honestly, you know, definitely knowledgeable in the extracts. But as far as an extract connoisseur, as someone who is going to go to a store and buy an extract over flower, that was not me three or four years ago. I would say the hydrocarbon extractions or CO22 whatever you want to call it- those extractions you know, we’re not really that interested in them as far as like dabbing them. But definitely using them for edibles or things like that in which they would come up really well in edibles. So, you know, never really downplayed or anything like that, but – 

Chip:  Let me pause you right there and explain to people what’s going on. So, most of the extracts you see on the shelf at a dispensary say in Colorado or California. It’s mostly some sort of wax, Goo, oil, or shatter. Most of that is made with butane or propane, some type of hydrocarbon mixture. They’re literally just combining all of the plant material. They’re mixing it with the hydrocarbon, and then they’re separating out the plant material and the hydrocarbon. They’re recollecting the solvent, the hydrocarbon, and what’s left is the extract. Right? That’s what mostly is on the shelf. When you have a pen, what’s in most pens, Chris?

Chip:  You get a mix of a few things these days, I’ve seen. You get your distillate pens mixed with terps; I would say. You get your sauce pens, I’ve seen. Lately, you’re starting to see some live rosin pins, kind of new on the market. But mostly distillate and terps, I would say, in which distillate would be just your pure THC. No flavor profile, and then being able to take different terp profiles, and then add that to the distillate –

Chip:  They are some sort of solvent. Those are all mostly solvents. 

Chris:  Yes, correct.

Chip:  But you mentioned rosin. Tell me what the difference is between solventless and the non-solvents? 

Chris:  You know, as you mentioned earlier, with the actual process of collecting the trichomes using hydrocarbon with a non-solvent extraction or a solventless extraction, you’re actually going to be using water as the solvent, or as the carrier, or the lubricant, whatever you want to call it. But like super cold water, so you’re going to use a combination of ice and water to actually collect those trichomes opposed to the hydrocarbon. A healthier way or healthier method, I would say as far as like, approaching the extraction process, but each process equally has benefits for whatever end product or whatever way you want to do with it. But if you ask me, water and ice seem pretty safe and clean to me. Using that to actually strike the trichomes, solventless just really stuck with me when that started coming around. I think nicotine probably is the guy to give respect to that. Started that term from what I understand, and he’s been around for a minute pushing out some great product. Just learning and discovering that really got me really interested in that. And these days, you’re starting to see it. There’s starting to be rosin cartridges popping up, you know, rosin and budder, live jam, sauce, and diamonds. People started to make diamonds in solvents, which is crazy, because that’s like mechanical separations and things like that. 

Chip:  It costs more for a reason, though. You have to put more raw material. You have to take more care in the solventless extract than just a hydrocarbon extract.

Chris:  The material 100% matters. You can do it from trims and things like that. Well taken care of trim reveals some great results, but it’s ideal to actually use your prize buds. When something that your cultivator does really well, you know, you’re going to wash it. You got to collect it. Run it through the bags, then take it from the bag. (It) goes to the freeze dryer. That’s in there for 24 hours. (It) comes out of the freeze dryer, then you have to sieve it. But then you have to, collect it again into your screen bags, and then now you have to press it. So, you know, you press it, then you collect it. And then now it has to cure, whether you want to heat cure, cold cure, room cure, whatever it may be. There are all these different ways you can approach it. There’s no wrong or right way, in my opinion. It’s all great. – 

Chip:  It’s all technique.  

Chris:  Yeah, it’s all technique and preference. You know, some people swear by full spectrum, or like, some people swear that, “Oh, no, it’s got to be the 90 120 or only 90. Man, that’s cool. You know, that’s great. That’s your preference. You can like that. But it’s all out there, everybody like some a little bit different. And it’s great that you have the options with rosin, and you can do that.

Chip:  Also, when you use different material, you get different results. And it’s really hard on the commercial market to have this same exact material over and over again. And that’s the importance of what we’re talking about. You got to watch it; see what’s going on because even one strain grown by one guy might collect differently than the same strain grown by someone else.

Chris: A hundred percent. 

Chip:  Right. And you’ve seen this over and over again, “Wow, man, those crystals are really small. Those crystals are really fat. This is nothing but glands. This is nothing but stalks.” You know? –

Chris: Yeah man, I’ve seen two different growers with two same exact strains, (have) like almost one and a half percent difference, which is crazy. That’s a decent amount of difference, but still great outcomes on that on that particular strain. But you’re right, environment that it’s actually grown in maybe, I’m starting to notice, has a play into that too, and maybe appearance of the actual rosin; whether it’s going to be a little bit lighter, whether that person maybe pulled that product a little bit early, or harvested it a bit early, and things like that. But you know, kind of go into it too. I never really know, so having a good relationship with your suppliers, or where you’re getting your material from really helps. Consistently knowing that you’re dealing with these guys, so it’s going to be this every time. You know that it’s going to put out. You know these guys’ grower perfectly, and boom, everyone does good.

Chip:  Yeah. Well, it takes a slightly different mentality to go for high quality extracts. I mean, many people grow for extract, but they’re just literally trying to grow biomass, or just trying to grow weight. Man, the highest quality stuff though; it comes from when you really take care, just like you would ganja.  Buy all the way to the end, and you finish it the same way. And you dry it, store it, and package it all the same way. I mean, you don’t have to trim it necessarily, but there’s a little bit of processing going on.

Chris:  Yeah, you definitely would like to prep it, I mean, you don’t want to put any leaves that doesn’t have any, any sugar in there. You definitely don’t want that here, in there, you know, so you got to prep it a little bit. But definitely, as far as taking care of it and growing it with the utmost attention to detail. I know you don’t have three IPMs, but you have to minimize those things like that. That really carries over into your end product. Later in your flower cycle when you come up with an issue, that stuff matters, so you got to be on it from the beginning and take care of the growing environment. 

Chip:  You know, many people are familiar with this term, bubble hash or water hash. But let’s talk about how this solventless is different from just a crude extract with water.

Chris:  With bubble hash in the cycle route, to get rosin you pretty much get bubble hash first. But like you said, most people are used to seeing the bubble hash in the form of sand, almost kief rather, than people familiar with the grinders. And you have to keep catchers. But typically, whenever you’re washing the material, collecting it, in bubble bags before the whole freeze dryer thing, at this point, you take them out of the bubble bag, so you got to pretty much dry it at the perfect condition to get it to not mold or anything. To be able to go from the bubble hash process like we’re all used, that’s a pretty intricate process to get that right. For freeze dryers, I guarantee you, I would have failed plenty of times. I mean, I, maybe, tried a few times when I first moved here from Louisiana. Trying to do some bubble hash before rosin was even a thing, and, you know, it came out well.  But that whole drying process is tricky, and lucky out here it’s dry, so it was relatively easy. The learning curve was easy out here. It’s that lack of humidity, but I don’t know if that would happen in Louisiana. But I ended up with some moldy hash, man, you know. A few times, I’m sure.

Chip:  Yeah. You got to control your dry environment- 

Chris:  Yeah, you should, but you know- 

Chip:  But now with freeze dryers, it’s a different story.

Chris:  Yes. Freeze dryers, definitely different story,

Chip:  Pull it out of the bag wet. Press out water out a little bit. Put it in freeze dryer.

Chris:  And even with using freeze dryers, you could press sooner, rather than a lot of people keep it as melt too. You separate, use your bag and use that 90 bags, and get some full melt. People really love that nice full melt these days, it seems like. Different strains are going to give you different meltability of the heads, but usually that 90 through 119 seems to be the one that people love for that good bubble hash melt. Super clean heads, barely any specs of anything in it, but it’s got to be clean. That’s got to be taken care of properly to get to that point. And using the freezer-

Chip:  Man, just freeze-dried bubble can be incredible.

Chris:  Oh, yeah. The few times I’ve had it, it’s been ridiculously good.

Chip:  But to get that high quality, dabbable bubble at that point, it’s really strain specific. You hardly get any yield out of your batch when you do it that way. Kind of like what you’re doing, and you’re extracting as much quality material out of the leaf as you can with water. You’re taking it; freeze drying it, right? And then what happens?

Chris:  Well, from that point, once it comes from the freeze dryer, we take it, and we put it between these nice plates via these Lowtemp plates. I like to use those plates, but they’re great. Heat the plates, Lowtemp, heat and pressure. The bubble hash goes into filter bag, and then between the two plates. That presses out the rosin. You go from the bubble hash, and then those two plates create almost like an environment of pretty much that protective layer on the resin head. You know that the bubble hash burst from the heat and pressure and oozes out all like oil-rosin. Then you collect it into your cigar, or into your bank, or whatever. I’ve seen people do some crazy stuff-

Chip:  So basically, we’re using water –

Chris:  Yeah.

Chip:  And then we’re freeze drying it. And then we’re using a press with some heat on it. 

Chris:  That’s right- 

Chip:  Right. And this is all just water and heat?

Chris:  Natural man, that’s it. Water, heat, a little bit of pressure, and boom, you got some rosin. You got some beautiful extract that you can then take from that state and cure it how you’d like, or you can keep it in the fresh press state. Take it into cartridges. Take it into edibles, which makes some beautiful edibles. Tastes so good. I love that. Some people complain about that weed tastes or whatever. I like a nice rosin taste and edible. In my opinion, it tastes good.

Chip:  Me too. Yeah, I prefer all the edibles with more basic extracts: kief, water, rosin. 

Chris:  Oh, yeah. 

Chip:  Right. I prefer those as extracts for sure. Hey, all of you edible companies out there, man. Don’t just use distillate. Make some with kief. Make some with rosin.

Chris:  Yeah, I know. Your clientele will love it too, I’m sure. They’re start learning to experiment with different inputs. The education of all this stuff will definitely keep growing with more states becoming legal here. As we keep seeing almost weekly, it seems like a state is passing some medical cannabis or recreational laws, which is great, man–

Chip:  Hawaii today. Yesterday, Alabama, Tennessee, people in Texas, New York, New Jersey, like it’s going everywhere.

Chris:  Right? It’s happening, and that’s great. People are going to want to go and learn about it, different states. That’s how it is man. 

Chip:  You know, the thing about private market cannabis and that industry is we always tried to squeeze as many dollars, as many cents out of a square foot or out of a plant as possible because it was gray market, or it was totally illegal. And now, we have these legal markets that allows us to do research and experiment with cannabis on a different scale. Even though solventless, you know, might be twice as much on the shelf, it might be $60- $80 a gram on the shelf. The manufacturer still is not really making a ton of money at that price. Literally, he’s making less money that way than he would if he was doing butane, propane, or CO2. Right? He’s making less money that way than he would if he was actually probably selling the buds for flower too. Right? Solventless extract, it really defines, to some degree, a different segment of cannabis production because it’s not just like the biggest bang for the buck or get the most money out of the square foot. It’s like, I want to make this product, and this is how we make it. The market bears the price.

Chris:  A hundred percent. Yeah, it’s definitely a special product. Like you’re saying, there’s multiple steps to it, man. You know, so-

Chip:  So complex. I mean, it should be worth $120 a gram.

Chris:  I mean, I was just out in California, and that was what it was. 

Chip:  Well, yeah. It’s $120 a gram there, though because of all the taxes that go on.

Chris:  Yeah. And it was a tag. I like to say it’s not for everybody. But if you want to get into it, it’s definitely something that takes a little bit of diving into. There are a few steps to it, few things that you definitely got to pay attention to detail. That’s what this is, man. It’s more like-

Chip:  Like a food or laboratory like environment, right?

Chris:  A hundred percent. Other extraction techniques as well, not to say that’s not how you would treat it with that one. But just particularly with the solventless, like you said, you grow all your flower. You could take this flower and sell it as flower, or you can take it and throw it in this water with this ice, swish it around, and hopefully some trichomes come out. I mean, that sounds crazy. 

Chip:  Yeah, it does.

Chris:  The research and the groundwork that a lot of people have done in the past few years, I would say, have definitely built that confidence. Definitely for curious minds like me, for sure because it was definitely tough for me to dive into it too. I remember thinking about this more than a few years back. I’m like, “Man, that’s crazy. Just take the flower and throw it in there.” I’m like, “Really? Okay.” Now, you learn, and you get educated. You’re like, “Okay, now it makes sense. Okay, cool. I’m definitely going to go take my flower and throw it in there.” Do that because this rosin thing just tastes really good.  [inaudible 24:46] tastes really good too.

Chip:  Sorry, I just had to break for a second. 

Chris:  You guys are over at this door, right?

Chip:  Yes. You got to have security up in the studio, man. All kinds of motherfuckers bowl up here. I mean, Tupac learned it the most. I know,

Chris:  I know, dude. That’s right. I just was watching a couple episodes on Hip-hop Evolution about that sad story, man. 

Chip:  Sad story. Yeah, you know, greatness often is snuffed out too early man. You know, I lost a couple friends this year. Danny Smallwood and Rob Cox. It’s always sad when the flame goes out too quick, man.

Chris:  That’s right. Yeah, man. My condolences. I’m sorry to hear that. 

Chip:  Both those guys, Danny and Rob, loved extract, loved bubble. I was making it with both of those guys in literally 2002. And we got super high on more than one occasion on a handmade bubble that we just made with literally pantyhose and silkscreen.

Chris:  Taking it back, man?

Chip:  Right, but you don’t have to have all the equipment. You can do it at home. You can do simple extractions at home, and people should try. If you’re a home grower, definitely try to do that. Yeah, go to the store. Go to the dispensary. Buy some and see what theirs is like, and then try to mimic it. Right? 

Chris:  Yeah, a hundred percent. There’s a lot of information out there on the web these days. You can follow an array of guys on Instagram too that are really interested, it seemed like, in letting people know how to do this. I gathered a lot of information just from perusing Instagram and following people that I look up to that I know we’re doing big things out here in the industry. If you’re familiar with Colorado’s rosin scene, you know what I’m talking about? You can find some information out there. Don’t be scared of it, man. You can get the equipment relatively easy, and it’s relatively easy to use. Learning curve with anything, don’t expect and just get it. All of a sudden, you got what you- but it takes a little bit. But curiosity, man, you got to want to do it. You know, you got to be about it. That’s all I’m going to say. You know like, do it. –

Chip:  Yeah, no doubt. 

Chris:  If you like extractions or you like smoking extractions, and you have access to flower, and you have opportunity to do it, and you’re in a state that allows you to do it, I say do it. 

Chip:  Absolutely. I believe that state can be a state of well-being.

Chris:  A hundred percent. 

Chip:  Yeah, get out there, grow some weed, man. Make some extracts of it. Roll some joints with it. Pass it along to your friends and your family, and then grow some more. Do it again.

Chris:  Keep it going, man. Keep it going –

Chip:  Just a great chat with you, man. Yeah.

Chris:  Likewise, man. I really appreciate you having me. It’s really an honor being on the show and sharing the information that I possess here, which, you know, take it for what you want. But yeah, man –

Chip:  You know what I love about you is next year you’re going to be on a totally different plane with this. We should do another one next year and see where you’re coming out with it. You just learned so much like a sponge, man.

Chris:  I’ll come out there though. I’ll come see you in OKC next year. We’ll do that –

Chip:  Oh, yeah. Absolutely. We’ll make some. We need to make some this year, and make it work out- 

Chris:  Yeah, we’ll get it going. No worries. We’ll come and do some fishing as well. 

Chip:  I don’t know, man. You tear it up a little bit too much. I need my fish in my pond, catching them all. I look forward to Chris, man. I miss you guys.

Chris:  Likewise, man. 

Chip:  It was good chatting with you this morning. Thanks again. This is Chris with Souly Solventless. How can people look you up, Chris?

Chris:  Oh, you can find us on Instagram. We’re souly.solventless, and that’s s-o-u-l-y-dot-solventless. Pretty easy to find. Check us out. We got some good things happening in here very soon. Yeah, be on the lookout for us.

Chip:  Thanks again, Chris. Man, I appreciate it. 

Chris:  Thank you. Have a good one too.

Chip:  Oh, man, I tell you after that episode, I want to sit back and vape up some good solventless extract, or maybe even go back and get myself some bubble hash and sprinkle some on a nice large joint. You know, I think I might have ruined myself that extract years ago by making a train wreck kief joints and train wreck bubble hash joints. I probably lost a couple of years smoking those. Man, I hope you guys learned a lot about extracts and solventless extracts today. You know, they’re not dangerous. They’re safe. It’s just water. Not that like hydrocarbon products are dangerous either, but that many people have an aversion to them. If you’re interested in you know solventless extracts or bubbles, you should try so. If you can make it at home, you can buy a lot of materials online. You can always check us out at cultivatecolorado.com, cultivateokc.com. Hey, if you haven’t already subscribed to our podcast, please do. That’s The Real Dirt Podcast with Chip Baker. Check out our YouTube channel, man. We’re going to put all of our episodes on there from the past. We’re going to have all our new episodes on there, so you’ll be able to listen to all 70/ 80/ 90 episodes on YouTube at your will. So, thanks a lot for joining us again today. The next time you’re out there in the world, the next time you’re at a dispensary, ask the dispensary about solventless extracts. Ask them their opinion. Ask him to show some. It’s been Chip with the Real Dirt. Thanks again.

The Real Science Behind Compost Tea

The Real Science Behind Compost Tea

how to make compost tea for cannabis cultivation

We all know the benefits of compost when it comes to cannabis cultivation.

But we’ve also come a long way from just dumping a pile of compost into your soil and mixing it in. With compost tea, we can now incorporate compost into our cultivation practices by simply feeding the plants through irrigation, just like hydroponic nutrients.

If there’s one man who has gone to extra mile to understand the science behind compost tea in order to create powerful, organic tea mixes, it’s John Picirrilli, Founder of Cutting Edge Solutions.

“So my grandma turned me on to compost tea, I think I’ve already told you this story. She made anaerobic tea. It was just like a jug, a five gallon bucket of manure that we’d fill with water and sit there forever. And then occasionally, she’d get a scoop of water out of it and dilute it and pour it onto her radishes and tomatoes, or whatever we were growing in the backyard, right?” – Chip Baker

Even since he was boy Chip Baker was learning about compost tea and its benefits from his Grandma. And John learned a similar way himself.

 “You know, going back on some of my many mistakes, one of the early ones was doing something like that. And then you do it on a larger scale than a five gallon bucket. Because pretty soon, you see a little works pretty good, so you want more of it to use all at once.” – John Picirrilli

From a five gallon bucket to 50 gallon drums, John quickly expanded his research and development of his compost tea product. And that was 40 years ago. The science behind compost tea and growing with biologicals had limited research at the time, and John was at the forefront of looking at the microscopic details of the teas he was making.

Eventually he would start his own microbiology lab where could study compost tea and all of its components scientifically.

What John Learned

Through his decades of research, John’s findings are plain and simple.

“That’s when I realized better biology means better flower.” – John Picirrilli

While compost teas are nothing new, using them for cannabis cultivation is a relatively new practice, and that’s why John is focused on educating growers on its benefits. But explaining the complex science behind how good compost tea develops isn’t so simple, especially when cannabis cultivators come from a wide range of backgrounds, age and education.

The Real Science Behind Compost Tea

In the Season 5 premiere of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, John and Chip dive into their history and experience with compost tea, from their first discoveries to developing their current regiment. John goes in depth about how he began and continues his studies into compost tea using his sophisticated methods to find which specific microbes and bacteria are the most beneficial for cannabis.

The two talk about the history of using compost tea, how it has evolved, and why every cannabis cultivator should be incorporating it into their regiment. And of course the two long time friends share some old school stories from the Northern California days.

‘A regulator told me a long time ago. “Don’t try to list too many things on the label. Just say it makes plants happy.”‘ – John Picirrili

Is it that simple? Find out in this episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker!

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Chip: Hello, my friends. It’s so good to be back here in another episode of The Real Dirt. Got an exciting season this year for you, The Real Dirt. Wow, last year was incredible. And this year, wow. It’s gonna show so much for the cannabis market and cannabis industry. You know, we’re gonna hold on by the, fly by the seat of our pants. It’s coming so fast and so strong. If you’re involved in the cannabis industry right now, you know what I’m talking about. Everybody sitting at home, unemployed, smoking more weed than they ever have, or you know, they maybe have a little stress or – hey, also, there’s medical cannabis in so many more states now. 2001 is gonna go up in smoke. And I mean that in the very, very best way. That is my prediction, is the cannabis industry is going to be one of the saviors of the country and of the planet. If we’d all just sit back and smoke a little bit of weed, then you know, it’ll be a better place. And those of you who consume cannabis, or who work in the cannabis industry know how good this plant is. And man, dude, it has been so good. Despite of what’s going on in the rest of the country, the cannabis industry just had a banner year last year. And we’re gonna repeat it again. So these next episodes of The Real Dirt man, we’ve got a new studio, it sounds great. You can hear it right now, you can hear the bass in my voice. And I’m stoked man, we’ve been running out of this bedroom in the back of my house. And it hasn’t been the best, and the best internet reception. But man, we’re here, we’re set up for a very socially distanced event. I have many, many guests both on Zoom and as well here in the studio. I have a huge eight foot table, we can all be across from each other. We’ve got great ventilation in here. We’ll socially distance and be as careful as we can. But man, we’ve got some great people from all over the world. They’re gonna chime in this year. And we’re gonna run things a little bit different this year, I hope you guys enjoy it. But I’m really, you know, in this quest for knowledge, and previously, I wanted to know people’s story and understand stuff about them. You know, and I still want that. But one of the goals that we’re gonna have this year at The Real Dirt is we’re gonna answer questions. So if you have any question, and we’re looking on the internet, we’re looking at our Instagram, we’re looking at Facebook every single day. If you have any questions about cannabis, the cannabis industry, you know, ask us at The Real Dirt and maybe we’ll make an episode about it. So currently, we have about 35 episodes planned for this year, we’ll see how it unfolds, we’ll probably get a little bit more, a little bit less. But man, it’s gonna be really informative. If you’ve ever, I apologize for all the bad quality recordings this past year. We’re gonna do far, far better this next year. But uh yeah, man. We’re just gonna grow right along. So yeah, if you haven’t already subscribed, please go to The Real Dirt on iTunes, and on Spotify, and on Amazon and all the other major places where you can listen to podcasts. And listen, all the other episodes you know, if you’re interested in anything, you can ask us at The Real Dirt. “Hey, I’m interested in this, do you have an episode suggestion?” And we’ll give you a suggestion but you know, some of the early episodes are great, great, great information, even though they might have been four or five years ago, three or four years ago. Man, some of that stuff is just great. You guys should all go back and listen to that if you haven’t. We got about 70, 80 episodes published right now and man, they all have some great tidbits of information. But this year it’s going to be super high quality, super informative. And yeah, man. Here we go, man. My first guest is John Piccirilli. Me and John have been friends for years. He introduced himself one day to me in Humboldt County right after I’d started a potting soil plant. He literally rolled by and heard that I’d started a plant, had kind of heard about, you know, what I was trying to do, royal gold coco fiber, this was in like, 2008. John stopped by, said hi. He had a company called Cutting Edge. And so has a company called cutting edge where he makes top quality fertilizers for cannabis. And John helped me over the years tremendously. Anytime I had a question, he was there for me. And you know, when I started selling retail product with Cultivate Colorado and then Cultivate OKC, you know, really supported John and all of his products and whether it’s his 3 Part or his Uncle John’s, or, you know, the Sonoma Gold, man, he’s just got some great, great, great products. He makes nutrition for plants simple. And we’re going to talk to john about of a couple of things. We’re definitely going to get into some compost tea, and we’ll have a few episodes here, where Uncle John kind of explains it all. If you’ve ever met John, you know how he can go on, and on, and on, and on, and on for hours. So, I’m going to try to consolidate all his knowledge into you know, some good, good, good information we can all digest. But what I want you to do now is sit back, roll the largest joint you can and enjoy this episode of The Real Dirt.

 

John: Hey guys. We got John Piccirilli here. He’s the founder of Cutting Edge Nutrient Solution and pretty much go-to source of all things cannabis cultivation and nutrition. There should be like, a Google section that’s just like,  “John says, Uncle John says.” Welcome, John, thanks for coming. 

 

Chip: Thanks Chip, and happy birthday. 

 

John: Oh, yep. This is my birthday episode. For those of you who didn’t get me a gift, it’s okay. You still have all of next year to plan. 

 

Chip: Right, I mean, I was caught off guard myself. And I’ve known Chip, you know, 15 or 20 years. So…

 

John: Yeah. Well, the reason you were caught off guard is because you’re eagerly waiting to tell me happy solstice in a few days from now. And you just forget that it’s my birthday a few days beforehand. 

 

Chip: Yes. And then it gets brighter every day. 

 

John: It does. It gets brighter every day. 

 

Chip: So wow John, me and you have known each other for a long time. We met a decade or more ago, when I opened up my first humble soil plant, you walked in the door one day, and politely answered all my questions and told me how I was doing everything wrong. And now I’m successful today because of you.

 

John: Oh, I don’t know, Chip, that’s not true. You’ve been at it a long time, too. And, you know, for me, I’ve been at it for 40 years, you know. I was one of those punk kids that ran away from Berkeley at 14 and started growing in Mendocino County in 1978. So I’ve had a little bit more time to make more mistakes than you. So I’m just telling you the advice that you think I’m giving you, I’m just telling you the mistakes I made, and not to do this. 

 

Chip: Now you are a world-renowned, known as the problem solver. I’ve made that mistake for before, you know, answer for many, many, many, many, many things. Right? 

 

John: And if people don’t believe it, I tell them how much it costs to make that mistake and it scares them. 

 

Chip: Yeah, absolutely.

 

John: So they back up and they look at what kind of solutions that I’ve come up with. And those are pretty much our products.

 

Chip: I sell Cutting Edge Solutions. It’s one of our biggest sellers here at Cultivate OKC, Cultivate Colorado throughout California. It has been called the Calif-or. It starts off as a basic three part nutrition formula, but then there’s several other additives, magnesium additive, calcium additive, cal mag. I mean, you’ve got numerous, numerous products. The thing that’s great about John’s products is one, the customer service. You guys got great customer service, t feedback that you get. But man, you and Kevin go to see more gardens than pretty much anybody I know. I mean, I see a lot of gardens. But you guys like. really are in the dirt, man. You know, the thing that fascinates me is that everybody has a like, this little magic or something they do. It’s not magic, what you’re doing.

 

John: No. Well, it’s kind of magic. I mean, it’s science. But science is just a small explanation for magic. And there’s more magic than science. So you don’t always use your head, sometimes you use your heart. 

 

Chip: Yeah, I’ve seen you guys turn around more gardens, for sure, after visits and more happy customers. Is there like, one thing that, is there a common thing that people have problems with? 

 

John: Yeah, I would say using pH up and that locks out calcium, and calcium is key. And so ais phosphorus. A lot of ways that we back people out of problems is by using home tea which is a compost tea. 

 

Chip: And you know, it happens to be the topic of our episode today –

 

John: Wow. 

 

Chip: Is composting. 

 

John: That’s great.

 

Chip: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So my grandma turned me on to compost tea, I think I’ve already told you this story. She anaerobic tea. It was just like a jug, a five gallon bucket of manure that we’d fill with water and sit there forever. And then occasionally, she’d get a scoop of water out of it and dilute it and pour it onto her radishes and tomatoes, or whatever we were growing in the backyard, right? As a little kid, but I didn’t know any different until kind of I met you, John. And you started talking about compost tea, and actively aerated compost tea. Wow, if you’re not compost tea-ing now, it’s definitely something you should think about. Mostly, I recommend it for soil growers, the indoor outdoor greenhouse, it doesn’t matter applying it to the soil foliar feeding. Should I make this statement that it is the most effective thing that you can do for your garden, compost tea?

 

John: It is. It’s true. You know, probably what your grandmother did, you know, she used manure, broke down, and she poured it on and the plants got boosted, right? They look better. You know, going back on some of my many mistakes, one of the early ones was doing something like that. And then you do it on a larger scale than a five gallon bucket. Because pretty soon, you see a little works pretty good, so you want more of it to use all at once. And then you use, make a 50 50 gallon drums. And then it really goes anaerobic. And then you get acids in it that just melt the roots, when you overapply it. So then, there’s an application amount that you should use too. But I mean, that’s how I started out was, like I said, like over 40 years ago, you know, one of the benefits of being back then was you got to see cultivation going from fields and planes flying over, to actual helicopter traffic coming in. And then we had to move back in the barrage, and then ultimately back near the tree line. And then there’s a lot more microbiology that interacts with the plant then. But about the same time – 

 

Chip: So this is application. You saw this through application, you saw the biology change through application.

 

John: Right, through just trying to use the same amendments and in holes, or trenches, and grow plants and then you know, we had to march the plants back into the barrage, and then ultimately back into the tree line. And then at that time, I thought just fertilizers grew plants. But then I realized by that point that it was the microbiology that was making the chemistry available.

 

Chip: Yes, the roots, they grow the plants, don’t they? And they need that proper biology around the roots in the soil in order to digest the nutrients in order to feed the plants, right? People can argue that science all day long, but it’s pretty much how it works, right? Synthetic or organic like, you have to have that biological dynamic.

 

John: You do to have healthy plants. And otherwise you get diseases or bugs are attracted to them, which transfer diseases to other plants that are still somewhat healthy. 

 

Chip: So let’s take this back, John. Let’s do a couple things. Let’s talk about like, what is compost tea, and then we’ll talk about some like, things we can do with it, and problems it creates, and problems it solves. So, how do you define compost tea? Because I know this, people say and do this all different types of ways. 

 

John: Right. So you know, some people define compost tea as any compost, like we were saying before, put into drums of water and they make sun tea. And you know about the time we were being pushed back by the helicopters, I was making sun teas and taking horsetail which is high in silica, cutting those up, putting them in –

 

Chip: Wild, crafting horsetail. 

 

John: Right. And stinging nettle, which is not easy to collect, as you think. 

 

Chip: Got to pick it from the jungle.

 

John: Otherwise, your arms are thrashed. But you know, using different herbs and making sun teas, and that seemed to be okay. But I got more results out of it when there was bubbling going on. And then I used it before the bumbling stopped, before it got completely anaerobic. And you know, I got a microscope and I started looking at things closer. And then I got bacterial stain kits for Gram positive and Gram negative, started kind of identifying different bacteria, and started looking at fungi, and staining that with prussian blue, and that led to just building a microbiology lab. I was kind of a kid back then. That was the early realization that you can make liquids that help the amendments of the soil. But compost tea, you know, you asked me that question. And I started to aerate it, so that I could break it down further. And then about that time, you know, it was just sort of wide open. There was not a lot of research being done using biologicals. But I started to learn how to isolate them out of healthy agricultural systems, and scraping them off lichen in the forest, because I realized that some of the best plants were at the drip line were lichen were. They weren’t necessarily getting more sun, but they were growing healthier, and they yielded better, and the flavor of the –

 

Chip: Better biology. 

 

John: Yeah, better biology. And that’s when I realized better biology means better flower. 

 

Chip: I mean, compost tea is new to many people, but it’s a very old technology. I mean, I’m not sure how far back actively aerated compost tea goes. I mean, people have been bubbling compost in the liquid solution for a moment, right? But it’s new to many people. So what we mean by this is we’re actually injecting air of some sort, and people use all types of things. Are there things you should or shouldn’t use, pumps you should or shouldn’t use? 

 

John: Yeah, some people build these elaborate brewers that’s spin the whole liquid inside of a cone tank. And that might be good to generate bacteria, aerobic bacteria, but not necessarily good for protozoa. And so you know, you’re looking for three things in a compost tea that’s aerated as you say, by at least putting in an air stone if not putting in lines that are perforated, and [inaudible 16:13]. it just depends on the size of the brewer that you’re working with. 

 

Chip: Sure. I’ve made probably millions of gallons of compost tea through all my potting soil stuff and you know, royal gold, we used to apply it directly on the line and use compost tea within our products. You know, I’ve always liked the simple air bubblers, right? I always felt those made the best, you know, product, the best compost tea, even though we’ve kind of used everything. I’ve used, you know, these jet pumps that move water around, we’ve used [inaudible 16:52] pumps. Man we’ve used, you know, just like large air pumps with a bunch of lines going into it. But for some reason, the air stones, they they really do work the best.

 

John: They do, I mean, you put them in the bottom of a cone tank, a lot, you know, a line that runs from the pump into the tank, and then it’s at the bottom of a cone tank, and it has just the right amount of air. 

 

Chip: Those with bubble size, I think what it has to do with it? Because you got all those little small bubbles, and as they’re turning over in the water, they’re mixing everything, right? And you know, if you think about it, a bubble is this real like, natural like, thing. You know, I just like the idea of that anyway. I don’t know if it’s reality or not, but millions of bubbles mix better than hundreds of bubbles.

 

John: Well, you know, it’s like champagne. 

 

Chip: Yes, the champagne effect, right.

 

John: It’s the champagne of compost tea. You know? And the other ones are like the jacuzzi jet of compost tea.

 

Chip: Yeah, because you don’t really, you don’t want it really swirling. You don’t want it really bubbling, right? You just want it like, moving around. You wanna inject the right amount of air. Do you know if there’s any math involved with this? 

 

John: Oh, yeah. You know, there’s a, you know, you look at, see I’ve used of different organisms that are in a spore state or in a cis state of it, which is like your egg state for a protozoa. Take a drop of compost tea, and put it on a hemocytometer, that’s what you use to look at blood. But it’s the same thing you use in microscopy to look at the population number in one drop, which is pretty much a measured amount. And on this hemocytometer, it’s got a graph and you can estimate, do a bacteria, fungi, protozoa count. Sometimes people are off on the on the fungi because of actinomycete, which is, you know, when you’re turning your compost, you get that white fuzz on it. –

 

Chip: Yeah, I know it. On the outside, and the inside –

 

John: Right. And then you dig through that and you see all the strands, that actinomycete is helping break down the compost, but it operates at a warmer temperature, which is just on the outside shell. But when you’re making compost tea, a lot of times you have that in there. People mistake that for actual beneficial fungi. It’s beneficial in the sense that it’s breaking things down and making enzymes, but it’s also, can throw you off if you’re actually reading it. So, you need a Gram stain and there’s a certain way to identify that.

 

Chip: And all this stuff is inexpensive now, right? Like, you know, digital microscopes and you know, all this equipment is readily available to people. When I started doing it 20 years ago, it was like, $5,000 for a microscope. But now you can get it for 100 bucks, right? 

 

John: Yeah, yeah. There’s decent microscopes for 100 bucks. I mean, we pretty much use Olympus and Leica microscopes which are German lenses and those are – 

 

Chip: Well, you guys are professionals. Of course you use Leica.

 

John: Well, because we look at, because we look at a lot of samples, right? And so you can get eyestrain. It’s like, the difference between getting reading glasses and real glasses, I guess. 

 

Chip: Now me and you and other people were fascinated with it all. And we might break the microscope out and notice the balance of bacteria and fungi or protozoa over temperatures or, but most people aren’t going to nerd out quite like that. You don’t necessarily need a microscope, right? 

 

John: No.

 

Chip: No, I saw that look in your eyes. You’re like, “No, you gotta have a microscope.”

 

John: Well, you know, you were just saying it.

 

Chip: It’s not that expensive. 

 

John: They’re not that expensive. And, you know –

 

Chip: It’s easy to use.

 

John: I mean, we used to have Maverick cameras that cost like$1400 that attached with a special adapter that went on the compound microscope. In the end, you’re like spending thousands of dollars –

 

Chip: Now you can almost do it on your phone. 

 

John: Yeah, right. Exactly. And they have smaller digital microscopes and digital cameras that are maybe $100 or $200 that are great for taking photos, and sending to someone to identify something that you think is wrong with your plant. Or, you know, the cross section of a root, or you know, many different things. So it’s definitely worthwhile to get these. It adds to your digital library of things that are either going right or wrong. 

 

Chip: It’s just another tool in the tool bucket. So basically, compost tea is any type of compost that’s dissolved in water. And then we’re aerating it.

 

John: That’s a good basic definition.

 

Chip: When doesn’t it have to be compost, then?

 

John: Yeah, I mean, to be compost tea, it should be compost. Usually, it’s vermicompost. Because that’s, you know, high in bacteria. 

 

Chip: The earthworms are incredible creatures and get rid of all the E. coli. And you know, that’s the best thing about earthworms. You use a pure earth, pure black castings and you’re not gonna have any E. coli. 

 

John: Right. That’s very true. Sometimes you could have coliform bacteria, but –

 

Chip: Still rare for earthworm castings, unless it’s like, unless it’s not been screened. If it’s just compost, and earthworm castings, that’s where you see the coliform bacteria.

 

John: Well, it depends what state you’re in. And it’s not you personally, but it’s you physically. 

 

Chip: Yeah. Okay, okay. 

 

John: And you know, because different states do different tests. And you know, for a while they were mixing up E. coli, which is a coliform bacteria with all other coliform bacteria. We have coliform bacteria in our hands.

 

Chip: It’s everywhere.

 

John: It’s everywhere. It’s ubiquitous, right? So but you know, it’s not something that is going to harm you. 

 

Chip: Mostly compost tea is made from earthworm castings, water and maybe, you know, a couple of other things. I mean, there’s all types of recipes people use for all types of reasons. I know you guys sell a great, great product HumTea that is a completely formulated compost tea recipe or, what do you, how do you phrase it at? 

 

John: Yeah, so that would be a compost tea. 

 

Chip: HumTea, is it, do you call it an inoculant kit, or a starter kit, or..?

 

John: Yeah, you know, you could call it either thing. You know, I’m not very good at marketing as you know. 

 

Chip: Right, yeah, yeah. You’re great at sales though. 

 

John: Yeah. [inaudible 23:34] I could go in and say, you know, yeah, we have a spawn bag, which is a resealable plastic bag that’s impermeable by pretty much anything, except that it has a GoreTex window on it. So it allows gas exchange. And in there we have some woody material that we grow protozoa on. The actual let’s say, compost itself is a mixture of this woody material, and a mixture of earthworm castings. So the earthworm castings have really good background bacteria, fungi and some protozoa. But we enrich that and enhance that in our composting process and our finishing process. So we usually have a screen of 10 important bacteria, a few fungi, and about 22 different protozoa. So you would take this out of the bag, put it into, you know, we have brewers that have screens. And you can put it into the screen or a HumTea Brew Ball, and that’s actually floats in any container. It will even float in a reservoir. And then we have three different containers, three different say pint or quart bottles depending on the size that you buy of the HumTea inoculant. And those have certain bacteria and there are food sources in there. You know, ours is a little bit more sophisticated than just taking compost from your earthworm castings, and throwing it into some gauze or some sort of screen system, and then bubbling it in water, where a lot of people would add molasses. 

 

Chip: Because you’ve done all the work for you with the HumTea. You don’t have to have a microscope. You can just drop your pre-made formulated compost tea inoculant in a barrel of water in the compost brewer. Any compost brewer, but specifically a Cultivate OKC or Cultivate Colorado compost brewer that you can get in Colorado, you can order it online. Go to cultivate colorad.com, cultivateokc.com, we’ve got great, great deals. Better deals, and you could ever get on 15, 30, 35, 45, 65 gallon brewers. All of that will make it easier for you than just using some random container or you know, maybe not like the easiest thing to clean. But you start with a good compost tea brewer. But any type will work, right? And use the – oh I see, they’re like ” Oh well maybe not any type,” because we already kind of went over that. The ones that move too much water don’t really work so well. 

 

John: Well they work well for bacteria, to generate bacteria but –

 

Chip: So if you got a specific bacteria you’re trying to grow or wanted high in bacteria, then  you would use that.

 

John: Yeah, you wanna use of those high volume mixing, spin it around, [inaudible 26:35].

 

Chip: I mean, anybody can go out and make their own. Anybody can go out and get a bag of earthworm castings. They can get some bat guano, some trace minerals, maybe a little, the smallest amount of some sort of sugar product. They can make their own but man, the HumTea product is really so much better. You know, when you first came out with this, this is how John sold this product. He first came out with it and he gave it away. And he taught us a lot about giving stuff away, all of us in the cannabis industry. And so he would give it away – where would that have been? I mean, you gave it away all –

 

John: North coast horticulture.

 

Chip: North coast horticulture, it would have been –

 

John: In Humboldt County. 

 

Chip: Yeah, it would have been in Humboldt County. And people were like, “Oh, what do I do with this?” He was like, “Well just take a gallon home and when your cuttings are rooted, feed it to them.” Right? “Oh, I’m having problems with you know, my plant. Should I feed all my -” “Well, just start on your cuttings. Take this gallon and feed your cuttings.” And you sold so many people on compost tea and educated so many people on compost tea and Humboldt Tea that way. Off one single gallon. Change their, changed everything for them, right?

 

John: Yeah, yeah. It’s actually Humboldt Countea.

 

Chip: Humboldt Countea.

 

John: Right.

 

Chip: I see. 

 

John: And then there’s just the t-e-a at the end. 

 

Chip: And now, is there some special biology that you’ve put into the Humboldt Countea? 

 

John: Well, yeah. You know, by just raising it and generating it, and then using it in a good agricultural system and then re-harvesting it. You know, some of the bacteria alone, you know, there’s Pseudomonas putida, and that can break down herbicides. So I mean, I was working with that a long time ago, back when they used the silvicultural practice in Mendocino County and Humboldt County, was to spray hardwoods with Agent Orange that was left over from the Vietnam War. So long ago, this was –

 

Chip: [inaudible 28:44] for you and me, right?

 

John: Yeah, that’s right. 

 

Chip: Spraying all the weeds in the woods, they say it’s gonna make the world go good. Oh yeah, man.

 

John: Right. 

 

Chip: Some protest songs there, protest songs from the 90’s. 

 

John: Right. Born right out of NorCal, you know. There was fighting for their lives out there, literally. 

 

Chip: We got pesticide danger. Oh, can decide, danger.

 

John: Nice. Oh, yes. Reggae on the river, I hope it comes back. 

 

Chip: Oh, it will. Yeah, yeah, for sure. And it’ll be in memories forever. But…

 

John: Yeah, we still bring it to life. Yeah, you know, I was giving it out at first because not just to educate people, but just to give back to the community. I can see that here in Oklahoma again, where a lot of people just left because they saw corporations rising in their state, whether it was Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, California. And they wanted to be back in a community of people that share plant material. And you really see it here now. And it’s good. 

 

Chip: Oklahoma reminds me a lot of Humboldt in the late 90’s. 

 

John: Yeah.

 

Chip: Right? The organic movement, the freshness, the newness, the idea. Because even though like Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity, they’re thought about and they are the world capital of ganja production and have been for, like 50 years, right? It’s like Mexico, Humboldt County, right? 

 

John: Right. You go anywhere in the world and they go, “Where are you from?” And you say, if you say Arcata or Trinidad, immediately they’re like, “That’s in Humboldt County. You’re from Humboldt County.” Yeah.

 

Chip: Yeah, right. So I know there’s a lot of haters out there, but that’s just how it is, the volume of cultivators up there, it’s just now incredible. But back then, in the late 90s, we had just gone through Operation Green Merchant. There was, one of the Bushes came in with an aircraft carrier off the coast of Humboldt, they had National Guard, they were like, stopping and searching people coming in and out of highway roads that just went through National Forest systems. But, you know, all kinds of illegal Gestapo type of stuff. And in the late 90s, cannabis, it was really, really underground. You know, outdoor cultivation. It had it for like, 10 years at that point was really hard, right? You had to hide it, you had to put it under trees. And people were growing indoor. It started growing indoor in like, huge farms. Absolutely some of the biggest farms in the early years. Everybody seemed to have a 40 or an 80 light indoor on a generator back then. 

 

John: Right.

 

Chip: Right? That’s kind of what’s going on here is that it’s easy to get a 200 amp license, it’s easy to get a license to grow and grow under 200 amps. Maybe that’s what I should say, 2500 bucks, $3,000 you can easily get a license. And it’s kind of the same way back then, it’s like you could go get your prescription and grow some weed and sell it to the dispensary, right? They just kind of formalized it a little bit. But the same enthusiasm, right? The same old coops coming out of the hills going, “I love weed. We used to grow it back in the whenever it is,” right? Man, and we saw it happen then. Because we had that big first explosion happened in ’97. And it was like ’97 to like ’94 or something. And then there was smaller changes in the laws like in Mendocino, they made it legal for 25 plants for anybody, and then 99 plants. If you registered, they were one of the first registrations in the country, that was back in 2004, right? And outdoor cultivation really started to take off again. We got rid of Terry Farmer and a couple of other holdouts from the old war on drugs and it reminds me all of that here. It’s like the, except it just went differently, right? Instead of there being this big political issue, you know, the police are just like, “Oh, weed’s legal? Okay,” right? And it’s not like it was in Humboldt back then where everybody fought it for years, and years. Now it’s like, “Oh, weeds legal? Okay.” People were really accepting of it here, right? They’ve embraced organic cultivation like those old days in Humboldt. Remember how it used to be if you [inaudible 33:22] wasn’t organic? Like I mean, your friends would just like, rail you for it.

 

John: It’s true. 

 

Chip: Remember?

 

John: Yeah.

 

Chip: I mean like, what, I mean, it means me and John are both hydro guys. And I love organic too, John does too. John’s got a whole like organic thing too. You know, organic supplements, organic nutrition, that we use – I’ve got some weed over there in front of us –

 

John: Oh, nice.

 

Chip: That’s all just happened in here. It’s a special time and special place in Oklahoma. And man, it’s starting to happen that way in Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois,  Michigan, right?  It’s this new great industry that still anybody can get into. In Colorado and in California now, anybody just can’t get into.

 

John: No.

 

Chip: Right? 

 

John: No. 

 

Chip: And if you guys are into it over there, and things are going great for you, me and John are both giving you a thumbs up. 

 

John: We are still there, Chip. 

 

Chip: I mean yeah, we’re – 

 

John: We’re still in Humboldt County, but –

 

Chip: We know how hard it is, man. It’s hard. 

 

John: The building codes, everything that goes along with it, the invasion of your private property. You know, touring farms here, I don’t see that I see people doing their best, instead of having to pay regulators and go through all these different code enforcement issues, and wait, and wait, and wait, and spend money on their mortgages, or leases, or whatever. In the outlying areas of major cities here, there’s no building codes. So I mean, I was just yesterday at a place that you know, they spent 300,000 on a state of the art greenhouse. And they’re putting up two more, they’re putting up one first and they’re gonna join these greenhouses together. But my point is that when people are allowed to do their best, they do great. And when people are held back by a regulatory industry that doesn’t understand what they’re doing, but wants to take opinions from everyone else –

 

Chip: And a percent.

 

John: Yes, let’s not forget that. 

 

Chip: And let’s not forget the percent of profit that they want to take as well. 

 

John: Right. And it really should just be grown and sold at the end that it’s being sold that it should be taxed. 

 

Chip: Easy enough, man, Oklahoma’s got a really good handle on it, that’s for sure. And it’s got some problems, don’t get me wrong. Back to compost tea. A couple ways, I guess, people use compost, either they like, do a soil drench, or they do a foliar spray. 

 

John: Right. So a foliar spray would be to offset other potential plant pathogenic fungi that could be on the plant like, powdery mildew. Aspergillus brasiliensis will take care of –

 

Chip: Like I know if he’s pronouncing that right. 

 

John: Yeah, I was kind of hesitant when I started because  –

 

Chip: He almost, your eyes go up in your head, like they’re having this rain man moment. 

 

John: Well you know, you throw out these kind of terms, and then people are, they can’t, you can’t catch it. It’s something that’s really got to be written down. But, I mean, that’s something that offsets and outcompetes powdery mildew, which is a big issue. Going back to this farm that I was just at yesterday, you know, state of the art greenhouse really good quality Quonset houses, and one is lit up and holding all the best mothers. But at the same time, they were put in not Chip’s soil, but another soil let’s say. And that soil was made from composted pine needles back east. And then what happens is, it’s super acidic.

 

Chip: Oh. So there was a pH problem. 

 

John: To the extreme, where the plants were basically dying. When I looked at them a month and a half ago, the person didn’t want to take them out of their 30 gallon plastic pots. So the only choice is to use a compost tea or to use HumTea, because the microbiology will start breaking things down and leeching out certain elements that are toxifying the plant. And these are prized plants. I mean, they’re, you know, they’re – 

 

Chip: Compost tea. One of its benefit really is if you have sick plants, if you have plants that aren’t doing so good, regardless of what diagnosis you think they have, compost tea will help them. 

 

John: Yeah, it’s true. I mean, it’s like magic, you see? You know it’s working because the leaves –

 

Chip: It’s kind of like chicken soup. It’s like the chicken soup.

 

John: It is, for this time of year. It’s flu season. You know, people are afraid to even cough in public. You know, will be hauled off. But you know, when you want to keep those mother plants going until the spring, and you have light in order to be able to do that in a greenhouse and you’re heating the greenhouse, if they’re in bad soil, or if they get some sort of disease because it’s too humid, and you don’t want to open it up because it’s too cold outside, compost tea or Hum Tea is is what you need. Not only foliar spray with, but run through the soil and then that has another action when it goes into the soil. It will stimulate the plant’s immune system. 

 

Chip: So there’s lots of talk about dilution when you do soil drench. Do you have a typical dilution rate? Or how about this, what’s a, because I know it’s varied. What’s the best dilution rate?

 

John: You know, when you have a brewer, say it’s even a five gallon bucket. When you make tea in that, you should be able to take 1 gallon to 25 gallons. And if you want to go thinner, you can go up to 50 gallons. One gallon of compost tea or HumTea to 50 gallons. And you’re going to get the benefit. You can pour HumTea straight on, and it’s good to do. Pour it straight on. Do it 1:25, do it 1:50. And you pour it straight on, you see a result the next day. You do 1:25, it’s two days. You do 1:50, it’s three, maybe three days. And for me, 1:25 is good because you know brewing it is roughly like, $6 a gallon. So I don’t want to spend too much money, but I want the plants to be healthy. 

 

Chip: Yeah my experience is exactly the same thing. If you, I think that the HumTea, it works best diluting it 1:1, because I think you can use it. I mean, I know you can use it just straight on, but most people can’t afford to, or the volume of it. And you know, I also try to just use it on like, just rooted plants or vegging plants, so I can get the most concentrated colony forming units in one area, right? I like the 1:1. That being said, man, like, you can pretty much pour it in any volume of liquid that you have to feed your plants, right? If you’re using a 300 gallon tank even, you will absolutely see benefit by making a five gallon compost tea and pour it in there. Now, it might work better for [inaudible 40:34] if you only have 5 gallons, and you have a, you know, a garden that would require 300 gallons of water, you’d be better off boiler feeding it, I would think. Even if it’s just on the top of the soil, because we see people doing that too. And I’ve done that too, is just take the like, direct HumTea, Humboldt Countea with a pump sprayer, right, right? Have you ever seen this? 

 

John: Yes, oh yeah.

 

Chip: They just spray it right on the top of the soil as opposed to the plant and then you get the water in and you get the like, you know, the colony to develop there. And I mean, that’s like, three bucks for something like that. 

 

John: It’s super cheap, and it’s super effective. And that’s a good point, Chip. Putting it in, regarding the sprayer, you can do full strength or 1:1 and foliar spray it. 

 

Chip: The only problem with the full stream is sometimes it’ll clog your sprayer and you have to like, screen it out anyway. 

 

John: Oh, yeah. 

 

Chip: Right? But if you just dilute it, 1:1 goes to the sprayer. 

 

John: Yeah, that’s true. 

 

Chip: Pretty, pretty good. 

 

John: And not use the bottom little part, just pour it on the top. 

 

Chip: Yeah, we screen it out exactly and try to leave the bottoms. When we’re actively doing it, and I don’t know how you feel about this, but I just try to do back to back to back to back compost teas. And I never clean out my compost tea brewer except with water. So I’ll just wash down the sides, wash down the sides, and then just start another one up. And it works. If it’s back to back to back to back to back, that seems to work great. As soon as I let it sit a few days and don’t fight with it. I gotta start over.

 

John: And there’s a good point in there is, so you’re on a farm and you’re using well water. 

 

Chip: Yeah.

 

John: So it has no chlorine in it. 

 

Chip: Correct.

 

John: Right. And chlorine isn’t really a bad problem, you can aerate it for 24 hours and it’ll, you know, take the chlorine out. But, you know, if you’re using chloramide or chlorinate, some cities use that, then you’ve got nitrogen injected with the chlorine. IT forms a more stable compound to keep the chlorine in the pipes, right? And then you have to use something like a Hydrologic Big Boy. Or, you know, if you don’t want that, you could go to your local hardware store and get a carbon filter that removes chlorine, and that’ll also remove that. 

 

Chip: Right. 

 

John: So because that will kill,  mean, why is it there? To kill biology. And you don’t want to do that. 

 

Chip: So don’t use chlorinated water.

 

John: Yeah.

 

Chip: So back to the foliar spray though. So we can use it as a soil drench, or we can use it as a foliar spray. How do you recommend people doing that?

 

John: That’s a good point. You can screen it through a piece of nylon and get all the particles out of it. And then either do it full strength or 1:1, and foliar year spray the top, foliar spray the bottom of the leaves and the stem, you’ve pretty much completely covered the plant. You can also, and this could be called foliar spraying, you could spray where the drip emitters are. And that will, the water coming out of the drip emitter will drive the biology down to where the roots are. And if you just, if you hand water, same thing. You can either throw it into your hand watering reservoir, your hand watering in or you could put, you know, just put it on the top and spoil the tops of the pots or the trench or whatever. 

 

Chip: Yeah, my first commercial application of compost tea was down in Salinas at our first Royal Gold potting soil plant down there. And I saw people spraying it on lettuce and cauliflower. They would say it was a foliar application, they just called it spray. But they’re spraying the plants and the ground at the same time. Right? To get these big rows and this stuff wasn’t plastic culture. To me, it’s like part of it all. It needs to go in the soil. You need to spray the plants. Now what is some of the benefits of spraying the plants over soil drench?

 

John: Well, spraying the plants, it will knock back powdery mildew and other plant pathogenic fungi that might grow on the leaf surface. So that’s the benefit there. It’s not really like it’s going to be able to break down any fertilizers. Some people say, well, it does, it seems to boost the plant. Well, that’s because they’re spraying with chemical fertilizers, and it’s helping move those into the plant. But in general, it’s better to spray with organic supplements than it is to spray with NPK directly on the plant. The plant doesn’t really take it in well that way. 

 

Chip: Let’s talk about compost tea and synthetic nutrients. Because this is one of the myths or maybe not myths, but concerns people have. Like, if I’m using synthetic nutrients, can I benefit from compost tea? 

 

John: You can. I mean, it depends on what type of synthetic chemicals are being used. I mean certainly, if you’re using urea, you know, you’re gonna kill things. If you’re using something that’s made, and it’s got sulfuric acid in it, you know, there’s some harsh chemicals out there. But in general, when you go into a hydroponic store, or if you want to call it a grow store, the lines of nutrients that are on the shelf are better quality. A lot of them aren’t –

 

Chip: Say at the farm store.

 

John: Right.

 

Chip: Right.

 

John: You’re not getting ag grade, you’re getting possibly food grade. I mean, we use food grade in our line of fertilizers. You know, there are other companies that use ag chemicals because it’s cheaper. And then people call them salts. I mean, all it means is that it dissolved, those minerals can dissolve in water, and that it’s not necessarily sodium chloride. But you know, going back to how microbiology works, and how well will it do with these different fertilizers? Well, I would say it just depends. But when I was working on HumTea, I developed it so that all the functional groups that do the magic,  let’s say, are offset by our fertilizer lines. So because I built it so that it could be used in recirculating systems.

 

Chip: And we have used it in recirculating systems with your you know, 3 Part Cutting Edge for sure. It works great. I gave up the organic components and [inaudible 47:25] during a while ago just because I don’t want to deal biofilm, or clogged comps, or some of the other problems  that happened with it. But it worked great. I just prefer to keep the synthetic stuff and recirculating systems separate. You know, if you’ve got a tank that’s not recirculating, then no reason not to mix synthetic and biological stuff together. Right, I know, I know. I’m [inaudible 47:53] now that I said that. Oh dude, I’m gonna have a flurry of people like, “You can’t kill all the biology dies when they come across [inaudible 47:59],” what did you say that [inaudible 48:00] was? You didn’t listen to that?

 

John: Yeah, it doesn’t. I mean, if –

 

Chip: It doesn’t, and we can see. And here’s another big myth that happens is people talk about, “Oh, in California, the ground’s dead, because of all of the chemicals that they’ve put on it. You can’t grow anything there anymore.” Do you know any place in California that’s like that?

 

John: Well, you know. Yeah. Maybe not in the Hills but you know, you look in the Central Valley. And yeah, there are a build up, there’s a buildup of boron from the groundwater. And the boron, you know, it gets to certain parts per million, and there’s fewer crops you can grow until you’re finally left with pistachios. So –

 

Chip: Oh so they just moved pistachios to those areas?

 

John: Right.

 

Chip: Oh, that’s why. Okay, okay.

 

John: It’s like a succession of planting. And then ultimately, the pistachios come out and then they grow cotton. And then when you –

 

Chip: Uhuh, that’s Oklahoma. 

 

John: Certain people say, “Well, what caused the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma? Wasn’t that the killing of all the microbiology?”

 

Chip: No, it was all the people leaving at once.

 

John: They were trying to get on the freeway first. It’s really dirt roads back then. 

 

Chip: Oh man. I miss the railroad on the freeway. There’s a song there, right, right? Hotel California or something. 

 

John: Right. But you know, the dead lands of California, it’s more like, they’re not dead. They just don’t have, they don’t have the water quality to grow crops. And what is growing burns down. 

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean water quality is a big issue here in Oklahoma and throughout the country. That’s for sure. I mean, the water quality here is pretty poor. We almost all use RO filters. If you’re an indoor you should be using an RO filter here. 

 

John: Yeah and you know, I go to a lot of places here and there, you have boron problems. That’s why those farms were abandoned. So that and the fact that everybody tried to grow one type of wheat, not weed. Fortunately, that’s not happening, because we’re growing many varieties of weed. But wheat, I mean, that’s what pretty much caused the Dust Bowl. It was, there was one popular wheat that everyone wanted to make bread out of in the northeast. And so everybody ran out here, tore up the land, grew one kind of wheat, because it was profitable, and then it became not profitable. And then all those farms were abandoned. And that’s part of the reason of the Dust Bowl. All these people left. They weren’t farmers to begin with anyway.

 

Chip: Yeah, series of droughts. Everybody was planting at once over and over again.

 

John: Same thing.

 

Chip: You know, World War One, it had a huge demand of food for, you know, for that effort. Everybody kind of like, had several great, great years and just everybody pumped it up.

 

John: Right. And my –

 

Chip: Kind of like the hemp industry. In the current hemp industry, there’s a Dust Bowl reference in there someplace.

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean hemp growing, you know, that’s farming once again. I sell a HumTea to hemp growers. You know, they use very little of it, but they use it at transplant because it helps with adjusting to the field from the greenhouse. I mean the hemp industry, there’s another over regulated industry. Keeping people at point three has punished a lot of plant breeders who –

 

Chip: How will that manage? You know what I hate about it? This is the biggest problem, is it still differentiates cannabis growers. There’s either the no THC or the THC growers. And the non-THC growers – mostly, don’t get your feelings hurt if you’re one of these people – mostly you’re like, “Oh no, I don’t grow THC.” It’s like come on, man. This is just the cannabis plant. Let’s stop being so scared of some letters, right? THC, CBD, DEA, FDA. Let’s stop being scared of those. Let’s think about like the cannabis. Let’s think about the plant. Let’s think about the world. And think about it that way, instead of this just fucked up liability type, human health and safety issue that they try to raise with it. We know cannabis is harmless. We’ve been using it for a long, long time. 

 

John: Very true. 

 

Chip: Yeah. Alright. So John, we’ve gone over a handful of things here with compost tea. Who can most benefit from this? Is this just for small people? Is this just for big people? Can anyone benefit from this? What are the best scenarios for compost to use?

 

John: The plants benefit from it.

 

Chip: Anybody, any plant can benefit from it.

 

John: People are problematic.

 

Chip: People benefit from it only because their plants are better and it makes the people happier?

 

John: Yes. 

 

Chip: Oh, I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it.

 

John: A regulator told me a long time ago. “Don’t try to list too many things on the label. Just say it makes plants happy.”

 

Chip: Yeah, yeah. Happy plants. 

 

John: And this was California. And I took that to heart because if you read our Constitution, we have the right to the pursuit of happiness. 

 

Chip: Absolutely. 

 

John: So why shouldn’t plants? 

 

Chip: Absolutely. Well, I love compost tea man. I’m glad we kind of got to talk about all of this. I got a couple compost tea recipes I love. I love 5 gallon compost tea, right? And the way that I like to make it, I don’t know if this is right or not, but when I make it this way, my plants absolutely respond. I usually dilute like, 5 gallons into about 20 gallons when I do it this way, right? And that’s out of sheer necessity. But I like 1 gallon of earthworm castings, 3 gallons of water. I’m gonna then put in a half a cup of some type of trace minerals. And then this is where it gets a little sticky, but I really like some sort of fish product. The fish [inaudible 54:33] or the fish emulsion, there’s controversy over all of that. And then just a smidgen of some sort of sugar. That recipe has been great for me and many other people for years. It’s so easy to follow. It’s not hard at all. You bubble it at you know, it needs to be over 60 degrees. I usually almost always bubble it outside. It usually takes three or four days for the fish smell to exchange from putrid to sweet. And, that’s what I like about this thing. When’s it ready? As soon as it turns sweet. I generally like the soil drench as opposed to the foliar spray. And part of that is because I’m scared of the yeast and fungus tests. 

 

John: Oh, interesting. 

 

Chip: Yeah, I don’t know if that’s real or not. But I’m scared of it. And I know you can outgrow it, you know, but many people spray throughout their flower period and I just choose to only like, spray it once or twice when they’re clones. I feed the clones stray compost tea and then dilute it, you know, like 5:1 or 4:1 or something like that. That’s my favorite compost tea. 

 

John: Yeah, I mean that sounds like a successful formula right there. Simple, easy to use –

 

Chip: Oh kelp. I forgot the kelp. There was my trace minerals, I say trace minerals, but I do prefer kelp for my trace mineral. 

 

John: Ah see, I was gonna add that.

 

Chip: Oh right, right. Yeah, and you know ’cause trace minerals, mined trace minerals are now harder to find, John. Have you looked for this lately, or it might not be hard for you because you’re in California, but they’re hard to get.

 

John: Yeah, you have to buy them in volume. You know, they come from mines in New Mexico and volcanic areas. But, you know, no one wants to go out there and truck them in anymore, that’s one of the problems. Cost, fuel, cost of operation –

 

Chip: There’s something they sell for 19 cents.

 

John: Right, right. So you know, I keep stocked up on all those. When I get halfway down in a container, I’ll reorder, because I like to use trace minerals for a couple different locations in my, in HumTea. And of course, there’s also kelp in there. Simple things that make a great tea. And sort of feed the microbes that you want to step up and be able to further break down what they need for the plant. 

 

Chip: So if you’re interested in compost tea, definitely check out more information we’ll have on The Real Dirt. Check us out at Cultivate Colorado, Cultivate OKC. You can buy all of your compost tea equipment. If you’re not familiar with Cutting Edge products, how do people look you up, John? 

 

John: Cuttingedgesolutions.com.

 

Chip: Cuttingedgesolutions.com. Ask your local vendor. If you’re a commercial grower, you absolutely need to check out the quality of the product. We didn’t even go into the whole lines of this whole compost tea conversation I wanted you here for today. Because I believe in compost tea and it’s something we’ve been talking about forever. And you know, really something that I want to turn people on to. So thanks for coming today, John. I really appreciate this little chat and I look forward to having you on in the future. 

 

John: Sounds good. You know all I have to do is drive down from Tulsa now. 

 

Chip: Oh, yeah, that’s right. We’ll get on that whole relocation on the next episode. Hey guys, thanks for joining me today on The Real Dirt with Chip Baker and John Piccirilli. If you liked this episode, and you have not subscribed yet, please subscribe on iTunes. Join us on Instagram, join us on Facebook. Hey and always comment, always leave a message. And if you’re interested in soil, or any type of growing equipment go to cultivatecolorado.com. Stop in one of our stores in Denver or Oklahoma. Yeah, man, we’re always willing to chat and we’ve got great, great, great people who are willing to answer any question you have. So there it is, The Real Dirt on compost tea. Thanks again.

How to Ruin Your Weed with a Paper Bag

How to Ruin Your Weed with a Paper Bag

oregon cannabis, colorado cannabis and oklahoma cannabis

People have some whacky ways for curing cannabis, but a paper bag ain’t the way to do it!

When it comes to cannabis, there’s a lot that Chip Baker and Justin Jones can agree on. But when it comes to curing your cannabis in a brown paper bag, the two are at odds.

To Chip, it’s a figment of the past that’s best left there, and age old drying technique before the days of plastic bags and bins. For Justin, it’s a quick and easy way to finish out the drying process that works for him.

The paper bag dry method

Before the days of turkey bags and metal storage bins it was common for growers to dry their flower in brown paper bags. They keep light out and they’re discreet, but that’s about it. The problem with paper bags is that they absorb moisture.

If your flower is sitting in a paper bag, over time the bag will suck the moisture out of your plants. Left too long, your flowers will dry out too much and the bag can instill a strange flavor. But Justin has a technique that he insists works just fine.

Justin puts his flower in a brown paper bag that is extremely dry, so there is no moisture already present. Then with a dehumidifier or fan nearby he can keep the paper bag dry as it absorbs moisture from the plant. After 12 hours doing this process, Justin insists that his flower comes out perfectly dry.

Those days are gone

In Chip’s mind the days of needing to use a brown paper bag are gone. With the advent of Turkey Bags, plastic bins with liners and plain old traditional hang-drying in commercial facilities, not only have brown paper bags become unnecessary, they have become irrelevant.

Legalization has given cultivators access to better technology for harvesting, drying and curing their cannabis to the point where using brown paper bags or cardboard boxes is a figment of the past.

This week’s episode

This week on The Real Dirt, Justin Jones returns to talk about why he likes the paper bag method, how the cannabis industry has evolved and matured in Oregon, how it compares to Colorado and Oklahoma and more!

Roll up a nice hemp/cannabis blend and puff away while you enjoy another great episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker!

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Transcript

 

Chip: Once again, you have reached The Real Dirt podcast. Thank you for joining me today. On today’s real dirt, I once again have my good buddy Justin Jones. We just got so much stuff to talk about. And honestly, conversations with Justin was really how I developed the idea of The Real Dirt podcast, because I have such interesting conversations with my friends within the industry. Now I wanted to share those with you, and today we have Justin on the line again. Justin, are you there?

 

Justin: Hey how you doing, Chip?

 

Chip: Oh man, doing good, bro. Feeling good. What’s going on over there on the West Coast?

 

Justin: I’m just transferring some sherbadough here from a ziplock bag into a brown paper grocery bag. And I just want to know, how many guys out there and gals how many people, cannabis growers, know anything about the old brown paper grocery bag?

 

Chip: Oh, I’m moaning, dude. I am moaning over here. I can’t believe you’re telling me you’re putting your fine buds into a paper bag. Oh my god.

 

Justin: Man.

 

Chip: What, why are you ruining your weed? Why are you doing this?

 

Justin: No, man. No, no, no, this is a good thing. This is what you want, it’s good for it.

 

Chip: It’s good for your weed to taste like cardboard?

 

Justin: I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s what it does.

 

Chip: Man, you put your wet weed in a – or dry weed – in a brown paper bag, and it sucks up all of that moisture that’s inside that paper bag before it releases any outs.

 

Justin: But you got to have a dry paper bag. You can’t start with a moist bag, bud.

 

Chip: Oh okay, so you’re telling me it’s all in technique?

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: Well, let me hear it. Let me hear your technique on how you don’t ruin your weed by putting it into a paper bag.

 

Justin: Well, I don’t put it in there for that long. And you got to know whether you’re rolling the top down all the way, or if you’re just kind of crumpling it up a little bit at the top, or whether you’re leaving it just open.

 

Chip: Okay. Alright, alright. You’re gonna have to start at the beginning. Start at the beginning. Tell me what you’re doing again.

 

Justin: It’s something that the old school probably guys that are older than us smoked, it’s a way that you can – 

 

Chip: Before they had plastic bags, all they had  – 

 

Justin: Before all those plastic bags, you had paper bags, because you could use the paper bag to just kind of shift that lot in a slow way when you’re at the end of your dry and cure, and you’ve done your hang. And now you’re doing your seal and burp, and you just got to get that last little, make it perfect. You could use the brown paper bag, you know? And you got to look at other industries too. I mean, the people store seeds in paper bags, people store other thing, because it does have a little bit of a –

 

Chip: Breeze.

 

Justin: If you have any takes, breeding with the moisture. And so you know yeah, you don’t want to push your, a wet cell paper bag moisture into your bud, but I would say it’s a way to kind of temper it, right at the end a little bit. If you need to, you don’t always need to.

 

Chip: Man, I have seen so many people ruin weed by putting it in a cardboard box or in a paper bag.

 

Justin: Well, why do they put it in there for?

 

Chip: The same, they’re trying to do the same thing you’re doing. Hey, they got their weed almost dry, and they cut them down and put them in a paper bag to like, finish them out, right? Or cure them in a box. And I believe a lot of this came from early 2000s Cannabis Cup, where that’s what Arion of Greenhouse said that they did, is they cured their weed for months in a cardboard box, right?

 

Justin: Would you think there’s actually a certain taste or flavor that gets put in there?

 

Chip: Absolutely. Oh absolutely. It is – alright, so here’s the thing. And you kind of said it earlier about you have to have a dry paper bag, right? Well, it is a little more than that. If you have a dry paper bag, if you’re in Colorado, if you’re in California, if you’re in the desert –

 

Justin: Oh yeah, wait a minute, hold on. 

 

Chip: You’ve got a dry paper bag.

 

Justin: I got a dry paper bag in a small closet that’s got a dehume pounding on the other side of the closet too. So –

 

Chip: You got a dry paper bag?

 

Justin: Or I’ll blow a fan, right? If you point a fan right at the side of the paper bag, what you’re trying to do is get some movement, but not too much. And get a little bit of that wet in there, but not too much.

 

Chip: You’re trying to control the dry, so that it doesn’t dry so fast, because you don’t need, you don’t have the best drying room.

 

Justin: Right.

 

Chip: That’s where the paper bag really started as and became, is if you didn’t have enough or the best dry room, you’d hang your plants. And so they, because they won’t at some point in many – unless you have a proper dry room, they’ll never dry. 

 

Justin: Right.

 

Chip: Right? On the coast of California, Oregon, Washington throughout the southeast, you can hang weed up in your house, and it will never dry in your closet. 

 

Justin: Here in Oregon, I struggle with that. And you know, coming from Colorado where you have a hard time not over drying, here you just I mean, most of the time here, your relative humidity is 50 to 60%, which is kind of where you want your stored, finished dry material to kind of, I don’t know.

 

Chip: End up.

 

Justin: Right. Right, right yeah. And so it just is like, you’re fighting the moisture, the over moisture and those sort of things all the time on the west coast, for sure. Especially coming into this time of the year here, where it’s gonna rain three or four days a week, and you’re just always gonna have that moisture in the air.

 

Chip: So yeah, I mean home growers and commercial growers would take their buds down, put them in paper bags, and it would allow them to control the dry rate. They’d increase the heat, or the moisture would be sucked out of the paper bag until they, it would help them dry.

 

Justin: It’s easier, it makes, it gives them a wider landing pad on not fucking it up, right? And so instead of being like, “Oh, if I miss the wind,” if you’re not doing that, you may be, you missed your perfect window by a couple of hours. Maybe this gives you a day of a window to get back to it, to get it fueled up.

 

Chip: So here’s the folly, is because you’re in these wet areas, those cardboard bags and the cardboard boxes, they’re sucking out moisture.

 

Justin: Oh yeah, you can feel it.

 

Chip: Right, yeah, they suck up moisture. So one, you got to get those dry, you have to get all the moisture out of them to dry. So you have to put, get a dehumidifier or heater, right? That’s going to dry out these boxes and get all that moisture out of there, right? Because if they leave the moisture in there, and then put your weed in there, as your weed dries, it’ll suck the moisture out of the bag. 

 

Justin: You’re going the wrong direction, you have to have – yeah. The box of the bag’s got to be drier than your cannabis and you can only leave it in there for a certain amount of time. And you should, if it’s doing its job, the bag or the box should be super brittle dry. And then you put your material in there, and let’s say after 12 hours, you come back. You should be able to feel the difference in the paper, and then get it out of there. 

 

Chip: So you’re not going in the wrong direction. 

 

Justin: It’s the technique. 

 

Chip: Now your bud’s gonna suck it back up. I’ve used the paper bags like, so, so many times. I’ve had, years and years ago.

 

Justin: Well, it’s about, it’s all about reusing, you know? We try to recycle and recycling is good. But reusing is even better than recycling. And at the end of the day, I think cannabis guys are great at reusing those thin metal hangers from the dry cleaner? The dry cleaner hangers, you know? Those are real popular for hanging new branches, right? And so, there’s a way to, ‘cause those hangers suck. You get them from the dry cleaner, and then you don’t really use them to hang your shirts back up later, right? So they get kind of built up, so those are good. And then the brown paper bags, got to have them.

 

Chip: I’m definitely not a brown paper bags fan. I do, however, like to take the brown paper bag, fold the top over one time, maybe one inch or two inch fold and then insert a turkey bag. And then hold the turkey bag up, right? And as you’re going through your cannabis you can just put it right inside to a standing up bag, you know?

 

Justin: I like that.

 

Chip: Yeah, totally.

 

Justin: So, it’s a stand, it’s a turkey bag stand.

 

Chip: It’s a turkey bag stand.

 

Justin: Turkey or goose bags?

 

Chip: All depends on what you’re doing, man. Here in Oklahoma, we sell cannabis out by the gram. Meaning, that we sell it to an extractor by the volume. So we’ll have a volume and it’ll be like, 4,382 grams, right? That’s not quite 10 pounds, but we just, we’ll bag them up in a goose bag like that. 

 

Justin: In those large goose bags. Yeah.

 

Chip: And just get as much as we can, specifically with trim. When we do that with trim, right? And we try to get at least a thousand grams in one container. But it’s going to the extractor, they don’t care. They check it into their system by the gram as well.

 

Justin: You’re not trying to sell some of the, a perfect one pound?

 

Chip: I’m absolutely not. And, we try to go in 500 and 1,000 increments, just to make all the math easy.

 

Justin: Less brain damage.

 

Chip: Yeah, exactly, less brain damage. And I would use a larger container and I’ve been told, and I am we’re going to start the stock these bin containers, the bin bags. So they have a large turkey bag style that goes into the thirty gallon Rubbermaid bin now.

 

Justin: Nice.

 

Chip: Right? Yeah, totally. So I think we’re going to push towards that, and try to even get more cannabis in, right? Into one bag. Because man, it’s one bag, one label. Here in Oklahoma, 10 pounds is a batch. We’re not –

 

Justin: You guys got rules in Oklahoma now for that stuff? 

 

Chip: Yeah dude, there’s all kinds of rules here. Yeah, Oklahoma is really – 

 

Justin: Yeah, we knew it was coming. It was wild west there at the beginning.

 

Chip: Oh, at the very beginning, it was like, you can show up and in 30 days be doing whatever the fuck you want. And that changed, that changed to you can just show up in 30 days, apply for whatever you want. And then that changed to you can show up in 30 days, apply for whatever you want, and then depending on your local municipality, it might take one day to four months for you to get into any type of business, or get in to have a building plan passed or anything like that. And now, we’ve just –

 

Justin: Now you’ve got residency, two years?

 

Chip: Two years residency here. If you’re interested in coming to Oklahoma, you can only be an investor for 25% now. If outside residents of the state of Oklahoma, they have a 25% stake max for two years. And then, there’s a lawsuit I hear that they’re trying to lift that. Who knows if that’s going to maintain other states it has maintained?

 

Justin: We have a chain in Colorado, we spent years fixing those laws. Because they were very restrictive, and once all the money inside of Colorado ran out as far as investment money and that sort of thing, then you had to be like, “I gotta go outside of the state.” So I first started that you could get a, you could get an out, you could get a loan. And the loan could be guaranteed, like a convertible into ownership is that. So you get a loan from a guy from another state that says that could turn into ownership if that person moved to Colorado, lived there for two years, became a resident, then they could like, convert. So that you could do a loan that was convertible, if these other things happened. And then after that – 

 

Chip: That’s a convertible loan.

 

Justin: Right. And then after that, it became you could just have out of state ownership. And then now it’s, in Colorado, the public, pub coast are circling and making moves, because now you can have 49% ownership can be a publicly traded company. So, it was always that they wanted to be able to just go, background check, deep, deep dive on every single owner. So having a publicly traded company that could have thousands or tens of thousands of stockholders, right? Didn’t work. So now, so they fixed a lot of that. And so now, you’re seeng companies in Colorado start to go public, or go that direction. So Colorado’s now available for the multistate operator, the MSO. But we were really talking about Oklahoma moving forward and the regulations, and so you guys are now using the Franwell Metrc tracking system?

 

Chip: That is not in place yet, but it will be.

 

Justin: They’d said they’re going, so they’ve contracted.

 

Chip: Mhm, they’ve contracted. They say it’s going to be six months before they get it in place, who knows? 

 

Justin: Sure.

 

Chip: Right?

 

Justin: Yeah, well, that’s good. And what I like about that, and be it what it is, Metrc really is tracking probably 90% of the legal cannabis, and as we move forward towards a national legalization effort, having one company that’s kind of got most of that in line, it should be good down the road. That we hopefully in the next decade start to integrate the entire country into –

 

Chip: Yeah, well Metrc’s – 

 

Justin: Legalize cannabis.

 

Chip: Metrc definitely steps it up. It’s costly to scale Metrc, it’s difficult to scale it. So maybe some of the people who were, got tons and tons of square feet, and lots of plant numbers, they may change their operations.

 

Justin: There’s new companies coming in that are going to make it, they’re going to take and give you a user interface for your company that really works for you. And then behind the scenes, it plugs everything in the Metrc the way it’s supposed to. And so, Metrc is very clumsy, and it’s very designed towards the applications that the states want to use it for, for tracking the inventory, for tracking taxes, and these sorts of things. And yeah, there’s things that they thought were, would be great for the license ease on the user end, but they’re still real clumsy, and that hasn’t been their focus. So there’s some definitely some other companies that can overlay, and they’re trying. Nobody’s really knocked it out of the park yet, but I think that’s coming. 

 

Chip: It is coming. And it is easier, you can print your own tags now. The technology’s changing. It also makes monitoring, enforcement and regulation, the local government here easier, right? And it will drive more of that, because now they can go into a field that is all RFID, they can immediately get all the data of all the plants in it, you know? They can immediately like, follow that all the way from seed to sale in your operation that will make people tighten up their operations, their business models, account for everything. I mean, I tell you, I hope they haven’t made all the rules, because I hope they don’t make us weigh that shit, wet, dry, stem weight, bud weight. I hope we could skip all that. I know you got, I know Colorado has, I mean it is, that’s not just a Colorado thing.

 

Justin: No, it really, tracking the waste, tracking all that plant material is kind of the foundations of the early legalization, and it really hasn’t changed. And it’s really if you look at other industries, people are doing that on multiple levels. So, you just, when you’re trimming a plant down, just stick it all in this bin, the leaves go in that bin, the bud goes that way, weight it wet, we weigh it, we weigh it wet before we weigh it dry after you get all those markers all the way through.

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean, in all of my business, we monitor all of our waste, right? Our waste stream really does say a bunch about what you’re doing in business. And for instance, at Growers Coco, my soil manufacturing plant, we monitor all of the coco dust that’s wasted, we calculate all of the inputs into what all the outputs are, we’re always looking at our trash stream, our plastic, our wood stream going outside the business. Because the fact of the matter is, if you have a lot of bags that are torn in production, that shows up in your trash. And that means that there’s something wrong with your machine, or my employees, or the material where the bags are getting ripped and used inappropriately, right? Are not used inappropriately, thrown away. And each one of those bags cost us 40 cents, or something like that.

 

Justin: Well, it adds up. Yeah.

 

Chip: Oh, it adds up, man. And then you, also on the waste stream, you get to calculate how many pallets of material that you’ve gone through. So it is important in that business, that manufacturing business to track it for sure.

 

Justin: Well, that’s really what we’re doing with cannabis now that you can see the flow. It’s all manufacturing, you know? It’s agriculturally based, growing, processing, packaging, manufacturing, all the way down to get those consumer items.

 

Chip: Now, at some point though, it’s over regulated, right? It’s something I mean, from in my view, cannabis is harmless, right? Until you turn it into an extract. And at that point, it becomes like, I’ll call it dangerous, right? Because if anyone consumed or a child consumed a chunk of extract, a gram of extract, they would be fucked up, right? And they’re not going to die, but it would definitely be a, considered a poisoning, an overdose, right? They’re not going to die, but like, you know –

 

Justin: Yeah, you don’t want to do that to your kids.

 

Chip: You don’t want to do that to your kid, or to yourself, or to anybody. And like that’s to me where it becomes dangerous, and it should be regulated in some way.

 

Justin: Well, that’s why the regulations, well and that’s why you’ll see 10 milligram doses of edibles and not a hundred milligrams. 

 

Chip: Yeah, I don’t believe here in Oklahoma there’s a limit, currently.

 

Justin: There will be, there will. It’s five here in Oregon, 10 to 5 milligrams a serving, 50 in a bottle or a pack max. In Colorado, it’s 10 per serving, 100 in a pack, you know? One item is 100 milligrams, 10 pieces of whatever edible, or however that looks. Your Dixie Elixirs you talked about in one of our previous chats, they’ll have measuring guides on the model, or even sometimes they’ll come with a little cap, like your [inaudible 21:01] bottle has your little one ounce measure cap. Yeah, that’s how [inaudible 21:05]. So the tracking’s overly done, but that’s because we’re still operating under these, the guys that the feds aren’t going to do anything to you, if you’re operating legally in your state. And so I think that the tracking system is there, because it’s been there since day one of Colorado rack, the tracking systems are what’s helping protect the industry from the feds saying, “Hey, we’re going to take these guys out.” So, as legalization happens nationally, maybe some of these, some of these things will become less burdensome. That’s not happening anytime in the future. So you just have to get used to it, you just have to spend the money on that end of the business, and compliance, and inventory tracking and do it right. 

 

Chip: Yeah, man. And it is exciting to see it blossom here in Oklahoma, it’s a great place to be. The people are just incredibly nice for sure. It’s inexpensive to relatively speaking, to California or to Colorado, to set up an operation. But the real reason we’re here is the opportunity to help other cannabis farmers to cultivate OKC. And through our research at our cannabis farm, really figure out how cannabis grows best in Oklahoma, indoor or outdoor, greenhouse, the best type of products to use, how the season works, like, it’s really just this huge R&D effort on our part.

 

Justin: That’s what sets you guys aside from some of the other companies out there that are selling nutrients, or equipment, or dirt, or whatever, is that you guys are actually practicing, and have been the whole time. You’re in it, you’re in the same side of things so –

 

Chip: We want to get better, we want to help other people do it better. We want to overgrow the current stigma of cannabis, and that’s what we’re doing at Cultivate OKC, Bakers Medical, Growers Coco, at our farm here in Oklahoma. I mean, man, this place has been, this was a really great spot. I mean, Oregon was in a similar manner years ago, and Oregon had a boom and bust. I mean – 

 

Justin: It’s all balanced out here now.

 

Chip: Oklahoma is going to do a similar thing. Hey, give me the timeline, because Oklahoma will boom and bust due to the open regulations. And then the regulations and just the market environment, it’ll make it change. 

 

Justin: Yes, eventually. 

 

Chip: Right, eventually.

 

Justin: And how fast it happens. Here in Oregon, they’ve had to remove us to marijuana [inaudible 23:56] –

 

Chip: Was it medical and then rec? How did it fold out there?

 

Justin: Right. So medical has been around forever. Obviously, there was a great private market scene going back, 40, 50 years now. But medical converted into recreational and here in Oregon, they actually did away with the medical marijuana system from a commercial standpoint. So when all of the medical marijuana stores were forced to convert to recreational marijuana, and give up their medical marijuana licenses, and just sell recreational marijuana. And so, that’s what you see now. There’s still a few handful of just medical only stores here in Oregon, but it’s only really in areas that are banning the recreational sales. So at the end of the day, if you have a medical card which you can still have your medical card in Oregon, and you can still grow your own, and if you have a medical card, you can grow a few more plants that just with your recreational growing rights. But at the end of the day, you can go to the recreational marijuana store with your medical card, and then you pay no taxes, and you can get a higher amount. So instead of one ounce of flower, you can get four ounces of flower at one trip. And instead of four grams of hash, you can get whatever, whatever it is. So they haven’t totally screwed over the medical side. But at the end of the day, people jumped in and it was wide open. And it was really easy to get a license in [inaudible 25:28]  Oregon, and that would have 2015, going into ’16. And then, that’s when the conversion started happening here with Measure 21 and the, it Measure 21 which was the legalization of recreational here. And then they really were able to find out how much cannabis these guys can grow in Oregon and it became a huge overproduction, especially of outdoor. You could get an outdoor rec grow going for pretty cheap out on a farm down in Southern Oregon, and these guys just grew way too much. And that first year –

 

Chip: Best climate in the world. Best climate in the world.

 

Justin: And I think it was 2000, it was fall of ’16 that was going in as there were still a conversion going on, but it was it was going in and I believe that it was like the best growing year ever. It was in the 80s and dry all the way until Halloween. And so it was just a major harvest. So anyways, a lot of guys were only able to get 100 bucks a pound. That’s kind of what it came to for outdoor, and people just started really not doing well. So I think that people started dropping out and then with the hemp thing, in ’19, a lot of cannabis guys grew hemp, smokable hemp instead of ganja, and that cut it down even more on the licensed growers here in Oregon. And now, it’s bounced back out. And if you’re growing indoor, and you’ve got some really good indoor hydroponics type of bud, you can get up to 2500 a pound now wholesale, selling to the stores. I think it’s more in the 17 to 2, and maybe 22. And then maybe there’s a few of the really good name brand grows up here that are that are really great that are getting more, a little bit more with that 2500 premium.

 

Chip: I mean, two years, it’s been.

 

Justin: It’s just now been turning hemp. I’d say five years, four to four years.

 

Chip: So it took four to five years of like, flooded, like, what was the lowest price that cannabis, that quality cannabis got to? Tell me that.

 

Justin: Five to six hundred.

 

Chip: What about that greenhouse cannabis? That major production, the major –

 

Justin: Less than 100, less than 100. ‘Cause we had to start specking out a tier two outdoor grow in Oregon, which is 40,000 square feet of canopy. So that’s an acre of canopy. And basically, if you looked at what it costs you to grow, and for your licenses, and obviously it’s pretty cheap, because you’re just using the sun, natural stuff there. So you’re not like, paying for electricity like you would an indoor thing. These guys were lucky to get 100 bucks a pound and basically pull off 1000 pounds. So you get 1000 pounds of, you could revenue about 100,000 on an acre. 

 

Chip: Grown it like that, it’s fairly inexpensive putting it into a grow, right?

 

Justin: Yeah but I mean, it’s just $100,000 is not a lot of revenue. And especially –

 

Chip: If for just the costing, agree.

 

Justin: Costing, harvesting, it all has to come down at the same time. So you can’t necessarily just one man that. It just doesn’t work. It didn’t work. Now that’s changed. It came back up. Yeah. Well, and they were just trying to call them those oil fields. And nobody really was buying that material for a smokable sort of thing –

 

Chip: Oh man, all of our R&D, that’s what we’ve done with it for sure, man. It’s like –

 

Justin: It’s just going to the extractors.

 

Chip: It’s going to extractors. “Oh, I don’t like that strain. Oh, that didn’t work out. Oh, that takes too long. Oh, that one’s a little sick. Oh,” you know?

 

Justin: It’s different if you’re a vertically integrated company. And so if you have an indoor and an outdoor grow in Southern Oregon, and you have an extractor, and you have a store or two, then it’s fine. Grow the outdoor, because you’re just going to shove that through your extraction mine, and take it to your store, and you’ll eventually get retail for it, right? So, but there were too many independent growers that weren’t vertical also. So all the guys in Oregon that started out vertical and went with the grow in a store, that sort of thing, they’ve all have done well the entire time.

 

Chip: Yeah, right. Absolutely. Oh, man, you know, it’s business dude. Those same years in the hydro industry were a lean eight years for us. And I would say, it was about three years. ‘Cause it hit, well one, Oregon and California ruled the cannabis industry, regardless if you’re independent in your state, like their numbers and their volume like, really has a lot to do with what’s going on the rest of the country. I so

 

Justin: Oh yeah.

 

Chip: But in Colorado, it kind of hit peak about the same time, right? But it was more affected in some way, and we seem to like, the flood happened there a season before, and slow up a season before it did out there, too. The numbers started coming up a little bit earlier on, it was a solid three years though, in Colorado.

 

Justin: Yeah, for sure. Well, it just took longer. It took longer. Yeah.

 

Chip: Right.

 

Justin: And it’s a different curve but no, it’s definitely – 

 

Chip: [inaudible 31:00].

 

Justin: You brought up the outdoor. You bought an outdoor, we’re talking production, we’re talking where, who produces for what, so what’s up with all these fires, and what’s going on –

 

Chip: Oh man, everybody [inaudible 31:13].

 

Justin: How’s that going to affect the industry?

 

Chip: Dude, I’m telling you all the ganja from, I’m not saying all, but a shitload of the ganja producing region in the country just got burned.

 

Justin: Even if it didn’t actually get burned down, did it – I just read an article about all the grapes in Sonoma and Napa are going to be unusable this year, because they smell like fire. And so they’re, even if the farm didn’t get burnt on, there was so much smoke for such a large amount of time, it’s still happening.

 

Chip: Yeah, fires aren’t new over there. We lived over there for almost 20 years. And yes, some of it is so smoky that it will not sell and then, people have developed an ability to like, get that smoke out in some way, too. I’m not exactly sure how it’s done. But maybe just with the natural aging process, the smoke goes away. I’m not sure if you can extract it with that smoky flavor. I do know that, I mean, I personally know three different people who’ve lost most of their gardens, or all their gardens, right?

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: And it is, as far as my listeners and people that I follow on Facebook and Instagram, multiple farmers have lost their gardens and their infrastructure, and it might not come back next year. 

 

Justin: Right. 

 

Chip: Right. So I mean, this is like, last I checked, I’m not sure if you’re in front of the computer, but this is the August complex, right? It’s what they’re calling it now. And they had several different fires that merged together in August. And it was 100,000 acres, right? Like, that is such a huge area, man. I mean, it spans like, from Santa Rosa all the way up to Hayfork and beyond.

 

Justin: I just was looking at a map yesterday and it’s a huge part of the region there for sure.

 

Chip: It’s a huge part, and that’s not the only fire, that’s just the biggest one. There are other fires throughout California, Southern California. And those coastal regions are where the cannabis is produced, a lot of the hill cannabis, so to speak. Now what this won’t affect are the people that are in, I mean for next year anyway, it won’t affect for all those people in the valleys, and in the “ag land.” A lot of those people were pushed out of the forest area, even though man I mean, fire does not care where you are. And the wind starts to blow, and it moves as fast as the wind blows. And I’ve literally watched it travel what looked like 10 miles to me in the matter of moments.

 

Justin: ‘Cause that’s what we just had in Oregon here. And it did affect a lot of the, a bunch of marijuana guys, and hemp guys.

 

Chip: Southern Oregon’s huge, had a huge fire too.

 

Justin: Huge fire, but the one we had up here by Portland was big too, and it caused some problems. And same sort of thing you’re just saying, we had a big windstorm, which normally doesn’t happen until like November, December once it’s rainy. It happened starting the day after Labor Day, and basically there was already a fire going, and it wasn’t that big and then we got these like, hundred mile an hour winds up in the mountains coming down into the valley. And it moved, the one fire moved 20 miles to 12 hours. 

 

Chip: Wow.

 

Justin: Yeah. So –

 

Chip: Man, that was just big.

 

Justin: I’m concerned about that even just the size of some hemp fields and they look fine, but you just, I didn’t get, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It was so smoky here, and the air quality was like, as bad as it can get, you don’t even want to be outside. So, what did that do to the outdoor cannabis plants, hemp or whatever the, you know. We know them to be a sponge, we know them to be bioremediators of some level. So is the, are those plants going to be infected, or toxic, or have heavy metals, or some other thing from being smoked out for about seven or eight days here in Oregon? So even if you weren’t close to the fire and didn’t get hit that way, you lost sunlight production really because there was this weird sepia filter going on for the last eight days. And all the plants just stopped growing. Yeah, all the plants just sort of stopped growing, everything, like, everything stopped growing. 

 

Chip: [inaudible 36:10] max CO2.

 

Justin: Yeah. So, it’ll be interesting to see what that just did to these plants. And maybe they got cleaned up. Because that went away and the weather’s been good. And they’ve had some good, maybe they were able to well still –

 

Chip: Well if there’s enough time, if there’s enough time before harvest, the plants outgrow it.

 

Justin: Sure.

 

Chip: Right? And, and but if you’re harvesting right at –

 

Justin: It’s different if it got rained out on you. Right. 

 

Chip: If you’re harvesting right at the smoke, right? Like, if the fire is at your house, if you’re under that sepia layer we’re talking about, and it is the harvest season, you’re going to be the most affected, unfortunately. And maybe you’ve got some technique or something that we’d love to hear about here on The Real Dirt, let us know. Man, that’s just is hard. When it’s just smoke, and you’re harvesting your weed.

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: Oh, I’ve been there, man. 

 

Justin: You guys didn’t have any fire problems in Oklahoma right?

 

Chip: Fire season comes like fall and winter for us. That’s the dry season.

 

Justin: Yeah.

 

Chip: That’s because – but last year, there was some fires and fires happened here. They put up fire warnings, do not burn warnings. It’s windy, lots of grassland, it’s dry. The trees are small, comparatively. 

 

Justin: Definitely sounds like there’ll be a shortage of, there’s gonna be some sort of shortage for the suppliers. 

 

Chip: It is going to affect the demand. And it was already, demand was already up. So, demand is not going anywhere. It’s going to keep going up, just prediction. And supply, man, we just lost a huge chunk of the supply. And I mean, I’ll tell you, Oklahoma didn’t have the best outdoor growing year this year. If you were trying to pull before October, it was rough. It was humid and rainy throughout the state. Colorado, they had that early freeze this year. 

 

Justin: Oh, yeah. 

 

Chip: So their outdoor, their outdoor, like, it was diminished by that. Sure, some people have survived and a chunk of people lost out over that. On the East Coast, it was also a little bit more humid and wet, more hurricanes came through this year than any year before. So I think the overall outdoor production for 2020 is gonna be low. Combined with COVID, with all the new farms not being able to get the supplies, the materials, the people, the employees out to the garden, this is a really great year to be involved in cannabis. I predict that the price will initially dip as outdoor, what is comes into place, and everybody floods the market. And then between December and January, most of that will have run through the marketplace. And then the price will increase. Currently here in Oklahoma, there’s indoor weed between $3 and $3600. 

 

Justin: Yep. 

 

Chip: Right? Wholesale. This is of a similar nature in California. In Colorado, it’s cheaper, but  2800 bucks, $2600, that’s all going to go up next year, right? The wholesale price of weed is gonna go up. Fortunately for you listeners and consumers out there, generally the end user price doesn’t go up terrible. No, you guys are gonna, you guys are going to continue to pay $10 to $20 a gram, $40 to $60 and eight, right? And that’s been going on since 1996.

 

Justin: Yes, it has. Well, that’s good. Yeah, the consumer price is, well, and they might go up a little bit. Or you might see the higher end cannabis become a little bit more expensive, and maybe the quality of the lower priced stuff is not quite the same, right? You see a little gap, a bigger gap there.

 

Chip: Yeah, absolutely, man. It’s a good year to be in it. I’m glad I am. Things are good. We’ve had a better year than ever at my grow stores and with Growers Coco fiber.  More people than ever are growing cannabis.

 

Justin: When’s Oklahoma going recreational?

 

Chip: Oklahoma.

 

Justin: Yeah, when’s that going out? 

 

Chip: I just said some Chip’s predictions, okay, here’s the other, here’s more of Chip’s predictions. I think sometime next year, it’ll be introduced into legislation. I think it’ll be a legislative movement here. If it’s 2021, and they’re just gonna push it over to recreational 2022. Maybe –

 

Justin: Right. No vote, no public vote?

 

Chip: No. 

 

Justin: Just go to dispute the laws downtown, and get it, and then pass it?

 

Chip: Yeah, I think that’s what gonna happen.

 

Justin: We’re gonna see more of that as the country goes that way, it doesn’t necessarily gonna have to go to a big statewide vote. And in which, if they feel like everybody is good with it, and you trust your local congressperson and representatives to do, then it works.

 

Chip: Yeah, absolutely. Maybe it moves to 2023, if it has to be a voter sponsored initiative here, that might occur. But as far as yeah, recreate or adult use I would prefer to call it, I’m [inaudible 41:46] for 2022. 2022! Yeah, I mean, who knows? Who knows what’s gonna happen with the economy and the recession and, and everything. It’s incredible how like, because we’ve kept all of our spending and whatnot, internal, and everybody’s just like, sitting at home, and buying stuff online, and saving money, and not doing stuff. And it’s, our economy ain’t so bad right now. I mean, the stock market’s holding its own, banking hasn’t crashed, people are still buying houses. I mean, I know there’s a bunch of people out there hurting right now, and I’m sorry to hear it if you are, man. I know it. But like, it’s weird that to me, that just a little bit of stay at home, a little bit of government sponsored cash, has really kept this country floating, man.  I don’t even know what’s going on.

 

Justin: Yeah, well, people definitely are smoking more cannabis. 

 

Chip: Absolutely. ‘Cause unemployed people smoke more weed. That is a 100% a fact. Every time I’ve been unemployed, I’ve smoked more weed. How about you?

 

Justin: Yeah. Oh, for sure. I think that it’s also, if you’re stuck at home, and you’re dealing with this pandemic and everything, it’s a smarter choice. If you’re bored, and you’re not going out. I mean, the thing about alcohol and how social it is, is that maybe you go out two or three times a week, and maybe it’s a happy hour with some work colleagues, or you’re meeting some friends over here, and have a couple beers.

 

Chip: You might say, fuck it. 

 

Justin: Well, people don’t necessarily feel the same about just sitting at home every day chugging three, four beers, bored by yourself. So we’re, because it just the social aspect. So but, sitting at home and packing a bowl, I think it’s more tangible in the situation, in the current situation, right?

 

Chip: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely. And Netflix is like, I mean, weed and Netflix has been the number one way people have billed their time this past six months.

 

Justin: That I mean, I gotta admit, I got my kids the Nintendo Switch, and I found some games that I enjoy on there that are kind of fun. I didn’t see myself playing Super Mario Brothers at my age, but hey, it’s something you can catch a buzz, sit there and do that for 20 or 30 minutes. I mean, I don’t, I’m not promoting gaming as a full time job or anything, but you got to find some different home enjoyment. And people have been putting time and effort into their home gardens, and hopefully people have been, grew some extra, grew some cannabis plants at home if it’s legal in your state, just because you spent less time running around town and doing stuff away from the home front this year, and I think next year will be similar so.

 

Chip: Absolutely. I think people are going to stay at home more. I think that people are going to grow their own at home more. I think that throughout the country now, it’s legal to grow your own, and accepted to grow your own even if it might not be legal where you are. That people are going to sit home, man. They’re going to grow some weed, the amount of weed that enters the marketplace isn’t going to be, isn’t going to meet the demand. We’re not gonna have an oversaturation. I could be wrong, but that’s my prediction. There’s gonna be a lot of first time weed growers this year because of this, right? 

 

Justin: Well, it’s been good catching up here.

 

Chip: Yeah man.

 

Justin:   Some different topics, and jumping around a little bit but –

 

Chip: Once again – 

 

Justin: Hopefully, you can turn this into a good a good podcast.

 

Chip: How we’re just throwing it all out there these days, Justin.

 

Justin: I know. Hey, you know –

 

Chip: [inaudible 45:47] The Real Dirt is we just throw it out. 

 

Justin: We need to do an episode, we did it years ago where we were, we just prank called a bunch of people and did like, a 10 minute check-ins.

 

Chip: We should prank, we should do Justin, Chip and Justin prank call. Okay, we’ll schedule that one up next up.

 

Justin: Yeah, let’s do that again. That was fun, just check in with a bunch of people. But otherwise, it’s harvest time here in Oregon. The hemp plants are coming down, we’re here, we’ve had decent weather after all that smoke. But we got a rainy weekend going on now, and then a little bit more dryness coming, and so people are scrambling. I got a call the other day, and somebody needed help harvesting 50 acres of hemp so, it’s going down. And we’ll see, we’ll know here in the next six weeks how it all ends, I suppose.

 

Chip: Well thanks for the call again, Justin. Thanks for joining us on The Real Dirt. 

 

Justin: Always a pleasure. 

 

Chip: And thank you for listening. This has been The Real Dirt podcast with Chip Baker and Justin Jones. If you enjoyed this episode, you can download others at iTunes and Spotify. We’re The Real Dirt podcast. Please, please, please subscribe. Hey man, thanks for joining me. You guys have a great rest of your day. Later.

The Science of Breeding Triploid Cannabis

The Science of Breeding Triploid Cannabis

the science of cannabis cultivation

Justin Jones has been in the cannabis industry since the very beginning.

He opened the first ever recreational cannabis dispensary in Colorado, Dank Dispensary in Denver. Justin has been a leader in the legal cannabis industry for close to a decade, and now he’s taking over the hemp industry too.

It’s not so simple for most to transition from traditional cannabis cultivation to hemp cultivation. When you know the science of the plant and how to cultivate it to get the results you want, you can create some incredible strains and genetics.

The evolving science of cannabis and hemp cultivation

Justin made his transition from cannabis to hemp when the Farm Bill passed in 2018, making hemp legal at the federal level. This legalization has given farmers and researchers the resources they need to study hemp more thoroughly without government intervention.

Through his research Justin has been able to develop triploid hemp plants, or sterile male plants put simply. Traditionally hemp and cannabis are diploid plants which means that a male can pollinate a female and produce seeds.

But diploid and triploids are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to science of cannabis cultivation.

Plant science, patents and more

In this episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, Justin and Chip get into the real dirt of cannabis science and how changing techniques are producing stronger, better cannabis and hemp strains and what that means for the future of the industry.

Roll it up, spark it up and check out this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast!

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Transcript

Chip: Hey, this is The Real Dirt podcast. I’m here with Justin Jones today, Real Dirt, Sunday morning dirt. How you doing, Justin?

 

Justin: I’m good. I’m good, Chip. Just got the sun peeking out here coming up, gonna have a nice rainy day here in Oregon. It helped tamp out some of these fires that we’ve had, to help wrap up the end of the harvest here, end of the year.

 

Chip: Yeah, man, we’ve hit the dry season down here in Oklahoma. The fall and winter are drier, that’s when we have our fire seasons. It’s almost perfect for harvesting cannabis, because it just starts to get dry around first of October. So if you’re lucky enough to be harvesting in October, November, December, those are really good months for you down here.

 

Justin: We call those fine finishing days.

 

Chip: Fine, there’s fine finishing days. And if you’re finishing in the next 10 days here in Oklahoma, which many people are, wow man, you’re gonna do really well.

 

Justin: That’s good. I just was talking to some friends up in western Colorado and they were finishing everything over there and pulling it down out in the Paonia areas. Good value for grown cannabis there in Colorado, maybe the only real value for growing out there in Colorado.

 

Chip: We’ve had a couple opportunities to move down to Paonia. I wish I could have more time to explore that during our time in Colorado. You know, Paonia was the first like, namebrand weed I would ever, I ever heard of.

 

Justin: They had a purple or something back in the day.

 

Chip: Oh, yeah, yeah. Paonia Purple. Peabuds, peabuds.

 

Justin: That was the pea bud, yeah. And they lost it, nobody’s got it. Some people claim they still, but no one’s seen it for a long time.

 

Chip: Yeah, you know, that’s what happens with a lot of the famous strains. That’s why like, I call bullshit on anybody wanting to harvest I mean, hold on to their strains. Few people have the overall impact to make a strain happen. And the only way that it happens is through volume of buds produced. And few people can drive that demand, you know what I mean?

 

Justin: I totally do. And you know, as far as that goes, Matt Deckel, good friend of ours told me about this a while back. Years ago, we started doing that. And so you know, our favorite strains, we don’t just keep them and try to hoard them. We kind of to pair them, let other people enjoy them, and then also backup your cuts. So if you get a bad bug infestation, and you got to [inaudible 2:33] some stuff, or somebody kills your plants, or you know, there’s lots of things can happen. And this way you can start over, and go get your, go get your favorite strains back in your library. So got to back that up.

 

Chip: Of course, you got to hold on to them. I guess my real, my question is or point is, do you have a strain that’s been a popular, long standing strain in your shop?

 

Justin: For sure. We definitely do.

 

Chip: What is it? What is it?

 

Justin: I would say we’ve got a Chemdog, we had a Chem before that we’ve had for 10 years. It always sells, everybody loves it. We’ve got one of the old school, old school Sour Diesel strains –

 

Chip: Is that the original, because –

 

Justin: Yeah, the original for sure.

 

Chip: Here’s my point, is you’ve got Chemdog and Sour D. And people come there and buy it at Dayton, Colorado. Do you think they would be as possible if there weren’t millions of other pounds of Chemdog and Sour D being grown in the past 20 years?

 

Justin: I think that that’s, plays a major role. And I think that strains because where we’ve come from and where we still are in most places, but where we’re coming from and moving towards with legalization, people at least now know that they’re getting something that’s repeatable. And so you know, back in the day it gets, and that’s where Chemdog came from, right? Somebody bought an ounce of weed at a Grateful Dead concert. There was 10 seeds in the bag. It was the best pot they ever smoked, they had the seeds, they started planting them, right? And so, they don’t really know what that cannabis was. You have no idea you know, you’d sell whatever they said on the street when you bought it and –

 

Chip: It was kind [inaudible 4:16] back then. Back then it was –

 

Justin: KD, yeah. It was just KD, it was just nine Mexican bud. And you know, at the end of the day, now we have, can enjoy the fact that you can say this is Chemdog Four. And then, you can grow it. You can grow it the same way every time and put it out there. And so people that like it that can go and buy it, and get the same thing. And if they’re, you know I, it was really dawned on me about 10 years ago when I started my medical marijuana company in Denver. I had a patient with Crohn’s, really bad Crohn’s. And he told me one time, “The worst thing about Crohn’s  is that I’ll find some cannabis that works and it literally will cure my Crohn’s, but I have no idea what it is. I bought it on the street. I don’t know what strain it is.” They could, it could be the name they said or not. And he said, “It’s almost worse for me to find the bag that like, cures my Crohn’s, because I know I’m going to run out and I can’t go get the same stuff again.” For us back then, the Durbin poison that we grew, and we still grow, it was a cure for him. And all of a sudden this guy’s like, “Well, I can get the same thing every month, cures my Crohn’s, and  now I’m not so stressed out about finding the right medical cannabis.”

 

Chip: Man, and Chemdog’s not the easiest one to grow either. To make it consistent and look great, it’s not easy.

 

Justin: Not necessarily. I think it’s easier than some of the other gassy strains that we’ve seen come out of the skunk lines. But where did the Skunk No. 1 go? That’s what I want to know.

 

Chip: Oh man, you know, you can still get it. I mean, I bought some seeds several years ago from Sensi Seeds, it’s still, you can get it. It’s still there. I mean, the European Skunk one is.

 

Justin: Well, the real answer to that question is that it’s everywhere, because it was used in pretty much all the background breeding going on for the last 30 years. So, if you look at the data on strains, pretty much everything that’s got any gas to it’s coming out of Skunk somewhere.

 

Chip:  Yeah, you know, I’ve grown these perfect Diesel buds in the past and I’ve also grown a fair amount of Skunk 1 and Super Skunk. And the Diesel really does have a Super Skunk look, that’s for sure.

 

Justin:  We’re in the world of hybrids now, you know? So, it’s, you never know.

 

Chip:  Well, they’re all hybrids, man. You know, it’s a big conversation we’ve been having about indica, and sativa, and hybrids and we just call it all hybrids now. We’re never going to convince people that cannabis sativa is just hemp and that cannabis with THC in it is indica. Oh, I shouldn’t say never. It’s going to take a few years before people like, start talking, stop talking about cannabis in terms of indica and sativa.

 

Justin:  Well, and as we get some more science involved, I think that’ll help, where the hemp industry is seeing some help from real science, or university science. I just tested a bunch of new hybrids that we’re working on in the hemp side of things. You know, I’m able to take those cannabis samples right over to Oregon State University, drop the leaf samples off, get the test that I need to get done. And you know, that was not available before, you know, a year and a half ago, and really a year ago. And so, it’s still mostly unavailable to marijuana growers, but it’s coming, you know? And as we move along with legalization, I think that we’ll be able to get the science and the real agricultural science guys, those that’ll become something we can use in the cannabis and the marijuana side of cannabis as we are now starting to in the hemp. But that also says, “Hey, what’s going to happen to these marijuana genetics over the next few years if that kind of science becomes more available? And what are we going to see, are the strains going to get better?” Right now there’s a bunch of hemp breeding going on where you’re taking and making triploid hemp plants, and the vigor and the production on these plants is 20 to 40% more than their same diploid siblings. And so what’s that mean, when you kind of start changing the science on the breeding? And using modern techniques, and really not even the modern techniques, just using the traditional plant breeding techniques?

 

Chip: Yeah, I mean –

 

Justin:  To get better plants?

 

Chip:  Diploid, it’s been around for a minute. I mean, people have talked about this for a bit, diploid, triploid. Why don’t you explain that? You’ve been doing a little bit of this with hemp?

 

Justin:  Right, right. 

 

Chip:  I’ve heard, it’s read about the amount of time. David Clark’s book, Marijuana Botany, I think. It was written in the 70s. So it’s not new science.

 

Justin:  No, no, this is not new. And you know, this is not also not necessarily considered GMO either. And that’s another conversation that now we’ve had to have in the hemp industry. Is your hybrid GMO? And is the techniques that we use to feminize seeds in the hemp industry a GMO process or not? And so that’s, and there’s another whole, a whole section of talking.

 

Chip:  Do you have, is there a thirty second disclaimer you have for GMO?

 

Justin: Well, I mean, GMO doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. And you know, there’s obviously people or companies that have used GMO in what I’d like to say a Dr. Evil and I’ll put my pinky in the corner by mouth. You know, if you use GMO to spray poison on plants that won’t kill them and it’ll kill the weeds, then you know, that’s maybe kind of Dr. Evil-ish. But GMO, the GMO process has also done some amazing things for us like anybody that you know that’s a type two diabetic that’s got an insulin dependent thing going on, GMO’s the reason those guys can live a fairly normal life. That’s where they’ve found those, that medicine. So anyways, back to the cannabis side of things on the hemp, you know, what we’re seeing is, you know, lots of different breeding techniques. And so all of a sudden, we can get a triploid and what are the triploids? So your standard cannabis plant is diploid, diploid, diploid, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, I’m a stoner. So you have a diploid patch. What you do to make a triploid, which the reason we’re trying to make triploids is because they are a sterile plant that will not get the seed, so they are not able to be impregnated by pollen and create a seed. And on the same side of things, you’re also hoping that the pollen that would be produced from those plants might not work to inspect another plant to create – 

 

Chip:  Sterile, sterile male?

 

Justin:  Yes. And so, and even if you get a, even if you get a hermaphrodite –

 

Chip:  They do this with other crops, right? Like,

 

Justin:  Well, this is revolutionary for hops. One of the big reasons that the beer industry has gotten just insane in the last 30 years, just because they came up with the seed was hops. I think it was in the Willamette hops from here in Oregon, where the, it was the first variety of seedless. And what that allowed the farmer to do is push the crop out and harvest it when it’s truly ready, and at its full potential. But in hops to do that, you’re risking it going to seed and if your hops go to seed, you get like, a dime on the dollar, okay? So the seedless hops allowed the hops farmer to get bigger production, bigger, you know, more hops per acre and better hops, without accidentally screwing it up and blending. So –

 

Chip: And this started in the 50’s, 60’s, do you know?

 

Justin:  No, I think the first seedless hops that came out of Oregon State and it was, I think it was more like closer to the 80, early 80’s. So the seedless hops was something that came out of Oregon State and Oregon State developed that original Willamette, I believe, the Willamette hops. And they made that available through the public as you know, the fact that Oregon State’s a land grant university. And so that allowed other hops breeders to go and start breeding projects to seedless. Anyways, what you do here with hemp is, we’re going for this triploid so that we don’t have seeds in the crop. And that way, you can grow whatever you want on your plot of land. And I can be right across the street and I can still grow some [inaudible 12:55] essential oil cannabis for CBD or CBG production, these sort of things. And so, you know, as the industry matures, that’s going to become something that we want to see. And even if you’re in the Midwest, where there’s a lot of rogue hemp, and rogue male cannabis plants, you could still grow seedless oil crop, right? Right. But it takes a long time and you know, you can’t skirt the fact that it just takes a certain amount of days to grow plants out, and then cross breed them, and then grow them back out, and test them, and check them, and regrow, test them and test them and you know, all these things. So, I’ve been working on that now. 

 

Chip: And the flowers there is, they do have, or reported to, reportedly to be larger and more vigorous triploid cannabis, right? Correct? 

 

Justin:  Yes, the plants we’re seeing, even if we just look at them from early stage, bigger, it’s just unbelievable. Then I’m hearing 30 to 40% more production, save your buds, less flowers, less leaves, more this, and your ratio of a usable commodity off of a plant versus you know, on a triploid looks like you’re gonna have a lot more sellable weed. 

 

Chip:  Yeah, absolutely.

 

Justin:  And you have no seeds in there, so you know, nobody wants to process seeds, because it does something weird to the oil. And then they have to go through it and remediate that. So basically, you know, as a farmer, you’re trying to produce the best material for the person that wants to buy it. And so, in the past, we’ve kind of been like, “Any material produced is fine, because there’s not enough.” Now, we’re getting to like, “Who’s going to produce the best material? What farmers are going to grow it, and then get it into the right form?” And if you don’t have to deal with seeds, and if you’ve got 30% more flower mass over your stems, all these things are exactly what we need the plants to do. But we’re also going to hopefully start seeing this creep into the marijuana side of things. And as I think as some of the genetics, cannabis genetics hemp guys are looking at, how can we start to look at this over at the marijuana side also? So that when we do get a lab, when we can go get on a flow spectrometer machines and test the ploidy level of a plant, and see if it’s a diploid or a tetraploid, or a triploid. You know, we’re gonna see this enter over into the marijuana thing. And maybe some of these old genetics that start to delve out over time from clonal, from over cloning and just being, you know, in that world, we can revive some of these things. And then, you know, again, you know, is it GMO, isn’t it GMO? I mean, you know, truthfully, if you’re not using marker assisted breeding, you know, I’m looking at it that way, you’re still using it, you’re still using your brain, and your eyes, and your nose to –

 

Chip:  Map. Map. 

 

Justin:  Yeah, to select strains or select –

 

Chip:  And that’s traditional breeding, right?

 

Justin: Right, right.

 

Chip:  Hey, man, this summer, we grew a bunch of autoflowers, you know. This is my first like, big autoflower year. We planted out cumulatively about 20,000 autoflower seeds this year, all different types, all bunch of different vendors. And man, I’ll tell you, we got some product from Mephisto Genetics, Three Bears, OG, and they don’t pay me to say any of this, guys [inaudible 16:28]. But we all, everyone who saw this plant were like, “Wow, that’s like genetically modified weed? Like, what the fuck is that?” Because, you know, one, like in 65 days, it’s done. But there’s literally no leaf on these flowers. It’s the perfect cannabis for extraction. It was all bred with traditional techniques. And I mean, 20 years ago, I saw a big bud that looked very similar, right? These huge buds with just a little bit of leaf on them, you know? And that was bred traditionally, as well. That was straight [inaudible 17:06] seed’s product and now they’re Skunk product. But you don’t have to have genetically modified, or use genetically modified technology to breed superior cannabis. You can use science, our current observations with plants, math, additional techniques, all of these things have worked for hundreds of years.

 

Justin:  And even the work that we’ve been doing in the last year, you can really, you don’t necessarily need the university level agricultural science lab, but it makes things faster and better. And here’s the example. When you’re looking for tetraploids, and you’re doing a pheno hunt, but you’re looking for a tetraploid, not a diploid, you look at the size of the stomata, and the shape of the stomata on the leaf. So if you use a nice microscope, like a $200 microscope these days, and these are all, all these microscopes plugged right into your computer, and you can go in and capture your screenshots and look at things. 

 

Chip: Oh sick, man, we just got one. Like, I was gonna get one for the clone nursery, so anybody can look at any of the clones or any of the weed, make sure there’s no mold or mildew or PM or any bug, or anything. It’s right there on the counter, $200. 

 

Justin:  Great, yeah, look at it. And so what we’re doing, is we’re actually taking and looking at the size, and measuring the size and the shape of the stomata to see, and that can tell us what the ploidy is on it, okay? So when you’re hunting for a tetraploid, you’re looking for a different,  a less round stomata, and also the size of stomata is bigger. And so –

 

Chip:  Like how, that’s two, three times bigger, you know, how much bigger?

 

Justin:  From what we were working on, the microscope that we had was measuring in pixels. And I don’t even know what, we don’t even give a shit what that prize is. Because what we are doing to say, “Okay, this is a, this has this stomata is 70 pixels. This is 80. This one’s 100. This one’s 110, this one’s 60.” And what we’re looking at, first of all, we’re looking at stomatas that don’t have a perfectly round shape, first of all. That’s a first indicator that it could be a tetraploid. The problem is most of it falls in the 70 to 90 zone, okay? And so you know, you start to, so what we would do is we would use the microscope to get a bunch of the work done, and to measure and know. And then we would send all those samples to the lab and find out, yeah, that is not a tetraploid. That is maybe a tetraploid. That is a tetraploid. And then you know, then you get that data back and you start to say, “Okay, I can probably guarantee anything above these 90 pixels is a tetraploid.” But when you’re breeding and you don’t, you know, and you can’t get back the time that it takes. You want to know for sure. So you don’t waste six months on something that turns out, you’re wrong. And so, you get your tetraploid stock and then you start breeding with those plants. And I guess in layman’s terms, they have six sets of DNA. That’s why is it tetraploid, and then a diploid has two. And so, when you hybrid the two, six divided by two becomes three and that’s your triploid. And then those because of the three sets, DNA cannot make babies. Collect the donkey and the horse, make a mule, right? But then a mule can never replicate, the mules are optional.

 

Chip:  Oh, the mule cannabis, Justin Jones, we’re talking about genetics, random other thing, but mostly –

 

Justin:  Yeah, well, I finally got that –

 

Chip:  It’s all about the ganja.

 

Justin:  I finally got that ganja rolled up here for the Sunday morning smokedown but –

 

Chip:  Oh, what are you smoking? What are you smoking on?

 

Justin:  Sherbadough from Archive.

 

Chip:  Sherbadough, that’s Sherbert and Do-Si-Do, right?

 

Justin:  Yeah, you know, the boys are like, “I’d love to hit that, hit everything with the Do-Si-Do.”

 

Chip:  Oh, yeah. I just planted out a huge pheno selection of Archive Do-Si-Do crosses, Fletcher over there’s got always running some R&D. And he had a new Do-Si-Do male or a new Do-Si-Do donor he was using for his feminized line. And these guys, Sherbert Do-Si crossed with Do-Si-Do. Diesel, OG Face Off, T-1000, Tangie, Lemon G, Skittles all crossed  with the, that new Do-Si-Do donor. So we’re excited about it, they look great. 

 

Justin:  That’s good. I’m sitting here, I’ve got, I’m talking about you know, breeding and hybrids. I’ve got a Gorilla Glue 4 here from Archive that I grew. And then I also have a Duct Tape, which is Gorilla Glue 4 divided by the Do-Si-Do. And so to see like just the pure Gorilla Glue 4, and then right next to it, you know, it’s sister, or, you know, half sister, whatever, whatever with the Do-Si-Do. They’re very similar, but yet very different on the terpene profile. That Do-Si-Do gives everything just a little something I don’t know, that’s more magical. It’s different, it’s better.

 

Chip: It’s bigger. It’s bigger, for sure. It is better. And yeah, I’m really excited about it, man. You know, we’ve planted out of 2,500 of those seeds, and I’m going to have an incredible Do-Si-Do out of it all. I’ll be able to pick the Do-Si-Do. And I’m looking for the hybrids too but, man, it’s exciting just to see it all. That’s for sure. Right now I like the Do-Si-Do Face Off and the Do-Si-Do SFP backcrosses the best. If you think about it, those are almost all just like BX backcrosses, because the Face Off is in the Do-Si-Do. And then cross it back to the Face Off and cross it back to the SFP.

 

Justin:  Well I’ll tell you what. The marijuana breeders right now need to get hip, start trying to work on protecting their IP if they have it. Because that’s going to be the next thing once we get some sort of federal legalization, and guys want to become the next Sierra Nevada of marijuana or the next Two Buck Chuck or whatever. People are going to start going to war over their genetics and I’ve even had conversations with some guys in California that already want to start working on a Mendocino hamlet. And you know, Humboldt hamlet –

 

Chip:  Yeah, the Appalachian, the Appalachian is definitely starting to grow in ideology. Yeah, you know, Calculator right now, famous MAC line. He is upset that clone dealers are dealing his MAC 1 strain. He claims just recently on his Instagram channel that he’s going after some major clone producers in California for selling his MAC 1. I don’t believe he really has any legs to stand on currently, because there’s not going to be a court that’s going to enforce it. And you know, also just because like he claims to own a plant, doesn’t mean he owns anything, right?

 

Justin: No and it’s going to come down to the processes too. And so, there’s a popular hemp breeder here in Oregon and they’ve already got that patents filed on a bunch of things. And one of their patent pendings is on crossing autoflower genetics into full term photo plants. And so, if that patent gets issued, anybody into choosing that process will have to pay them some money. Maybe, right? I mean, everything has to be, try to be enforced. But at the end of the day, they’re saying that they own the rights to cross a ruderalis with a, you know, cannabis sativa or whatever, and get that early hybrid.

 

Chip:  Yeah, this is Phylos. Phylos – 

 

Justin:  No, no, it’s not that one. Were filed that is Oregon CBD.

 

Chip:  Oregon CBD. But Phylos, they have a couple similar, similar thing going on, right?

 

Justin:  Phylos has been collecting data on the different strains of cannabis and trying to relate them to each other to say, “Okay, you have a -“

 

Chip:  Oh, okay. So Phylos was not involved with the autoflower?

 

Justin:  Well, where they could become involved in is to who has the real, true, earliest version of a strain? And so there’s a, you know, let’s just say Jack Herer, okay it’s famous person and also a strain.

 

Chip:  Yep.

 

Justin:  If somebody wants to say, look, in order for you to say that that’s Jack Herer, it’s gotta A, be this, 123. This terpene profile stand, it’s got to be grown in Mendo or in this Hamlet, right? So they’ve done that with wine, obviously. If you grow your grapes in Washington, you can’t call it champagne. You gotta call it spark, white, sparkling, because it didn’t come from France. You’re gonna see that play out. Part of what Phylos is trying to do is they try to find those oldest, earliest grandparent genetics, or who’s  got the oldest clone that’s not, you know, whatever. We’ll see. We’ll see how, but there’s already people trying to patent. And I don’t think anybody’s trying to patent Sour Diesel, I think.

 

Chip:  Well, cause if you can patent cannabis sativa strains, you can patent hemp.

 

Justin:  They’re trying to patent the processes to feminize. So if you spray a certain type of silver on your plants, then to get a feminized pollen, and then you’re using that in your breeding, that that would be infringement on their IP. So again –

 

Chip:  Yeah, the plant’s gotta stand up in court and somebody has to enforce them and sure.

 

Justin:  Well sure, but I’m just saying that you know, hemp has become you know, fully legal before marijuana. It’s you’re seeing it already, the –

 

Chip:  Oh, there’s already a patent with hemp. There’s a hemp, or hemp people have already received patents for hemp, right?

 

Justin:  I believe so. I would say probably yes, but –

 

Chip:  Charles Webb. Those guys, they got a patent. They were the first people to get a patent.

 

Justin:  Probably.

 

Chip:  Yeah, totally. I’m sure others have by now. It’s a little weird thing to do, but yeah, go file for a patent if you think you got special shit. Then go sue everybody who uses your special shit without your permission. I guess that would do it, right? Mostly, I don’t really have special shit, though. It’s just normal weed that’s hype.

 

Justin:  Well, it comes down to this. The best advice I could give any of these breeders and I’m not a breeder, we’re messing around with some stuff for fun. And maybe it turns out to be something, you know – 

 

Chip:  We’re messing around with stuff for fun. How many seeds you got in your seed vault right now? Can you count?

 

Justin:  I don’t know. A couple hundred, 300. You know, at the end of the day though, what I you know, the people that have been breeding in the marijuana side of things, you know, whether you’re the guys that wear the funny sunglasses and the fake mustaches at the Emerald cup, or not, because you’re trying to not necessarily be above you know, or be out in the public eye. You’ve gotta start getting into the science and you gotta team up with somebody with some sort of trust. Well, if you don’t go the bioscience routes, you’ll wake up and realize that the guys that did go that route, and jump you, and go five years ahead of you in a short amount of time. You can be scared of that, and I’ve seen them be scared of going that direction because of you know, just that Dr. Evil science side of things. But boy, a lot of knowledge out there that’s never been applied to cannabis from you know, from our modern world of agriculture. So yeah, find some science buddies if you’re out there breeding and, you know, try to figure out how to do all these things. Because even just getting your genetics into a tissue culture lab, you know, and having them clean them up and do all these things, that can take like up to a year.

 

Chip:  Yeah, no shit. Right.

 

Justin:  And so you can’t you know, if you wait too long, and then say, “Hey, we really do need to take this clone that we’ve been using forever and get it cleaned.” It takes a while. So in California, I think there’s a lot of bioscience companies and people are starting to jump in on the marijuana side of things. But until it’s federally legal, you really won’t get the doors opened all the way. But those who have already started something will be ahead.

 

Chip:  Well, it’s been another fine episode with Justin Jones. Thanks for joining us, Justin.

 

Justin:  Yeah, thank you, Chip. Great talking to you. We got off on some tangents there with the genetics and other things, but that was fun. And we’ll circle back and produce more sense of that some other day.

 

Chip:  Yeah, absolutely. If you’re like this episode, or interested in others, please download it at the iTunes. We are The Real Dirt podcast. Also look us up on Spotify, and you can check us out therealdirt.com Hey, remember, if you’re ever looking for soil or soilless growing mediums, check out growerscoco.com, ask for them in your local store. And if you’re cruising online one day interested in buying some hydroponic or indoor supplies, look at cultivatecolorado.com. This has been The Real Dirt. Love y’all.

The Devastation of the California Forest Fires on Cannabis Farms

The Devastation of the California Forest Fires on Cannabis Farms

california forest fires and cannabis farms

There’s a saying that cannabis farmers have to protect their crop from three things; pests, people and police. But California farmers can add fires to that list too.

Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators has been a featured guest on The Real Dirt Podcast more than once, and he’s a personal friend to Chip. We’ve talked with Jeff about his grow practices, growing organic, California craft cannabis…but now we’re talking about a different topic.

Little Hill Cultivators in located right in the valley of the Emerald Triangle in northwestern California, and it’s also right in the center of the raging California forest fires that have been destroying the state for the last few months. Now, the fire is making its way to Jeff’s doorstep.

With minimal support from local firefighters due to their secluded location, Jeff and his team have been on their own to deal with the biggest fires in California’s history as they burn through thousands of acres and put thousands of cannabis farms at risk.

In this exclusive, last-minute episode of The Real Dirt, Chip and Jeff talk about what’s happening in California right now, why it could be happening, what Little Hill is doing to fight and what the future could hold for Jeff and his farm.

Please follow and support Jeff and Little Hill Cultivators

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The Real Dirt on Permaculture and Cannabis Tourism

The Real Dirt on Permaculture and Cannabis Tourism

permaculture and regenerative cannabis cultivation
Notice: This episode was recorded before the forest fires in California began.

Restorative agriculture is no joke.

As cannabis cultivators, we are all stewards of the environment. Our actions can directly impact our local ecosystems, and as cannabis cultivation spreads across the nation, that impact can grow rapidly.

Restorative agriculture, or permaculture, is the act of farming while trying to prevent as many environmentally harmful practices as possible. Water usage, nutrients, soil beds, and farm design are just some of the aspects that go into restorative cannabis cultivation, and Sol Spirit Farm is doing it all.

Judi Nelson and Walter Wood are the owners of Sol Spirit Farm, a licensed 10k square foot regenerative cannabis farm in Trinity County, CA and Sol Spirit Retreats, a cannabis tourism-focused, farm stay hospitality business. Walter has been cultivating cannabis since 1996, and his passion for improving the environmental footprint of his cannabis cultivation is what drives every cultivation decision.

Judi and Walter started Sol Spirit Retreats in 2019 after meeting a lot of people, even people working in the cannabis industry, who had never seen a cannabis plant growing in the ground under the full sunshine. They wanted to share the experience of being in the Emerald Triangle on a cannabis farm, and show off how regenerative farming, permaculture principles, and appropriate technology can enhance the cannabis we bring to market, while improving the health of our land.

In this episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker, Judi and Walter take Chip through their grow processes and how they maintain their restorative cannabis cultivation practices. They also dive in to the new world of cannabis tourism and the many challenges, especially the legal hurdles, that the two had to overcome just to operate.

While still small and driven mostly by word-of-mouth, Sol Spirit Retreats has drawn in a lot of people trying to experience the northern California life. Judi hopes that one day it will be just like a winery and orchard, where visitors won’t just be able to tour, but also taste the cannabis on the farm!

Check out this episode on our new YouTube channel or go to your favorite podcast platform to listen on the go! TRANSCRIPT BELOW

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Transcript

 

Chip: Oh, here we are, The Real Dirt. Today at The Real Dirt, I have some peoples from one of my favorite place in the world, Trinity County, California. Man, Trinity and Humboldt, and along the border there, is one of the most beautiful and rugged places in the world. And I have Judi Nelson and Walter Wood of Sol Spirit Farms and Retreats. Say hey, Judi and Walter.

 

Walter: Hello!

 

Judi: Hey, Chip!

 

Chip: Oh, man, I just love that whole area you guys are in, outside Willow Creek all the way to Hayford. I’ve got some really great friends over there. Little Hill Farms is over there, and man, you guys are just in paradise.

 

Walter: Definitely, definitely. We love it. We have been out there for about 20 years now and I don’t know, we hardly leave. It’s home. It’s a magic place.

 

Chip: So are you guys on the mountain, or the river?

 

Walter : We’re about 300 feet up from the river floor. So we’re just out of the river fog, but at the same time, we’re not up on the hilltop. So it’s a nice kind of in-between. We’re in the valley, but we get about 12 hours of sun so it just works out perfect.

 

Chip: Oh man, it sounds beautiful. Yeah, that river fog can plague you. I lived over in, off the Vandusen for a number of years. Man, the fog just creep right in on you.

 

Walter: I had no idea how bad it was until one day, we just took a little drone up and it was like, 10 o’clock in the morning. We’d been in the sun for hours and the whole valley was fogged in just below our shelf.

 

Chip: Oh yeah, there’s places like that all over. You know I lived in, up in Kneeland right outside Arcata for a number of years. And we’re at the 3500 block, which is 3.5 miles up that hill. And if you went just a half a mile further, you’re gonna have enough fog. Almost every single day like, hours before you know, we got out of the fog.

 

Walter: Luckily, we were living in the area for a few years before we bought the property, and we had a pretty good idea what the [2:18 inaudible] were. Permaculture course really helped nail in what exactly makes a good piece of property for homesteading, and growing some fine medicines.

 

Chip: Well, man, you guys are in the homesteading capital of the world, that’s for sure. And you mentioned permaculture, and you know, we talked about regenerative farming earlier. You guys have a unique cannabis business. You know, many people just have a, they cultivate, or extract, or are packaging something, but you have this cultivation that you integrate with a farm stay. Tell me how that works.

 

Judi: Well, so we have been inviting guests up to the farm. The [2:59 inaudible] as legalization of recreational hemp in California, we started going to a bunch of different trade shows. And it was kind of amazing to meet people who are in the cannabis industry who have never seen a cannabis plant growing in the ground. And it really surprised me, because obviously, we’ve been sort of up in our little bubble here for the past 20 years, and I just didn’t realize it. And so, we just really wanted to be able to bring people like that up, and be like, “Hey, check this out. This is this way that this can be done that’s not taking a lot of resources.” We’re actually trying to make our piece of property and the land that we’re working with in a better state than when we found it. And in order to do that, we have some bell tents, which are these beautiful canvas tents. And people come up, and they generally spend two nights in the tents. And we raise pigs and chickens on the farm, as well as vegetables and fruit, and so we’re able to do farm-to-table meals. And then Walter takes them on a really nice farm tour, and shows them all the different techniques that we’re using. And we usually take them rafting on the Trinity or on the South Fork, depending on what time of year it is. And it’s just been really great, because I think to people who are suffering nature deficit, nature connection deficit, it’s a really rejuvenating experience I think for people.  Especially if they’re coming from a city, to come up and just chill out, smoke some good medicine, and connect with nature. And it’s been really rewarding for us too, and hopefully for them.

 

Chip: That sounds so fun. But you guys don’t have a normal cultivation or I shouldn’t say a normal, but it should be normal. But you guys use permaculture and regenerative farming techniques.  Many people have heard organic or maybe living soil, and those are kind of part of regenerative farming and permaculture a bit. And I know it’s a huge question to ask, but man, can you like, tell me how it applies to cannabis?

 

Walter: Well, we’re working on a whole bunch of different angles and we did this, we have transitioned substantially in the last few years. We were doing the full season plants up until almost legalization, and then we switched over to the light dep, and so we’re getting all that worked out. And so we’ve now got about six and a half thousand square feet of, we got living soil beds which for us that means we don’t till them, we don’t broadfork them or anything. We did originally broadfork them to just loosen them up a little bit, but not to actually turn the soil. There is a living clover cover crop growing year-round, it’s a little bit died back right now, because they were associated out by the ladies on the first round. We just replaced the spot where the plant itself was potted in, or the pot went in into the ground. And so the rest of it’s all connected, all natural, all living. Tilling really disrupts the biology of the soil and releases a lot of CO2 into the air. With this, the clover cover crop, we didn’t have to import any nitrogen this year. All’s we’ve been feeding has been compost fees, most of that’s made with onsite compost, we’ve been doing various KNF type things, which we are importing some sugar to make our nutrients. So that’s just about it. It’s all natural farming, just trying to to make as many nutrients as we can at home to import as little as possible, and just build that soil. 

 

Chip: When you say beds, describe what your beds look like.

 

Walter: Well, so I mean we are on a little bit of a slope. It’s pretty mellow, but it does slope so we went across that hillside.  And when we broadforked it and all that out, we leveled out a six foot bed going across the hillside, it’s tied right into the soil. There’s no cage around it or anything like that, it’s just directly in the earth. And then, we’re going to be putting up some wood edges on the downhill side to just help retain that edge. It’s grown right in the earth. It’s super important to me. We don’t have to feed as much, and the plants have access to what they want. They can make choices, and they’re not stuck in a little tiny soil spot, they have access to the whole area.

 

Chip: What did you have to do to your soil to prep it? What did you add to it at the beginning, and what are kind of the things that you add to it now?

 

Walter: Well, so this year, like I said, we actually, we did not add anything besides wood cover crop (7:50). And then we also did bring in forest duff from the hillside above of the patch. And so we brought in a couple inches of the leaf litter and stuff that’s just starting to break down a little bit, so that brought in our indigenous microorganisms or IMOs, as they’re known sometimes. So we covered the beds with a six inch layer of that which completely covered that clover for a little bit, then that cover crop burst right back through that, and basically just incorporated all of that leaf matter right away. And so previously, when we first did prep those beds, we did bring in some manure. I think that was about it. I’m so scared to bring in even from outside anything because our tests, our flower’s tested to the parts per billion on these pesticides, and what if I’m bringing in some straw or something, and if it were to have something? So we avoid bringing in anything. We like to keep everything from on-site, that way we know it’s clean.

 

Chip: These aren’t like, beds that normal people think of that have wooden sides, their area is that you’ve built in the soil, grown in and added your own ingredients, local ingredients.

 

Walter: Exactly, exactly.

Chip: When you talk to people about cannabis techniques and grow techniques, a bed means so much different, so many different things. You know, in the indoor world, it can mean something, it’s totally different than the outdoor world.

 

Walter: We are directly in the ground for sure.

 

Chip: You’re directly in the ground and you say you do light dep, is it under plastic? Or is it under natural sunlight during the day?

 

Walter: So yeah, we do not have the clear covers on the greenhouses, so they are open to the natural sunlight. It makes it simpler. We don’t need as many fans, things like that, because it is open. And then yeah, we roll down some tarps over it at night, give us the 12 hour cycle.

 

Chip: Oh yeah, absolutely, man. I’m just envisioning your garden here as we’re talking about it. I mean, I’ve been in quite a few Humboldt and Trinity Gardens on the hillside. I feel like I know, I feel like I’ve been to your place before.

 

Walter: One thing that’s a little unusual is each bed is on its own, a foot higher than the next, because it’s sloping down the hillside. So then the bottom of the greenhouse has just some leg extensions to level it out. And so once again, just trying to simplify, keep things as minimal, and environmentally friendly as possible.

 

Chip: That’s the name of the game. And you know, the interesting thing about everything we’re talking about, is there’s no cost in doing this. Like you virtually have, I mean, you have very low input costs. 

 

Walter: Yeah, comparing it to an indoor scene it is very drastically reduced. I would do only two runs a year. So we have very little lighting, very little inputs, and that way, the light dep is significantly more labor I find than the full season was. And you know, just pruning up all these plants and anything when you multiply it by 1800 or 2400 pound a run, all of a sudden like, just a few [11:13 inaudible] here and there adds up.

 

Judi: There is an increased labor cost, you know, you’re just trading going out into the forest and having to collect these inputs. That’s a labor cost, right? So you’re trading maybe some increased labor cost on going out and sourcing the nutrients ourselves compared to like, just going to the store and buying something that somebody else made in a bottle. So it’s a little bit of a trade-off. It’s not like there’s no cost associated. There’s no material cost, but there is a labor cost for sure.

 

Chip: Wait, wait a second. I thought that’s where the farm stay came in. Don’t you have the guests doing that for you?

 

Judi: I gotta make that work out, right? That’s the next step.

 

Chip: Sounds like you guys got a great trim camp. You really need to be hustling guests here in October, huh?

 

Judi: Right. Yes, come pay to trim our weed. That sounds like a great plan. I gotta get to work on that.

 

Chip: You would be the first person to try to implement that one.

 

Judi: I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Walter: We’ll outdo what everyone else has [12:16 inaudible].

 

Chip: You know, not too many places have cannatourism, and that’s what we’re talking about here. And this is so akin to, I mean, wine tourism or fishing tourism. Like, this is like, a brand new thing. And how has it been perceived?

 

Judi: Well, you know, it’s been a little bit of a challenge just working out all the legalities of doing it, obviously because cannabis is so highly regulated. That’s, I would say been the most challenging part, is just trying figure out and make sure I’m not breaking any rules. And one thing that I mean, the people who have found it and have come out,  we sort of kept it a little just word of mouth so far, but the people that have come out have all had a great experience. And I think that, especially in Trinity County, and in Humboldt, like, it’s a huge thing if we can make it so that it’s easy for farms to do this, and to show it. There’s a huge demand for people who want to come and have this experience. It’s like, legendary, this area. There’s lots of people that want to come have the experience. So it’s been really well-received by the people who have come so far. We’re just trying to make it better all the time. And someday too, what we hope is like, just like wine, it would be amazing if we can get to the point with the state laws and the local laws that I could actually allow people to purchase cannabis at the farm when they come, you know, be able to buy our flower on our farm. So far that’s not allowed, but I really do hope that one of these days soon, the various involved agencies do allow us to do that, just like you can at a winery. And do tastings, and do that whole thing, because that would be amazing.

 

Chip: Absolutely man. They’ll treat us like adults one day.

 

Judi: Someday.

 

Walter: Maybe, I sure hope so. We know it’s come a long way.

 

Chip: It’s amazing, you know, Humboldt and Trinity County has such long-standing history, but there’s just always been this fight against cannabis there, and it just still remains. It’s one of the most difficult places to get licensing to this day. They’re really missing out on so much great culture. And this huge brain trust is there of people like yourselves, and living environment, sacrificing to grow cannabis, and cannabis growing them in return. It’s just an untapped resource, and they just haven’t used it well enough, that’s for sure.

 

Judi: Especially in Trinity where, you know, there was logging and mining, and that’s kind of what everything was built upon. But that’s been gone for decades now. And there’s not a lot else going on in Trinity. And I do think it’s changing. You know, we were able just recently, the Trinity County Agriculture Alliance, of which we are members, which is a group of licensed cultivators in Trinity. And we actually proposed our own cannabis commercial, cannabis tax measure, like, to tax ourselves. Because up to that point, Trinity didn’t have one and, you know, we all want to see our community services happen. And, we were able in five days to collect 10% of the registered voter signatures in the county to get our measure on the ballot.  And you know, who would have thought that that would ever happen in Trinity County? But it just did, so it’s coming around, it’s happening. You know, we’re getting more organized, and as people can kind of come out of the closet a little bit, I think that’s only just gonna increase.

 

Chip: Yeah, ’cause people are still scared to talk about cannabis there, even legal cannabis owners. They’re scared to talk about cannabis. They’re scared to bring it up to their neighbors. It’s still taboo in so many communities, in so many places.

 

Judi: Yeah, it’s true. I think that for me, that’s been one of the best parts about recreational happening in California. It’s just like, “Okay, you know what? We’re here. We’ve been here the whole time, but now we’re letting you know.”

 

Chip: So tell me about this tax initiative.

 

Judi: Well, so there was a tax measure proposed on the March election by a group of people who really actually just wanted to put all of – my perception – was that their tax basically was just to put everybody out of business. And so this, the Trinity County Agricultural Alliance came up with one that is much more small farm friendly, because in Trinity County, almost everybody has 10,000 square feet or less because of the way that the ordinance was written. There’s only a few people who have more than 10,000 square feet. And so basically, the TCAA came up with this proposal where it’s all based on sales, right? So for instance, in Humboldt County, you have this square footage tax where you’re charged per square foot, kind of regardless on whether you grow anything or make any money or not, which personally, I don’t think is the best way to do it.

 

Chip: Oh, it sucks.

 

Judi: I think that like these other industries, you should be taxed once you make money, right? And so luckily, we kind of had time to look at all these other counties and be like, “Okay, what’s good, what’s not good?” And so this tax, it’s like, for your first hundred pounds, you’re taxed at this rate. And I can’t quote you the exact numbers, but you’re taxed at a lower rate. So if you’re a very small producer, those first hundred pounds you grow is taxed at a low rate. And then it goes up, like okay, and then the next 200, I think, and it goes up from there until like, over I think a thousand pounds, you’re paying, I believe it’s $15 a pound in cultivation tax to the county, basically. And, you know, there’s some other things in there about different businesses, there is no retail in Trinity County yet at this point. And so they’re not, you know, they’re missing that, again, they’re not collecting any tax revenue because they’re not allowing anybody to sell retail, which hopefully, again, they’re gonna get that together. But this initiative mostly is for taxation on cultivators, because I think that’s appropriate as long as you wait to tax them. Wait until I’ve made some money, I’m very happy to contribute to the county coffers to do roadwork and, public safety, and things like that, and schools. And so, we just wanted to show as an industry like , “Look, here we are, we want to contribute, but don’t try to put us out of business.” Because that’s not going to be good for the county long-term.

 

Chip: Yeah, there’s so much green greed, it comes from every place. The counties get it for sure, and the state governments get it for sure. Well man, I salute you guys, for working so hard to put it together. Trinity was considered one of the harder places when it all started, I think Humboldt’s shown that it’s the hardest place right now. I mean, Mendocino might not be so easy either, but it hasn’t been any easier anywhere in the Triangle.

 

Walter: I think the triangle has some like, 60 or 80% of the permit since, it’s a large number.

 

Chip: More like 15, 16,000 people in Humboldt with commercial grows, you know, before all this has happened. And to say that you have like, and to say that you have 500 people or 600 people with licensing? Man, I just don’t think that’s a good enough attempt to get people out of the private market industry, and get them into tax. Because literally for Humboldt, it’s billions of dollars. They would convert all of that private grow – sorry guys, you should probably pay some taxes, all of my private grow friends that are out there just growing in the hills. I love you guys, you should pay more taxes. If they would incorporate all those guys into it, it would like really, really change. I mean, my local school, Trinidad Union School District, man they’re failing, they don’t have any money, right? Like, COVID’s hit them so hard like, there’s like, just so much stuff, and through Humboldt and Trinity County an educational loan that needs to be worked on. And you know if they played their cards right, like, cannabis could totally bring the whole Emerald Triangle out of all of their problems, right? It could help with the fire suppression issues. It could help with all the drug problems, it can help with all the homelessness, it can help with all of the educational stuff. I mean, it’s just such a wasted resource. It’s just kind of frustrating when we see as there.

 

Judi: Yeah, I think some of that is not necessarily seeing the legal market in California. And it is a challenge right now to, when you compare just all the hoops you have to jump through, all the money you have to pay. And yet, I personally think, because the state especially is taxing the end product so hard, they just have this huge black market that’s still going, and it’s hard to not look at that and be like, “Wow, that was so much easier back in the day.” But again, now it’s all changing and it’s the time to like, get together and move forward into the light.

 

Chip: No, it’s the responsible thing to do. And I mean, I don’t know about Trinity County, but Humboldt County per capita always had more people contributing to fundraising than anyplace else, you know? And that was because all the cash dollars from the fishing, the logging and the cannabis. And now the fishing and the logging, it’s like next to nothing compared to what it used to be, and it’s just cannabis. If they could just, open up their arms, just embrace it.

 

Walter: Relax a bit.

 

Chip: Yeah, relax, relax a bit. I know you have such a special place and inviting people out there. Tell me about some of the people that have come in and visited you.

 

Judi: So last year, we mostly focused on some different folks who either own, or manage, or the buyers for various retail shops in California. Again, because there’s no better way for someone to learn where this particular brand, our Sol Spirit brand of flower comes from. And, the lot of them had never been to the Emerald Triangle. So last year, it was a lot of retailers. And most of them were so stressed out when they arrived, because they’re jumping through their own set of hoops. And that job, I can’t even imagine trying to pull that off. And so, it was just super relaxing and rejuvenating for them. And most of them, you could just like, see their faces change by the third day where they were just like, “Oh, okay, we’ve let go of the stress. We’re here. ” And also getting to see the way that we farm, I think really opened their eyes to like, it’s not all the same. So like, indoor has its thing and then people with like, really large grows who are maybe putting out more mid-quality stuff, but in volume, that’s a whole different thing. And then our particular craft, regenerative way of doing it, it’s like, you’re actually talking kind of about different products, right? And so I think it was great for them to be able to see, like, “Oh, yeah, the next time somebody comes in and tries to sell me a regenerative craft cannabis, I’m not going to compare it to this $8 eighth in a mylar bag that came from a 12-acre scene in Salinas,” or something, you know. So that I think is like, an education piece that’s super important to us. And so there’s that, and like, that really, I think, changed a lot of their perspectives. And then this year, we’ve had more just regular folks. It’s been interesting with COVID to kind of work that all out, and so we had a bit of a slow start just making sure that we could keep everybody safe. And now I feel like we’ve got that down. And it’s been, I feel like even more rewarding, because we’ve had several people from the Bay Area come up, and some of them have been stuck in their apartment for months. So to be able to come out and of course, the beautiful cannabis medicine also helps with their mindset. And we had a couple of people come out where they sort of like, changed their whole life trajectory over the weekend, because they were able to just kind of step out of their normal life and gain some perspective on what they were doing which of course the cannabis is also really helpful for.

 

Walter: Yeah. The hills of Humboldt County and Trinity County have a way of doing that.

 

Judi: It’s been really great. We’ve had all kinds of different people, yes. Yeah. You know, you get used to where you live, and you kind of stop seeing it, I think sometimes. And being able to have all these different people come and see it from their perspective and out of their eyes, it really refreshes our love of the place as well.

 

Chip: Oh man, you know that’s the thing that people don’t understand or know about that area, Northern California is it has the least light pollution I’m pretty sure of any place else in the US. Right, maybe even the continental US. I mean, it is you get to see this guy.

 

Judi: Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.

 

Chip: It’s been great chatting with you guys. If people want to come to Sol Spirit Retreats, how do they get in touch with you guys? Can they follow you on Instagram? Or how does it work?

 

Judi: Well, they can follow us on Instagram. We have two different Instagrams, so one for the farm and one for the farm stay. And they’re, Sol Spirit Farm, s-o – like the sun, Sol Spirit Farm and Sol Spirit Retreats. And then our websites are the same, solspiritfarm.com and solspiritretreats.com.

 

Chip: Yeah, well, hey, thanks for joining me and man, smell some of that good Trinity County here for me. God, I wish I was there right now with you.

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