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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.

Pheno-Hunting and the Quest for the Best Cannabis

Pheno-Hunting and the Quest for the Best Cannabis

jive cannabis co oklahoma medical marijuana

Through decades of perfecting growing techniques, Jive Cannabis Co. is creating a product of top quality.

They enjoy spending time in the greenhouse, ensuring every plant is beautiful. The perfection of the plant is found not only in the pounds it produces but also in the nose, tricome structure, and overall beauty. 

In this segment, we’ll hear from Freaux, one of the owners of Jive Cannabis Co, the importance of pheno-hunting, how they do it, and choosing the best seeds for their customers. Don’t miss out!

The state we wanted to get involved in and through a total team effort of my partners and me were able to make it happen. We all bring our little own unique things to the table to make Jive Cannabis Co. happen, and it worked out great so far. – Freaux

Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include

2:16 – Jive Cannabis Co.’s mission
10:55 – Pheno-hunting
21:17 – Choosing the best seed company
28:25 – Great seed breeders
33:46 – Seed lot and organizing
56:58 –  Naming your weed
1:04:01 – Where to find them

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Jive Cannabis Co.

Connect with  Chip Baker

Transcript

Chip: Hey, this is Chip from The Real Dirt on this episode of The Real Dirt we talk about fino hunting the genetic quest for greatness. That’s right. You know, fortunately, there’s so many seed companies that you can access these days through the internet, through some of the changes in the laws and you can pretty much have access to the greatest genetics and seeds on the planet. That’s never happened before in cannabis. 

So man if you want to learn about planting seeds about pheno hunting, listen to this great episode. I’ve got my good buddy Freaux from Jive Cannabis Company, and we talk about all of it, man. We talked about how to select a seed company, we talk about how to plant the seeds, we talk about how to pick the strains, we talk about how we label them. We talked about kind of how we test them. We go through like a couple of his fino selections and criticize them a little bit and talk about the differences between each of them. So it’s a great episode, if you’re into it, if you’ve never fino hunted before, if you’ve never planted seeds out before in order to choose or select clone mother, listen to this episode and enjoy The Real Dirt podcast.

Hey, this is Chip with The Real Dirt, in today’s dirt, I’ve got Freaux with Jive Cannabis Company. How’s it going, Freaux? 

Freaux: It’s going well going, how about you Chip? Thank you for having me on, man. 

Chip: Oh, man. Seems like deja vu. I’ve been trying to get you on here for a while and we finally made it. 

Freaux: Yeah, I’m glad we’re finally able in our busy schedules to kind of link up and get the podcast on and– 

Chip: So Freaux you’re– Freaux is a longtime customer of ours with Cultivate Colorado and he moved down here. He’s one of the first wave of people to move into Oklahoma to start up, you know, a cannabis business. And we’re really excited when we moved down here because we knew that Freaux was going to bring great, great weed with you. 

Jive Cannabis Co.’s Mission

Freaux: I appreciate that man, you know, coming from you, that means a lot. I’m glad that you think that we have good weed and enjoy it. That’s what we aim to do, to please and really try to put good weed out there in front of the patients. 

Chip: Man, that’s a that’s the attitude that we were talking about earlier about how are you bringing great weed to the market, bringing great weed to people and not so much that like, I have great weed, you know, and it when you do it that way just takes the whole ego out of it? 

Freaux: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, we’re all humble people. We don’t try to get any kind of egos involved. I mean, we’re just trying to come with great quality cannabis, clean tested cannabis that we can bring to the patients and have them enjoy. We enjoy good weed at the end of the day, I mean, me and my partners were connoisseurs, we enjoy good weed. We just want the patients to be able to enjoy good weed that we smoke, kind of give them like a genuine experience. 

Chip: So, you’ve been involved in medical cannabis for a number of years. And you teamed up with a group of friends to come down here and start this business. 

Freaux: Yeah, so I’m one of four owner operators. There are four of us that all work hard is at the full team effort to do this and make this happen. Some of my partners are originally from Oklahoma, there’s some who spent multiple years out here but it was something when we heard that there was a vote happening and there is going to be able to the possibility of medical cannabis out here. There’s some surefire you know, the state we wanted to get involved in and through a total team effort of me and my partners were able to make it happen and we all kind of bring our little own unique things to the table to make Jive Cannabis Co. happen and it’s worked out great so far. And we’re just going to hopefully continue to strive to do better and bring the best quality marijuana to the patients out here, man. 

We’re just going to hopefully continue to strive, do better and bring the best quality marijuana to the patients – Freaux

Chip: You know, and one of the one of the things that strikes me about the way you’ve built the company is you’re not a huge company. You’re not like– okay, let me step back. There’s this fear in Oklahoma that like big out of state people are gonna come in here and ruin it, right. But we’re both came from out of state. We both now live in Oklahoma. But it’s not big people. It’s small, just normal people. Right. We’re not really corporations. 

Freaux: Yeah, I mean, probably the furthest thing from a corporation at the moment. And that’s kind of the way we want to keep it. I mean, we are, I guess you could say your traditional kind of mom and pop grow. We all do everything in house. There’s four of us total, and we all do it everything from the cultivation of business to whatever it takes sales whatever it takes to make it happen. Yeah, we’re definitely just a group of friends, that all have a common goal and we’re just trying to be out here and compete. And you know, it’s fortunate enough that in the great state of Oklahoma, it’s given the opportunity to do what we love, you know? 

We’re a group of friends that all have a common goal, and we’re just trying to be out here and compete. – Freaux

Chip: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, the real interesting part about Oklahoma to me is there’s a lot of weed smokers here, a lot of medical cannabis users. But before a year or so ago, there wasn’t so much cannabis culture, right people didn’t really have the access to the flavors, they might have been sold product, but you had no idea if it was Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, Bubble Gum, making up a name. It’s like whatever high times a month cookies was, that’s what they got sold to the level of education isn’t so– it hasn’t been, the level of cultural knowledge hasn’t really progressed, because it was such a private market state forever. I mean, it was one of the strictest cannabis law states in the country. 

Freaux: Yeah, I’d say so I mean, definitely. So it’s kind of crazy though because like, we get out and we’ll go to [inaudible]

 or go to like sessions or [inaudible] be along with other patients. And there is like, a, definitely a big interest. And there’s a lot of people who are learning, but there’s also a lot of people who do have an interest and, you know, with the internet and social media and kind of being able to, you know, follow different things. There’s a lot of interest, and a lot of people out here are receptive to it. And I know people out here do like, good pot. It’s one of those things where, you know, there are a lot of people who are still kind of learning or whatnot. But the interest out here is huge. And, you know, there’s a lot of people out here who know their stuff. I mean, there’s quite a few people out here, you’re not going to be able to pull the wool over their head. I mean, they’re going to know if you don’t have, you tell them it’s something that’s not what it is or you’re probably going to call you out in or not wanting to buy it. 

I feel like there is a lot of culture starting and I’d say so with started with Oklahoma to been interested in weed before this happened and then a lot of people come in from other states where it’s been either medical or recreational we’re coming in here and kind of adding to that and kind of making Oklahoma its own unique place and I think it’s awesome where it’s heading and honestly I think down the road it’s gonna be a place where there’s gonna be so much mortgage Morgan like you know, kind of melting pot kind of a cultures where it’s gonna be I think it’s gonna be great and you know what I’m saying. 

Chip: I agree with you man. At Cultivate Colorado and Cultivate OKC, we see all types of growers that come in there. I really get a great gauge of what’s going on in the area. You know, as there’s regions of the state where the larger commercial outdoor and greenhouse growers seem to come from. There’s lots of mom and pops in Oklahoma City and in Tulsa. There’s lots of people who’ve just done it or just doing it for the first time or they maybe they’ve been grown in a closet for years but haven’t quite scaled to commercial operation. 

There’s most people have 200 amps 400 amps worth of power that they’re working with. And those aren’t all negative things. Those are just like the reality of it. And the beauty is this, though, is there are no preconceived notions on what people should do. 

Freaux: Yeah, that’s awesome. I would totally agree right there. Right. Yeah, it’s kind of just, it’s a blank canvas. And everybody that’s involved in everything right now is kind of painting its own picture. Nobody’s telling you what you have to do. It really is kind of a free market where, everybody collectively is, you know, painting the picture to make it its own. You know, there’s nobody telling you what you need to do. And it’s kind of one of the things people are actually able to come out here and you know innovate or do different things or whatnot.

Chip: One of the things that we’ve seen people do is plant all types of seeds. You know, there wasn’t a cutting culture here and we saw the same thing in Colorado in 2009 is initially they only allowed like, you know, I don’t know 70 or 77 strains into the initial database for Colorado. And so everybody had those 77 clone strains right. And nothing was new, and the laws changed a little bit or you able to manipulate the situation a little bit or maybe breeding may have happened but in Oklahoma, in pretty much plant whatever seeds you want, you can bring it into the legal system easily. And we see people planting all kinds of stuff. Unfortunately, most lovers fucking crap and then and they’ve just been sold like this bad, bad, bad seed. And that’s kind of what our topic is today. The topic for today, is pheno hunting and the genetic quest for great cannabis. Oh, wow, that sounds great, doesn’t it? 

Freaux: It sure does man. 

Chip: Man so one of the reasons I had you in here because I’ve seen you plant seeds, you pick great phenoes and many people don’t even know what pheno hunting or how the whole seed thing works and I really want to like start on the like super child’s style and start from the beginning of like picking us breeder buying seeds, planting seeds, organizing the seeds, track and trace in the T seeds, testing the clones, cataloging it all and like how you guys really go about like pheno-hunting. 

Pheno-Hunting

Freaux: Yeah, no doubt, I’d love to do that. I mean, that’s a one of our biggest interests at Jive is pheno-hunting planting seeds finding new unique flavors, new [inaudible] profiles, and then just really just getting able to see have a good look at that gene pool man just being able to get in there and pick it because when you do get a clone, you kind of just stuck with what you got, there’s nothing you could do. But if there’s something you’re interested in, you get edible quality seeds of it; you get pretty much get to run through it and find what you want what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for smell and taste, if you’re looking for resin for the hash, there’s so much different stuff and what’s better so many different genetic possibilities where if you are actually you know, taking the time, popping the beans and seeds or whatnot you can get something special. I’ve always been a firm believer that I mean, I’ve been fortunate in some cases where you know, friends have done work and pass along you know, different genetics to me, vice versa. But to truly get some superheat fire, you got to go out there and find it. A lot of people aren’t just bestowing your blessing you with a gift. You have to be kind of proactive on it or whatnot, you know? 

To truly get some superheat fire, you got to go out there and find it. – FreauxCLICK TO TWEET

Chip: Yeah, absolutely and you know man, I tell you there’s no way we can have this conversation without you opening up one of these fine jars that you pheno hunted here and rolling up a tater as we would love to but let’s examine one of these like pick one that you picked out from seed. 

Freaux: So sure we have actually a Sunshine Lime, I’ve got two different phenos

Chip: Where’d that come from? 

Freaux: It came from Archives Seed Bank– [inaudible] This was a fine from him. This is our number one. So the genetics on that is Sunset Sherbert times Lemonheads.

Chip: Oh man, that is incredible. Like I mean it’s both sides of the coin, it’s earthy and citrus and usually don’t find that but like is that kush like but then on the lemon too. 

Freaux: I like to kind of describe it as like it’s kind of like a tropical real fruity overturn, but kind of like almost like a burnt rubber OG gas at the end. There’s Lemon G industry and the lemon tea just kind of shine in it. This is a this is another fino of it this is our number three. It’s same strain a little bit different you’ll be able to tell the nodes look of it similar but different. 

Chip: It’s as darker for sure had a lot more the sherbert side to it. 

Freaux: That’s I would say that’s definitely sherbert leader. 

Chip: Yeah, no, it’s still good but like I see like the other one definitely the expression of the terpene expression, is greater than the other one. 

Freaux: The terpene expression is greater, the nugs came out a little bit tighter. It’s just a little bit more unique to me. I mean that has a good unique smell but the number one when we were kind of you know hunting in or selecting it you know me and my partner’s, it’s a one that kind of stood off rip. It was the first one that started getting a good news, week four, week five and it just kind of came with it and there’s a couple other selections. We had another one that was pretty good as well too but out of the one in 3– 

Chip: But pretty good doesn’t make it. 

Freaux: Pretty good does not make it.

Chip: Yeah, so you have to be merciless in the pheno hunt, right.

Freaux: You really do and I noticed like traditional people say that you should run it twice before you give up on it. I am a firm believer in that, it’s kind of good to give it a second look but a lot of times if it was like you know super trash or first run [inaudible] on the second run and then– 

Chip: Now, you should give it a second run if it’s good. If it’s bad, I just say throw it away. Unless you fucked up somehow or something wasn’t correct with it. Like you know, we’ve got some Bubba S1 from CSI right now. Same thing. You know, we grew them out and didn’t have like the best flower. And we just decided to keep all the phenos, right so we could rerun it. Yeah, right. 

Freaux: Yeah. And then you know, sometimes too, you never know what happens in that thing whether it got you know, didn’t get to best real state under the lights or if environmental was bad you know an AC went out during a [inaudible] time– Maybe you didn’t give a good dry so it’s always good to give it a second look. But you can really tell and I think a lot of people too that you see around the state or even on national too, they buy a pack of beans from a breeder somebody well known. They run the seeds they get the first female they get, that’s like boom that’s it, they don’t really understand that there’s a little bit more you have to do and then you have to have kind of the courage to give it up I know growing and you love your plants you never want to like holding out and stuff like that. If you find something that maybe it’s borderline, maybe you gift it to a buddy or something to kind of hold around, and see maybe he could do something different but at the end of day if it’s not gonna cut what you’re looking for, you know, checking all the boxes that you’re looking for. It’s got to go and you move on and there’s so much variety about it, right.

Chip: You got to be pick the best, there is only one. Yeah, you paid money for those seeds, but really you paid money for the clone that you want to pull out of that seed pack. Not each individual seed. 

Freaux: Exactly. And it’s like a lottery ticket, you’ll scratch off you’ll have a winner, sometime you won’t. But sometimes you find some, sometimes you don’t, it’s part of the game, but that’s kind of what you know, finding new flavors and new phenos and being able as like a company to have that specific flavor and even in depth that specific pheno kind of has it. Where it’s kind of cool to have that nobody in the world has is female except us. You know I’m saying? I think that’s pretty cool.

Chip: Man, I think this is the perfect time for two things to happen. One, for you to crack open one of those jars and let’s roll a fat one here and we’ll have a commercial break while we do it. 

Freaux: Yeah, sounds good. Is there something you want to try? We got like the– we got the Kush Mints– [inaudible] 

Chip: Let’s have a back to back Sunshine Lime. When we come back, we’ll talk about how to pick a seedcompany. 

Freaux: Sounds great to me. 

Chip: Awesome.

Hey guys hope you’re enjoying the episode here with Freaux I just want to do chat with you a minute about our organic seminar that we’re having here in Oklahoma City on March 21st It’s just next week but this episode is going to come out right now if you’re in town for the episode– for the seminar, you should definitely come and get a ticket. We’re selling compost tea brewers that man like a third the price of what they should be. And you know, we’re going to have a ton of great information. Today is going to start with us talking about soil formulation and how to make sure organic soil, we’re going to have a good provided lunch. Then John Piccirilli from Cutting Edge Nutrients is going to talk about how to make proper compost tea and in all the applications from biological life to IPM. And then we’re going to end the day at 4/20 with a roundtable on how to actually grow organic, the systems the mechanisms, the how commercial people do it. So if you’re in town man definitely get a ticket and come by and see it and hey, you know if you’re not man, we’re going to like re-broadcast has this on a webinar. So definitely if you hear this episode, and it’s not March 2020, and you want to check out the organic seminar, just look for it on on on therealdirt.com. But if you’re in town, man, definitely stop by, get a ticket. Check us out on an event bright. It’s the organic seminar, compost tea brew sessions. That’s right.

Oh, man. Well, you may quick work of that– What is it again? Which one?– 

Freaux: This is actually the Sunshine Lime one.

Chip: The Sunshine Lime one. So this is the true keeper man. You say you’re gonna come to my compost tea, my compost tea class? 

Freaux: Yeah, I just kind of heard you talking about that– I’m definitely interested in and I’m definitely gonna come and I heard you mentioned that John Cutting Edge is going to be there. I tell you what, I got the opportunity. He came to our facility several months back, got the opportunity to sit there and talk with him. I mean, the knowledge that was coming out of him was crazy. I was like– 

Chip: So much experience man, holy shit. 

Freaux: Yeah. After I had a conversation with him, I was like, when we left the conversation. The first thing I thought it was, I wish I could have recorded that. Just the knowledge coming out of his mind was great. I really enjoyed and I love to hear more about it especially you know, [inaudible] going on. 

Chip: Yeah, man John is a– He almost like you tap into his brain when he speaks. It’s not like how other people talk. He, somehow has some type of psychic communication that he could you know what I’m saying? [inaudible] Like you really learn. He’s an incredible instructor a great teacher like you know, you’ve learned so much dude so much. He’s able to break it down. But yeah, so we’re stoked to have him on our organic seminar March 21st. I think this episode’s just going to barely come out in time for it so– 

Freaux: Well, I’m looking forward to and you could definitely count me in there man. 

Chip: Alright, so this is the Sherbert Lime? 

Freaux: The Sunshine Lime. 

Chip: Sunshine Lime. 

Freaux 20:46  

Sherbert times Lemonheads

Chip: Definitely has that citrusy, Cali O type initial taste but Mc kush [inaudible] Yeah, totally. It’s really super bowl flavors. 

Freaux: Yeah, it’s got that flavor that coach your tongue. Kind of keeps it even when you’re done smoking the joint taste it right to the very end but coats your mouth really gives good flavor. very aromatic.

Choosing the Best Seed Company

Chip: A bit down to around the tip. Yeah, that’s great, man. That’s great. So man, the like, problem people– So it starts with the seed company that you choose. Let’s talk about all the bullshit seed breeders and how to avoid those first off on this pheno hunting roadshow.

Freaux: When you put it like that, I mean I know there is a lot of, you know, breeders out there who don’t necessarily like work online or like test it. They try to put stuff out really quick. Nobody really comes off the top of my head as being like I can’t really think off the top of my head is being like–

Chip: Well I don’t want to call anybody out. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying this is that everyone should know this is many people are out there breeding solely for cash, and they don’t really know what’s going on with the cannabis plant and they haven’t really picked mothers and fathers so well, they’re just plant fucking, they’re not really breeders. And so my kind of my question was like, man, how can you see it? How can you avoid it? 

Freaux: So I don’t know, with me. I usually reputable breeders that are dealing with certain type of genetics that are verified and know that they actually have it. Especially breeders to who aren’t like, you know, pumping out a new line a couple times a quarter, I’m not really too familiar with that aspect, but I know like breeders who maybe do like a big drop once a year, once every other year, you know, work their lines pretty hard where you can actually get you know stable lines where you [inaudible] a bunch of herms or mutants are, you actually get there where you’re looking at your plants you have multiple plants to select from where you’re sitting there and maybe you get a 12 pack, you’re like wow I’m looking at six fairly stable female plants at hey I’m having trouble picking the keeper or whatnot

I think it comes down to I mean I know there’s a lot of talented people out there that might not have as much like following and stuff like that, but really with me, it came down to, did I have success running them before? Did my friends that are good growers have sex or success running them before? So with me, it kind of starts off with me like word of mouth kind of like– 

Chip: The reputation. 

Freaux: Yeah, like like– 

Chip: First off look for the reputation. 

Freaux: Yeah, reputation, especially too. If you have friends who have ran their gear and have had success, I think that’s a good place to start. I know there’s a lot of talented breeders out there. There’s a couple I kind of tend to go to keep really good eye when they’re doing new jobs having new stuff come out but I would say with you know, with us, we try to at least stick to like people that have a good reputation like certain genetics and those are [inaudible] genetics or working with there’s a lot of people out there, like you said, that are just taking random things, putting it together and not really working and you don’t even know if that is what it is. And it kind of really messes up the gene pool for people who aren’t doing it right, you know? 

Chip: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, man. Yeah. It’s a such an odd one because people see these catalogs and they think it’s like Converse or Nike. Or they can just say, Oh, I want that and it’s gonna be exactly what the description is, or they like the name somebody put out is, you know– Have you just randomly bought seeds from anyone.

Freaux: I’ve never actually randomly bought seeds. I usually go off of like, I mean, like I said before, I usually go off for kind of like success. People have had running different packs. Especially people who are talented know what they’re doing when you get in– 

Chip: This is so good, man. 

Freaux: Yeah, it’s got a good little flavor. But yeah, I mean, I’ve never just randomly bought packs. I’ve had people recently like give me packs that I give a run to or try out and see what’s going on. But I know a lot of it when I try to look is like you start looking at everything’s cross and everything now on what I kind of try to do is kind of like, peel back in the lineage to try to see like, where those originally cuts came from and who bred them and the right time to start with their stuff. You know, especially people who have been doing it for a while.  

Chip: What are the parents? Do you hear that? 

Freaux: Yeah, I do hear that. 

Chip: I have this little French Bulldog we got here Rocky. He’s always pushing me around. Hold on. Hey, he wants in on this sesh, we’re firing this joint up. Let me grab him. Rocky say how to Freaux 

Freaux: What’s up to Rocky?

Chip: Yeah, he doesn’t like to be alone.

Freaux: Nah, I hear that.

Chip: That’s right, buddy. You just sit back. I’m sorry I interrupted you. Rocky interrupted us.

Freaux: No, it is all good. I kind of even forgot. [inaudible]

Chip: So we got you got to look at and do a little research and see one, if they have a reputation. Two, if other friends of planted it or you know and I even like just look at their exterior of what they’re trying to sell, try to find pictures of their packaging. But then it’s like you need that that cultural knowledge like what do they have? Do they have original parent clone? Do they have original parent strains or they just have one offs or bullshit– 

Freaux: Or where did these other guys sources from, you know what I’m saying? 

Chip: Yeah, exactly. I would suggest people to like look through Instagram. See what was going on six months ago or a year ago and see if you can, like follow the breeding of a plant, right. Somebody’s gonna come out, you know by a strain. It’s like look them up a little bit. 

Freaux: I think it’s also good too and I kind of try to do too, especially like if I you know, on vacation you go to some like West Coast states, especially California let’s go to the clubs and put your nose in a jar, like I actually go there. And check out the genetics because a lot of people see it. And then there’ll be either hype strains, or really popular strands and you know, they are warranted for the height and popularity, but a lot of people have never like either smoked them, taste them or tried them. 

You do have the opportunity to travel or go to clubs where either breeders or people have different trends in the clubs go there, try them out, put your nose in them, smoke them get to be familiar with the strain to see if that’s something you even want to run. I think that’s something too like a lot of people are just picking flavors and running them and be like, Well, I didn’t like that. It’s like wait have you even tried it or even been, gotta you know [inaudible] or whatnot, it’s just kind of you’re at that point just kind of going off of like crazy names or crosses, but I think it’s good to do a little r&b and that’s why it’s good. You know, have friends that are growers or just in general make it out there and try to try different stuff and become familiar with the genetics that you’re actually buying. You know, think that’s a good place too.

Great Seed Breeders

Chip: So we’ve, I mean, both of our quests in this life is to spread great cannabis. So let’s, you have some suggestions of some great seed breeders out there.

Freaux: Yes, I do. So I’m going to tell you some people that I personally like and at Jive, the whole team likes is definitely Dungeons Vault Genetics. Dungeons Vault Genetics he’s got some great gear. He’s actually– his Grandpa’s Breath is a strain that is pretty popular for us. He has really good genetics. We actually– We partnered with them on a couple ventures actually out here in Oklahoma we’re gonna have like a whole bunch of online with a bunch of his breeder cuts. 

So patients can actually see you know what the actual strain is coming straight from the breeder. It’s his genetics. It’s not something somebody else, you know, is making up or saying like that it’s actually coming from the company. I think he’s a great one to look at Dungeons Vault. Big fan of Archive, we bought a ton of archive seeds. 

Chip: Oh yeah, Fletcher man he is one of the best breeders on the planet right now. 

Freaux: Yeah, he’s got some really cool stuff. And you know, he’s one of the ones who has like a crazy catalogue of all that old school stuff.

Chip: You know, here’s the thing about Fletcher and this one I said, look up the Instagram history because he has been doing it for such a long time now. And man, he’s a young guy, dude. He’s a young guy. He’s been doing it for his whole adult life. And he has gathered such an awesome, awesome collection that the catalog really is crazy, right. Everything might not be available all the time and some stuff or just spurts it’s like, Oh, that one went out of favor that one didn’t do so well. But that’s what makes like his history you know? So a man except legitimate, right. That’s what makes a seed lawn so legitimate is because of the history.

Freaux: Yeah, you know, he’s a he’s another good one we’ve– He currently hunting a bunch of his packs. We like you know, [inaudible] we got some flavors from him. You know, JBZ’s has always got a bunch of interesting stuff. He’s killing it right now. Seed Junky. There’s a bunch of other great people out there that we’re trying, after medicating a little bit. I’m trying to think of all we have there so much– 

Chip: You have tried some Capulator stuff? 

Freaux: So we have tried some Capulator’s stuff. We actually, we had a Jungle Mac, we’ve made some really good water hash. That’s the only pack we really ran from him besides a freebie we got at the expo in Oklahoma City several months, I guess it was probably been about almost a year now. But his Mac Riddler. We ran that, you know, both of them were good plants. When we’re looking at it for like, the profiles we’re looking for. And then especially with some past companies we partnered with, they were looking at it and like Wow, those are like awesome plants are running the hash, which, you know, that’s what we ended up doing with the Capulater gear or whatnot.

Chip: Right, awesome man. [inaudible]

Freaux: I have grown some stuff in the years past. We don’t have anything from him currently right now, but he’s somebody I definitely want to run some of his packs. I was actually looking at his Instagram the other day as a couple real interesting things that I think I’m gonna reach out to. What we try to do is, we actually have like a whole set of lights that’s strictly for r&b where we, you know, constantly on a cycle going to be popping, you know, packs and beans and trying to find the most interesting flavors and he’s definitely on the list of people who are gonna, you know, go to. There’s so much. There’s so much stuff. [inaudible] We haven’t personally. It’s nothing we’ve ran. You know, he’s somebody we definitely give a try to. I just haven’t ran anything from him.

But I’m trying to think of some other people that’s kind of the main ones we’re hunting through right now. I think we have some, I think we have some Midwest Best and Green Flora, Watermelon Granita. We’re hunting we have some JBZ stuff, Koma the Grower, Pacific Seed Company. What else is there–

Chip: Any cookie stuff? 

Freaux: We don’t have any cookie stuff right this second that we’re hunting. I mean we do have some of their you know, strains from the past we’re hunting some old Cali connection pack some SVOG and some time trying to find you know some old school. OGs, I’m trying to think off the top of my head we have some exotic genetics that we’re hunting, he has some really solid gear, [inaudible] up in my head well I–got some dying breed seeds, some Ozzy– There’s so many more I’d have to blow out my phone, but there’s a ton of different stuff that we’re given a run to right now.

Seed Lot and Organizing

Chip: When you’re planning out like, Okay, so what’s a typical seed lot for you? Let’s start right there at the beginning you decided to buy your seeds, you got your seeds, how many seeds you plant now?

Freaux: So We usually like to do in the like the five pack range. Right now, we’re trying to find like a vast variety of different flavors. So we’re usually just getting like one pack of flavor which usually it’s 10 to 12 seeds we’ll go ahead, we’ll germinate the seeds, you know, some stuff has a really good germination rate makes it to the dirt, some stuff doesn’t but, we’re doing about you know, 50 to 60 at a time and then from there that actually make it into flower. I mean, you’re gonna weed a lot of stuff out in beds as you know, either male or crazy to form a new users we and then–

Chip: So that’s 50 or 60 seeds of one type? Did you just plant a pack when you pheno hunt–

Freaux: Usually right now we’re just doing a pack at a time– 

Chip: To see if it’s worth it. 

Freaux: Yeah, to see if it’s worth it. You know, something if I might give it a second try if we didn’t find anything. We’re going to try to start doing bigger pheno hunts have like one strand. Right now. We’re just kind of trying to find like a big you know, variety of stuff so we’re just kind of seeing when what happens with that. Sometimes you’re successful sometimes you’re not but– 

Chip: You can’t always get a winner.

Freaux: Yeah, you don’t always get a winner you definitely don’t. 

Chip: Right. It is kind of like the claw machine though. Right. Like you’re going for those nice pair Ray Bans in the back. Right But you don’t get it, you know, said you get a key chain. Yeah, so you’re managing 50 plants though at a time, so it might be like five packs, or yeah, maybe more.

Freaux: Yeah. So we actually the way we kind of have our like room staggered right now we actually have like a small hunt going in and each one of our rooms and we actually just wanted a huge pheno hunt which was, you know, much bigger than we’ve ever done before. Especially out here, you don’t have like a limitation on plants or anything. So you can kind of just really run through pheno hunts and stuff like that. Which, it was a lot bigger than we normally would generally go on. But I would say something for us that’s manageable with the space we have and actually just strictly keeping up with it. Because sometimes you’ve got so much stuff going on, it just becomes, too much to deal with everything else going on in life and deepen, you know–

Chip: Oh, it’s hard, man. It’s hard to keep it all organized. So how do you how do you do it, man? How do you track and trace it? How do you how do you organize it?

Freaux: So basically, with us, we’re just basically label each one of the pots. You know, pretty much when a seed goes–

Chip: You label the actual pot? 

Freaux: Just to tag, well sometimes, but you know, just like a tag on the plant, you know, seed to sale system and stuff like that everything has like a little tag on it. So it’s just like instance Sunshine Lime one, I’ll just have a little tag on it or whatever. And then– But ends up turning into like a mail or something that just doesn’t make it you know, it gets axed out or whatnot. And yeah, pretty much we try to keep we’re trying to get better organized right now it’s just kind of real low tech, pretty much write it down on a piece of paper to know that we have. We tried to like taking notes if we can, if we remember, like, you know, what was really good and like vege maybe something to flower.

Chip: We always do something like this? Yeah, like a, like a board setup. We got a white board set up with some and we just start taking notes on the whiteboard.

Freaux: Yeah. And that’s, that’s we just recently got whiteboards that our facility so we’ll probably put them to use like you got him right there. But um, yeah, pretty much just labeling them and just trying to keep up with them and then you know, try to take notes of stuff that– We try to throw the plants into our, you know, whole program, just right off– Give it like our feeds and our temperatures and throw them in our rooms are actually flowering in keeping the same environment even in like an r&b room so we can see if those genetics actually make it in what we do. So if we run it in our setup and it doesn’t like like we’re giving it certain, different variables [inaudible]

Chip: That bomb threat Bubba is a matter of fact, we’re talking about extremely hard to grow, right. Doesn’t produce much, but like, if you like, do it just right, like the buds are great if you do it wrong. They’re just leafy can be and as doesn’t have a taste at all. You know, it’s, I mean, it’s all weed doesn’t act the same.[inaudible] grow the same. 

Freaux: And that’s very true right there.

Chip: Yeah, it’s a living breathing plant and every single seed is different and that’s why we pheno-hunt. You should not buy a pack of seeds, plant them out and pick one or pick them all as your clone mothers, right it’s just not it’s not the best way to do it, right. You got to try it out–

It’s a living breathing plant, and every single seed is different, and that’s why we pheno-hunt. – Chip

Freaux: Exactly so like what we’ll do is we’ll just take the actual from seeds grown in the flower room and make sure we get cut– 

Chip: From seed you throw it in the flower 

Freaux: Yeah, okay, well we’ll throw in the flower–

Chip: I’ma see got too many people like you know say the that they throw the seed away and take it like Fletcher from Archive as a matter of fact he says that he throws the seed away and just takes a cutting right and then flowers the cutting.

Freaux: Yeah, I mean, that’s one way to do it. I mean, I I think with us reason why we do it is just for time because you want to see is it gonna be something– Sometimes that’ll take just like a few extra weeks where sometimes you don’t have those weeks and you’re just kind of trying to get it done and get it quick so as–. 

Chip: If you plant a seed on the same day, you take your clone for your crop, you can stay on that same pattern. 

Freaux: Yeah, definitely. So yeah we would just throw it in there let it flower see if we’re gonna keep it where some cuttings behind and then we’ll either like [inaudible] you know those cuttings or just keep floating from that and then obviously if it’s something we’re not going to keep maybe we’ll give it a second run but– And there are also cases to especially when you go in these big hunts and tags fall out or get lost you know, the new thing that a lot of people are doing now is a whole revege. I mean–

Chip: That’s not new– I’ve been doing that one for years–[inaudible] Oh, this is so good. Do we ever have it?There’s a bottom left out there in the field.

Freaux: And just to me, I mean, I’m learning stuff. You know, every day I just recently in the last year learned about the whole revenge just nothing I knew about whatsoever.

Chip: You got any revenge secrets? I’m interested since it’s new to you. Maybe you got different approach.

Freaux: I don’t have any revenge secrets. It’s something that I’m just kind of learning and bettering myself. But it’s something where you know, something if we cut doesn’t make it or you know, just any, you know, little thing happens where you don’t have a gun and you get it mislabeled and we’re gonna, you know, try to do a revision, it’s gonna be harder to grow up. So make something as I do, I could let you know how it went,

Chip: You know, people I’ve had people complain and tell me it doesn’t come out. Right, but I’ve done it. I’ve had to do it many times over, you know, 30 years ago and gotcha. And yeah, man, pinch off all the bugs try to leave as much leaf is possible. Switch to that high nitrogen batch fertilizer, it veges back easily. It might take a month or so for it to get normal leafs, but it absolutely will come back.

Freaux: And that’s awesome. And that’s, that’s something that, you know, we’re gonna play around with if it comes down to that, you know, yeah, yeah, you just have to.

Chip: Yeah, I mean, that’s the back. That’s what you shouldn’t do, because what you should do is label the pot, labeled the plant labeled the soil and try to keep up with it. And then if like one of the three labels washes off, or there’s still, you know, one of the three labels left,

Freaux: And you know how it is, I mean, anything.

Chip: It is man enough, so I have seen it, man, I’ve done it. You know, not all keep trying, but Okay, uh, writing on the side of the pot, that works great except with the pots is touching another pot, then it can get wiped off, you know, over time, even if it’s a sharpie. Right and that, you know, SD one, you look at it eight months later after the sun has hit down is like, is that a DB?

Freaux: Yeah, that type. Yeah, exactly. We’re kind of dealing with some of that right now. Like looking like a two or three, you know?

Chip: Yeah, we’re just started looking at Baker’s medical, the clone nursery. My wife, Jessica operates in Oklahoma City, he’s just looking into getting a label, like a printed label maker. So that we can keep things organized even more so than we do because we write all the labels out by hand right now. And I mean, they’re going through 3000 cuttings a week, they can definitely need a label maker. 

Freaux: Oh, yeah, they will make that’s a lot right there.

Chip: Yeah, totally. But it’s important. You got to keep everything organized. You know, when you’re clone nursery like that’s, you know, clone nurseries have a couple, a handful of things that fail for them. They give out bad genetics, right? They give out bad bugs. Right? And they fuck up the labeling.

It’s important that you got to keep everything organized. – Chip

Freaux: You think something and it ends up being that little surprise something else?

Chip: I mean as long as it’s good no big deal, but like if it’s some experiment, you know, then it’s— [inaudible]Yeah, totally. Hey man, I think this is a great time. Take a break. Let’s uh Hey, let’s roll up that other SL two there and self three SL three. All right. Hey, we’re gonna take another break. We’ll be right back real dirt Baker and fro.

And we’re back. Had to get some peanuts and cons, a little snack. Freaux rolled up get another large medical marijuana delivery device. So, you guys a soil grower, soilless growers. 

Freaux: Ah Coco. 

Chip: Oh, yeah, you use my product growers. 

Freaux: We shared it. 

Chip: Yeah, man. You know how you like it.

Freaux: We love it. We love it.We switched over to it a while back. It’s been great. Plants have looked healthier, so much cleaner product and some stuff we’re using before. Doesn’t come wet. So dry. Don’t have all kinds of stuff growing and some you know what else coca? No,

Chip: You didn’t use peat before, right? 

Freaux: I did not. 

Chip: Yeah. And were you a little leery about having a coco peat blend,

Freaux: Just something I wasn’t familiar with. And it’s kind of one of the things and I know us we kind of fall into that stuff too. Even though we like to try new stuff and experiment you get kind of creature of habit. So when something’s working good, it’s kind of hard to, you know, make the switch, but when we did, it’s been great.

Chip: Yeah, absolutely. People talk to me all the time about it because you know, I’m a cocoa guy. 100% Man, I am four years straight cocoa like a proponent and I still think that’s the best way to grow the planet and for production. But that’s a whole nother story but man, it’s hard to get that shit right. When it’s straight cocoa it’s hard to get it right and the P just makes it easier. right hands down. I like I started looking at people around me crushing it with these blends of cocoa and P man I just I just just realism hit me. It’s like fuck, dude. Pete Absolutely works. I had to bite some of my swallow some of my previous said words. But a man blending in peat with coco with the right ratio really makes perfect growing medium.

Freaux: I would definitely have to agree. We’ve been definitely pleased with it. Yeah, and

Chip: Yeah, and how many?plants you guys plan up normally when you plan up a plant, I mean plant you use the product.

Freaux: So normally we go through our rooms we have tons, not a ton, but we have several 20 light rooms and normally do about 205 gallons. apart so that’s pretty much almost a full pallet roughly 60 bags ish, we usually like right there maybe right there at a couple bags. But um, that’s usually about where, man though

Chip: Now, I built this product. I built it out of us because I wanted people recognize the problems people were having when they were planting up cannabis when they were buying soil. Tell me what you noticed the first thing when you went to plan up those first 200 pods?

Freaux: As far as just in general? 

Chip: In general about the soil. 

Freaux: That’s super heavy. I mean, it’s Yeah, I mean, it’s tiring after you get through the first. 

Chip: Yeah, it’s tiring right the first time you do it, and that was that’s that’s one of the things that you know, I really wanted to focus on is have the right moisture content in the bag of potting so when you get it, so the growers are like is really light. Yeah, really, really, truly right. You can pick up like four it’s four bags at a time, right? You

Freaux: When we we switched over that was a thing because sometimes we have to carry carry bags long ways and then you know, loading and unloading it but like, Oh wait, you know instead of one I can pick up two at a time as

Chip: Well getting that moisture level right to also like solve the other problem people have with with getting potting soil and bring it into indoor environments.

Freaux: That was the thing with some other brands out there. It’s hard man–

Chip: I’ve been making so like most of my adult life, it’s hard to make potting soil without bugs. But man, I don’t see any in my current product and haven’t seen any and–

Freaux: I can tell you right now that was the biggest thing for us was the cleanliness of it. You know, that’s something I know y’all pride yourselves on as far as the way you know, you know, practice as far as the way you make it, store it, you know, that type of stuff, but that’s the thing. We never see any issues were in you know, previous years and stuff like that or you know, previous times You know you get those little things but I think you’ve done a great job of mitigating all those issues that come with that type —

Chip: Thanks man. I really did build it because I wanted the best product on the market for shipping, for picking it up, for application and for interaction with people, for interaction with the plant. I wanted a high performance potting soil that the plants really took off immediately, you know– I asked Fletcher good friend of mine, right with the Archive. I asked him like what’s– where he just gave me some advice years ago, right when I had bad potting soil. This was maybe 10 years ago, it’s like man, people want to plant in their media. And when they pull out it just like the roots just blow out and they just take off immediately and that didn’t happen with this batch of soil, right and because I will had problems with it, those problems with the compost, there’s problems with the nutrient delivery, right? It wasn’t the best potting soil. I thought about that forever. It’s like Yeah, when people plant up in your potting soil, they’re gonna immediately like the next day go in and want like, you know this, Oh, moment, right. and that’s what I really tried to deliver with growers right the growers HP and I think y’all doing [inaudible] Well man I tell you, this a number three– 

Freaux: What do you think? 

Chip: It has a softer taste, but I think it actually, like smokes a little bit better, right. It’s smoother, right. We’ll see as we get down here on the road, but the the, I’m not saying the flavor went away after the first like, second or third puff of the original one. But this one seems like the flavors holding a little longer.This one also like It smells more like it tastes. 

Freaux: Yeah I got you. 

Chip: Right. Where the other one, it. It tastes more of the earthy cushy side. No, I’m sorry, it tastes, it tastes, smelled more of the earthy cushy side and had a really good citrus flavor.

Freaux: And I mean, that’s what I’m saying, you know, back to we’re kind of talking about what you know, and sometimes there something that you just don’t want to let go, you know, and that’s kind of where we are with.

Chip: I get that.

Freaux: I think they’re both, you know, good enough to keep around. Yeah.

Chip: Yeah, absolutely. But they’re so closely related, though. It’s hard. And it’s going to end up in my experience ends up being like, oh, which is the better grower. You know, which one’s the highest producer? Which one looks the best which one’s the easiest to grow? Which one’s the easy to vege, does often went out in a case like this 

Freaux: And I’d have to agree. 

Chip: Right. It is a shame though because, you know the first one we spoke up it was the true hybrid, right and you could taste you know all sides of the plant it was fully, full flavored you know, kushy too citrus. Yeah.I have this the other the other plant though is its man the Roman The air is different. Yeah. Right at you know, it almost Tingley like pepper citrus Petrus orange pepper orange tree pepper Arn. Right. You know, it’s totally a different vibe. It’s like you’re giggling you got a smile, you know, so I thought dude, but it’s hard to keep them both together, right?

Freaux: Yeah. For sure.

Chip: Sometimes, you just have to keep them and it’s the number one and two pheno. And we see that number one and three pheno right. And we see that all the time with stuff like Gelato 33. You know are 33. 

Freaux: I love Gelato 33, the creaminess–

Chip: Yeah, totally man, creaminess. And, you know, or, man. What’s the good does he do the great does he do?

Freaux: I know there’s so many good dish so many good ones,

Chip: Man, like 22 that’s all I was gonna say. But 22 yeah, that’s a great one. Well, that’s one people talk about frequently. And you know what we refer to these numbers as it’s just like the number of plant that you put down, right.You just got lucky. It was the number one the number three.

Freaux: Yeah, and that’s what we’re not

Chip: So do you number at 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 from the beginning? 

Freaux: We do. 

Chip: Okay, sweet. What I usually do is I like to plant a lot at once and shotgun effect a little bit. So I’ll plant like 50 or 25 of one strain and just labeled the whole flat. When they come up and I transplant them, then I’ll 12345 them. But I do it in like, Oh, I like this one the most number one– 

Freaux: I know a lot people do that yeah– 

Chip: Like this is number two. And it goes all the way down the line but you know what, hey, over and over again that, early like selection that mean shit. Yeah. When they’re that young, it just does not mean anything. And I’ve want a couple of times, but mostly is like, oh, the number 22 I thought it was gonna be great. It wasn’t you know, but– so yeah, then we label them. Man sometimes we’ll even relabel them again right after like we make a cut, right. Just to keep the numbers organized a little bit. Right. 

So the overall notes over time might not be the best but because designations change, but we once we like make that cut into the secondary round of flowering there, they always have a set you know, they always have set, but if we might just take it right back if we like for instance if we plant out 50, 40 seeds come up and look good we transplant those out and we label them 1-40 and then we flower those out and 25 are male we just throw those away. Right, and you know mostly sometimes we’ll keep them. And the rest of them we’ll keep, we’ll decide like, four of them are good, then we’ll take those four, and sometimes we’ll relabel those two just 1 2 3 4. Cuz then you just back to keeping it like that’s the number one. That’s the number two. That’s number three–

Freaux: Kind of like what was right where it started with, you know, get in the beginning or not. 

Chip: And, you know, even sometimes we’ve even kept the numbers just because like from an numerological standpoint, they were good numbers. Right, like, you know– But so like, it doesn’t have to be like the Dewey Decimal System. Yeah, right. You just have to keep it organized. 

Freaux: Yeah, just yeah. 

Chip: Yeah, just keep it organized. And do you do literally do it? D on your tag? Do you write the full name? Do you make abbreviations Do you do ABCD 1234. We love–

Naming your Weed

Freaux: For abbreviations. And most are sets or, you know, like, five packs or whatever, it’s all pop on the same day. We’ll just take [inaudible] like on the whiteboard, on the phone or whatever. When we started the process, but um, yeah, normally it’s all abbreviations and numbers, and then sometimes you get messed up because you’ll have some of the same abbreviations and we’ll just try to make back a little, you know, label add x or abbreviation or assign or something on it, just to keep it all, you know, separate because that’s the thing is just when you’re spending the time and effort to do this, you want to do it right. And so just whatever works, any kind of labeling that we find, you know, we can abbreviate for the Sunshine Lime, SL, and then you know, the number worked well. But, um,

Chip: Yeah, you can see some of our jars behind you, and we always just abbreviate DB, SD, G– You know we then we nickname shit too, right. Currently we’ve got the– Our current nickname of the gills nails great strain by the swamp boys wasn’t familiar with it just randomly got into it very straight great strain great strain don’t really like the name but like we always smoke it in the morning so we call it pistols at dawn but it’s spelled like flour pistols and not like Colt 45

Freaux: That’s a good one. That’s pretty great. All

Chip: That Wife High Sunset Sherbert cross we have that we’ve we’ve dubbed that Oklahoma sunset. Nice because it’s definitely an evening weed. And you know, we always you know, you’re you’re here at the ranch where we’re out here in the evenings and go for a little walk see the sunset smokes and want to find sunset sherbert Which is a mouthful. Yeah. Right? Which is a mouthful so so even though like you know at the shop we call everything by its, you know genetic history or it’s given name by the breeder and then we’ll often dub it something else. When do you feel it’s your license to rename nick name a clone or of something of that that persuasion?

Freaux: So I think that’s a pretty interesting question right there. And I’d say a lot of people you talk to would probably have like a different opinion. I know us it’d be something that we’d probably you know, want to if we were going to do that we haven’t you know, re nicknamed anything or anything like that yet or a female we select that, you know, debate a different name, just so you know, I think if that’s something we were going to do, we probably want to reach out to the breeder. Make sure it’s okay and tell them like hey, you know, give them this. prompts and it’s a word because we, you know, create the genetics or anything. We just found the pheno–

Chip: I think as long as you nickname the clone, it’s fine. I feel good about it. Right? Like, the Wife High Sunset Sherbert like it’s just a big bucket name, but like it for the geeks like us, we like okay, it’s Yes, you know? Yes, the equation that’s in there, and we want to see that but, you know, then there’s just how like, you refer to your cutting or you can refer to it in nicknames change over time, too. And, you know, we often call it sunset, but like, that’s just not quite the right designation. And so it’s hard for that one. And when

Freaux: We have a lot of like, in house nicknames we’ll, you know, dub the different females we haven’t like actually marketed or–

Chip: Put it out and that’s how this all came about. Right? Is is like designating it some name. Just to We’ve used family member names we mean any, any anything that’s that would have been

Freaux: A little inside joke about it. Yeah.

Chip: Yeah, you have to get into it and I know there’s a certain amount of science involved into it. But I mean, there really is communication with the plant and enjoying it and actually experiencing life with these plants. Like that’s the joy of it all, right. The communication, just like what we’re doing right now. It’s like when we go out in the garden. You know, like we’re looking at the plants, talking to them, asking them what they need. And you know, it’s not literal. It’s like checklist in our head, right? I’m sure you have yours, you know, walk into a room. How does it feel to me? Is it hot? Right? Like, how do the plants look? Are they you know, standing up. What’s the color of them you know, the cleanliness like all of it you know what are the problems, do they bottomed out or they not bottomed out or they crowded in, do they have as much room as there’s a big enough container and a small too small container they’re overgrown you know like whatever it is, there something the plant has to say some story every plant has to tell you, right. There’s Rocky one back in the studio, I swear, man I think he just likes to hang out here in the smoke. 

Freaux: He is cool dog. 

Chip: Rock is a bad ass little dog. Well French Bulldog you’ll be might see him on Instagram occasionally. You know, let him in. He’s gonna keep scratching. I really liked the like rough cut pneus of the whole real dirt. And we do a little polishing of it all but like I like to give people who like show how it happened. But you know, and it’s it’s not edited so much it is a free for all experience. And if you’re listening to this now and you haven’t subscribed to the real dirt iTunes, please man, go there and subscribe. And if you’re not following me on instagram like man, Instagram doesn’t like weed and weed education so much. 

So like they don’t really show our Instagram out to new people. So if you’re not following us, please follow us on Instagram, and we’ll keep you up to date on all of the new newest releases all the private releases come in this next year. And anything cool we’re doing with classes with, you know, events, you know, it’ll keep you up to date. So definitely join us at the real dirt podcast on Instagram. Hey, for what how do we get in touch with you if somebody wants to follow you guys on Instagram? How do they do it?

Where to Find Them

Freaux: So we have an Instagram, our Instagram is jive.cannabisco and we also have like a second one kind of like a backup kind of like you said with you know it’s good to have like one or two just in case, so @jive.cannabisco or @jivefarms those both those counts are associated with us you know now would be the best way to probably get in touch with us or whatnot would probably be like, you know

Chip: Yeah, man, Oklahoma’s a great place to be. I’m glad you made it here man. 

Freaux: I’m happy to be here– 

Chip: Oh, dude. Totally a great spot man. And man, people like really want great, great weed–

Freaux: They really do. That’s what’s awesome about a man.

Chip: They want good weed, they might not even know they want it. They might even know that what they have is not great weed but if you see Jive Cannabis Co on any dispensary shelf, you should try it out. Personal endorsement by me Chip Baker. Whatever that means, man. So you don’t you do any trade shows? You do anything in the future like–

Freaux: I mean we’re always open to whatever seeing what’s in the area or whatnot but um, nothing on the schedule or anything. But I’m definitely gonna try to go to that little seminar y’all are put on or whatnot. 

Chip: Oh, yeah, yeah, our organic cultivation seminar, March 21st 2020. In Oklahoma City, if you’re around, you should go. And if it’s after that date, man, look it up. It’ll probably be a webinar or something like that in the future.

Freaux: Sounds good. Looking forward to that one. 

Chip: Man, I appreciate having you on here. Anything else we like you got like a tip for our growers out there. Some sort of tip for planting seeds or fino hunting just one specific thing. Ah,

Freaux: Man, I mean really just, I would say for somebody who’s never done it, definitely give it a try. Especially– 

Chip: If you’ve never planted seeds before, plant some seeds.

Freaux: If you’ve never planted seeds before, definitely plant some seeds and give it a try, man. I think you’ll be surprised with the results you see. And it’s definitely enjoyable.

Chip: Yeah, absolutely man. Go out there, buy some seeds. Do some research. You know, really like hunt it down. The more expensive seeds generally are the better seeds just how it kind of rolls. Maybe not always, but good luck, man. Enjoy your pheno-hunt. And hey, Thanks Freaux man, we appreciate you coming here, dude. 

Freaux: I appreciate you having me on. 

Chip: Yeah, man, it was great. We’re gonna sit back while you guys enjoy the exit music and we’re gonna smoke another large joint here on the realtor.

Man, that was a great episode. Man, I feel like almost feel like right now even have more questions than I had at the beginning of the episode when we script this whole thing out. So we’re probably going to have to have a part three or four or two or three or four with Freaux on this whole subject. But I know I learned some stuff. I learned about how Freaux does it, and man, they have an eye for it. And it does take the eye, and it makes the experience and the ability to be able just to go out there and actually try to plant some seeds. So, yeah, man, thanks for joining me. I always am grateful that you spend your time listening to me where you could be doing other stuff. 

If you’re ever in Oklahoma City or in Denver, stop by Cultivate Colorado, man, if you’re in Cultivate Oklahoma, Cultivate OKC ask for Chris or ask for Chip. Man. I’m in there all the time. Love to chat with you. And find out about what you’re interested in and what may be the next episode of The Real Dirt should be. So stay tuned. We’ve got a great season. Join us on Instagram at the real dirt podcast. Follow us on Facebook at The Real Dirt podcast. And yeah, man, definitely therealdirt.com where you can find out about all the latest episodes about everything—going on with us about all our special events. We’re having a bunch of special events this year. So thanks again for joining me and we will see you next time on The Real Dirt.

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From Red Bull to CBD: Reinventing Energy Supplements

From Red Bull to CBD: Reinventing Energy Supplements

best CBD supplements

John Zolikoff came out of the motorcycle and action sports world. He worked for 15 years at Harley-Davidson and Austrian sports motorcycle maker KTM.

During that time, John worked closely with Red Bull back in early 2000 when energy drinks were entering the market.

After experiencing the health benefits of CBD several years ago, and on a mission to find healthy energy that he could take any time, anywhere, John started ZOHKO in 2018. He pulled together scientists and doctors to create ZOHKO Energy, which is on the cusp of creating a new energy category.

ZOHKO Energy combines CBD with eight power-packed ingredients to boost energy, mood, motivation, and focus, all while the adaptogens strengthen immunity and help fight stress.

Here’s an exciting episode about branding and developing a company with a CBD expert. Remarkable insights await from John Zolikoff on how ZOHKO developed their brand, used unique marketing strategies, how they target their market and sell their products.

Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include

4:53 – Transitioning from motorcycle and sports world to CBD
8:24 – A light bulb moment on CBD
13:31 – Pushing through the CBD industry
18:05 – Branding ZOHKO energy
21:42 – Your brand is your avatar
33:52 – Sales channels
35:32 – Keeping the CBD business rolling
38:05 – Where to find them​

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with John Zolikoff

Connect with  Chip Baker

Transcript

Chip Baker: Hey, this Chip of The Real Dirt. In today’s dirt, I want to talk about branding and developing a company. To talk to my good buddy John Zolikoff about his company, ZOHKO. Now it’s a CBD energy supplement company but the reason I wanted to have John on so he could talk to people about how they develop their brand, their branding strategy, how they develop their customers, how they sell the product, just all the like little things that it takes to bring a product to market. 

Now many people cannabis or hemp farmers, all they’re interested in is you know, growing lots of ganja which I’m totally fine with that. But many people realize they need to have some sort of added value product or they need something more than they can grow or they can produce, and so a branded or a formulated product is the perfect way to do it. You know, if you’re interested in hemp, you’re in Interested in CBD, if you’re interested in ganja, this is going to be a great great great episode. And we literally like you know you can use this format and develop your company kind of based behind it develop your brand, kind of behind it. So sit back and enjoy this next episode of The Real Dirt with Chip Baker and John Zolikoff

Hey, this is Chip from The Real Dirt, and on today’s dirt, I have my good buddy John Zolikoff come to you live from Sarasota, Florida. Say hello, John.

John Zolikoff: Hey, everyone. Hey Chip. Great to be here.

Chip Baker: Oh, man, the birds are chirping in the background. I hear you a little puppies going on. Just looks and sounds like an incredible place to be right now. What’s going on in Florida, man?

John Zolikoff: Well, it’s a it’s a good place to to be isolating for sure. So we’re close to the beach as you can see. Got great setup here so we’re hunkered down, good place for ZOHKO headquarters to be trying to support everyone and you know, Sarasota is where– So as you mentioned, we’ve got eight puppies right now.

Chip Baker: Oh, yeah, we can’t. I can’t really hear them. I hear the birds. They sound great. They’re very pleasant, John.

John Zolikoff: Yes. So we’re surrounded by nature. So that’s we’re enjoying this is how we’re gonna heal ourselves, right?

Chip Baker: Oh, man treat is just looks and sounds incredible. I’m also in a self isolating format, as you can see grooming myself so well.

John Zolikoff: I shave for you today!

Chip Baker: Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s great. What do you mean I think I shaved?

John Zolikoff: My Sunday best–

Chip Baker: My Saturday sweatshirt on, even though it’s Monday right now.

John Zolikoff: And that’s how we met. Was that baby bathwater–

Chip Baker: Yeah, baby bathwater on a Saturday or a day that felt like it anyway. 

John Zolikoff: Yeah, exactly. 

Chip Baker: Yeah. So John, the reason you know I have you on The Real Dirt is John, you’re one of the founders or the founder of ZOHKO, which is a CBD and energy supplement company. John, you’ve started several other businesses in the past, and you know this is a new venture for you and so many people are thinking about getting involved in a CBD or cannabis business or already have some sort of CBD or cannabis business and you took a slightly different approach to starting your business then then maybe many other people. And you spoke about it at all and how you kind of got involved with it but as the brand you want it to develop this brand. Because in previous businesses you didn’t necessarily own you know, own what you were doing. It was someone else’s brain. So, again, I’m glad we can chat with you about a day. Hey man, how did you kind of come up with this idea of to start a CBD energy supplement? 

Transitioning from Motorcycle and Sports World to CBD

John Zolikoff: Well, so as you said, I, you know, going back I came out of the action sports world so I was in motorcycles I was with Harley Davidson and then KTM sport motorcycles, and KTM has a relationship back between the founders in Austria with Red Bull. So back in like the late night 1990s and early 2000s when Red Bull was just coming into the market. We were doing crazy partnerships with them, you know, with like all that extreme sports and you know skydiving and motorcycle races. So I was in kind of in that group and saw like, I mean Red Bull created the category right before that there were no energy drinks and so then all sudden. I was also kind of in that extreme world of, you know, riding motorcycles and jumping out of airplanes and you know, so we want to [inaudible] Back in the day now I’m just the old guy with all the puppies and kids and grandkids. I saw what all that energy and what energy drinks and you know that how much people would pay for that energy and then also seeing the brand.

Chip Baker: So you learn from some of the major brands and a completely kind of different arena though it’s not healthcare or it’s I mean it’s a much more consumer oriented product than a healthcare product. No I’m talking to my ass.

John Zolikoff: Oh no for sure. So I come in straight out of university actually even my, my thesis, I did it on Harley Davidson. So I had a motorcycle. I bought a Harley when I was in college. I ran a business back then a bartending agency. 

Chip Baker: So you were a fan. 

John Zolikoff: So I was uh, yeah, so and I talked them into sponsoring my thesis and so that was what I love to do. But then about 13-14 years ago, I met my wife, as women will do they, they change you and she’s from Brazil, but she’s also a vegetarian and very much into sustainability. And so it was and then also I started my family and so it was this shift in my life I swore when I met my wife that I would never give up eating meat. And that took about a year to become a vegetarian because she was a really good cook. But more and more, I’ve become healthier with my life and the benefits I feel great. 

So with the energy drinks that we’re doing all the time in the motorcycle world it wasn’t hard to figure out that those are bad for you with all the chemicals and sugar but [inaudible] were much. Still, then you get into than I was into coffee and that’s how I kind of raise my kid was just drinking coffee all day to keep up with my– he’s 12-year-old years old now. But I was always looking for this natural energy and something I can feel good because otherwise, you feel like you’re always like stealing from the future, your future longevity for your industry today, right?

I was always looking for this natural energy and something I can feel good because otherwise, you feel like you’re always stealing from the future, your future longevity for your industry today. – John Zolikoff

Chip Baker: So you are you already looking at an energy type of supplement or you’ve been thinking about it for years and the CBD just it was the lightbulb moment?

A Light Bulb Moment on CBD

John Zolikoff: Yeah for the CBD for me was you know I’ve been into hemp and cannabis for years and but I had this chronic pain in my shoulders that came like out of nowhere. And and it hurt a lot just to raise a you know, higher than shoulder height. And we went through the traditional medical tests, MRIs and x rays and cortisone shots which you can’t do multiple times, but none of it helped. And then finally the doctors like I don’t understand it, can’t figure it out. And you just have to live with it. Maybe cut back on this or whatever. I tried to– 

Chip Baker: But you didn’t cut back in the weed? 

John Zolikoff: No, I didn’t [inaudible]. But just smoking the weed didn’t stop–

Chip Baker: Didn’t do it. No, it doesn’t. And that’s the thing is CBD is anti-inflammatory–

John Zolikoff: That was the medicine. And so a friend recommended it. And it was, I think it’s called ACDC. And, you know, within a day it cut the pain in half. And by the end of the week, like it was down to 10% of what it was before. So that was powerful for me personally. So then the —

Chip Baker: A major believer–

John Zolikoff: Exactly. And knowing as the market became more legal, at least enough that I wanted to look into it. And so then I sought out how could I find like the experts and the best– and then I found you, so but, you know, so that was like the next step [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Here’s how John found us as we were in the corner, smoking weed in a circle. So those large smoke cloud coming up between us and John recognize the smoke signal. And, Hey, man, what are you guys doing?

John Zolikoff: That’s exactly how it happened. And I think we played that out a few different times. But then we’re also you know, at that event, there were a number of really knowledgeable and experts in the new market in hemp, CBD and cannabis. I remember some really good advice that you gave, and some of it was, I was like, Okay, well, California is opening up. I would love to have my own.

Chip Baker: You want, you thought you wanted to grow it?

John Zolikoff: I wanted to do a farm. Yeah, exactly. And so you start calling me farmer John, I think was and somehow–

Chip Baker: Farmer John Oh, I said, Oh, John over there. He wants to be a farmer, farmer John.

John Zolikoff: And somehow I just didn’t, you know, I couldn’t see like, you know, I haven’t grown up in the field, right? I don’t have that kind of expertise. So something there– And I remember you also saying that they look at, there’s an opportunity now, but as soon as the big companies come in, it’s going to get, you know, the prices will just get gutted, like, soy and everything else, right. So, that made a lot of sense. And then you said that, the real places to focus on CBD, which is legal, and across the country and to, and to create a brand, you know, to– So, I mean I think two years later here, maybe from that discussion, but it was appreciated, is great advice. And–

Chip Baker: Hey, man, this is a perfect time for us to stop for a break here. We’ll come back and we’re going to talk about like, your next step, you had the idea, and how did you want to do it differently than you had before? All right, here’s The Real Dirt. We’ll be back in a moment. 

Hey, this is Chip, I hope you’re enjoying this episode of The Real Dirt. I just wanted to have a little public service announcement out there in these trying times. I just want to encourage everyone to have a little bit more tolerance with people around them, with their family, with their friends, and the people they interact in the world. You know, it’s gotten to be an incredibly small world lately, and we all realize that we’re in it together. So the next time that you feel a little stressed or you see somebody else stress, just take, just take a second. Relax, and if you can, roll up the largest join that you can. And then enjoy another episode of The Real Dirt. Thanks again, we’ll get back into it. Right now. 

All right, and we’re back with John Zolikoff. We’re talking about how John has started a CBD energy supplement company. So John, you had this idea and, you know, kind of– Take me to the steps of like, what kind of happened? What was the next thing that happened? You had the idea, and you decided you wanted to make some CBD products.

Pushing through the CBD Industry

John Zolikoff: Yeah. So for sure CBD. So we partnered early on with obviously we were starting with CBD and we searched out the best sources for that. Being able to go all the way back and trace the genetics and make sure that we’re getting full spectrum. So we got all the cannabinoids and so that was the foundation. But then also, for me, it was important I wanted to create supplements that people could really feel like from the beginning and so, the idea from the beginning was also to come up with engineered or formulated products with intentional benefits so, energy was the obvious one and the starting point. 

We searched out a group that is like the best in formulating performance supplements. And so, it was a little bit, I think, a different approach than most people. So product development was key. We wanted to include energy ingredients, but also adaptogens, which even now is, even more, I think timely with adaptogens are great at boosting your immunity and fighting stress and in fatigue. So, that was important. So coming up with the right formula was key, then sourcing the full-spectrum CBD then finding even the manufacturer. Our formula is unique it’s a like a liquid, so it’s like a maybe see here it’s got oil in there, so it’s MCT oil plus the CBD, but then it’s got seven other ingredients so there’s Caffeine, Dynamine, which is a Kucha tea leaf extract and gives a nice even energy that just kind of tapers off at the end versus kind of that nervous energy with a crash that a lot you’ll get from energy drinks. 

Chip Baker: Oh, hold on. Let me get some coffee.

John Zolikoff: Well, we got you got ZOHKO on the way. I know guys like it but yeah, exactly. So instead of that big, you know rush and kind of, you know jittery effect. This is a nice even the combination of the caffeine and the Dynamine and the hemp just really works nicely. Then so we’ve got lots of B vitamins and Rhodiola which like the Russian astronauts and cosmonauts and athletes have been using forever. Through Ginsengs, Spirulina, MCT Oil and it’s a vegetarian capsule. There are certain things that are really important for me I wanted this to be something that I was going to take. I mean I basically since I got my first samples a year and almost a year and a half ago, I’ve more or less given up coffee. I like the taste but this is just so much easier and I know that I’m getting all these other health ingredients on top of it but for example, vegetarian capsules were important to me being a vegetarian. 

So that was a big thing. I designed it for what I was looking for. Making sure people– a lot of people talk about their CBD, that they’re that it makes them tired or drowsy and they can’t take it during the day with [inaudible] You can get your 25 milligrams of CBD in each capsule, and you can go to work and be focused and, you know, the Dynamine–

Chip Baker: I usually take two. Just saying.

John Zolikoff: And that’s why each one has 100 milligrams of caffeine and all these other ingredients, but they’re, it’s the right amount that you can stack it. So that’s the official recommendation is not to exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine of the day. So we say don’t take more than four. But the Dynamine is really a neat ingredient. It’s new on the market, and they promote it. They say, EMF, I think it’s EMMF. So energy, mood, motivation and focus, which right now, like especially we’re all working at home. So how do you keep your head straight while, you got kids and puppies running around? Or if you’re trying to focus and create your new thing, right, it’s great for that. So that’s on the products side and we’re really happy. I mean, you’ve had it people really like it–

Branding ZOHKO Energy

Chip Baker: So you wanted to formulate the product, right? You didn’t want to do a white label product, you wanted something specific for you, you want to stand out. So you got a formulator you had the idea, right? You wanted something different. And how did you approach the brand side? How did you develop because many people don’t even know what a brand is. I guess that’s all up for debate. It’s more than just a logo. How did you approach the next phase?

John Zolikoff: Yeah. So this is what we ended up with, which is so ZOHKO energy, CBD plus energy. I have launched as you mentioned, I’ve started a lot of different companies and I’ve done kind of the branding and always just on my own right. Then just kind of didn’t take a disciplined approach to it, and go through a process and so knowing that the market was going to be so competitive, knowing that looking at the market and really, not to offend anyone, but if you look at the CBD market, there’s just like it all like–

Chip Baker: Charlatans and homespun bullshit and people just want to get rich quick, I’ll say it

John Zolikoff: Yeah, there you go. But no one really looking at it from like a consumer products perspective, right? Like how to really connect with people and like it’s always it’s CBD, the CBD this CBD that, hemp the you know, it’s just like, and even our first idea was like Blue River Hemp. Right? That was that would have been [inaudible] the process that would have been the first that would have been in and then we would have just been competing with every other hemp company to try and be the most trusted or the most whatever. So, we worked with branding for the people, a great group that so we invested first before everything in the brand and that process that we went through, forced us to identify our customers. So it was we came up with three or four avatars, but all around kind of active outdoor adventure type people. And then, you know, you relate to them a little bit differently, like I’m Gen X, I’m 49 right? So I kind of grew up in all this action, extreme sports stuff. But now like I mean–

We invested first before everything in the brand, and that process that we went through forced us to identify our customers. – John Zolikoff

Chip Baker: Now you’re beat up. 

John Zolikoff: I’m beat up and I need yeah, lubricate–

Chip Baker: My elbow, my arm, my shoulders–

John Zolikoff: Exactly. But this now gives me– This gives me energy, and it gives my body like the lubrication to go out and charge and do things than I used to, or not at the same level. It is so focusing on who was our target demographic. And for me, it was just kind of like looking. I’m just going to kind of do almost like the Red Bull in a healthy energy, right? And what’s great is like, so you get a bottle of this, it’s 30 servings, right? That’s like 30 energy drinks in your pocket, or 30 double shot, you know, Starbucks double shots like that.

Chip Baker: That’s a month supply.

John Zolikoff: Exactly. And so for me, like, I would always go to like these trade shows or even when I traveled, I’d go buy those little Starbucks double shot four packs. Yeah, totally. I would put those in my– every everywhere I went, I put those in my luggage because that was my best way to just get my caffeine and my energy to go and now I have this solution. 

Your Brand is Your Avatar

Chip Baker: Yeah. So you mentioned avatars early, you’ve had a couple of different avatars. Let’s explain to people what that means.

John Zolikoff: So that’s where you sit down and you describe the psychographics and the personality, the activities how people [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Of your perceived customer even. 

John Zolikoff: Yep. The media they consume, the places they go just how– so that you can speak specifically to them. What we’re finding is the formula. I mean, there’s so many people that want natural, convenient energy. And so our avatar was actually kind of this young like originally like 18 to 30 year old. 

Chip Baker: He’s made one avatar. 

John Zolikoff: The first one is that one avatar, so it was pretty, it was a younger one than what we’re finding it to be but so and we called him Travis like Travis Pastrana, if you know action sports, he’s like the original, extreme sports guy. And so you as a group we built out this whole page that describes everything about Travis.

Chip Baker: Who Travis’s what he looks like, what he drives, what he what he does?

John Zolikoff: Yep, we now have like four different avatars. So there’s Travis and you come up with names so that people can relate to a little bit better but so now there’s four. So that was the avatar part then you also wanted to come up with the Archetypes. It’s also like the personality of the company like are you like a National Geographic? Are you like the most trusted you know are you like IBM and so there’s this whole through the process. They give examples of other the personalities of other types of companies. And you pick you decide what you want your– So for me, what was really amazing for this was like, we spent a lot of money invested but it was so refreshing to be able to just like dream up who I really wanted my customer to be, right i mean like this.

Chip Baker: So the importance is this is like if you know what your customer is and what they look like your potential customer what they look like and then you start to imagine what they’re going to be attracted to the colors that they’re going to buy the colors that they’re using, the language the copy the content, the sales letters, all of that comes from this avatar. Alright, how do you speak to Travis? Right? How do you lore Travis to come over the ZOHKO–

John Zolikoff: Yeah. And then you start to build off of that. So the archetypes I mentioned. So ours is you know, kind of fun loving and there’s like adjuster, adventure adjuster, there’s two but so that’s part of the process, but then also, we had to come up with a name right? So like Blue River Hemp and then there was someone had you know, I mentioned earlier that like the CBD, as you get older, kind of lubricate. It helps with all your joints and everything just feels better. So one idea was, you know, Life Loob, which sounds a little bit too looby. But there was this whole process of trying to name storm and then come up with a– 

Chip Baker: That’s for a different avatar. 

John Zolikoff: Yeah, so Life Loob didn’t make it. So, ZOHKO, it’s funny I have been called ZOHKO. My last name is Zolikoff so not exactly ZOHKO. For 20 years I’ve been using ZOCO, which is kind of short for Zolikoff company for different projects and consulting. My good friend and my son’s godfather who is the director of motorsports for Red Bull, and he’s an investor in ZOHKO, when I was sending them, I think an invoice for something and had that Zoco name on it as he was involved in this name storming process or this naming process and he goes, he goes, Hey, man, and for me, it’s kind of like seemed a bit egotistical, you know, like I just haven’t. I’m not put my name on things kind of, but I love the name. I just love the sound of it. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, that was a great name. 

John Zolikoff: And so he encouraged that, and so then we had to figure out so ZOCO but then you have to get the domain name right so there’s this whole process and so it shifted to the ZOHKO.

Chip Baker: And that’s the other thing about making up, then the the spelling of it is you got the .com and we can see that and tons of stuff these days. It’s hard to get the .com so if you spell your own word–

John Zolikoff: I mean, ZOCCO was like out of the box– [inaudible]

Chip Baker: [inaudible] Percent. Yeah, of course. 

John Zolikoff: When we got ZOHKO– 

Chip Baker: I bought The Real Dirt. 

John Zolikoff: Yeah, you are The Real Dirt. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, totally. 

John Zolikoff: That was kind of how those [inaudible]

Chip Baker: I just found out that some of my haters call me The Real Dirtbag, but I believe it’s just because you know, that dude’s a jackass and like, you can’t– probably know who you are.

John Zolikoff: He’s probably more into tea bagging. Anyway–

Chip Baker: Definitely, he’s definitely a Tea bagger, which Hey, man, if you’re in a tea bagging, and I’m not gonna, like, you know, like down you for that, that’s your own sport, whatever you want. 

John Zolikoff: That’s also a different avatar. 

Chip Baker: Right? It’s a different avatar. I’m not going to judge you over your tea bagging but like, you can’t be an asshole about it when you do it. Right. Totally inappropriate John, let’s get back to branding. So the thing I love about the avatar is now you get to take that avatar to every person that you do business with. So your website guy, your label guy, your packaging guy, you get to go take him Travis avatar be like, Hey, this is our customer.

John Zolikoff: Yeah, so it’s even more than that. So the avatar definition was part of building the brand platform and that’s the whole process. So that’s not only so we we created the avatar– so we were working through a whole process over the course of about six weeks. And it was laid out step by step. 

The avatar definition was part of building the brand platform, and that’s the whole process. – John Zolikoff

The avatar was part of it as the name storming and then like one of the main guys, design guys, they came up with a storyboard, after you know, was another step of the process where you know, they came up with images that would help us like narrow zero in on on the logo and things like that. Out of nowhere, the dude came up with a techno zebra so there’s this really cool storyboard that’s got this the zebra with like headphones on and sunglasses and, and somehow that evolved into what we have and but it’s interesting. So Zolikoff is my last name, I always when I spell my name, it’s Z as in zebra, right? Because B and Z and all these other so like It’s just–

Chip Baker: I might spell an axe occasionally but–

John Zolikoff: Yeah, so this is you know it looks really nice on swag I made it. It stands out it doesn’t say hempright it doesn’t say CBD it’s something that people are can really relate to we have a lot that we can do. You know they were very–

Chip Baker: You’re not pigeoned into like a one product, you can do whatever you want and add CBD to it instead of just being pigeon holed into a CBD company. 

John Zolikoff: Exactly. CBD is an ingredient, right. 

Chip Baker: CBD is a main ingredient.

John Zolikoff: It’s not a whole product or a whole experience. And then the group took you know, as we work through the process, the first thing was to get our labeling because we needed to you know, we had product. We had about dozen different things all you know on parallel timelines–

Chip Baker: You developed your brand story, you developed your avatar, you developed your labeling, your bottling your packaging, like how long did it take in order for you to actually get sellable product. How many months did it take?

John Zolikoff: So we really launched ZOHKO on an island in Croatia, in June of 2018. We had product we had the energy capsules by the end of December. 

Chip Baker: June, six months. Okay.

John Zolikoff: And I would say that’s a pretty condensed I mean, I was pushing–

Chip Baker: That’s great. It’s hard for me to get a product in the market and within three or four months like that, I’m struggling to get in through it in four months [inaudible]

John Zolikoff: And for me, it was all new, right? Like, I have I have an engineering like a general engineering degree. So I I’m used to doing projects and business development developers but you know, just the labeling right every step it was like you have to learn a new a whole new set of notes right but you do that all the time–

Chip Baker: Oh man, you know, I mean once you get through a couple products, it’s not the same but it’s definitely something you have to think about in food and supplements those are absolutely different fertilizers but yeah, it’s just you know, huge you know, just rules you have to follow when you put the packaging together. So man–

John Zolikoff: [inaudible] fine with them, you know, we set up warehousing right. So you had to you know, with CBD only so much– fulfillment Yep, exactly.

Chip Baker: So, you contracted out your manufacturing. Well you have your formula, you’ve got your package, you contract out the manufacturing, they put it in your package, and then they send it someplace else to fulfill it.

John Zolikoff: Yes, yeah, exactly. So we have a third party warehouse that we work with ship offers. They’re a great partner in Colorado. But not everyone’s– it’s becoming more easier and open more free now, but not everyone wants to deal with CBD right. So, that was part of part of the step. So fulfillment, right and then selling right so then, you know, website is the most obvious but then and I’ve set up a lot of websites and web shops, and never even really thought us extra time about the processing, processing and banking, as we know is such an issue with CBD, cannabis and hemp. But the last [inaudible] has– I’ve we’ve gone through three or four processors already and not for any good reason they just like decide to shut down. Our first one came in I think it was US Bank decided they were gonna just go into CBD market after and then after four or five months and they were great they’re super low price and funded in a day but then yeah they pulled out and I heard that like it affected like 4500 accounts are something crazy. 

Chip Baker: Wow yeah

John Zolikoff: This was like an April last year and like everyone you know, trying to find it at the same time. So I come more from like traditional sales and marketing kind of brick and mortar or motorcycles, bicycles–

Sales Channels

Chip Baker: So your sales channels mostly ecommerce or do you distribute to retail locations?

John Zolikoff: So we were doing some retail. Our retail strategy is similar to our demographic right our avatar, so we’re going on after outdoor retailers independent retailers. So fishing, you know [inaudible] all the CBD companies are not right now–

Chip Baker: Sale boarding shop, paragliding shop–

John Zolikoff: Yeah, and that’s where the energy products gonna come in we were actually a 30 count bottle is a big, big commitment to make so we’re actually coming out with three packs and special packaging for that channel and the response has been really, really good so far. So that’s going to be rolling out I don’t want to get too much into– I’m really happy with the packaging. I’ll show you the next time. You’re gonna love them. So that’s the retail is like this, you know, outdoor, you know? So we got e commerce, we’ve got outdoor retailers and then the third that we want to go with these three packs. We think that there really is a mass market for healthy convenient energy. And so that’s where– 

Chip Baker: Like 711 market? 

John Zolikoff: That convenience store is going head to head with five-hour energy. 

Keeping the CBD Business Rolling

Chip Baker: All right, I think I think so too, man. John, long, long the way you wanted to quit I’m sure. Along the way you’re like– man, what kept you going to bring this product fulfillment?

John Zolikoff: The response from the customers is fantastic. Well, I love the product. Everyone around me loves the product. It’s something in the past, my most recent business before was children’s bikes, which was a lot of fun. And it really changed a lot of little kids lives and that was so this evolution from kind of like burning petrol gas for recreation to this more sustainable and healthy to where I really want to help people and CBD you know so we have an expanding line we’re going to have a bomb you know, topical coming out as well. We have plans for more functional blends after the energy but I think energy really is our flagship it’s where we’re hanging our hat but I think this whole that people can make more memories they can do more with their kids they can do you know, they can get their relief and their CBD and still be have energy to get through the day. So that gets me I like I’m organic, you know, vegetarian. I want to be natural and how I treat things. And I just think this is what the world needs more of. And so adaptogens and CBD–

Chip Baker: So you said you had a heart for it man. Did you ever have a down moment? Did you ever have a moment where you didn’t think you’re gonna do this?

John Zolikoff: Yeah, for sure. So the last year has been frustrating because it’s been learning ecommerce, and we’re trying to learn it and build it and fly it and prepare and all that at the same time. And, we are lean, you know, we have a lot of people helping on the project, but I don’t have you know, I’m working, you know, from a home office. So there are a lot of times that you can– yeah, so I guess, just believing and as anyone that brings a product, I mean, you have to have the belief, like it’s already exists right. You just have to know that it’s the right thing and just keep going. 

You just have to know that it’s the right thing and just keep going. -John Zolikoff

Where to Find Them

Chip Baker: That’s awesome advice for any business owner. Thank you, man. Hey, John, how do people get in touch with? Get in touch with you? How do people order the product? Are you on Facebook, Instagram? 

John Zolikoff: Yep, so zohko.com, and we are on Instagram and Facebook – Zohkoholics. Just search on ZOHKO, you’ll find it. 

Chip Baker: Okay.

John Zolikoff: So yeah and the idea was just to help people live their lives more fully, and give them energy to be able to get out and enjoy and now it’s I think it’s a it’s what our bodies need to help you know, CBD helps your body–

Chip Baker: It’s what the body craves. 

John Zolikoff: Exactly. I mean it gives it what it’s need to fight whatever is out there, it is what it occurs. Yeah.

Chip Baker: Awesome, John. Well, hey, thanks for joining me today, man. I really enjoyed hearing the birds and talking to you about branding and developing a new product line and new company.

John Zolikoff: Yeah. Well, we’re happy to support you guys. So anytime you need energy anytime the dogs over there need some and yeah, we’ll keep you updated as we get out there. Appreciate the time, always great seeing you. I missed your smiling face.

Chip Baker: Now, man. Well, here it is.

John Zolikoff: It’s beautiful.

Chip Baker: Cool, bro. Thanks again. Hey, this has been another great episode of The Real Dirt. If you enjoyed this episode, please download others at The Real Dirt podcast on iTunes. You can also download them on therealdirt.com That’s right. That’s our own website. We have a blog, links to our Facebook page, The Real Dirt podcast as well as our Instagram page, The Real Dirt podcast, please participate. Please tell us how you like this episode, please tell us about the episodes that you’re interested in. And once again, thank you for lending me your time. It’s The Real Dirt!

All right, well, I hope you enjoyed that episode, man. You know, John’s internet reception broke up a little bit. He’s down in Florida, but I loved hearing the birds chirping background and then there at the end the dogs you know so much about the podcast for me, is an audio escape when I listen to it and when I make these things that it is a little bit of escape for me. In these times we all need a little bit of escape and whether it’s a rolling up a large hemp joint or a large ganja joint or a small bong hit, or listening to The Real Dirt like and right now it’s about a great time to do it. So if you haven’t already, please subscribe to The Real Dirt podcast on iTunes. That way, you can catch up to all of our latest released episodes, and you can hear the 70 episodes behind. Also, join us on Facebook and Instagram The Real Dirt podcast and man look for all the special offers and whatnot we got coming in the future. As always, I appreciated your time. I know you’ve got lots more stuff you could do today. But instead, you chose to at least spend a little bit of time with me. So thanks again. You’ve been listening to The Real Dirt with Chip Baker.

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Step by Step Irrigation Guide with Michael Box

Step by Step Irrigation Guide with Michael Box

cannabis irrigation set up guide

Michael Box is a lifelong disciple of plants and their cultivation.

For the last 22 years, he has worked in the field of horticulture, emphasizing on cannabis for the past 12 years. Throughout that time, the irrigation sector has always been a passion for all things related to water-installation, design, and instruction.

He is currently the Operations Director and Lead Designer for Sustainable Village in Boulder, CO. Sustainable Village designs and supplies various projects with a focus on Blumat Watering Systems and large multi-acre hemp field irrigation.

This episode of The Real Dirt will give you interesting information on why drip irrigation works best for your grow plus step by step instructions for setting up . Michael shares his irrigation expertise, cultivation experiences, and explains Blumat systems solutions for your unique situation. 

Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include

5:12 – Blumat, the evolution of drip irrigation
10:57 – Hand watering vs. drip irrigation
16:33 – Parts of the drip system
27:19 – Using drip tape
35:57 – Challenges in drip irrigation systems
46:54 – Advantages of Blumat system
57:27 – Where to find them

Transcript

Chip Baker: Hey guys, this is Chip from The Real Dirt. In today’s dirt we talk about irrigation. That’s right so many cannabis farmers are hesitant to put irrigation in their small operations and even in their big fields, but we’re going to demystify it a little bit with you today. Today, I’m going to have a co-host, Justin Jones. He’s been on the show many times before and you know, he has some large hemp fields that they irrigate. And I’m also having Michael Box of Blumat Irrigation.

All right, once again, you are at The Real Dirt. Down today’s dirt, I’ve got my good buddy Justin Jones who is our impromptu guest host say hello Justin Jones.

Justin Jones: Hello, how’s it going out there?

Chip Baker: Doing good man and I brought you on today Justin so we could chat with Michael Box. What’s up Michael? 

Michael Box: Hey there, Chip. 

Chip Baker: Michael runs Sustainable Village. Sustainable Village among many other things help and design irrigation systems for hemp farmers cannabis farmers of all types, small scale and big scale. He represents the Blumat brand is that correct? 

Michael Box: It’s Blumat.

Chip Baker: It’s Blumat brand which we’ll attempt to explain that to you a little later but it’s a ceramic brick based irrigation device. We’ll just leave the mystery.

Michael Box: Yeah, I’ll get into it in a bit. Right? Yeah,

Chip Baker: Totally. I’ve seen these things for a long time I saw him first in Europe, 2000-2001 or something– great product. But hey, I’ll tell you guys there’s a huge myth in the cannabis industry you know it and hear it well is that it should all be hand watered and in order to make it great and incredible, you have to hand water it but we three are here to tell you that is not true. And irrigation and automation do rule our full food world as well as the cannabis world as well. 

Irrigation and automation do rule our full food world as well as the cannabis world. – Chip Baker

If you think that drip irrigation is too difficult, we’re going to demystify that today, if you think that irrigation is too expensive, we’re going to bust that bubble too. We’re going to explain how drip irrigation can help you with your cannabis farm. So, sit back roll the largest joints, you can enjoy us here for this episode of The Real Dirt, it’s going to get wet. 

Michael Box: So, I have to say, working on irrigation, there’s a lot of jokes that you can use around getting people excited.

Chip Baker: Oh yeah, man. I love drip irrigation. I love the math. irrigation it is the coolest thing when you put it together but it’s one of those things that people easily fail at because they don’t do the math. They don’t put in the right filter sizes. Have you ever done this Justin? Have you ever like built a drip irrigation system that didn’t work?

Justin Jones: I’m kind of I’m kind of a hand watering kind of guy still, but I have a really tiny cannabis farm in Denver so you know we can do that, we have– [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Sure but all your large scale hemp stuff

Justin Jones: All the large scale stuff is all irrigation. Yeah, and it’s a big deal and I’ll tell you what, you definitely don’t want to screw it up. You want to make sure it’s correct because I saw some people that are you know that definitely scrambled this last year 2019 during the planting season and their pumps weren’t ready or like you said the filter something this or that– there’s a lot of things that go into a successful irrigation system. And it’s also a living breathing thing that on a daily and weekly basis needs to perform. So. 

Michael Box: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. 

Justin Jones: Super important.

Blumat, the Evolution of Drip Irrigation

Chip Baker: Hey, Michael, I’m wondering if you could go over the basis of a the two types of drip systems we were going to be talking about today. We’re going to talk about, like individual drippers. And we’re also going to talk about the wonderous drip tape. So, yeah, let’s maybe we could talk about the individual drippers first.

Michael Box: Sure. So when we look at irrigating containers, so anything that’s in a pot or a raised bed, for instance, whether that be indoors, greenhouse, even outdoor, large raised beds outdoors or also when people are in native soil applications, with their ganja plants, with large plants, things like that. We kind of look at them on an individually plant by plant basis. And we engineer our Blumat systems into those. And we like to call Blumats, the kind of the evolution of drip irrigation. So standard drip irrigation, you know, it tends to be a lot of little plastic drip emitters that run at a certain rate, you know, say like a gallon per hour, half gallon per hour. And those are all–

Chip Baker: Use your pressure compensated?

Michael Box: Yeah, pressure compensating or non-pressure compensating depending on the application. And those are fed by a pump system that runs at a pretty high volume. Some usually on a timer. So, you know, say you have a greenhouse with raised beds, and you have emitters in the beds, and your timer kicks on for 20 minutes a day, twice a day, something like that, and it gives us kind of the standard amount of water, and that’s handy. For years I did a lot of installation of those, I use them on my own grows, worked on a bunch of different just vegetable farms over the years, and new systems like that, and they work well. They take a lot of save a lot of labor, that sort of thing plants, you know, generally, like them. 

The way our Blumats work, and I know you said you have seen these before Chip, and what they are is they’re a ceramic cone with a little plastic cap on the top, and through the top of that plastic cap, there’s a very thin three-millimetre line the silicon line. The cone itself is filled with water, and it’s buried in the soil, and as the soil dries out, the ceramic cone dries out a little bit, which pulls a small amount of water that’s inside the carrot we call them a carrot. It is both a small amount of water into the ceramic, which creates a negative hydro-static pressure inside the cone, which pulls down on a little membrane, which opens a valve and allows water to flow through the top of it. So it’s an on-off valve that responds to soil moisture and then so it lets water flow through the top of this valve and re-hydrate the soil which re-hydrates the cone which closes the valve and that’s like a variable flow as well. 

So if the soil is drying out fast the valve will open more and water more, and it’ll drip out even into like you can have a safe you got a small pot like a one-gallon pot or a three-gallon pot, you could just have a drip right out of the carrot. Yet something bigger like five or 10 gallons, you could have some little distribution drippers that it would drip through. Or with large pots, you know when we’re talking like 45-6500s two hundred that sort of thing. Or raised beds, we feed it into this array of soaker hoses that we have, we call them blue soap, but they’re interesting soaker hose made out of Tyvek. And either way, what we’re doing is maintaining static moisture levels in the soil with the Blumat Systems. And that is different than a traditional drip irrigation system with individual emitters that are going to have wet periods and dry periods, and it’s going to have these big swings in the moisture level–

Chip Baker: They are much more like running rock walls as far as the moisture level running–

Michael Box: And it maintains like a really even consistency. Yeah, I hadn’t really thought of it like that. But yeah, I suppose it is.

Chip Baker: That’s the two major like sections we have that we sell drip irrigation to Cultivate OKC, Cultivate Colorado. Yeah, is there either, quote unquote hydro growers, so they want their medium to stay moist all the time. Or they’re soil-less growers and they believe in some sort of [inaudible] to a tie up.

Michael Box: Yeah, which you know, that’s one at school thought–

Chip Baker: Hey, I’ve done it all honestly and man it’s just how you want to do it right. For me and my scales in the past I can’t see like water savings on one versus the other or, you know, growth technique or grow growing better in any way. The yield seemed to be the same but it’s just preferred you either want to wet or you’d like to dry it out.

Justin Jones: Yeah, I got something for this. So my recreational marijuana grow. Medical unrack and Denver dank. We still hand water and a lot of– [inaudible]

Chip Baker: You got AD lights or something?

Hand Watering vs. Drip Irrigation

Justin Jones: We have 100 lights. We’re small lights, big growers. But part of the problem is that I have multiple cultivars on a grouping of plants. Okay, so and that’s just we were vertically integrated and we just basically we grow a little bit differently than you’ll see in a lot of places. But what’s cool about what I’m hearing from your system is this might actually work. And the reason that we don’t drip irrigate, is because if I’ve got eight different cultivars, they can all be in the same size of coco and they can be in the same you know, in the same grid and all that but you know, they’re gonna use their water and nutrients little bit differently. So we actually hand water and we kind of look at each plant on its own. Because if we just give everything 10 minutes a day, certain things are getting over watered and it becomes really difficult to get any kind of a dry down or it’s just definitely easy to over-water certain things so–

Michael Box: Yeah, and over water is a huge problem, right? I mean–

Justin Jones: So this your system has the ability to– each one of these carrots has its own sensor to how much moisture is there, you know, in [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Each container maintain the same amount of moisture. 

Michael Box: Yeah, I think you guys are just jumping right to the heart of it here, which is that’s exactly right. Different, you know, finos different strains, whatever you’re going with, even like different places in the greenhouse, you know, or the room some are going to be hotter than the others. All these different containers are going to be using water at different rates. So this allows the plants to you know, just take just as much as they want and not too much. And the systems you know, the supply lines are under a constant pressure. So this waters on 24 hours a day. And it’s very low pressure, like our max psi is 15. 

So we just need to maintain a very low pressure on all the supply lines. As soon as the plants want some water, they just open up the valve. And it’s really like the plants are actually controlling the on off switch to the water. And in fact, when you you know, after a plant is done growing and you kind of you pull the carrot out and you look at the pot, you’ll there’ll be a little conical hole, you know, where the carrot had been embedded in the soil, and it’ll just be completely solid root mass. So the plants actually wrap themselves around the carrot and start exerting pressure on that to control the valve, which is, you know, —

Justin Jones: That’s pretty cool. 

Michael Box: That’s kind of a higher level of it. But yeah–

Chip Baker: So this is the– I’ve used this example over and over again, when people talk about how bad drips irrigations are, and I’m like, Well, let me tell you, if you have a right drip irrigation system, when you’re done with it, or halfway through, you will notice that the very top of your soil is just a map of roots, right? And roots will come out of the top of the soil even. And to me, that just sounds like everything. It’s just a healthy environment you know, it’s hard to argue with that one honestly but I’ve never seen I’d love to see a picture of this man and maybe we get one or you could post it.

Michael Box: And if people check out our Instagram, its Blumat Watering Systems, there’s a bunch of pictures on there and people send them to us all the time where there’ll be like a little dripper you know that where the water enters the pot, and we actually have to put the drippers up on a stake about two inches above the soil. 

Because what happens is if you lay it right on the soil, the roots just grow up into the dripper and clog it. And people send us photos all the time of having this mound of roots just underneath the dripper where the plants are getting it and I’ve actually had it at home and my little greenhouse at my house. We’re using the soaker hose, the drip tape soaker hose that we use this type x soaker hose like hundred gallon pots I’ll put a big spiral that. The root mass will actually grow over the top of the soaker hose and completely encapsulate the soaker hose so that you have to like at the end of the season actually tear the roots back to get the hose out from underneath this thick mass which is you know kind of blew me away the first time I saw that.

Chip Baker: So yeah, I’m checking out your Instagram site and I see that the other product you have this type x like it appears to be a drip tape like product is that what it is?

Michael Box: It’s different than a drip tape. And so most we think of drip tape, it’s like extruded plastic, you know, it’s black, and it’s got it’s usually flat looking when it’s dry and then it swells up, but there’s a mirror built in. You know every 8, 12, 24 inches however, you know whatever distance you want those emitters have specific flow rates. And you know, that’s the same thing you turn that system on or the myths at that spacing for that flow rate. This the BluSoak is the that we use is actually has just thousands and thousands of little micro holes that we water out just continuously so you get a continuous soak. And it also operates at a really low pressure, it’ll operate down to two psi which is which is much lower than like the traditional drip tape needs more like eight to 10 to really function.

Parts of the Drip System

Chip Baker: So we bounced around a little bit. Yeah, but a couple things I wanted to get in here is the important parts and pieces that people need when they go to design an irrigation system. And, we’re going to list them out here. So if you got a pen and paper, go get it. If you want to write it down in your notes, you know perfect. And we’re gonna list the parts of the drip system that everyone needs and maybe give a little understand you know? You need water.

Michael Box: Yeah, that’s where it started water.

Chip Baker: Yep, you need our source right? Hey Justin, do you guys have holding tanks or do you come right off your waterline for your large irrigation? 

Justin Jones: The we’ve got both, we’re coming out of wells. We’ve got holding tanks. You know, I know guys I saw people that are you know straight pumping right out of the river. It depends on what your water rights are here in Oregon I you know really but you know most most people have a have a good well, it allows them you know, so many. So many of our those sorts of things.

Chip Baker: We have our water and then we have our, our pump, which is it gives us two things. It gives this volume and it gives us pressure Right, Michael.

Michael Box: That’s absolutely right.

Chip Baker: Go ahead.

Michael Box: Oh, and then the next step is your filtration –[inaudible]

Chip Baker: Most important.

Michael Box: Absolutely. That’s right Chip, most important.

Chip Baker: Water, pump, pushes volume and pressure and filtration.

Michael Box: Yeah filtration so now we’re really kind of talking about, like multi-acre row crops you know, for a big hemp fields and stuff like that. And this in filtration–

Chip Baker: We sell filtration to all of our small indoor cannabis [inaudible]

Michael Box: Oh, absolutely.

Chip Baker: Right, any irrigation needs disk filter.

Michael Box: But when we get into especially when we get into these big multi acre fields, irrigation becomes critical because people are spending lots of money on their irrigation systems. I mean, it’s really easy to mess them up. And there’s a there’s a bunch of different ways to build filtration and to do it like you mentioned the disk filters very popular, there are mechanical filter, basically, you’re pushing water through these disk arrays and takes the particulate out. They’re really inexpensive relatively. And then we also install sand media filters to which are a little more complicated, a little more expensive, but they’re more automated and can go for longer periods of time without–

Chip Baker: They have automated flesh out valves. You can run larger volumes of water you don’t decrease your your pressure when they get dirty necessarily. Yeah, that’s the problem with the disk filters, you do have to have a minute cleaning maintenance schedule and, you know, my in our in our hydro garden with our rock. Well, we have to clean our filter every couple of days.

Michael Box: Right. So we use these big mechanical filters. We like this brand called Irritec they make really nice, really make, they’d make the biggest one. So filtration is all about surface area, the more surface area you have in your filtration system, the longer you can go between cleanings. You can get away with a really small filter, but you have to clean it all the time. Or you can build a bunch of filters in these array, these manifold arrays that we design. They’re really cool. We, you know, we have some of those on the Instagram too. I think there’s some photos of those but yeah, that’s our most popular style that we install. And then sometimes we’ll do the sand media stuff as well. So filtration is really it’s key. So that’s, something we tell people to is that’s where you if you’re gonna spend money on one part of irrigation system, especially for a farm filtration [inaudible] cuz you don’t want to you know, I mean you put, acres and acres of drip tape down in the field and then you run a bunch of, you know, get the sediment through it and you’re going to clog up all those tapes and now you got a bunch of garbage laying out and feel that needs to be replaced.

Filtration is all about surface area, the more surface area you have in your filtration system, the longer you can go between cleanings. – Michael Box

Chip Baker: Well, you know, just last year, I bought a couple acres about a two acre kit of drip tape. And, you know, I sell all this stuff but like, Man, this particular company, I like to work with drip works, you know, there’s no, I do, they’re just great people I love their model and they have really good prices. So like I ordered some kits. And it came with just a three quarter inch screen filter, right, I immediately threw that away and put in an extra large, extra long disk filter. That was for more volume and more water than then my system could carry. But I always liked to upsize that part of the filter. Make it bigger, it’s easier for everybody to take apart and clean it. Just bigger is better in my opinion on [inaudible]

Michael Box: Generally, it is to you know, higher flow, you know, larger diameter stuff, get more flow, you get less friction loss and with your ports, your overall pressure.

Chip Baker: So hey, this is a great engineering point for drip systems this filter is not going to take that same volume or pressure and you need to up it, right, you know, to one inch or one and a quarter or one and a half or whatever the one up, you should up it.

Michael Box: And really, you know, and once you start talking about those diameters, I mean, the smallest we ever get into with the hemp fields is two inches, and that’s where we start with all of our supply lines. We use a product called lay flat, which she probably probably [inaudible] you’d call it’s usually like [inaudible] sometimes it’s like a fire hose. It’s like a rubber kind of fire hose material. Yeah, we use that. So after you know we get to through our filtration systems. Then we start laying out our main lines and our sub mains so we’ll use the highest diameter [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Okay. Let me pause you. So we’ve got water, we’ve got our pump, which is volume and pressure. We’ve got our filter. And now we have our supply line is that what you want to call it?

Michael Box: Yeah, supply lines here. Okay, main lines. You might also put in a fertilizer injector in there too, usually right after the filtration. But yeah, so supply lines, you know, we’re either going to be in PVC or in lay flat, or a combination of both usually, depending on where we need to move the water to. And we’ll start with higher diameter stuff. I mean, it’s not uncommon that we’re using six or four inch stuff right off the bat to get large amounts of water out to the field and then we’ll branch that off into zones or sets, people call them too. And those will be that so we can’t generally can’t water the whole field at once. 

We’ll want to break it off into zones. And we’ll say hey, what’s the max amount of water This field is going to use in a day in the middle of the summer its highest use rate. You know, like, right in the middle August how much of these things going to be drinking? And we’ll say How much time will it take to get that much water on the field and say, hey, we’ve got like, say we have an 18 hour day to water we have to size the system so that it’s possible to put that much water down on that field in that 18 hour window is kind of so that’s our like upper limit of what we need to be able to supply. So yeah, the the mainline takes the water to the different zones, and then those zones are usually controlled by valves. Most of the time it’s a manual thing, but we can also do you know, solenoid valves that go off on timers and that sort of thing.

Chip Baker: Hey Justin, in how many how many zones you got in your hundred acre field?

Justin Jones: They had a lot a lot of zones but– and they do I think that was all manual too. The automated stuff, it’s hard to it’s hard to trust it sometimes.

Chip Baker: Unless you’re just in consistent dry temperature in Southern California or Nevada or something. It’s hard to say okay, it’s going to be this much every day.

Michael Box: And most hemp farms are new, you know that’s the thing most hemp farmers right now have only been doing it for a couple years at best, right? 

Justin Jones: Nobody got ten-year [inaudible] Yeah, well you know, one of the big hemp farms that I worked with a bunch this last year they also are large scale hops our operation. You know, that they’ve got so many years and hops and you know, and of course there’s always something even with their hops farming, but, you know, they’ve usually have dealt with it in the past or they have other resources. 

So yeah with hemp farming everything’s kind of brand new– No, definitely that was an issue you would hear you know about people that if your irrigation isn’t working if it breaks down, if there’s no like catch up time you know if you hit if you– if you kill everything because it didn’t get water your stuff start over so it definitely seems challenging now with these systems, you know, the slasher, I saw guys that were running drip tape in with their transplanting and so the tape was like that, you know, I guess in the ground on the raised beds, a lot of people that planted and then put the drip tape out after the plants are in and maybe they did a little bit of overhead watering at the very beginning with the transplants growing in. Now with your guys’s system for a large scale hemp field, once you get off those laterals and the mains and laterals are your material underground above ground. How does that work?

Michael Box: Yeah, so, again, now we’re talking about just that extra drip tape. That is one or the other, it’s really up to what the farmer wants to do or has the capability of installing.

Chip Baker: Do you see any difference?

Michael Box: You know, the tape can be protected longer if it’s buried, you know. And it’s, it’s also supplying water below surface so it could, there’s less evaporation that happens when it’s buried. It’s hard to get the tape out with hemp plants, especially if you’re finding like, If you’re growing onions or something, you can just pull that tape right out. If you’re growing hemp though, I mean, you guys know what a fully grown hemp plant looks like and how big that stock is and how massive the root system is right? Just [inaudible] 

Justin Jones: You know, in that case, the above ground tape would maybe easier to pull out but those were– I saw people that put those in and then had a lot of wind when the plants are real small and that the lines actually moved around and some plants. Yeah–

Chip Baker: Yeah, you still got to put some weight on it. And if you’re gonna do– because I prefer the above ground on drip tape. I do like to take it out at the end of the year and right to reuse it. Agricultural waste and plastic waste are one of the biggest plastic wastes in the world right now. So I want to be as conscious as possible. 

Michael Box: Yeah [inaudible] It’s the biggest issue I have with this–

Chip Baker: Yeah. And drip tape really is great because you can at the end of the season, wind it up. There’s some great YouTube videos on how to wind it up and keep it on your spool using just like a cordless drill that’s what we use. And so I put it on top, and then I’ll just like every 10 feet, I’ll put on five shovels of dirt on top of that. So then when I come to like, pull the field up, I just walk down the row and I just pull up right where there’s a weighted down section right.

Michael Box: Yeah there’s a lot of implements you know, that will actually shape your beds and lay a plastic bolts and bury the tape four inches down all in one pass. 

Chip Baker: Sure. Yeah. Now I have now I have all that. 

Michael Box: Yeah. So if you’ve got that stuff, that’s probably what you’re doing and you might even be throwing away the tape every year.

Chip Baker: You got plastic mulch over there Justin?

Justin Jones: You know, I see it both ways. The main farms that I worked with were no plastic mulch, flat no raised beds. No, it was it was just flat. 

Chip Baker: No, it was just flat. and it’s in the world for it though.

Justin Jones: Yeah. And we had drip, we had a farmers with drip and we had farms with pivots. And definitely, you know, so, you know, we kind of the Willamette Valley here in Oregon, you can see it a lot of different ways for sure. But we do have to have some sort of irrigation because normally we get no rain from, you know, somewhere in June till somewhere and October. So, [inaudible] but, you know, definitely I like seeing the different systems and definitely it’s super important but pumps and filters, and the injectors, you know that’s the and just that math although all that math going on–

Chip Baker: And the most important pies. Hey Gentlemen, I think this is a perfect time for us to take a break. Let’s just sit back and roll up the largest joints you can and join us just back in a few minutes for The Real Dirt.

Thanks for listening to another episode of The Real Dirt podcast. Hey, you know in these trying times, it’s kind of hard to find all the parts and pieces you need. However, if you call us at Cultivate Colorado, Cultivate OKC, email us, text us, man send out smoke signals. We’ll try to get every single thing you need to grow to you, either drop ship delivery or we offer curbside service. It’s one of the most important things that we can do right now is help our customers continue growing. And you know, just to put more great cannabis out there in the world is definitely going to be a good thing here. So if you’re having trouble getting any of your products or if you don’t think that your local store is open, no need to worry. Contact us at cultivatecolorado.comcultivateokc.com you can look us up on our telephone number, you can drop me a line at chip@therealdirt.com you can pm us, you can dm us, you can do whatever you want, and we will go out of our way to get you everything you need in these trying times.

Justin Jones: Chip, I got a quick question in regards to that. You mentioned [inaudible] direction. And what color smoke signal would you guys like to see if that if that’s where we’re at?

Chip Baker: Well, you know, smoke me always like that fine blue smoke. You know, I’m talking about, right. Yeah, it’s nice blue smoke. That’s what we’re looking for. It’s the intention of the smoke signal, I believe. That will draw us to it like flies in light.

Justin Jones: Yes, yes.

Chip Baker: So man, great to be back with you guys. Today, we’re talking about irrigation. I’ve got Michael Box and Justin Jones here. Justin Jones has done a large scale commercial agriculture with hemp. And he also grows ganja by hand in Denver waters it by hand. Michael helps transition those exact people into irrigation systems. 

Alright fellas, like where we’re talking about, oh, the parts and pieces of an irrigation system let’s just keep reviewing for everybody is we’ve got our water. We’ve got our pump that’s pressure and volume, and we have a water filter. We then often have some type of fertilizer injection system, a siphoning fertilization system. Some people have an additional tank which requires a different pump and an additional filter. But then we have a mainline that that brings all the water to our garden and from our mainline then we set it up into zones. The zones end up breaking into smaller lines that run through the garden. And then the individual drip lines come off into our containers unless it is drip tape. Then your supply lines are also your drip lines as well. Right, does that sound easy? Yeah. I don’t know if anybody else got lost but–

Justin Jones: Alright, I was following you there.

Chip Baker: Yeah. So Michael when we put all these stuff together what’s people– they’ve got all the parts and pieces they’ve they figured out, they’ve got everything right. What’s the main way they mess up right now?

Challenges in Drip Irrigation Systems

Michael Box: Well, you know, we talked about a lot of math involved with these big systems and we’re looking at acres of plants. And the main problem we see is when folks try to do it themselves. And you know, I’m all about do it yourself and many, many aspects of life. But with these irrigation systems, it’s really, really helpful to have somebody engineered for you that knows what they’re doing. Because the last thing you want is, like we talked about getting to the middle of summer, and all of a sudden, you can’t get enough water on those plants. And you’ve got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of plants in the field that are dying before your eyes because you can’t give them enough water.

Justin Jones: Or you’re at the beginning and you just spent all this money propagating and you and your pumps not big enough, and that’s usually what I was hearing was these guys, they didn’t do the math, right? Their pumps weren’t big enough or you know, they couldn’t push enough through the filters. You know? So it’s a–

Chip Baker: That is the case, just to explain it to people who have zero knowledge of this is real simple. There’s a certain amount of volume and pressure that you get at the beginning of this whole thing. And that is as much as you’re going to get ever. So you take all of the drippers that you have and divide it by that number. And, that’s roughly your limitations, right?

Michael Box: Yeah, but even– 

Chip Baker: It’s more complicated than that–

Justin Jones: If you have a good well that just keeps putting out for you, too so–

Chip Baker: Yeah, right. I mean, if you got a five inch well, and you know, it’s putting out 8000 gallons a day, it doesn’t matter if you have a four inch line that put out 13-14,000 gallons a day, it’s only gonna get 8000 gallons a day.

Michael Box: That’s right. And often with you know, big multi acre fields, we’re looking at hundreds of, you know, 120 gallons a minute we’re trying to put out. So it’s really pretty large volume on water. So having an engineer and I do a lot of design work here, we put the system together, we source parts from a bunch of different manufacturers that we have really great relationships with and get that system to people. I do all the kind of tech support customer service, everything that needs to happen. 

I do a lot of design work here, and we put the system together, we source parts from a bunch of different manufacturers that we have great relationships with and get that system to people. – Michael Box

In addition to that, when we’re talking about big fields, I do have an engineer that I work with, who will draw up a system and he’s an irrigation engineer out of Oregon, and actually up your way and he does a fabulous job. He’ll create someone gets a system through us. You know, not only will they have every part that they possibly need delivered to their farm, they’ll get a CAD drawing of the whole system all laid out and everything is going to be guaranteed insured to work. So when we’re dealing with millions of plants. We like to have that insurance policy backing us up so that we don’t ever screw up and we don’t you know, that’s the real advantage of having the engineer design done. It’s done properly. 

When we’re dealing with millions of plants, we like to have that insurance policy backing us up so that we don’t ever screw up. – Michael Box

Chip Baker: All right. So this drip irrigation isn’t just for large farmers, though. And that’s, you know, most of the people that buy drip irrigation from us at Cultivate. They’re small farmers, they might have 12 lights, 20 lights, 500 square feet. So we basically have two types. We have a small scale or your craft’s size, we’ll call it what do you think that number goes up to from one light to how many square feet would be considered a craft operation?

Michael Box: For an indoor situation like that?

Chip Baker: Indoor greenhouse you know–

Michael Box: You know, I don’t know if I have an exact number. A couple thousand square feet canopy I would say stops, you know, it becomes more commercial. A lot of it has to do like what’s the guy’s market? You know, what’s the farmers market that they’re gonna go into? Are they trying to get five rounds a year in are they? You know– 

Chip Baker: What is the equipment change? 

Michael Box: Yeah. So the way we design it, we’ll do our Blumat irrigation systems in in anything that has to do with containers. So we don’t really have an upper limit as long as folks are growing in say raised beds, or large pots or things like that.

Chip Baker: So even over in Justin’s four acre greenhouse or something, it’s all in containers–

Michael Box: Yeah, so I you know that that’d be a situation where, you know, if he’s grown in a lot of small pots, we have some different ways to use the Blumats with that. We also have these systems called Capillary Mats, which are a whole other kind of really interesting way to irrigate, they’re like that, and that pot sit on and with water up through that. So that’s a really great way to do a lot of smaller containers. And, you know, the way we work it is we have a lot of people call us every day say, hey, there’s my grow. This is what it is, maybe it’s six lights in your basement, maybe it’s, 5,000 square feet of in a couple acres of greenhouses, whatever it is. They’re contacting us and then we talk to them, we work out what they need, and we give them a system that’s going to work for them. And it’s gonna be different now we’re talking outdoors, native soil stuff, anything over, like I say, an acre, but he’s probably even a little less than that. We’ll stop doing like Blumat stuff. And we’ll go straight more to this traditional drip irrigation.

They’re contacting us, and then we talk to them, we work out what they need, and we give them a system that’s going to work for them. – Michael Box

Justin Jones: But you would go to with the Blumat, possibly up to an acre?

Michael Box: Up to an acre. Yeah. Yep. And you know, that’s a real kind of craft situation that you’d be doing. It’s, but for sure, we put some of those [inaudible]

Justin Jones: Well in that number here like an Oregon if you have a tier two recreational outdoor, it’s an acre, you know? so–

Michael Box: And then when we’re talking about acres of greenhouses, that’s you know, that’s always going to be– that just really depending on what the containers look like–

Justin Jones: Right, I’m saying for ganja pure tier two, you know, you’d have an acre guys you’re doing an outdoor. You know, 40,000 square foot canopy.

Michael Box: Yeah, that’s that’s a lot of ganja. 

Chip Baker: Yeah, man. We’re trying to put in 240,000 square feet of ganja this summer. 

Justin Jones: Alright! 

Chip Baker: Yeah, totally. 

Michael Box: That’s out in Oklahoma? 

Chip Baker: In Oklahoma. 

Michael Box: Yeah. Is that under full sun, that kind of thing?

Chip Baker: It’s between greenhouse [inaudible] yeah, auto flowers and clones and seeds.

Michael Box: Excellent. Yeah

Chip Baker: Right. Doing it all man. I’m definitely not a snob on growing ganja any all ever we can.

Michael Box: No I mean I think the auto-flower thing is really fascinating development and especially I think it can fill a really awesome niche in a farm,

Chip Baker: Oh, man. It is how all the rest of the commercial. So many of the other commercial agricultural products work with day neutral flowering periods where it’s just time. You know, it’s just 45 days or 50 days or 70 days. I mean, I just planted a bunch of cabbage that was 45 days and tomatoes that were 50 days. And that’s how commercial agriculture talks about it all and even home agriculture talks about it the same way, backyard gardens right.

Michael Box: Yeah, I was just ordering all my seeds for my kitchen gardens just the other day and you know I’m up in the mountains so I like to pick those short windows the short days yeah

Chip Baker: Yeah I’m excited about down here in Oklahoma it was 90 degrees a few times this week. The spring has definitely sprung it may freeze once or twice but yeah we’re ready to go man and places like this are perfect places for auto-flowers and I mean many people grow them inside which I don’t quite understand that but outside they’re just you can start planting right about now and keep planting until well after your first freeze. 

Justin Jones: Well, I think you could get a nice cycle to you know, and we saw a really good success with hemp farming this year. With you know, logistics and being able to dry your hemp, you’ll be harvested. All your work come due in the same week or two, you know, so just trying to go with an auto-flowering genetic and then an early and then you know, maybe later to try to spread out your harvest in the fall so, yeah.

Michael Box: Well and you know, we’ve got a number of clients now they’re using the auto-flowers. A lot of them were seeing them or doing them in raised beds and– actually for us for that craft flower that smokeable flower, which I think is a really very viable market but that’s kind of a different topic. 

Chip Baker: And the raised beds are just perfect for ganja, pulls them out of the soil platform. So it changes the whole water dynamic, it dries them out more gives it more oxygen, even if you don’t put the plastic mulch on top of it. It’s an incredible like a little small addition to growing almost anything. If you add that drip and the plastic mulch, and man that’s how all the organic vegetables are grown pretty much this way. Or many, many of them no pesticides, reduces the weed pressure reduces the pest pressure such a great deal. It’s really good thing.

Michael Box: Yeah. And you’re kind of talking more about the like a shaped bed or raised bed out in the field where the tractor will come and raise those beds up and then and then we see a lot of folks in like greenhouses with built raised beds right like either a fabric bed like [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Similar concept. You get a grounded oil profile–

Michael Box: And a lot of those guys that we’re working with are more of that living soil style grower, right? So I know you’ve got a bunch of say about living soil. I was just looking at the talk you did [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Oh, great, great marketing term. It’s you know, as they call it, something different but right, so whatever.

Advantages of Blumat System

Michael Box: Yeah, but the thing– So that’s where the craft part comes in, I like to think about is when, when we’re looking at I’m a big believer in soil biology and soil health. And I mean, who is like, how can I get around that give it to the roots? Yeah, and that’s where the Blumats kind of really kick in is when they maintain that static moisture level. That’s where we see, you know, we kind of were talking about earlier, the real big advantage is you guys jumped right on it, which was, hey, different plants are going to use different amounts of water, so we’re going to prevent for over watering. 

But the other real big advantage is that maintain that static moisture level is incredibly beneficial for the soil biology. So all that beneficial bacteria, fungi, your flashlights, all this stuff. Those are all these little micro organisms, right that if the soil gets too wet, they’ll go dormant. If they gets gets too dry, they’ll go dormant. But if you can hold them right in that hydro neutral zone require homeostasis, or we’re going Goldilocks zone, whatever you want to call it, that little window, where they breed and do their jobs whether it’s solubilizing phosphorus or transferring nutrients or fixing nitrogen, they do that 24 hours a day, they don’t have like a period where they get too wet and slow down and get too dry and slow down. They just do it all the time. 

So with those, you know, quote-unquote, living soil growers that are that are relying on all that activity that produce the nutrients or to produce the food for the plants. They’re able to get some real, some real benefit out of that static moisture level and increased biological activity to the point where you’re getting significant yield increases, and we actually have some folks out of the Seattle area. They’re about to publish this paper in one of these some new peer-reviewed journal. So I can’t go into all the details, but they’ve done some really controlled studies. With Blumats versus hand watering and saw increase, I mean, it’s dramatic increases. It’s the order of like about 20% increase in yield. [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Do you have a preferred media that you guys like to use the works the best with the Bluemat?

Michael Box: Not really, I mean soil and soil-less mediums so–

Chip Baker: So that coconut pea?– We’re just [inaudible]

Michael Box: [inaudible] a great, great application

Justin Jones: And that’s what I grow is in love the ganja in Denver. I’m in like, three gallon, four gallon, coco and perlite and we drained a ways to add water.

Michael Box: Right. So yeah, I mean coco’s got that tremendous capillary action. So it moves water from side to side and in evenly distributes it. So you know, that’s a really Blumat’s were good in that. Because we I mean, we have some customers that are just straight like coco salt growers and they crush it with the Blumats. They see increases in yield. They say, hey, this isn’t bad. 

Chip Baker: They have a fertilizer through their drip system? 

Michael Box: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. 

Chip Baker: I didn’t realize that was possible. 

Michael Box: It is. And one of the real amazing thing is, is you can actually, and we kind of almost aquire or strongly encourage people to, if they’re going to run their synthetic nutrients through the Blumat system to decrease their dilution rates by 50%, or maybe even down to 25% of what they were using because you’re not getting that drain to waste that you’d normally do. So there’s no runoff, anything that’s going into pot staying there. So we don’t really–

Justin Jones: So you reduce your fertilizer level consumption? 

Michael Box: By % right off the bat. Yeah.

Chip Baker: Yeah, we actually tell people 25% because people don’t want to believe.

Michael Box: Yeah.

Chip Baker: But they usually change their mind quickly. 

Michael Box: And yet, so that’s pretty incredible.

Chip Baker: There’s virtually no run off with your system.

Michael Box: That’s the idea. Yeah, once they’re dialed in, in tune, they’re just gonna maintain that static moisture level. And we usually like to verify that we have a digital moisture meter, we use other, there’s some other ones out there that are really nice, too. And, you know, we just so you’ll have an independent monitoring device of some sort that’s telling you either your moisture level, either in a form of a percent or in millibars is how our meters read their tenancy ometer. So they read in negative millibars. And yeah, you can kind of really cling on to those, those moisture levels, much tighter with the Blumat systems and with the swings, the wet, dry swings of the drip system are hand watering. 

Justin Jones: Sure. That’s awesome. Now, I’m excited. I’m going to get a hold of my growers and have them check it out.

Chip Baker: Yeah, it’s a good solution. For you, most adjustments rooms. I can’t remember but I think they’re mostly like 12 to 20 light rooms? 

Justin Jones: For small. Yeah, everything’s good. 

Chip Baker: They’re all small. So, you know, we’re praying for this.

Michael Box: Yeah, a lot of times when we we talk about converting a system over that’s existing. We really also encourages people to start small, you know, hey–

Justin Jones: Well we could just do a couple of do a room or that’s what I mean.

Michael Box: Yeah, do a room and then you practice you get good at it cuz there’s a learning curve, right? I mean that– it’s a new technology doesn’t just work flawlessly right out of the box. You got to learn how to install it right and tune in and then when you tune it in now, it does a fabulous job but it takes that a couple weeks to learn– [inaudible]

Chip Baker: A little piece of a way to describe it is not perfect right out of the box and you have to tune it. Just like fun musical instrument. Alright. So, you know we’ve kind of — Okay, so right now you’re talking to I don’t know 15,000 ganja growers literally are people interested in it? What can you tell them to help them along with what they’re doing or an irrigation in mind? What’s the like, you know, this positive like you can do it type thing you can say to these guys, right? Or you can say anything, man because it’s like people are always asking you the same question. Let’s answer it right now.

Michael Box: Yeah. I mean, growing plants is fun. I’ve been growing plants all my life. I love growing plants producing my own food, produce my own ganja, medicine, everything this is something for everybody. And, you know, especially now you know, I mean I don’t know when this is going to air what but we got some crazy stuff going on right now in the world. Yeah, with all this virus stuff that’s out there. And I think you know this is the good time to start growing your own and start not just weed but your food, and everything else. And people can do it if they put their minds to it and a good watering system is a key to that because water is essential. It’s easy to screw it up. If you really don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to overwater. And we have a lot of really simple solutions for the small home grower, as well as just for any of the larger commercial folks we can scale up to do whatever you want to do.

Growing plants is fun. I’ve been growing plants all my life. I love growing plants, producing my food, produce my ganja, medicine, and everything. This is something for everybody. – Michael Box

Justin Jones: It’s great.

Chip Baker: Yeah, man, I you know what, I’d like to speak to you, people that are pooping on irrigation right now and say it doesn’t work. And I’ll say you’re haven’t seen enough ganja growing. That they are the biggest the smallest, the best gardens in the world are grown under drip irrigation. And if you do a little math and follow the steps that we laid out here for you, you can make your system better than it is today. 

So just open your mind a little bit. Drip systems will stay in. However long it takes you to water by hand. That’s how long it will take you to install your drip system. So if it takes you an hour to water by hand, it’s going to take you an hour to install the drip system and now you get to collect all those other hours in your day in your life and like sit back, smoke weed hanging out with family and stuff.

If it takes you an hour to water by hand, it’s going to take you an hour to install the drip system, and now you get to collect all those other hours in your day in your life and like sit back, smoke weed hanging out with family and stuff. – Chip Baker

Michael Box: Yeah. Now, that’s I mean, that’s Such a great point the return on investment on an automated irrigation system is one of the quickest return on investments you’re going to get for any element of your grow. You’re going to, especially with the Blumat systems, you’re going to see yield boosts, you’re going to have reduced water and nutrient usage. And you’re going to see the labor seems are just incredible. 

I’ve got a big grower out up in Humboldt area right now he put a lot of greenhouses Blumats and all of them last spring, the end of season he told me hired one less full time employee just because of the Blumat system, just to have that and I’m not saying that you know, machine should take people’s jobs but everybody out there is trying to keep the bottom line intact and [inaudible]

Chip Baker: Well, you know what irrigation does for the farmers and the growers, it allows them to actually grow the weed. Because now here’s what they do is like, okay, instead of spinning that 45 minutes watering the weed. Go look at it. Go turn the plants. Pick off the crooked leaf, the bad leaf pull out the shaded plant, you know, gives you time to actually grow it. Just even the look at it.

Michael Box: Yeah, let them show you what they need. Couldn’t agree more.

Chip Baker: So you’re gonna go get a drip system Justin.

Justin Jones: Maybe I can’t wait to go check out the Instagram page. What was your Instagram again?

Where to Find Them

Michael Box: So Blumat Watering Systems. We have two, one Sustainable Village and then the other is Blumat Watering Systems. That’s where we put off all cannabis related material. And it’s the more popular one too. We’re also like I mentioned we’re based out of Boulder, Colorado. We actually just opened up a really nice big office and showroom which is now shuttered with everything else in Colorado for the next month.

Chip Baker: Totally. Yeah, man we’re only we’re doing curbside service delivery only public can’t walk into the stores. I honestly feel like it might change the way so many of us interact. Oh yeah most of our business through our delivery system anyway, we would rather everybody just get on calling us in and ordering it so honestly, this is the perfect time for us to promote that. You know.

Justin Jones: Sure for sure. And even all the way to the other end of it. You know, we’re selling ganja right out on the street corner–

Michael Box: On the corner

Justin Jones: On the corner. Finally our corner and the great thing is actually I just was talking to my business partner back there and the weed cops have actually been out the city actually came in yesterday. Take a look at all the knows the city of Denver but they’re out looking to see how it’s going, you know and checking out these curbside situation. 

Chip Baker: All right, they’re like, man–

Justin Jones: We actually have a perfect situation because we’ve got a big parking lot you know, controlled area so we’re lucky there and I know like chip at his stores you’ve got a big parking lot everywhere and you can people can pull in and, you know, call phone it in. Use all this technology that we’ve got, you know, we’re sitting here on the zoom, doing the doing this right now, as we talk. And I think the zoom’s stock, you know, in the last month has gone has doubled because all of a sudden, we realize how important, how cool this is to have a conversation to get to see people and get some personal interaction through all this great technology.

Michael Box: Yeah, I’ve seen not only did zoom stock go up but any company that looks like zoom, like there was another one I think it’s called zoom communications. That is not this company. People just mistakingly buying it.

Justin Jones: Well, I think it was already the wave of the future. I think this might just be the gasp It’ll get pushed down a little bit on it but. Sure great talking to you guys today here and learning a bunch about the irrigation and new technology and irrigation. So it’s great.

Michael Box: Yeah if anybody wants to check it out to our website is sustainablevillage.com and there’s right on the front page there’s a quote request form, so if you guys want a free custom design we always do a free design quote for anybody. There’s a there’s a button right there you can request that and there’s also a really nice informational catalog, it’s a PDF that you can download as well right there on the front page it kind of lays out how the Blumats work and kind of our products and services overview so sustainablevillage.com.

Chip Baker: Yeah, I got some projects. Maybe we’ll get you guys involved on a couple things to, man. I’ve done all my irrigation myself. forever. But, you know, anytime I go into one that’s built by a professional, I’m always like, Oh, yeah, I should have done it that way. You know? Great, guys. Hey, man, I really appreciate you joining me for another episode of The Real Dirt. 

If you like this episode or want to download others, check us out at therealdirt.com or on iTunes at The Real Dirt podcast, please, please, please subscribe, and you can get all of the like 70 plus episodes that we have sent right to your mobile device. Hey, also, if you’re out there and you see people in the world, just give them a smile and spread a little cheer in love and kindness. We’re all in this world together. And I think what’s going on right now is made us realize how small it is. So I love every one of you. Roll up the largest joints you can and listen to this episode again.

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The Future of Cannabis Trimmers with Cullen Raichart

The Future of Cannabis Trimmers with Cullen Raichart

The industry is expanding, and so is your grow. Sometimes you can’t hand trim it all.

It’s sort of a badge of honor to be worn in the cannabis community when you only trim your cannabis by hand. It shows you care enough about how your buds turn out that you are willing to take the extra time to go through each bud by hand to ensure quality.

Of course you can trim poorly and still get bud that doesn’t look great, but in most cases hand trimming produces the best looking final product.

But with more and more commercial grow operations popping up across the country, there is a growing need for commercial harvest solutions. And when a dozen sets of hands for trimming starts to add up, a machine cannabis trimmer becomes more enticing.

Machine Cannabis Trimmers 

A big reason people tend to avoid machine cannabis trimmers is because they are just that, a machine. How can a machine have the same soft, gentle touch of human hands? How can they ensure the buds aren’t getting sliced to pieces from the metal blades in the trimmer?

Science.

The fact is, machine trimmers have come a long way since their inception, and you can now get a machine trimmed bud that looks just like a hand trimmed bud without damaging it or knocking off trichomes. And speaking of the inception of machine trimmers, Cullen Raichart is responsible for just that.

Cullen founded GreenBroz Inc, the first company to produce dry flower machine trimmers for the commercial cannabis market. What is so unique about GreenBroz is how they have designed their trimmers to be so gentle that they literally put their money where their mouth is to prove it.

Compared to other trimmers that tumble the buds around and beat them up to get the leaves off, GreenBroz’s design gently circulates the buds as they are lightly brushed to remove the dried crisp leaves from the service without harming the rest of the bud.

The Future of Automated Harvest Solutions

This week’s episode of The Real Dirt is a deep dive into the story of GreenBroz and Cullen, and where the future of harvest solutions is headed. As the industry continues to grow and expand, so does the acreage that cannabis takes up. More plants means more hands, or in some cases, just one machine cannabis trimmer.

Automation is a natural result of capitalism, and ignoring it won’t make it go away, as much as we would love to keep hand trimming forever. But that doesn’t mean a machine trimmer can’t be an extremely cost effective and impactful in your grow. It’s just your decision to make.

Roll some fo your freshly trimmed buds up and listen to this week’s episode of The Real Dirt right here (top of page) or on your favorite platform.

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Living Soil and Organic Inputs: Understanding Your Environmental Impact

Living Soil and Organic Inputs: Understanding Your Environmental Impact

Growing organically and in living soil might not be as environmentally friendly as you think.

Every grower should aim to grow organic cannabis at least once in their lifetime. It produces a cleaner, safer product for consumption, which means there will always be a demand for it, and it will always be a money maker for growers.

But what does it really mean to grow organic cannabis? 

Organic Inputs in Cannabis

You may be hesitant to grow organic because it limits what you’re allowed to feed your plants. The reality is that there’s a plethora of different organic inputs you can use to produce quality, organic cannabis.

The real question you need to ask before you commit to the organic way of growing is how sustainable are the organic inputs you use?

Bat and seabird guano are two of the most popular organic inputs for organic cannabis cultivation. They provide great amounts of potassium and phosphorous, and even nitrogen in certain types. But here’s the catch; to get those guanos, they need to be dug up by huge excavators. They get the potassium and phosphorous rich guanos from the top layers, and dig down even further for the nitrogen rich guanos.

In other words, for guanos to be obtained they are more or less strip mined. This destroys the homes of the seabirds and bats that lived there, displacing them and restarting the cycle of guano production in that region. A lot of organic inputs are unfortunately mined from the earth, with not much in the way of renewability.

This has become somewhat of a moral dilemma in the grow community, as in order to grow organically, you need organic inputs. But certain organic inputs are not renewable or sustainable and using them is in a way condoning how they are obtained. However before you decide that organic growing just isn’t for you based on how organic inputs are obtained, there are organic inputs that are renewable, sustainable and safer for the environment.

Sustainable organic inputs

There are plenty of renewable organic inputs from feather and bone meals, to fish emulsion, earth worm castings and kelp. Which ones you choose to use are up to you, and that will take some research on which organic inputs work best.

The most organic option however is composting. You can make it yourself, turn it into a tea, and feed your plants a full serving of essential nutrients without harming any ecosystem or wildlife. But it isn’t easy.

That’s what this week’s episode of The Real Dirt is all about. At a live talk at CannaCon in Oklahoma City in August 2019, Chip shared his knowledge on organic inputs and the true environmental impacts of growing organic cannabis. Hear that full talk right now and stream this episode of The Real Dirt now.

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