The Culture and Business of Ganja in Jamaica

The Culture and Business of Ganja in Jamaica

Ganja is as much a part of Jamaica’s identity as their beautiful turquoise water and white sand beaches. But how is it, really? 

This week’s episode of The Real Dirt takes a departure (literally) from the U.S. cannabis industry and culture. While I may have been on vacation in Jamaica technically (and physically most of the time), I had to do my part as an amateur connoisseur to sample the local ganja.

Several times in fact.

Because as an educator it is my job to inform you of the differences in cannabis around the world, I made sure to do my due diligence.

Getting Ganja in Jamaica

To be honest I was actually concerned I was going to have trouble getting some ganja when I got to Jamaica. I definitely should not have been concerned.

I wasn’t even on the resort’s beach for an hour before I had my first interaction. A man rows up in an old wooden canoe, with a box full of trinkets and knick knacks dangling on the outside of it for tourists to buy.

But it was what he had hidden that I was after. “I got anything you need,” the guy said to me. Emphasis on ANYTHING. Bam. It was that easy. Or so I thought.

This guy tried to sell me what had to have been at most two grams, for $80 USD. That’s right. Eighty dollars, American. Maybe it was a jerk move on my part, but I had to laugh a little bit. It should go without saying I did not purchase my ganja from that man.

Luckily all I had to do was throw $40 to my bartender and he gave me about an 1/8 of sweet, seed-filled ganja. Before you say it out loud, yes I was ripped off. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers, and I was basically begging strangers for some weed.

How is it?

Just to get all the details on the table; over my week long stay, I would purchase a little over seven grams of flower, a half gram of Jamaican hash and a red velvet cake edible from four different sellers. You bet I finished all of it before I flew out of there.

Now when it actually came to tasting it all, each batch of flower was different. The first bud was full of seeds, probably close to 20 in the 3.5 grams or so that we got. The second bud came still on the branch, with a cola at the top and smaller popcorn buds down the stem. The third flower we got looked the best; it had a nice trim, not many seeds, and the best smell out of the batch.

what is jamaican ganja

All of the flower was dark. Compared to the US where you see a lot of light green or purple flowers with vibrant orange hairs, Jamaican ganja did not have much of that at all.

Smell wise, the buds were more earthy and grassy than anything, but there was a subtle sweetness to each bud when I gave them a squeeze and broke them open.

While I expected to cough up a lung, I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the smoke was. The buds were a lot stickier than most Colorado buds, and without a grinder it took me a while to roll my joints. Once they were rolled and lit, the joints burned pretty evenly, and I rarely had to relight a joint.

The smells and flavors reminded me of the reggie I smoked in high school when I didn’t know any better. Maybe it was the nostalgia, or the fact that I knew I couldn’t get higher quality bud if I tried, but I really enjoyed the ganja I had.

Inside the Culture and Business of Ganja in Jamaica

In this week’s episode of The Real Dirt, I talk to Chip about my experience in Jamaica, sampling the local ganja and my experience of the cannabis culture in Jamaica and how it compares to the US.

After our talk, get a full, in depth discussion with Jessica Baker and Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, who works in the medical cannabis industry in Jamaica. From private market culture to legal market progress, get it all in this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast.

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Toklahoma: Growing cannabis in Oklahoma

Toklahoma: Growing cannabis in Oklahoma

It’s time to get growing in Oklahoma.

Right now is a great time to be growing cannabis in Oklahoma. For starters, it’s legal as long as you have a medical card. Second, Oklahoma has some of the most accessible cannabis laws in the country, making it super easy for anybody to start growing cannabis for themselves.

But for some, growing cannabis and using cannabis is still a taboo they are trying to overcome. This is in part because of Oklahoma’s inexperience with cannabis culture.

Oklahoma Cannabis Culture

“What is that?”, is probably what a lot of people in Oklahoma would say right now if you asked them about Oklahoma’s cannabis culture. That’s because up until 2018, it was pretty much non-existent.

Cannabis is very new to the state of Oklahoma, a traditionally red, conservative state that sits in southern-middle America. Compared to Colorado, California, Nevada and other larger states that have legalized cannabis, Oklahoma is pretty small.

Oklahoma City has a population of less than 650,000, with the next biggest city, Tulsa, having just over 400,000. Even with big city hubs, Oklahoma is still pretty rural. In other words, there was little interest in cannabis culture in Oklahoma until recently.

But with the state’s new laws, many are seeing the opportunity as more than just a new medicinal avenue, but a business avenue. It’s no secret that cannabis brings a lot of business, jobs, and money to wherever it becomes legal, medical or otherwise. So it should come as no surprise that people in an agricultural state like Oklahoma would jump on the opportunity to start growing cannabis.

Growing Cannabis in Oklahoma

It may seem simple enough as a traditional farmer or vegetable grower when growing cannabis for the first time; just plant the seeds or clones, give them water and sunlight and you’ll get results. But cannabis is not quite that simple like other vegetables or field crops.

Especially if you’re growing cannabis to distribute to dispensaries and processors, you want to grow the finest cannabis possible, not the easiest or simplest. The first thing you need to decide has already been mentioned, and that’s deciding whether or not you’re growing cannabis from seeds or clones.

The smartest and easiest things to do for new growers just growing for personal use is to buy clones. These are precut pieces of cannabis mother plants that have tested, proven quality genetics that will produce a plant just like the mother. Clones save you the trouble of having to grow out seeds for a couple months just to weed out the males (pun intended) and realize they were half of your stock.

For commercial growers however, building a cannabis business means standing out from the competition. You can either grow consistent, quality cannabis from clones of other growers’ gardens, or you can develop your own strains. Obviously breeding cannabis is no amateur task, and takes patience, trial and error.

But growing from seed gives growers the ability to pollinate and cross-breed their favorite strains to create new ones, an ability not afforded by clones since they are all female. A general tip to remember is that clones are more sensitive at first, and more prone to disease compared to seeds which are heartier, but overall clones are much easier to manage for a new grower.

Everything to know before you grow

In this episode of The Real Dirt Podcast, Chip talks to Darryl Souza and Chris Bane of Cultivate Denver and Cultivate OKC. Darryl and Chris combined have been in hundreds of grows and they have seen how cannabis is grown, right and wrong, indoor and outdoor, so they know a thing or two about growing cannabis of high quality, consistently.

Tune in as the three talk best practices for growing cannabis in Oklahoma, which lights, soils and nutrients are best and more on another knowledge-packed episode of The Real Dirt Podcast.

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The Problems with Planting Clones Outside

The Problems with Planting Clones Outside

More states are legalizing, and that means more people are starting to grow their own cannabis compared to any other time in modern history.

While it might seem like indoor growing is the predominant method for most cannabis cultivation today, some of the largest cannabis producers in the country grow all their cannabis outdoors. Northern California supplies more than half of the countries cannabis, and a lot of that cannabis is grown in a big field outside.

While there is a place for seeds in outdoor growing, clones allow you as the grower to select the best plant in your garden and reproduce it en masse. But an inexperienced grower that plants clones outside in late May and early June might notice a serious issue. Clones flowering right away.

Planting Clones Outside

The number one mistake to avoid when planting clones outside is planting them too early. While the perfect time to plant is hotly debated, planting in early May is usually too early. Another mistake newer growers may make is using a bigger pot like a 5 gallon so they can grow a bigger plant in the end.

However, a one gallon pot will work just fine, with a clone about one foot tall. As long as your clones are not root bound already, you’re odds are good that you won’t have too many problems. For ideal results, keeping your clones in a greenhouse until they have developed sufficiently to about 4 or 5 feet tall. Once they’re stronger and in the right place, you can plant them later in the season, after the solstice and before August 1st, and see great results.

Another option is to start them a little earlier and smaller. When your clones are about 6 inches tall, they stand a better chance of acclimating to the outdoor environment, compared to larger plants that will need more help during the transition.

Tips for Success

Jason Miller of Kiskanu Farms has been growing the Bubblegum strain for years, a notoriously difficult strain to grow well, especially outdoors. But through his own techniques, Jason grows the best Bubblegum in Northern California. His main advice is to just keep your plants happy.

“It’s difficult when you are moving your plants from a comfortable, controlled environment out into the wild. For us, we always try to make it as easy a transition as we can, moving them into a covered greenhouse to transition from high pressure lights to regular sunlight, controlling temperature and giving them time to ‘harden off’, so they are more prepared for sunlight when we move them outside.”

Moving your clones from a controlled greenhouse environment straight into the sunlight will almost always result in your plants burning due to the rapid shift in light power.

This Week on The Real Dirt

This week’s episode has full stack of expert outdoor cultivators. Jason from Kiskanu, Chris from Cultivate OKC, Brian from Yumboldt Farms and Jeff from Little Hill Cultivators all share their best techniques for planting clones outside.

From how to transition your lighting to when you should plant your clones outside for the best results, this episode will make you confident in your first grow with clones, or help you change your game up for an ever better outdoor season than last year.

Listen to the episode right here on The Real Dirt, or Subscribe and Follow us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to get the latest episodes straight to your phone for easy listening.

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The Story Behind The Real Dirt Podcast

The Story Behind The Real Dirt Podcast

It started as a time killer between business ventures. Now it’s one of the most popular cannabis podcasts out there.

I had just sold Royal Gold, my first soil company. I was in the planning stages for Grower Soil, but still had a lot of free time. As a serial entrepreneur, I couldn’t just hang out, I had to do something.

I asked my friends Hollis and Michael for ideas, and they brought up the concept of hosting a cannabis podcast. All I had to do was try and talk about cannabis for about an hour. Like I even had to try.

Tony Don’t Smoke OG

In early 2016, I had no idea how to host a podcast. I didn’t have any of the gear. So I did what anybody would do and went to Google and YouTube. I found the best gear everybody was using, and it turned out to be pretty basic. Once I had the gear, I had to test it out.

While the first recordings I ever made are lost to time, my first real attempt at making a podcast would end up being released as Tony Don’t Smoke OG. I brought my gear over to my friend Tony’s house, and just started having a conversation with Tony over a joint.

As other friends would swing by, we would rope them into the smoke circle and ask them some questions. None of them ever reached a full episode’s length, but it was the beginning of The Real Dirt.

The Real Dirt Podcast

Once the end of 2016 rolled around, I had gotten a little more organized, built out a makeshift studio to dampen the outside noises and released the first episode with Christian Sederberg. It was a blast. We talked about the cannabis laws in Colorado, business compliance, and getting stoned.

It was the beginning of an incredible journey. Over the next couple years I would toke up with some of the biggest names in the industry from the team at Vicente Sederberg, Fletcher Watson of Archive Seed Bank and Mr Soul of Brothers Grimm Seeds, to the founders of Heavy 16 and Botanicare, and the creator of Green Dot Labs, Dave Malone.

Now it’s 2019, and from new episodes to re-releases, The Real Dirt has put out over 70 episodes. I know it ain’t a 3 hours episode every day like Joe Rogan and the other big guys, but that’s what makes The Real Dirt unique.

Next on The Real Dirt Podcast

There’s a lot coming down the pipeline for The Real Dirt, so don’t start getting sad that it might be over, ‘cus it isn’t. The Real Dirt has been in the same studio, which has been in the basement of my house in Denver, since the beginning. But Denver ain’t the only cannabis hub anymore.

Oklahoma’s medical cannabis market is about to explode, and I’m diving into it head-first. I got a new Cultivate shop opening in OKC, plus a bunch of other businesses in the works that I can’t wait to start talking about on the podcast. But of course that’s not all that’s new.

There will be a new Real Dirt studio soon, and I’ll be having more awesome guests on from all over the country. From growing it, to building a business around it, to financing it and staying ahead of the competition, The Real Dirt is going to keep bringing a wide range of expert guests from all realms of the cannabis industry.

From California to Maryland, up and down the coasts and everywhere in between, The Real Dirt will continue to bring you the latest industry news, trends and classic smoke stories. Whether you’re in the grow, driving home or just lounging with a joint, The Real Dirt has an episode for you.

Check out all of our episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to your podcasts now.

Everything You Need to Know About Coco Coir

Everything You Need to Know About Coco Coir

It’s not the kind of coco you add to some hot water and drink. It’s the kind you put your plants in for awesome results.

Coco coir is a highly absorbent medium, and one of few mediums that is renewable. It’s also part of Growers’ High Porosity blend.

What makes coco coir so special is how it’s obtained, it’s neutral pH and the many benefits it can provide for your soil (or soilless) blend.

Coco Coir Origins

Coco coir is actually a byproduct of the coconut fiber industry. Between the outer husk and the actual coconut is a layer of fibrous threads. While the outer husk and coconut may be used for textiles and other coconut products, the coco coir is usually set aside.

This leftover byproduct is then compacted into bricks or sold loosely for use in agriculture. Compared to its more controversial counterpart peat, coco coir is completely renewable, and is viewed as the more sustainable medium.

Most coco coir is derived from Asia, particularly India and Southeast Asia. Growers single sources our coco in dehydrated bricks to prevent any contamination or mold. We’ve had the same relationship with our source for over 20 years.

Benefits of Coco Coir

One of the main benefits of coco is its unique water holding properties. Coco has a high water holding capacity, but it is also more aerated than other mediums like peat.

Due to this, you can feed your plants more often, and get bigger plants using coco-based mediums. It’s also a pH neutral medium, which lets growers manage their plants much easier, without having to account for a base-pH that needs to be adjusted. 

Coco is one of the few renewable resources used in the cannabis industry. Peat, and other soils are mined after sitting for millions of years, absorbing the nutrients of decaying life contained within. Once it is mined, it isn’t coming back for millions of more years. Coco on the other hand is a byproduct of the coconut industry, which makes it much more environmentally friendly and even reusable if managed well.

Coco Coir Cons

There aren’t too many negatives to growing in coco, but a common issue with coco is how it is sourced. A large majority of coco coir is sourced from Asia, and chemicals are sometimes used in the packing and storage process. Another issue with this sourcing is that people will get already hydrated coco delivered, instead of dehydrated coco. With higher moisture content when hydrated, you run a bigger risk of encountering problems when your coco arrives.

Luckily, Growers has had the same coco coir source for over 15 years. We get the most premium, dehydrated coco available on the market, which then goes into their High Porosity and 100% Coco Blends.

Coco is a unique medium. It’s light, but holds water, but not too long. In a way, it’s the perfect medium. On its own or in a soil blend, coco is a versatile medium that you should give a try if you haven’t already.

Get a full explanation and deep dive into everything coco in this week’s episode of The Real Dirt Podcast, featuring Darren Erasmus, CEO of Growers Soil in Colorado.

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