Breaking Down Salt Nutrients with Front Row Ag (Pt. 2)
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When someone first sees a bag of Front Row Ag nutrients, the first question they might have is “what is it?”
Front Row starts with a simple Part A that is packed with nitrogen, calcium and chelated micronutrients, followed by Part B, full of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. The Part B also has surfactin, which is a natural antibiotic produced by Bacillus subtilis to help strengthen plant immunity against disease. And that’s the base.
No Grow A&B followed by Bloom A&B. Just Part A and B for growth, and Bloom for flower. Three bags total. The flower nutrient from Front Row is more than just a PK booster too. The biggest benefit to Front Row Bloom is the inclusion of sulfur and magnesium included in the bag. This helps make significant changes to calcium and magnesium ratios throughout the flower process, which is extremely useful in greenhouse and outdoor applications.
Ease of use and affordability
Silicic acid has become a hot commodity for growers, but the price point has been too high for many to commit. Front Row decided to create a mono-silicic acid that is just as effective and more affordable. While some silicic acid products may be designed with propylene glycol as the carrying agent, Front Row uses an alcohol-based sugar carrying agent that the plant can metabolize and use for more energy.
And the affordability carries on throughout the full Front Row Ag line up. Additionally the application rates are simplified to avoid over measuring or over feeding. The entire growth cycle can be completed with the base line; A, B and Bloom. However growers looking to increase their rhizosphere and take a more biosynthetic approach have more options that Front Row offers.
This Week’s Episode
In Part 2 of the Front Row Ag interview, Chip, Matt, Zach and Leland dive into what makes up their products, how they differ from the competition in their composition, application and effectiveness. They also talk about the debate over fertilizer injectors, stock solutions and more as the gang dives into the rabbit hole of irrigation and cultivation.
If you missed Part 1 of this interview, you can catch up right here. To hear more Real Dirt Podcast episodes, subscribe and follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts to get over 100 episodes instantly!
Chip: And we’re back. Oh man, you know we always have people do like, you know, feats of strength so to speak while we’re, while we’re on break. And I was just amazed. That was like, the largest dab I’ve ever seen anybody do, Leland:. That must have been like, a three and a half gram chunk, and you didn’t cough once, and you don’t even seem like you’re high, man.
Leland: You know that they say I have callous lungs.
Chip: Callous lungs, that that that’s it.
Leland: Part of the [inaudible 00:45].
Chip: Yeah, you know, some people can handle that stuff. I can’t. I really love extract, we were just talking about extract. And I love what it’s done to the cannabis industry.
Leland: Yeah, absolutely. Not, it’s, it’s changed the game.
Chip: So yeah, here we are, it’s The Real Dirt. I’m talking to Matt, Zach and Leland, also known as Zeeland. And this is Front Row Ag we’re fixing to get into the nitty gritty. All the questions that my guys out there at Tribe Collective have been asking, and want to know about, we’re fixing to talk about all of the products. We’re going to talk about the technical details on how to use it, indoor, outdoor, greenhouse, in the ground, in pots. We’re going to talk about how to put it in a mixing tank, how to put it in a stock solution. Oh man, get your, put your joints down, pick your pens up, get your notepads ready, and, and, and here we go. So, let’s start from the beginning. What are, what are these products?
Matt: Yeah, so we have the Front Row offering starts with Part F. It’s basically all of our nitrogen, all of our calcium and a really, really healthy micro package. So you have all the essential micronutrients in there chelated. We typically use two different chelates, EDTA, and EDDHA. And it just helps with really high availability in a wide, wide pH range, then our part B, the bulk of our magnesium, a lot, a good amount of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen in there as well. And then, the cool part about our part B is that there’s a surfactant in there. And then there’s also a small amount of inclusion rate of citric acid. It acts, once the fertilizer goes into the solution, whether you’re injecting on the fly or putting it in a reservoir, however you want to feed, it just, it helps the chelates to be more active. And in the fertilizer world, we call kind of a preservative, it helps keeps things in solution as well. But a little bit of added value there.
Chip: So that’s an A, and a B, and that’s your major MPK. That’s where it all comes from.
Matt: That’s the, that’s probably the, if you’re going to refer to a base for like, the base of any other nutrient, whether you’re looking like cannis A, B from back in the day, the GH or even any of our competitors on the dry side, the A and the B is what you’re going to use start to finish, whether it’s veg or in flower And then in flower, we have our third product, which is Bloom. Traditionally, the bloom when you look at the the guaranteed analysis, it looks like it’s a PK booster, which it absolutely is and it serves as that. But one of the biggest benefits of it is the sulfur and the magnesium that we include in our bloom. So it allows us to make really significant and meaningful changes to the calcium, the magnesium ratio throughout flower, which is tremendously needed for greenhouses and outdoor. And we’ll talk about is a good amount of sulfur at the beginning of the flowering process as well. So more so than just being a PK booster, I’d say its contributions to sulfur and magnesium are, can’t be understated. In the fertilizer world, there’s a lot of other value added products that do offer great benefits depending on the situation. And that’s, that’s something we’re always wanting to talk about. But another product that Front Row really stands behind and created to help growers out there from a value standpoint is our silicic acid, so we offer a 10% monosilicic acid as well.
Chip: That’s the SI, right?
Matt: Yep, the Front Row SI, yep. And so the reason –
Chip: Huge value in that project- product, man. I mean you know, other SI products or the other silica based type products we sell in liquid form are just so expensive, like, like –
Matt: Oh, yeah. And that’s you really, when when we were, when we were looking at the opportunity repetitively, we were just told that. We were, so we were told that a lot of these other specifically mono and disilicic acid products, they’re great. They work awesome, they do exactly what the people say they do, but we can’t afford to use them, was the the recurring feedback we would get. And we said, “Okay, well, we know that’s a benefit from strengthening the cell wall, adding some weight, helping with the resistance of different bugs and diseases and things like that. But we need to make it affordable.” And something that’s a no brainer for the cultivator and a commercial grower, and that was really our aim there was just help them out. But with that though I mean, it’s a tremendously high quality monosilicic acid. And then a big difference too is a lot of the products you’ll buy if they are monosilicic acid will use a propylene glycol , a arrying agent to help keep the solulized. We actually use an alcohol based sugar that the plant metabolizes and uses. But then yeah, and then Leland:’s gonna talk about two of our other products as well.
Chip: I’m gonna, I’m gonna pause you here. So it’s, it’s, core of this is this a B product that you guys use as the base product from start to finish. And then they’re just used at different ratios for the week or the phase of growth. And then there’s a bloom enhancer, that’s a separate product from the A and B, right – and that’s bloom, right?
Matt: Yeah. And that’s important actually, um, ease of use we talked about earlier. When we designed this product, the A and the B, you talked about how they get used. When you make them into a liquid concentrate, which is kind of where we saw the industry going, people buying dosers, injection skids, things of that nature, even making concentrates at their house. The product is used at AMB or always used at equal dilution rates. And so at milliliter per gallon, the you know, if you use one at 14 mLs, the other one gets used to 14 mLs, and that’s veg through flower.
Chip: Traditionally speaking in liquid products, right?
Matt: Whenever you use an injection equipment or make our product into a liquid, and then from a dry, yeah, they’re used at different gram rates per gallon. Because from a design of a fertilizer, you have to choose whether when it’s made into a concentrate or stays dry, if it’s going to be even mapped on, on which side of that.
Chip: So the core products is A and B, the Bloom and the SI. That’s ,that’s the base product line, right? That’s what most commercial people are buying. But there’s these other two products, you got the Bioflow and the Unleash.
Leland: Yep. And so that’s for people who are taking, you know, a biosynthetic approach where they’re wanting to encourage that rhizosphere development, and have more health to the root zone, and like, avoiding more pathogens. So when people are looking for that solution, we have the Unleash. It’s NPK mobilizing microbe, and it’s designed mainly to supply nitrogen to the plant, mobilize any nitrogen that may be fixed and locked out in the medium, as well as doing the same thing with phosphates. And converting those phosphates into plant uptake will forms as well. There’s also some other microbes in there that are helping with general disease resistance, as well as making sugars and different enzymes that the plant can use, facilitating more of an organic process on top of just the traditional synthetic ion exchange. The other product that we’re offering is the Bioflow. So that one’s actually really, really cool. And we’ve seen a lot of killer results with that across the board. It’s made to, or it’s designed as a irrigation mine soap. So as part of a treatment that you’re using in your, your irrigation system. It’s all microbial, so it’s plant-friendly. So what we’re recommending is that people are using it overnight or for like, a minimum of four hours in the lines. That way, it’s breaking down any biofilm that’s building up, any kind of nutrient scale, and making it into a flowable form that in most situations isn’t going to affect the plant in a negative way. The worst thing you might see from it, if you got really nasty lines, there might be some chunky stuff that’s coming out the first time you use it.
Matt: That’s what you want.
Leland: And that’s what you want, or it’s gonna have a really low pH, which is also you know, a sign that it’s working. But I’ve seen, I’ve seen that take care of some of the gnarliest irrigation line problems where people wanted to throw, throw their whole system away.
Chip: Right. Wow, that’s great. I can’t wait to get into that a little bit more. So these are the core products and, and people use these type of products in all different ways. But the man, that the most exciting way or the, I should say the most conversation we have is with fertilizer injectors. And I kind of like to go right into that on how to learn stock solutions, fertilizer injections, and, and let’s, let’s hop down that rabbit hole as they like to say.
Matt: Definitely. Yeah, and they’re, I would say that’s what our product is designed for specifically. It’s great for going direct in the res, it works awesome for that. But from original intent, the math behind it, we really saw it being a you know, great for injection systems. And so the products themselves are pretty easy. We have some videos now that you can look up whether it’s on Instagram, [inaudible 9:30] as well. And some other resources in terms of just watching it happen. But there’s a pound or gram per gallon that you use to make the stock concentrate. You mix it up and and then you start injecting at a really, really high level. And we, our instructions are so simple, where if you’re saying you’re making 55 gallon drums, we tell you to put X amount of 25 pound bags into the 55 gallon drum while you’re filling it up, top it off and then give you instructions to test it to make sure it’s accurate and correct. And then you’re off to the races from there.
Chip: So when you have these stock solutions, you have to constantly mix these things up?
Matt: No, no.
Matt: Well yeah –
Chip: We’ve got customers out on you know, farmland that are, have like totes and large 40 gallon a minute type dosers, you know what I’m talking about. So yes, totally fine for this just to dump the product in the reservoir, let it sit there, you don’t have to mix it up after it’s mixed.
Matt: Or after it’s mixed. Leland:’s looking at me sideways here. Yeah. The, once yeah, so as you’re, as you’re putting the, the dry powder in the water to make the stock concentrate for the first time, there needs to be agitation and it needs to be mixing.
Chip: Like a paddle or, or you know, a pump, or like –
Matt: Our recommendation is, is the the weaker the agitation, the longer you need to mix it. If it’s mixing vigorously, you’ll watch it. I mean, within minutes to seconds, it’s in there. But much like mixing salt and water, that’s gonna get it all to come off the bottom and look like it’s swirling around. You need to keep mixing it beyond that for some time just to make sure it’s all homogenized and in solution. But everything in it still water-soluble, you follow the instructions, it’s going to dissolve. So if you find that there’s something at the bottom or something isn’t mixed, it’s probably because you added it too fast. Or, you know, hit the bottom, or it didn’t have water in there first. We see a variety of different things, but uh –
Chip: Right, absolutely. What’s the best way to mix this product up? If you’re telling you know, me, Chip: at the Baker Ranch, like hey, how do I, how do you mix it up to 55 gallons? How do you do it?
Matt: So yeah, in 55 gallons?
Chip: No man, let’s say a tote, let’s say a tote.
Matt: So the best way is to like, Mixer Directs Company. You can get it online and they make really high quality industrial mixers that actually go right on top of 250 gallon totes. Or they size them for cone bottoms, or even barrels, they have barrel –
Chip: What’s that, what’s that brand again?
Matt: Mixer Directs, I think they’re out of Kentucky.
Chip: Mixer Direct. Okay.
Matt: But that’s what we’ve used for gosh, for almost a decade to buy our impellers. But they make them for 55 gallon drums, totes, and huge vats, if you want to.
Matt: But, I would say ideally, you buy an impeller from them that size for your container, they’ll help you out with that. And then you would fill up the, whatever the container is, a drum, a tote halfway up with water, start to get it mixing slowly with that impeller and the water moving, and then start to add the salt. You’ll see the water volume come up. Keep it mixing, add the bags of salt and then top it off to the volume that is your target, and then check the solution.
Chip: Man you make it, you make it sound so easy. And the math is on your websites, right?
Matt: Oh, it’s on our mixing charts, our websites everywhere. It’s right on the front of the bag actually, in the instructions right on the bag. Yep.
Chip: So, so I can just look up the feed chart for my totes which are these large like, how do you guys I mean, they come in all sizes. How do you guys say the size, 200 gallon or 275?
Matt: I just say it’s a 250 to [inaudible 12:57].
Chip: However many gallons they want in it to stabilize the – alright. So like, we have 275 and we call them two hundreds and we fill it to the 200 one, right?
Matt: And so one time, whether you’re a new customer, or as you call us, like you call Leland or you read the instructions, which is very clear, you would have 200 gallons you’d like, okay, well, in a 50 gallon drum, I put in three bags. So in a 200 gallon tote, I’m gonna put three times four is 12 bags. And that’s it, you know, fill it up to 100 gallons or so, and your 200 gallon tote. Slowly start adding the 12 bags while it’s mixing, maybe a little bit of water as you with that to displacement. And then –
Chip: Cold water? I can use –
Matt: Right so two things here, there’s a little bit of –
Chip: Those be out on the farm, man, you know –
Matt: Room temperature or hot. But if –
Chip: It’s better.
Matt: Yeah, if it’s warm, it’s going to mix better. If it’s –
Chip: Alright, what if it’s coming right out of the ground? ‘Cause that, many of these people you know, and myself, we have to come right out of the ground into like, our water store area.
Matt: Ideally above 65 or 66. But the lower the temperature is, you’re gonna have to mix it longer.
Leland: [inaudible 14:04] solution, longer mixing, yep.
Chip: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I just got to put some time into mixing it.
Matt: Yeah, I mean, if you’re using a 58 degree water, trust me, it’ll go in, but you’re going to spend two or three hours mixing that.
Chip: Right, right. And with this, with the, with the agitating mixer you were talking about, you just turn it on and walk away.
Matt: Yeah, I mean, and we don’t recommend this but we’ve, were at a grow doing a site visit in Washington a couple weeks ago. And the guy had an impeller on the end of a cordless drill.
Matt: 30 seconds to a minute, we sat there. And it was definitely mixed in the solution. And then we came back about every five minutes and mixed it for 15 minutes, and called it good after, I mean after about 15, 20 minutes.
Chip: Oh, right.
Matt: Then it got mixed three or four times and it was good to go. I told him I would say you know, I would definitely mix it longer. But it validated, it checked out and that’s the tools you had on hand. So yeah.
Chip: Alright, right. I mean, you could use a paddle you just, you know might have to like, you know –
Leland: You’ll sit there for a while.
Chip: Yeah, l mean that’s how we used to make ice cream right?
Matt: People use Monde pumps in the bottom, I mean, but it’s, like Leland: said, it just lower agitation, longer mixing time, lower temperature, longer mixing time.
Leland: You can let it sit and mix overnight, or you can heat up your water overnight and mix into warm water. You know, there’s, there’s a couple different ways to solve it. Yeah, generally the recommendation, just because I like things easy is to try and get the water hot. So if I know that I’m going to have temperature issues, mixing my stock tanks, then I’ll plan for it, it’s something you only have to do every month or two.
Chip: Dump all my water out of the well into the stock tanks one day, come back the day later, and it’s gonna be –
Leland: Another yeah. Another note is that you’d want to use RO water if you’re gonna be mixing stock concentrates, just because the carbonates and other minerals that you’ll find in the well are gonna interact with the mix, it’s a concentrated mixture.
Chip: So you just spend some time and get the RO on the stock tank –
Leland: Only on the concentrates.
Chip: Yeah, only on the concentrates.
Matt: And remember, a really good point though is we do find to which is interesting, people will mix smaller volumes for some reason. And once it’s mixed in solution, I mean, whether it’s weeks or months, unless you’re sitting on a freezing cold floor outside or something crazy, it’s going to stay in solution for an incredibly long period of time. So mix something that lasts you several weeks to a month, a month and a half. Not something every other day.
Chip: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got our, we’ve got our stock tank, we have our totes, they’re out on the farm, they’re on the back 40. Literally, that’s what we call it, the back 40. We’re on the back 40 –
Matt: Thought this was someone else.
Chip: And, quote unquote. Nothing for sale here, everything’s legal.
Zach: You know, and then we’re taking our injectors of choice, you know, dose trying and kind of sets the standard in the game.
Chip: We’ve used it all. That’s what we use currently. We sell them every single day at Cultivate Colorado, we’re probably one of their largest vendors for it so.
Zach: You have set up many happy customers with those trumps, I have seen that.
Matt: Yeah, I think we’re, what we’re talking about today it’s the, a good injection ranges anywhere from 0.2% up to the 2%. injectors, which is like the [inaudible 17:12].
Leland: Yep. Yeah, the MC-2.
Matt: Yeah, exactly, yeah.
Leland: That’s a great, great little workhorse. But uh, yeah, so as far as injection goes, and if you’re following our instructions, you’re injecting at around 1:250 ratio. So that’s sitting you anywhere between, you know, like around 20 to 22 milliliters per gallon in veg, if you want to feel like you would typical liquid nutrients. All the way to like, if you’re using all three parts in flower, we’d be closer to 10 to 15 milliliters. So it’s got a little bit of a range. And mixing in no liquid makes it easier to make those adjustments if you wanted to, if you’re looking to be hitting a target EC. After everything’s mixed, it’s all being used at a one to one ratio. So you know, if you’re using 14 mLs of A, using 14 of B, 14 in Bloom.
Chip: So you know, you just mentioned something many of our customers do use Dositrons and they’re great, you know, siphoning injection system. There’s many other types. And one of the types that we frequently see customers come in, they have like a high rate of 1 to 1 hundredth, or just a set rate of 1 to 100 when they come in. How do you use your product that way?
Matt: Well, Leland actually – and the only reason I was interrupting was because he helped build some of the sheets for our fixed injection rates.
Chip: Great. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This comes up every day, because quite, question almost every day.
Leland: Yeah. So assuming that you’re mixing our formula to our instructions on this coming at around a 1 to 250, maybe 1 to 200 ratio. So you’re literally just going to be cutting our application rates in half. If you have a fixed injection rate of 1 to 100. Or if it’s a 1 to 350, which is pretty common too, then you can mix our concentrates even worse, even more concentrated. But we’re only at about 20 to 30% of our maximum solubility. So you can mix it even stronger if you want, it’s going to be…
Chip: If it’s a 1 to 100 hundredth injector, how do you mix it?
Leland: So you’re going to take our recommended rates and just cut that in half. So for recommending for a 55 gallon drum, and you’re adding four bags of A to mix your stock concentrate, you’re just going to add two bags of A. Now one thing, one thing to note, if you’re going to be doing that and mixing at a lower concentration, is that you’re probably only going to have about two weeks to a month of usage rate out of that concentrate. Since it’s at that lower rate, it’s –
Zach: It’s going to eat it up.
Leland: Stuff can, stuff can start growing in there a little easier, yeah.
Matt: Yeah. I think what Leland’s trying to say too, is it’s probably smarter too, than go through it faster. Because it’s, because it’s so diluted, but you’re injecting twice as much.
Chip: Oh, right. Because it’s, I see, I see. Conservative issue associated with all the product too, so there’s more water in it and right.
Leland: Yeah, and in our typical concentrate, you can put it in a clear, in a clear jug and nothing will grow in it. Because the pH is so low and there’s so much fertilizer in it. Now you start cutting it and it’s a prime area for anything to grow in a petri dish.
Chip: Okay, so that’s how we make stock concentrates for reservoirs. What if I want to make a gallon stock concentrate to be, to be used out? Is it the same way?
Leland: Same way.
Chip: Same way.
Matt: Sorry – no, I was just gonna say our five pound instructions for either smaller commercial facilities or hobbyists, it’s the same instruction sheet that we have. You know, instead of being in a, in a 55 or 50 gallon drum, it’s in a five gallon bucket and or, you know, what, or one of the old liquid nutrient five gallons you’ve kept people make them in that all the time.
Chip: Yeah, those are great, because then you can just – well, the two and a halves are great, because you can shake it up. Shake it up.
Matt: And in our instructions too now are, we try to avoid using a scale to make this stock concentrate because it’s easier and faster. We say, X amount of bags for X amount of gallons and then check it. And it’s either if it’s too strong, cut it a little bit.
Chip: On the smaller scale, you have to weigh it out.
Matt: Yeah, well, yeah. And you can , you can.
Chip: You can. Right, right, right, right. And then they had that stock gallon or two and a half gallon, and they take that and there’s instructions also on your website on how to use that stock solution by the tablespoon or the milliliter reservoir.
Leland: Yeah, same way we’re used to do it.
Chip: Right. Same way you’re used to. Alright, so you’re basically making your own fertilizer, right? At home or at your you know, at your grow, you bring in dry powder, which is easier to get in, which is more cost effective, it’s better for the world. You’re making your own stock concentrate that you’re keeping in your own one gallon, two and a half gallon, five gallon, 55 Gallon, 200 gallon. And then you get to use it you know, at will. You can use it with a injection system at varying injection rates, or by the milliliter or tablespoon per gallon in a traditional reservoir.
Matt: You can go right out of the bag dry, right into your reservoirs as well.
Chip: Yeah, let man, let because you don’t have to make a stock concentrate.
Matt: No, you do not. And I would say –
Chip: Most people don’t.
Matt: Exactly. As much as I want people to, to inject and make our stock concentrate and enjoy that, I would say a super majority of our customers actually go right out of the bag into a reservoir like we all did. One thing I wanted to mention on shipping costs that’s kind of mind boggling is on a pallet of liquid product, you can fit 200 gallons on that pallet. We get, or 250 if you order a tote, where you can put the equivalent in dry of 2000 gallons of stock concentrate, that fits on that same palette. And then also typically our shipping costs instead of shipping that weight of water, and then because the units, it’s about five to 10 times cheaper in shipping as well.
Chip: Shipping it’s, it’s such an economic cost and environmental cost, man. There’s more than one way to care about the environment than just growing organically and it’s shipping and packaging, you know movement of people in materials over space and time. Man, we really got to think about that as an industry and as businesses. One, It makes us more money the more effective we are with it., but it’s better for the world.
Matt: Keep telling Zach to stop flying his private jet everywhere.
Chip: Oh, Zach, what kind of jet you got?
Zach: I can’t tell you. We’ll go, leading off of that, and I guess this is something that I like to focus on a lot is that us compared to some of our competitors to reach a desired outcome of your EC, a lot of these other companies that are powdered, dry fertilizers, you’re having to hit numbers, sometimes double the amount of the input that you can reach a high or desired EC than with ours. So let’s just say by chance, you know, it’s competitor A or whatever it is, to reach 2.0 EC are using let’s just say, 4 grams across the board each of ours. So you’d have to use 6 or 8, even, even more grams per gallon to reach that 2.0 EC. So, not only are you having a savings originally when you buy our product not only from dry to dry, but also dry a liquid. But then on top of it, the savings comes in from the amount that you use grams per gallon or mLs per gallon to equal your desired EC.
Matt: And we do, we hear that all the time as well. I had to use this product at 30 EC and I want to use yours at a 24 or 25, and you’ll compare the product and it’s well at 2.4, we have the same ppm of nitrogen and potassium phosphorus and meaningful things. But in order to achieve those same rates of micros or even macros, they have to use substantially more conductivity to get the same amount of, same amount of product that we offer.
Chip: Hey guys, just a quick break to tell you about Cultivate OKC, Cultivate Colorado. You know, I got into the hydroponic supply business 2009. I had wanted to open up a retail hydroponic store for years and I was already making potting so at that point, maybe some fertilizers and some other stuff I was into. You know, I hadn’t opened up a retail shop and got this opportunity to open one up in California. Right as I was fixing open up down in Riverside, Colorado came along. Ended up being better bigger opportunity. Opened up our Colorado stores and you know, man is just we’ve been off to the races ever since. Now, we’re in Colorado and in Oklahoma, we ship all over the country and even the world, man. It’s amazing the people that call us, contact us that needs, that need some, some, some equipment to grow their fine cannabis with. So if you need any help, any equipment, you want to come to a great grow store where people don’t judge you, we’re not clique-oriented, we’re just there to help you grow. Man, come see us at Cultivate. Cultivate Colorado, we’re on exit 206 I-25. We’re also on the Stapleton Monaco exit there on I-70. And down in Oklahoma City, our newest store and man probably our nicest showroom right now is we’re right on the corner of 10th in Meridian. So come check us out, 1101 North Meridian. Yeah, man. Got any questions about growing no matter if you’re big or small, just come on in. We’ll be glad to chat with you. Hey, guys, I know everyone who’s listening. We all love The Real Dirt. I mean, I love The Real Dirt. But you know what I love even more than The Real Dirt is actually growing in dirt. That’s right, Growers high porosity coco formula, that’s my potting soil. Man, I’ve gone through so much trouble and research to build the cleanest, most effective potting soil for growing cannabis. Man, we built all this stuff inside. I break all the pallets, all the raw materials down on, on the morning. I push it through our machine, we use a series of conveyor belts, there’s no cross contamination, everything’s machine mixed. It’s all made and mixed by volume. It goes directly into bag. By the end of the day, everything that we started at the start of the day, all the raw materials, they’ve turned into bagged product that’s all stored inside. Now, the importance of this is many, many other, every other potting soil company, they don’t do it like that. Here’s how they do it. They take their raw materials, whether it’s coco, peat, perlite, pumice, compost, sand, whatever they got, and they make a huge pile of it outside with big industrial equipment. They use tons of diesel to do this, tons of diesel fuel on the grinders, on the screeners, on the loaders. And they leave the huge piles out that’s just like, the petri dish for cross contamination from weed seeds, bugs, whatever, whatever is capable of living in it. And it does and it will, and then they take these piles and they bring them into another facility that’s probably also not indoors, very few of them are. They’re usually covered tin sheds or something like that. And they, they bag up the potting soil, they wrap it up, pallet it up, clean it off nice and pretty. And then when it gets shipped to you, you think it’s this great product, but in reality, it’s just like some dirt on the ground that people have shoveled up and put it in a nice plastic bag. And the potential for it to be full with everything from root aphids to fungus gnats to contaminants., it is just, it’s mind- boggling actually. At how bad it could be and it’s really not that bad comparatively, but our product is so clean. We go through so much trouble from the RO water to the clean cement, to the way that we move all this product around with conveyor belts instead of using big loaders. I mean, I’ve been making potting soil most of my adult life and I’m now using 1/10th of the petroleum products to make this potting soil. 1/10th. And that’s almost all in diesel fuel, all in propane with forklifts. Because of the way that we’ve situated our plant and made it this really great, environmentally friendly weed-bug-seed-free product. So check it out man, growerscoco.com. Hop on your computer right now. Go to growerscoco.com. Check out our website. If we’re not in your community., ask your local grow store. He can get it in if you’re in Colorado or an Oklahoma, man, come to some Cultivates and we definitely got it. Thanks guys and let’s get back to the episode.
Chip: So we get the stock tank solution question all the time, we get this question of do I have to make a stock tank. No, you can go right from the powder into your reservoir. Man, the other like, like thing people talk to us about especially here in Oklahoma but also with hemp growers throughout the US is like, how to use it outdoors in the ground, right?
Matt: That’s a great question. Part of, kind of like our water testing, one thing that we do or we look at and we offer and one of the partners at Front Rows is [inaudible 30:26], is we read and analyze your soil tests. Any farmer that’s going to grow outside or cultivator that’s going to grow outside and wants to put their plants in the ground, the first thing we recommend as hiring a company like like Waypoint, for instance, testing your soil. Just taking a standard soil test and going out there and figuring out, “Okay, what’s my [inaudible 30:45], my pH, my organic composition, my pounds of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, everything out there. And then we’ll actually look at that with the farmer or the grower. And we’ll say, “Okay, well, you already have this amount of nutrients in the field based on how much the crop is going to use from and the length of your crop. This is what you’ll need to start amending with our product at some point.” And same thing again, though, they can make into a liquid concentrate and inject it in their drip system, they can put it in giant reservoirs, and you know, using on sprinkler heads, whether it’s a center pivot or actual heads. At that point, we see a variety of different things. But we always start with them on a soil test because they might have no food in their, in their field, and need a you know, fertilizer from all of our products. Or they might only need one of our products for two weeks at the end, because the field is super rich in fertilizer already.
Leland: Another point to add to that is, a lot of people like to kind of give salts a bad name, wrecking the earth and polluting the water with nitrates and phosphates.
Chip: ‘Cause that used to be the case, they used to have inferior quality fertilizer.
Chip: That’s not what you guys have.
Leland: No, this isn’t an ammonia based fertilizer. Um, you know, like we do, we do rely on some synthetic nitrates, that’s the majority of products out there, even if they’re claiming to be organic, there’s not a lot of soluble forms of calcium out there that don’t include a nitrate with them. So that being said, we’re delivering about 20% less nitrogen to a field as a conventional farmer would recommend. And doing that with the most practical, responsible forms of irrigation possible. So like, we’ll always be recommending is, drip system to be going into a field. That way, we can deliver precise amounts of irrigation, know exactly what the roots are getting in terms of the fertilizer and not just trying to do a broad application, even though it will work in conventional systems. And I’d rather somebody be doing that than throwing, I’d rather somebody use 250 pounds of Front rRw per acre than, and spend a little bit more money versus throwing 200 pounds of ammonium nitrate on a field and hoping for the best. So you’re going to get as much nitrogen out of our system, with our drip system or subterranean system delivering water directly to the root zone. And I mean, there’s guys who conventional corn farmers and wheat farmers who have watched hemp growers row crop and do really, really well with plastic mulch in a drip system, to the point where they’ve gone through and done in the next year for their heirloom strains and hit record yields out of their fields. It’s something that, it’s on the forefront of agriculture, if you don’t see, if you see it as a problem, look at it as a solution to a problem, and to transition into a more responsible way to farm.
Chip: ROI comes in so many different ways on a farm.
Chip: That’s for sure. And you know, one of the ways we see many organizations have problems, cultivations, they’ll reorganize their facility, they’ll bring somebody in as a manager, a CFO, and the first thing he wants to do, the easiest thing he wants to do to make himself look good. Hey, you guys are in this position, either don’t do it or recognize it, it’s happened, the first thing they do is like, we’re gonna cut our production costs, and we’re gonna get the cheaper shit. And man, you know, there’s one thing and getting the same thing, the exact same product at a better discount from a vendor. But like when you, when you say you’re going to get a cheaper product, there’s outcomes that you pay for, right? And that cheap product, you know, you will lose out in time and wait, right? Time, the most crucial part of it, right? But by using these these higher quality cannabis specific dry soluble fertilizers, just like Front Row Ag, man, that ROI comes back immediately within 90 days, as soon as you harvest, you know, especially on large scale, it comes back.
Matt: If you’re spending less than 1% of the gross revenue that your product brings in on fertilizer, then you’re exactly where you need to be. And I would say we’re well below that. And so there are products you should spend money on though, is what I’m getting at.
Chip: Yeah, yeah.
Matt: Like Leland brought up in terms of fertilizers you shouldn’t spend your money on as well.
Chip: Yeah. So we’re talking outdoor in the ground. What about outdoor and pots?
Matt: Yeah, same thing. We [inaudible 34:58], I mean, I run some pretty large outdoor grows and pots, yeah.
Chip: Oh yeah, I’m a container grower. I love it, man. I love it.
Matt: You get 45 and 50 gallon pots, we use 12 foot metal stakes, we drive into the ground, put up a shade ourselves and then run trails and it’s kind of like growing an indoor plant huge outside. It’s eight foot by six foot centers.
Chip: Oh wow and 40 gallon pot. So you’re like, you’re like feeding it, feeding it constantly with Front Row.
Matt: Yeah, beginning, well, beginning of the season, we like to definitely let our plants dry down in terms of letting the roots spread promoting oxygen in the soil, at the sites that we’re running. But, uh, yeah, I mean, the plant goes in typically coming out of a one gallon into that one large pot, and it’s going to dry down for several weeks, between its first irrigation and watering, and its second one. And then pretty rapidly, the irrigation events get quicker and quicker and quicker and quicker. And at some point in flower, we’re watering, you know, sometimes every day to every couple days, and those giant pots, still. I mean, you have some plants that are easily six to eight feet tall and [inaudible 35:57] out if not still 10 feet tall.
Chip: I love containers of all size. But you know the thing, the great thing outside about like that 30, 45 gallon container is, you know, you really get to feed it like an indoor plant. You know, you can get them huge, but I like the smaller plants. And we’ve even run like four plants and a 440 gallon pot, you know, four foot tall, and it just be this. I mean, the some of the highest weight we’ve ever seen, honestly, you know, it’s basically out of a pot. But it far be the just single huge monster plant out of it. But yeah, we, so small containers, big containers, it doesn’t matter, you can, you can use the same, same fertilizer rates as you would indoors.
Matt: Well I mean, and this is important actually, internally, we’ve been talking about this as how to address different feed charts and pot sizes and things of that nature. And without going down a giant rabbit hole, generally, the larger and larger and larger the pot gets, and the longer of time you have between an irrigation event, you need to increase the EC pretty proportionately too. You know, so if you’re in a 5 gallon to a 25 gallon, there needs to be a substantial increase in the conductivity you’re feeding in the start of that schedule and how it tapers down. And then the other thing is, is when there’s a large amount of time between irrigating and you’re using a high quality fertilizer that’s acidic, the pH is going to drive down as well. So you need to actually feed at a higher pH as well.
Chip: Higher pH meaning?
Matt: Well as you know, so a lot of times, you know, if you’re feeding it say a 2.0 and a 6,0 pH, the 2.0 you see and a 6.0, and you’re in a three gallon. Let’s say then you step it up even into a five gallon and you’re feeding at 24, you already should be feeding at maybe like a 6.2 or 6.3. And then if you’re transplanting and when we transplant into five gallons, or even seven gallons, we’ll feed as high as 2.8, 3.0 UC. And at that point, our pH is you know, 6.5 to 6.7. And then but still, we’ll watch it dry down for 20 some days between that, that really heavy irrigation and sticking in the clone. And you’ll get the runoff and it’ll be in the low to mid fives actually by the time we would irrigate again. And that’s how far it’s come down. But if you fed that plant in at 6.0, I mean, the pH would be in the really, really low fives to high fours, and the plant wouldn’t look good. Like drafting proportionally, somebody’s gonna make the graph someday, of you know the drawback of given media’s coco, rock or peat moss, even probably different soil blends uhm, showing as they dry back X amount of percent, 10%, the EC is going to go up by 10% as well. And the pH is going to decrease by X amount of percent depending on the components, the fertilizer. So as your media dries out, and the plant leaves some of those ions on the table that are registering a charge, the water becomes more concentrated, so to speak. So if you’re going in to, like Matt said, by the time the plant’s ready for another drink, there’s probably a lot of unused fertilizers still left in that source water or stuff that’s been displaced and exchanged with the media, that you’re either going to be rinsing out or rehydrating with the plant uptake.
Matt: A misconception too and in growing, potted liner is I guess from – I’m using the ag term – anything that’s in a container, whether it’s a one gallon to 200 gallon. It’s been a misconception in the cannabis industry that there’s no other plant that’s grown this way, in a potted liner or you’ll open a book that tells you to grow it this way which is start off at a lighter, a lighter feed solution and increase it as the plant gets more mature and drinks faster. Every plant that’s going to contain a potted liner would be recommended from a peer reviewed source to be watered in a way that when the dry down is longer, and the, let the roots spread fastest and the plant to grow at the fastest rate, you want to be the highest availability of food when a drink, when there’s the longest amount of time between irrigating. Then, as the plant starts to drink faster and faster and faster and faster, and you water more and more often, you cut the feed solution so you don’t burn your crop. And that would be how any period read source would actually tell you to grow rhododendrons or roses or chrysanthemums.
Chip: So opposite of the way the cannabis industry does which is like, start it off soft and then jacket, right? Jack it and then go soft.
Leland: And you’ll see our feed chart as well. Our feed chart, whether it’s a two gallon or a three gallon feed chat, or we’re telling you to grow in a large pot, it’s going to start off at a high conductivity and taper off as you irrigate more rapidly.
Chip: Yeah, yeah, no, I have noticed that on your, your formulation. And I’ve had people ask me about it. And I’m like, I don’t know, just follow the chart. Everybody does it, it works. Right?
Leland: Good answer.
Chip: It’s a good answer. And, you know, I mean, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been involved in agriculture my whole life. And though I almost had this really inquisitive phase, where I wanted to know reasons for everything, and there’s just too much question in the world. And so I’ve had to, like, reduce, like, where I want my brain power to be, right? And sometimes I just like, I don’t know how it works, I don’t care, right? Because I got my brain power on something else, to me might be more important. And I don’t necessarily want to, like know, like everything about, you know, a bug or a fertilizer. Even though I’m interested in all that –
Leland: Yeah you wish you could, but you gotta move past it.
Chip: Yeah, you just gotta, gotta move past it. For instance, you know, people ask me all the time about, “Hey, can you identify this bug?” And I’m like, “No, but I can tell you what can take care of it,” right? You know, because it’s also solution-oriented. And that’s back to the like, follow the feed chart. Everybody says it works. Just do what they say, right? So outdoor, in the ground, outdoor in the pots, you know, greenhouse in the pot, same as outdoor in the pots, right?
Matt: I mean, greenhouse, indoor, outdoor, I mean, a lot of containers, a lot of for us is understanding your environment too. Like, we’ll talk to you when you, when you call Leland or Farmer John or any of the guys, myself included, we’ll be, we’ll talk to you about, well what’s your lighting intensity? How dry it is, how humid it is, you know, what’s going on in the space? And the pot size, the media you’re growing in. And we’ll talk about all these different things and have a discussion instead of just you know, being your normal consultant that says, “Here’s what you have to do. And you got to do it now,” and never listens to you.
Chip: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, man, when we’re done with this, we’ll go next door and you can tell us how to do it, man. My wife has a clone nursery dispensary just right next door. It’s Baker’s Medical, it’s in OKC. We’ll go over there next you guys could check me. Yeah, you saw it earlier. That’s right, Matt. We’ll go over there and you guys can give me like a detailed on what we’re doing. We got some like, random things, you know, we’re just like, “Oh, the plants don’t look healthy, change this or that.” We’ll look and see what the mills of everything are currently. And you guys can give me some idea, right? The technical advice has been incredible here. We’ve talked about stocks, tanks, we talked about reservoirs, indoor, outdoor greenhouse, man. And we’ve talked about pH significantly. But I really want to talk about this, because this is something that confuses people. And like, here in Oklahoma, the pH out of the, out of the ground or out of the tab is like 8.5 often. And you know, like what’s the best way to deal with PH in your product? And or some of the ways that are the best ways to accomplish this?
Leland: In terms of pH in the product, when you’re using it?
Chip: pH in the product, you’re using or if you’re in a situation that’s like, a large scale outside where you can’t necessarily pH it or how do you deal with it?
Matt: Well, we’d check your ppm. So if you’re, if you’re historically , if you have a high pH in your source water, and when I mean a high pH , it’s above 8, there’s a lot of carbonate and bicarbonate in the water, about 50% of the water is going to be carbonate bicarbonate. So if you have 400 parts per million water, 200 parts per million of that 8 to 8.5 or 9 pH is going to be carbonate bicarbonate. And that’s important though, because that’s easy to get rid of. You can put in holding tanks and actually just use acid and precipitate off all that bicarbonate, and that’s filtering your water through acid injection basically. And then the other thing is, is understanding what the remainder of that water is. If it’s calcium or magnesium –
Chip: What kind of acid?
Leland: You could use phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid.
Zach: And you can get lysergic if you have enough of it.
Chip: Oh, excellent, that’s my choice.
Leland: But yeah, you can go –
Chip: But you don’t want that to go down.
Leland: if you’re concerned about clogs –
Zach: You’d be using like, four grams a gallon. Not very cost effective.
Leland: But no yeah, and if you’re concerned about cost, sulfuric acid spray probably the cheapest.
Chip: Yeah, it’s, sulfuric acid is common in the agriculture industry, right?
Leland: Oh, all the time.
Chip: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Matt: They take up in a lot of places. That’s what I would I would look at first is what is what’s, what’s my water? You know, what is that 400 or, or 800 part per million? Because a lot of the time it’s not a big deal. You can get rid of you know, half of the bad things in it with acid and then you use some of the remainder of it, you can probably use.
Chip: Right. And so you just like, have a big holding tank, drop the pH with sulfuric acid, and the bicarbonate drops out of solution.
Leland: It actually turns into CO2 and off gases.
Chip: Okay, excellent. So you don’t even have any reservoir sediment at the bottom of your tank.
Leland: No, no. And then –
Chip: And do you have to drop your pH at any level for that? Or just…
Leland: Around, below five is recommended. That’s a really loose recommendation, because say someone who’s using RO water, which is not part of this conversation, it would take such a small amount to get it to be that go down. But in high pH water, I would say get it below five, and then check it often, about every hour to three hours, if you check it, you’ll start to watch the pH drift upward. And that’s your acid actually working and precipitating off of the carbonate. But if it keeps drifting up, it means that there’s not enough in there. So you want it to hold pH actually.
Chip: Okay. So you drop it to 5, and then it holds pH at..?
Leland: It should stay around 5, but you’ll watch it go up and then add a little more so that you can get it to stay there.
Chip: I see. And then when you reuse it in your reservoir, you just add, you just the new, you increase the pH or the fertilizer..?
Leland: I would keep track of how much you use the first couple times, because then you’ll probably use about that same amount of acid every single time. And then at that point, if there’s not, if you haven’t used an excessive amount, run it in your injectors, and then use pH up to correct it. You’ll have added enough acid to precipitate off the bicarbonate, but there won’t be a lot left over to ruin the water quality. So then, just run it in your injectors and use pH up would be my recommendation. And at that point, we recommend potassium carbonate for the pH.
Chip: Oh, okay. Sure. Sure,.
Leland: Just like tables.
Chip: You’re mixing them immediately with the Dositrons.
Leland: Yeah, if you’re doing that, or if you’re going into a reservoir, pump it into a giant reservoir, throw in the fertilizer, and then adjust the pH just like you would with anything else. But ideally, ideally, if you’re you know, if you’re on a well, and you’re having to condition your water beforehand, you can get it to where you’ve got the perfect ratio of bicarbonate. That way, you don’t have to pH anymore, and you can kind of set it and adjust based on how heavy you’re going to be feeding and no, I’m adding less acidity later on in my cycle, so I’m going to need a little bit more aggressive of a pH.
Chip: That’s a great tip. I was trying to get to that earlier. So like you know, the best thing to do is to drop it down to 5 initially and get it to go up to 6.
Leland: Yeah, if you’re anticipating it’s gonna rise by 10% or so. Um, you know, if that’s what you’ve seen is everybody’s gonna have a different experience. Water is pretty fickle.
Matt: I’m gonna say though the fertilizer takes about 80 to 120 parts per million bicarbonate carbonate to pH it like he said. To about you know, and that’s if you’re feeding anywhere from 1.6 up to 2.5. It’ll take between 80 and 120 parts per million. But if you leave some amount in there, then you won’t need pH up. It’ll just come out and then adjust itself.
Chip: Sure. Sure. Now, I get it, man. Oh, man, that’s a great tip for so many people’s watering at home, man.
Matt: Yeah, ’cause that would be about right., somewhere in like the, you would want it to drift up to like the mid 6s.
Chip: Mhm. Okay, okay.
Leland: I have the lucky water. I had Front Row at like 2.2, EC. My water goes down to about 5.9. And it’ll usually be resting at about 6.3, which for me is perfect watering daily in coco.
Chip: So many growers in Oklahoma are going to just rewind this past eight minutes and listen to this pH thing. This is such a crucial issue here. Because the water quality and then the bug pressure, right? And as soon as you get you know, off pH you know the bug pressure comes in, the mold comes in and it’s you know, your yields are going down and your water consumption;s changing. It’s like pH is just so crucial. And it’s often misunderstood. So many people don’t think you need to adjust the pH, especially if you’re using organic ingredients. And maybe there’s some argument for that. But most people that’s not the case at all. You have to control your pH no matter what your fertilizer source, right? In some way, it’s got to balance each other out, right? Acidity and alkalinity or you have to force the balance.
Matt: Yeah. Soil’s got to control the pH , the water’s got to control the pH, but one of them has to.
Chip: Yeah, one of them have to. You have to know what it is. It’s one of the most important things about growing cannabis.
Zach: And we can also like you said, if they keep rewinding, and we can, if they just go on to the website, and leave their information, put an email in there. Matt, I’m sure can write up a candid email about this and then be able to send it off. So people have that as well.
Leland: All of this conversation all day, that was, that was eight minutes of my life right there. Guys, reach out.
Matt: Yeah. And then back to using your water, I think to be clear, the worst water contaminant that we’re looking for is sodium usually. I mean, we look for heavy metals, but they’re rare. We’ll look for nitrates, because they’re not good for people. But when we, when Leland: and I get a water report nine times out of 10, we’re looking for sodium. And we check out the calcium magnesium rates. But if your water starts to get above 30, 40 parts per million sodium, that’s going to, no matter what you’re using, it’s going to start affecting your quality in some shape or form. But if it’s not there and it’s bicarbonates and calcium, and magnesium, and other things, it’s very usable water.
Chip: Right. Yeah, absolutely. Well man, I think it’s the perfect time to take a break. This has been The – and is, this is The Real Dirt. And today, it’s The Real Dirt with Front Row Ag. Hey, roll up another fat one. Look up one of my websites called cultivatecolorado.com, realdirt.com, growerscoco.com or hey, man, we’re talking about Front Row Ag, look up frontro2