Peter: 00:00:03 And we are live. Welcome everyone. We’re here today with AJ from Growing Organic. We got Leighton and Bryan. Take it away, Bryan.
Bryan: 00:00:14 Yeah, guys. Welcome to another Thursday. I’m Bryan Wachsman, 303 Organic Cannabis. Coming to you live from Denver with Dagere Forget, Melivora. Leighton Morrison, myself, AJ and Peter. And this is a regular event that we are starting to put together on Thursdays. I think you guys are starting to see a theme. And we’re going out of our way to kind of bring you guys an insight into what it really takes to farm on a living soil level. And also how to take that to scale. And I think AJ, from his experience within the industry itself, also his time with Build-A-Soil, and now with his company Growing Organic, I think there’s a lot of insight that we can learn here today. And so, AJ, take it away, buddy. I’m excited to learn more about what you’re after, now that you’re moving forward.
AJ: 00:00:59 Yeah, for sure. So I guess the first thing we’ll do is… Yeah, I’m not at Build-A-Soil anymore. A lot of people originally know me from Build-A-Soil, or have talked to me on the phone, or what have you. Or, you know, expos. That’s how you and I met, Bryan, was at an expo there. So, I left there about eight weeks ago. Build-A-Soil was a huge part of my life for a long time. Great company. Jeremy is fucking awesome. He’s done a lot for me. I learned a lot from him. And so, Growing Organic finally got to the point where we’re busy enough. I have to really devote my full attention. Luckily I’ve had my wife, who’s been working on it for years, kind of behind the scenes and doing all the website. She does a lot of the product creation, the labels, that kind of thing. So that’s been nice, but at the same time, it really got to a point where it’s taken both of us. And Growing Organic started, really, just as an educational source. Back, I think, 2014, 2015, something like that. We had no desire to ever sell products or anything like that. I was kind of transitioning at the time, from synthetic-based growing, typically like coco or something like that, into living soil. And, you know, it sucked cause I had gotten busted right at that time, too. So like, my first crop was, like, four days away, and things didn’t work out. So anyways, I’m on papers and stuff, so I was just like, “Hey, let’s just educate and let’s grow veggies.” We were living in Florida at the time, so we kind of had year-round production capabilities, so that was cool. But… Yeah, man. So, Growing Organic really has kind of just evolved slowly over time. The bokashi was the first thing to come out and that’s really been a great product for us. It works awesome. Initially we didn’t really have any desire to sell it. My wife really pushed me into that. I didn’t really want to sell it. You know, all those fears of like, oh man, it’s not good enough. Or what if people don’t like it? Or whatever. But it’s one of those things where eventually you’ve just got to go forward, especially- We’ve had a lot of local demand, which really helped with me overcoming those fears, because a lot of people around would stop into the shop, or wanted some of mine, specifically. So that was nice. And that kind of really got us into the market to start out.
Bryan: 00:03:22 For the viewers, I want to talk real quick. One of the things that I admired from you when I started to really be able to judge your cannabis at the Home Grower’s Cup, the full aroma that stuck out was very present in the mind of the entire judges. And I was wondering if you could talk more about why you chose to run with the genetics, the GMO. Why you chose to present that cut to the living soil community, and that kind of stuff. And the way that you did, because especially back then, I felt like it really- it blew us away. It was just the quality and, from what I hear now, the wash and everything. It’s unbelievable cultivar.
AJ: 00:04:00 Yeah, you know, the GMO is- I got that cut from a buddy and, I got it with some other cuts, and some other, you know, elites. And I- some of the shit that’s… It’s just hype, I don’t really like it. But GMO, in my opinion, there is no hype. I mean, it is- that’s the fucking GOAT. So, I feel like after years, you know, everyone’s always searching for that holy grail And I’ve been doing this, I don’t know, probably started popping seeds maybe like 2000, 2001, something like that. This is what I’ve found, you know what I mean? Like that GMO is, in my opinion- I mean, it’s so fucking loud. Like, it takes a little while, but she rewards you well with yield, if you do it right. And she is… She’s not really that finicky, but she’ll express very differently based on conditions and environment. So, if you’re running her in a warmer room, I’ve even seen her not really want to flower if temps get too high. She really stretches, so you’ve got to keep that internodal spacing close. And I found that cold nighttime temps really helped with that. She still stretches, but you keep that node spacing close, and she’ll throw down like… Oh man, you get huge spears. And she washes amazing. Huge returns. The resin from it is- it’s nothing short of amazing, man. I mean, anybody that’s smoked a really quality GMO that has a good culture on it, some rosin, you know, it’s greasy. It almost- at the right temp, it tastes like DMT. You know? I mean, it’s fucking raw. So really that was the best that I had in the arsenal at the time, and that’s why I brought that cut. I had some Wedding Cake that I almost entered, and I’m glad I didn’t. Just because- I mean, the Wedding Cake is good, but it’s not GMO, you know? But the nose. It’s just- that nose is just ridiculous.
Bryan: 00:05:59 But also to your, you know, some of the methods that you incorporated into that. Can we get deeper into that, and what you’re using to build those soils and that kind of stuff?
AJ: 00:06:07 Yeah, for sure. For sure. I like to push a lot of calcium. That initial soil, the GMO that won the Cup, was grown in… I think that was first cycle of Build-A-Soil Light. And that was the original recipe. It’s been changed a little bit since then. But, you know, I like to keep things basic. So, I like to start out with a good soil that’s balanced. That isn’t overpowered, you know? You throw too much shit in there and it’s just like, things are slower to start. I noticed, even with, like, the 3.0 or something like that, a lot of times you’ll notice if you put in a start, it’ll go faster from the get-go in that soil. So, I used the Build-A-Soil Light. Those were in 45 gallon Grassroots living soil containers. You know, the environment was fucked. That run was like… That run, I almost lost that run. The first week of flower, I was in an uninsulated garage in a grow tent. And that- I had temps, I had a heater go out on me. Temps dropped to 29 degrees during the first week of flower. I went in there the next day and the plants are drooping hard. Nobody’s happy. It’s like, ah fuck, man. So, we rebounded. We pushed calcium and some microbes through pretty good. They rebounded pretty fast and then they just went off to the races, man. Didn’t really- you couldn’t tell, at all, that they’d had that stress. And, you know, sometimes stress is a good thing, but,…You know, I don’t know. That was, that was pretty bad. But I like to keep things really simple. So start out in a good soil. A large volume of it, you know. People were like, “Hey, let’s do organics! I want to run three gallon pots.” And it’s like…
Bryan: 00:07:52 Right.
AJ: 00:07:52 It’s not happening. So, big containers. I pushed some ferments at that time. I really believe that lactic acid bacteria can increase terpene production, especially through ferments. I’ve seen some testing from some labs, or facilities, that had done that, and you could see clear increases in terpenes over cultivars that had been grown for cycles and cycles and cycles, and that was really the only change. And you see a nice spike there. So, I was pushing ferments pretty heavy, especially towards the end of flower. I top-dress Kashi and Craft Blend. I’m super basic. Unless I run into a problem, and then you start looking at soil testing or something like that. But typically if you… I like to keep things light. I’d rather have a deficiency than an excess, because it’s very hard to get rid of an excess. But deficiency, if you catch it and you know what you’re looking for, or you know what you’ve used or what you haven’t used, it’s pretty easy to keep them on course without much overdoing it.
Bryan: 00:08:56 Are you running the full-
Leighton: 00:08:59 Hey there, I just had a quick-
Bryan: 00:08:59 Oh yeah, Leighton. Go ahead, bud.
Leighton: 00:09:02 I just had a quick question on the calcium. I mean, are you checking your balances? Your saturated paste? To see if you’re getting out of whack.
AJ: 00:09:09 Typically I’m not doing any lab testing unless I run into a problem. And the reason for that is, I’m a small grow. I mean, I’m not doing any kind of scale. You know, we do 12 plants and that’s that. So, unless I run into a problem, I typically won’t mess with anything. Now, if we’re starting to see issues pop up, especially widespread issues, then absolutely you need to be doing, you know, saturated paste and things like that.
Bryan: 00:09:39 Are you running composting worms, and running that whole gamut that way? To kind of ensure…
AJ: 00:09:44 Yes, those particular pots did have worms. You know, sometimes I’m not always able to grow at the same spot. So, on occasion, I’ve got some stuff where I have to use newer soil or something like that. But for the most part, yeah, I’ll use worms. And in the beginning, when I was really getting into no-till and things like that, it was… I had a lot more time on my hands. Now, I don’t have as much time. So, you know, I’ll throw worms in there and things like that, but I’m not doing avocado tech, or anything, you know? I don’t really have time to take some of those extra steps all the time So that’s really the cool thing about living soil, no-till cultivation in large containers. You know, you can keep it very simple and have extremely good crops that still throw it down and deal really well. You can have very minimal input. Typically I’ll feed four to six times during an entire cycle. I use a lot of just water-only, top-dress, large containers, and kind of try and head that route. Now, like I said, I’ll push some ferments and things like that. Microbes, I don’t really consider that a feeding. But if you’re looking at pushing NPKs or aminos and things like that… You know, I keep it fairly limited. I do like to apply a lot of, like, the high nitrogen aminos. I’ve messed around with some of the soy. I kind of like the fish aminos better, for your sprays, things like that.
Leighton: 00:11:22 Yeah. Well said. Can you also get into, you know, more on the deeper level of actually building that soil. I know that you make a variety of other products. Can you kind of explain to some of the newer growers that are our viewers, kind of understanding why you are specializing in those products to build your soil?
AJ: 00:11:41 Yeah, for sure. So, let’s see. Like I said, the Bokashi. Bokashi is a soil builder. Basically you’re introducing lactic acid bacteria. You’re also bringing in other microbials. So when you see those mycelium mats and things like that, really you’re pushing forward the nutrient cycling that’s going down. So anytime I apply a top-dress, whether it’s being based on a lab test- Now, what Leighton was bringing up with lab tests, that can’t be overstated. Anybody that’s doing anything at scale, if you’re not doing lab tests on your soil- And hopefully here soon through companies, like Apical is doing the SAP analysis- You’re behind the curve and you’re probably spending money, and you’re probably putting excesses in your soil that you don’t know about. Cause when you just throw down like a blanket thing, like Craft Blend, which is what I do, there’s going to be a lot of… There’s a high chance that you’re putting things in that you don’t need to be putting in, which can sometimes be very cost-ineffective for scale. Those are things that need to be looked at. But if you keep it basic and you’re throwing down like our Bokashi during the top-dress, you’re really going to help with the availability of that top-dress, the bioavailability of it, and at the speed that it becomes available. You’re also helping protect your soil from pathogens. Lactic acid bacteria has been shown to help defeat some pathogens, both bacterial and fungal. It’s not like a holy grail. You know, if you’re suffering from fusarium and you’re gonna throw down some LAB serum and it’s going to go away like that. It’s not necessarily gonna work in that capacity. But overall, with the possibility of an anaerobic condition in a large container, from over-watering or something like that, it really helps protect that. And then when we look at something like the ferments. You know, the ferments are a great way to, in my opinion, kind of give the plants something that you need right then. So you can kind of bypass some of those soil functions. You know, if you do a top dress, you’re not going to see that availability for… I don’t know. It depends on what you throw down. But, five days, ten days, something like that. Sometimes a little faster. But I think using those ferments, you’re able to bypass that, but you’re also introducing a lot more soil biology. So when we make the ferments, we’re using some different lactic acid bacteria species, and then we’re also using EM1. Sometimes when we have home-cultured lactic acid bacteria, we use that as well. So, we like to have diversity within those fermentation processes. And then we like to- I mean, you really, you’re inoculating your soil when you use those. Because of the amount of lacto that’s in there. A lot of times you’ll pop the lid and you can, you know, you’ll see the growth on the top. So I think for overall soil-building, I mean, constant inoculation. Because even though we’re talking living soil, it’s not agronomic soil, and it’s not going to hold microbial colonies like agronomic soil would. So I think those constant inoculations can really make a difference, long-term.
Leighton: 00:15:00 I got a quick question for you. Have you ever played with coco cream? Or coconut water, is one of your additives-
AJ: 00:15:07 Yes.
Leighton: 00:15:07 I know it’s really high in hormone. Can you speak a little bit about that?
AJ: 00:15:11 For sure. Hormones and enzymes. The coconut water is like an old school one that Coot would talk about back in the day, and luckily I was- when I lived in Florida, we had- the in-laws had some coconut trees in their backyard and we’d shimmy up and actually could use just coconut water right out of green coconuts. And that, it definitely seemed to give them some vigor. I think hormones and enzymes are something that… They play a large role. I think when you look at things like alfalfa and the natural growth hormone that’s in there, that really, I think it makes a substantial difference when you can apply it correctly, when it’s available. So with coconut water powder, I typically… It’s not something that’s cheap when you buy it. Especially, like, Build-A-Soil has got a very high quality freeze-dried, hundred percent, no filler. But I like to stick to foliars with that. Just because it’s a little bit more cost-effective for me. And I think you see really good reactions through using that with like a good wetting agent. And maybe, like, some Ful-Power, or just another high-quality fulvic acid.
Bryan: 00:16:33 Yeah. Let’s get into like a wetting agent that’s extremely cheap, like yucca extract. Can you kind of expand on that?
AJ: 00:16:40 Yeah, for sure. So… I like to use Therm-X 70, just because it goes extremely far. I mean, you can use like a couple mills a gallon, just because it’s so thick. A lot of those, hydro-shop yucca extracts are just…I mean, they’re fucking water, you know? So I use the Therm-X. I use that… That’s one of my go-tos that I always have in my garden. I’m very… I don’t use a lot of products in my garden. So like, I’ll use a handful of things. Coconut water powder, I’ll use on occasion. Typically when I buy it, I’ll drink it for myself rather than feed it to my plants. But… Shit, I lost my train of thought, what were we talking about?
Bryan: 00:17:29 Oh, we were just talking about-
Peter: 00:17:31 Yucca, surfactants…
AJ: 00:17:31 Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry about that guys. Yeah, so yucca… I think it’s a great soil conditioner. So if you’re using it for- if you’re in like a high peat soil. Which, I’m accustomed to that for living soils, just because I’ve used all Build-A-Soil stuff. So, most of those, or all those recipes have high peat. So, you have an issue with hydrophobia, or hydrophobic tendencies, with a high peat soil. So initial waterings, like if you get a brand new bag of soil, definitely I push that stuff hard for the first few waterings, and you really water slow. So you get that nice even saturation, you don’t get pockets that are dry or overly moist, or something like that. So it’s an absolute must, I think, in living soil. I’ll push that stuff usually once a week, all the way through, typically. Now, guys that are into like, Brix readings, things like that, I think the Therm-X 70, I believe because of the 70 on the name is the percentage Brix that they claim in that. So guys that are into Brix gardening, and things like that, might be interested in something like that. But, as a foliar too, that was always my go-to and I still use it a lot in foliars, because having that surfactant in that wetting agent… I mean, you spray a plant down and you’re not using a wetting agent- You know, and there’s some cases where you don’t necessarily want to use one. But, you can definitely see the difference on how the leaf gets coated with whatever you’re spraying, versus if you weren’t to do that. So if you didn’t use a wetting agent, you’re going to just get these big beads that well up onto the leaf surface. Whereas if you use, like, a nice wetting agent, you’re going to get that full shine. Just so that you know… Or, to me it seems as though you’re getting better availability of the leaf surface for uptake.
Bryan: 00:19:34 Well said, absolutely.
Peter: 00:19:36 Just quickly, Leighton, there was a comment about yucca and an aquaponics system, and the advice of not to use it.
Leighton: 00:19:45 Oh no, that’s a big no-no. Yeah fish, for whatever reason, the biology that is associated with the aquatic ecosystem do not like yucca. It’s just a- That’s a big no-no. So definitely don’t add that in that situation.
AJ: 00:19:57 Yes.
Leighton: 00:19:57 If you’re a foliar feeding your plant, and you are in a uncoupled or coupled aquaponic system, you just gotta be super careful that none of that is put on an excess, or it will get back into the water column and cause major havoc. So, that was good. Thanks Peter, for bringing that up. And, you know, I’d love you to touch on other forms of hormone, like, kelp meals or kelp extracts. Do you ever use any of those in your grows?
AJ: 00:20:28 You know, I used to use a lot of kelp. I don’t really use much kelp these days. There’s not a huge reason for that. Living soil grows on scale, you gotta be careful with heavy metal testing. So I’ve really gotten away from recommending heavy kelp usage. You know, there’s a lot of… As far as hormones go, for a home grow, kelp is great. It’s going to be chock-full, not just of minerals, but- I’m sorry, trace minerals, but also those hormones, as you spoke of. So kelp is a great product all around. But until lab testing for heavy metals for within cannabis flower catches up to other things, it’s going to be tough to utilize large amounts on scale. Just because you see a lot of guys fail for arsenic because the speciation isn’t happening, so they’re not differentiating between organic versus inorganic forms of arsenic, as they would in food. So there’s still a little bit of controversy around that. Kelp meal does have a lot of hormones. There is that rehydrating that you can do, where you add some kelp to some water, let it rehydrate, and then use that. You know another thing, I like to use alfalfa, a lot. And for the triacontanol, I use that. And I’ve really noticed doing, like, very quick fermentations with- I wouldn’t even, it’s more like a two-day, like open-air fermentation with alfalfa meal and water, a little bit of molasses, and some lactic acid bacteria. Let that sit for a few days. Maybe start like once a day or something. Water that in, and man. I think, you know, during transition was when I really see huge results with that, especially like third week, fourth week of flower. I really think that I see bud set much faster than I do when I don’t do that. So, I think anything… You know, when we’re talking hormones, and you’re using those inputs responsibly and not overdoing it, things like coconut water powder, or even looking at, like, SSTs for enzymes and things like that. Guys that have time to sprout seed and things. That’s really a great thing to do, to really keep that soil ramped up.
Bryan: 00:23:00 Yeah, that’s actually something that I wanted to talk about, I have it on my notes here. I feel like that is something that Coots and Jeremy and the whole crew, that you guys, you’re kind of educating the community. Just even just a few years ago. And I felt like we were going from learning how to make compost teas, to taking it to the next level and then really diving in and understanding more about the sprouted seed teas or the SSTs. So, let’s dive into that a little bit.
AJ: 00:23:26 Yeah, I mean, you’ve got a lot of options. There’s some really nice ones out there. You know, alfalfa seed, it’s great, but it’s expensive. So I don’t really mess with that. There’s a lot of guys that’ll use sprouted corn teas to get very similar enzymes to what you get from coconut water powder. So if you have the time to sprout that on your own, it can be more cost-effective than than buying a ready-to-use product. And then when we look at, like, mung beans or something, mung beans are great. I believe you’re gonna get some phosphorus from those mung bean SSTs as well. So I guess, really what you’re looking to do when you do a SST, or a seed sprout tea, is you want to sprout the seed. But, with that said, you want to make sure that- You want to try and arrest and catch that, like, at the best enzyme level. So with different seeds, that enzyme level- it’s very hard to do, like on a home scale. So, I’ll give you an example. I know Coots talks about this, and Jeremy, as well. With barley… Like Build-A-Soil sells an organic sprouting barley that you can sprout on your own at home, and then catch it, blend it up, add it to some water and feed. However, if you use, like, a whole malted barley, that’s the malting process- Or what’s called “malted” means sprouted. So, for the beer brewing industry, that’s extremely dialed-in, and they want to arrest that process right at the peak enzyme production. So typically, when you buy something that’s pre-sprouted or malted, you’re already at that peak enzyme production. So, sometimes it’s best to go with that. But, when you want to sprout on your own, I think- With corn, you’re looking for about a half-inch tail. And those are really the best ways to tell the enzyme levels within some of those seeds.
Bryan: 00:25:21 I feel like when we were playing around with that stuff, you know, we were kind of creating the sprouted seed teas, and then I started messing around and buying kefir…Or ke-fir? I don’t know how you pronounce that. But it’s a lactose-free product. And I was wondering if you could kind of- I know LAB is a little bit different, but have you ever messed around with that product? And can you go into the difference between, you know, purchasing a kefir or making your own LAB at home, or purchasing that?
AJ: 00:25:51 So… I think with kefir, you may be finding some more, like, bifido bacterium, possibly, than lactobacillus. So some of those- I’m not really sure. You know, I haven’t used a lot of kefir. I’ve definitely enjoyed it. But I haven’t necessarily used it in the garden. I have used things like kombucha, which I used to brew a little bit, here and there. But the kefir, I think there may be some kefirs that have more bifido as opposed to lacto, which may be one of those differences. But you know, I’m really not super well-versed on kefir, or yogurts, for that matter. Yeah, sorry.
Bryan: 00:26:40 Yeah, fair enough. It was just something that we were playing around with after we had been reading. I bet Leighton could probably weigh in on that.
AJ: 00:26:46 Yeah. So like, what were you guys seeing?
Bryan: 00:26:47 Just an uptake in the overall process. You know, we hadn’t really even started messing around with avocado tech. So here’s another way that we felt like we were finding ways to speed up Mother Nature, by using the sprouted seed teas, and then maybe coming along, maybe a day, two days, depending on the overall life inside that system. And then just drizzling a little bit of that kefir around the base of the cannabis stalk, come back a day or two after that, you’d see the springtails kind of like, hardens up, if you will. And then the… again, those earthworms, composting worms come and kind of just take over.
AJ: 00:27:20 Okay.
Bryan: 00:27:21 It’s a, as far as I understand, a fantastic calcium source for the overall life.
AJ: 00:27:25 Ah, okay.
Leighton: 00:27:28 Yeah, so basically what you’re doing is putting in a long-chain fatty acid into the system. So, yeah, you’re good. You’re really striking on many notes with that, it’s not just targeted toward one specific species in the living soil system. It’s just like a broad stroke. So it’s really providing nutrition for all levels of life. And yeah, you’re going to see a bounce or an uptick in plant growth, as well. That’s kind of why I brought up the coconut cream. I recently ran into a guy who’s producing coconut down in Mexico, and it’s a real clean version of coir. And as a result of it, he has a tremendous amount of this coco cream. So I’ve been playing a little bit with it in the compost pile. I just introduced it, so I won’t really have any data for another couple of weeks. I think that milk kefirs, coconut creams, LAB. I love that you’re really hitting LABS home They really have a tremendous amount of benefit, you know, far beyond just the initial stroke. And again, it’s these long-chain fatty acids that are really providing tremendous amount of nutrient… Instant nutrient for- Or, nutrition for the system as a whole. And one of the things I’d love you to back up on, on ferments, because a lot of people don’t understand that time is a critical factor in a ferment. If it goes too long, it gets nasty to a point where it’s not going to be beneficial. If it’s too short, you’re not getting the extractions that you’re looking for. So if you would, build up on- Or, back up and then talk a little bit more about your practices in your fermenting process, because I love the alfalfa one. I mean, that’s a bad-ass. And then also, you know, the- Any of those nitrogen fixers. But yeah, hit on that a little bit, if you would.
AJ: 00:29:14 Yeah, for sure. So, our fermentation process, it varies based on temperature. So during the wintertime, we’re in like an insulated garage. We can keep the temperature within ten degrees or so. But that does change things a little bit. So in the wintertime, we’ll- A little bit longer. Typicall, like over the summer, we’re looking at about a 21-day fermentation. The insect frass tends to be done a little bit faster than the alfalfa. And the way that I tell… You know, I don’t like to do super long-term fermentations. I don’t like to do it with the bokashi or the liquid fermentations. So, I’m looking, you know, 21, 25 days is kind of where we’d like to pull them out at, and we really check pH on that. So you can monitor the pH. As it- You know, you’ll see it drop throughout the fermentation process. I’ll usually open the barrel two weeks in and check it, and then you go get it on day 21 to 24, depending on what that initial reading is. So, that’s what we look for. We look for it to be dropped in four below the pH. And then, what I’ve found too is- when you said they get nasty, I think… I’ve done some long-term fermentations where it’s been like a couple months or something, and yeah. I mean they, I think they still work okay. But, you’re opening yourself up for, I feel like, other bacteria to come in. I like things still to be active, so that the lacto isn’t going to get out-competed by anything. So like, if there was a contamination in the bottle, or something like that. And that still kind of comes into play a little bit, too. So like when we bottle, I’ll notice the alfalfa is really active, so you have to pop the caps for like the first week or so, at least. Just because it’s still kind of off-gassing a little bit. Again, I kinda like that though, because I think that, with that kind of activity, I think it’s harder for any other contamination. So, like, when you look into, you know, a three-quarter used bottle of ferment that’s seven months old, you’re going to see black and green growth, most likely. So, you know, I think having that activity, can make for a better long-term storage product.
Leighton: 00:31:44 Yeah, I love how you hit on that. That is so important because really what’s happening in the fermentation processes is in the initial grow out, you’re getting the organisms that you desired. And then, after that gets through and it cycles out, now you’re getting more into basically a liquid nutrient that is mobile. You put it in the soil and it’s going to just fly right through it. And the other thing is, you’re right, you are potentially bringing out undesirables in that long-term stuff. And so, what a great tip for people out there on pHing. And as you see that turning more acidic, you know you’re getting to the point where you’re almost through the process and it’s time to use it. And again, like you said- Dude, much, much love. Don’t use the old shit. If you’ve had it for too long, use it on your yard. Use it on a plant outside that’s not going to drastically be affected by your- You know, you’re applying an anaerobic or a potential pathogen. So, thanks for bringing that up.
AJ: 00:32:44 Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it’s definitely not worth it on, like, a volume of ground. Yeah, I mean, if you want to know if it’s, like, going to kill something, definitely use it on something that’s not considered alive.
Bryan: 00:32:56 What’s some of the genetics that you’re playing around with currently?
AJ: 00:33:01 I still have the GMO in the stable.
Bryan: 00:33:04 Hard to get rid of that.
AJ: 00:33:05 Yeah, no way. Yeah, she’ll be here forever. You know, and we’ve done it- We did a little bit of work with her. So, I’ve been popping a little bit of seed here and there. Me and Dave from AWKID, who works at Build-A-Soil, he has some genetic lines and does some stuff. So we use some male pollen from one of his. It’s called Lauren’s Light. It’s in some shops and it was kind of big around Breckenridge for awhile. But, we used a male from that, put it on the GMO, and then selected a male from that. And I put it on the Field Trip, which is a Sunshine Daydream x Cookies from Bodhi. And I haven’t had a chance to pop those yet. And then we also did a GMO back-cross, where we just took the male and put it- and it was a GMO leaner. We put that on back onto the GMO. So I’m kind of excited about that. And then that male was also- The GMO x Lauren’s Light male was also used on the Long Valley Royal Kush. And that was the Branson’s Royal Revenge, which I posted a few shots of recently. And that one’s dear to us because that Long Valley Royal cut, that came from some seed from Root Wise. But, obviously there’s more history behind that, but the cut was found by Lurch Grows, Mr. Zack Branson who still works with Build-A-Soil, on an online capacity. But he needed a liver transplant, he’s had a rare disease since he was born. And, you know, with COVID and everything, it was kind of a nightmare. He ended up getting the transplant, and like right around that time, David got the cut from him and used that pollen. And so that’s the Branson’s Royal Revenge. So that’s something that’s super special.
Peter: 00:35:04 Is that it right there?
AJ: 00:35:04 Yes, I believe that that’s it. And you guys can definitely see the beans in there. I don’t think- that’s not Branson’s, but that’s some Fancy Cakes. It’s a Lauren’s Light x Wedding Cake. Another cross we did. A Banana Punch right there. That’s from Symbiotic. I found a couple nice… One real one that I’m keeping around, Banana Punch, is Banana OG x Purple Punch. That’s really nice for washing. I’m all gas. Like on flowers, it’s not gas. Or like, you know, the garlic GMO terps, like you normally want it. So, but with rosin, I do enjoy a little bit of fruit here and there. So I’m running with that for a little while. But yeah, so… Let’s see, what else? Banana, Banana Sunrise, GMO. That Fancy Cakes, that’s Lauren’s Light x Wedding Cake. I was holding a Wedding Cake cut as well. So we threw some of that Lauren’s Light pollen in there. Just a little bit of chuck in- a little playing around there. You know, you might as well. And yeah, I’m trying to think what else. We had some nice Do-Si-Dos crosses I got from a buddy. And those are washing really well. I’m really excited about those. They’re turning out real nice. I actually got a little bit- speaking of cold cure, I don’t know if you guys can see…
Bryan: 00:36:28 Yeah, very nice.
AJ: 00:36:30 Yeah, pretty good.
Leighton: 00:36:32 Wow, that’s beautiful.
AJ: 00:36:32 Yeah. So, yeah. Oh, I got a Raspberry Puree from Jeremy at Build-A-Soil. It’s a Swamp Boys Genetics, I believe. Unfortunately the flower was all skeeted up. This hasn’t buttered yet, this is kind of fresh off the press. A little bit dark, but man, the terp-
Bryan: 00:36:51 Shiny!
AJ: 00:36:51 Yeah! Fucking insane dude. It’s like a raspberry sorbet with like orange creamsicle. With like extra cream.
Leighton: 00:37:03 That sounds bad ass. So let me ask you another question. Are you all indoor? Or do you grow some outdoors as well, in full sun?
AJ: 00:37:15 Yeah, so we always do outdoor. The last couple seasons we did light dep, and we pulled the tarp at- Like, put it on at like five in the morning before the sun came up, and then we pull it off at nine AM. So that way the plants were only under tarp for like four hours. Real quick. It’s not during the heat of the day. Like, you know, you go out there at seven at night, pulling a tarp. And then it’s, you know, you’re like suffocating the plants in there. So that worked out well for us, but we’ve just been too busy. We weren’t able to do a dep this year. And the only reason we do the lights dep is because of the seed. Or the pollen, I should say, that causes the seed. But we do outdoor every season. So I’ll do indoor during the wintertime. And then we shut down, just because of the plant counts. And then we’ll do outdoor every year. It’s been a pretty good run outdoors this year. I wasn’t able to run the GMO. I ran it a few years ago. It’s really hard to get done out here on the Western slope. We’ve got a good grow period, but without a greenhouse for the GMO, it’s just very hard to get her done. So I kind of waited on that. But yeah, I love outdoor. I spent some time in Northern California, years back. When the medical was really big out there, and it was kind of like the Wild West, kind of do what you wanted. And that was really nice. So I got to see, and really learn some good stuff about outdoor and, you know, the terpene expression. And when you go from inside, or even just that real phenotypic expression that you see based on environment, you know, through outdoor versus indoor growing. You know, indoor has got that ?? for sure. But, you know, sun-grown terps, man. They’re hard to compete with for sure.
Bryan: 00:39:03 Absolutely.
Leighton: 00:39:04 Yeah. The reason I brought that up is just because of the different cultivars you’re playing with. A lot of times these things don’t work well in one environment or the others. So have you had any issues with, you know, some of these elites that you’re playing with, it worked better inside or outside?
AJ: 00:39:20 Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So, I mean, really the GMOs is very hard to contain in an indoor setting. Typically, you want tall ceilings, or you’ve got to flip her real fucking fast. She’s hard to run with other cultivars. So like you just have to be selective. And I’ll try and run, you know, one area of a room with certain traits, and another area of the room with different traits. Because when you’re looking at canopies and things like that, it’s very hard to run something that’s like a Bubba, or a Purple, or something like that. It’s just fucking slow. It’s a squat plant, you know, it just doesn’t want to get very big. Versus- And then having a GMO next to it. So it’s like, you just can’t really run rooms like that. So like that banana one that I have, the Banana Punch from Symbiotic. That’ll grow right with the GMOs, and typically I’ll run those together. And then, some of Branson’s stuff’s a little bit shorter. So, almost all of those phenos were fairly similar in structure, and they’re definitely about a foot behind the other side of the room. But, I think if you know what you’re running, and you know how they react to certain environments, you’re able to group things together. Now, if you’re running a room that’s like, I don’t know… I’ve definitely run into problems though. Like I’ve had a- One of those selections, the Field Trip. That thing, like, on its clone run, then the next round, that thing just like, went insane. And I had to move all my plants. Like, it just like squished stuff in one spot. And I had to dedicate an entire light to this one plant. So that, it can disrupt things when you’re not used to stuff, or you don’t know what to predict. Or you can’t predict what’s going to happen because you don’t know enough about that particular variety. You know, that can definitely have a challenge. If you’re in this position where you’re doing like a large hunt, and you’re popping multiple seeds, it’s, you know, in my opinion, best to clip things small, just so you can kind of get a taste of what’s going on, and it gets that cycle done a little bit faster too, which is always nice.
Leighton: 00:41:26 Thank you for hitting on that. That’s so important because, you know, a lot of people just don’t take the time to really understand the structures of the plants. And then we run into situations just like that.
AJ: 00:41:35 Right.
New Speaker: 00:41:35 You know, I run into that myself with other people, and they’re like, well, you know, everything’s getting pushed over because one took the spot and just crushed it. And so, really take the time to know your genetics. And yeah, like you said, if you’re doing a pheno, man, just pop them early. Flip them early, so that you’ve got a chance to really see what the hell they’re going to turn into. So you don’t get yourself in a pinch. But great advice for the listeners. Thank you for that,
AJ: 00:42:00 For sure. For sure. Oh, go ahead.
Peter: 00:42:05 I was going to say Bryan’s back.
Bryan: 00:42:09 Oh, we fell off. Sorry about that, guys.
Leighton: 00:42:14 Can we touch a little bit about the pollen issues that you’re having out there? I mean, this is a big deal for… You know, I know a couple of farms down in New Mexico got crushed because one guy got out of control. He grew too much, didn’t properly sex them, a ton of pollen got in the air. And, you know, like three, four, five miles later, or away, they lost crops because of this shit. So, what are you doing to protect yourself up there?
AJ: 00:42:39 So. Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s… The first year I was like, I was just fucking pissed, you know? I was just like, fuck these motherfuckers. So, basically what happened was, the hemp scene blew up over here. And you had a lot of guys that a) didn’t give a fuck, b) were ignorant, and just didn’t even know. And so they planted male-female seeds on huge plots, and then had no… Absolutely, they were just not going to walk the fields, there was no pulling males, none of that. It was just male-female, run it all the way through. Combine it all at the end. And that’s what it is. So, you know, there was a lot of old farmers out here. I think that they got into it probably with some very bad consultants. And you know, somebody knew what the fuck they were doing. But they went ahead and did it anyways. So after that first season of guys really having males out there, now it’s just everywhere, you know? I mean, it’s like… And then hemp being so young too, you got guys that would run like a fucking 20 or 40 acre plot. And they’d be like, “Oh, I’m not doing this”, you know, next year. And then they wouldn’t even touch their soil. They wouldn’t till it. They didn’t even grow anything on it. So now you have male-females just popping up. Fuckers- there’s volunteers everywhere. Fucking ditches, you know, cause people are driving down the road with a trailer full, fucking branches dropping off, you know? And it’s just, I mean, it’s fucking everywhere. So, the amount of pollen out here- And I’m within… I’ve got some large hemp fields within, like, five miles of me. A little bit closer than that. And it’ll be like… Man, the first year it was like- I mean, you can’t even… You know? You’ve got to extract it, because it’s the only thing you can do, because it is so riddled with seed. LIke you get, like the GMO, she’s like real fertile. So she’ll make like a bunch of fucking seeds. And, man you’d have like… You’d try and break up like a joint’s worth and have like, 45 fucking beans, you know? So what we did was- And a lot of guys adapted, you know. We started doing light deprivation, just light dep. So what we would do is we’d manipulate the light outside. We’d pull a tarp, for anybody that doesn’t know what this is. Pull a tarp to basically manipulate. So we’d get a crop in in like the last week of May. Decent sized plants. And then by like second, third week of June, we start pulling a tarp, so we’re at 12-12. Get them to flower, and then we’re done by the time pollen is really starting to fly here. So that’s a way to kind of get around it. Now that’s, you know, it’s a lot of work. You gotta be here to pull that tarp every day. You know, you’re married to it. So that’s a good thing. But you know, it really got me into, you know, the good side of this, where it really got me into washing. And, you know, it’s something we used to do, fuck, you know, like 2003 or 2004, when bubble bags first came out. But it really got me back into that, because that was really the only way that this was going to be saleable crop. So, you know, we got a freeze dryer and a nice press, and some bubble bags and a couple of washers, and that’s basically what we’ll do. And we know now going into it, we’re resin farming, you know? We’re not flower farming on this one anymore. So as much as it sucks, it’s great to have, you know, a lot of fucking rosin. But, you know, it’s- I’m still a flower guy at heart, and so we’ll run, like, MAC 1. The real cut of MAC 1, she doesn’t really take pollen well. There’s been some discussions on, oh, well if she doesn’t take pollen cause you’re deficient in this or that. Nah, she just doesn’t take pollen. She’ll pick up a little bit, but not much. So that’s nice. I don’t really like MAC. Some people probably hate me because of that, but I hate the terps. She’s slow in veg. You’ve got to really baby her and foliar the shit out of her in order to keep it moving. But it’s great when you’re around a lot of pollen. She doesn’t really take, so, you know, you’ve got very usable flower at that point.
Speaker 6: 00:46:53 So you’re really only getting your primary run in the spring, and you’re not even used- you can’t even do another run in the fall, without being forced to wash it. Is that kinda what I’m hearing?
Speaker 8: 00:47:05 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. If you want usable flower on the Western slope, you have to like that. You have to run MAC 1, or some other cultivar that doesn’t accept pollen very well. Or you need a very nice greenhouse setup. We have a wet wall. So that pollen is passing through that water to really help, because that really brings down the viability of the pollen. So a lot of guys will run-
Leighton: 00:47:28 You know-
AJ: 00:47:30 Oh, go ahead.
Speaker 7: 00:47:31 I’m sorry, man. I’m hearing some interesting information now about some bad ass autoflower genetics. Is that a possibility? Like get through the pollen season, and then do a second run late in season, that you can pop it off and still pull it in as flower? Or is that probably not an option?
Speaker 5: 00:47:52 Yeah, I think if you’re running autoflowers, and you’re doing it well, you know… I don’t really run autos. I don’t have much experience with that. However, with the limited knowledge I do have, I’d probably look at something like Crypto, or something like that. But again, I’m not really- I don’t really look at autos. But, autos… I mean, that’s a great way to save your back and not have to pull a tarp, you know. If you plant autos at the right time, you can get your spring crop, and then if you’re in greenhouse, you can plant a little bit later, and probably get that fall crop as well. And some guys too are leaving the lights on in a greenhouse, to push flower back. And they’re waiting out all of August, and really starting to flip their plants in September. Because that way, most of the pollen’s gone as well. Again, out here, that’s only going to work if you’re in greenhouse, just because of the weather. But, that’s another way to do it as well. Just extend that veg time.
Leighton: 00:48:47 Yeah. Kev- Kevin Jodrey, for those who don’t know him, was telling me about some really amazing autoflower genetics that are going to be probably coming out in spring of next year. So definitely keep putting your eyes out, out there. If you guys are in a situation like him, where you’ve got some yahoo hemp growers that you are- are screwing your crop, plan ahead and start to play with some of these other alternatives, so you don’t get yourself in that pinch. But, yeah. Keep your eyes open for this. Apparently, there’s going to be some really good shit coming out in early 2021.
AJ: 00:49:22 Nice. And is it Kevin that’s dropping those through… Is Wonderland still around? Wonderland Nursery?
Speaker 7: 00:49:28 Well, no. Yeah, that’s a sad story. Wonderland’s not around. It’s under a different umbrella. But, no, Kev’s just so in to the scene. Like he’s got his fingers everywhere, man. I love the guy. So yeah, he was talking about some boys are playing at a very high level. Specifically, with genetics and autoflowers to help boost these crops so that you can get- if you’re in a clean area, you can get almost three runs in now, with some of the stuff. And it’s stalks, it’s not like these little lollipops of the days of old. So, yeah, keep your eyes out. Hit up- DM him. I’m sure he’ll be able to bring you up to speed on what’s going to happen in ’21. I’m just excited to see this, because I think it really gives a lot of people further options. And like you said, you don’t have to rip tarps, because that can be a pain in the and hard on the back, man. We getting too old for that shit, right?
AJ: 00:50:22 Yeah, definitely. We’ve got these auto arms and shit. It’s like, man, it’s costing us an arm and a leg, you know? But yeah, autos, I definitely… You know, I very- I highly considered running autos early this season. But I was just- I was a little too busy to have two crops this year. Just cause I was with Growing Organic coming into spring time and that kind of a thing, and then still working, you know, a lot at Build-A-Soil. It’s just too much to kind of pull off those too. But I highly considered running some autos, and I’d actually popped some seed. And then just discarded them. But yeah, I think maybe next year we’ll give that a try.
Bryan: 00:51:00 I got a viewer question for you, AJ.
AJ: 00:51:01 Yeah?
Bryan: 00:51:01 Since you were at Build-A-Soil answering the phones, what is some of the more common problems and things that you would see time and time again that you could share with the audience that you’re like… You know, things like slow down, let’s make sure that we’re not trying to put a million amendments on there cause we’re… Those little nuances where you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot.
AJ: 00:51:24 Yeah. So, yeah, I mean that one’s easy. The number one problem with growers and living soil systems in large containers is over- or under-watering. Period. 80% of the time that’s the issue with people that would contact Build-A-Soil. Or would send in tickets with pictures and things like that. Like briefs, send to Support@BuildASoil.com. And that’s a great feature for anybody. It’s super cool because they don’t… You know, even if you’re not a customer, they still help you. So, that’s nice. People that are brand new to it, you know, it’s hard to diagnose a plant visually by a picture. But, if you have enough data, you can, a lot of times, help them out. So, number one is over- or under-watering, period. And a lot of guys aren’t used to that initial watering that needs to be done, or they’re not using Therm-X-70, or a high-quality yucca extract. And, you know, you’re getting these dry pockets within the soil. You can see those effects and typically, people start to- I mean they start to look like deficiencies once they get beyond a point. So it can be harder to diagnose. But if you have parameters on container size, how much water and how often, temperature and humidity, you can pretty much diagnose whether they’re over- or under-watering, even without the pictures. So, now with that said, there’s definitely other issues that pop up, especially guys that are eight or ten cycles deep on the same soil. And that’s… I don’t like to diagnose those problems. It’s like, just get a soil test, you know? The days of guessing is over, when you have drastic problems, because they’re affordable. And even when you’re top-dressing twelve 45-gallon containers, and doing a cycle, like… I mean, that costs money, you know. So it’s better to get a soil test, find out exactly what’s in excess or what’s deficient, and just put those things in, rather than just some kind of a blanket issue. But guys that are having problems, moisture meters are your best friend. Get a moisture meter. I like to use those ones that… I just basically calibrate off of itself. So, for anybody that’s having issues, a lot of guys will have some plants that are doing okay, and other guys will have plants that are not doing okay. Get the moisture readings, multiple probes, from the plants that are doing well. See what those are at, and at what depth, things like that. See if you’re finding dry pockets anywhere. And then transition that over to the plants that are not doing well. And then see what kind of differences you’re looking at. That’s a very basic thing, and a lot of times that’s what it came down to, when we were helping guys diagnose stuff. It was either step it up, or back it off, things go back to how they should be. So that’s definitely the number one.
Leighton: 00:54:33 Yeah, I’d love to chime in on that one. AJ, you ever see the thing I did about horizons? Soil horizons?
AJ: 00:54:42 I don’t think so.
Leighton: 00:54:44 Okay. So way back, four years ago, I started introducing soil horizons to the cannabis industry because of exactly this. Heavy peat-based soil-less mediums, they just go hydrophobic and anaerobic. You know, out of control. So, the way you can regulate that and take that curve off is by introducing an A horizon. So an A horizon is basically sand, silt, and clay, and a percentage of organic matter. And what it does is it helps to wick excess moisture out of the soil system, or allow that O horizon, that soil-less medium, to drain, and then stores the moisture. So as the moisture starts to come back out of the A horizon, or the soil-less medium, it allows the moisture to wick back up. So it takes the curves off things. It protects the O horizon from drying out too quickly, or being saturated with too much moisture, by allowing their moisture to come back out of it. And the other trick to this is, is I love your idea of moisture meters, but some of those things are so frigging inaccurate and, you know, you constantly have to recalibrate them. You have to baby the frigging things. So I usually recommend an Irrometer. It’s a great way of measuring soil moisture, and you only have to use one in one pot. And then you measure out how much water you’re putting in there to hit the sweet spot. And now you know exactly how much water to use in each and every pot. And it just kind of takes a lot of the guess out of it. And the tensiometers specifically made by Irrometer. Irrometer is the company. You want to look at, I believe it’s the LT, which is designed for a soil-less medium, but it takes all of the guess out of it. And it’s a really simple mechanical instrument. There’s no digital readouts, so you don’t have to worry about calibrating it. Once you get it going, it’s pretty much set and forget. So you have to go through a process of pumping the air out of it and making sure that that ceramic tip is properly- had the air extracted from it. But once you get to that point, then it’s like, kind of no-brainer anymore. And, you know, even in landscapes, even in, you know, ag, they’re always under watering or over-watering, which is causing stresses. And as you well know, stresses create plant pressure, or pest pressures, and all these other problems. So a couple of little tricks there, you know, for you guys out there listening, to avoid these kinds of situations. And, you know, you can easily make an A horizon at home. Go to Shaping Fire, Shango Los. I think it’s Episode 45, where we talk a lot about the horizons and how to make them. And then, again, it’s just helping you long-term in these pots, that you don’t have to friggin stress about growing eight, ten, twenty runs out of them. So a little little tip for you guys.
Bryan: 00:57:39 Great. And let’s go deeper with the sand, silt and clay.
AJ: 00:57:43 Yeah, how are you incorporating that? Like, are you doing, like- are you just layering, and then putting like a living soil on top? Are you, like, building something for underneath the containers? Or you’re just incorporating, like, sand, silt and clay into the actual soil mix to make it…soil? Like real soil.
Leighton: 00:58:01 Dude, great question, great question. So, the way- I’ll back it up. So I was heavily involved in a lot of these really high-end landscapes, where the architects wanted to plant different successionary plants next to each other. And so I was forced to, like, deal with, like, a swamp maple with boxwoods around it. Well, the swamp maple wants its feet wet, and the boxwoods want their feet dry. So I had to create two different profiles. One that stored moisture, so heavy clay. And the other one that drained water, heavy sand, right next to each other. Literally on top of each other. And so, I was forced into dealing with really complex soil engineering so that these plants would survive and actually thrive. And so when I got involved with the cannabis industry, the first thing was always about how difficult watering the pot was, because once it went hydrophobic, the water just ran off the top and down the sides. And like you said, about wetting agents, people didn’t really understand how best to use those. They either overused them or underused them. So again, it was like you’re fighting an uphill or a downhill battle the whole way. So I was like, well, an easier way to do this is just create this second layer. And- I took it a little farther. I made three horizons. So the E horizon is basically just rock and sand. And that’s great for mycorrhizae fungi, because they can go down and mine those minerals off the rocks. So if you don’t have those in your system, don’t use mycorrhizae. You know, if you don’t have sand, silt, and clay, and rock, don’t waste your money on mycorrhizae. They’re just not going to be a benefit to you at all. So the E horizon is at the bottom and I use a formula of three, two, one. So, the top O horizon, which is your soilless medium, is three parts to the one part E. And the A horizon is two parts to the one part E. So basically, you have this middle layer of A, which is 20% organic matter, 50% sand, 17% clay, 13% silt. And you basically take it and you put it in a cement mixer. Don’t use a mortar mixer. It doesn’t mix it thoroughly. So in a cement mixer, it will blend all these things together in homogenous way. So you would- basically you throw down your gravel, you know, a couple inches deep. Cover it with sand. Water it in. Pack it down, so that sand acts as a filter and prevents the fines from getting down into that reservoir, the E horizon, where the water’s stored. And then the, A horizon mitigates that moisture. So it allows the moisture excess to come through the O horizon, or your soilless medium, down into the E horizon where it’s stored. It won’t go anaerobic. And then as the top dries out, it creates a static pressure and wicks the moisture back up into the O horizon, and therefore prevents those swings. Those, you know, drying out and over-saturation. And there’s a great little example of it. But again, if you go to that Shaping Fire podcast, I think Shango and I went an hour and a half or something crazy on- in depth, on all of this stuff. So you really will get a better feel for it. But everybody that’s used that in the past four years has said how much easier it’s been to manage those living soil pots, without having to replace soil or run into these situations where everything locks up and you can’t get the water back into it.
Bryan: 01:01:31 Speaking of locking up, are you talking about adding green sand there, Leighton?
Leighton: 01:01:36 No, green sand is a great product, it just has a lot of olivine in it. So it has a different makeup. A different elementary makeup. So what I usually recommend for sands is the tan sands. The tan to gray, to light brown. And in a large size. So you don’t want to use that powdery stuff. That white powdery stuff is no good. So you want the gray, medium to coarse, gray, tan, brown sands. You can collect them at the side of a river, which is what I usually tell people to do, is wildcraft this stuff. Because if you wildcraft that sand from a river that you know is safe, not downstream from a nuclear power plant. Like, use your common sense here. But that sand is already biologically coded. There’s already a biofilm on it of a specific type of bacteria that’s mining nutrients from it. So you’ve got a free kind of jumpstart into your biological system. And again, you know, the O horizon- Or excuse me, the organic matter that I recommend that you blend into that A horizon be a really high grade, organic, biologically-driven compost. Like, don’t use a yard-waste compost. If you have to, you have to. But if you can get a really good compost that you can sift, and then use that as your organic part of the A horizon, that’s fantastic. Clay, I usually tell people to look again for colored clay- Yeah, yeah. If you see that fish in the fucking stream, don’t be collecting that sand, alright? So, back to clay. So, there’s primary and there’s secondary. So primary clay is usually white or very, very light, like, almost like purple-y white, and that has no nutrients in it. And so it’s not a good clay to mix in. You want like a, again, a tan, a brown. I’ve actually seen light green, light red clays. Those are all gonna have different minerals associated with them. And the beauty of clay is that it’s a big part of your CEC, which is Cation-Exchange Capacity. So, you think about the ??. And again, we have a conference coming up where I’m going to get into this really deep, called LearnLivingSoil.com. And, you know, go there, check out the website, sign up. But basically the clay platelets have about a hundred parking spots around the outside edge. And in an ideal world, in a perfect plant-nutrition balance in this particular piece, you will have 75 parts of calcium, you’ll have 18 parts of magnesium, and you’ll have seven parts of potassium. And if you’re hitting in that balance, in that range, in your saturated paste test, then you know you’re in the sweet spot. Now, measurement of CEC is how many of those spots you actually have. And obviously the higher the CEC, the more potential you have to store the proper balance of those three minerals. And those three guys are big ones in plant health, and obviously, you know, the goal plant potential. You know, you have a high CEC and the right balance on those clay particles, and you’re off to the races. You’re not going to have the kind of nutritional issues that you would if those were out of balance. And then, you know, after that, you really start looking at your micronutrients. But I got a little off track there. So… And then silt. Silt is another big piece. It’s also negatively charged, and provides storage for certain nutrients. And again, you want to wildcraft silt really responsibly. Most silt, again, will be found in old oxbows or where rivers used to be. And if it’s a wet silt, which is okay, it’s going to have a nasty smell to it. It’s going to be anaerobic. So what you want to do is you want to take that silt out, put it on a tarp and completely dry it. If these components like the clay or the silt aren’t properly dried, they will not blend homogenously when you’re trying to blend them in your cement mixer. You know, I’m fortunate when I work with these bigger companies, I get a blender. So, what I do is I’ll go out to a high-end or high-performance sports turf engineering company, and I’ll have them select or send me samples of these components, and I’ll test them myself and make sure that they’re correct. And then I will have them do the blending for me, so that I get a, again, a homogenous blend, but I can get hundreds of yards. Not trying to- you know, for these big grows, it can’t be screwing around a little cement mixer. But if you grow in pots, in a small scale, it’s no big deal. Again, if you’re going to get a big deal, if you’re going to go big time, then yeah, you’ve got to get involved with someone that really knows their shit, and is not selling you things that are going to be problematic. Because let’s face it, cannabis is an accumulator. So it’s really critical that you know these ingredients and source them responsibly.
Peter: 01:06:43 Do you see that question, Leighton?
Leighton: 01:06:45 To correct calcium to magnesium? All right, you’re missing the point. Fuck calcium to magnesium, it’s calcium to magnesium to potassium. So right away, without that potassium, you’re not going to have the true picture. You know, this is- that’s the kind of stuff that’s like, that came out of the past, where everyone just said, “Oh yeah, Cal-Mag! HIt it with Cal-Mag.” No. We know much better than to just, you know, again, wildly throw shit at plants. Because you guys all learned the lesson that that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the balance. And again, it’s 75%, calcium, 18% magnesium, 7% potassium. If you have that ratio, you will be fine. Sorry. Didn’t mean to go on a tear there, guys.
Bryan: 01:07:34 Oh, it’s- You’re dropping some serious nuggets.
AJ: 01:07:37 Yeah-
Bryan: 01:07:37 That’s what the show is really- is what we’re trying to do, is value people’s time.
Leighton: 01:07:44 Yeah, AJ, if you want, you know, put your peeps in touch with me, and I’ll talk to them more about this. Because there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t have a bagged A horizon that they sell with their super soils. And it’s just going to alleviate those phone calls that you guys get. And if that’s the number one thing, you can alleviate that piece… Dude. More time to work it and less time to fixing shit.
AJ: 01:08:08 For sure. We’ll definitely talk, yeah. Because I want to learn more about things, as well.
Leighton: 01:08:13 Yeah, yeah. It’d be my pleasure, bro. That’s what I’m all about.
AJ: 01:08:15 Sweet!
Bryan: 01:08:16 Hey, I wanted to know your opinion, AJ, about actually- and Leighton as well, separating the Cal-Mag. So, maybe just foliar feeding with like an epsom salt, and then systemically feeding calcium? Or top-feeding a calcium and letting the microbes break that down. What are your thoughts on that?
AJ: 01:08:33 For me, I don’t apply a lot of magnesium… Just as like magnesium through, like, epsom salt or something like that. And I don’t really see a need for it. Now I have run into one situation, I don’t know, maybe two years ago, where I did have to apply some magnesium, and that really popped it right out. But that’s really the only time I’ve ever seen what I’ve diagnosed as a magnesium issue. Typically, I mean ?? forum’s a joke and everything’s Cal-Mag, right? But, so… I think there’s a good amount of magnesium typically found within compost that takes care of my needs when you have a good living soil with like real good ?? quality. Now- So typically I find myself applying calcium much more than I do magnesium. Now, are my ratios out of balance? Yeah, probably some of them are, you know, I’m not sure. But, when you’re a hobby grower, and you’re in containers rather than beds, it can be hard to do a soil test on twelve containers. Do individuals as well, especially if you’re running different cultivars in each container, and things like that. So, some challenges do come in for like a home grower. Now, with calcium, I like to throw a lot of forms of calcium. So gypsum, which is calcium sulfate. I think that that’s really great to throw towards the end as well. That sulfur, I think, really helps with long-term storage of the flower, and terpene production, specifically. But, you know, calcium silicate is also really good. Things like wollastonite. And then, let’s see… Yeah, Agsil. Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. Yeah, so I mean, that’s- I mean Agsil’s great for ??, just because it’s like a 0032, I believe. Very small amounts, but you’re getting that silicate as well. Wollastonite. Vansil was a popular one that’s not being made anymore. But, you know, and I really liked Calcium-25 as well, which is a calcium chloride. And you have to be careful with calcium chlorides. You know, you don’t want to just willy-nilly throw them out there. But, you know, that was a great calcium source for foliar applications. So, you know, with magnesium I really rely on compost. We always add compost. Now, I try not to overdo it. I think massive amounts of compost are not necessary. But, typically I have not seen issues with magnesium, with proper top-dressing and then using biology, whether it’s inputs, microbial inoculants, or just a compost or fulvic acid top-dressing.
Bryan: 01:11:40 Leighton, he kind of touched on where I was going with that, where I feel like, especially as a new farmer, you’re adding that calcium, you’re adding that calcium, but your plant really doesn’t need that magnesium. And so, when I first started out, I know I was hammering it. The old meme online, more cowbell, more Cal-Mag, I think is what AJ is kind of referring to. And so our philosophy was kind of just keep adding that, keep adding that. And then all of a sudden there was just a heavy sluggish buildup that I noticed in my soil system. You’re on mute, buddy.
Peter: 01:12:13 You’re muted.
AJ: 01:12:13 Still muted.
Leighton: 01:12:20 All right, sorry about that. But the little thing went away. Anyway, yeah, AJ touched on a really important note that most compost is going to be a great source of magnesium, number one. Number two, again if you have a great microbial population, that mag will only be released when the plant’s calling for it. So, basically the plant will excrete out the proper exudates to grow out the proper biology or bacteria to break down that magnesium and release it plant available at the roots, or the rhizosphere. So, you know, that’s a great source. Another great source of calcium is called calcium carbonate, which is basically your sand. And that’s why I recommended that brown-tan color, because that’s basically an old coral reef or old shells that were ground up. Because remember, I don’t care if you’re inland or you’re on the coast, there are still sources of what I want to call calcium carbonate sand available, because at one point the whole middle part of America was a shallow ocean. So you just, again, look for those colors. But again, now you’re allowing the bacteria to pull that calcium as the plant requests it, and you’re not pushing it. The other source of calcium that I was getting really excited about was… Michael and I, Michael Hinden and I were working on before he was murdered. And he had an amazing source of an amino acid-digested calcium. It was unstable, it got really sticky and nasty in humidity. So it was kind of hard to work with, but we were chasing down other sources of a more stable form of that. And yeah, he had some wonderful results with that, and the rest of his formula, which was a foliar feed. Which again, I played with in the soil to see if the biology could uptake it. And the biology loved it. So, that would have been an ideal situation where you have a balanced nutrition. So your cal, mag to potassium was in sync. So any of the excess would be taken up by the biology and therefore stored in an immobile way. And you could also spray it right on your plants, and any excess that came off the plants dripped into the soil, was automatically uptaken by the biology, and then slowly released as the plant wants it. So, again, I’m working with Briana, his girl, to hopefully- and two top chemists, to hopefully have something that will be available, marketed through her platform, which is called Modern Epigenetics, hopefully within a year. And again, this is going to be an affordable. This won’t be the “cannabis special”, ten times the value of what it was. This will be something that both farmers, as well as, you know, hemp growers and cannabis growers can use it. It’s reasonably priced and affordable, but functions really well. So that’s my take on that. And again, you know, don’t add magnesium unless you’ve done a saturated paste and you know, you’re off. Otherwise, you know, pay attention to your plant. I mean, if you’re a good grower, you’re going to know what your plant wants. It’s going to talk to you. It’s going to show you the signs that you need to see. But again, a high level of biology, very diverse biology. Magnesium in your sources, your compost. Calcium comes from your sand or top-dressing, or some of the compounds that AJ was talking about. That would be my two cents.
Peter: 01:15:58 So this was a cover crop question. Go for it.
Leighton: 01:16:03 Oh yeah, and there are some great cover crops. Now again, be careful with the cover crops, Do your research. Because you can inadvertently create a situation where you have a trap plant, okay? So a trap plant is basically, you’re going to encourage any pest you have to go to that trap plant. So if you put a bunch of these plants down that are going to attract the pest, because you’re looking to release calcium, you just shot yourself in the… Well, we’ll call it the foot, but probably in a worse place. So you know, again, you’ve got to know these cover crops. You can’t- This isn’t like cover cropping in a field where everything will regulate. You’re in a high crop value. You’re in a situation where, perhaps you’re in a greenhouse or a light dep or, you know, a high tunnel. And you’re just going to add- You’re just going to create so many problems for yourself. And not to mention that, you know, basically for the most part in pots you’re monocropping. So you don’t have all of the diversity necessary to help prevent yourself from shooting yourself. So be really careful on specific cover crops. They work great in fields, but you put them in a monoculture situation, you’re going to have other issues that you’ve never even took a- anticipated. So just be careful. Do your research. Talk to your local extension. You know, there’s agronomists out there. There’s all kinds of people doing the work. You know, a lot of these crops are site-specific. So, you know, you don’t want to be using a cover crop that they grow in Arkansas up in the fucking hills of Colorado, it’s just not going to work. So this is where you gotta do some homework. You gotta be intelligent about it, and methodical. And speak to the locals on good sources of cover crops for the functions of what you’re looking for, and not creating a further problem. I hope I answered that one.
Bryan: 01:17:57 And for the indoor farmer, AJ, can you kind of go into- I’ve seen you guys’s blend over the years kind of change and morph, and you guys, you know, added some things, took some things away. So, we’d love to hear why.
AJ: 01:18:07 You know, Build-A-Soil had the Original 12 Seed. and that’s something that Jeremy had put together with the seed supplier, basically. And, you know, that 12 Seed does really well. However, there’s a lot of tall stuff in there. So it can become, you know, it can become a lot to manage. They’ve also brought in, let’s see… Some rye clover, which is… I wouldn’t recommend throwing rye down. But- It can really overtake things, very easily. And I think that, you know, white dutch clover. That’s one of the ones of the ones that I really like, because they’re very manageable and stay short. Germination can sometimes- like, outdoor, if you’re throwing it down. you know, just- We’ve got some pretty alkalized soil out here. But, typically if I throw it down, I see it pop up the next year. So… But inside it comes up, no problem. It’s just, I find that much more manageable. White Dutch… I think that clover is going to help with nitrogen fixation and things like that. But, how easily it is to manage. I mean, it just doesn’t get very big. So, I really liked that. And, you know, there’s definitely very site-specific, like Leighton was saying, depending on what kind of valuable crop you’re going to have planted, And a lot of this stuff ties in, too, with just keeping roots in the ground. So, when we talk about using cover crops, really, I mean, we’re using like a living mulch, like indoor in a pot, you know? But, cover crop is more after the season, you get your valuable crop out and then you get roots back into the ground, so that microbial communities, can still do their functions. They’re getting root exudates from the plants, and everything still works. Also, for people that are on acreage, and things like that, it’s better income, and better long-term soil, because then you can bring in cattle, things like that. The cattle are actually most likely going to put on weight, rather than just maintain, which is- You know, when they go into a field right now, if t’s all just corn stalks, it’s really not a huge benefit to the cow itself. Especially not from these sprayed fields. I mean, that’s kind of a different story. But… You know, so if you had a cover crop out on your acreage right after, you’re keeping all of that microbial functions alive, which is just in turn increasing the quality of your soil. And then you have the profitability of allowing, you know, a rancher to lease your land, to have his on cattle on. Which, obviously then they fertilize your field in turn, as well. So, you know, that’s the most proper way, in my experience. And something that can really be beneficial for anybody with that kind of land.
Bryan: 01:21:13 So-
Leighton: 01:21:14 I love what you touched on there, because not only are you keeping the biological contingency activated, but you’re pumping carbon. You’re pumping tons of carbon down into the soil, and that’s what’s gonna feed future generations of microbial populations. Which again, is really important because each plant’s going to be looking for a different succession, or different group, or community of these. And as long as you’re keeping everything active, that’s going to be really beneficial the next time you go to planting. Another key piece is that you’re going to prevent erosion, whether it’s wind or water. If you have no roots, man, you’re going to lose your organic matter in a heartbeat. And worse yet, you’re gonna start tearing into your subsoils, or your A or B horizons. So keeping soil covered is critical. Never let it go bare. Now, AJ, you ever played with that new white, or new red clover, the short one?
AJ: 01:22:09 You know, I haven’t used that by itself. But I think that that one may be something to look at. Definitely. And I think too, another important thing to mention, back to the acreage and cover crop, and sequestering carbon specifically, that’s best in like a no-till situation. So if we go out there and we terminate that crop by tilling it, we’re not going to be able to sequester near the amount of carbon, because we’re taking those roots out of the ground, which is, from what I’ve learned, a large part of that. So, you know, that carbon that’s going down there is, you know, those roots need to stay there.
Leighton: 01:22:52 Yeah. They’re creating miles of rhizosphere. And all of that rhizosphere will easily be tapped into when you plant your next plant. Like AJ says, you till it, man, it’s gone. And now you’re dealing with erosion again. So no soil left bare.
AJ: 01:23:08 Yep.
Bryan: 01:23:09 Because of the height of the cover crops sometimes, a lot of our- or, my peers, have started to mess around with grasses. What do you guys think of that instead?
Leighton: 01:23:19 They’re good, but they grow tall.
AJ: 01:23:22 Yeah. You have to find something that’s going to stay, you know, a little bit short. But- and typically, they won’t. You really gotta- I think… On an indoor situation, you don’t want to be out competed by the cover crop. So, I think you have to be sure that, you know, when you plant that seed it’s at the right time as well. You know, you don’t want to have eight-inch cover crop, and putting in a fucking four-inch clone, or something like that. So you gotta make sure that that’s really being taken into account. You know, chop and drop you can do, definitely. But that’s just more labor. So if you just, you know, time your seed popping right. You know, now if you have already had an established cover crop, definitely make sure that it’s not out competing. But I think grass may be a decent option. What does that- You know, how does that contribute to the web, I guess, specifically? And depending on the grass variety?
Bryan: 01:24:16 As far as I understand it, you’re using it to just build up the rhizosphere, and I’m sure Leighton can go on a whole deeper dive than that.
Leighton: 01:24:24 No, you’re spot on. The grasses are fast-growing rooting systems. So again, they’re creating soil tilth, soil structure, micro- and macroaggregates, you know, gas exchange, all the things we’re looking for in soil. So- And they slough root, like, fast. So you’re really- Again, they’re pumping carbon into the soil. But like AJ said, man, they grow too fast. They’re too much work, especially in a super soil where they’re going to have access to a tremendous amount of nutrients. So I would suggest people look into the golf course industry. There are some grasses like Poa, which stay really low to the ground. And they do not like excel at out-competing with everything. So it’s a nice blend to a nice- to a group of cover crops, so you’re not, like, allowing one crop to take over. I’m not sure, like, how organic or virgin they are. I’m sure that a lot of them are going to be washed seeds. So you’re going to lose your endophytic bacteria. But I think if you do the research again, do your homework, and look at some of the grasses that they have bred and bred and bred into to perform. Like specifically for golf greens, where they want to keep them really super short. They don’t want them growing super fast, because that’ll fuck up the roll of the ball during the day. So some of the tech that’s come out of that industry would probably be really beneficial as a crossover into this industry.
AJ: 01:25:54 Nice. Yeah, I think having a living mulch, too, is a good idea for guys that are new to large containers. I think that can help with an over-watering situation, just because, you know, obviously you have more life in there. You know, some people have talked about, even in like a field setting, you know, fields with cover crops requiring less water. Which I think is very interesting, you know, and I don’t recall everything behind that. But, we have seen some success with guys brand new to indoor that may run into an over-watering issue. You know, having some cover crop in there can really help alleviate some of that. As well as, obviously, the soil horizons that you’ve been talking about as well.
Leighton: 01:26:40 Yeah, no, you’re spot on on that one. I mean, we know for sure that if you have a nice, healthy, understory underneath the cannabis plant, it insulates the soil from having transrespirations. So it prevents that soil from being exposed to air and wind, which will dry it out, as well as UV in light, which was right out. And more importantly, it creates that microclimate where it’s actually creating a little rain, or a little mist, underneath the leaves of those cover crops. And yes, by all means, because you have so much dense rooting throughout the pot, when you do over-water, what will happen is it will push through the whole soil system, instead of getting- you know, turning into an anaerobic pocket somewhere below the cannabis plan. So yeah, absolutely, cover crops in a pot situation, absolute must. Especially indoors, where you’re going to have the potential of your room humidity to dry them out really quickly. So, yeah. Great advice, AJ. Great advice.
Bryan: 01:27:41 And when I was first farming, I had- You know, here I am trying to teach myself. I’m growing aeroponically. And so, I didn’t really understand the way that the roots grow. But now that I’ve gotten, obviously, deeper into the education, it’s really about the cannabis roots are obviously going width-wise, instead of depth-wise. And I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that. Especially when I see on Instagram the people buying the really skinny fabric pots that are real deep. Can we kind of go more into that, on why that would be a bad thing? And, in my opinion, if you’re trying to grow really anything that’s with a living soil system.
Leighton: 01:28:21 You want to hit on that one AJ, or you want me to hit on it first?
AJ: 01:28:24 Yeah, I’ll hit on that, definitely. I think, fortunate and unfortunately, my very first grow ever, like indoor, we used these like 40-gallon clear Tupperwares. This was in… Like, in 2003. And then we used, like, Miracle Grow soil, and like, a few implements, and just water. And, we wanted to have the clear tub so that we could see the root growth. And you know, obviously that wasn’t the best idea in the world, but it was really cool to see. And we had, sometimes, one plant in one of these containers. So you could see that growth out to the sides. Now, to touch on a little bit about the depth. I’ve seen some guys that are doing large-scale seed popping, and they have the real deep pots, you know? I think, in my opinion, looking at saving the taproot, basically, and getting that to be as elongated as possible. Because that’s something that definitely comes into play when you direct-sow, versus transplant. I think that taproot, and being undisturbed definitely plays a role in vigor. But, with that said- I mean that’s, I guess that’s my opinion on depth pots. But, now I think, you know, a three-gallon, like you were saying, or two-gallon, it’s not very wide at all, you know? And super deep. I would definitely rather see a container that has a little bit more round to it, for sure.
Leighton: 01:29:59 Yeah. So, I want to mention a couple things. Yeah, that taproot, with a seed, it’s critical that you take that into consideration, because it does push down quite a bit deeper than if it’s a clone. If it’s a clone, you don’t have a taproot and it’s- so it’s purely going to go lateral. The other key piece is, if you’re going to start playing with autoflowers, it is well understood that when that taproot hits the bottom of the pot, it triggers flower. So if you’re going to play with autoflowers, deeper is better, until they get that kink out of the genetics, which I’m sure they’ll eventually figure it out. But yeah, so- and the other thing too is that, because you’re using clones, you- If, or should I say, if you are using clones, then you really want to think about using some other root crops, like potato. Potato is my buddy. It- for whatever reason, it produces the starches, and it really works well with the cannabis plant. Dragonfly Earth Medicine’s got some wonderful stories of the roots actually creating a ball around the potato itself. So there is definitely some synergy with those two. Another one is carrots. You know, anything that’s going to really push down into the soil. And you can either pull them and eat them, or just leave them there as a food source for the biology. And it’s not going to do any harm. It’s actually going to provide you other sources of nutrients, for free. And it’s building your soil structure. So, highly recommended in a potted situation that, if you are doing seeds, you go deeper. If you are not doing seeds, you’re going to do clones, add some kind of rooting crop into that pot. And it doesn’t have to be a bunch, it’s just going to be one or two of them. Just around where the root ball is going to end up, to help build that- again, that soil structure, and providing food sources for the biology.
Bryan: 01:31:50 Yeah, potato is fantastic. Even when you’re doing your worm bins. I’ve grown potatoes out, and then just let them fall over. And then the microbial world and the worms take over of that. And as far as I understand it, guys- you can help me out if it- if this is incorrect, but, the reason why the microbes love it so much is potato is basically like a perfect food, if you will. So the microbial world can start to take hold and start to come alive and thrive.
Leighton: 01:32:16 Hey, who doesn’t love a good potato chip, right? Munchies for the microbes! Yeah, it’s all-
Bryan: 01:32:24 So the balance is correct?
Leighton: 01:32:27 Yeah. Just think it’s all starch and sugars. So it’s easy foods that the microbes are used to.
Bryan: 01:32:32 But there’s proteins there as well, correct?
Leighton: 01:32:35 Oh yeah. Yeah. There’s definitely protein. But it’s probably a lot more on the carb and sugar side than protein. But yeah, no, everybody loves potato chips, man. They’re great.
AJ: 01:32:44 I didn’t know that about the autoflowers and the taproot. That makes a lot of sense though.
Leighton: 01:32:52 Yeah, yeah. There was some early work done, and, you know, I’m blessed that I get to communicate with a lot of top dudes in the industry. And, I forget exactly who brought that to my attention the first time, but then when I brought it up in other conversations with people who are heavily into autoflowers, they had the same thing. You know, they said when they plant it in a little pot, the fucking thing just turned into a lollipop, and just one little bud at the top. And then when they planted it deeper, it started throwing branches. So there’s definitely some truth to that. But again, they’re screwing with autoflowers, big time. So, my gut feeling is- If not next year, 2021, like Kev warned me, that there’s going to be a tremendous… what do I want to call, influx, of really high-grade autoflowers- If they didn’t fix it by then, they’ll have it fixed within a year or two. That that isn’t the primary tripping, that are signaling for the plant to go into flower.
AJ: 01:33:52 Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely.
Leighton: 01:33:55 So yeah, the potato skin. So something interesting I just wanted to throw out there. If you compost with a lot of potato skins, you are going to grow out a specific type of bacteria that are called pseudomonas. Now, pseudomonas are really important in the overall soil ecosystem, but in high concentrations they can cause issues with human interaction. In other words, if you are immune compromised, or you are prone to outbreaks of certain things, if you get too many pseudomonas in your system, they can cause complications. I did a project way back when, where I was growing out pseudomonas to clean up an old car- auto dealership who had just basically dumped the oil, the antifreeze, the cleaners, everything right into floor drains right into the soil. And so we were growing out these pseudomonas to start to clean those up. So what they do is they basically break off pieces of the hydrocarbon chain, and turn these toxic molecules into less problematic compounds. And again, we had to be really careful about making sure that we weren’t getting this in our mouth or our ears, or, you know, under our fingernails, because we could have potentially caused problems for ourself. And fortunately, I- you know, when I’m doing compost stripping or extracts, I make a mess. I mean, you can’t help but do that. And so when I was working with this particular product and doing the extracts, I was a lot more careful. So again, just be really careful. Don’t use too many potato peels. Less is more in this situation. Yes, they have great value. And again, pseudomonas are really important in the overall ecosystem, but they’re not to be concentrated. Especially if you have health issues of any kind.
Speaker 5: 01:35:53 That’s definitely good information.
Peter: 01:35:56 Just quickly, AJ, Eric’s been talking about lights the entire chat, even though we haven’t been talking about lights yet. But you grow indoors, so just quickly, what lights are you running, and do you like them, and why?
AJ: 01:36:09 I’m old school. I’m running double-ended, high-pressure sodiums. I’ll run CMH in veg. But, yeah, I run a thousand watts all the way on the ceiling. Or 600s, depending on ceiling height. But, you know, I really love LEDs. CMH, I would like to play around with some of the higher wattage double-endeds, which I haven’t really had the chance to do yet. I know Jeremy did that side-by-side. That came out pretty well, but- You know, I think LEDs are fantastic. But, you know, I mean, it’s- You’ve got startup costs. Especially if you’re- you know, if you’re running like a four-by-four ten, it’s not that bad. But when you’re running, you know, larger areas, it’s an investment. So, you know, I have really good luck with HPS. It’s what I’ve used forever. And, yeah, right now that’s what I’m just going to stick with.
Peter: 01:37:05 And here’s a two-for, for you. So, do you still use your tea schedule on your website? And then there’s part two.
AJ: 01:37:13 Okay. So, the tea schedule, that’s kind of like a baseline. You know, I don’t always follow it. I really- I’m terrible about schedules. So like, it’s just kinda like, how are the plants doing? Where are we at? And I make the decision kind of on the spot on how I’m gonna proceed that particular day. So, yeah, I mean sometimes, but not always. There’s a few- I mean, there’s a few things where, like, you do this at this time and, like, it pays off. So, like, ??. But, you know, I think as you become a veteran and you have other endeavors and you’re busy, you kind of learn where you can skip and where you can’t. So- And then, the alfalfa ferment. That- I mean, you can use that anytime. Ferments can be used anytime. I pushed ferments all the way through, even the alfalfa. I mean, people are like, “Oh, it’s for veg!”. You know, it doesn’t have to be for veg. I like it best during transition. Week three, four, of flower I find it to be very beneficial. And if you guys don’t want to buy, like, a ferment, you can easily make one at home. And, you know- Or even just do an alfalfa tea. And I don’t even like to aerate it. I know I mentioned it earlier, but just a little molasses and some lacto in a bucket with water and some alfalfa, and that tends to work for me really well, week three, week four of flower. You know, and I’ll even push it late. You know, week seven. I mean, fuck it, right? I think those hormones, you know, when you’re not overdoing it and you’re not sitting there pushing large amounts of NPK, pushing hormones and enzymes, there’s- I don’t think there’s ever a time in the cycle when it’s not beneficial.
Leighton: 01:39:10 Hey, AJ, can you talk a little bit about heat management? I know those, you know, double-end bulbs throw a tremendous amount of heat. So, are you having to add more cooling, especially when they go off, to just kind of buffer in that temperature, so you don’t get a bunch of condensation happening?
AJ: 01:39:27 No. Typically, I’m able to keep my room fairly good. I mean, I wish I had a controller where I could use sunrise/sunset, just to kind of limit that humidity peak that you get when those lights kick off. However, with that said, I think if you keep a well-managed room, and you have good airflow, that you can overcome that. As far as cooling… You know, sometimes you- what I’ve had do in the past, because, you know, I don’t- I’m not a professional grower, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t have perfectly dialed rooms with Quest Dehu’s running and shit like that. So, you know… Summertime, a lot of times we’ll take summertime off and we’ll grow outside. Just because it is hard to manage. You know, you can throw some AC’s in there, but typically, summertime here without a well, well insulated room, things like that… You need to be running a very controlled environment. So what we can do is run the lights at night, if you want to do, like, a summertime run, where it’s going to be a little too warm. And then also be pushing AC and things like that. I think as long as you have- you know, I’ve seen- since I’ve switched to living soil, I’ve seen way less pressures. Whether it be mold or pest. Obviously those are still issues, but they don’t seem to be able to take a foothold, like they could, with, like, sterilized rooms and running sterile tanks, and things like that. Hydroponic methods. So, you know, I typically don’t have issues with mold, even- I run- You know my room, even late flower, runs 60% humidity. But that stays pretty stable. So, I don’t really see issues. And I think when you have healthy plants in living soil, that are accustomed to living soil, you just have less issues with some of those things. So those are easier to overcome, I believe, in a living soil system.
Leighton: 01:41:33 So do you monitor VPD?
AJ: 01:41:36 Yes, I do. But, you know- And I have a humidifier and humidistats. And then I obviously keep my temperature within range. So yes, I know where I’m at and I do keep track of that. I tend to be a little bit outside the parameters. Typically I like a little bit lower humidity, because… I just, I think a little bit lower humidity based on that, you know, those typical charts that you see online, you know, I don’t think they’re perfect yet. So, there might be some more information out there now or something different, but typically I like to see a little bit- just slightly less humidity than what’s called for at a particular temperature.
Leighton: 01:42:18 So yeah, I got- I’ve been hanging with some guys that have been really screwing around with VPD versus cultivar. And they’re finding that a lot of times in veg, it’s great to stick to that chart, but as soon as you start getting into flower, especially, you know, halfway in, you’ve got to kind of watch the plant, and let it talk to you. Because those values don’t necessarily fit easy or neat into the box. And like you said, you know, you like to go a little bit less. Sometimes he says that he has to push the cultivar a little bit higher outside, and have a little bit more humidity.
AJ: 01:42:52 Yep.
Leighton: 01:42:52 So it’s really a matter of, like, watching the cultivar, watching the plant reaction, and not just following a book blindly.
AJ: 01:42:59 Yeah. And I think, you know, where you have your sensors, obviously. Like the humidistat, you know, just because it says it’s 60% over here, doesn’t necessarily mean on, like, the leaf surface and right around that particular plant. So I think making sure you’re monitoring it correctly, too, if you’re really trying to go off of that. And having multiple points within that room that are monitoring the humidity and temperature, I think, to get the most accurate readings, you know? Cause if it’s reading one thing over here, it might not necessarily be that condition next to that plant. So, that’s why you may need to see it step up, just to actually get that accurate to the other side. Does that make sense?
Leighton: 01:43:37 Great advice. Great advice, dude. Yeah. Don’t just rely on one meter. Move it around the room and you will see that it’s going to change. And that may actually help you with fan location and fan direction, you know, to keeping those things in the mix, or in the balance, so to say. But yeah, great advice. Don’t just, like, trust one thing.
AJ: 01:43:59 For sure. Definitely.
Peter: 01:44:02 All right. We got an audience question. So, pruning or defoliating in an organic grow, do fan leaves matter?
Leighton: 01:44:17 Yeah. Put them back in the soil. Use them to feed the soil. Yes, they matter.
AJ: 01:44:24 Yeah yeah yeah. I defoiliate. I don’t do, like, the Three A Light/Schwazze tech stuff. I don’t do that. I don’t go that heavy on the defoliation. But, yeah, I’ll remove some leaves, especially later. Depending on- and it really depends on the cultivar. I mean, GMO, like, you don’t need to strip that plant. But you know, there’s some other ones that I feel like you definitely need to defoliate a little bit heavier, some of those bushier plants. So…yeah. I think, as far as- Have you guys looked at, like- Have you guys done, like, a lot of heavy metal analysis and things like that on fan leaves, and things like that, as far as accumulation? And in newer soils, or anything like that?
Leighton: 01:45:11 I have not done any testing on those, and that’s a great point, because that’s gonna be where they uptake first. It would probably give you a great indicator as to whether your soil is going to create a problem long-term.
AJ: 01:45:22 For sure.
New Speaker: 01:45:22 And something else I wanted to mention too, is that, you know, some guys tend to want to pull those sun leaves out of the, you know, the shafts, the bud shafts, or the rockets. And don’t do that, because what you’re going to do is open up a little pore for moisture to get in, and potentially bud rot and other things. So, especially don’t pluck off of the top flowers, if at all possible. Just wait till trim when it’s dried and then cut them off. So that was just a little tip, or trick.
AJ: 01:45:52 Yeah. And that’s- You know, like mulching with the fan leaves is something that, like, I mean, I’ve done forever. but definitely some of the tests that I’ve seen, when you look at heavy metal uptake, typically the fan leaves are in highest concentration, sugar leaves next. And then, the flower holding the least, compared to the others. And then, also going further is trichome production pretty much isn’t affected. So, what we’ve seen is guys fail on, like, a flower test, but then concentrate from that particular batch does not fail. Like, typically you’ll see for, like, arsenic or something. So a lot of larger grows that are at scale that are having to do heavy metal testing on, you know, getting down to that very, very low baseline, you know, a lot of it’s coming down to the labs as well. But because those fan leaves do, what I’ve seen, hold more heavy metals, you know, it may be a better idea on scale, commercial facilities, to possibly forgo that on a newer soil. Which, you know, the plant hasn’t sequestered everything out yet. So that may be some advice for people, or at least something to look at.
Bryan: 01:47:09 So in a commercial setting, would you advise then, if you are going to pluck of some fan leaves, just running that into- dropping them into your worm bin instead? Then letting that run through, and then bringing that back into the system?
AJ: 01:47:24 You know, that’s a good question, because I haven’t seen any kind of reports on heavy metal testing, and how passing through a worm may mitigate that. So, I’m not really sure if that is something that would actually bring down levels or not. I’m really not sure.
Bryan: 01:47:41 I feel like that’s something we should continue to look into.
AJ: 01:47:44 I’ve seen commercial facilities that have multiple-
Leighton: 01:47:46 Hey, Bryan?
AJ: 01:47:46 And they don’t run into problems, but I’ve definitely dealt with that as an issue.
Bryan: 01:47:51 Yes, sir.
Leighton: 01:47:52 Brian, some interesting work on worm bins recently. And, so that I don’t forget, have you ever tested your rice hulls? Do you use rice hulls in your mix? Because I’ve seen high levels of arsenic coming from rice hulls, specifically.
Bryan: 01:48:10 Wow.
AJ: 01:48:11 Definitely. So that can be-
Leighton: 01:48:11 That’s kind of a-
AJ: 01:48:12 An issue. Build-A-Soil has tested that. I believe that’s on the- there’s a heavy metal report on their blog that Jeremy did that we worked on. And we had all inputs that go into soil tested by a third party. We also reached out to each manufacturer of those products, as well. So all those have been. You know, the rice hulls, honestly they weren’t very concerning compared to… You know, there some other things that were higher. So, you know, and there’s a lot of work that Jeremy put in, in creating that blog, and looking at things like people that are pushing aloe all the way through tend to… You’re not going to get that uptake, because the aloe uses the same pathway as the heavy metals do. So, basically, by constantly pushing that aloe, you’re kind of clogging up those uptakes, so that they’re not pulling as many heavy metals out. That’s something that we’ve seen. Not mulching the fan leaves on a newer soil. So like, you know, I think soils that have a lot- quite a few cycles on them, especially growing cannabis, which is an accumulator, you’re going to pull out a lot of that stuff. You just need to be careful about the inputs that you’re putting back in. Again, and kelp meal was a big one. Until that speciation occurs where they’re differentiating between organic and inorganic arsenic forms, kelp meal, in my opinion, is- You know, you can use it on your initial soil build, but I’d be very, very careful, thereafter, with arsenic levels.
Leighton: 01:49:42 That’s great advice, brother. Great advice. And Bryan, so back to the worm bins. So, in a lot of the work I’ve been doing over the years, I’ve noticed a similar situation occurs in worm bins that does in aquaculture. So in aquaculture we throw in- we put water, we put fish in, and then we feed the fish. And then what happens in the clarifier where you’re pulling out the solids, or the suspended solids that are in the water, you get what’s called mineralization. So actually the minerals start to re-form and they turn into little balls of sand. Little particles of sand. And some of them can actually be quite big. So I was just at a farm yesterday, and I was stripping just pure vermicompost. And you would not believe the volume of sand that came out of that. I mean, it was insane. Like- and I asked the guy, like, three times, like, what is your bedding sources? What are you putting in here? Because look at how much sand is coming out of the stripping process. And he’s like, we don’t put any sand in there. It’s all organic matter. So I think that in a lot of ways, the worms themselves are doing something very similar. Or the biology that is associated with the worms is doing similar things to the biology that is associated in the water column of an aquaculture system. I mean, have you ever noticed that? Have you ever, like, taken your worm castings and made a worm tea, and then sift it, you know, shook it out and pour off the top, to see if there was any particulate in the bottom of it?
Bryan: 01:51:10 No, I haven’t. I’ve never even heard that. That’s extremely interesting.
Leighton: 01:51:15 I literally did this yesterday.
AJ: 01:51:18 Is it visible to the eye?
Speaker 7: 01:51:22 Oh, God yes.
AJ: 01:51:23 Right?
New Speaker: 01:51:23 I mean, this was a tremendous amount of sand.
AJ: 01:51:25 Okay-
New Speaker: 01:51:25 And I had the same issue with my- I had a thousand gallon aquaculture system where- it was actually down at Rodale, where I was experimenting with this stuff early on. And every time I went to collect the fish waste or the fish frass, which is what I was after, I would get sand in the bottom of the five-pound compound bucket full of fish shit. And I could never figure it out. So I went back to my dear buddy, Dr. Kevin Fitzsimmons at the U of A, University of Arizona, and I asked him that question. I’m like, look, I am not adding sand to my fish tank. And I know there’s no sand in my fish food. So where is this sand coming from? And he basically explained to me, it’s just mineralization. You just have such a high concentration of biology, that they’re pulling things from different atoms and molecules- or not atoms, molecules. And then those loose-ended molecules are rebonding to something else, because they’re missing an electron or they’re missing a proton. And so that’s what’s called remineralization. So yeah, Bryan, you really ought to take some of your castings, you know, make tea with them. You know, stir the hell out of it. And then pour off the top, but carefully pour it down and keep adding water, so that you’re pulling the organic matter out of it. And then look what’s in the bottom. I bet you’ll find sand. It’s really kind of interesting thing.
Bryan: 01:52:47 Unbelievable.
Leighton: 01:52:47 So in that regard- Yeah, so-
Bryan: 01:52:49 So maybe that’s why I’ve never had to add sand? Like, when you were saying to add sand. I’ve personally never had to do that.
Leighton: 01:52:55 Well, I wouldn’t add sand to a worm bin. I would only use, like, organic matter. But as far as adding sand to soil for drainage, that’s a different animal. But what I guess my point was that if the worms have run over these contaminated sun leaves, then they were probably gonna remineralize that into its original format, which is going to be less likely to be taken up by the plant. They’re basically bonding it back to to an element.
Bryan: 01:53:29 Wow. Them are some pearls.
AJ: 01:53:32 Yeah.
Peter: 01:53:34 Just quickly, cause it’s way back in the chat, a little potato fun fact. Can be used as a yeast source to create sourdough for bread.
Leighton: 01:53:47 Nice, nice. Yeah. Potatoes are cool, man. They’re just bad-ass.
Bryan: 01:53:53 He’s talking about back when he was poor, like sugar-water and mayonnaise sandwiches. What up, Gene Om?
Leighton: 01:54:03 Look at that, look at that, right? Now you know, now you know. I’m not full of shit here, peeps.
Bryan: 01:54:08 Yep.
Leighton: 01:54:08 That the biological interactions are recreating these remineralization of these particulates that end up looking like sand, but they’re really just raw minerals.
AJ: 01:54:19 Essentially.
Bryan: 01:54:21 That’s unbelievable.
AJ: 01:54:21 When I was in Florida, I had a worm bin. And I figured it was sand because I lived in Florida, and there was fucking sand everywhere, you know? But then, in being in Colorado, I saw the same thing. Whereas just using, like, a little bit of compost and, like, some peat mosses as the base to start. Zero sand input. And then you definitely notice. You can- I mean, you can see, it looks like a single particle of sand. And they’re kind of, like, spread out everywhere, I guess.
Leighton: 01:54:50 Yep, that’s mineralization.
AJ: 01:54:52 That’s pretty neat.
Leighton: 01:54:52 Nature hard at work.
AJ: 01:54:53 That’s cool, that’s cool. So-
Leighton: 01:54:57 So we got any questions, Peter?
Peter: 01:55:00 Yeah, I’m going- Well, I- Yeah, let me go back up. Give me a minute… Here-
AJ: 01:55:09 So AJ, what was it like to win the Cup, brother? How did it feel, man?
AJ: 01:55:13 Oh, man… It was sweet, dude! It was sweet. I was like… I entered the first year, when Greg won, and I had a- I forget what I… It was like Humble Pie or something, from DVG, Dungeons Vault. And it was good, you know. But it was kind of like- I was just like, last minute, like, “Hey, let’s just throw something in.” And then the next year when I had the GMO, I was like- I was fairly confident going into it, cause I was just like, man, this shit’s fucking loud, dude. Like… And it’s very stoney too. That particular batch, especially when you can really let it go full-term, you know, and really let it go 85, 89 days. Somewhere in there. You know, I mean that’s- the flower just fucking kicks your ass.
Bryan: 01:55:55 That’s so long.
AJ: 01:55:55 Dabs are way more, like… To me, the dabs are a good daytime smoke, but the flower just fucking puts you down. So, I really liked that. When we got those lab reports back, there was some CBN that was already in there. And I think that that herb was probably 40 days harvest, post-harvest, by the time it got to the judges. I think, somewhere in there. But yeah, man. That was really exciting. That was really cool. And there was definitely some good herb. And when you got other guys like Gene Om entering, it’s like, fuck man, you know? It’s like, it’s definitely anybody’s Cup. So… But yeah, I mean, that was definitely a very good moment and a very cool moment. Because it’s very recent that we’ve gotten to be able to share what we do with the public, you know? Besides just like the traditional market, or something like that. So, it’s definitely sweet being able to, you know… This is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. I’ve had different things in my life that, you know, for one reason or another I’ve been pulled away from it for short periods of time, but I always found my way back. And, you know, it’s something that’s definitely cool to be able to share with other people.
Leighton: 01:57:13 Nice, nice. I just had to ask that, you know. Because I remember, you know, with my kids, when they won events. It was always just like, so much anticipation. And then you win and it’s like, “Oh, my God!” So it’s nice that you got respect from your industry on your work, bro.
AJ: 01:57:32 Yeah, yeah, it was definitely-
Leighton: 01:57:33 So, I’m not-
AJ: 01:57:33 It was cool to come over from the West-
Leighton: 01:57:33 Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
AJ: 01:57:37 Just because we-
Leighton: 01:57:37 Go ahead.
AJ: 01:57:40 We weren’t Denver locals, you know, and we had traveled. You know, I think it was like a five-hour drive, or something for us. And you know, it’s all country over here. It’s a little bit different from the front range. So, it was definitely nice to represent the Western slope on that a little bit.
Leighton: 01:57:56 Nice job, dude. Nice. So yeah, let’s answer that quick question. So, do not use hydrolysate in a tea brew, You will knock back your communities and your diversity on a big way. I recommend using a hydrolysate mixed with water on its own and as a separate application. Again, you want to make sure it’s a hydrolysate, a true one. What you’re really looking for is that long-chain fatty acids that come with the fish oil, or the fish meal. A lot of guys are stripping that shit because it’s worth a fortune. Either for the feed industry, the fish feed industry, or for the cosmetic industry. Those oils are really precious. In cosmetics, what they do is, you know, it replaces whale blubber. So whale blubber was amazing, because you added just a tiny bit of scent to that, and you put that on your skin, and it slowly releases that volatile, that terpene. And so, fish oil will do the same thing. So if it’s a derivative of hydrolysate, you’re not going to get those things that you’re really looking for. So it’s an inferior product. Again, do not brew it with tea. Apply it with water by itself. And yeah, if it’s a true hydrolysate, you will be able to get some wonderful biological activity out of it.
AJ: 01:59:22 Yep.
Leighton: 01:59:23 Alright, diatomaceous earth is another form of silica. It is basically a bio-generated silica, so it’s very biologically available, so it’s great. But be careful if you use diatomaceous earth, you can actually cause problems on a microbial level. So what happens is, if a nematode rubs up against a diatom shell, it’s going to cut itself and pop. It also is a great insecticide, for top-dressing your plants, to prevent certain pests from getting to attack your system, whether they’re aphids or plant dwellers. But again, I’m not a big fan of using diatomaceous earth as an amendment, because of the consequences on a biological level. So just be wary of that one. Man, what was that last one that just popped up, Peter?
Peter: 02:00:22 Oh, it was just a comment. Here, hold on. Let me queue up the next one, and then I’ll go back to that comment.
Leighton: 02:00:32 ?? rock dusts such as azomite…
Peter: 02:00:34 So, you guys were talking about different stuff and someone a while ago was asking about rock dust and this is another kind of rock dust question. Like, do you need rock dust?
Leighton: 02:00:44 Well, rock does provide a tremendous amount of minerals that have been pulverized. So, it’s a lot easier for the biology, specifically the bacteria, to colonize it. And once- So you have to understand, like, there’s a certain bacteria that will colonize a certain type of element. And then, as it breaks off what it wants, it opens up space for another type of bacteria to come in. So think of this as succession. Everything is successionally breaking down that rock a little bit more, taking what it wants based on what the plant is requesting. Whether it’s a fungi, or whether it’s a specific bacteria in the rhizosphere. So when you pulvarize rock, you’re basically doing a lot of the work that would have taken thousands of years for these bacterial- successional bacterial communities to break down. So that’s why- and I’m sure AJ will speak to this. I mean, rock dust, basalt dust, specifically, is a big ingredient in super soils just for that reason. It’s making that mineral a lot more available. Specifically aluminum. You know, aluminum’s only an issue at low pH, and if you’re down in four or five for your pH, your plant’s all fucked up, dude. So, I would not worry about the aluminum, because it’s not uptakable at a, you know, a mid-range, neutral-type pH system. Sixes to sevens, not an issue at all.
AJ: 02:02:12 Yeah, for sure. I think, you know, rock dusts are key when you’re building soil. And I think even having, like, some different texture and different grades, as well. So like, having some as in, you know, very dust form, like you’re saying, it’s already pulverized. And then having a little bit that’s a larger aggregate, you know? So, I think that helps with a little bit of texture, as well. But, you know, I think azomite’s okay. I don’t think you’re going to run into issues with aluminum. Aluminum is typically found at- it’s fairly high in just common soil. Like, if you’ll go go out in your backyard and just dig some up and send it to a lab, there’s definitely going to be some aluminum in there. But, I think there’s better options than azomite, in my opinion. I think there’s better balances out there. Just as far as the amount of, you know, particular heavy metals or other things in there. I think there’s other products with a little bit better balance.
Bryan: 02:03:05 I was trying to ask you a question-
Leighton: 02:03:05 Just so that people know-
Peter: 02:03:12 Sorry, just quickly, that was the comment that I had thrown up before, when you asked what the other thing was.
Bryan: 02:03:18 And that was what I was trying to get to for the viewers. Can you talk about the difference between hydrolysate and emulsion?
Leighton: 02:03:27 Yeah, yeah, all right. But let’s back it up. Just so people know, azomite is basically the ash of rock. So wrap your head around that for a minute. So basically, that was rock that was burned so hot that it turned to ash. So, that’s why it has some value, but again, you know, it’s not an end-all be-all. And it’s one of those products where I say a little bit’s okay, but don’t get crazy stupid on it. And as to that comment, backing up the guy that said, “Just use kelp.” Well, obviously he wasn’t listening to our understanding of kelp. And another thing that was really interesting, I did some work on- I took a whole bunch of different kelp companies and sent them out for biologicals. And a lot of them came back with high levels of E. coli, believe it or not. And this goes into another issue, with the aquatic systems, you know, whether it’s aquaponic or agriculture, is that a lot of times that water can give you a false negative for E. coli. Because again, you’re testing at a level that they don’t understand. Like, E. coli is an indicator of potential pathogens. It’s not like it’s going to kill you. It’s just an indicator. And, so they use an indicator level to decide, okay, you’re in a zone where you could potentially be growing out pathogens, so we’re going to fail you. So again, if you’re going to be using, you know, aquaponics water, aquaculture water, which I’m a big fan of, whatever you do, do not spray that on the plant foliarly during friggin flower, or you will have issues. For sure. So those are two things on the azomite, and the other potential issues with kelp, above and beyond the heavy metal issue. And then, what were you saying, Bryan? What was the question you had?
Bryan: 02:05:17 A lot of people get confused about hydrolysate versus emulsion.
Speaker 7: 02:05:23 Okay. So there’s emission, emulsion and hydrolysate. So, emission and emulsion are basically where they’ve taken the fish, and they’ve stripped parts out of it. Specifically, like the fish meal and the fish oil, which is what they can sell as a secondary product, to offset the cost of processing that fish. And generally, those are done with fish that have already had the filets cut off of them. All right? So, a hydrolysate is the entire fish. So basically, you take a fish, you put it in a blender, and you blend it up. You do not strip the filet. You do not strip the oils. You do not strip the-
Bryan: 02:06:02 It’s full-spectrum.
Leighton: 02:06:02 Amino or anything else out of it. Yeah, it’s full-spectrum, dude. Perfect way to put it. Hydrolysate is a full-spectrum. So, I hope that cleared that one up. So, again, you don’t want to be screwing around with those derivatives. If you’re going to do- if you’re going to go fish, go hydrolysate. But again, make sure that they didn’t cheat you. A lot of these companies will strip what they want, and then call it a hydrolysate. So once again, you know, I have a buddy back East, Keith Wilda of Blue Streams Aquaculture, that is going to be releasing a hydrolysate that is safe, that he is not stripping anything from. That will be available soon. And it’ll probably be put up on a platform that will be announced, sometime soon. Wink, wink.
AJ: 02:06:48 Yeah, I think the hydrolysate definitely has its place, you know, because you’re getting a lot of… There’s a few companies out there that are deriving high-nitrogen amino acid products from those. And I think that those are definitely something that’s worth using. Those are definitely in my arsenal. And I think, like, more of what you were speaking to is the, you know, what people refer to typically as like liquid fish. And when you’re getting a proper product, it definitely has its place in, especially, larger-scale agriculture, because it is affordable. A lot of guys that are doing hemp, you know, you get a lot of trace, you get NPK. So there was a lot of guys that had great luck pushing that. And if you do it proper, you don’t have issue with it going through mines. So, there is definitely a time and a place for that. I typically don’t use it in the garden unless I need to feed, like, something that’s in a small container that’s been there for too long. And then it actually needs a little bit of food. But, yeah, it definitely has its place, for sure. I think the amino acid products, high-nitrogen ??. Amino acid products that derive from that is definitely a great, great building block.
Leighton: 02:08:01 Okay, here we go. What’s-
Peter: 02:08:09 So the transition into flower?
Leighton: 02:08:13 Okay. So, I think what you’re saying is, you’re talking about when you’re transitioning from veg into flower, what is the nute pack that you’re looking for? Is that what he’s getting after? Peter?
Bryan: 02:08:36 Yes.
Peter: 02:08:36 Yeah. Kind of… For each of you, what are some things you may do as you make that transition-
Leighton: 02:08:48 AJ, I”ll let you go first.
Peter: 02:08:48 Nutrient-wise, into the soil?
AJ: 02:08:48 For sure.
Leighton: 02:08:48 AJ, I’ll let you go first.
AJ: 02:08:48 Yeah, definitely. You know, if you’re on scale, definitely be doing sap analysis, saturated paste, things like that. But, for me, I like to push things with hormones, like we’ve kind of already discussed. The alfalfa I find to be very beneficial during transition, and onset of bud. Obviously, microbial inoculants are being pushed. There’s going to be some foliars. With, typically, a little bit of silica. And also, some high-nitrogen aminos. And then, I also like to do a calcium foliar. I’ll usually push a little bit of gypsum through the soil. Either watered in, like a soluble, or do a top-dress. But, I also like to use a foliar of, like, a calcium chloride, as well. I think that that really helps during that transition.
Leighton: 02:09:46 I would recommend, again, a really good compost, which is going to have a high level of phosphorus. As well as a high microbials. I really would put the plant in charge and, yeah, I love what AJ talks about as calcium. That’s another critical one. And a little bit of sulfur, too. Sulfur is a wonderful element. She’s…well, she’s a slut. She works with everybody. So, again really helps with the balance.
AJ: 02:10:17 Yep, definitely. Yeah, guys that are pushing gypsum, know that that’s calcium sulfate. And typically, I think most gypsum’s about, I don’t know, 16, 17% sulfur.
Leighton: 02:10:29 And Bryan, how about you brother?
Bryan: 02:10:30 I really focus on, the entire time, making sure that I’m feeding that soil system. And then, when it’s going later into flower, I’m really focused on sulfur and calcium. I really do feel like doing some stress, pinching stalks, getting that, like, little bulb to start to produce. I do feel like the sugar that’s starting to take up during that process, for me, was something that I felt like was a process that I could do each and every time and it saw results. Other than that, I feel like I’ve- I’m learning more about this through the process. Where I’ve felt like broscience until we talked, you know, just a week ago about the Brix levels, and how I was trying to get- I was so focused on Brix levels, because I thought that was the real focus. So my thought process was really monitoring the plant. Making sure that I could see if the plant had praying leaves, no deficiencies, then of course she’s ready to go into flower. If she’s not, then I need to really focus on building that soil system. There needs to be diversity that’s going on within that soil system. But if I’m, you know, trying to put the cherry on top, then my focus is definitely the microbial world, giving the plant the extra calcium that she needs, and then improving what’s not- what I’ve known as the siderophores that are going to move that iron throughout that soil system.
Peter: 02:11:52 Do we agree with this statement, or no?
Bryan: 02:11:57 I personally use ??-
Peter: 02:12:00 You’re muted.
Leighton: 02:12:00 Crab meal is high in chitin. So it’s a- Yeah, it’s a great source, but it’s not the same as fish in any way. The only way you’re getting chitin in a fish would be the scales, and chances are, unless you’re using a really good hydrolysate, they’re gone.
AJ: 02:12:16 Yup. Yup. And even like crab meal, you’re still getting very low numbers. When you look at like type percentages, typically, it’s still going to be pretty low. And it’s just- It’s a different… It’s different from fish meal. So, it’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges, in my opinion.
Leighton: 02:12:32 Yeah, and I agree.
Bryan: 02:12:33 And I’ve-
Leighton: 02:12:33 And I- The one thing I did leave out is the calcium, too. The crab meal will have a good amount of calcium available for the microbes
AJ: 02:12:42 And that’ll be all- Leighton, what have you seen as far as availability of calcium carbonate? Because, typically, like, when we’re talking about, you know, presentation-
Peter: 02:12:50 That’s where that is.
AJ: 02:12:50 You’d need carbonate. So what’s your opinion on availability of carbonate and, you know, ?? Because I’ve seen- I mean, a lot of things are, you know, calcium carbonate. Guys are making water-soluble calcium from egg shells, things like that. Those are all carbonates. And typically, I stick to those when building soils, With- You know, I’ll use a small amount of other sources. But then I like to rely on the other sources when I want, like, immediate uptake, as far as like, pushing a gypsum, or wollastonite, or a calcium chloride, or something along those lines.
Leighton: 02:13:27 Oh no, I love what you just said, dude. Yeah, absolutely. You want a fast, easily uptaken, source of calcium, you know, as the flower’s really pushing out. Or as the plant’s pushing out. Not, you know, into flower, but just before. But otherwise, yeah. Put that shit in the soil and make it available. It’s slow-release. It’s not going anywhere. So you’re not wasting it. It’s just sitting there and available for the microbes to mine it as the plant builds those microbial communities through the exudates. So, I’m a big fan of putting- That’s, again, why I love that tan-brown sand in the system. Because that shit will be there forever, and they’ll pull what they need when they need it. And so, yeah. The meals will get broken down a lot quicker than the sand will, but they are both forms of that, you know, calcium carbonate. So yeah, I love what you said, brother.
AJ: 02:14:19 Definitely.
Peter: 02:14:24 So, just quickly, Blue of Green Tank, who is listening in the chat right now, I think… Are we going to do your first concert live on the FCP YouTube? You can answer in the comments. And then someone felt you guys weren’t giving enough love to humic acid.
AJ: 02:14:47 Poor humic.
Leighton: 02:14:47 Alright. I got issue with humic acid, because there’s only one dude that I really trust who has done the work for 60 years, and that’s Dr. Faust. That’s BioAg. And the information that he’s broughten forth to us as a community is critical. So, when he mines- And remember, the only source that I understand of that’s being used to make humic acid, other than the method that I use, is to mine brown coal, which is also called leonardite, and then using acids and bases to break it apart. So that brown coal is, you know, million-year-old organic matter. A forest that got plowed down by a volcano that dumped a shit ton of rock and dirt on it. Now, he goes in there and mines the stuff, and he’s looking for specific veins. And, when he started to bring this forth, people were like, “Oh, what are you doing? What’s going on?” And everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Everybody started mining and leonardite, alright? And what he found was that not-
AJ: 02:15:54 Uh-oh.
Leighton: 02:15:58 Hang on. Back yet? Alright. Sorry about that. I got a call. So, not all leonardites are equal. And so if you’re not doing the work to really understand if this leonardite is going to function or not, then you’re basically- You don’t know what you’re getting. It’s a blind product. And Faust worked with the Russians man. He got- He almost got thrown in jail because, you know, he was “colluding” with the Russians. Even though they were the only ones that were really doing the work for years, on trying to understand what is humic acid and what is fulvic acid. Now, fulvic acid is amazing itself. And I highly recommend people read up on this, to understand. It’s probably one of the lowest atomic weights that we know of in all of the elements in our world. And its properties are amazing. So, to answer your question on fulvic acid- Or humic acids, specifically. What I do is, I take compost and I make a compost extract, and that is pure humic acid. And I’ve seen it take desert, I’ve seen it take sand, and converted it into soil within a matter of months, and one or two applications. So I understand the power of what humic acid can do. And I’ve also played with Faust’s products, and I found that they too, can, in proper proportion, take the sand particles and get them to bond together and create a substrate that biology can start to get a foothold in, very quickly. So I love humic acid, but buyer beware, man. Faust has done a number of studies on this and shown that competitors’ products don’t do shit. And because they haven’t done the work to mine the proper veins that are actually providing this amazing, magnetic-acid ability of what it is. So do your homework.
AJ: 02:17:52 Definitely. I agree with that a hundred percent. Faust is definitely at the forefront of data on humic acid, and-
Leighton: 02:17:59 You guys going to chime in? Oh shit, can anyone hear me?
AJ: 02:18:08 I can.
Bryan: 02:18:12 Hey, so, I second the BioAg. I would definitely say when I started to first experiment with that, I would spray the humic acids, and it would just kind of keep the plants more of a lull. But when you start to remove those heavier ??- it seemed like, and feed the ??- systemically, and then just focus on foliar feeding that fulvic acid. So I believe in that product. Obviously we don’t have anything to do with them. But it was like a sunshine in a bottle, kind of product where, when, that product was foliar fed, I could count on, within probably 90 minutes, a really well-demolished plant would start to come back. Oh, we lost Leighton there.
Peter: 02:19:04 That’s fat thumbs.
AJ: 02:19:04 Yeah, no, I agree. ??, for sure, is definitely the way to go with foliar applications. And I think that anytime you’re going to apply a foliar that’s nutrient-based, fulvic’s gotta be in there. It’s definitely a huge asset. And, yeah, BioAg is a great company. I don’t know if- I can say… I don’t know of Faust ??. ?? anymore.
Leighton: 02:19:30 Hey-
Bryan: 02:19:30 Well, the product is-
Leighton: 02:19:30 I’m back.
Bryan: 02:19:31 I can just state it for the product.
Peter: 02:19:35 Well, look, I’m sorry. Here is a…
Leighton: 02:19:39 Sorry, Peter. I don’t know if you guys heard my rant on that one or not. I just- All of a sudden my camera went crazy.
Peter: 02:19:46 Yeah, no. I think we got your full thought.
Leighton: 02:19:51 Okay, cool.
Peter: 02:19:54 So NPK raw soluble line?
Bryan: 02:19:55 I’ve personally used that. I like that. I believe that’s Har- I believe his name is Harley, with MPK industries. And I will say I’ve-
Peter: 02:20:10 The lab coat.
Bryan: 02:20:10 Yeah, the lab coat. And shout out to him, because he’s another one of those OGs. I would watch his videos as well as AJ and Jeremy’s blogs, and go and read, especially… All that information is still there. That information that I started to teach myself is on Jeremy’s blog. And then if you guys want to continue and kind of go through that path, I do feel like Harley educates on a whole ‘nother level. Especially when he starts to break down the microbial world, if you don’t understand anything at all. And that information is out there. So, just wanted to give a shout out to him, because he has definitely helped the community and given a lot of free information.
Peter: 02:20:49 So just quickly, Leighton, do you want to give people like a little primer on fulvic versus humic?
Leighton: 02:20:56 Yeah, alright. So, what fulvic does is… A bacteria has an inner and outer shell. And the fulvic acid is of such light atomic weight, it can easily pass through the outer shell of the bacteria, and it strengthens both the inner and outer shell, as well as it strengthens that potency of the enzyme inside the bacteria. Therefore allowing it to, more effectively and efficiently, mine things from sand, silt and clay. So it’s kinda like a- It’s like a steroid, for lack of better words, to cell health. It’s invaluable to plants for strengthening and elongating their cell walls, as well as their ability to uptake nutrients. It’s good for humans. It’s good for animals. Anything that has a cell. It’s an amazingly powerful constituent, or acid. Unfortunately, there has not been a tremendous amount of deep studies on this. But the stuff that you can find on the internet- Like, I would try to recommend, Google Scholar. You’re probably going to get a better, higher level of information there. But it’s amazing stuff. So, the way I drive a folic acid in my process, is to strip all the humic acid off of the compost first, and then I basically squeeze the last little bit of the humic acid out of it. And then the solids that I’ve got come through the sift, or the sieve- It’s basically… You guys, I make ice water compost hash, alright? That’s exactly what I’m doing. So, when I’m done going through the sieves, and then I take the product that’s left after- that’s stuck in the sieve, and then I put it in a press. Now I don’t use heat. I just use pressure. And if I’ve gotten all of the humic out of it, when I press it, this really rich, yellow-amber color liquid comes out of it. And that is a hundred percent plant-extracted fulvic acid. And the shit, it’s bad ass. Now, all the other fulvic acids out there are, again, a process of that mining, crushing, and using acids and basis to extract it. So, it’s… How viable is it? I can’t tell you. Because, you know, what are the- what is the residuals left from the acid and base washes, you know, in solution with that fulvic acid? So, you know, again, buyer beware. Really look at your products. Faust is the guy I would rely on for readily available, you know, extracted- responsibly-extracted leonardite that you know is going to have viable outputs.
AJ: 02:23:49 Yup.
Bryan: 02:23:49 Well said.
AJ: 02:23:50 Yeah, I think they make the fulvic acid for human consumption, too, though-
Leighton: 02:23:54 How we doing with questions, Peter? Is it quieting down? Should we wrap it up or…
Peter: 02:24:00 No, but we- Yeah, we- Well, it’s not quieting, but we gotta wrap, because we got a glass round table starting at one, and I want to eat lunch with Gemma and Valentina. So just quickly, it’s with a couple old-school glass blowers. This is Sour Silicate, who is- If you guys all listened to the Sour Diesel history lesson, had a little something to do with that. But just- Anyway, this is some of his stuff.
Leighton: 02:24:33 Nice work. Beautiful work.
Peter: 02:24:33 But-
Bryan: 02:24:33 This is the gentleman with the glasses? Is that-
Peter: 02:24:38 He- I don’t think he was on camera for that conversation. It was with Mojave Richmond and James Loud. And then his Instagram is SourSilicate on IG, and it’s actually- actually, just give me a second. It’s him. It is Louis Wilson, who’s also another old OG guy. Actually, I can pull some of this stuff up. But here’s Louis- Whoops. As it slowly loads. So, that’s Louis. And then the other guy is- Here, hold on while I look for it. The epic picture…
Bryan: 02:25:32 Peter, you’ve probably got to let that sit for a little longer than you think.
Peter: 02:25:35 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just give me- I- but this is actually the one I wanted to show. So, this has been burned into my brain. So Giovanni, who’s an old Italian guy- His roots are in, scientific glass. So it’s basically…. What’s his name Sour Silicate is kind of a Bob Snodgrass disciple. And then you have Giovanni who, you know, is like a second-generation scientific guy. So anyway, that’s in 30 minutes. So- Well actually, just one last- What about fulvic and kelp for foliar spray? We’ll end on that one.
Bryan: 02:26:22 Yes, fulvic for-
Leighton: 02:26:26 Yeah, fulvic is amazing. Again, it’s a very, very high dilution. I forget what Faust is. I think it’s 1%, one to 100, water. Otherwise you’re wasting it. So, yeah, it’s a great foliar. You can use a little as a drench, as well. It’s not going to hurt. It’s going to help strengthen the biology in your soil system, as well. And yeah, kelp just sparingly.
AJ: 02:26:52 Yep. Yup, definitely. I like fulvic in any-
Leighton: 02:26:54 AJ, or what have you got?
AJ: 02:26:56 Foliar and- Or, fulvic, being used in, like, pretty much any foliar that’s nutrient-based is definitely a go-to for me.
Leighton: 02:27:03 Shit, am I breaking- Can you hear me?
Peter: 02:27:04 Yes.
Bryan: 02:27:06 I think you have a lag. Yeah.
AJ: 02:27:09 Who? Me or him?
Bryan: 02:27:10 Leighton.
Leighton: 02:27:10 Yeah, I’m sitting right next to the frigging router.
Bryan: 02:27:13 Yeah.
AJ: 02:27:14 Okay.
Peter: 02:27:14 Get closer.
Leighton: 02:27:18 Can you see my dog, up on the fucking dining room table behind me?
Peter: 02:27:23 Yeah.
AJ: 02:27:23 Yeah.
Leighton: 02:27:23 You’re fucking on the dining room table! What the fuck, are you a cat now? Get the fuck off there. Po, get off the table. Sorry guys. Oh my God.
Bryan: 02:27:35 They’re asking where to buy clay?
Leighton: 02:27:39 You’d have to be…
Peter: 02:27:43 Yeah, where would you source it?
Leighton: 02:27:43 You would have to go to your potting industry, your local potting industry, and talk to them about local sources. And again, you want to look for a colored clay, not a white clay. The potters are going to use a specific blend of clays. You don’t want to use their stuff. You’re looking for a natural source. And again, something with a little bit of color to it.
AJ: 02:28:09 Yup. Before we wrap up, we made a coupon code that’s going to run until, like, tomorrow, for GrowingOrganic.com. It’ll just be “FCP 15”. You get 15% off, if anybody wants-
Leighton: 02:28:22 We wrapping up, Peter? Or do you still got more coming in?
Peter: 02:28:26 No, let let’s wrap on that. I just typed that in. So it’s GrowingOrganic.com?
AJ: 02:28:31 Yep.
Peter: 02:28:32 Okay. FTP15.
AJ: 02:28:33 And then it’s-
Peter: 02:28:37 Okay.
AJ: 02:28:38 And then, we didn’t really touch on it, but we carry a bunch of other stuff, as well, that my wife makes. We do- we’ve got this-
Leighton: 02:28:43 Nice! Well AJ, thanks for coming on brother. Love you and-
Bryan: 02:28:46 I hope they keep him. Leighton, you’re way behind, brother.
AJ: 02:28:53 Anyways, check out our whole line. We’ve got a bunch of stuff.
Leighton: 02:28:55 Yeah, I guess I’m just getting choked by the fucking internet.
Bryan: 02:29:02 Oh yeah. Please go to LearnLivingSoil.com. That’s in, like, nine days. So we appreciate it, Peter.
Peter: 02:29:11 Yeah, I’m gonna just throw that in. Okay. Alright. We got both those links, and I’m going to go grab some lunch. I’ll see some of you in 30 minutes. And, Giovanni promised that he’d pull out that same speedo from 1982. His body is not quite the same as it was then, so it’ll be a snug fit. But, alright. Well, with that, let’s call it a wrap. Gemma and Valentina are playing nicely with each other right now, so I’m very happy about that. But…
Bryan: 02:29:45 Appreciate you, AJ!
Peter: 02:29:49 Thank you AJ. That was awesome. People loved it. And your Movember beard’s coming in nicely.
AJ: 02:29:57 Yeah.
Leighton: 02:29:58 Alright. Thank you guys for everything. AJ, great to friggen catch up again. Peace out, brothers.
AJ: 02:30:03 Later guys.
Bryan: 02:30:03 Alright. ??
Peter: 02:30:08 Okay. See ya. Bye everyone. We’ll see you in 30 minutes. Gemma say bye-bye.