How To Grow The Dank

Editor's Note: This piece is written by Josh Young, founder of Earth Green, a cultivator based out of Humboldt and long-time friend of Jason Harris, founder of Jerome Baker Designs.

I love looking at my plants. There’s something about going into the greenhouse and looking at it every day, and thinking about it, and talking about it. We get really excited if a plant looks good. If a certain crop, certain greenhouse or certain garden looks really good, we'll be talking about it, giving it as much love and attention as possible.

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The way I was taught to grow is very old school. Your nutrients are in the dirt, and then the plant uptakes and digests it in a natural way. There was a time in the 1980s and 1990s where we made a transition from imported weed to what would be considered “kind” bud. Kind bud had a slow even burn and nice rich taste and all that. 

So, for me, in order to achieve that rich Sacramento that evolved into the kind bud I loved to smoke, I want the plant to do everything in a natural way and not be force-fed nutrients, which is the industry standard really: to force-feed them with liquid nutrients that have been keylated, so they would be heavy metals or hard rock sulfates. 

Instead, I use living soil that has living microbes and bacterias, earthworm castings, seaweed and various guanos. I don't use any type of liquid fertilizer, manufactured product in a bottle or anything like that. The only thing in a bottle I feed them is seaweed, and the manufacturing process with seaweed is just removing the salt from it.

A lot of times with growing, you talk about your nutrients. And for me, seaweed is the ultimate. It’s that magic to it all. What it does is it has these macro or nano-nutrients that we don’t have names for. We don’t have much knowledge of the seed. But I do know plants love seaweed. And, if you look at a lot of products on the market, that seaweed helps the plant take up whatever it is you're throwing at it. 

Tim Foster

But, a lot of times if you look at those additives used by Big Canna, it'll be like rock phosphates and urea, and all these things that you wouldn't necessarily want to be smoking. For me, it's like a no-brainer that you would want natural products that the plant could digest in a natural way. Sure, it's weird, that the plant likes really nasty stuff, and the poopier it is, the better it tastes. But, it is better. And, I just wouldn't want to be smoking heavy metals, rock phosphates or urea, which is actually a byproduct of the propane industry I believe.

Just like humans, the plant is very resilient. We can throw whatever steroids at it to make them grow faster or bigger, but I'm sure that probably isn't going to be the healthiest for the plant. But, these additives allow the industry to grow in non-living soil. And then they're fed keylated nutrients, which again, are made from heavy metals and rock phosphates. 

And so, honestly, I thought that California was supposed to have higher standards. I thought when we originally did  Prop 64, it was supposed to have extremely high standards as far as heavy metals go. And that's not what I'm seeing, though. I'm still seeing a lot of the plant being grown with these industrial methods.

That’s why craft methods are so important. 

Author: Josh Young, Earth Green

Cover photo: David Gabric