Sustainable Cannabis, Switching to Soil, and Container Growing, with Soil Guru

Posted on April 24th, 2023 to Transcripts

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Jordan River 0:00
Greetings cultivators from around the world. Jordan River here back at yah with more GrowCast, doing it for the community. Today we have the amazing Soil Guru back on the line. Soil Guru is an awesome soil mixer. He’s into sustainable and regenerative farming practices. And he’s speaking at Community Cup. That’s right Community Cup coming up on May 7th. You’ll hear more about that dropping this week. I know I’m excited to see you guys there in Oklahoma City. While Soil Guru’s episode today, it’s awesome. We talked about sustainability, we talked about switching to soil automated watering, everything is included in this episode. So before we jump into it, shout out to with their Blumat Auto Watering systems. Code GROWCAST is live only till the end of this month. So grab yourself a Blumat watering system, put your soil grow on autopilot. This is what you want folks. Code GROWCAST at You can use it now, get the kit, get the Blumat watering sensor, you’ll never go back. It’s going to hold your soil at an optimum moisture, which is going to help your microbes thrive. It’s gonna help deliver more nutrients to your plant. And more importantly, you’re gonna have to you’re gonna have so much extra time, not hand watering all the time. Just fill your reservoir, set it and forget it. It is the future of organic growing get your Blumat watering systems. 10% off only till the end of this month code GROWCAST. It’s Thank you to Michael Box, and Sustainable Village and awesome episode recently. And then of course the 10% off code live at Go grab it everybody. You’ll thank me later. Thank you to Sustainable Village. All right, let’s get into it with Soil Guru. Thank you for listening and enjoy the show.

Hello, podcast listeners you are now listening to GrowCast. I’m your host Jordan River. And I want to thank you for tuning in again today. Before we get started, as always, I urge you to share the show, tell a grower about GrowCast, turned someone onto the show, turn someone on to growing, it’s the best thing that you can do for the cannabis community. And of course see everything that we’re doing at There you can find the classes, the meetups, the seeds, the membership, all the fun stuff. It’s all up there. I appreciate you listeners tuning in. Today we’ve got an awesome episode from a return guest. It’s been a minute, but he is back we have none other than from Environmental Soil Sciences and much more. We’ve got Soil Guru back on the line. What’s up Valin? How you doing, man?

The Soil Guru 2:22
I’m good. I’m good. How are you?

Jordan River 2:24
Excellent, man. Excellent. Thank you for coming back on the show. Of course Soil Guru of Environmental Soil Sciences. You can find that website exactly what I just said .com and also one of the speakers at the upcoming Community Cup Oklahoma. Thank you for agreeing to do that, man. I’m so excited to see your presentation at the Community Cup. That’s going to be awesome.

The Soil Guru 2:45
Yeah, I can’t wait. I’ve got a lot in store for you guys.

Jordan River 2:49
Hell yeah, dude. I saw you at one of the other expos. You had the nice booth all set up with your grow tent and all your soil out there. You do it right. And before we jump into all these questions and stuff, can you tell us what you’ve been up to? And what’s been going on in the world of Soil Guru?

The Soil Guru 3:05
In the world of soil, it’s been it’s been steady, you know, I mean, you know, you have those slow seasons and your busy seasons and all that but I mean, this past year has been a hit for the industry as a whole, you know, but for the most part I’ve just been up to you know, making soil and growing cannabis. I run to cultivation facilities, catalog farms and Bud Tender farms. I’m now getting my own cultivation facility off the ground, Tropical Dry Combs Organics. [Nice.] So a lot has been going on, you know, and on top of that is I’m opening an organic vegetable farm this summer, and then raising two beautiful girls. I mean, that’s the highlight of my life, no matter what it is.

Jordan River 3:05
That’s a lot. I love it. Yeah, I love that you’re a family man. I love that you’re into the sustainability side. Now you’re working with you know your own craft facility and two others here in Oklahoma, right? These licensed cultivators doing soil organic growths, that’s really cool getting that product on the shelf.

The Soil Guru 4:06
All organic, like literally all 100% organic, all grown in my soil, like companies complete regimen actually dry nutrient and soil. But it’s super simple, man. It takes the guesswork out of it for a lot of people that didn’t give you a clean quality product for your money. You see what I’m saying? Like, obviously the market, if you know anything about the market in Oklahoma, it’s just it’s bad. You know, so you can’t afford to be, you know, cost of a pound of cannabis to beat to your costs or 800 bucks you won’t make any money. [Right.] You will have to shut down and that’s what I feel like is happening with a lot of these growers is people relied so heavily on bottled nutrients and whatever these nutrient companies told them. It was it was easy, you know, but it was easy when you can sell it at 2500 a pound.

Jordan River 4:56
Exactly. Now you have to think about costs.

The Soil Guru 4:59
You have thing, you know, you have to do a lot of things. I mean, there’s a lot of growers go in the organic route because one, it’s cleaner, obviously, the only reason, I mean the biggest and I’m probably gonna get a lot of shots for this. But the only thing that synthetic grows and in very few cases have over organic roses yield that three, three ounces, three and a half ounces per plant, versus two and a half ounces per prime, three ounces per plant that adds up, you know, so…

Jordan River 5:31
That’s an honest take, man.

The Soil Guru 5:32
Yeah, when you’re expected a 30 lb harvest and in organics you’re getting a 27 lb harvest, 25 lb harvest. Let’s put that into perspective and numbers. $1,000 a pound that’s $5,000 that you’re now out. [Right?.] But you could afford that when you’re running synthetics. Synthetics, you’ve got to buy nutrients all the time. So your cost per pound. And I don’t know what synthetic cost per pound is, I’ll be honest with you, my customers that have switched from synthetics, told me personally that I have personally single handedly saved their growth. That’s because they were going under trying to keep up with the Joneses, essentially, of buying the entire advanced nutrient lines like I’m going to name call but you know, they arrived the entire line, everything that advanced offers they had and they were running it and he was like Man, we just watched our margins get slimmer and slimmer. Like right now his cost per pound, 350 bucks a pound.

Jordan River 6:27
Wow, soil grown. So this is a subject that I want to focus in on, it’s a good start to this episode. And I do want to get more into, you know, sustainability and microbiology and everything. But I want to start here from this point, which I’ve seen a lot of growers consider which is switching from a bottled nutrient line to a soil grow. And first of all, I like that you have an honest take. You’re Not You don’t seem like you know what I mean for you to say okay, like there are, there are salt growers out there, they’re doing well you can get good yields. We were the same here at GrowCast, right? I want to see people growing, that’s the most important thing. But there are a lot of people who are looking to get off that bottle and get into the soil man, this is a transition that many people are interested in. So I’d like to get your take on that from the beginning. Like where do you recommend if somebody who’s good at growing cannabis, using bottled nutrients, switches to a living soil type grow? Talk to me about what container size you’d recommend, they might start out

The Soil Guru 7:22
In a living soil setting, I wouldn’t go any now again, commercial scale, I have customers that run three gallons, they do teas twice a week, there’s a lot more feeding involved in a three gallon pot. It can be done. Because people question well, if I use three gallon pots, and if I have to use a minimum of five gallons, then now that’s you know, you can fit more three gallon pots on a table, which means you can fit more plants because that’s the way people think. [Yes.] More plants, more flower, more money, all of that goes to you know you as an individual. Now where to start is buy a biker soil. You see what I’m saying like, I can sit here and give you articles upon f***ing articles, bro, like literally I can give you science scholar articles that are all related to why soil is better. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s gonna do it. You see what I’m saying? If these let’s think about food. If your food or these veggies and sprouts and stuff you buy from the store, they’re in a more than likely a mix that’s made in house. It’s just peat moss and perlite and vermiculite, right, if not, it’s going to be miracle grows got soil, which is just peat moss, like in quote unquote aged forest products, which in foxfarm, uses the same lingo that’s just saw dust that’s inoculated with a chemical that makes it poof like peat moss. Like literally, that’s, that’s what it is. And people don’t know this. You know, that’s the cheap code essentially, that people are willing to take and sacrifice quality because that, believe it or not, you leave that lettuce or whatever it is sprout in that little plug for any more than a week or two that you have to, there’s no nutrient there. So it’s gonna survive off of whatever you give it through a liquid medium being your water. So whatever calcium, magnesium, whatever macro microbes are in your water, that’s what it’s going to eat off of. And that’s how it’s going to be a point in time where that plant needs to take another step. So we’re going back to like, what’s your question size pot matters because you need to have sufficient food to feed that plant.

Right. You need enough minerals. So I think that’s a mistake that a lot of people make when they switch to soil is they go with these small pots and then they start running into problems where the plant eats nutrition, your dry back is too fast. Exactly. So you get them into a larger container?

You have to. Five gallon is standard. That’s what I recommend to commercial cultivation.

Jordan River 9:54
Minimum, is what you’re saying?

The Soil Guru 9:56
Minimum, absolutely! Like I would never go anything small enough pot ever. [Right.] I veg in smaller pots like I veg commercial scale, I veg in one gallon pots, nothing but water. Like just think of what I’m saying. And then in a commercial perspective, that alone, how much money could a commercial grower save by just vegging in one gallon of my soil. So if you do the math, there’s 20 gallons of soil in a cubic yard, just dirt and 70 bucks in a cubic yard. So you’re spending less than $2 on your medium and a gallon pot. And all you have to do is give it water and microbes, which is probably, you know, nothing.

Jordan River 10:36
It’s beautiful. I think that that’s where this like soil growing really shines too is like veg stage. They’re so healthy, and they just cruise along. And then I think once they’re big enough, like you said, once they start chewing through a bunch of calcium and sulfur and potassium and flower, that’s when you want them in like a bed or like a 25 gallon pot.

The Soil Guru 10:54
Exactly. So that’s what we do. That’s exactly what we do. So that’s actually going to piggy back to another question that you asked me. But I won’t hit on that, I’ll let when that time comes. But you know, that’s the biggest thing there is, is having that size pot that is ample enough, like think of you like you can be in a four by four room and they can fit as much food as they possibly can in that four by four room with you. But there’s going to come a point in time, where you’re not going to have any more food in that four by four area, you’ve eaten it all. The same thing happens in a pot. Plants, they search outward. So as they eat, they’re going into you know, like, I hate to put numbers on it, because there’s no science to prove it. So let’s just say within the first four weeks of flower, they eat up about another gallon and a half soil. [Sure.] And then now they have that remaining, you know two and a half to finish out ball cup. That’s why like in that five gallon pot that gives it enough food, like I have ran full cycle that my company soil was just water, side by side with lush and so on to massive companies, and almost 50% yield increase from my soil to theirs. Overall plants way happier. Like literally, it was a night and day difference. And that’s when I was like, Oh crap, I made my soil too good. You know, but that doesn’t, you know, that’s not going to change. You know, what I do my products always going to stay the same, like quality is going to remain the same. Will I be able to produce as much as Scott’s landscaping or the Monsanto group? Absolutely not. But that’s not the market that I’m trying to tap into. That’s not the market that I want to be in relationship with. You know, I want people to be able, like I tell people all the time, my Instagram is open. People come and ask me questions, and I answer every single one.

Jordan River 12:38
I love it, man. I absolutely love it. Now I will say I haven’t tried either of those soils myself that you mentioned. But I will say this, a lot of soils on the market, pre bagged, tend to be under mineralized. [Absolutely!] Plug your plants into them and they f***ing run out of sulfur. There’s not enough sulfur, there’s not enough calcium.

The Soil Guru 12:54
Absolutely! And to think of issue is the trace minerals too, they don’t have much trace minerals, they don’t have organic matter in there. The root of your trace minerals is truly based on the foundation of your soil. So you can have, you can supplement trace minerals, absolutely. But trace minerals are trace for a reason. They’re very, very old. They have been in that soil for a very long time. [Right.] Like you don’t have a trace mineral that becomes available instantly. It’s going to be water soluble. Yes. But it still has to go through a cationic exchange, it still has to go through many other processes to get to the plant. Like the plant just doesn’t go and grab, you know, in borrow. Like it doesn’t work like that. Like that’s not how the chain of like I’m that’s where I think people get mixed up is to think with a bottle nutrient and cocoa I’m feeding directly to the plant. Yes, in that setting, you absolutely are. In a soil setting, you now have basically a whole f***in universe in between the nutrient, the actual nutrient, and the actual rhizosphere or the plant root tips. {Right.] The microbes have to do their thing to it. And do this because plants and microbes communicate through sugar, the plants roots lead off of sugar, the microbes then go and eat the sugar. That’s where that nutrient exchange actually happens. And then the plant takes it up. Like that’s how it happens in nature. So that’s what we do in a living soil. You’re just trying to mimic that as best as you can.

Jordan River 14:22
That is so important for a first time soil grower to understand, exactly what you’ve said. And then there’s there’s practical applications of that right which is so let’s go and going back to what you said like, I like that you said buy a bag of soil your first time, maybe try your own mix the second or third time once you have it down, buy a reputable bag of soil, get enough to learn to fill a good container. And then when you’re talking about the biology, you’re getting that biology thriving, the number one thing I see is over or under watering, which by the way. Being in a bigger container helps that you it’ll be harder to over and underwater when you’re in a bigger container. That’s something that’s really important to get that biology you actually functioning and thriving.

The Soil Guru 15:01
Yep. So because there’s a happy medium in there. So there’s your your temperature has to be right, your moisture content has to be right. Like there’s so many things that and that’s why people have refrained away from organic for so long. It’s hard for me to sell organics, there’s so many moving parts that one has to understand. It’s easy for Scotts Miracle Grow to sell you a bag of miracle grow and then tell you you have to buy a pelletized chemical for tomatoes, a pelletized chemical for whatever.

Jordan River 15:35
Say a flat flower ornamentals are specific s**t.

The Soil Guru 15:41
Right exactly. You can’t go and make you know they don’t teach you to go and make your own lactic acid bacteria. They’re not teaching you to go dig a hole or find some old leaves and create your own IMO. [Right.] Like no, like that’s things I run on a commercial scale. Like when we had an OMA inspection, the lady was like, does your nutrients have a product label? And I’m like no ma’am. It’s Fishbone meal. I’m telling you what it is. Like literally like my no this came from our nutrient. Yeah, literally this all came from nature like I don’t have an answer for you. I don’t know how like I know how fish bone meal was made.

Jordan River 16:21
I mean fish I’m sorry, man.

The Soil Guru 16:24
Yeah, like I cannot do that. And she was just like, mind blown and I showed her some IMO two. Okay, that’s fine. She was like, Okay, well, you had to make this and I was like brown sugar. Cook the white rice and leaf mold from outside. And she looked at me like her brain exploded and I was like, goodness gracious. This is the person that’s supposed to be telling me that I’m legal.

Jordan River 16:48
Exactly. And that’s that’s the same sentiment I heard. We did a tour of floor cannabis in Las Vegas and there’s very few people doing living soil in Nevada and they’re doing living soil and they said the same thing, the inspector was furious. What is going on here with this and this is gonna violate covenants like no this is Korean Natural Farming this is whatever..

The Soil Guru 17:09
Natural thing my loot. And that’s what they don’t want you to do. You know that’s that’s society doesn’t want society wants you to be depend on society. [Right.] That’s how the system works. That’s how the world keeps going. And I’m not mad at it. I take part in society every day. You know, I buy fuel, I have a nice truck. I’ve, you know, like I take part in society. But there has to be a point of if society decides that there’s no more food in the supermarket. What am I going to do, die.

Jordan River 17:37
There’s got to be a dividing line between comfort to society, but like you’re saying producing your own food, your own medicine. That’s right, you got it.

The Soil Guru 17:47
And all it goes down. Like sustainability. I, I spoke about this on another podcast. But sustainability is not an achievable goal. It’s not a realistic goal. And that sounds weird coming from me knowing that my degrees in global environmental sustainability, but in college, they taught us that, like, you will never be 100% sustainable, there’s gonna be a point in time, you’re gonna have to rely on something that’s not renewable. What as little as you can create that situation of you having to rely on something that’s not renewable now eliminates your carbon footprint. So you know, like me, like I don’t, my waste doesn’t go, my food waste doesn’t go to the trash anymore. I now have pigs, goats and chickens. So I feed them my you know, veggie scraps if it doesn’t go to the compost pile. [Right.] Or, you know, things like that. So like my trash now, you know, I’ve seen when we were recycling, and I’m not recycling now, but I’ve seen my trash go down to once every two, I was emptying my trash once every two weeks. Because I recycled all my cardboard, all my food scraps that I was putting very little things in my trash bin. And that alone cut down my carbon footprint, because now that trash truck doesn’t have to stop to my house, they can keep going. So like things like that I think of things on a micro on a macro scale, because global environmental sustainability is my degree. So I tried to think of things as a total perspective of why and what I do and how I do and things like, you know, with my company, like I do everything as sustainable as possible. You know, because I’m giving back.

Jordan River 19:25
I think that’s on a lot of growers minds. And you said something really interesting, which is, I have said this for a while it’s absolutely true, which is you really shouldn’t pick each other apart for what we’re doing. That’s wasteful, because all of us are doing something that is wasteful in some way, just by existing and consuming. We can all pick each other apart. But what we need to do is focus on the thing that we care about the most and focus on doing better at that, not tearing down others for what they do, but necessarily know this is the one thing that I really care about, and I want to knock this out. So for instance, you said food waste, I want to start composting and then your food waste is taken care of, and then you feel better and maybe you move on to the next thing. So I totally agree with that. And like, let’s be honest, you can you can grow cannabis, highly irresponsibly, in an organic system. And you can also you can also grow cannabis pretty responsibly using salts, if you’re careful. The big problem is the runoff with the salts, that’s the thing that you don’t really encounter with the organic soil grow that you do with the bottled nutrients is that freakin runoff. Where does this runoff have to go?

The Soil Guru 20:30
No, that’s a big, that’s my biggest pet peeve. Honestly, like, and again, I’m not against hydro growers. Like there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You know, so and there’s more than 100 ways to grow cannabis. You know, so like, I am not knocking your entire deal by no means will you see me growing hydroponically? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t grow veggies hydroponically. Because it’s to me it’s a waste of such a valuable resource. And people don’t think that way. Because water is everywhere. You can go and get water like air, like I’m from the Bahamas. Like there’s some literally I’m talking neighboring communities no more than two miles away that’s getting water at a pump at a community pump. And I’m you know, a mile two miles over. The island I live on it’s only seven miles by 21. So like, you know, everyone’s my neighbor essentially.

Jordan River 21:25
Crazy. That’s very small.

The Soil Guru 21:27

And closed loop.

Literally, it’s crazy. And it’s so funny. We’re dependent bird night, we import 96% of our food. And we have sunshine every day of the year. Our coldest temperature might be a 65.

Jordan River 21:41
Oh my god, first of all, that sounds amazing.

The Soil Guru 21:43
You understand what I’m saying it, like you can grow anything year round.

Jordan River 21:47
Oh my God, that sounds amazing. But you have to find a way to be resourceful on an island like that. [Right.] And you have to be sustainable to some degree because you can’t just you know, throw something off the highway and never see it again. You’re on the island.

The Soil Guru 22:00
Exactly. You’re literally and everybody knows everybody. So that’s you know another thing.

Jordan River 22:07
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Can we talk about, I don’t know if we want to just focus on inputs, maybe inputs and practices, but things that you believe are not so sustainable and then things that you really stand behind and are really good inputs and practices that we can use in natural farming because you know I hear things change a lot. I hear oh, this is good, oh no, it’s not this is sustainable. I just like to hear what your thoughts are on the most and least sustainable.

The Soil Guru 23:55
Look around you first see what nutrient you can produce from your surroundings because there’s, there’s situations where people live in the city and they’re growing in a tent, but they really want to try living soil and be a zero you know, as neutral carbon neutral as possible when it comes to like nutrient supply or whatever you want to call it. More be just being more sustainable. They can’t go outside like I couldn’t go out and make some IMO tomorrow. Because I’ve got 15 acres, I’ve got you know nome trees, lake, you know, like a little pond that used to be a pond. So like I’ve got quite a bit of places that I can pick my own IMO from. You know, so that now gives me my microbial support that you need in a living soil set in which if you weren’t in my position, you would have to buy that from a store. [Right.] You know, and there’s great companies out there that have you know, microbial supplements you got in Mammoth pee, you got a virus have their own. There’s so many different microbial companies, the one that I love, my favorite is Wind River Microbes. They’re actually an Oklahoma based company, the owner of the company is an old rancher. But basically she is research microbes for so long, and now they have gotten a consortium of microbes in there are microbial supplement that can actually horizontal gene transfer.

Jordan River 25:15
So does that mean sharing these genes with the same generation essentially?

The Soil Guru 25:19
Right. So like, let’s just say, there needs to be a higher uptake of phosphorus. And there’s certain microbes that make certain nutrients available, and they do a certain job. So like, if we need more of x, they can horizontal treat gene transfer and supplement x.

Jordan River 25:36
Now everybody knows we need more now.

The Soil Guru 25:39
Right. So like, they pro microbes are so crazy how they communicate. It’s like, it’s oh my goodness, like, just take it humans were dumb. Like, that’s it like, that’s.. Like nature is so frickin intelligent. It’s not even funny.

Jordan River 25:53
Our gut is smarter than our brain.

The Soil Guru 25:55
Literally, like, you know, like, so like that. And that’s my favorite microbial company.

Jordan River 26:00
That’s cool. I’d love to talk to them.

The Soil Guru 26:02
Yeah, Wind River Microbes. Great, great company. And it’s actually not even used in the cannabis industry a lot. It’s used more in like livestock and like birds. And so like there’s turkeys. Turkeys have a, they did research on it, with this massive turkey farm that has, so they have a product called pH balance or two I think it’s called BalanceR2, I think is what it’s called. But it’s basically like a gut microbe essentially for animals. So like I give it to all, I put my chickens water, my goats water, my pigs water. Like I had a chicken a chick that was fricking had pasty butt and it was literally just constipated. I gave it the microbes at that afternoon, like three o’clock. She couldn’t even walk she was like, cripled essentially, because she was constipated. It was a chick I gave her put them at water microbes in their water. Literally three hours later, at six o’clock when I went to go put them to bed. Like put them all inside to put them away. She was running around with everyone else no more pasty butt, Within three hours of just correcting her gut with the right microbes, it allowed her to pass properly. And then now she was able to function again.

Jordan River 27:12
There was like a previous guest we had on there was talking about drinking the BAM, the beneficial anaerobic microbes that he always uses. He says I drink it every single day.

The Soil Guru 27:20
Listen, if I can’t, if I can’t drink it myself, or if I can’t consume it, why would I give it to my plants?

Jordan River 27:28
Man, it isn’t. It is an interesting theory. Now I want to point something out specific though. You mix bottled nutrients with IMO, I think that’s really cool. Because usually people fall into one of two camps, right? Like, oh, I only make my own stuff. But you’re saying like, no, add microbes, add microbes that you can get, right? Like the ones that are around anything?

The Soil Guru 27:51
I mean, they see now the thing is, you’ve got to realize that that’s something that’s not going to be taught by the big guys. Because they want you to buy a product.

Jordan River 28:02
On either side. And the guys are gonna say no bottles. Exactly. And the bottle guys are gonna say,

The Soil Guru 28:09
And I don’t stand there. I literally do not. I go into grows all the time. I’m working on a grow right now because I do irrigation and automation on the side. And I’m working at this for probably 3000 plant grow, massive room. And they run salts and I get told him about my soil. And they’re like, we’ll try it someday, I guess. But you don’t like I’m putting in their irrigation system. Like I don’t, like I don’t see a problem. [Right.] You know, we’re all human beings. We’re all growing cannabis at the end of the day.

Jordan River 28:42
We’re all run by microbes at the end of the day. It’s all the same microbes.

The Soil Guru 28:47
Exactly, you know, so like use those you can use them in any setting like fish shit markets that hydro growers can use their product as well, yes, you can. The issue with that is you have to continually use them because you know, you’re not going to have biodiversity saturation, you’re not going to have population saturation, or any of that because in most of these synthetic systems, an enzyme is usually a part of their program. And an enzyme literally just cleans everything out. It’s like a big bulldozer. Right? Right. It comes through and eats away all the salt buildup and anything that’s in the medium and literally flushes it all the way out and then you go ahead, usually that’s right before you feed, or you have a heavy feed because they want to make sure that you flush out all that whatever’s in the medium. So that these salts that you’re now putting in there, they now have to use cationic stage to be able to bind to the roots of the plant, to be able to transmit this nutrient. All of that plays a role in people’s marketing’s but yes, you can absolutely 100% use microbes of any sort. You know, they don’t have to be no indigenous micro organisms to your where you live. You know, like I said there’s store bought options that you have that. And I can almost guarantee you and obviously I’m not going to say guaranteed because I don’t have the research to prove it. Because there’s no cannabis research to prove it. You know, in other settings, it’s been proven like tomatoes have more yield, you know, they taste better, all of that because of using microbes.

Jordan River 30:18
And I’ve just seen it time and time again. And it’s, we’re really on the same page because it is when you introduce microbes, I can’t tell you how many of these hydro guys have seen the introduced one product with bacteria in it. And they say I’m never going back. It’s like, I think it’s really cool. It’s super, super cool.

The Soil Guru 30:34
They are starting to understand more, that’s all it is. Mark my word, there’s going to be a lot of people switching to raise beds and living soil. It almost doesn’t make sense to not do it.

Jordan River 30:49
So let’s go back there. You’re saying I love this idea of look of what we look at what’s around you get what’s close to you. That’s that’s always a good idea. You also talked about like urban environments versus non urban environments. I know a lot of people, for instance, will go to their coffee shop and ask for coffee grounds. Now let me ask you this, when you’re getting inputs like that, are you worried about, how do you balance grabbing something from your local environment, but also possibly having some source of contamination like coffee grounds, for instance, are very pesticide it? I’ve heard people say put them through a compost first, but you tell me how do you balance that?

The Soil Guru 31:24
So that’s a good way of cleaning it. But when you compost it, what happens the microbes access and and break it down. That’s how that like cleansing essentially happens. So microbes are honestly the answer to a lot of questions because they keep pH balance. They keep so many things in the soil in check that it’s not even funny. Like they’re literally your workhorses. You know, why is earthworm castings so, so, so good of an input, because there’s microbes and their microbiome in their gut that now is in this feces when they secrete it or excrete it. That’s what we’re getting. A big, a little bundle of microbes is what earthworm castings essentially is an organic matter. Their poop. So that when you do put that in an organic setting topdressing it on a pot. Like I’ve literally seen customers so I had a buddy of mine that grow in my soil since I ever, since my company came around, three years only three years ago. And he’s been religiously growing in my soil, he’s runs worry be gone, which is like they’ve got a pretty big farm, but they’re on salts. And he’s been preaching his you know, his boss, basically a frickin devil or angel on his shoulder. But trying to tell him like, hey, like you got to try this living sort of stuff out. Try this, try this one time, they were running for like two gallon plastic bags with like, all hydro. So he took some soil and taught dress to plants, and didn’t press anything else. And if you saw the difference, the plant just by topdressing two inches on the top of that cocoa and allowing the microbes to get in there because he didn’t use the enzyme on that particular those two plants just to see the difference. Because I told him like the enzyme is gonna clean everything out, like you’re wasting your time putting my soil on there, you’re wasting oranges, a good soil. And he was like, well, I’m not going to do it on these ones. I’m like, alright, well just don’t get fired. You know, like, do it at your own risk. But yeah, so like microbes manufactured here. They’re so important..

Jordan River 33:38
Oh, worm castings too, like hearing those microbes, or is that is that your top like, that’s okay, so back to the coffee thing. Again, that’s a great way to feed coffee grounds to your worms and then have them vermicompost it. And then bam, there you have the nutrition and like, I think that worms and worm bins might be one of the best things to recommend to people.

The Soil Guru 33:58
And they are easy, they’re easy to have, like you can have one and you can build one of the little two by two area, you know. You can put that if you even if you live in an apartment city on it or city apartment, then you can put that on your balcony.

Jordan River 34:13
The wellness key here, right. Absolutely.

The Soil Guru 34:15
You see what I’m okay. And they will reduce your carbon footprint because now you can put your food waste in there. You know, like there’s just so much to say to pick one favorite, I guess you can say. That’s why I usually always just go back to microbes, you know, like that’s my soil would be nothing without my microbes.

Jordan River 34:35
How do we maximize that? You know, if we have the good nutrition in our soil, how do we how do we maximize our biological activity?

The Soil Guru 34:44
So obviously moisture is going to be your biggest thing you know, you’ve got to know the saturation no matter your soil, you’ve got no right when the soil is going to let off water because you don’t want runoff in a living so setting. Like if you’re watering and worried about running often check in and have like a puddle of runoff in living soil, I’ll see you in second week of flower, looking for nutrients, you’re leashing it all out. You see what I’m saying, magnesium is the mg plus positive. So it’s going to automatically bind the h2o once it gets in there, and you’re just going to run it right out of the medium. So that’s the biggest thing is knowing like you, you mentioned it earlier, your watering habits, you have to be able to, you want to water with living soil, the living soil is knowing your soil saturation limit. You can do this at home, I mean, it just take a one gallon of soil. And then you just measure, okay, I put, let’s just go by ounces, you know, I put it in an ounce of water, keep adding keep adding, keep adding, when that pot then starts to drip or cup or whatever it is, then you know that that soil is at its saturation limit, it cannot hold any more water. [Oh, I like that.] You take that volume of water. And then now you know, your saturation limit of your soil. Same thing with cocoa like, that’s why you water. If you’re running whatever, however many mils of cocoa, you know how many mils of water that you need to be feeding. That’s how these dosing systems work. It’s not rocket science, how those neutrons and all these dosing systems work.

Jordan River 36:25
I had never heard of that from volume, though. That’s a good idea. Because I’d heard like, Okay, you want to achieve field saturation. So like, pick up your soil and squeeze it and it should feel like a like a freshly wrung out sponge, right. And that’s all well and good. But you’re saying that’s a good, [Yhat’s a good rule of thumb as well.] I like what you said though, because you go by volume, which is like you add enough ounces to where okay, that’s how much this pot needs essentially.

The Soil Guru 36:49
Right like me, for example, like we have shoots I haven’t seen, let me tell you how little runoff we have on a commercial level, my runoff is it goes into a five gallon bucket, and I’ve emptied that bucket. Why.

Jordan River 37:02
So you just use you achieve the tiniest bit, you want to fully saturate the soil, but you just you don’t want right, you don’t want a puddle.

The Soil Guru 37:09
You want it to be right there, you want to be able to like get a fabric pot, you want to be able to pat the bottom of the pot and get water out of it. [Oh, that’s great.] That’s a good way to.. In a plastic setting that’s tough because you know, water will move equal and all of that. So that’s, you know, like in a plastic setting, you just got to look at the bottom of the pot and hope you can see right when it comes off the bottom of the soil. But like me on a commercial scale, like we run, I run 1000 milliliters per five gallon pot. That’s roughly within the range of five to 8% of the soils volume in water. And I know that because I made the soil so I know what my soil can hold. Now other soils in the market I have no idea. I’ve never tried growing in them, to know the, you know, practices I guess you know, fine tuning but that’s for consumers to find out. If you want to grow right ahead, I’ll help you find it. I help anybody. If you got questions about growing in another medium, I don’t care. You know, like I may not know the answer, but my science brain will allow me to probe and ask questions to point us in the direction of where we need to be. Because that’s all growing is, is knowing how to monopolizing your plant growth something or it’s gonna throw a deficiency got. You know that before the deficiency comes. If your deficiency you’re late.

Jordan River 38:29
Yeah, exactly. That is so true.

The Soil Guru 38:31
You’re slapping a bandaid on and now you’re what’s the Flexi linen. You know he’s lack on the water tank.

Jordan River 38:37
You’re flexi on sealing boat.

The Soil Guru 38:39
Yeah, that’s what you’re doing at that point because the plants already hungry.

Jordan River 38:43
New flexi on tape. I got a question for you. I know you’ve done consultations and you’re talking about you know, helping growers and kind of probing and seeing what’s wrong. What is the number one mistake you see in living soil grows? What’s some of the common issue?

The Soil Guru 38:59
Over watering. That’s the biggest, that’s the biggest criminal right there. over watering and sometimes under watering, but most times it’s over watering. And it’s them just trying to figure it out. You know, like your environment. I can tell you I run 1000 I told you exactly what my SOP is 1000 milliliters of solution, whether it be water and microbes, or just water because we do water only one day, we do water and microbes in another day. And then the third feeding in the week is a tea. So you know like I do 1000 milliliters of each, 3000 milliliters in a week. If you want to really get down to nitty gritty numbers, you do the math, 3000 times 100 plans three what 3 million milliliters convert that to gallons I’ll tell you how much water you need to run an entire run.

Jordan River 39:46
No, that’s funny, dude. That’s cool. You just, you got your stuff dialed in. Like you had a dialed in.

The Soil Guru 39:51
You have to, that’s all it is. If it’s running numbers, that’s all it is. If if you can run numbers and figure things out, like even as simple as you running your project So it comes back to numbers. And that’s it. You’ve got to know your numbers and any successful businessman, I’ll tell you that. You got to know your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers, you got to have somebody that knows their numbers,

Jordan River 40:15
Especially when you go to see airwalk. That’s exactly right. The hobby home growers have a different level of irresponsibility, I guess is the word. You know what I mean? Whereas when you’ve got to.. [You could get away with a lot more.] Yeah, why not. But when you got to scale this thing up, and you actually got to grow plants and get yourself a license, it really matters, it starts to matter.

The Soil Guru 40:34
That’s true, because they can’t sustain they can’t keep up with the Joneses. They can’t keep buying liquid nutrients deep that. Nobody can, unless you are you got some real good backing or some real good money, or you made good in the beginning, when talons were 3000 bucks. Like I used to sell pallets for 2800 bucks now, right I used to sell for my I had a really good friend a lot older commercial growth. So I sold for a bit and like a man I was getting 2800 all the prices are not without a question. I mean, without a question.

Jordan River 41:12
When it fell under too. I was like how is this feasible and you again, you take a look at other and that’s kind of where I want to go actually, you take a look at other industries to take a look outside of the cannabis sphere. And you’re like, how did these people get by? How did these coffee farmers survive? It’s f***ing mind blowing crazy. They’re not, a lot of that’s true. And the other thing is, the supply chain is fragile, as you know, is tinsel.

The Soil Guru 41:38
Farmers do not get paid with their work. [Exactly.] Same thing with nurses. Anyone that’s essential, you know, get the politicians get paid. They’re not essential.

Jordan River 41:48
Yeah, all the farmers, [we give them power, we give them a job] all the people who feed us need to be subsidized because they’re paid so little.

The Soil Guru 41:55
Has to they’re paid so badly. And it’s sad. You know, like I was talking like, I promise you, I’ve spoken to farmers, I had this meeting with a group of farmers and livestock people with the same micro company. And they were just talking about, like, you know, applying ammonium and nitrates and this, that and the next and I’m like, so you’re telling me you spend all that money per acre to just to fertilize do that every single year and you’re dependent on that? And you’re okay with that. And I was like, do you know what like, like, they know what ammonium nitrate is. But like, do you know? Like, you can’t go outside and pick up ammonium nitrate? [Right. It’s not natural.] I mean, they’re, you know, they’re flying it 50 100 acres. So just imagine the state of that soil is ruined. It’s frickin inert.

Jordan River 42:47
Yeah, that’s nuts, man. It’s absolutely nuts. Have you seen some solutions? Inside or outside the cannabis industry? When it comes to sustainability? Something that’s made you go wow, that’s a creative solution to sustainability.

The Soil Guru 43:01
That leads to one of the questions you asked me. Biodiesel. I did not know some of the things I know about biodiesel now. Like it’s crazy, like literally we’re, I’m doing the foundation work now to produce biodiesel from cannabis waste. [Oh wow.] Cannabis and hemp. It doesn’t have to be..

Jordan River 43:23
Stalks and leaves and any roots..

The Soil Guru 43:27
Any biomass. And it’s man, this machine is absurd.

Jordan River 43:32
And you’re going to I’m going to run my car on what you give me back.

The Soil Guru 43:34
Yes. So you can get diesel this diesel so like me, it’ll be beautiful for me. So I’ll never have to go to a gas station again. My truck is a diesel. So I’ll be fuel free. Literally I’ll be producing.

Jordan River 43:49
That’s wild. So so a biodiesel made…

The Soil Guru 43:52
Can use that. Yeah. Or livestock waste. They can use livestock waste to produce biodiesel as well. That is crazy. It’s absolutely yeah, it’s trust me bro. The technology that’s out there with sustainability sustaining. The cannabis industry is so behind that it’s not even funny. People look in the cannabis industry and think of things that are so high tech that that’s how people have to think about these things. And when you put it into the grand scheme of things, agriculture has been used in a troll master just have the name troll master. You think drain hole houses were just invented because it was hot in there and they rolled the size of, like no, like greenhouses bro in Europe, there’s greenhouses that f***in even some here in America that have louvers and evaporative cooling and so much other s**t that we don’t utilize in the cannabis space. That’s absurd as to why we don’t.

Jordan River 43:52
I think it’s just because we didn’t even call it fast. Everybody’s just trying to make a buck now because because you like you said you know price just going down and things like..

The Soil Guru 45:02
It’s volatile.

Jordan River 45:03
Yeah, you just kind of run it. You don’t know that you’re overpaying cannabis.

The Soil Guru 45:06
I think I’m fair the cannabis industry to Bitcoin and crypto. It’s so volatile like it’s not even funny.

Jordan River 45:14
A wild west, a lot of same regulation problems, banking.

The Soil Guru 45:19
You’re not only against competitors, you’re against, you know, the higher ups trying to f***ing chop your head. Right, you’re against regulation, like get to time go in a little bro, my little girl here my personal cultivation facility is like I told you before, it’s a 12 by 24 shed that I completely built out like I’m talking four inch, thick insulation, nice walls, everything. I built it out as best as I possibly can. But like there’s things that they’re making me do like an occupancy certificate, like nobody’s going to be occupying this building plants. I have, I can’t even get my OBS certificate without an occupancy certificate. It’s absurd, which basically just says how many people can be in this building? You see them all the time.

Jordan River 46:05
Oh, my God, people count. Now listen, I’ve heard of plant count. But this is this is a you know, they’re double regulating you.

The Soil Guru 46:11
Yeah, but it’s it’s crazy, man. It’s like I can literally just I can go on and on. But all of that goes back to sustainability, you know, like, for, and I’m not mad at them for putting regulation in place like it has to happen. Absolutely, I agree with regulation. But it’s the way that you do these things. You see what I’m saying? Like my growing up on the island, one of the most famous things there’s, there’s a time and a place and there’s a way to do everything. [Right.] There always is going to be a time and a place and a way to do something. A lot of this regulation that they’re trying to push if they had just done it the right way, and speaking for Oklahoma, I know you have listeners everywhere, but like, the way you impose regulations and rules, like you didn’t hate that your bedtime was 11 o’clock. You just didn’t want to go to bed. [Right.] But that was a regulation that was in place by your parents, whether you liked it or not. You didn’t get to vote on it. If you’re gonna live under their roof, you’re gonna follow the rules, right or wrong. [Right.] So and it’s the same thing.

Jordan River 47:14
They’re trying to revoke these rights now and dial it back. And that’s what I worry about. And it’s slanted..

The Soil Guru 47:20
Gods were my crying.

Jordan River 47:22
You’re trying to plug into bed at 7:30pm F**k this. Yeah. What are you doing today?

The Soil Guru 47:29
Yeah, like, you’re not going to bed. Like, it’s crazy, man. It’s crazy. And, and again, you have to pay to play no matter what industry you’re in. Whether you’re milking cows or selling weed, like there’s gotta be right, believe it or not tricking people that milk cows and dairy farmers are no way heavier regulation than we are in growing. Like growing cannabis, bro, we’ve got the dream. Like literally we we live such a lush life in the cannabis space. And I know this because I know the perspective of other industries. [Exactly.] Like we I had research and market analysis. Yeah, I had a market analysis in college, on a massive company. And like, you’d be amazed you would think that this company was doing great. But if you look at their market analysis, they weren’t doing so great. They were spending a lot of money. [Right] Because that was a part of my degree. I had to figure out what are ways that this company can save money.

Jordan River 48:29
Listen, man, this has been an awesome exploration. Do you have any final words here before we wrap up the show and hear about where people can find you and all that, but any parting words from Soil Guru? I mean, this episode flew right. We’re gonna have to have you back for sure.

The Soil Guru 48:41
Just my core value that I live by, just tried to try to leave the earth better than you met it. And everything you do, like literally in anything you do, I mean, whether it’s you recycling, deciding tomorrow to go and recycle a plastic bottle versus storing it in the trash. You just left the earth better than you met it. Where if you did nothing else with your life and you died tomorrow, you putting that plastic bottle in the recycle bin versus the trash bin made a difference. So just try to leave the earth better than you met it. That’s literally a core value that I live by.

Jordan River 49:18
Oh, it’s beautiful, man. That’s some philosophical f***ing gold right there. I absolutely love it. This was a dope episode. We’ll we’d love to have you back again. Community Cup Oklahoma, I’m so excited to see you there May 7. Thank you for being part of the stacked card, man. That is so cool. Why don’t you give out your Instagram and your website so I make sure you get right.

The Soil Guru 49:40
My Instagram is thesoilguru_, you got to put the underscore or else it wouldn’t come up. And then my soil company’s name is environmentalss and then you’ll see it. I mean, there’s only one, one page of that. But yeah, you can find that’s my social media handles, you can contact me there directly. My company’s website is up on our Instagram page, you can tap the link, look at our products, product labels, anything I mean, if you’ve got questions, just reach out and it doesn’t have to be about growing in a living soil medium. It doesn’t have to be growing cannabis. You might be growing your own veggies and you need some help, like just give me a shout.

Jordan River 50:30
Hell yes, we appreciate you Valin as always, man. Go and give Valin a follow. And we will see you next time everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in. This has been an awesome episode, you know there’s more coming your way. But that’s all for now. This is Soil Guru and Jordan River signing off saying be safe out there everybody and grow smarter.

Alright, everyone, that is our show. Thank you so much for tuning in. And thank you to Soil Guru. Before we wrap it up, of course I want to tell you about Community Cup coming up may 7th. That’s right. We have a stacked lineup of speakers. OK Calyx is going to be there, Brandon Rust is going to be there, Touched by Cannabis, Soil gGuru, Oklahoma Fungi, Pharmer John is going to be speaking, Kyle from the FOOP. I’m going to be there. This is a stacked day of education. You can attend for 25 bucks and get the whole day and enjoy the awesome party that is Community Cup. Free seeds, free veggie seeds, it’s going to be amazing. Plus, if you have a medical card, go ahead and get your Oklahoma medical card or apply for a temp one and come on down. You can be a judge in the cup $99 gets you a 28 gram flight. That’s right 28 grams for 99 bucks and you tell us who your favorite is. Or just come down and enjoy the home grower showcase. It’s free to enter if you have a medical card and you can put your home grown flower out on display and the speakers will come around, choose their favorites and award you prizes. It’s a day of education. It’s a cultivators cup and it’s a home growers showcase. Come on down Sunday May 7th, 11 to 4pm at the Oklahoma City Public Farmers Market. I hope to see you there, grab your tickets ahead of time, grab your judges passes or just get a general admission ticket at I cannot wait to see you all there. Thank you so much everybody stay tuned we got some bangers lined up for you. I know you’re gonna love the episodes that we have in the can so you stay tuned and we will continue to bring you this awesome GrowCast content. Thanks everybody. Talk to you next time. Bye bye.

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