HUMBOLDT GROWER

– the gold standard

Don’t bother with AUMA — June 19, 2016

Don’t bother with AUMA

AUMA is a poorly written initiative. MRRSA, at least, went through the legislature. Neither of these attempts at legalization have negated Federal law. That is about to change.

The DEA is re-scheduling cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 on August 1, 2016. This essentially means that cannabis will be legal with a prescription across the country; this is called federal preemption, which means federal law overrides state law. It also means that the status quo of medical cannabis in California will remain the same. You need a doctor to ensure that you need this medicine. And, it implies that cannabis use, even if recreational, will require a doctor’s prescription – kinda makes AUMA pointless, especially when you consider that MMRSA actually covers our bases already.

This is even a more definitive assurance that cannabis will no longer be prosecuted as a crime in California than the October, 2015 California Federal District Court ruling that banned the DEA from going after cannabis businesses who follow the law. Cannabis legalization is firmly walking into the main stream.

Next stop – drop AUMA and amend MMRSA for recreational use through our legislature.

Write your representative and tell them so.

June 2016 Larry OG sea of green… — June 11, 2016
Humboldt Spring… — June 7, 2016
We won it, now own it! — May 18, 2016

We won it, now own it!

The MMRSA laws have ushered in a new era. The feds have pulled out of California and dropped their cases against compliant California entities, funds have been pulled for recreational enforcement, and eradication funds have been moved over to the environmental compliance agencies. The State has produced a very forward thinking environmental agriculture law.  The State is backing the Humboldt brand – we will have a gold label through the track and trace system to protect the validity of the Humboldt product.  At this point, all we need to do is get along with each other and start building a functional cannabis industry within our communities.  

Now more than ever we need everyone to work together. We are still “small’ farmers when considered individually.  We are known for unyielding individualism in  protest of the “evil empire”, however, in this story, WE are the empire…….for the first time ever not so evil. Our community is composed entirely of lower and middle class families and is estimated to be producing 70% of the country’s cannabis! These days entities of this size are almost always controlled by the upper class.

In the years to come, cannabis will continue to change the world. We are all scared of Monsanto or the Bulgarians taking over.  We should be!  but today, considered as a unified entity, we are the ones everyone is scared of.  If AUMA passes, five years from now Monsanto and the Bulgarians will pull permits for 1000 acre farms and there won’t be a Humboldt County any more unless we stand together right now. The CCVH was disbanded because we could not bring each other closer to the decision making process.  We are known in our communities for sometimes over thinking things and then bickering while nothing gets done.

We are all being portrayed as lawless rogue anti-environmentalists by AUMA, the Regional Water Board, and Fish and Wildlife…… people and media outside Humboldt County don’t differentiate between the Humboldt Heritage effort and the so-called commercial canna farms.

We are purposely being cut out of the legal industry in California for two reasons. Dispensaries see us as a threat. Monsanto sees us as a threat.  We are the only nationwide cannabis brand. We have done this without any media hype or publicity stunts….we just offer the best product. Do not doubt; these folks are scared of us and they want to bring us down. Vote NO on AUMA!

The success of an economy is measured by the health of its middle class. The elite have always eliminated the middle class to take control. The so-called commercial farms in So Hum are the middle class. If they don’t make it…we don’t make it.

Consider two potential futures: In the first one , we allow zero impact farms of any size in Humboldt County so that we can be agile enough to meet our market demands. We form an development organization to help locals purchase and manage responsibly ALL Humboldt County cannabis lands – radical idea? Perhaps. But we want to keep the truely large entities out.

Right now large entities are offering our neighbors double and triple the value of their land to allow really big business to move in. In the second potential future five years from now, these guys will be growing most of the cannabis in Humboldt County.  If you don’t like the big guys today, you are going to hate the ones coming tomorrow. You will wish you had kept the ones that grew up here!

Monsanto will be up here buying land from aging hippies who want big checks for retirement; and rather than making sure the land goes to local stewards, it will go to the big boys.  Unfortunately, on the Humboldt Heritage budget there is no money left over to buy your neighbor’s forty when he dies!

“IF YOU HAVE one OR MORE PLANTS IN THE GROUND IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY YOU ARE HELPING MAKE OUR TEAM #1. YOU HAVE A TEAM to START ROOTING FOR!

Vote NO on AUMA!

Natural Light — January 6, 2016

Natural Light

The transition away from the black market is dependent on the quality of our cannabis.  Our product must be A+ to be competitive.  It is illogical to expect indoor farming to sustain a national market……is there any other agricultural pursuit totally reliant on artificial climate conditions?

We really can grow better cannabis with natural light. There is a direct relationship between light spectrum/intensity and a plant’s growth rate and the complexity of cannabinoids and terpenes it produces. Essentially, sun bud has more personality. This association proves that the sun is capable of creating more quantity and higher quality cannabis at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact. As growers, most of us have not yet seen the full potential of this plant.  

“Terroir is the set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s epigenetic qualities, when a crop is grown in a specific habitat” (Wikipedia).   The influence of  “culture” and “place” are significant considerations. Other artisanal crops such as wine, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops and agave rate quality based on terroir.  Since artificial environments have no terroir, our indoor competitors have no incentive to subscribe to a system that will place our product significantly above theirs.  

But cannabis farmers need to take advantage of hybridized or augmented environments – sort of like the best of both worlds. Crops go to market every 3 months year round.  Climate controlled growing, drying, curing, and processing facilities will ensure a more consistent product.  And the farmer can also take advantage of what nature provides, utilizing specific strategies and techniques to manipulate climatic conditions with nature’s help. Most importantly, the quality is A+ and the environmental impact of this “closed system” is minimal.  

Some level of augmentation is appropriate, but it must be balanced with our terroir; our terroir AVA designation will keep us at the top of the food chain. In the stiff California cannabis market with over 50,000 established farms, those who seek compliance will have to do more than just fill out the paperwork.  After you are growing A+ cannabis (at any scale), you will have the competition to contend with – an elite AVA designation will help with that.

We need to position ourselves in the market by creating these American Viticultural Areas (Southern Humboldt AVA, Mateel AVA, Garberville AVA, Briceland AVA, etc.) The state has already designated Humboldt County as an AVA, however, not all areas are equal; different climate zones will produce very different products. People need to get used to the idea that cannabis land is not “flat” nor in a valley! The best olives in the world are grown on cliffs along the Amalfi Coast in italy. The best wine grapes are grown on the steepest slopes….. table grapes grow in the valley! So does rope hemp.

Terroir – “a taste of place” — November 20, 2015

Terroir – “a taste of place”

These cannabis misconceptions are destructive – “weed” grows the same everywhere; cannabis should only be grown in traditional agricultural areas; cannabis should be seriously limited in Humboldt County.
The whole world recognizes that the cannabis grown in Southern Humboldt is of the highest quality. Climate and cannabis are intertwined.  Look at the IDEAL climatic conditions for cannabis. It grows best between 60-90 degrees and 40-60% humidity.  Below 60 degrees, cannabis does not grow and is susceptible to lethal diseases. Above 90 degrees, trichomes die and again cannabis is susceptible to lethal diseases.  Below 40% humidity is too dry, and cannabis does not develop resin.  Over 60% humidity is too wet and the plants mold.
Now let us superimpose those conditions on a climate zone map of California. You will see that Southern Humboldt is a unique convergence of humidity and temperature that exists nowhere else. Humboldt County is classified as “Humid”.  We have the largest annual rainfall of any county in California. With proper management, we should be the only county in the state without  a “water problem”.
“Mazari” is a genetic line traditionally cultivated in Humboldt County.  It was imported from Mazar-i-Sharif Afghanistan, which is at 1,100 ft above sea level.  Most of our “Cannabis land” is between 500-1500 ft. elevation. The geography of this region is also unique, in that these low hills allow “coastal influence” to penetrate deeper into the continent than it does elsewhere, raising the interior humidity. Comparing  annual rainfall, humidity, and temperature shows that Southern Humboldt is a better growing climate for cannabis than Mazari Sharif!.  Southern Humboldt is also a more temperate climate than all of its California competitors.
Regions below 500 feet either fall into the coastal zone 15(too humid), are interior zone 14 valleys(too hot), or a riparian zone blue line watershed(environmental hazard). Regions above 1500 ft are alpine and have extreme climates. Indicas (like Mazari) do well at high elevations with extreme climates. Sativas or Hybrids (like OG or Sour) do well at low elevations with temperate climates. This means all of our agricultural valleys in California are too hot to farm grade A cannabis.  Our mountains are too extreme and cold to farm grade A cannabis.  The low lying coastal hills of Southern Humboldt California are the prefered environment for cannabis.
How has the agricultural world addressed locating specific crops like grapes or olives?  Through terroir – AVA (American Viticulture Areas) Appellations are created to protect the integrity of such unique regions as Champagne france.  This means the elevation, longitude, latitude, distance from the ocean and topography suggest what genetics you should be cultivating on your farm. There are a variety of microclimates within Southern Humboldt itself.
What this all means is that while we are all considering “how much cannabis should be grown in Humboldt County”, we should recognize two things; first, Southern Humboldt County is BY FAR  the most ideal climate for farming cannabis in the United States; second, most of the viable land is already under cultivation. There is very little “open space” for expansion.  State and County officials hold that the current average crop canopy is 2300 sq. ft. or 1/16th acre (usually on a 40 acre parcel).  That is incredibly low density for agriculture.
Let us stop worrying about how big our canopy is and start worrying about getting our appellations! We must secure our market share for future generations.

Water Savings… — May 21, 2015

Water Savings…

oak&clouds

Everyone is talking about how to save water this summer.  Here are some helpful tips from Humboldt Growers Collective on how you can save water while doubling your yield, dramatically improving quality, and cutting your time and labor in half.

Have you ever thought about how proportion effects your plants?  The way a plant allocates its energy is directly related to its proportions.  As plants become taller than they are wide, they become less efficient.  This is true at every phase of the growing cycle.  Taller clones or seed starts have fewer branches and become woody, yellow, and diseased.  Taller growing plants convert a larger ratio of biomass to vegetation rather than flowers.  Taller budding plants produce flowers similar to hemp rather than the AAA product we all want.  In every phase, plants that are taller than they are wide proportionately consume more water creating an inferior final product.

When you are choosing what kind of plant to grow, if you are located below 1500 ft elevation, choose clones; because they will do well in that climate zone and will use considerably less water than seed starts over their total term per pound produced.  If you are located above 1500 ft elevation, you will have to grow seed starts.  In that event, tie them down, trellis them, or weave them.  Make sure that the profile of the plant stays wider than it is tall and you will see a marked decrease in water consumption, food consumption, and labor while seeing a marked increase in production and quality.

In any climate zone, “tie-downs” or “woven” or “trellised” plants will make your life much better.  If you can grow in a greenhouse rather than outdoor, you can “light deprive” your plants.  This will allow you to cut your growing season in half.  Gallons to pounds, you will exceed your neighbors growing outdoor by at least two times while bringing your harvest to the table for sale months ahead of them.  You can tell your neighbors,”I’m not consuming any water while the aquifer is low!”. You can also avoid pests and disease of all shapes and sizes.  These problems won’t have as much time to develop.

By leafing your plants when they reach maximum size and then continuing to do so every 2 weeks afterwards, you can remove much of the unnecessary biomass you are supporting and focus all of your resources on viable product.  The ratio of biomass removed correlates directly to the amount of resources saved!  This also puts you in a position where at crops end you have already cleaned it.  The need for costly “processing”  lessens.

These solutions cost nothing, save you money in the long run and put a ton of money in your pocket when you need it!

If you want to go beyond “passive” strategies this season and have at least $6000.00 to work with, drill a well (vertical or horizontal), dig a pond, or install a rain catching tank.  Stop diverting surface water!  You can avoid persecution by the authorities and tell your neighbors.”I’m zero impact!”

ENVIRONMENT VS ECONOMY — May 9, 2015

ENVIRONMENT VS ECONOMY

People have been growing in Humboldt County now for three generations and a lot has changed in that time.
The original back to the landers came in the 70’s and 80’s. They escaped from the city and moved to the hills to raise their children in peace and quiet.  Today they are over 50 to 60 years of age, living on a 40 acre parcel that was likely sold to them by Bob Mckee for under $50,000 and has been paid for and developed for decades.  They can be characterized by their willingness to follow local 215 laws and their organic low environmental impact lifestyle.  They formed our core community.  That community has been persecuted under cannabis prohibition laws for many years. Over time that made for an introverted social structure, which did not lend itself to planning for the future.  We have been fortunate in our community initiatives (KMUD, Mateel, the new Theater, the Community Park, the Town Square) but very little in the way of economic infrastructure has been put in place for Southern Humboldt’s future generations.  The south county’s cities remain as yet unincorporated.
Generation X either left the then small farming community to look for work in an urban area or stayed to homestead and grow pot like their parents.  Those who followed in their parents footsteps hoped to purchase property and settle down. They encountered a very different situation than their parents had years before. Property became incredibly inflated due to the influx of growers.  People who were willing to sell their properties after a lifetime of “cash living” were looking for a large check as a down payment and were unwilling to owner finance.  This put property in Humboldt out of reach for many of the Gen X locals.  To purchase property in Humboldt county,you must either grow in “excess” or be wealthy and from out of the area.  In this way much of the land was not conveyed to Gen. X locals.  Instead communities were overrun by growers big enough to afford it or  our “newcomers”.
In fact, if the land developer Bob Mckee had not made it his life’s work to put young locals on Humboldt properties, today less than 10% of Southern Humboldt’s land would have been passed on to the rightful stewards.  Thanks to Bob So. Hum. residents have a future.

FoggyMountain-web

The Generation X crew that stayed behind and made it onto a piece of property are now for the most part the heart and soul of south county.  They can be characterized as innovative, independent, and sustainable. They are responsible stewards of the land.  They are leading the way in new techniques and technology.  They are the world’s best cannabis farmers.  They are in the prime of their lives.  They have bonded together, shared information and standardized growing methods, genetics and marketing.  Today they are singlehandedly responsible for Humboldt County’s position in the world market.
Third generation cannabis farmers in Humboldt county are generally not yet landowners. They are looking for opportunities on farms large enough to sustain a team of employees.  This generally means they are working on a maybe not so sustainable farm just to make ends meet.  They are disconnected from the lessons learned about the environment by the back to the land generation. Their chances of owning land are almost non-existent. They have neither been taught about the past or provided a future.
These three generations have very different perspectives and very different needs.  By understanding what drives each of them we may be able to forge a future that includes all of us.
The elders are retiring.  They may not have put a lot of energy into planning for the future before, but now they want to pass something meaningful on to the younger generations and at the same time insure their lands will be preserved for posterity. They are scared that commercial growing is going to destroy their way of life.  Have they asked themselves if their way of life IS economically sustainable?  Without larger growers maintaining brand consistency, would the “small grower” on his “small farm” stand a chance in the national market?
The two younger generations are looking for the American dream.  They want the freedom to make as much money as they can.  They are not set on destroying the environment.  They are attempting to establish themselves and deal with difficult economic conditions. They certainly don’t want anyone defining what is or is not greedy or materialistic for them.  Much less people who haven’t put themselves in their shoes! They are very concerned that they have enough water to follow their dream  If they mismanage their water supply, they know that they won’t stand a chance in the national market.
In short, the elders want environmental stability and the youngsters want economic stability.  Everyone wants their way of life to continue being viable.
These participants currently do not seem to understand each other. A line has been drawn in the sand between “small” and “large” growers.  The assumption is that ALL small growers are low impact,sustainable eco-growers while ALL“large” growers are Bulgarian, greedy, fish killing, environmental hazards.  These are both gross generalizations.
It is much more complicated than that.  Labeling people and deciding who is and isn’t greedy is unacceptable – 99% of Humboldt County growers are neither “large” nor “greedy” when compared to other agricultural ventures.  This over generalization about “the evil grower” has now escalated into a militant witch hunt.   We at Humboldt Growers don’t understand why people who have been so persecuted would then choose persecution over resolution.  The 6th draft Humboldt County Ordinance suggests more aggressive policing of Humboldt County cannabis farms.  That is not even remotely possible; and if it were, the county would gladly use all of our hard earned tax dollars policing us rather than spend it on schools and hospitals!
If people are unhappy with the results they should look at the causes before casting blame.
The United States Federal Government has proven without a doubt that policing and persecuting cannabis cultivators is a losing battle.  Confrontation will not work. Cannabis cultivators have been trained to evade and rebel. Offer them well thought out solutions that benefit them!
Looking at this dilemma globally:  Humboldt County is number one in the world for quality and consistency, but when it comes to volume we are way outclassed. Other county’s have way more arable, low elevation flat land and water.  To maintain our current market positioning(economic stability), we may need to direct ALL of Humboldt county’s resources(sustainably) at cannabis cultivation.  Currently those resources are being mismanaged. Someone needs to do a study that shows our standing in terms of resources in relation to our competition.  Then we need to work together to manage the resources we have to our advantage.
Farming communities in cultures all over the world have a long history of helping their neighbors, leading by example, and passing knowledge from one generation to the next.  They have done this to preserve a way of life, manage their lands, and build community.
When we see that our neighbor is from out of town, knows nothing about fire safety, erosion control, or pest management and is struggling with exaggerated costs and plummeting prices while trying to make himself a home, let’s be compassionate and go help him, rather than ask the authorities to persecute him for doing the same thing we did.  I think we will be surprised to see that people want help and advice. People need to see what they can do, not be told what they can’t do.  Show them the way.  Provide them with information on how to grow amazing sustainable cannabis. Make them one of the team.
Different players play different roles. The retiring elder has been cultivating world class mazari genetics on his small farm for a lifetime. Much of these genetics are yet untapped. The world has not really seen them.  These old timers are up on the hill breeding the next “big hit”.  These guys are also now on the front lines, again, creating state laws that need to provide us all a future. We need them!
Conversely the younger generation has their role. They are working together to standardize growing methods and unify behind popular genetics while managing the vast number of buyers coming in. The elders need to piggyback off this market stability.  Buyers are not coming to Humboldt for 50-100 pounds of mazari ranch weed.  They want 100 pounds at a time of consistent kush or sour diesel product.
If we all see that we are in this together and that we play different but equally important roles,  we can make sure we get what we have spent three generations fighting for.
To make this “transition” go smoothly, people need to understand that the cannabis farmer won the war on drugs.  Traditionally that means they get to set terms and make demands.  Currently 90% of the cannabis grown in Humboldt county is sold out of state.  Legalization offers the farmer nothing but regulation.  That means these people have no reason to comply.  Sending more enforcement(with or without guns) will only waste time and tax dollars.  If we can sell the Humboldt county grower economic stability, they will buy it.
We need to agree on a sustainable plan that makes converting to legalization advantageous to the grower and does not include heavy handed enforcement and policing.
We should adopt the Bob Mckey model and form a “land management association”.  This association will designate climate zones where certain types of cannabis can be grown, identify at risk properties and purchase them as agricultural preserves, and form a “HELP Task Force” of neighbors to bring newcomers and those who have strayed into the fold.
Finally, the incorporation of Southern Humboldt cities must be front and center  in the deal we are striking with the county.  Let us ask what services the county intends to offer us before we worry about how much we are paying in taxes.  We need infrastructure in south county and we need national representation. Lets put together a package that describes what we need to maintain the way of life we have now long after legalization. If we vote the 6th ordinance in without incorporating, all of our tax dollars will go towards Northern Humboldt’s infrastructure and we will get nothing.
We need the older generation to offer solutions that take into account a sustainable future for generations to come in Humboldt county.  Do not overregulate like the other legalized states have.  Remember they did not have a thriving economy to destroy.  We are unveiling the largest independently owned business the world has ever seen.  Please find a common ground and make sure that the pending legalization provides a future for us all.

May 2015 HUMBOLDT COUNTY CANNABIS WATER USE STUDY: — May 7, 2015

May 2015 HUMBOLDT COUNTY CANNABIS WATER USE STUDY:

There has been an assumption made that cannabis growers are now responsible for the destruction of the Eel River watershed.  However, we all know the Eel River was on the most endangered rivers list long before cannabis cultivation had any impact.  Now, due to the drought, cannabis needs to be evaluated the same way all agricultural crops are evaluated.
In comparison with other agricultural crops, cannabis does use a good deal of water. It is current opinion that cannabis cultivation should be limited based on water consumption.

The Humboldt Growers Association (now Emerald Growers Association) proposed an ordinance in 2010 stating that “marijuana used an average of 22.7 liters (6 gallons) of water a day.”  The statistics in that report on gallons used per day per plant were overstated (Emerald Growers Association no longer supports these statistics.). Now they have been referenced again in the Bauer report  “Impacts of Surface Water Diversions for Marijuana Cultivation on Aquatic Habitat in Four Northwestern California Watersheds.”  Neither of these accounts takes into consideration water consumption in relation to total biomass. The square foot assessment does not account for the variation in water consumption per square foot relevant to the average height of a plant or garden.  This will result in gross overestimates of water consumption and a reduction in production allowed by the county and or state.

A CURRENT ACCURATE CANNABIS WATER USE STUDY IS NOT YET ON RECORD. This paper will show that crops need to be measured volumetrically in gallons/day/pound if we are to be able to analyze the impact of cannabis on the water supply. Humboldt Growers Collective encourages all growers from Humboldt to submit to Humboldt Growers Collective their own water studies so that we may begin building a database of pertinent water information for our county.

Our current accepted system of growing cannabis encourages growers to remain at peak water consumption during the months that the aquifer is most in danger of collapsing.
Our hypothesis is that if we grow more and smaller plants while finishing them over a shorter life cycle, we can greatly reduce the total number of gallons it takes to grow a pound of cannabis. Further more, cannabis does not need to be grown during the dry months at all.

light_dep
More plants per square foot = a shorter life cycle = less total water used per pound grown.

METHODS:

This study compares two gardens over a 5 year period from 2010-2014. We are presenting results as the 5 year average.  Our test groups were a contrast of two very different growing techniques.  Our prediction was that we could ascertain the high and low rates of cannabis water consumption. Our intent is to present these findings as a way to navigate the “cannabis water use issue.”

The various coefficients considered were:
– soil volume/surface area ratio: what is the ratio of soil, to surface area, to water consumption, to pounds yielded?
– soil density: does the soil contain a wetting agent? how does it distribute(utilize) the water?
– type of containment: what percentage of water is lost? what percent actually gets used by the plant?
– seed starts vs clone starts: Is there an advantage to one over the other?
– total area occupied by a “unit”:  The subject unit varies in size between the two groups.  the question is.”how many cubic feet does a pound of cannabis require?”
– water application and distribution:  how is the water distributed?
– equilibrium:  is the plant taller than it is wide?  do plants proportions affect its metabolic rate?
– evapotranspiration ratio: larger plants evaporate and transpire more than smaller plants. do they do it as efficiently?
– plant hydraulics: amount of energy expended in pumping action per vertical inch of plant mass.
– production biomass vs. support biomass ratio: what percent of the total plant mass is “produce”? what percent of total mass is there to support the produce?
– harvest process: how laborious was the harvest process?
– product quality: does it decline in relationship to the plant’s overall biomass?

For our control group, we used the current model supported by the state, county and local environmentalist groups. Current belief is that this system will effectively limit cannabis cultivation and therefore water consumption.  The emphasis on this system is on low plant count.  This encourages the grower to run crops “full term” in hopes of maximizing yields, encouraging peak water consumption during the most impacted months.

This control group is the “Traditional 215” outdoor method, involving full term plants, 6 feet tall, with 99 plants in a garden. These plants are caged and tied vertically. We used the following equation to determine the control group’s consumption :

Total gallons/180 days = x / total yield = gallons/day/pound.( x = the average number of gallons consumed per day)

The particulars of this method are listed below:
– 6 month crop: beginning April 15th and ending October 15th
– 100 gallon pots on 12 ft. centers. total area of garden: 14400 sq. ft.
– 100 gallons of soil with wetting agent (surface area 12 sq. ft.) (8.3 gallons of soil per sq. ft. of surface area)
-1 clone per pot on 12’ ft. centers. (each unit area taking 144 sq. ft.)
– water was administered by hand with a hose. Exact bed by bed measurements were taken.
For our test group, we chose the most efficient system we could find.  The parameters in this system are open-ended. This encourages the grower to run the most efficient crop they can.  It allows the grower to get similar yields without growing during the dry season when the aquifer is at its low point.

This test group is based on the greenhouse light deprivation method involving short term clone plants, 3 feet tall. These plants are woven through a horizontal trellis netting system. We used the following equation to determine the control group’s consumption :

– Total gallons/90 days = x divided by total yield = gallons/day/pound.(x = average gallons consumed per day)

The particulars of this method are listed below:
– 3 month crop: beginning April 15th and ending July 15th
– 5’x5’ beds 8” deep. total area of garden: 4000 sq. ft.
– fully lined and contained beds
– 150 gallons of soil with wetting agent (surface area 25 sq. ft.) (6 gallons of soil  per sq. ft of surface area)
– 6 clones per bed  with 3 ft isles. (each unit area taking up 40 sq. ft.)
– water was administered by hand with a hose. exact bed by bed measurements were taken.

RESULTS:

The first graph below charts the weekly water consumption per container for the term life of the control group.. The vertical axis is gallons used per week, while the horizontal axis is a week by week timeline.

Grow Period from April 15th to October 15 (approximately 180 days)

green_graph

Total number of gallons used is 787 / 100 gal container / over 180 days
average yield was 2.5 pounds per container.

The second graph below charts water consumption per bed for the term life of the test group. The vertical axis is gallons used per week, while the horizontal axis is a week by week timeline.

Grow Period from April 15th to July 15 (approximately 90 days)

blue_graph

Total number of gallons used is 315 / 150 gal bed / over 90 days
average yield was 2.0 pounds per 25 sq. ft. bed.

OBSERVATIONS:

Control group:
– used 787 gallons per plant (unit)
– yielded 2.5 pounds per plant
– it took 315 gallons of water to grow one pound
– it used 4.375 an average gallons of water a day per plant (unit)……..It was not 22.7 litres or 6 gallons.
– it took 1.75 gallons a day for approximately 180 days to grow a pound given these conditions.
– this group was laid out like an orchard  (12 ft centers) to keep one plant from shading another.
– this group took considerable work involving ladders
– the pot and surface soil were exposed to the sun
– half of the plant was always in the shade
– most of the plant matter(biomass) appeared to be infrastructure or support. Only 30% of the biomass was actual produce.
– the maintenance and tying was a lot of work – often involving cages
– it consumed the most water from mid July to mid September – right when the aquifer is low.
– it was harvested over two weeks in three stages.
– there were three distinct levels of quality: A (top buds), B (next tier, medium buds), and C (popcorn buds.)
– drying and curing were difficult in October during the rainy  season. There were losses to mold.
– the crop was harvested when competition for sales is at its worst and prices are at their lowest. It did not sell until spring.  It had to be stored for the winter.  There was no money to pay the bills. There was no money to pay the employees.  There was no money for Christmas.

Test group:
– used 315 per bed (unit)
– yielded 2.0 pounds
– it took 158 gallons of water to grow one pound
– it used  3.5 gallons a day per bed (unit)……..almost a gallon a day less!
– it took 1.75 gallons a day for approximately 90 days to grow one pound.
– the beds did not shade each other
– all the work was at counter height. No overhead work. No work on ladders.
– the plants shaded their own soil
– the shallow soil seemed easier for the plants to utilize
– no part of the plant was in the shade
– most of the plant matter(biomass) appeared to be product not infrastructure. 70% of the biomass was product.
– once the initial netting was installed for the tie down there was no tying or support maintenance.
– it was harvest by early July so it never impacted the aquifer during the “red” months
– it was harvested in one day and in one stage (top bud only)
– there was one distinct level of quality: AAA top buds (control group never achieved this level of quality)
– this crop was harvested in July. It took no energy to dry it passively and there was no loss to mold.
– this crop was harvested early enough to sell at the peak high price for the season. The entire crop sold by October 1st; all the bills were paid and everyone got Christmas bonuses.
– this crops carbon footprint was considerably lower than the full term crop.

DISCUSSION:

Dividing the total number of gallons used for “one unit’s” life cycle by the  total number of days in the life cycle gives us the number of gallons used per day (x).  Dividing the number of gallons used a day by the number of pounds per unit gives us the number of gallons per day per pound.

Total number of gallons / total number of days = x
Control group = 787 gals / 180 =  4.375 gals/day used / 2.5 lbs = 1.75 gal / day /pound
787 gals / 2.5 lbs = 315 gals / pound
Test group = 315 gals / 90 = 3.5 gals/day used / 2 lbs = 1.75 gal / day / pound
315 gals / 2 lbs = 158 gals / pound

Some comments on the various coefficients considered are listed below:

– Soil volume/surface area ratio: a low soil volume to a high surface area ratio allows the plant to breath, better utilize the soil volume, distribute water more evenly.
– Soil density: soils that contain wetting agents distribute moisture evenly, always accept water after drying, and may be recycled indefinitely. Heavy soils retain water at the bottom of the bed or pot while drying out on top.  Heavy soils do not re-accept water after drying. Heavy soils must be replaced annually.
– Type of containment: plastic lined beds contain 100% of the water.  Uncontained beds “bleed” from over watering and osmosis.
– Seed starts vs clone starts:  seed starts are hearty, have a deep root system, strong upper structure, and use much more water.  Clone starts are weaker, have shallow root system, weak upper structure, and use much less water.
– Total area occupied by a “unit”:  the stand up plants require a large area around them to stop them from shading each other.  In this study the area was 144 sq. ft. per “unit”.
A great advantage to the stand up plant is it can be grown on uneven ground.  The light deprivation greenhouse requires level ground.  The dep. bed occupies 40 sq. ft. per “unit”.  The dep bed garden requires 30% of the space required by the stand up plant garden.
– Water application and distribution:  although automated systems are much more efficient and dependable, in this study, water was administered by hand and measured.  This insured that no water was lost in the process.
– Equilibrium: a plant’s proportions significantly affect its metabolic rate. Tall, skinny plants metabolize inefficiently, while short, wide plants metabolize efficiently.
– Evapotranspiration ratio: larger plants evaporate and transpire more than smaller plants
– Plant hydraulics: energy expended in pumping action per vertical inch of plant mass.  Stand up plants expend a lot of energy just supporting their upper structure.
– Production biomass vs. support biomass ratio: the stand up plants are about 30% viable product and about 70% support structure.  The opposite is true for the dep plants, they are 70% viable product and 30% support structure.
– Harvest process: the stand up plants took 2 weeks to harvest. The crop was never ready all at once. The greenhouse light deprivation plants were already at the same time and took one day to harvest.
– Product quality: the stand up plants had levels of quality: A,B,C.  The highest quality of the stand ups never compared to the AAA quality of the greenhouse light dep cannabis.

As plants get larger, the amount of water utilized for one pound becomes larger in order to sustain the additional biomass of the “support system”. The first pie chart below shows the ratio of energy expended by the control group (30% product/70% support).  The second pie chart illustrates the test group results (70% product/30% support).

70:30_pie   30:70_pie

Product quality is directly related to this ratio.  As the ratio of marketable product goes down in relation to biomass so does product quality.

CONCLUSIONS:

We believe that, paradoxically, more plants equal less water use. A higher plant count fills the soil volume faster, and, with light deprivation techniques, we can yield the same or more per year and use significantly less water.

Cannabis does not have to impact the aquifer during the dry months. The traditional method is at peak water consumption from August to October – the driest months of the year. The greenhouse light deprivation method does not consume any water during these months.
Humboldt county can raise cannabis quality dramatically and cut water use in half by moving towards light deprivation greenhouse growing.

As biomass increases past the point of “equilibrium” (when the plant grows taller than it is wide) cannabis reverts to a more “hemp like” product, resulting in a significant decrease in quality. As biomass increases past the point of “equilibrium”,  the percentage of water utilized for gain decreases significantly, while the percentage of water diverted to support biomass increases significantly. This “ volumetric equation for biomass” incentivizes the Humboldt grower to use less water!

Finally, our concern is that a gross overestimate of water consumption will unfairly restrict Humboldt farmers. Faulty assumptions about Humboldt water use will also result in regulations that create a reduction in production and, therefore, market  penetration. We do not hear anyone trying to restrict almond growers, but almond groves consume far more water than cannabis gardens. Let us base water use regulations here in Humboldt on common sense – talk to the farmers!

Acknowledgments:

– Humboldt Growers Association proposed 2010 ordinance

– California State’s research article: “Impacts of Surface Water Diversions for Marijuana Cultivation on Aquatic Habitat in Four Northwestern California Watersheds.”

– Cannabis Voice: “6th draft ordinance”

HUMBOLDT GROWERS: BEHIND THE REDWOOD CURTAIN. — April 25, 2015

HUMBOLDT GROWERS: BEHIND THE REDWOOD CURTAIN.

Northern California’s Lost Coast is a wonderland of rolling hills and ancient forests, steeped in outlaw history. The place is the Bermuda Triangle of the West, shrouded in the mystique of the countercultural revolution that has taken place here over the last 35 years. Humboldt County growers have set the international gold standard for quality in cannabis production. With looming legalization, Humboldt Growers is moved by a keen sense of urgency, a concern that Humboldt County small farmers, with their exceptional product, will be cut out of the medical trade. We are at ground zero. Our reputation is unrivaled. Our local genetics have dominated the world market for over 30 years.

Through a combination of research and interviews, we are bringing to light issues and offering solutions relevant to cannabis farming in Humboldt County. Humboldt Growers is about offering answers. Humboldt Growers wants to help guide the Humboldt cannabis farmer in the creation of high quality medical cannabis products. To accomplish this, we will define and encourage artisan growing and artisan processing. This “artisan lifestyle” is fundamental to balancing economic and environmental sustainability. We want the best medical products, whether flower, tincture, salve, or clones and seeds. And to get that, we want to reach out on our blog with information in compliance with California state law that cannabis farmers can use. We encourage readers to remain in strict compliance with municipal, county and state laws and regulations; as well as adapting to future, ever-changing applicable laws. This compliance is crucial since cannabis is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government

We will address the labyrinth of compliance as well as political issues; and we will explore the state of the art in genetics, farming practice, appropriate stewardship of our lands, and safe use.  By engaging together, we can support each other and provide ourselves with a headstart and a base from which we each can form our own future business initiatives.

We want Humboldt County’s reputation to continue to dominate the world of cannabis as it has for many years.

defiance

Resist


you may contact us at answers.humboldtgrowers@gmail.com

we encourage readers to remain in strict compliance with municipal, county and state laws and regulations; as well adapting to future, ever-changing applicable laws.