When it comes to growing weed one of the very first questions people ask is whether it’s better to grow using organics or synthetics. That question gets real deep, real fast considering all the different grow methods and mediums out there.
One person who’ll testify for the all-natural position is Skunk Magazine’s cultivation editor, “the Rev”, who in his new book, True Living Organics (TLO) released by Green Candy Press, evangelizes growing weed in 100% all natural soil without a drop of synthetic nutes or utilizing any hydro tricks. In fact The Rev, who’s legendary among Skunk mag fans and is praised for his Kingdom Organic Seeds company, claims weed grown using his TLO method tastes and smells better than weed grown any other way. And, since there’s only one way to find out if that’s true—grow some TLO weed yourself, put it in your pipe and smoke it…the Rev’s included step-by-step instructions on making your own super soil and supplements, cooking composts, brewing rich microbial teas and harnessing the power of poop—from bunnies, to fishies to worms!
We were intrigued, so we thought we’d get in touch with the Rev and ask him a few questions about his new book, True Living Organics-The Ultimate Guide to Growing All-Natural Marijuana Indoors.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: So what exactly do we need to get started growing all-natural weed?
The Rev: In my book I show you at least three different ways to get started; from full out TLO madness, to just a few containers fast if you want to get your feet wet.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: So like, how far in advance should we plan? There seems to be a need for some lead-time to get things composting?
The Rev: Well, it takes about 30 days to “cook” a soil-mix you build but you can also start at once using worm castings, bagged organic soil-mix, and some perlite. You will need to think ahead using TLO, especially if you get into the habit of liking to use top dressings like guanos, because these things take about 10 days to start working and done correctly, are uber powerful and effective.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: Seeds take sooooo long…so what about starting a TLO grow with clones?
The Rev: Sure, just know the risks of importing clones, because once you have run a garden all mite and mold free, it is super hard to go backwards, heh heh. I use clones all the time, but they are (99%) all my clones from seed stock and I import about a clone every 5 years or so if I find something I truly deem special.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: You came up growing hydroponic weed using synthetic nutrients. So what made you turn your back on hydro?
The Rev: Quality and control. I hate synthetic grown weed – I mean smoking it – and I also hate that corporations, who make synthetic delivered nutrients make it seem like the way you grow plants is their way, and they have everyone brainwashed and these peeps couldn’t grow worth a damn in the natural world. Helpless, without the pretty pretty bottles of synthetic snake oil, heh heh; I have done some research into this amigo, and it is my belief that smoking synthetic grown weed sucks for more reasons than the hot/harshness of the smoke compared to TLO. Reading a bunch of innocuous looking acronyms like ‘EDTA’ isn’t impressive, and that’s how it’s supposed to come across. Look into those acronyms sometime if you want some stunning learning and dark amusement.
All natural (like TLO) herbs are pure planet Earth baybee, and I know exactly what I am smoking, and it is elegant. This is my Kung Fu, and it is strong.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: What got you started with this TLO, stuff, man. Like how did you get all your wisdom and stuff?
The Rev: I always have loved how all natural outdoor weeds smoked, and organics indoors was what I set out to do. I had a lot of help from some great guys who were pushing me to go organic. Caligrower, Wodan, G.W. Heyduke, to name a few of them. I discovered everyone kind of had their own version of “organics” and one thing led to another, I began trying to replace outdoor sources of elements indoors, and it didn’t take long before I noticed I was missing – The Life! Once I began to study the microbeasties and their roll in the soil with some really great information online from Dr. Elaine Ingham, and The Three Little Birds soil recycling adventures, I developed my tweaks and observed my ass off.
I am a really great weed grower because it is essentially all I have ever done is grow weed and deal my whole life. My woman always tells me I am half plant, hahahaha. I am in touch with cannabis and all life now really, but my familiarity with cannabis is intense, when they are unhappy I can feel it, I can smell it, and I can sense it. So, the opposite is also true and I know when they are happy happy! Happy plants always make the best smoke that is also very uplifting I think.
The Rev: Almost a decade now, about 9 years here very soon, and my first two attempts sucked badly for yields especially, by my third run – flying blind basically – I produced some halfway decent yields of wicked fine herbs. It just got better from there with only a few bumps in the road.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: Wow, that’s a long time, dude. How long have you been growing in total?
The Rev: About 4 decades, but there was a few years I was locked up in that stretch but even inside I still was on my botany and whatnot; so the learning continued. Yes, I’m old hahahahaha!
STUFF STONERS LIKE: What are the main benefits of TLO?
The Rev: Mainly, quality, off the chain quality compared to any synthetic grown hands down; and not by a little. Anyone who doesn’t believe this has never really smoked any true TLO grown weeds; done with any sort of skills with cannabis. In my humble opinion, I mean.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: How long does it take someone to get the hang of the TLO style?
The Rev: Three grows, assuming you have prior knowledge of indoor cannabis growing, I would say. That seems to be the magic number locally; but many elect to just do smaller versions of it until they get the hang of how it works, because crossing over from synthetic skills is hard, due to the unlearning mostly. Growers familiar with all natural growing styles and cannabis would get TLO in a couple grows maximum as long as they had the book as a benchmark; and many peeps tell me they pull off awesome gardens in their first attempt. So I think it really boils down to how fast you unlearn how to force feed your plants, and all the perspective shifting can be “painful” to a synthetic grower – I would know, LoL.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: What about trouble-shooting…it seems like there are a lot of variables to contend with, how do you accomplish that?
The Rev: It seems that way, but it really isn’t; I mean, you still have all the variables you have in any indoor grow with environment control and lighting quality. Once you learn TLO skills, which are actually Earth skills, you can use your environmental controls to your great advantage to really dial things in. No worrys about pH or TDS really, as long as you KNOW your water source is awesome (and I mean awesome by my standards) and that your soil-mix is alive and happy, the plants have no choice but to grow like crazy. Though if just starting down the TLO path, a good reliable pH and TDS meter are great tools to double check water sources on the spot, or if there are issues they are awesome troubleshooting tools.
I included a whole section in the book for troubleshooting, and in there is where I address all the common issues with converting to all natural thinking, for the ultimate Eden herbs!
STUFF STONERS LIKE: LOVE the idea of using bunnies and worms and fishy water, like you mention in your book. Can you elaborate on how you use their shit and how you ensure their shit is the shit?
The Rev: Good goes in and good comes out; it’s as simple as that. Bunny poop is fantastic, but like any other organic and many mineral elements in TLO it must be “cooked” or in other words, composted, first. Fishy water is rife with all kinds of very efficient microbeasties that break down stuff fast; I always add a turkey-baster of fishy water to every tea I make. Just have to make sure your fishys are all happy and healthy and you haven’t poured any bullshit in their water. My aquarium I call my indoor pond, and you can just imagine why, but those are some happy ass fishys in some seriously all natural surroundings, even if those surroundings are contained within glass walls.
Worms are a whole different ballgame and I have a small indoor worm farm in my personal garden room. Fresh living earthworm castings are severe in their positive effects across the board man. I recycle everything, and through the worm farm I recycle all my extraneous plant (cannabis) matter. I recycle the root balls and used soil-mix another way using just a couple of totes. The worms take all my good kitchen scraps, plant matter, and junk mail, and then turn it into the most primo living amendment specifically targeted for cannabis.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: What about food scraps? What’s the guideline on the kinda food you use? Can we toss a half-eaten Big Mac and a 7-11 Slurpee in there and not have to worry about all those preservatives and shit killing our microbeasties?
The Rev: Salt is bad, and too much of it will fry your plants much like it will fry you. Preservatives and any kind of EDTA type bullshit are bad; also, never throw meat into your recycling stuff. Once I got my worm farm I began to understand what good food actually is, because I wanted to give the worms what made them the happiest/healthiest. So the “collateral damage” was I started eating better, and amazing things began to happen. Since chlorinated water kills life I stopped drinking tap water period and filter all my water for drinking/cooking now and amazing things began to happen. No bull fellas; no bull at all. See for yourselves, because once you start to “get it” you may get “The Sickness” like myself and many others, becoming a recycling machine. I have seen newcomers to TLO turn into Buddhists… It’s an eye opener to be sure.
STUFF STONERS LIKE: We imagine the yield for TLO would be less than a robust hydro set-up…how do you justify going TLO?
The Rev: Heh heh… If you pull off a single TLO grow with something you are used to smoking and growing some other way than all naturally, you will answer that one for yourself I am pretty certain. Yields in TLO have a lot more to do with genetics (genetic potential) than the all natural style. The bottom line is you cannot match the weight/yields of hydro, however, when you get good at TLO you can pull off 80% easily, and you will also by that time understand that your weight isn’t your main priority, it is the quality of that weight, and when the quality goes up 10x you are all good with a mellow hit to your yields. Now if I was still cash cropping these days indoors, I would probably be running big custom built hydro ABS units for product for sales, but I wouldn’t smoke it. I would run a small TLO for my personal smoke always, and these days I swear man, with what I have learned about synthetic style nutrients, I would feel bad even selling it to peeps.
CONTEST—Win a copy of True Living Organics
Wanna win a copy of The Rev’s True Living Organics: The Ultimate Guide to Growing All-Natural Marijuana Indoors? Well the cool guys over at Green Candy Press have agreed to kick a few down, dude. All you gotta do is email us at sslstickers_420(at)yahoo.com, put “TLO BOOK” in the subject line and we’ll pick a few random winners on Friday the 23rd.