Marijuana Business Magazine March 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2019 118 “The longer the compost sits, the more complicated and complete the soil food web inside the compost becomes,” Cornell said. “It’s that complete product that we want to add to our garden beds.” Yields and Health All three of the growers say their yields have gone up using living soil growing principles, and their plants are healthier to boot. “We’re getting better terpenes and cannabinoid expressions compared to if we weren’t to do it,” Cooley said. Using compost teas results in a much healthier plant, he added, and healthier plants can fight off pests and pathogens. Cooley uses the teas not only for a soil application but also as a foliar spray to fight off powdery mildew. Perkins said he has grown cannabis that yields 7 pounds per plant using living soil with no liquid nutrients. “Sun is really all you need as long as your soil is good,” he said. Cornell aims for about 4-6 pounds per plant. It’s not uncommon to see outdoor-grown plants test at 25%- 32% THC content in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California, according to Cornell. “We’ve had tremendous yields,” using living soil, he said. “We haven’t had any serious pest outbreaks on our farm in years.” Cornell doesn’t worry about bot- rytis or powdery mildew because of this system. Healthy plants absorb nutrients quickly, he said. Instead of fending off pests and disease, canna- bis can focus its energy on growing high-potency, terpene-rich flower. “Living soil makes healthy plants— and healthy plants for the most part take care of themselves,” he added. “When you really develop a thriving living soil setup, you begin to trust your plants’ ability to take care of themselves.” As far as learning how to develop your own soil, Cornell recommends reading as much as you can and experimenting. He learned a lot from Jeff Lowenfels’ book, “Teaming with Microbes,” and the teachings of Dr. Elaine Ingham. Another way to learn is to find someone in your area who is using living soils and volunteer to help that person, Cornell said. “If you want to be good at what you do, you should educate yourself,” he added. “I’m always reading, always try- ing to push into new dimensions.” Best Practices | Cultivation Noah Cornell of Aster Farms creates his own compost for a fraction of the price of buying bottled nutrients. Courtesy Photo