When it comes to growing cannabis, some growers swear by organic methods. Going organic is not only a sustainable practice, but can help cultivators control the nutrients going into their plants, enhance the terpenes and keep costs down. Long-time grower Justin (who has asked his last name not be published) has the proof in his organic methods.
A resident of Weedsport, NY – oh the irony! – Justin utilizes organic approaches for his indoor grows. He started growing in 1995 in Indiana, and in 2016 began growing in New York. He became a NYS medical marijuana patient, registered caregiver and cultivator in March 2021.
Justin has grown hundreds of strains since 2016. Stand-out varieties include Ice Dance from Heirloom Organics, Biscotti Skunk from United Cannabis Seeds and Head Smog from Katsu Bluebird Seeds. He has also started creating his own cross-strains such as Staten Island Lem ([Lemon Kush] x (Staten Island Chem x Sour Diesel]). “They’re all winners on their own, but I was looking to reduce the stretch in the Lemon Kush and add some gassiness to the already amazing Lemon Pledge terps it has,” Justin said.
There are a couple of practices that inspire Justin’s approach to growing: Korean natural farming (KNF) and JADAM. KNF is a self-sufficient system that uses bio-organic fertilizers to enrich the soil. Similarly, JADAM focuses on ultra-low-cost farming methods that are environmentally-friendly, using natural waste to help grow the next batch of crops.
For his plants, Justin utilizes waste from his kitchen and garden to provide nutrients for his cannabis plants. Banana peels provide potassium. Over-ripe apples help ferment the soil, along with composted squash and watermelon.
“I try to use my garden in a way that’s reciprocal,” Justin stated. “We’re giving my plants these KNF- and JADAM-inspired nutrients and input. I’m not going to a grocery store and creating more waste or using gasoline to drive. I’m using things that are already in my home.”
Justin acknowledges that an organic approach to growing involves a slow start, but the end result is rewarding. He encourages fellow growers to give organic methods a try, focus on their plants’ overall health, ask questions and follow-up questions, and build their circle of connections in the cannabis community. He offers himself as a resource, as he is working to form a network of caregivers where people can exchange information and genetics and build connections. “I’ve heard from so many people that the way I present information (on my Instagram account) makes methods easy to comprehend and easy to reproduce. I want everyone’s garden to be successful.”
Going organic has the added benefit of sustainability and low cost, Justin explained. More homemade nutrients mean less reliability on store-bought chemicals, which means money saved on gas and growing supplies. “Organics, when done right, can and will go just as fast as any salt-based nutrient line, for a fraction of the cost and get plants to express the terps they were meant to. The terp expression on organics versus salt-based nutrient grown is night and day.”
Using organic materials and methods for his grows is vital for Justin, as he uses his cannabis to treat his medical conditions. This way, he can guarantee the quality of his medicine. “I need to be really kind to my body, be mindful of everything I consume and put into my body because it all matters,” Justin said. “I’ve also learned so much by doing it this way. Every single day is a new chance to learn more, and be more in tune with the plant.”
To see more of Justin’s work and learn more about his growing methods, follow him on Instagram @J.Diesel_NY.