Living soil farming is a form of bio mimicry and sustainable agriculture where a compost rich soil is used for the full nutritional needs of the plants being grown. A number of different plants are utilized in a single container in order to benefit the soil, environment and harvest. Symbiosis between species and in this case in soil biology is no secret. By using natures foundation we are able to create an environment where plants can feed as needed instead of being force fed by humans.
This allows for the most natural approach, leading to an enhanced flavor and cleaner burning final product.
By transitioning from containers into soil beds, we are able to reuse our existing soil for many harvests to come, allowing worms and other natural cyclers to break down plant waste and make available again for the soil. There are other benefits to this system as well, a more efficient use of water is one big one. The large volume of soil retains moisture more efficiently. Eliminating the need for containers that are also being sanitized, washed, cleaned in between rounds saving on labor, water and materials.
There are challenges that come along with these practices. First is the risk of microbiologic and metal contamination. In natural soil, there are metals present and especially with Cannabis being a highly effective bio accumulator, it is especially challenging to meet the state regulations. There are naturally microbial actions taking place in the soil to break down plant material into nutrients and this too poses a risk if it were to reach the flowers of the plant. This makes cleanliness, particularly dust, important to control. Another challenge is pests and diseases which could prove much more difficult to eradicate in a soil bed. With many species of potential host plants, a media that remains in the room in perpetuity from one harvest to the next and a whole table of plants root space connected to each other. Certain viroids, if introduced, would contaminate the entire soil bed /environment. Another challenge is the timing; growing in living soil takes more time. A longer Veg in the container is required to make use of the nutrients in the soil, and slowing down production means less harvests per year.
Most facilities are making most decisions with time (money) in mind.
Our very structure is designed with the plant in mind and this is one of the reasons you can see and taste the difference in quality.
While this transition will not happen overnight. We are very excited to continue to make steps towards sustainability and use practices that respect our environment and resources as much as possible. We are working on a vermicompost program and a number of other practices to improve our overall impact on our community and environment at large.
See more details on our growing process here.