Sleepy’s Garden-Composting

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Compiled by Thomas Hibben

In the back room of a new grow operation that is under construction in Shawnee I set up my back drop for some photos to go along with the interview.  I had never met Sleepy but was told I would know him when I saw him.  As I finished up he walked in through the construction area in a SpaceX shirt with a mason jar full of weed labeled with duct tape ‘OG Kush’.  This was Sleepy.  After a few photos and a lot of smoke in the air we talked about school, compost, and the art of growing organic Marijuana.

Hibben:  So I hear you went to school in Iowa then on to New Zealand.

Sleepy:  Well, I went to school in Iowa at {Spelling On Schools Name?}. They had a intensive three month program that I went through-learning, growing, then selling at the local farmers markets. After that was an internship for two years in New Zealand on a permaculture farm. Permaculture farming is like everything on the farm helps another thing on the farm. You can start with the goats. The goats’ poop goes into the compost then the compost goes to the farming and, in the end, the unused vegetables go back into the compost. Its a closed loop.

Hibben:  It makes sense that we start with talking a bit about compost then since that’s where it all starts. You have been growing all over the world now, from Iowa to New Zealand now back to Oklahoma.  What’s the difference. How does growing in Oklahoma compare?

Sleepy:  At the school I attended they called it retentive farming. That means that you start right here behind our building in this shitty mud hole and by the time we are done it’s going to be beautiful. We leave it better than we started. My teacher, Dr. Temia, had a big thing while I was at school that it doesn’t matter what the ground looks like because we are going to grow on top of it. It all starts with the compost. It really doesn’t matter if you have good compost. We are doing it inside the building on concrete. It all starts at the compost. If your compost is good you can even move on to making things like compost teas. That’s where you put it in water to create microorganisms that will feed your plants. You could spread that stuff out here behind our building on these trees and you would see a difference almost instantly. It’s crazy. I call it the drink of the gods.

  One thing I learned in New Zealand ties into that. Every year in the forest the leaves fall from the trees. You know what I mean? The natural process of a plant. What it’s doing is making its own compost. The earth naturally does these things. The plants shed on the the ground, then the worms and ants are eating those things.  It all goes together creating this compost. So what we did in New Zealand was have a ‘food forest’. We went in chopping the leaves and putting them down on the ground, basically just speeding up that natural process instead of waiting for it to naturally happen.

  People are finding as they research the Amazon rainforest that there is evidence that this has been done by primitive people way, way back. It’s like ten feet deep and they are saying that this must have been done purposefully by these ancient people. So people have been doing this for a long time. The earth does it naturally we just have to mimic it for our needs. That’s how to do it naturally, organically, in a closed loop. You don’t have to buy anything, ya know? You don’t need all those chemicals.

Hibben:  Right, thats so cool. Keeping it all natural like it’s supposed to be. So what are you all doing here at your grow?

Sleepy:  Everything is going to be right here. Back here where we are now will be our compost operation.

Hibben:  So everything is going to be in house here?

Sleepy:  That’s the plan, it’s going to take a while. We will probably be doing different things like Korean Natural Farming, I can talk about all this crazy shit a lot. It’s pretty cool. An example is something like if you cook rice and then go dump it out in the woods. Three days later you come back to find it covered in the natural microorganisms feeding off of it, kind of looks like cauliflower. Scoop all that up and take it back to the house. From there you can add some sugar to it to, basically, feed it for the next three days or so. You can add in something like Rice Bran, the same thing that people feed horses, to the mixture for about a week and you have just created this thing that’s going to expand. When you take it a step further and add in clay, perfect here in Oklahoma, then put all that on soil. All those micro organisms you have created are now in there making it ready for a super grow. That’s the basics of the IMO, Indigenous Microorganisms that goes into Korean Natural Farming.  Another thing that’s cool is FPJ or fermented plant juice that uses the fallen cannabis leaves with sugar.

Hibben:  So you’re not wasting any part of the plant, everything goes back into the grow operation.

Sleepy:  That’s right.

Hibben:  On a much smaller home grow operation, say for medical patients here in Oklahoma, what are some realistic things they can do other than going out to scoop up the dogs poop to make their compost?

Sleepy:  So it just depends on what you want out of your grow. All you need is compost and water. There are services that you can buy good compost from instead of making your own. The easiest thing to do, of course, is to buy chemical nutrients.  Even better you can even use one of those compost tubs for your house where you throw your scraps in and turn it once in a while.

  I’m sure it won’t be long before someone creates a specialized compost that is marketed for cannabis home grows. In cannabis farming they call things like that ‘Super Soil,’ while in vegetable farming, it’s just called compost. Different industries have different terms. It all comes down to if you have good compost and some drip irrigation.  You really don’t need much else as long as your environment is controlled.

Hibben:  What about all those options though. Organic vs. Chemical? Is it preference or does it really change things like how much a plant produces, taste, potency, etc?

Sleepy:  I started out growing pot chemically just like everyone does but I started looking at vegetables thinking its the same thing as my cannabis. People like to say its different but its not. That’s how I ended up at an organic school like that. I started looking how our vegetables are grown and wanted that for my weed.

  The main thing I know about Chemical vs. Organic is that chemical is really finicky. It’s so easy to put too much or not enough of something in. Things go bad. With chemical growing you can just water a plant. It’s called readily available. Water it today and it’s gone tomorrow. On the other side of that, with organics, the nutrients, etc., are there whenever the plant needs it. These are the things that led me to an organics school. People will talk about PH balance and all of that, but if you are growing organically and doing it right those aren’t worries. During school they would say “don’t worry about that, don’t even think of it.” The soil is a buffer, it’s just easier this way. Up front it may be harder to get started, but in the long run it’s so much easier.

Hibben:  You probably feel better and safer about what you are putting in your body and giving others to put in their bodies too right?

Sleepy:  Exactly! The plants are just like us. If you have a good immune system you’re not going to get sick. Plants that get bugs or have other problems aren’t healthy.  Bugs find the plants that aren’t healthy. If your plants are going in good soil that helps them stay good and healthy they are going to be able be better in the long run at fighting off diseases. 

Hibben:  What’s the process in an operation like yours here? Plants yield then you take them out and redo the soil to start all over?

Sleepy:  Well, we’re going to have raised beds here. Every bed will have five plants in each one. Whenever one plant is done you are able to pull it while a new one is dropped right down in its spot. There is this thing called Mycorrhizal Fungi. So if I’m a plant and you’re a plant, here is why we put them in the same bed – this fungus attaches to my roots and your roots connecting us together. So if I need nitrogen and you have extra I can get it from you so we stay healthy together. Like a community.

Talk about eye opening conversation.  The passion which is within Sleepy about the natural process of it all, the beauty of closed loop self-sustaining rejuvenation, and being a part of something like legal growing, filled up the room. I’m looking forward to visiting Sleepy’s garden when it’s up and running, both for more chats and as a customer.

Look for future segments with Sleepy as he gives us advice in his own way on how to grow the best damn plant you can grow!

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