Cannabis growers throughout Washington are constantly searching for new and innovative techniques to increase the yield and overall strength of their plants.
One new-but-old option is biochar, a soil additive created and sold by Third Eye Organix, a family-owned and operated company based in Spokane.
Owner Clayton Neidigh has over 30 years of experience growing cannabis, which led him to create his own recipe for biochar in 2012.
Biochar is a form of charcoal, produced from super-heating biomass, and is found in the aftermath of vegetative fires. This technique was originally called terra-preta and used as an agricultural method within the Amazon Basin more than 2,500 years ago.
Neidigh said indigenous people in South America discovered that using char as a soil amendment was an incredible help for their crops, especially for in harsher climates or poor ground conditions. It produced a higher yield and allowed them to grow more food, especially in places where other food sources were scarce. Fertilizing crops by burning the previous year’s stubble is still in use today as an agricultural technique.
Biochar has a large surface area and growers don’t need any further amendments. This soil includes organic nutrients as well as live microbes, allowing the plant to have a perfect feeding consistency for optimum growth.
“Having layers of biochar in your soil helps ensure that every bit of food and water gets sucked into the plant like a sponge,” said Neidigh.
It also forms a ‘happy habitat’ for plants and supplies fungi, bacteria and microorganisms that promote further growth.
He said benefits include the soil being able to draw in cations, which are positively charged ions that consist of plant nutrients like potassium, magnesium and calcium; as well as anions, which are negatively charged ions that consist of phosphates and nitrates.
Using biochar in cannabis shows plenty of promise for plants being nourished with all the essentials they need to produce astounding results, including bigger and better buds.
Jim Brewer, owner of Exotic Farms, a Tier 2 cannabis producer/processor in Ford, uses Third Eye’s products.
“I’ve definitely noticed a difference,” he said. “The overall strength, yield, smell, height and look of my plants are much healthier because of Biochar soil mix.”
This mix of soil and activated biochar amendment can simplify the growing process by decreasing the amount of watering needed, leaving no flush required at end of the cycle and a higher yield because of living soil.
Neidigh enjoys sharing his product with growers.
“My love for growing cannabis has traveled with me throughout the years and biochar still amazes me,” he said. “I want all growers to see this transformation and be able to save time, energy and money on the beauty of growing plants.”
Taryn Mickelson is originally from New Mexico and now works in Washington’s cannabis industry. She enjoys writing about the positive changes in this rapidly-growing business.