Growing biodynamic cannabis, an organic and somewhat spiritual approach, is a difficult, but worthy pursuit. Given the risks associated with inorganic fungicides, pesticides, and fertilizers used in growing cannabis, it’s more important now than ever for dispensaries and end users to source their marijuana from organic growers. Given the competitive landscape in the marijuana industry, it has become difficult to acquire cannabis that balances the demand for a high-yield, high-THC product with a true cannabis user’s desire to ingest something wholesome. It’s quite common to load up a grow with nutrients, pesticides, and fungicides in the pursuit of massive, pest and mold-free buds. In order to meet large-scale demands and expectations, it’s almost impossible not to engage in such practices.
Professional growers need to have their grow procedure down to a science. While most medicine dispensed at pharmacies these days are the result of a cold and calculated chemical synthesis process, the process that gives rise to medical marijuana is much more intimately tied to the tides of mother nature. The fickleness of nature’s seasons, weather, and temperature can often result in unpredictable grow yields, plant diseases, and variable cannabinoid and terpene expressions.
A great deal of growers tend to resort to growing indoor to avoid these hassles; by growing indoor, you can dynamically modulate light cycles and water/nutrient distribution. This allows for a “rinse and repeat” type of standard operating procedure that can easily be transferred across multiple growers within the same facility. Indoor growing is certainly an efficient way to meet the demands of an industry whose growth is showing no signs of slowing down. However, the grows are often not sustainable; the use of inorganic chemicals and lack of earth can cause soil to turn over more quickly and harmful ingredients to make their way into the end consumer. This all goes without mentioning the enormous amount of electricity used by indoor grows. Fortunately, organic options are readily making themselves available.
However, if one were able to capture the balance that nature has already found and sustained through evolution, then the resulting product would be more in line with its natural order– creating an organic, safer, and more sustainable product. It’s a common sentiment to consider “outdoor grown” cannabis to be inferior to “indoor grown” these days. We aim to dispel that notion and make a case for the power and efficacy of outdoor growing, especially when a grower can harness the intrinsic power of nature. We have no intent of remarking poorly on the process of indoor growing nor those who partake in it. We merely aim to showcase the benefits of outdoor growing and defend its place in the budding legal marijuana industry.
I first met Marty Clein, better known as “Martyjuana”, at The 2016 Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, CA. He came up to our WoahStork booth and casually introduced himself as a local grower. Marty’s 14 years of experience, which stemmed originally from a need to grow medical marijuana for his wife, Laura, became readily apparent.
From his backpack, he took out a few jars of well manicured, dense nugs. It was love at first smell. The terpene profile that emerged from the jar was magical, rich, and sincerely unparalleled. As an active member of the cannabis community, I’ve smelled a great deal of marijuana. This was some of the best. Hands down. I was immediately enthralled and had to learn about how such beauty came to be.
Marty shared that he hond his growing process based on insights he acquired from working for over a decade in the Sonoma Valley wine industry. Marty’s mentor and friend gave him 16 plants (15 females; 1 male for breeding) when he first moved to his current hometown of Mendocino County. The plants were from seeds, imported from Canada, sold through Marc Emery and named Supreme. Supreme is a potent Indica dominant hybrid of two old school strains: Super Skunk #1 and Northern Lights #4. Fast forward 13 years and Marty has cross-bread a series of strains under his brand “Martyjuana” that are faithful to his form. He’s definitely come a long and prosperous way; Martyjuana was the 2012 Sonoma County cannabis cup winner for solvent-free concentrate (hash), and was featured in SONOMA magazine in Fall 2013.
Everything Marty said and did during our first encounter was natural and meticulous. As I watched him suck the air out of his Bell Jars before tightening the lids on his prized creation, I knew he was a man who took great care and pride in his craft. Dying to know how he was able to create such beautiful, dense, and pungent marijuana, I quickly arranged for a phone conversation with Marty several weeks later.
Biodynamic cannabis agriculture
It was then that Marty introduced me to the concept of biodynamic agriculture and subsequently biodynamic cannabis. A quick glance at Wikipedia will tell you that biodynamic agriculture is very similar to organic growing, but with an “esoteric” spin. Biodynamic agriculture emphasizes that which is “unseen”. While many growers may focus on what they can see(e.g. light, water, soil, and pests), growers that practice biodynamics concern themselves with more cosmic forces. Essentially, biodynamic agriculture represents a philosophy where the scope of a grow is larger than that of plants in the ground; the lunar cycle, insects, soil, and nearby ecosystem all play a role. The philosophies that Marty employs are fascinating and quite representative of the biodynamic agriculture school of thought.
“I love the sun and I follow the moon.”
Perhaps the most important lesson in biodynamic agriculture is that of growing in sync with the moon’s cycle. Marty reports that the best of his Martyjuana crop starts during the new moon in either early May or early June when he plants seeds directly in soil that sits in a 2-4 gallon pot that has already been watered for 2 days in advance to make it heavily saturated. He then uses a hose to mist the soil so as to not disturb the roots for their first few weeks of growth. Timed perfectly, the plant will be ready for harvest in September and October, repsectively, during the full moon. In just 4.5 months from seeding time, Marty is able to harvest 2-3lbs of terpene-rich nugs per plant.
Biodynamic agriculture truly stresses a certain symbiosis with the environment. Much of this can be accomplished by utilizing harmless insects for the pursuit of removing harmful ones. For example, Marty will release lady bugs and praying manti into his grow. The lady bugs will eat aphids (plant lice) and the preying manti will eat caterpillars, butterflies, flies, bees, wasps, and moths that would normally destroy a grow.
Encouraging the presence of insects in your garden is one part of creating a symbiotic ecosystem. The other is introducing non-cannabis plants to be grown in the same area — a practice that has been employed by vineyards for quite some time. For instance, garlic, tomatoes, spinach and green beans will attract pests to them, keeping them away from your crop. An additional practice is to grow mustard and cloves in the ground in the off-season as a “cover crop”. This provides a natural nitrogen source and encourages root growth during the next grow.
A drone video of Martyjuana Farms
This next component of biodynamic agriculture might be most familiar to readers. Compost piles allows for the natural decomposition of food to creater richer, more nutrient dense soil. While many growers, Marty included, will have their own pile of egg shells, coffee rinds, and banana peels, there are also pre-made blends. Marty suggests the biodynamic blend Malibu Compost. They are the only Demeter-certified organic compost company. All of their soil is turned on site at organic dairies in the central valley. They also do all of their own additives at the exact time and temperture levels for a perfect blend. Marty says the soil is best used inside above ground bags, buring only 6-10 inches below the earth, so that the roots can breathe easier.
Marty doesn’t forego the philosophy of biodynamic agriculture after harvest. He makes sure to compost his stalks and juice the sun leaves of his cannabis plant. Where most growers are exhausted by their harvest and leave everything to die and decay (which causes mold, mildew, and pollens in and around your grow), Marty brings everything full circle in preparation for the following season. Marty makes sure to dump the soil from the bags back into the earth and grow in bags on top of that soil next season such that the roots can extend into the previous year’s soil base. That way, the plant is still able to draw nutrients and Nitrogen through the bag.
Biodynamic agriculture hinges on the notion that if you understand your product and environment, you can naturally tweak it so as to create an incredible product that is free of inorganic fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers, etc.
Biodynamic cannabis concentrates
Even when it comes to crafting concentrates from his biodynamic cannabis, Marty is sure to create hash the old fashioned way: with ice, water and elbow grease. Marty makes the case that it’s “not biodynamic to take something and pulverize and/or run it through an extraction machine”. He goes on to say that “some people would call [extraction machines] organic, but I take it a step beyond.”
Martyjuana strains of biodynamic cannabis
All of Martyjuana’s strains stem from Supreme — a cross between Super Skunk and Northern Lights #4. Thus, all Martyjuana biodynamic cannabis strains come from landraces with mature genes, making these crosses quite potent.
We asked Marty to categorize his strains in accordance with the WoahStork Activity Group tagging system. Here’s what he came up with:
- Supreme 90 Cheese – Sleep.
- Supreme Church – Chill
- Supreme Den City – Sleep
- Supreme Sensi Star – Create
- Supreme White Sour – Energize
- Supreme White – Elevate
Martyjuana also conducts testing through SC Labs. The Supreme White certainly takes the cake for highest THC (24.72%) during this the end of 2016’s testing.
Based on their genetics and other strains in our database, we’d say this strain tagging is dead on! Getting your hands on these strains is a privilege. Martyjuana strains are available in dispensaries all over California. You can search WoahStork to find Martyjuana at dispensaries in your area! The number of dispensaries carrying Martyjuana should increase as CA Weed Co. has just been selected to assist Marty with distribution. However, the best way to get introduced to Martyjuana is through a “Marty Party”.
The Marty Party experience
WoahStork had the pleasure of hosting a “Marty Party” where Marty MCed a private tasting. He shared everything from his methods to his thoughts on the future of the industry.
If you’d like to be invited to future Marty parties in Los Angeles, please be sure to join our mailing list at WoahStork.
Martyjuana is a true caregiver. If a patient is particularly fond of one of Marty’s products that he showcases at a Marty Party, he will reserve a whole plant for them. Trim and all.
As we ended our interview, Marty made it a point to proclaim that outdoor growing will always have its place and that done correctly, it can be a magical experience. Marty insists that anyone can grow, anywhere in the world, and within a short time frame so long as they follow the sun and moon cycle.
Marty’s passion for growing biodynamic cannabis comes from the right place. He was tired of western medicine not cutting it for his wife’s ailments. He decided to take matters into his own hands by growing his own cannabis. So inspired by what he learned, he opted to raise the community’s consciousness on cannabis instead of raising a family.
The Martyjuana outdoor, all natural growing system for biodynamic cannabis is unique from start to finish. It uses less water, less fertilizers, and no electricity — allowing the plants to maximize their natural potential. According to Marty, the feeling is that “less is more”.
Marty is in a camp of non-traditional farmers that grow outdoor cannabis, bucking the trends by using the above-described biodynamic methods. These strategies allow biodynamic farmers start later and finish earlier, if desired. Martyjuana is proven to be a high-grade quality product with lab tested moisture levels, absence of molds /mildews, presence of terpenes, and top scoring potency results.
We can’t emphasize enough the respect we have for growers who are in tune with the natural harmony that the cannabis plant has with its environment and eventual end user. While a majority of it cannot be seen with one’s eyes, the methods employed by biodynamic growers do have noticeable effects on the end product.
As The Beatles said, “The love you take is equal to the love you make”. The love, care, and dedication Martyjuana puts into his biodynamic cannabis products makes it an enamoring experience to partake in smoking them. While no formal scientific studies have explicitly denoted the benefits of biodynamic cannabis, the proof is in the pudding; there is something special about the subjective effects of smoking some Martyjuana. The love that Marty puts into his grow certainly comes out. Marty’s practice is one well worth pursuing and one that we hope does not go by the wayside with the explosion of commercial cannabis.