Cannabis Business Times presents an inside look at the tools and habits behind Sweet Dirt's Cultivation Operations.

Sweet Dirt Hughes Pope

In this installment, Sweet Dirt founder and head grower, Hughes Pope, talks about the companies origins, lessons learned, favorite cannabis cultivation tools and technologies, and what keeps him up at night.

Below is an excerpt from the interview where Hughes shares his thoughts on cultivation techniques:

What cultivation technique are you most interested in right now, and what are you actively studying (the most)?

The foundation of our cultivation model is our soil. We use only verified organic inputs to create our proprietary “living soil.” The result is soil rich in beneficial bacteria and other constituents [that] allow us to grow the highest quality, organically grown cannabis—with less environmental impact. Studies have shown that conventional fertilizers are detrimental to all life, including the beneficial microorganisms that are a natural part of soil. Furthermore, up to 5% of the total annual yield of natural gas is consumed in the production of such conventional fertilizers. This results in depleted soil, toxic runoff, and reduced viability and yield of conventional cultivation.

Growing in living soil is not easy, but it set us apart and has earned us the “certified clean cannabis” moniker from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. There are a handful of Maine cultivators certified clean in medical cannabis, but we are the only Maine adult-use cultivator to be certified clean.

We are always learning when it comes to cultivation—forever optimizing quality control and plant health to ensure highest quality without compromising what is best for the plant. Of particular interest to us right now is the relationship between the root zone temperature to natural fertilizer input (in the winter, the plants metabolize much slower, so they do not need as much fertilizer, whereas in the summer, when the plants benefit from more natural sunlight and warmth, they require more fertilizer). In other words, less input to get the same output. This is classic winter farming, and for this knowledge, we mostly turn to older greenhouse cultivation texts and books.

Read the full interview here.