Here's the transcript from the 1st of a 3 part series with the man himself. Coot talks about how to make a good worm bin for vermicomposting, his enzyme breakthrough with malted barley and why he no longer sprouts seeds. Transcript Tad: Welcome to the Cannabis Cultivation and Science podcast, I'm your host Tad Hussey of KIS Organics. This is the podcast where we discuss the cutting edge of organic growing from a science based perspective and draw on top experts from around the industry to share their wisdom and knowledge. Our guest today is gone by the online name of Clackamas Coot on such forums as IC Mag and Lumperdawgz on Grass City, he's an organic grower and gardener who has helped many people in improving the way they garden and move away from bottled nutrients. He is most famous for his ‘neem, crab, kelp and soil mix’ which many people know as the ‘Coot Mix’ which he shares freely and the sprouted seed enzyme teas he makes using barley. I met Coot eight or nine years ago when he came to one of my talks in Portland on compost teas. We became friends and I have to attribute a lot of credit to him in regards to our soil mixes and nutrient packs. He's been a good friend and mentor and helped me improve my gardens over the past decade. Well, before we start I wanted to find out, did you want to go by Jim or Clackamas Coot? Jim: Jim, yeah I don't care. I mean more people know me as Coot unfortunately so, that's my fault though. Tad: [Chuckles] You're not hiding anymore, your identity? Jim: No, I never was. I just - I got tired of Instagram and the silliness, I mean I thought forums were bad but they don't hold a candle to social media. I mean this is a whole, you know. Tad: Sure. Jim: I just, you know - hey look, I never made myself a big deal. All I ever did was pass out information about how people could the soil better, okay? I mean I'm not selling anything. They say everything is in a bottle, everything is proprietary, I don't know. Just, I'm disgusted with the whole thing. So anyway I take it that obviously given your type of business, you know the teas and biology and what have you, microbiology, did you ever run a test on the Mammoth – what’s the name, Mammoth microbes? But here is what got me Tad… Tad: I did, after we’re done, check out our blog. It’s my latest blog post, was I took it, I looked at it in the scope, I added different ingredients as food sources because one of the claims that one of their sales guys - probably the guy you saw, I don't remember the guy's name but he said that microbes are in a dormant state, they’re not - or they’re past their reproductive states, which wasn't something that I was even familiar with, I talked to Tim Wilson he said there was possibility but he doubted it, anyway I talked to Colin Bell the founder, real smart guy. I like Colin a lot actually I have to say, we had a really good conversation and from talking to him, I asked him straight up, I'm like can I put this in the compost tea, are they aerobic microorganisms, if I add a food source what will happen, and he said yeah you can probably reproduce them in a brew, so I just tested it out, posted all the microscope video of it and let people draw their own conclusions. Jim: Yeah, I know. Tad: So have you been up to any dispensaries since cannabis was legalized in Oregon? Jim: If you want it, well you’ve got to grow it yourself. It's just like tomatoes; you can't find a good tomato, can you in this country? Because it's been decimated by hybrids, these production numbers and the way they have to pick it, they pick them green, and they run ethylene gas inside the trailers in transit so that when they arrive at the produce warehouses they spend less time in the ripening room which are injected with ethylene gas, just like bananas but they also do avocados, they bring the color on and once they get color Tad, that's it. They’re done. Get them out to the store because the consumer, all they want to see is color. They don't care what it tastes like, they don't care about anything. But if you want to get tomato you’ve got to grow it on your own, right? Tad: Yeah. Jim: There you go. Tad: We go we grow our own every year. Every year I always plant at least three new varieties. Jim: Exactly. Tad: This year I have one Japanese Trifele, I’ve never grown before, it's a potato leaf shape. Jim: Cool. It’s the same thing with cannabis and it’s the same thing in anything. I've been baking bread now for 20 years. I did 6 months at The Baking Institute of San Francisco, it was 6 months long and the last and then 3 weeks in France working as a slave laborer really, in bakeries. Well what an opportunity, right? And then my daughter – anyway, real life stuff happened and I was unable - because my plans were to open a bakery over on the coast but it didn't happen. But I still have the skills so I do all my own baking and I promise you unless you go to an artisan bakery and are willing to pay $7 to $8 dollars for a loaf of bread, you're not going to get that quality that you can make in your home. You want to talk about worm castings? That's what I'd like to talk about because that's what I really got going. Tad: Sure. We can start off talking about worm castings, that’d be great. Jim: Okay. Because Doug gave me a yard and I split it with Kool Kush, a yard of black leaf mold, talk about carbon. Do you imagine what this is going to be like when it's finished? A hundred gallons of premium worm castings which will probably last me 2 years. You know and I'm like the smallish grower you've ever met believe me. Alright well worm castings is my hot burn because I really - I've been studying Edwards Vermiculture book and other writings by Rhonda Sherman and Yasmin Cardoza relative to not only the disease suppression benefits but it was Yasmin Cardoza four years ago, the insects suppression properties of quality vermicompost. Jim: Alright, let's go. Jim: Let's do vermicomposting because I’ve got some really exciting news relative to neem and barley in the bedding. Tad: Okay, I'd love to cover more of those things and then the other thing I've been arguing with people about recently is - I got ripped up online for posting about how composted forest products, forest humus, all of those things are just code for sawdust. Jim: For sure. Tad: And that they are lower quality ingredients, guys jumped on me saying no way, peat’s unsustainable, it's way worse, these forest products are great and I’m like; no they're not. Yeah there's nothing wrong with leaf mold. Jim: They’re not great. Tad: But then so they're like why not use… Jim: This isn't leaf mold. Tad: No and that’s the whole thing, like – they’re like use leaf mold, use forest duff, and I'm like well those are not commercially available sustainable options. Peat’s the best we have you know and I'm not saying it's perfect but they - you know, use hemp fiber. Well, come on guys this isn't commercially available you know, like it was killing me so I might want to ask you about that a little bit too just to kind of, you know. Jim: Sure because the arguments - before we start, the arguments are based on the political and economic issues in the British Isles because to this day in the countryside the majority of homes are heated and their cooking heat is peat moss. Well the Brits want it for gardening and the Irish are saying no, we need this. This is like you want to take our oil. Okay, so if you want to not to use peat then you need to bring in the infrastructure and bring in natural gas or something into our homes, what do you want us to do? And here's another one you - are you a scotch drinker? Tad: Yeah. Jim: Okay so you've heard the term “Smoky”? Tad: Oh, yeah. Jim: Okay well that comes from peat moss because when they cook the malt or the wart, whatever it's called, there’s sort of a heat. Tad: Oh yeah, you can tell it, there’s some really peaty ones out there, yeah. Jim: Right. And so – so Scotland and Ireland basically tell the Brits to go screw themselves so they bring these arguments that are legitimate in the British Isles because it's politics, right? It's hubris and it's economics but to bring that to the Canadian deal that's tightly controlled by the CCSPM and the industry. Tad: There's a lot of propaganda out there from the coco industry now, you know. Jim: It's not even the same thing, oh of course it is. They screw themselves here in Oregon and California in the nursery industry 20 years ago so where did they turn? They turned to the weed growers but it was a disaster because it's not plant material. Yes it comes from a plant, if you like the same thing as saying well, yeah these are dandelion petals, cute. How long did that take you, you know to assimilate? Tad: Yeah it's a little crazy. So yeah - Jim: It's tightly monitored with - you know, they have adults in Canada running things and so if the orders… Sun Gro harvesst more than all their competitors combined, the numbers from - last year from CCSPM, that's a Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss - oh, CSPMA, I'm sorry, Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association, okay. Sun Gro harvested 54% of all the peat that was allowed to be harvested but if Sun Gro got big orders, they can't just go hey we're going to pull another 50 truck loads, the amount that you're allowed to harvest is set, you're done. Like last year when Alaska Peat ran out before the buyout from Aurora Innovations, because on the bales, 3.8 bales like you and I use, or have used, whatever, those are cut and wrapped at site. They're not processed. Now the stuff that is bagged, we’ll talk about it cause that is dried in a kiln, they call it sterilization so it kill the microbes, then you bring it down to big plants like the one in Woodburn, it's ground to a consistent size and now it's hit with steam, why? Well you’ve got to get it wet again because when the customer opens the bag they’re going to say; Oh God, look how fresh this is. Not really but - so it's been sterilized in an oven in kiln… Tad: You're talking about the stuff used for cloning or you’re talking about smaller than a 3.8 bale? Jim: Yeah, the stuff that goes in the bag stuff like Sunshine Mix. Tad: Oh, okay. I've never gone smaller than a 3.8-Cubic Foot Bale. Jim: Oh yeah, right so when you buy a bag of any of those other – unless they say peat moss on them, well that's like saying flowers and what the kids call mids - you know the shake, it ain't the good stuff. So what would - the big one is peat moss is acidic, why don't you talk about Sphagnum Peat Moss? Oh well it's not acidic, right? So don't use peat moss, use Sphagnum Peat Moss, I mean, I don't know. Tad: It's a little acidic, it’s not as acidic as I think people claim but the nice thing about that acidity is it allows us to add calcium to get us back up to the levels that we’re wan whereas with coco… Jim: Okay do we need to talk about castings because castings are literally coated….