Interview with Justin Hancock, Southern Oregon Grower
Justin Hancock works at House of Leaves in Ashland, Oregon. He also runs his own grow and was able to answer our growing questions!
How does a Southern Oregon local grow?
Read what Justin said in his interview
My name is Justin Hancock. I’m a grower here in Southern Oregon; been growing for about 2 and a half years.
What size fabric pots are you using?
300 Gallon. My first year using the 300 gallons. I’m normally 100 gallon. And I decided to triple the size, hopefully triple the plant.
Have you attempted to move a full pot?
Uh, no. My pots are stationary. I’m just doing 48 this year, 72 the first year, 96 last year. But this year they’re stationary, they’re staying where they’re at, outside.
Are you planning on reusing your fabric pots?
The first two years that… The first year I grew I didn’t use pots, the second year I cut them all up just for easy demolition of the dirt itself because I didn’t want to reuse any of my dirt. I guess I would reuse them, they’re definitely great quality pots.
Are you using tan or black pots?
Black pots. I know that there’s some talk about the tan being better, the sun rays and things like that, but I haven’t looked into it scientifically at all. So just black.
What soil did you choose?
We had to go with Hilton Farms this year. I actually wanted a different company but they wouldn’t deliver to my house. Unfortunately the good dirt comes in totes and they’re specific on where they’re delivered to. So, I would’ve wanted better drainage but I’m working with what I got.
What nutrients do you use?
Age Old Bloom, because it’s about 60% organic. I used to use… uh… nah it doesn’t matter… but Age Old Grow and Bloom. And I use kelp, I like the PH balance that it brings in and it’s a nice BPM for vegetation.
When did you start growing?
I started growing with a friend of mine because he had 72 plants he needed watched. And I’d never grown before and I thought, “I like weed, why not grow it?”. And I did pretty good my first year. Everybody says they could do better but I definitely was happy. I learned how to do clones and things like that and just felt like I was really good at it. It’s really cool to watch a plant from clone or seed to finish. It’s amazing.
Do you do short term grows or long term grows?
I wish we did some light dep and some indoor, we are very behind on everything. We just do one harvest, just the October harvest unfortunately right now. Next year we’ll have several light deps, I believe, just we were to behind. It’s kinda sad.
Any other amendments?
No, I wish I was a little bit more organic in that way and really experienced scientifically what good bugs can do for bad bugs and what worms and this and that but I really haven’t put the science to growing yet and I wish that was more a part of what I’ve done. But I’ve really grown just kinda as well as I can with what I was working with. I’m experienced with what I’ve done and I don’t have a lot of outside experience so, definitely want to learn more about the natural way of doing things. It’s really beneficial, I’ve seen the results on other people’s farms.
What strains are you growing?
Well, four of the strains that I’m growing I was given to by a friend of mine. He gave me some cuttings and I just happened to grow them all into mothers and put them out in my field because they got so big. But I got incredible bulk, bubba kush, cinex, and then the strains that I like to grow the I’ve been growing for two years now, is trinity, and blue city diesel. A new one to me is headband that I’m growing, lemon diesel, and pineapple express, and master kush. I just have the two, I have one pineapple and one master. I would’ve liked to do more but it’s… we’re going to see what they do this year and I’ll pick the strains that I grow. I don’t like the too much variety. Realistically it’s good to have a couple strains and just grow them well instead of having several varieties and having okay this and okay that. I just want the best. It’s important to me.
What do you do about the Oregon hills?
Nothing man, I’ve tried.. where we grow is the flattest land possible. We don’t really mess around with the hills and things like that. A lot of growing is location. You have to set up the right location or your plants are going to yield 40% less, 60% less. You have to maximize your opportunity or you’re never going to maximize your potential.
Is transplanting part of your growing process?
Do I transplant? Yes, of course. I believe taking cuttings of plants is important. Unfortunately, taking care of the cuttings is another thing that you forget about because you have your field. A lot of people forget that everything needs its own divided attention, whether it’s changing the water in the cloning box or PHing the water or actually making sure the water temperature is right because all that depends if your cutting is actually going to grow. And unfortunately I have not had enough competence to have successful cuttings and grow weed at the same time. Because by the time the cuttings are ready to go into pots I have to take out the weed to dry it. You need a big facility, it’s really important to either have a big facility for cuttings or to have something consistent. Once you have any invariable in your situation, it’s really going to mess up your outcome. Everything has to be done the same every single time if you want positive results.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years?
Billions. I honestly think everything is going to be cannabis. We are going to have soccer teams sponsored by dispensaries, we’re going to have busses with big-ass pot leaves on the side of them because it’s going to be decriminalized eventually and I realistically believe it is the thing of the future. Whether it’s clothes from hemp, or paper and they stop cutting down these damn trees. I really believe in the cannabis industry and I hope that we’re 5 steps ahead of everyone. Everybody smokes pot, we’ll probably be a couple steps behind but it’s going to be a thing of the future, man. I’m definitely sure of that.
What motivates you as a grower?
Money. I was actually really tight on cash and I just had a daughter and the weed industry was definitely booming. Like I said my friend brought me into this to take care of some of his plants and I knew once the patients were taking care of that the profit was mine after I finished taking care of everything. I saw the numbers, productively growing pot is a very profitable thing. Done right. Growing pot and not doing it right is a very… very much a waste of your money. Anybody can grow spider mites and powdery mildew. Actually, you can grow them really well because you don’t have to try hard.
Do you have any advice for beginning growers?
Ask questions. Don’t assume anything. No matter how many years you’ve been growing or how many things you’ve grown, marijuana’s different. Everyone will tell you that it’s a weed a you just stick it in the ground and it’ll grow. You’re right, it will grow. Will it grow the best weed? Never. Will it grow good weed? Never. I believe that asking questions is more than important in this cannabis industry. When your plants start to wilt, when you have a discoloration, when there’s browning on the tips of the leaves, when you have yellow on the tips of the leaves, what does all this stuff mean? Well, the more questions you ask, literally you are setting yourself up for success. The more that you keep to yourself, the more that you’re guessing about, well you’re guessing if you’re going to have a good harvest or not. The more confident you are, the more confident your plant will be.