WEDGEPORT, YARMOUTH COUNTY, NS - If you’re looking forward to growing cannabis plants of your own, but have never planted them before, a Wedgeport, Yarmouth County, company has developed a “super soil” for newbies . . . and pros too for that matter.
Next Gen Soil Kryptonite, produced by Growing Green Earthworm Castings, has been four years in the making, says owner Neil LeBlanc.
It contains over a dozen organic supplements, including worm castings (yes, worm poop) – a mainstay of the business from its beginning in 2011.
All you need to do to grow marijuana is add water . . . and the plant, of course.
“For the homeowner it’s a no-brainer,” said LeBlanc. “Why would you go to a store to buy all the ingredients and then try to mix them and try to figure out what to put in for fertilizer?”
Ingredients in Kryptonite include seaweed, kelp, salt rock dust, feather meal, alfalfa meal, crab meal, fossilized bone meal from Tunisia, perlite, peat moss, worm castings and coir from Sri Lanka.
Because the product is totally organic, LeBlanc says no “flushing” is required before harvest.
“In marijuana facilities, they flush with water to flush the chemicals out of the plants,” he said. “This is going to conserve a lot of water and that’s important today.”
The federal government’s new Cannabis Act will permit adults to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household (not per person), starting Oct. 17. Municipalities have been determining what their bylaws will allow.
ADVISOR & GROWER EXPERIENCE
Av Singh, a cannabis cultivation advisor based in Wolfville, worked with LeBlanc in the development of Kryptonite.
He says growers often have traditional knowledge and that they’re a little skeptical when they try a product that you just have to add water to.
“All we ask is that’s all they do for the first run. We know that it’s really difficult for experienced growers to just do that but what we want them to do is to understand the power of the soil and the plant,” he said.
He adds that he thinks there will be a phenomenal demand for the product.
David Murphy, a cannabis grower on the south shore, believes he was one of the first people to trial the product. This is his third year using it to grow marijuana. He’s spoken out in the past before about medical marijuana. About the Kryptonite he said, “I find it’s absolutely awesome. I love it and have very big, good quality plants.”
The first year he grew three plants in Kryptonite, last year and this year he grew 18 each year.
“The first year I was participating in the Overgrow movement out of some frustration as a cancer patient. I tried his soil with some of my crop and found it was way, way better than what I’d tried with my own mix and fertilizer,” he said.
“I really hope we can draw enough attention to the value of being organic and the fact that you can grow your own cannabis inside or outside on your own terms.”
In Wedgeport, Neil LeBlanc and his wife Shannon have grown their business significantly over the years. Part of their worm casting production is now mechanized, and they have one full-time employee.
Dozens of large boxes, each containing about 8,000 worms, fill one section of the facility. Gigantic bags of supplements and towers of peat are stored in another area.
Growing Green has been shipping worm castings as far away as Ontario to marijuana growers so they could make their own mix.
“Almost every recipe on how to grow marijuana asks for worm castings,” said Neil LeBlanc.
He touts the value of their product.
“There are some worm castings on the market but they’re not like ours by a long shot. I know of one facility where the owner’s business is buying worms. He has to house them in soil before he ships them out. So, his worms might live in soil for one or two nights, then he screens it out and calls it worm castings,” he said.
Both LeBlanc and his wife hold other jobs: he’s a lobster fisherman, she works part-time at post offices in the area.
“We’ve been asked by people about investing in our company and so far we’ve refused, but who knows what’s going to happen in the future. If we have to upscale quickly, we may have to,” he said.
LeBlanc has a new perspective on the plant that he’s designed Kryptonite for.
Last summer he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s disease. His last treatment was late March. During chemotherapy he struggled with tiredness and lack of appetite.
“I had never used marijuana in my life but with all the reports (supporting cannabis use for cancer) out there, I ended up contacting a grower that was growing in my Kryptonite soil, because I know what’s in it and he supplied me with oil.”
A change in eating habits and the cannabis oil supplements made his recovery much easier.
LeBlanc says the Next Gen line is the start of a new beginning – custom blends. They’re now working on a specialty blend for greenhouses.
Distribution of the Next Gen Soil Kryptonite is ramping up and the owners are adding more retailers.
So far the product is available at Scotts Nursery in Lincoln, N.B., Carl’s Store in Tusket and Dayton Fruit & Vegetable in Yarmouth. For an updated list, visit the Growing Green Earthworm Castings website.
The product will retail for $28.99-$34.99 for 1.5 cubic foot bag, depending on shipping costs to each store.