While Crockett and his partner, Tubbs, utilize much of the natural terrain for their gardening, from the sun to the water, which naturally comes out of their artesian wells hovering around 250 ppm, with a 6.0 to 6.5 pH level, it’s misleading to consider their plants a full expression of Central Valley terroir.
For starters, they don’t grow them in the ground, but in 200-gallon Smart Pots using a medium familiar to most growers. For outdoors, Crockett uses a mixture of bat guano, earthworm castings, seabird guano, oyster shells and green sand, along with a blend of forest products and perlite sourced locally in the Sierras. Crockett will “tease” out the plants early in their development with simple fertilizers and then bring liquid fertilizers into the mix as they grow, favoring organic products such as Earth Juice and Roots Organic.
Cartel growers in the parks, on the other hand, routinely use nitrate- and phosphate-laden mineral fertilizers in bulk quantities, leaving the unused bags to leach into the soil and seep into the creeks; the ensuing environmental damage from these practices is well documented. Crockett refuses to use such products, and so should you.
For air circulation in their growrooms, Crockett and Tubbs have developed an airflow filtration system specially tailored to the hazards of growing in the mountains. Vents from outside move the air from an initial antechamber into a “lung room” where the temperature is regulated and pollen, pests and other impurities can be screened out before it enters the veg and flowering chambers. “In the summertime, I’ll bring my air in through the bottom [of the wall] and then, in the winter, vice versa. It gives me about a three- or four-degree swing when I flower during the days,” Tubbs points out. “It’s forced through the room, where it comes out on the top through a 10-inch max fan to kind of get a vortex working across the room, and then it pulls the air up and out.”
Crockett steers clear of LEDs, since he finds them unsuitable for larger grows. Instead, he favors Galaxy 1,000-watt digital ballasts with metal halide (MH) lighting for the veg room and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights for flowering. For pre-veg, Tubbs nurtures his fledgling buds in a small cabinet within his lung room. There, they sit on heating pads and feast on the light from a 400-watt MH lamp until the vegetative phase.
As for watering, Crockett’s outdoor mountain buds are hand-watered with 10 to 15 gallons per plant. (He’d love to give them 25, but water’s at a premium in the area.) On his own property, he uses two to three bubbler emitters on his plants, while Tubbs waters his indoors by hand using the lift method, checking the ppm in his runoff and then fertilizing accordingly.