Know Your Grow: Hazy Dayz

November 11 Jake Irl Park, M.S.

There is no shortage of marijuana-related information on the Internet. Good information, however, is increasingly difficult to find. Looking for information on what’s in your pipe? Good luck with that.

We are not satisfied by labels, or websites, or crappy Instagram stories. We want to be on the ground, meet the people, and see the equipment. This is the first installment of the “Know Your Grow” series.

First stop? Hazy Dayz.

As we pulled up to Hazy Dayz, owners Dan and Isaac were in the unrelenting sun prepping a fresh batch of Cherry Pie clones. Their grow is adjacent to a small pond in rural Choctaw, a location ripe with humidity and sunshine.

Dan, a tall, stocky, and gregarious fellow, has an infectious passion for the industry. He’s a tinkerer at heart whose love for experimentation translates well into his growing endeavors.

Isaac, a soft-spoken family man and budding expert on all things marijuana, knows an opportunity when he sees it. With their grow operation within walking distance of his home, he’s been able to dedicate his life to the business.

We were first shown to the flowering room, a repurposed shipping container equipped to handle roughly 40 large plants. Because different strains of cannabis react differently to varied environmental conditions, they prefer not to flower more than two strains at any given time.

Dan explained that they use organic, living soil for all their flowering plants. This offers unique advantages over other growing mediums. Composted, living soil simulates an exaggerated ‘natural’ environment, which means you don’t have to worry much about the Ph of your water, no synthetic nutrients, drainage is not an issue, and you can reuse the soil with proper amendments.

I immediately noticed some extracurricular vegetation growing out of the large, fabric pots that housed their cannabis plants. To create and maintain that ideal ecosystem, they grow a “cover crop” of 50% crimson clover, 25% hairy vetch, and 25% buckwheat, and clover alongside their flowering plants. This growth helps to “mine” nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them up to the surface.

Earthworms also aid in breaking down the nutrients within the soil, and their castings provide an additional source of nutrients.

Their current setup is a far cry from the original. At the outset, Hazy Dayz was a hydroponics grower. They utilized a Deep-Water Culture (DWC) setup for both the vegetative and flowering phases, but later switched to soil.

Dan stated that hydroponic setups are ideal for speedy vegetative growth, but the opportunity cost in maintaining them started to outweigh the advantages. By the looks of these buds, I can’t say they made the wrong decision.

There is no single, correct way to grow cannabis, and growers like Dan and Isaac are constantly adapting. Their willingness to adjust their equipment and procedures to ensure a high-quality product is remarkable. Dan explained that they started with “blurple’ LED lights, a relatively new technology for the world of cannabis. They do not produce as much heat, which is a significant advantage over some of the alternatives. They also tend to be cheaper, last a great deal longer, and are very easy to set up.

They were producing exceptional flower with these lights, to which I can attest. That’s what made this statement from Dan particularly surprising:

“We liked [the lights], but when we started traveling to some of the dispensaries, we thought “Oh mannnnnn, we can do better.” So, we made some changes.”

They were not content with being just better than average, even if that meant rethinking their entire approach. They wanted to be the best, and they’re getting close.

Now, Dan and Isaac use “COB” lights, or “chip on board.” These little guys put out some serious heat. Each unit has a fan affixed to it, and a single LED lamp underneath. They implemented the COB lights for all of their plants, including the clones, the “veg” room, and in the flowering room.

After the flowering room, we were shown to the “veg” room, or the room where plants are kept in their vegetative state. For those unfamiliar, it’s vital to separate plants in their vegetative phase from those in their flowering phase because (most) cannabis plants switch phases based on the light cycle. That is, a photoperiod strain of cannabis can be kept in its vegetative phase in perpetuity if it gets light for more than 14 hours per day. In the “veg” room pictured below, the COB lights are on an “18 on, 6 off” light cycle.

The large plant in the back-right corner is Hazy Dayz’s “Slurricane” mother. This plant is never put into a flowering phase. A clipping can be taken from the mother, rooted, then grown into an exact genetic "clone” of its mother.

We were later led to their outdoor grow. Growing marijuana outdoors in the Sooner State can be a precarious process. Most strains of cannabis prefer a warmer climate, and consistency is key. As you well know, Oklahoma’s weather can be moody. Further, when a cannabis plant begins to flower, the flowers swell significantly and retain a lot of moisture. If the climate is too humid or wet, growers are subject to the horrors of bud rot. Hazy Dayz’s outdoor plants are situated near a tree line where the wind is concentrated and keeps the buds dry.

They use the same soil as they do for their indoor plants: composted and amended living soil. To combat ravenous caterpillars and other weed-hungry pests, natural products like neem oil work great. Many growers also employ hordes of ladybugs to guard their crop.

After the tour, we sat down and talked to Dan and Isaac to learn more about them and their operation. The two of them got into the game at ground zero. Just weeks after Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana, they acquired a commercial license to grow. Without the resources of an established grow operation in another legal state, Dan and Isaac started from scratch.

They remarked at how open the industry was at the beginning of state legalization. It was a true Green Rush. There was very little regulation, lax residency requirements, and a slew of competition.

Given Oklahoma’s late entry into the cannabis industry in the states, I asked what they thought about Oklahoma’s prospects once nationwide legalization rolls around. Dan noted that a state like California has profound advantages over Oklahoma when it comes to cannabis production. Their consistent climate allows California growers to cultivate outdoor cannabis flower that rivals many indoor, highly-controlled and automated (i.e., expensive) grow operations.

“I grew in California for a little while,” Dan said. “They’re growing extremely consistent, top notch flower. Lots of it. Their output is crazy high. I [don’t think] Oklahoma can compete with that.”

I asked him if he thought the regulations in states like California or Colorado might impede their ability to compete on a national scale. As I’ve said before , I think Oklahoma’s relatively laissez faire approach to the cannabis industry puts us in a unique position.

“That’s true,” he said. “In Washington they can’t even weight the flower in front of the customer. Everything is pre-packaged. You can’t even smell the product before you get it. Oklahoma isn’t like that, yet.”

I later asked them what they thought sets Hazy Dayz apart from the other growers in the state.

“We grow small-batch, craft cannabis.” Isaac said.

Dan followed up, “I love smoking weed, and I want to grow marijuana that I’d be happy smoking. There are a lot of good growers in the state, and there are a lot that are just looking to make a buck. We want to grow the good stuff.”

He added, “We also love experimenting and changing our grow to see what works and what doesn’t. We’re planning on a pheno hunt soon, and I’ve got some plans for the empty room upstairs to see if we can selectively tease out different phenotypes.”

It was clear both of these men loved what they do, and that quality is always on their mind. Growing marijuana is not a complex task. Growing consistent, best-in-class marijuana, on the other hand, is an enormous undertaking, and that’s precisely Hazy Dayz’s aim.

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