When Buzz Pinkham’s wife found relief in cannabis during her battle with breast cancer, Pinkham applied his 40 years of horticulture experience to growing medical marijuana and immediately liked the results of using PittMoss soil mixes.
Pinkham, who holds a degree in plant and soil science from the University of Maine, discovered PittMoss’ products at an industry trade show, and was drawn to the sustainability of using recycled paper in growing media. He also suspected the living soil mixes would allow cannabis plants to better express their cannabinoid and terpene profiles as compared to artificial mixes.
Pinkham operates Pinkhams Plantation Garden and Landscape Center, 12,000 square feet of greenhouse growing space in Damariscotta, Maine. The company grows about 1,000 square feet of cannabis outdoors, as well as 1,400 square feet indoors. Pinkham began incorporating PittMoss growing media into 25 percent to 50 percent of his soil mix, and saw it helped with water management.
“It’s hydrophilic [water-loving] instead of hydrophobic, like many of your peat mixes,” he says. “So, watering is such a joy. You put water on it, and it just soaks it up like a sponge.”
With peat-based mixes, the Smart Pots in Pinkham’s outdoor grow would quickly dry out, he says. “With PittMoss, with the initial watering, it seemed that it held a lot more water, yet it maintained aeration, which allowed great root development. So, it seemed to be a great match for the pots in that it just didn’t dry out as fast.”
Pinkham also uses different PittMoss blends in his greenhouse space, as well as his indoor cannabis grow.
“It seems to have a lot of benefits, and I’m just trying to find how to apply it to my situation,” he says. “Everybody grows differently ... but for somebody looking to tweak their mix, I think the water benefits are great.”
If a plant does begin to wilt, Pinkham adds, PittMoss seems to reduce the permanent wilting point. If he puts water on a wilting plant growing in PittMoss soil, it bounces back, whereas it may not recover with other mixes.
Although PittMoss products may be more expensive than some other soil mixes, their benefits continue to pay dividends throughout the growing cycle through improved water management, rooting and overall performance, Pinkham says. Lab testing on the company’s plants have also shown fuller cannabinoid and terpene profiles, he adds.
“It allows biology to take place in the soil, to a great extent, to allow those things to happen,” Pinkham says.
And while his background in plant and soil science has always left him wanting more out of his growing medium, Pinkham has finally found effective soil mixes in PittMoss.
“I think being a soil geek or knowing about soil is almost a detriment because I’m never really satisfied. I’m always looking to cope with what I have,” he says. “I’ve found PittMoss, and that’s been exciting using it and seeing what it can do.”