IN THE BEGINNING:
High to all my homeskillets out there! Let me start out by saying, that in a nutshell, I am a Socratic Heretic by nature. What I mean by that is, that, like Socrates, I have the wisdom of knowing that I actually know hardly anything, compared to everything. Truth, for all of us, I believe. Knowing that, accelerates learning; just think about it. The heretic part is simple, basically I openly defy conventional thinking fairly often and blaze my own path. My new book, True Living Organics 2nd Edition for container growers, can teach you much, if you allow it to do so. You can get it on Amazon! Yay! Okay, glad to “meet” ya, and on with the show…
Let’s start at the beginning. For those of you that don’t know me … My growing roots are really due to my parents diverse growing styles, each very good at their own. My mother, an avid organics grower would produce gorgeous veggies and lots of them, mostly amending the soil with dry additives such as bone meal and blood meal. She rinsed kelp from the sea to later use in her gardens. She also always had some fish emulsion she used very lightly. She never let fish scraps go to waste either. She composted coffee grounds for her blueberries and certain indoor plants.
My father was the other end of the spectrum completely, full-pull synthetics and hydroponics; way-way before most peeps even knew what hydroponics were. There were no hydro-nutrients, or systems, or indoor grow lighting worth a damn for that matter. He did use HO (high output) florescent lights experimenting with hydro indoor. But he ran them outdoors mostly, and in sheds that had patio-style translucent roofing. These memories of my mother and father would have been around 1972ish, when I was around 12 years old.
My nickname of “The Rev” was given to me via “The Pineapple Mafia” out of Mendocino County around 1979ish for solving a simple problem of pH too high (we called it “saltyness” back then) by using apple cider vinegar. After I fixed that for them they started calling me The Reverend, which turned into Rev; and it just caught on like these things do. My nickname is in no way affiliated with religion, FYI.
I was decently skilled in not only designing & building hydro systems (old school trough systems) but also growing hydro-style using old synthetic crystalized Peter’s 20-20-20 and dissolving it into the reservoir, using a small water pump to keep it circulating. This was by the time I was 15 or 16 years old. I used the same kind of sheds with translucent roofing my father had used. After the trough systems, I went to ABS 4” systems using homemade net-pots with pumice stones as a medium. It was a hybrid system, both fill-and-drain, and shallow-water-culture (SWC). I got really-really good at it; if I do say so myself. This was right around the time a friend of mine took me to Mendocino County, California, to meet a couple killer growers and to buy a bunch of cannabis, and some seeds; of course.
I have gone by other nicknames in my growing/dealing profession besides Rev, like, “Finnegan”, and “Batman”. Batman was given to me, not like the superhero, but because I could grow baseball bat sized buds from clones that others couldn’t pull off.
These Northern California guys tripped out on my hydroponics knowledge and we instantly bonded, since I wanted to know all about growing cannabis, and they wanted to know all about growing cannabis using hydroponics; it was a match made in heaven, so to speak. Turned out these guys grew with some serious breeders who were even more interested in hydroponics. Even better, I shortly found out these guys were hooked up with pro surfers who would bring back outstanding cannabis seeds from very exotic locations around the world, like South Africa, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, etc. The surfers got their cannabis at extremely discounted prices from the Northern California guys, to say the least. But it opened my eyes big-time to the major diversity out there regarding cannabis genetics and the logistics of breeding cannabis genetics, at a very early age, around 1975ish.
The Fall of Northern California; according to Rev… When I say fall, what I really mean is the “fall of The Garden of Eden”. Many of the guys I grew with in Mendo, had gone to high school with the local Mendo sheriff, so suffice it to say things were extremely cool. What happened was a bunch of people with a lot of money came to Northern California to start growing. They were flamboyant to the max, and didn’t actually have many real skills. They soon brought down too much public outcry due to their fully armed, highly visible escapades in growing large scale B-grade cannabis outdoors. Other counties adjacent suffered the same. Full stop.
I grew with these guys for several years, in Northern California, I mostly kept to Fort Bragg, Albion, and Laytonville; and, I know where The Blowhole is, and I knew the “Three Druids” that grew organically in the Pygmy Forest using pine needle compost to counter the high pH soil. I have been to The Seagull Cellar Bar and Augustino’s, many times. After that I took many of the genetics back to Southern California with me to continue my passion for growing, and now also breeding cannabis. I was around 20 years old at this juncture. I was in possession of true Panama Red, true Big Sur Hollyweed, true KGB (Killer Green Bud) pure Afghanistan Hashplant, real deal Durban Poison, Columbian, Central and South American, and Mexican wonders, as well.
Many of the badass Northern California growers and breeders migrated to Southern California around that same time or shortly thereafter. Between Los Angeles and San Diego, California, the influx was significant; it makes perfect sense once you understand photoperiods and elite genetics. Southern California is a sweet spot for growing, to be sure, pretty close to perfection.
Once back in Southern California, I grew in many locations near San Diego, CA, where I was born. Places like Fallbrook (in the forest of elves), Del Mar, Vista, Pine Valley, and Jamul; to name some of them. I was indoor/outdoor by this time in a big way, and we used to actually steal those high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights for growing lights before there actually were any real growing lights. We grew a lot of Mango, Cat Piss, NL #2, and NL #5 and for our personal plants, we grew a lot of Thai, Cat Piss, and Durban Poison, and their hybrids we made.
The only real jobs I have had in my life, like Master Baker, and Repo Man, I got because I was on probation/parole from getting caught for growing/slinging cannabis (it happened a few times in my life); and, even during those times I would be in limited partnerships with friend’s grow-ops, on the down-low. So, it’s really all I have ever done, for the last 45 years plus.
I diversified for a time, selling not only my grown beauties but hashish and coke—I know, I’m bad. I had an outstanding hash (Red Hashish) connection out of Jamaica, via Tijuana, Mexico. My coke connect was out of Hawaii, unconventional, but high quality & highly profitable. But I have always been mostly about cannabis growing, and if I am not growing cannabis, there is something very wrong with my whole world.
My favorite 4 movies: The Big Lebowski, The 5th Element, My Blue Heaven (with Steve Martin), and perhaps my all-time favorite, Little Big Man.
I became “Truly Organic” about a decade ago, about the same time I went to work for SKUNK Magazine, and became the Cultivation Editor. I founded KOS (Kingdom Organic Seeds) early in the ‘90’s under the name Magick Kingdom, which I changed to Kingdom Organic Seeds 3 or 4 years in. My whole working genepool of cannabis has been mostly in a “closed off” state for the last decade, as I have cannabis wonders from around the world and old school breeds I have collected over the years. Good diversity, and I am what I like to call, an artisan breeder of cannabis. I’m not big, I’m just the right size; and, as an old guy running the whole breeding show with limited space (you need some room to really breed well) it’s a lot of work for me now. I am not only old, but have old damages and my health sucks in general from being a party maniac in my 20’s—30’s and eating crappy for the most part, before I knew what real food actually was. Thank you TLO 😊
I’m not actually anti-social, but I am definitely not gregarious, which defined means social. I prefer to think of myself as “socially adjacent”. I am as picky with my friends as I am with my cannabis. Those of you that know me, know I am an out and proud cannabis snob; and rightly so, in my opinion. “Peopley” events are tough if you’re me, and I stay a “ghost” even and especially in my own hood. Sometimes I go to a local pub or coffee house to write and hang out, and I go watch a movie now and then. I love getting baked bigtime and riding my bicycle, in what I call “Urban Assault” which is just basically covering about 20 miles in a day riding from pub to pub randomly getting peeps baked and catching a good buzz.
Also about a decade ago I launched True Living Organics; now, make no mistake, this style of growing is not for everyone, you basically have to be of a “Druid Mindset” to start with. Basically, you recycle everything and avoid “shiny things” like the newest latest liquid fertilizer in fancy bottles. Mostly it’s about building a kick-ass soil base via recycling your soil, roots, extraneous plant matter etc. to allow your microlife to evolve into your particular environment. It really allows Mother Nature to be in charge, it’s how things work on this planet, in the universe, and in TLO growing. Amazing results for real. Playing into and leveraging the strengths of Mother Nature, is what it is all about.
Couple of my (Rev’s) favorite songs that speak to me: by Papa Roach, titled: Not Listening and by John Butler, Used to Get High. Check them out and you’ll feel me—wink.
The thing that amuses me these days is when people attempt to grow using TLO style, and are not successful due to their lack of understanding of the dynamic. It’s easy to say TLO doesn’t work, protecting your own ego, I mean… “It can’t be your fault, you are infallible”. We are all imperfect, learn from your mistakes my friends, you will become truly wise along this path. The majority of people learning TLO style all-natural (Supernatural, literally) growing, are wickedly successful at it. TLO will attempt to change your whole life, not just your organic growing practices. You will be required to eat better, real foods, so you have a diverse input of “kitchen scraps” to compost. Things like, cantaloupe rinds, broccoli stumps, potato skins, banana peels…etc. I often conflate the word “Druid” with a skilled TLO grower, and with good reason too. It is a salute to Mother Nature in the biggest way—nothing goes to waste.
Yep, I like pineapple on my pizza; and I have consumed at least ½ gallon of milk almost every day of my life since I was like 10 years old. Yes, I am also a milk snob, lol.
I hope you all have been enlightened and entertained by the dork, that is me. Being almost 60 years old at the time of this writing, I have learned a few things. I have lived along Oregon’s southern coast now for the last 12 years or so, and I love it. San Diego just got too weird for me, super crowded, but I sure do miss the killer outdoor growing environment. If you want to try growing TLO style, and the thought of just adding good water and recycling everything, including your soil, makes you smile, then follow my lead in the book and do it my way first; then after you get your feet wet you will understand yourselves how to customize TLO to your own particular growing environment. Supernatural rewards! L8r G8rs.
A FEW HOOK-UPS FOR YOU:
- Rev on Facebook: Michael Paige
- Rev’s latest TLO book (2nd Edition) on Amazon: http://a.co/462YNMX
- Rev’s TLO Facebook page: True Living Organics
- KOS on Facebook page: Kingdom Organic Seeds
- KOS seedbank online: http://kingdomorganicseeds.com
- KOS on Twitter: @KingdomOrganic for the quickest updates regarding new releases
- Rev’s email: [email protected] or [email protected]
- SKUNK Magazine: http://skunkmagazine.com