Tucked in a secluded valley of Southern Oregon, between luscious rolling hills and the winding back forest roads of Wolf Creek, lies the dare-I-say magical garden of Green Source.
After seeing a few images of their out-of-this-universe Pinkleberry, I knew this garden had to be shared with the world. Green Source Gardens was kind enough to invite me to their slice of paradise to share their beautiful garden and growing philosophies with the dedicated audience of Marijuana.com. Not only do they cultivate exotic and unique strains, but their cultivation practices are straight out of Mother Nature’s playbook.
As I pass through a wrought iron gate and climb up the driveway, I’m greeted by Nick and two excited heelers named Roots and Beans. Liz is holding big glass jars and heading toward the barn so I curiously tag along. Entering the barn, I’m suddenly immersed in a different world. Llamas twist their long necks around to get a glance at who walked in, goats start jumping off the walls, sheep start baaing — I am in heaven.
Liz wrangles one of the goats and begins to milk her. As Liz is retrieving her daily dose of fresh milk, she tells me about the role each animal plays in creating Green Source’s amazing ganja. It turns out, the byproducts of these animals are truly the only input that Nick and Liz use to feed their plants. Every two weeks, Liz sweeps up the barn filled with hay and a variety of potent droppings from their herd. This pile hot-composts for a couple weeks before it is moved into the chicken coop, where the chickens scratch through, eat bugs, add some extra fertilizer, and refine the compost. After the chickens have worked through the nearly-done compost, the pile hot-composts for another week and is then applied directly to the soil of their cannabis plants.
Manure is an excellent fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and other micronutrients but it’s important to compost manure first, hence the livestock assembly line Green Source has goin’. These animals allow Nick and Liz to grow nearly off-the-grid, the only outside input they bring onto their farm is the hay to feed their livestock. This beyond-organic approach has earned them certifications from Dragonfly Earth Medicine and Clean Green. As I remain amazed by this closed-loop system Nick and Liz have built, Nick pops his head through the window and alerts us “It’s time to harvest.”
Finally, it’s time to feast my eyes (and camera) upon the glorious Pinkleberry I’ve heard so much about! We hike up the mountain where Liz and Nick have carved out hugelkultur terraces to fill the entire hill with the sweet smell of ripening ganja — Pinkleberry is at the very top. We pass by terraces of aromatic Divine Wine, Rosebud, Space Bus, and GooTang as we hike higher up the mountain. It’s hard not to stop at every fragrant bud to bask in its glory, but we have our eyes on the prize: the Pinkleberry.
Pinkleberry was everything I’d imagined and more. Its luminescent magenta pistils radiate a pink aura around the bud, catching your eye from 50 feet away. The colors alone truly make this dazzling specimen appear as if it was dropped from an alternate universe. Deep purple buds covered in Pinkleberry’s illustrious magenta hairs makes some remarkable eye candy. Even standing right in its presence, I thought, “That must be Photoshopped….”
Not only is the Pinkleberry a serious looker, but she’s also not messing around with her yield either. Nick and Liz chop fat cola, after fat cola, and just when I think I’ve seen the largest one, they cut down an even bigger bud. Many strains offer spectacular-looking flowers but compromise with a lower yield and vice versa — but Pinkleberry is truly the best of both worlds for an outdoor cannabis farmer.
I skimmed past it earlier but you’re probably wondering what the hell is hugelkultur?! Hugelkultur beds are no-dig raised beds comprised of a buried log with native soil, organic material and composted manure all mounded on top. The decomposing wood releases long-lasting nutrients over many years — it’s the gift that keeps on giving. When Nick and Liz moved to this farm in December of 2015 (only 10 months prior), they were not only scrambling to get all the paperwork in order for their state recreational license, but they also had to build a farm from scratch in time for the approaching growing season, only six months away. And this is where Green Source’s impressive “trust in nature” really shines bright. Most farmers, especially the first year on a farm, will bring in soil (usually amended with micronized nutrients), but Green Source didn’t want to take the easy way out. They wanted to prove that pure nature performs best.
Nick says it perfectly, “Agriculture should not destroy land, which it’s been doing and still is doing. Everybody’s gardens who comes in with a machine to grade and then tries to kill all the life to start their own process is hurting the land. It’s like indoor growing, outside.” So Nick and Liz did not bring in any soil to their farm, instead, they foraged and gathered all their hugel-material from their 80-acre farm. They cut down trees from their forest for the base of their hugelkultur beds, they foraged for branches to create woodchips, and gathered pine needles and leaves from the forest floor to add native microorganisms. This is the kind of resourceful philosophy that Green Source lives and breathes. On top of being sustainable, it allows Nick and Liz to have the lowest overhead possible — very important for a small, family farm competing with big, commercial grows.
“All this carbon in the hugel-beds, this is what feeds our farm. It’s not the box of Cal-Mag that you buy, all that is in nature. People just figured out how to box it up for you. If you don’t know how to [grow]without that box, you’re dependent on that corporation … and we don’t want to be dependent. We want to show the world that you can do this without that stuff.” – Nick Luca-Mahmood
Green Source’s commitment to natural processes runs deep, Nick explains, “We don’t even use compost tea on our plants! We don’t mess with the canopy ecology, we believe there’s an ecology that forms in the canopy of any shrub layer that if you start going and changing the pH and messing with the chemical balance, it disrupts the natural processes.”
Nick and Liz met as vegetable farmers in Northern Arizona — back then, they had no idea their path would lead them to become one of the most renowned cannabis farms in Oregon. In 2011, Nick and Liz decided to move in with their friend in the Applegate Valley with nothing but a truckful of their chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Once they experienced growing in the perfect climate of Southern Oregon for the first time, they knew cannabis was going to be their future. Purchasing land outside of Jacksonville was their first step, and shortly after, they began farming organic, sungrown cannabis for the patients of Oregon. In 2015, they officially expanded to two farms — one dedicated to medical cannabis and one (that I visited) dedicated to recreational cannabis.
As more and more information comes to light about how damaging indoor cannabis cultivation is for our environment — 1% of energy usage in Colorado and Washington was from indoor cannabis operations — the trend is moving towards sustainable, sungrown cannabis. But not all sungrown cannabis is created equal, as mentioned previously, many outdoor growers still have that “indoor mentality.” Usage of bottled nutrients and boxed amendments doesn’t just stop at your cannabis plants, it spreads throughout the ecosystem, polluting and nitrifying watersheds, and rippling throughout the community. Green Source Gardens is leading the way in the sungrown arena with exotic cannabis varieties and exceptional organic cultivation processes.
If your mouth is drooling after all those Pinkleberry images, the good news is that Green Source is available to anyone 21 and over! So if you find yourself in Oregon and want to get your hands on some of this rare Pinkleberry, Green Source is carried all over the state from Southern Oregon, to the Coast, to Eugene, to Bend, and of course, Portland. Check out Weedmaps for the most up-to-date listings. Since this is Green Source Garden’s first production year on this new farm, Pinkleberry will be a very sought out commodity — Nick said best it himself, “If you’re lucky enough to find it, you better buy as much of it as you can because it might not be there tomorrow!”