Dear Stoner: I was at my neighborhood “gardening” store recently and noticed an ingredient I was not familiar with: bat guano. What is that?
L.L. Pot Seed

Dear L.L.: The answer is poop. Bat poop, specifically. While bats may be disease-carrying flying rats with poor eyesight, their excrement is like the superpoop of the animal-poop world. Not only can it be used to make gunpowder due to its high nitrogen content, but it can also grow super-tasty, fat, ripe buds. For organic growers who are trying hard to steer clear of heavy metals and petrochemicals in their buds, guano is the choice. Guano is relatively naturally balanced, with appropriate levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — three key elements for growing that good growers keep tabs on at all times. Interestingly, guano from different regions of the world has different nutritional qualities based on the diet of the bats. For example, growers will use Mexican bat guano high in nitrogen for the veg cycle and bat guano from Pacific island countries for flowering. It’s also easy to work with: Simply dissolve the poop in hot water, let it cool, then feed it to your little ladies as recommended on the container. Some (including this stoner) would go so far as to say that bat guano is the best fertilizer to use, as it’s natural and doesn’t leave behind any chem-y flavors in the bud if flushed properly.

Just a bat hanging in your garden; Credit: Soren Wolf/Flickr

Just a bat hanging in your garden; Credit: Soren Wolf/Flickr

Dear Stoner: I know what organic growing is, but what is “veganic” growing?
Curious Cultivator

Dear Curious:
Veganic growing is the process of chopping up a vegan to feed your plants, Little Shop of Horrors style. Feed me, Seymour!

Seriously, veganic growing is growing your cannabis without using any nutrients derived from animals or chemically derived minerals. Organic growers tend to rely on things like bat guano and emulsified fish guts as a source of nutrients; veganic growers shun things like that, using only nutrients derived from plants, such as fermented leaves. While some do it for philosophical reasons, most veganic growers we know are meat eaters who just want better-quality cannabis. The idea is that the microbes in the soil break down the vegan nutrients and deliver them to the plant more easily than they would with animal-based nutrients. According to some studies, the transfer of nutrients is three times higher in veganic gardening. Well-known grower Kyle Kushman has moved to an entirely veganic mixture and is one of the method's most vocal advocates, saying that it “elevates the cultivation of cannabis flowers to the highest level of purity possible.” I don't know if I'd go that far, but I am starting to see a lot of growers making the switch and praising the end product.

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