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Old 03-01-2018, 10:49 AM #1
bigbadbiddy
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Looking for advice purchasing a farm

Howdy folks,

I am currently looking at plots of land to purchase and start a farm.

Climate comparable to California, clean ground water available (can drill a well on properties that don't have one yet).

The soil.... I haven't touched it yet and been there yet but from afar/pictures it looks like loam top soil with clay or loam/clay below.
So it should more or less be ideal and the area has been cultivated heavily for more than hundreds of years. Mostly fruits and vegetables but also tobacco and the like.


Now my question:
I have never grown outdoor and have never owned a farm. I do know I want to continue growing organically and doing so outdoors on a farm will grant me better success in that regard, I am sure. (I find that most issues with organic soil I had so far had a lot to do with small pot sizes).

What do I look for when I buy a farm with the intend to grow organic cannabis on it? What should I avoid like the plague?


Regarding the soil, I suppose I won't get around a soil analysis before signing a contract. Will have to see where I can do that or if it isn't possible locally, have to bring my own test kit somehow.
But what do I look for aside from overfertilization with chemical nutes in the form of salt buildups? Heavy metals? Anything else?

Like I said, ANY pointers or suggestions are welcome. Another thing that I was wondering about was whether it would be better to grow cannabis in the valley near sea level or halfway up the mountain at like 420 ft. or really up the mountain at like 1000 ft. ?
From what feedback I got so far, it seems everyone seems to prefer the valley for cannabis cultivation due to its earlier spring/later autumn as well as higher temps throughout the season and less wind and temp drops.


What I am most afraid of is basically buying a farm, then creating my organic soil mix, working it into the fields, growing for a season in the fresh mix and then having all kinds of issues once I start the second round because the fresh batch of organic soil is mostly used up and the soil below is basically clay devoid of any nutrients or microbial life and laden with salt deposits from decades of overfertilization with chemical nutes...

Another thing to possibly consider might be that some of the fields are used to cultivate rice.
On the one hand I think that is great news as I will probably be able to source rice hulls for my soil mix locally and for cheap. On the other hand: Shouldn't I avoid fields that have been used for rice cultivation in the past?
As those fields are flooded and chosen for their poor drainage, no?
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:58 AM #2
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go back to home page, hit Forums, then Cannabis Growing Outdoors...there is where you need to ask, everyone on here will help you, but thats where i would start...man i wish i was buying a farm, i envy you a lil..DJXX
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:51 AM #3
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Howdy,

thanks for the feedback. Did that though.
I am also in the process of reading up on books content about outdoor gardening etc.

But I find a lot if not most of the information is geared towards guerilla outdoor growing and the like. Not actual farming.

Haven't seen a thread yet for example that talks about terracing and drainage and the like, as well as how to identify if the farm holds good soil for planting.

I read that the history of the field should be taken into account i.e. what has been grown there the last few years and how. But that involves talking to the owners of the land who will indubitably tell you that they grew 100% organic yadiyada while they might have actually drenched the field in pesticides and chemical nutes ...
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:25 PM #4
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Sandy loam, you should be good, but dig down a foot.
Look at your slopes and where water will run. Can you contour plow to take advantage?
Terracing is good, but it will take you down to subsoil and bedrock. It can take a lot of work to recover.
Northern slopes can delay the season. Good for fruit trees when you don't want early bloom..
Southern slopes get the most sun.
Visit at different parts of the day to see where the shade is. Any hills to the east and west.
Try to find the history. Look for current and past use of surrounding properties.
Check in with your local USDA. Google can find soil reports for most areas.
Look for average rainfall etc.
Remember that it is just a plant. Look at everything else growing in the area.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:54 PM #5
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Hey man, thanks for the feedback!

If I go in the valley, slopes won't be a topic. It's all even there for miles and miles.

The whole valley faces east/south east with the mountains in its back to the west/north west. Sounds pretty ideal to me and like I said, fruits (mainly peaches) and veggies (a lot of tomato and the like) have been cultivated there for thousands of years.

Slopes would only become a factor if I opted for the higher mountain areas (1000 ft and above) or halfway up the mountain at 420ft where there is a city/village.
Which doesn't seem like I will since everyone that gave me feedback on ideal elevation has suggested to stay in the valley for the slightly longer seasons, more sun, higher temps, less temp swings, less wind.

Sorry for being such a farm noob but what does contour plow mean?

I think, from what I know historically of the area and my desk research, that most of those fields in the valley will have close to no slope and thus runoff for water. The area gets very dry in the summer and there are very few creeks to get water from and most will use wells or those creeks to water their crops.
But rain is more or less a non-factor especially during summer and I would bet pretty much nobody there is concerned with run-off as they rather struggle with keeping their fields irrigated.
Also the rice fields make me think that they are not concerned with runoff but rather the opposite: How to retain more water.
Maybe I shouldn't worry too much about runoff either then ...


Regarding the look at everything else growing in the area:
Pretty much anything will grow there. It is that fertile of land. The comparison to California is not far fetched both with the climate and the fertility of the land.
They grow a shit ton of peach trees, apple trees, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, salads all kinds of things of that nature and I was told that Heinz made its Ketchup for decades using tomatoes from that area.
Weirdly enough not a lot of citrus fruits there though. At least no fields. I think they go further south for that.


The only thing I am really worried about is that I can all but guarantee that no one in that valley grows organically. Organic produce is not something of concern to that region, yields and resistance to pests etc. is and therefore I am all but convinced that pretty much all fields will have been subject to heavy fertilization with chemical nutes.
But I guess I will know about that once I get a soil sample analyzed. Unfortunately they are not big on central databases and the like over there, I doubt I can find any info on the soil online. But I will search for it some more.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:59 PM #6
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I think doing a complete soil analysis is a must since you plan on farming the land. Other criteria would be water availability. Keep in mind that fruit trees are not a good indicator of soil fertility for cannabis. High nute eaters like tomatoes and other related plants would be the ones to look for.
Good luck.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:22 PM #7
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Sounds like Costa Rico.
Apples and no citrus, you'll may have a short season. Apples need x number of hours below freezing to produce blossoms. Cold weather can be detrimental to citrus.

The other crops are often planted in areas where can come in before the market for the best prices. Used for export to the states. Fertility is provided artificially.

Check your ground water. Flow from local wells. Call the well guy. Ask him how deep he has to drill. Is the water table maintainable? How much $ to pump.

Where is your market? What's your competition?
Can you find the things you need or do you have to travel?

Most importantly...
Do you love it there? Cause you'll never leave. It will demand your attention at all times. There is a lot you can do to fix the soil and to create microclimates, if you love where you're at, you'll do it. It's in the blood, not the soil.




"Contour plowing" follows the contour of the land. Instead of a straight line, you stay at the same elevation and follow the slope. I do this between rows to catch runoff.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:30 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exploziv View Post
I think doing a complete soil analysis is a must since you plan on farming the land. Other criteria would be water availability. Keep in mind that fruit trees are not a good indicator of soil fertility for cannabis. High nute eaters like tomatoes and other related plants would be the ones to look for.
Good luck.
Good info.

Question though:
If I look for a strip of land that has been used for tomato cultivation for say 10 years. That would be an indicator that cannabis will do well there as well. Makes sense.
But wouldn't the fact that tomatoes were cultivated there for 10 years mean that the fields are depleted of nutrients and likely have a lot of salt buildups due to heavy fertilization that likely occurred to compensate?

In that line of thinking, wouldn't it be more advisable to go for a field where tomatoes were cultivated 20 years ago and the last 10 years they grew peaches? My thought would be that the peaches would have allowed the soil to recuperate with regard to nutrients for tomatoes and other heavy feeders.

Catch my drift? Thoughts?
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:39 AM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h.h. View Post
Sounds like Costa Rico.
Apples and no citrus, you'll may have a short season. Apples need x number of hours below freezing to produce blossoms. Cold weather can be detrimental to citrus.

The other crops are often planted in areas where can come in before the market for the best prices. Used for export to the states. Fertility is provided artificially.

Check your ground water. Flow from local wells. Call the well guy. Ask him how deep he has to drill. Is the water table maintainable? How much $ to pump.

Where is your market? What's your competition?
Can you find the things you need or do you have to travel?

Most importantly...
Do you love it there? Cause you'll never leave. It will demand your attention at all times. There is a lot you can do to fix the soil and to create microclimates, if you love where you're at, you'll do it. It's in the blood, not the soil.




"Contour plowing" follows the contour of the land. Instead of a straight line, you stay at the same elevation and follow the slope. I do this between rows to catch runoff.
Very good considerations that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere, thank you for that!

Yes I love it there.
Cold climate is only of concern in the few months of winter, say november to february, there is some cold but rarely frost, especially in the valley. Temps drop to around 10 °C, maybe slightly below but really rarely ever to 0. I have personally experienced "winters" in the area where they had 27 °C and warm sunny weather in late November. I couldn't wear a hoody, had to take it off and walk around in a T-Shirt. Granted, that was not your average November either but it gives an idea.

My grandfather used to dig wells in that area when he lived in a village in the valley. Very easy to do with minimal gear and tech (they did it mostly by hand/with manual tools around 50/60 years ago).
Great quality apparently as people used it as drinking water as well. The whole area, particularly the small town up the mountain, is known for its great water quality. The tap water they have in that small town is excellent as it comes from mountain wells. Not quite glacier water but close.

The market and competition etc. still has to shake out. I am still waiting for a copy of the law which was apparently already passed a few days ago. Going to contact my government guy in a minute and ask what's up. I believe I will only be able to sell to pharmacies/dispensaries for the time being but it could also be that they follow the "club model" that they have in Spain. Have to wait a few more days to know all this.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:41 AM #10
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get those purple autos out.if temps are concern.
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