Letter to "Master Growers"

December 12, 2016 3 Comments

Letter to "Master Growers"


  • Comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity

  • Control or superiority over someone or something.
Every time I hear the term "Master Grower" I inwardly cringe. I've been in and around the nursery and horticulture industry since I was a small child and I'm amazed at how much I still have to learn. I've dedicated much of my adult life to educating myself on soils and nutrients and learning about soil biology, plant physiology, and horticulture. I've had the great fortune to interact and surround myself with people in the gardening world I consider to be highly knowledgable such as Tim Wilson, Steve Solomon, Elaine Ingham, Jeff Lowenfels, "Clackamas Coot," Jessi Bloom, Jaya Palmer, my father, and many more. 

Pet Peeves:

  • Growing a crop using 1 bottled nutrient line for years does not make someone an expert. 
  • Growing only 1 crop in an indoor environment does not make someone a "Master Grower."
  • Winning a competition or cup
  • Having a degree or certificate is wonderful, but doesn't imply mastery.
  • Evaluating the quality of the grower based on one crop cycle. There's too many variables where growers can face many challenges or get lucky on a crop. I want to see someone produce consistent results over a period of years.
What I look for in a grower or gardener:
  • An open-minded view on gardening and willingness to be wrong or learn/try new things.
  • A passion for learning and seeking out new technologies and theories.
  • A scientific brain that challenges conventional beliefs and wisdom.
  • Hands on experience in a multitude of growing environments.
  • Someone who loves plants beyond a $ sign and truly enjoys growing.

As an industry, I think we do ourselves a disservice with these titles. At least a degree in horticulture, botany, or plant science carries some level of required education. There's no requirement to be a self-proclaimed "Master Grower" and to me it implies an arrogance that says the person is closed-minded in their beliefs and doesn't feel they have anything more to learn.

Let's foster an environment of learning and education. There is so much we still don't know about the soil. Did you know that 85-99% of bacteria and archaea we still cannot culture consistently under laboratory conditions? Much of what occurs in the rhizosphere we still don't understand.

I can personally guarantee that no one at KIS Organics will ever be a "Master Grower" but we will continue our passion for learning and strive to improve our growing processes and products along the way. 


Tad Hussey








3 Responses


January 15, 2017

Thanks for the kind words Ben, I hope to continue to post more information over here as time permits. Appreciate your support and glad to hear you’re using a logical and scientific-based approach to your gardening. Thanks!

Ben M
Ben M

January 11, 2017

Happy to see you creating these blog posts and appreciate the consistently high quality content you bring to the table. Between your talks and logicalgardener posts, I’ve learned a lot and, more importantly, gathered the tools to keep learning in a critical way from other sources.

Re: self appointed Master Gardeners, it’s always a bummer for me to see ego inhibit growth. I see it all the time in Jiu Jitsu: one student attaches to rank and external validation, another comes along later and attaches to technique and growth. The younger eclipses the older and achieves greater mastery in less time. The dangers of hierarchical thinking…

M. Wolf Segal
M. Wolf Segal

December 12, 2016

It has been my good fortune other than 13 1/2 years of involuntary sabbatical with the US Bureau of Prisons and the Oregon Department of Corrections, to have been growing, researching about, teaching, preaching and writing professionally about cannabis since 11971. Am I a “master grower?” Is anyone?
I’m definitely a pot geek and a lighting freak. Can I walk into any situation, at any point in a cannabis crop and tell you the best way to use what you have to maximize the results from what you’re working with? Yeah, pretty much.
Does this mean I consider myself a “master grower?” No. It means that I know how much more there is to be learned than I already know and that I keep my ears and eyes open, with everyone, because I have learned more from those I didn’t expect to than from those I studied.
Does this make me a “master grower?” No, but I feel reasonably comfortable claiming “Journeyman” status.

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