Learning Nutrients: Talking Shop with Ted Deli of BioBizz
Author – Max Richardson-Davis & Ted Deli
Edited by Noah Persin & Jon Russell
When it comes to nutrients and soil amendments it’s hard to know which are the best to use for your needs. Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus; these are all important compounds for growing quality cannabis. We sit down with Ted Deli of BioBizz and learn a bit more about fertilizers, growing organically and the products BioBizz has created to help us grow better.
Maxwell Davis, GreenSea Distribution: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Ted. For those who may be unfamiliar with you and your company, would you briefly introduce yourself?
Ted Deli, BioBizz Worldwide Organics: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to chat with you. I work for Biobizz, a manufacturer of organic plant nutrients. We started in the Netherlands 25 years ago and have recently relocated to Spain. I handle sales in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Western Canada and Alaska. You can check out our products at www.biobizz.com.
Maxwell Davis: What initially inspired you to join the agriculture industry?
Ted Deli: My father had a PhD in Plant Physiology, so it may be in my blood. I grew up around plants and commercial agriculture. I’ve always been interested in the business side of the industry and more specifically organic cultivation techniques.
Maxwell Davis: In a recent interview with Tom Scoble, founder of Mother Magnolia Medicinals, he mentioned he uses your products in every grow cycle. Tell us a little bit about the BioBizz product line. What are some of the most popular products in your catalog used by cannabis growers?
Ted Deli: It’s hard to chose a favorite or most popular product since most people use the whole line rather than picking and choosing individual products. We produce organic plant nutrients made from fermented plant extracts. Aside from the Fish-Mix, the whole line is vegan. With that said, one of our most popular products is our catalyst/metabolism booster: Bio-Heaven.
Maxwell Davis: For the layman, please explain to us the differences between fertilizers, substrates and soil.
Ted Deli: Fertilizer covers anything that you feed a plant that provides primary, secondary or micronutrients. This includes salt-based chemical nutrients that are readily available and organic nutrients that require the cooperation of bacteria and microbes in the root zone to break them down into forms the plant can use. Substrates is a catch-all for anything you can grow in. This includes hydroponic media like rockwool and clay pellets, coco fiber and soil. Soil, in a traditional sense, is the stuff in your yard. It’s typically composed of clay, humus, and organic matter. In our industry, soil typically refers to peat-based growing media that are sometimes amended with compost, worm castings, lime and dry nutrients like bat guano and kelp meal.
Maxwell Davis: How do they each individually affect a grow process?
Ted Deli: Each of these growing media have different characteristics which affect their ability to retain water and release or retain nutrients for the plants. Each growing media has specific benefits and drawbacks. I believe there’s no perfect growing media. For example, hydroponic media typically release nutrients to the plant easily. However, they’re lousy at providing a proper habitat for microbes and fungi essential to organic gardening. Soil holds water and nutrients easily and provides an ideal media for microbes and fungi. Unfortunately, it doesn’t release nutrients as easily as hydroponic media.
Maxwell Davis: What is the importance of applying a fertilizer during the growing cycle?
Ted Deli: You have to provide different nutrients during growth and bloom cycles since plants have different needs according to what primary (N-P-K), secondary (Ca – Mg), and micronutrients they are using to build their cells and keep them healthy. For example, plants require a lot of nitrogen (N) during the vegetative growth cycle and less when they are blooming or fruiting when phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) needs increase. I’m really simplifying a very complex topic here. We could spend years talking about this topic alone.
Maxwell Davis: That’s incredibly interesting, something I’m sure our readers will look further into. Let’s talk more about your company. What makes BioBizz products different than their competitors?
Ted Deli: First, we make organic nutrients. Our manufacturing process is more complex than salt-based nutrients and our ingredients are carefully sourced. We are an established company with a proven track record and a commitment to reducing our environmental impact while producing easy-to-use products. 25 years of strong yields and superior quality speaks for itself!
Maxwell Davis: As you may know, Oregon’s cannabis industry has recently undergone new testing requirements as of Oct. 1, 2016. Since then, we’ve heard growers complaining their product isn’t passing pesticide tests, even though they are growing in an indoor, controlled environment only using soil that is marketed as organic. My question is, do you have any suggestions for growers when purchasing product?
Ted Deli: Establish a good relationship with employees at your local grow store. It’s their business to know what’s in the products they sell and they do a much better job than they get credit for. If you aren’t getting good advice from your grow store, find a new store. If you have questions about a specific product you can always contact the companies directly. Addressing the situation you mentioned above, there will always be sketchy companies in our industry. Usually the grow store is the first to find out and they can steer you clear of these products once they do.
Maxwell Davis: That’s fantastic information. Let’s move on to the cannabis industry with regards to your business. Have you seen an increase in sales in states where cannabis has been legalized for recreational purposes?
Ted Deli: For sure. We are seeing much more interest in commercial scale organic growing than we did a few years ago. The backyard, smaller gardeners are into Biobizz as well. It should be very interesting to see what happens now that California has legalized. If Oregon, Colorado and Washington are any indication, our sales will increase significantly as legalization spreads to more states.
Maxwell Davis: That’s interesting. What percentage of your customers, would you guess, are cannabis growers? Is this one of your largest or smallest customer bases?
Ted Deli: We can’t ever know for certain, but my guess is the majority are cannabis growers. Our products are good for growing almost any plant but we know who sells our products and it’s primarily grow stores rather than commercial garden centers.
Maxwell Davis: Do you have any advice for those growing cannabis?
Ted Deli: Grow organic. It’s produces superior flavor in your end-product and it’s easier on the environment and easier on you. Find someone with proven results you can trust to guide you through the growing process. Read books on the topic. Do not rely on random people on internet forums to guide you. Pick an approach to gardening and stick with it. Don’t change more than one or two things from cycle to cycle. Otherwise, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what isn’t.
Maxwell Davis: Do you have any advice for the people in ancillary businesses catering to the cannabis industry like BioBizz does?
Ted Deli: Have a plan and create a unique service or identity for your products. As the industry matures, there’s less margin for error and heavier competition. Plan to address these challenges by being flexible and looking forward. What works now may not in a year or five years.
Maxwell Davis: Sound advice. Thank you for your time today, Ted. You’ve been very informative. I look forward to experimenting with some BioBizz products during my next at home grow. Any recommendations for products I should start with?
Ted Deli: Thanks for listening. I hope I was helpful. As for our products, Bio-Heaven. Seriously, you will see yield increases even if you add it along with whatever you’re currently using. A slightly more obscure suggestion, but a real favorite of mine, is our dry amendment: Pre-Mix. You add it to neutral un-amended media to introduce bacteria and nutrients and provide a suitable base for any organic nutrient program. Mix it in when you transplant at a rate of 3-5%. Thanks again, Max! It was a pleasure speaking with GreenSea.
Maxwell Davis: Thanks again, Ted. We appreciate your time and information.