Grower Spotlight – Dan Tutor, Supernatural Gardens
For us, the best part of creating cultivation software is getting to work with incredibly talented cannabis growers. We value our customers’ experiences and expertise and often look to them for feedback and validation on new product ideas and designs. Since we love hearing from our customers we thought we would share some of their incredible work and words with our readers.
Last month I sat down with Dan Tutor, owner and operator of Supernatural Gardens. Dan is a Maine-based, veganic, craft cannabis cultivator, and we had a lot of fun chatting about his background, cultivation practices, and lessons learned since venturing into cannabis cultivation. Here’s how our conversation went..
Supernatural Gardens premium veganic infused prerolls – packaging designed by Kindtyme.
Tell me a bit about your background and how you got started growing cannabis?
Dan: I’m actually a 2nd generation grower – my mom used to grow weed in her garden. She owns a landscaping and gardening business so I basically grew up in the garden. I even ran my Mom’s business for about 5 years before I switched over to cannabis. I got started in cannabis in 2004 when I grew my first outdoor season. I was 19 or 20, it was a ‘kids guerrilla grow’. I’d wake up at sunrise, go down to the spot, and water all my plants with milk jugs. When Maine first passed its medical caregivers laws, I think in 2010, I signed up to become a caregiver. I was eager to explore the whole thing. I had lived in Northern California for a little while and wasn’t a stranger to the industry.
Gelato grown by Supernatural Gardens from In-House Genetics
What do you love most about growing?
Dan: All of it! I love to pop seeds and see what comes out! Living on an island I never had access to cuts, of anything really – until recently. The question with genetics is, ‘Is an elite cut going to perform for you or not?’ For instance, I really love OG Kush, but I’ve never had an OG Kush grown in living soil taste right. It’s not the same flavor profile.
What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since founding Supernatural Gardens?
Dan: That I can’t be everywhere at once! I’ve also learned that the people you hire and work with make all the difference.
Tell us a bit about your cultivation methods / style?
Dan: We grow under LED lights, in recycled, living soil. Sometimes we do no-till but we’re moving away from no-till because I ran into some issues. I like to keep things as closed-loop as possible. We run all of our old soil through a worm bin, along with all the leaves and stems. All of the plant matter goes back into the soil, except for maybe the big stalks, I give those to the dogs to chew on.
Supernatural Wedding Cake selected from Seed Junky’s Wedding Cake F2 line, Day 58
Tell us about some of your favorite strains you’re currently running or testing?
Dan: I’ll work with anything! I have a big seed collection because that’s my roots. I love to have genetics around. I love Bodhi seeds – I’ve been growing his seeds for years and years. One that stands out from Bodhi is ‘Pagoda’. It’s a cross between Apollo 13 Genius and Appalachia. I ended up with a cut I call the ‘Starfruit’. Smells wonderful with fruity, tropical notes, energizing sativa-high, and a great yield. I want to experiment with adding some stretch to it because this cut would be a beast!
Supernatural Starfruit, selected from Bodhi Seeds Pagoda line (Apollo 13 genius cut x Appalachia) day 56
What activities on the farm would you like to eventually automate and what will you never automate?
Dan: I’m a big fan of automation. I spend a lot of time researching the best products for automation and I’ve had really good luck finding solutions for me. For instance, I use a Green Bros trimmer. A lot of people talk shit about trim machines, but it’s really consistent and does a ¼ lb in like 3 minutes. We get compliments on our trim all the time, so I’m never going back on that. As for what you can’t automate, observation. You can never replace human observation and spending time with the plants. I’ll always need to spend quality time with the plants.
You started using Trym in Spring 2019, how has the software improved your operations?
Dan: It’s improved things in a lot of ways. It forces me to be more organized and accountable. You end up doing a lot of things on the fly when you don’t have a daily plan. For instance, I had a couple of off-harvests recently. If I didn’t have Trym, I would have no idea what happened. With Trym, I can go back and look and see, “Oh ok, I stopped using this nutrient because I must have ran out, and never added it again, and my yield suffered.”
Wedding Cake grown under the Lumigrow Pro 325e LED smart lights
Have you made any changes to your workflows or set-up based on the data collected in Trym?
Dan: Yes I have. Mostly in structuring my days and schedule. I log into Trym in the morning and see what needs to be done. If something needs to be pushed, I can push it back, or prioritize it for my team. I’m a big fan of structure and Trym’s helped out a lot with that.
What’s the biggest challenge in building-out or scaling-up a cultivation business?
Dan: Getting organized and having a system for accountability. I’m an artist, so having a tool to keep me organized and accountable is really helpful. If you’re trying to scale, you need a plan in place and hold people accountable to that plan.