5 Questions with Scott Johnson

Special Advertising Section - Special Advertising Section | Ask the Experts: Media Amendments

In cannabis production, media amendment selection is critically important, as it can have a direct impact on disease management, irrigation, nutrition and more. Here, Scott Johnson, commercial director for Riceland Foods, explains how rice hulls can be integrated into your growing media to gain sustainability while promoting excellent plant health.

July 9, 2020

1. What makes PBH Nature’s Media Amendment a good addition in a cannabis soil mix?

PBH is a uniquely parboiled rice hull growing media amendment offering environmental, horticultural and economic advantages. Registered organic and processed under food-grade standards, it is a sustainable resource that offers a lower basic cost. PBH rice hulls offer a natural color that blends with other growing mix components. These hulls are biodegradable over time, but not during a typical cannabis plant production cycle. Packaged in highly compressed 50-pound bags or 30-cubic-foot bulk bales, PBH generates less waste and reduces storage, handling and freight. PBH rice hulls have been used successfully in commercial greenhouses since 2007.

2. What are some of the horticultural benefits of PBH?

The physical size, shape and bulking properties of PBH rice hulls produce optimum air-filled pore space, water-holding capacity and drainage. And when incorporated into coir- or peat-based substrates, PBH rice hulls do not negatively impact the chemical properties of the soil mix. A PBH mix may hold more water than a perlite mix, which can reduce irrigation requirements. In general, the recommended PBH use rate is 20 to 30 percent of the total growing media. The higher the PBH ratio, the lighter the growing media will be and the better it will drain. PBH has a 6.2 to 6.6 pH range. Rice hulls also contain amorphous silica. This can promote thicker, stronger plant stems, improved root mass, increased drought tolerance and better resistance to disease and insects. Always trial any material used in a new application for adaptability to your operation.

3. How are PBH rice hulls processed?

PBH rice hulls are soaked in hot water, steamed under pressure and then dried. This sterilizes the hulls and renders any residual rice kernels, weed seeds or disease pathogens non-viable.

4. Are there other uses for PBH in a cannabis growing operation?

Yes. PBH can also be used as a container topdress to help prevent airborne weed seeds—including liverwort—from reaching the soil surface and germinating. This grower-developed technique dramatically improves weed control and significantly reduces hand-weeding labor and expense. It is an economical, earth-friendly weed-management technique and costs only pennies per container.

5. How do I purchase PBH Nature’s Media Amendment?

Direct purchases can be made through Riceland Foods, Inc. and the company’s nationwide network of distributors.