Interview: cannabis grow book by Stoney Tark

Interview: cannabis grow book by Stoney Tark

Sean Prana, aka Stoney Tark is a familiar and popular face in the cannabis community. Stoney is perhaps most well known for being able to connect to growers of all skill levels in a helpful and communicative way. He has spent several years as Head Writer for Soft Secrets magazine, as well as writing for many other publications including High Times. He hosts the Stoney Tark podcast, as well as the Roll Models Interviews and is owner of Prana Medical Seeds.

Stoney works closely as a sponsored grower to the SANlight LED company and can be regularly found as a judge at many cannabis cup events. More recently the Soft Secrets “Ask Ed Rosenthal” section has been replaced with an “Ask Stoney” section where he tackles cultivation problems sent to him by readers.

His new book has just been released on Amazon “Stoney Tarks Top Tips On Growing Cannabis”. This summarises all of Stoney’s learnings regarding cannabis cultivation and is one of the small number of really well written grow books which is particularly recommended to home growers.

Dutch Passion sat down with Stoney and asked him a few questions, we hope you find the interview as interesting and enjoyable as we did!

Stoney Tark

We introduced Sean Prana, but who is Stoney Tark?

Firstly I would like to give a massive thank you for the opportunity and it is an absolute pleasure to sit down with the Dutch Passion team today. Stoney Tark is actually the character of Iron Man, Tony Stark reversed to make it more Cannabis friendly.

All of my writing is under that name. It was actually my old flat mate in Amsterdam who came up with the name and it has stuck ever since. It wasn’t my idea but it worked very well!

How would you describe your experience as a grower so far?

My first ever experience of growing was in the greenhouse with my parents back in the UK, before I was in my teenage years. We used to grow bag seed found amongst the buds my father had imported from Holland in the early 1990’s. We became familiar early with classic Dutch strains such as Orange Bud, Hindu Kush, AK47, NL #5, Skunk, Bubble Gum and many others.

Being so young around Cannabis allowed me to have an open mind when it came to this plant. I have been growing non stop for at least the last 10 years, mostly indoors.

Now I’m living in Spain, this also allows me to work outdoors and in greenhouses. I moved to Amsterdam in 2012 after 14 trips to the city, lived there for a couple of years and currently live in the South of Spain.

“I think when you’re involved in the cannabis seed industry, Amsterdam is like Hollywood is for actors. The energy is different, there's a sense of excitement in the air... It is not just a place but a mindset. I love Amsterdam. It is a second home to me.”

What pushed you to go from growing to writing a book?

I personally found that many of the books about growing Cannabis these days are very informative. However they don’t really outline ‘what not to do’ or give a beginner grower tips and an insight about what to avoid.

The main intention of my book was to provide a troubleshooting guide designed for beginners and experienced growers. It comprises of 18 different chapters, 140+ what to avoid tips and 40+ of the most common ‘Ask Stoney’ troubleshooting questions that were sent to me over the years.

Everything written was based on my experience and all the mistakes and the bad habits that I had developed. These cost me time, space and money. Most importantly I had to learn the hard way and want to use that experience to help others.

I decided to combine my creative story telling, growing knowledge and experiences into the book. This allows every single grower to become a better grower and make the necessary adjustments to strive to be the best.

“Getting inspired by ‘organics’ changed the way I look at growing cannabis and even more. Embracing this lifestyle made me a lot more conscious of what I put in my body, my surrounding,... I will literally only drink what I treat my plants with for instance.”

Stoney Tark's book

What were your biggest mistakes as a beginner?

Where do I start? I think I have made every mistake in the book (literally!) from choosing the wrong genetics, not understanding much about lights, switching my extraction off when the lights went off with no air flow, under watering, over watering and learning about bad bacteria the hard way.

I have butchered my plants learning the art of super cropping, underestimating and over estimating plant count and size, used cheap basic soils from garden centres, been riddled with powdery mildew, Botrytis and much more.

“The number 1 trait of a good grower is to always be openminded. True knowledge comes with admitting that you don’t know anything. This is particularly true for cannabis growers as the cannabis plant will never ever stop teaching you new things.”

I could tell you about all the stories of my mistakes over a couple more joints and a few more coffees. You have to remember that back in the day, there was no social media help or useful online growing forums that I knew of.

There was very little info apart from grow books if you knew about them and could get hold of them. A copy of Soft Secrets meant a trip on the bus to the local tattoo shop and all of the home growers kept themselves to themselves. So really the deep end was the only way to learn.

Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration?

When I was younger I would read Soft Secrets and collect High Times magazines. I would also have the old school Sensi Seed catalogues that I would read page after page daily and all of these really inspired me to become part of this industry.

Ironically I grew up reading Soft Secrets and was always inspired by the paper learning about the different events, cups, grow reports etc. The expert advice inspired me to stay on the right path no matter what.

How did you discover Dutch Passion Seed Company?

Dutch Passion has always been seen as one of the pioneers in the Dutch cannabis seed scene. Between smoking classics such as Oasis and Voodoo in my earlier days, reading about them in Soft Secrets growing up, their success in competitions and generally hearing the old school veterans recommending them for growing and breeding...Dutch Passion has always stuck with me.

Dutch Passion - Masters at Work

What was your first ever Dutch Passion strain?

If I rack my brains I would say we are talking over 15 years ago, and it was Orange Bud that was grown organically in my greenhouse. There were only a few seed banks on offer at the local tattoo shop in the nearest town, and the owner was kind enough to talk me through what he had. We decided Orange Bud was the ideal candidate for my skill level and it had a fast bloom flowering time which suited me.

What is your favourite Dutch Passion strain and why?

I would say for sentimental value Orange Bud, due to the unmistakable earthy, orange character with a floral citrus edge. It’s a very easytogrow strain which (believe it or not) I recently got along with Dutch Passion Orange Hill Special for a new breeding project.

That proves how that particular strain has a place in my heart. In my opinion not everything is about potency and for me flavour is everything, making Orange Bud a personal favourite as well as a sentimental blast from the past.

Orange Bud by Dutch Passion

What do you look for when buying seeds?

Personally it comes down to whether the seeds are for growing or breeding? Is it for indoor or outdoor cultivation etc. The beauty about cannabis seeds is they are so diverse in their properties which means we can apply them to so many different styles of growing.

How reputable the seedbank is and how stable it is (as close to F1 or S1) also has a bearing on my final decision, however for me the most important aspects are the terpenes and flavour.

“For first-time cannabis growers, I would point out two important steps to start with. First of all, make sure to pick a strain that is not too demanding. The second important point to take into consideration is obviously your location with regards to the sunlight exposure, stealth and security...”

How do you picture the future of cannabis seeds genetics?

Well right now it seems everyone is a breeder and the art of selection for many new breeders, seems to have been lost and replaced with the demand for Instagram branding, snappy marketing and strain names. I like the way things are going with CBD hybrids and the gap between social, recreational and medicinal are becoming blended into one.

It's good to see the development and demand for autoflowering cannabis and I notice in the U.S, there is a new wave of autoflowering farmers. Only time will tell, but it seems the European breeders are making some superb progress as good as the U.S breeders.

I noticed a boost in the demand for regular seeds again which makes me think that old school and new school growers are now taking the time to grow out, sex and flower plants.

Future of cannabis seeds genetics

Are you working on any other projects?

Yes I am always keeping busy and now have a website Official Stoney Tark being built that will offer growers a chance to join with a 6 month membership, where they will receive 24/7 assistance for any trouble shooting enquiries they have. My books will also be available on there, as well as access to my educational audiocast.

On top of my breeding projects, I am also in the midst of writing a short series of beginners books specifically covering each stage of the plant's life cycle, and will be excited to drop those around May time.

Huge thanks once again for sitting down with me today, and thank you to everyone who buys the book. Please leave a review and let me know your honest thoughts after buying the book. The books are available on Amazon to buy as Ebook and hardback and audio which will be available 7th Feb.


About Stoney Tark:

Head writer at Soft Secrets, Chief breeder at Prana Medical seeds. Advisor to SANlight LED. Sean has written extensively across the cannabis industry for many years with a reputation for relating to (and helping) growers of all skill levels.

More info at https://www.officialstoneytark.com/

About Stoney Tark:

Head writer at Soft Secrets, Chief breeder at Prana Medical seeds. Advisor to SANlight LED. Sean has written extensively across the cannabis industry for many years with a reputation for relating to (and helping) growers of all skill levels.

More info at https://www.officialstoneytark.com/

Interview: cannabis grow book by Stoney Tark
March 5th 2021
Categories : Cannabis Plant

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