August 8th, 2021
While the eyes of the sporting world were trained on the closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, growers and natural healers in America were occupied with the results of an event all their own:
The 2021 Autoflower Cup
Hosted by Camp Ruderalis in the Pacific Northwest, the Autoflower Cup was inaugurated in 2019. Covid interrupted plans for the event in 2020, but in 2021, the competition was back with a vengeance, and the success of the first Cup brought in some very experienced heavy hitters this year.
Featuring growers, cooks, extractors, and specialists, the Autoflower Cup awards entrants from all over the country based upon blind judging in the various categories.
We are very excited and humbled this year because the second place winner of the main autoflower category, our friend @Bullze.y.e, grew his winning flowers under the Electric Sky 180 grow light! To beat out big producers with a home grow is an achievement worthy of great praise, and this grower deserves every bit of it, as you will see…
We recently had the very special opportunity to sit down with him in an interview.
It truly can’t be said enough how glad we are to know this brilliant grower and how excited we are to see what he does in the future. Take a look at what he has to say about his recent win, his personal setup, the challenges he has overcome in growing, and his insightful tips on how you can start producing award-winning flowers of your own:
TGSC: First off, we just want to say congratulations on this win. It’s a huge thing to get this award in this arena with big hitters all around.
Bullze.y.e: Thank you. I feel so humbled by this. It was really out of left field, you know? I got a call and met with Daz from Night Owl Seeds. He came over and I showed him my setup and just gave him some flowers just as a gift, not expecting anything from it. But then he hit me up a few days later and was like, “Hey this is really good. Have you heard about the Autoflower Cup? You should enter.” It opened my eyes and really lit a fire under my butt. So I entered a couple strains I had just finished.
I have always liked the medicine, you know? It helps me a lot to relieve my social anxiety and stuff. I relate to people better with the medicine. And it was crazy, because I had just had this deep introspective night where I was looking at my life and my passions and I asked Jah, “What am I doing?” and then that weekend I got the call from Daz.
TGSC: That’s really cool. What a great cosmic alignment. So you have said you really appreciate the medicine, but how long have you been growing?
Bullze.y.e: I’ve only been growing for 2 years. You know I started very basic. My brother-in-law actually got me into it. At the beginning of that first run, I just bought basic A-B nutrients and grew under a cheap light I got off Amazon.
But I’m the sort of person who, when I know I want to do something, I dive in deep and really put a lot of energy into it, so I very quickly realized that growing is something I want to do, so I didn’t even finish those first nutrient bottles before I started digging deep into research. I went into a nutrient wormhole and bought a bunch of different products, many of which are still sitting on the shelf half full because they weren’t right. I moved right away into doing everything organic.
I even created my own soil mixture, which I sent out and had tested by Soil Doctor, and now I use my own soil mixture in all my grows. And I went straight to your light. I had a little $60 Amazon grow light, but when I knew I wanted to go for this, I just went all in, like I do. I was and am really impressed by the Electric Sky grow light, by its specs and efficiency. I mean the broad spectrum it puts out but how little electricity it uses it’s just– there was nothing better.
TGSC: Wow, yeah that’s really jumping in quick with both feet.
Bullze.y.e: My feet definitely hit the ground moving like the Roadrunner. Looking at my life, I’ve always been into helping people. Like no matter what my pursuits, it’s been about helping people, but I’m not really a people person. I’m not very good at talking to people, so this avenue really allows me to pursue helping others.
No matter what the need; physical or psychological, there’s an experience for everyone. Some people just want to party and that’s ok, but some people need medicine, and I’m really happy to be able to provide that. Ultimately, whatever my pursuits, I just want to be free.
TGSC: That’s beautiful. I really appreciate your views there. I’m interested to know about where you are after cycling through all these different soil amendments and changes, honing your craft. Can you tell me a bit about your setup right now?
Bullze.y.e: I really have a pretty small space right now. I’m just working out of a 2-1/2 by 2-1/2 by 5-foot tall tent. I use my own soil, like I said. I have an ac and exhaust system with a scrubber setup that controls temperature, airflow, and humidity, and of course, I’m growing under the ES180. I might have gotten the ES300, but it’s too big for my tent, so I got the 180, and it’s really been just perfect.
TGSC: Yeah, that’s something we see quite a lot; people going for the ES300 because the higher output is more attractive, but I personally contest that the 180 is really more conducive to doing a tent grow.
Bullze.y.e: A thousand percent. A thousand percent. You can definitely write that down: a thousand percent. The 180 is perfect for small growers. When those first immediate nodes start showing, and you’re working on spacing and filling out the plant, the 180 is perfect for controlling the direction of the light. It’s so versatile in plant interaction. And like I said I have a smaller space, so the 180 works so well for that. With that cheap Amazon light, I had a lot of heat issues I was contending with, and I knew I needed a well-constructed light able to keep cool in a confined space but that still gives photon efficiency.
As soon as I put the 180 in, I didn’t need to add heat control at all. It was at the same time that I was switching to organics, you know, so it was really great to have that extra element not be a concern. I can really tell that Dan put a lot of time and effort into building out these LEDs, you know? A lot of growers you see online are just in it to flip it; they don’t put their heart into the grow and it shows. The plants know, and they react to that heart that you put into it. The lights are the same way. I can really tell a lot of heart went into these lights so I’m really glad to have it.
TGSC: We’re really glad to have you in the community as well. Thank you. Speaking of the community, one thing we try to do is help growers overcome challenges and obstacles. What would you say are some of the most significant challenges you have overcome as a grower?
Bullze.y.e: Space is the first thing that comes to mind. Right now, like I said, I’m just growing in a small tent, so working out how to make that work productively. I also spent a lot of time on making sure I was covering all of my bases. I’m a very technically-minded person, and I also have a full time job away from home, so it was dialing in all the different pieces. There’s apps and websites that give info on climate and I have every part of my system on wifi so I can operate it and check it from work and I have cameras rolling a feed to my phone so I know the lights are on when they’re supposed to be on and everything.
TGSC: Man, you weren’t joking when you said you go all in.
Bullze.y.e: Yeah, I go all in.
TGSC: Do you have any major issues or challenges you’re still trying to overcome, or anything that is still frustrating you?
Bullze.y.e: No, I wouldn’t say frustrating, but there’s always more to learn. I’m always working to continue to dial in. You know, my next challenge I guess will be running two ES180s in my tent. I’ll have to see how the spread is and relook at regulating heat. I don’t know. I’m excited.
TGSC: I’m excited to see what you do! And I love that you’ve only been growing for a couple years and you’re already so on point that you’re crushing national award ceremonies. Do you have any tips for the growers in our community? How can other growers start producing award-winning plants like yours?
Bullze.y.e: Ha-ha. Yeah, that’s an easy question and a hard question in one. I guess the first thing first is what is your pH? I know there’s a lot of articles and videos out there about how having living soil (microbes in your soil) will take care of the pH, and I don’t dispute that, I see that. But personally, even using living soil, when your water is unbalanced, the microbes will be using all their energy on the water, bringing it into balance, but I want my microbes concentrating on the plants and the soil, you know; providing nutrients like they’re supposed to. So even if you’re running all organic, test your water and control your pH.
Second thing is what is your environment? Your environment will dictate what you can do for a grow. Like for me, I had so little space, and It’s so hot and humid here, so I knew I needed a tent and humidity and temperature control. And I knew I needed a good LED light to be as efficient as I could. You need to be aware of the outside environment so you know what to do to create the best possible environment for your plants. And always be aware of what the environment around your plants is.
If you can do these two things, it almost doesn’t matter what you put in the ground.
Now, that I say that, you do want to be looking at your genetics. If you do your research, you can tell if a line has been well worked and it’s been refined for several generations. And you can tell when there’s a new split or some hybrid someone’s working on and it’s spinning out all sorts of phenotypes in the first rounds. When you look at the geneticists and what they’re growing, you know if all their plants are growing different at different rates then that line needs work. If you see a whole crop that’s growing real consistently and all the branches are looking the same and the flowers bloom the same, and the heights are even, then you know you’ve got a well worked bean; that’s a quality bean. Get a line that’s well worked. You can really tell the difference.
The fourth thing is how is it going to photosynthesize? How is your plant going to use the light and what kind of light does it want? It’s a good thing to pay attention to when you’re researching genetics, and it’ll help you with knowing that second thing; knowing the right environment for your plant. It’ll also help you in picking the right light. And now we can go back your light, to the Green Sunshine Company light, I really love this light and how versatile it is for different strains. The ES180 is really the best for my scenario. The efficiency, the price point, the quality…
TGSC: These are really good tips. And you’re right: easy and hard at the same time. What are your plans for the future? What can we expect to see from you?
Bullze.y.e: Since that week I talked about earlier where I took a good look at my life and asked what I was doing, the week I got that call from Daz, I’m really focused on moving my family to Maine. I mean my whole family. I’ve been talking with them all about saving up and going to Maine. We’re going to get some land and start a farm and really pursue this with everything. I feel like I’m very blessed with this calling and I’m honed in on this. I am very humbled by this win at the Autoflower Cup and the ability I have now to spread light and healing to people who need it. And I’m so excited to get another ES180 from you guys and to start working with Earth Dust nutrients.
So that’s really my focus right now, and to be using everything I learn to help people because that’s my passion. You know, the videos and posts I make on instagram I use to bring medicine and healing to people. My family and I are going to be able to do so much more of that with this move.
TGSC: That’s so awesome. Your commitment and your passion are so inspiring. Where can people follow you?
Bullze.y.e: On my instagram @Bullze.y.e is where I post all of my content right now. When we move, I’ll be expanding that into other social media.
TGSC: Well, I can definitely say that everyone would benefit from following you on instagram, and I am sending you all the good energy for a swift alignment and move to Maine. I know I for one am really looking forward to what you will be producing when that happens.
Bullze.y.e: Thank you.
TGSC: Bullze.y.e, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. I am thrilled to get to know you a little better and am really looking forward to our continuing relationship.
Bullze.y.e: Thank you so much. Me too. Jah bless.