Patrick King’s first arrest was at age 11. It was for growing marijuana.
King has always been interested in growing things. “While the other kids were playing with Legos, I was planting flowers,” he said.
He graduated from rose buds to cannabis buds, and even though he thought he was growing in secret on wild land near his Bay Area home, he got busted.
Decades later, the world has caught up with King. A beloved figure in Cloverdale, where he works tirelessly to support local causes and even set up his own donation center for fire victims, he is equally well-regarded in the cannabis industry, where his Soil King Garden Center is the supplier, advisor and booster for hundreds of cannabis-related businesses, from backyard growers to trimming machine manufacturers.
He’s also still growing.
King has a private seed bank of rare strains and is constantly hybridizing and nurturing new varieties.
On a recent visit to Pine Mountain, a rugged and remote area above Cloverdale, he spent time with Bill and Sally Disbrow and their son Jackson, who are growing 60 cannabis plants in a fenced garden.
It was a harvest day. The massive plants had already been topped — the buds that grew toward the sun cut off so that light and air could reach deeper into the plant and stimulate another budding.
The Disbrows and a crew of trimmers were cutting, trimming, sorting and freezing high grade cannabis.
“Seventy-five percent of this farm’s production will not be smoked,” King said, explaining that his “Health before Wealth” philosophy was shared by the Disbrows, who were selling their harvest to other small operations that would make it into tinctures and into oils for “vaping,” using a device that vaporizes the active molecules in concentrated marijuana oil.
The Disbrows are happy they found King and Pine Mountain. “We lived in Florida and all the kids had left and we were looking around, saw this piece of property and bought it,” said Bill Disbrow.
“We wanted to make the property pay for itself and start a family business with our son,” Disbrow said. “And then we met Patrick.”
King helped the Disbrows with advice at first and later got into business with them on the grow. “Most people are just in this industry for the dollar,” King said. “This family (the Disbrows) are the perfect partners.”
Bill Disbrow admitted that they’ve made a lot of mistakes in their first year, and Sally shows off a smaller garden where the plants are too close together and won’t yield well.
“With Patrick’s help, we keep improving,” said Disbrow, who said he expects to net about $1,000 for each of his 60 plants — not enough to recoup the initial investment, but a start.
“A healthy harvest should bring you about a 20 percent margin,” King said.
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