Grower Stories #107: Matthew Frigone

Tia Moskalenko
Tia Moskalenko

Tia Moskalenko, author of the AskGrowers blog, brings a unique blend of content to her readers. She is known for conducting insightful interviews with key figures in the cannabis industry, including brand representatives, manufacturers, and experts. In addition to her interview skills, Tia has a keen focus on CBD. She expertly curates product selections and reviews, offering her readers detailed insights into the various effects and benefits of CBD. Tia's ability to combine in-depth interviews with comprehensive CBD analysis makes her a valuable asset to the cannabis community, offering a well-rounded perspective on the industry.

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Grower Stories #107: Matthew Frigone

Lazy Bee Gardens Focuses on Growing Weed Sustainably

Matthew Frigone chats with the AskGrowers team about the history of Lazy Bee Gardens and its strong focus on sustainable growing. He shares his cultivation techniques, talks about the future of the cannabis industry, and shares his personal smoking routine. If you’re wondering which strains an industry leader prefers to smoke himself, you’ll find that answer in this Grower Stories as well. #growerstories


Matthew, son of Bruce of the Bernhard tribe that haileth from the Methow Valley. Brother to three, uncle to seven, and animal dad to two cats and a dog. When not busy cultivating cannabis I enjoy strumming strings and sliding down frozen slopes.


Tia (AskGrowers) : Tell us how you started Lazy Bee Gardens?

Matthew Frigone : I started growing medically back in 2010 when my father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At the time I was living in Park City Utah and a friend of mine turned me onto Rick Simpson oil or RSO.

After digging into it for a while, we talked about it as a family and decided to give it a try. The following summer, I moved home and we planted our first crop. Continued to do that for the next handful of summers as growing started to become a passion. I was actually really not interested in starting a business in the rec market when the chatter started that the application window was approaching. I kind of liked bouncing between Washington and Utah playing in the snow at the time.

After dragging my feet about it for some time, a co-worker finally asked me if I was going to “hike the line and not drop in?”, referring to me spending the previous 5 years learning how to cultivate and knowing I had gotten passionate about it. I remember thinking he had a point. I put in my application the following week and started building a plan.


Lazy Bee Gardens products picture
Tia : How does your brand differ from others similar to yours?

Matthew : That is really hard to say. There are a lot of really great farms out there that have done amazing jobs. I know we put a lot of our focus on sustainable growing practices that attempt to mimic nature as closely as possible in a commercial setting.

We have been a water-only farm since the beginning and made the switch to no-till a few years ago. I guess as brands go, a brand is a promise, so our promise is to provide a consistent, clean product to the Wa market that was grown in a conscious manner.

I do spend a lot of time chucking pollen, popping beans, and pheno-hunting as well. I would eventually like to have a full lineup of in-house-made genetics, but that will take years. It’s no quick task hunting beans. This year alone, we have 15 new crosses in the hunt, most of which were made in-house, but there are always a few from other breeders as well.


Tia : I’ve noticed that you have a lot of awards. What’s your secret in that? :)

Matthew : Oh man, honestly, luck? Some might say it’s preparedness meeting opportunity, but it has felt like downright luck a couple of times lol. I really don’t know why we have done so well…..I mean, not to undercut what we do - we do put out some bangers from time to time and I do have a good group of genetics in my stable - but I can't think of any one reason. We put a lot of care into our plants and the genetic selection, and I guess it shows.


Tia : Talking about sustainability. Do you position Lazy Bee Gardens as a sustainable company?

Matthew : Yes. Sustainability has always been one of our major goals as a farm. For that reason, we have worked to be a water-only no-till farm. We amend our soil every spring and typically give it a few AACT inoculations a year. The idea is to encourage a strong living soil food web in the rhizosphere that stimulates the plants to use their natural feeding process.

The current state that the midwest is in is alarming to me. If we keep pumping salt-based fertilizers into the ground and killing off all the microbiology, we will end up with another dust bowl out there. The idea is to build soil that is alive, not to strip it to dead dirt. This is how I feel about commercial farming in general, not just cannabis. I don’t get too bound up over one grow method vs. another.

I’ve seen some amazing products from all types and I respect others’ opinions and their freedom to grow as they see fit, but once we start stepping into the huge arena that is commercial agriculture, I feel like we have some responsibility to act as stewards of the land if we wish to continue for generations. We try to do our part to keep our ecological impact at a minimum.


Tia : Tell us more about your processes? How do you cultivate and grow cannabis? Maybe you have some specific approaches?

Matthew : First, we are a sun-grown farm. That means we use no artificial light in the flowering process. That being said, it keeps our flowering season fairly short when the sun is high and intense. Usually, I try to get clones started for the first turn in mid to late February. The farm started as an open field covered in PVC hoop houses for light dep.

Slowly, we have been covering the entire pen in greenhouses. Both methods had the ability to use light deprivation, however, the real greenhouses also offer diffused light and protection from rain/frost/hail as well as much better airflow.

Overall, it has improved the quality of our flowers. So, we clone our mothers early season and then raise them up in greenhouses until they are ready to go into the ground. Once in the ground, they only get a couple of tea inoculations for the duration of their life. Outside of that, it is just water once a week. We amend our soil with things such as worm castings, compost, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, crustacean meal, Karanja Meal, Fish Bone meal, and a few others that come in and out of rotation, but never with bottled nutrients. The idea is to feed the microbiology in the soil, which in turn feeds your plants.

It has taken years to get the soil to the state it is in now. Once the plants reach the desired size, we start light deprivation. This has a number of benefits. One is that we get to flower earlier in the summer when the sun is hot, dry, and more intense, making for a more consistent product. On top of that, it allows us the ability to get two turns out of many of the greenhouses.


Lazy Bee Gardens interview quote
Tia : Do you think people should strive for a particularly high THC % in cannabis products?

Matthew : No. Personally, I never look at THC numbers. Literally never. For one, you can send two buds from the same branch in for testing and get two totally different results from a single lab. Not every time, but it happens more than most realize. Even more discrepancies arise when comparing different labs as well.

More importantly, the THC percentage really doesn’t play as big a role in your “high” as most think either. In reality, it's the symbiotic relationship with all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are present in the plants’ essential oils that ultimately determine how high and what kind of high you are going to experience. I've had extremely low THC cuts that were sky high in Myrcene that totally floored me.

At the same time, I’ve had 30% strains that I barely felt. The terpene profile is really a helpful tool for those looking to further narrow down the desired high. It's still incomplete, however, as flavonoids are also part of the equation, yet there is no testing for them as of yet. So, right now, the best we can do is cannabinoid and terpene testing. Someday we may start to see flavonoid testing and really narrow down desired effects but for the time being, I still use the old-fashioned way. If it smells good and tastes good….it is good. No need to see THC numbers.


Tia : Are there any brands in your state you appreciate and follow? And in the USA in general?

Matthew : Totally. Growers are usually pretty chill people so I have honestly gotten along with most that I have met. Obviously, there are differences between us all, but I think there is a lot of mutual respect out there for other growers. Better to support others than tear them down, in my book. I follow a lot of breeders as well. Gotta be watching for the seed dumps.


Tia : What is your personal cannabis consumption routine? Does it affect your work/ life?

Matthew : It has morphed over the years, actually. I can remember back in the medical days taking dabs before even getting out of bed. And that is saying something since I was a carpenter who grew weed in the mornings before work so I was up really early.

Nowadays, I pretty much only smoke joints and usually hold off until later in the afternoon to keep productive. Kinda depends on the work though. If I’m doing a carpentry project, I am going to be smoking. If I have paperwork to do or a bunch of emails to write, probably not…. But once I start for the day, I usually keep at it until I go to bed. I sleep very well lol.


Tia : Your top strains to smoke? Why?

Matthew : This is a constantly changing list, I move through genetics pretty fast. Lately, it has been a Wonka Bars x Gelato 41 cross we made last year that we have yet to name. It is in full production this year so we have to get to it soon.

There's also an Andromeda x Tesla Tower cross I’ve been digging of late as well that we are calling Aether. Others I have been really enjoying lately are Locktite, MAC, Slurricane, Mimosa…. Ask me in another month and I will probably be smoking something else entirely. Powder Hound is our biggest seller and it is always in there, especially for the daytime. It’s a great day weed. I typically smoke things that I like the smell and taste of. If I don’t like the smell, I probably won't even smoke it. The nose knows.


Lazy Bee Gardens interview quote
Tia : What are the 3 main trends in the cannabis industry in 2021 for you now?

Matthew : Probably more industry consolidation, unfortunately. It is getting more difficult for smaller operators to operate as some of the larger entities continue to grow and consume market share. That has been happening, but I do see it continuing. I'm not totally sure I know what trends will be emerging this year. We are so isolated out here, we’re not always in the loop lol.


Tia : If you could have a chance to smoke with anyone on this planet, who’d that be and why?

Matthew : Oh man, there's a list. Kinda depends... [tooltip title="Nikola Tesla" content="An ethnic Serb born American inventor, electrical and mechanical engineer."]Nikola Tesla[/tooltip] would obviously be amazing to chat with, but he was a very silent man most of the time, and his vocabulary was certainly much larger than mine so that might not be the most digestible. That being said, I think an old storyteller could actually be pretty fun, someone like Samuel Clemens. Could probably tell stories for hours and would probably actually toke up too.


Tia : In your opinion, what’s the current situation with cannabis stocks in the USA?

Matthew : I'm probably the worst person to ask. I don’t pay any attention to that arena actually.


Tia : What are your predictions on the cannabis industry for the next 5-10 years?

Matthew : Depends entirely on what happens at the federal level. If things don't change at the federal level, I see things going on as they have with only minor changes to the current. If we see federal legalization happen, I think the entire landscape will be changed. I think the state will need to start thinking about rules to set up for that event that will help keep the Washington farms relevant.

I don’t know exactly what, but Wa farms will be severely undersized to compete in a national market with the canopy limits currently in place. They need to be there for the time being, but once out-of-state sales open up, I think farms will need to grow in size or they will become irrelevant quickly in such a huge national market.


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Thank you so much, Lazy Bee Gardens team, for taking the time to do the interview. To learn more about them, head on over to their website.

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