Editorial Team   |   February 14, 2018

Canna Cribs: Glass House Farms, CA

In this Growers Spotlight, Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Graham, a partner in a cultivation center dubbed the “Glass House,” located in Southern California.
Our CannabisTech writers come from a wide variety of backgrounds with a passion for cannabis and technology, matched only by their desire to educate the world about the cannabis industry.

 

The Operation

Building Layout

Our cultivation facilities are multiple greenhouses laid out with a modular design. The facility is approximately 200,000 square feet and is broken up into a number of bays, each with their own lighting, blackout and fertigation.

Once we plant in the greenhouse after propagation, each plant spends its whole life there, never needing to move again. We’ll typically run one or two strains per bay. We stagger the timing of the bays so that we’re doing a continual harvest every 3-7 days.

 

What kind of equipment do you use?

Right now we’re using Phantom DE 1000W HPS lights and 315w Sunburst CMH lights. We keep them at least 10 feet above the canopy as supplemental lights. We also run LED photoperiod control lights to adjust flowering schedules.

Priva automation controls the majority of our greenhouse environment. We back up the Priva system with Agrowtek climate sensors, which alert us if anything goes wrong. We’re proactive in our temperature and humidity management, using blackout curtains to control light and heat in each individual bay. 

We use a double-bucket system to recapture all of the runoff water. That water gets piped off for treatment before being recirculated back into the system.

 

How do you shift from propagation to veg and flowering?

We use a labor efficient system:

  1. Clones are grown in coco and perlite.
  2. We transfer clones into one-gallon pots as a sort of “pre-veg”.
  3. Once they’re rooted, we plant them in our 13-gallon Elite Grow Platform Pots.

We never move the plants again. Instead of separating vegetative and flowering, we use a combined system with our individual greenhouse bays.

 

How do you manage the environment in a greenhouse?

It depends on the facility. We try to drive our temperatures and humidities based on Vapor Pressure Deficit, and the ideal VPD changes based on temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels. 

 

What does your pest management look like?

New clones are quarantined until we’re certain they’re clear of any pests. When we get a new mother plant, we test it in our test bay.

We’re fortunate in regards to pests because of where we’re located. We only worry about spider mites and powdery mildew, which we keep in check with careful monitoring and climate control.

Other than that, we use our environmental controls to prevent a problem in the first place. Most pests have a narrow range of environments that they can tolerate, and we try to avoid those conditions.

 

How do you feed the plants?

We use a fertigator system designed by Priva. It takes clean RO water and adds Elite Nutrients and beneficials as needed. It then adjusts the pH and doses directly to the plants. The water is then fed to the plants via top-mounted drip feeds, which ultimately drains back into the catchment system.

Since we grow a limited number of strains per bay, each bay gets a slightly different recipe. We program each bay to get fed 2-3 times per day, depending on the strains and plants.

 

What are your harvesting methods?

When a bay finishes flowering, we harvest around 500 plants from it. We essentially let the plants die on the vine, cut them down, and hang them in a dark room set to 55% humidity and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of weeks to cure. After that, they’re trimmed and processed according to client needs.

 

Philosophy

What are your long-term goals?

Despite California’s reputation, cannabis has always existed in a legally gray area. We have had to jump through a lot of hoops that you wouldn’t experience in any other industry. That’s the cost of being on the forefront of something new.

Another issue is that it’s a big operation with a lot of moving parts. The challenge lies in how you coax out the same quality that a small grow can in cost-efficient way. It takes a lot of planning and infrastructure to make it all happen.

 

What have been some of your biggest challenges?

Despite California’s reputation, cannabis has always existed in a legally gray area. We have had to jump through a lot of hoops that you wouldn’t experience in any other industry. That’s the cost of being on the forefront of something new.

Another issue is that it’s a big operation with a lot of moving parts. The challenge lies in how you coax out the same quality that a small grow can in cost-efficient way. It takes a lot of planning and infrastructure to make it all happen.

 

What advice do you have for new growers?

Assuming you already know your plants, the number one thing that you need is a functional system in place. You have to have a plan and standard operating procedures. You have to work smart in order to work at a commercial scale, because it’s impossible to work hard enough.

This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.

 

Comments

0 Comments


 

Stay informed. Join our weekly newsletter