Escaping the intense build-up of MJBizCon in Vegas for a little dip into the old-colonial charm of Massachusetts would be tonic enough in itself. Pair that break with a visit to Garden Remedies and you’ve got yourself a new definition of spiritual refreshment, as our team found out when they swung by in December.
For the uninitiated, Garden Remedies are a cannabis company with licences for cultivation, manufacturing and dispensing. They place clear emphasis on producing affordable, accessible, premium-quality medical cannabis for the alleviation of chronic pain and for enhanced mental wellbeing. The strains under cultivation reflect the careful consideration that their team have given to achieving these goals.
In order to deliver on their aims of affordability and accessibility Garden Remedies sought a highly efficient, plant controlled irrigation solution. We were delighted when they settled on AutoPot as their watering system of choice and we’ve enjoyed a very happy and productive relationship ever since. Kyle from Garden Remedies took us on a tour of their growing facility to see exactly how they cultivate and why their approach has been so successful.
AutoPot are involved start-to-finish at Garden Remedies with easy2Propagate irrigating clones and seedlings, AQUAvalve technology watering plants at the pre-veg and veg stage, easy2grow for young mother plants and 1Pot XL in mother rooms and stock/production areas.
Kyle kicked off this tour in the small mothers room where clones go into easy2grow for 3-4 weeks until hardened off. Here he touched on something we’d keep going back to on the tour – in Massachusetts canopy is king. For licensed producers there’s no restriction on plant numbers but with a 100 000sq ft canopy limit there is a definite need to maximise growing space. APUSA have seen a slight sway towards the use of easy2grow, and indeed Auto8 2.2gal, for small plants. Many cultivators under canopy restrictions cite the optimisation of growing space as a motivation for this. A more modest pot size perhaps but in this specific role, during initial growing stages, the systems really do help Garden Remedies and other facilities get the absolute maximum out of their canopy quota.
At early stages of development it really is crucial that the burgeoning plants aren’t over- or under-watered. Ensuring this manually or even via a computer controlled system could ratchet up maintenance costs. Fortunately, easy2grow allows the plants to water themselves saving on both costs and plant attrition. They cannot be over- or under-watered as they draw exactly what they need, when they need it. Above, T5’s light the young mothers, using relatively little power and generating minimal heat output. Their blue/white light maximises efficiency whilst giving the plants all the gentle encouragement they need. It stimulates vegetative growth and promotes tighter internode spacing to produce strong, stocky plants.
We went on to see the mothers in their established state in the Mother Room-proper. Here the extensive research and development that goes into Garden Remedies’ legacy plants takes place. Amongst other experiments, substrate combinations are put through their paces with a variety of strains in 1Pot XLs. Garden Remedies use 100% organic super soils meaning that plants only require RO water via the AutoPot Watering Systems for the full plant cycle. Seeing how different strains respond to different super soil recipes helps Garden Remedies stay vital in the industry and ensures that they are ready to respond to changing market trends.
Two of the key criteria for Garden Remedies in choosing a system were flexibility and responsiveness to whatever strains they chose to cultivate. They didn’t want to have to tweak or recalibrate extensively with pumps, computers, and timers when switching between strains or when different strains were being grown within the same system. We were pleased to hear Kyle testify that all Garden Remedies’ plants, regardless of the strain, simply calibrate the system to their own requirements thanks to the plant controlled irrigation inherent to AutoPots.
No less than eight Flower Rooms are housed at Garden Remedies and there are three more under construction. One room amongst the current eight will be harvested on any given week of the year. Keeping this production rolling relies on passion, intelligence and expertise on the part of the staff. They are capable of working each Flower Room in around two days but can wet-trim-harvest a room in even less than that, at a rate of about 3lbs per hour, typically getting 4-5oz yield per plant. Obviously that means the team are highly proficient with the systems and we enjoyed some intriguing chats about configuration and training within each pot. The whys and wherefores of plants per pot versus nutrients therein, weighed against canopy maximisation, factoring in the manual work of training colas, balanced with the aversion of extended vegetative stages, that sort of thing.
Kyle talked us through some of the numbers. Each Flower Room is populated by up to 900 1Pot XL modules, transpiring about 150gal of water daily, making efficient automation and minimal waste essential aspects of production. Certain strains will empty their module tray twice a day, others thrice or more – again emphasising the importance of a system that responds to each plant’s needs. The dryness of topmost layers of substrate may alarm growers new to the system but not so Garden Remedies. They know, as do we, that this is perfectly normal, nay ideal, with an AutoPot System.
Up on high one hundred and twenty five 1000w DE HPS lighting fixtures illuminate each flowering room where the plants really start to stretch out, and fast. Most of the seven strains currently under cultivation will hit 6-7ft by harvest time. Typically the soils used by Garden Remedies have enough gas to easily last the nine or more weeks required for this growth. Rolling benches ensure the rapidly developing plants remain accessible at all times whilst maximising canopy square footage.
We were delighted to see Garden Remedies’ continued enthusiasm for the systems first-hand. It’s both humbling and fulfilling to experience a production facility that employs your tech so successfully at every stage. We’d like to offer our congratulations to Garden Remedies for their work so far, our profuse thanks for their hospitality and all the very best for the future.