Growers Embrace Science to Supply Their Own Medicine

The following article was written about 3P Farms, a medicinal co-op grow in British Columbia Canada. While the grow is legal and licensed, the head grower wishes to remain anonymous.

Cannabis cultivators have entered the world of big business. Over the years, they’ve learned about the importance of forecasting, profitability and a wide range of key performance indicators. For some cultivators, though, their crop means much more than revenue.

A group of growers in western Canada isn’t seeking profits or expansion. They’re making their own medicine.

The farm grows flower primarily for the production of extracts that each licensed grower on the site uses for their medical needs, according to the farm’s lead grower.

“It’s our medicine,” he says. “Our licenses are only for us, the guys whose licenses and names are on the wall.”

The lead grower, who has been growing cannabis for more than 20 years, needed to find ways to reduce the labor-intensive nature of the business. The farm is situated in a 5,000-square-foot building with 120 lights. Initially, the cultivation process was tedious. The initial start-up required 16-hour work days.

Over time, he has been able to cut the work days down to six hours and hopes eventually to work no more than two hours per day on the farm so he can focus on other things. The use of effective nutrients has played a significant role in the lead grower’s ability to manage the farm’s crop more efficiently.

Greener, Larger Buds

The farm switched over to Emerald Harvest’s product line and began simply by following the recommended feed schedules. That simplified the process for the small team of growers. In the early years, the head grower managed most of the nutrient applications himself to ensure consistency.

“Until I started on this product line, I had no confidence in anybody because I was using so many different things, and now it’s all in one simple line, and I’m much more confident that they can use the right mixture,” he says.

The previous nutrient solutions required more trial and error to achieve results. The Emerald Harvest products come with feed charts for each growing stage.

“Every other product I used was a lot more finicky,” he explains. “You have to really adjust and be on top of it—a lot. With Emerald Harvest, everything is combined. That saves me a lot of time with my pH-ing. Everything’s pH balanced on your schedule.”

He still performs pH checks, but the process is much less time intensive than it was before he started using Emerald Harvest.

“I’m not spending 20 minutes of reservoir pHing, so that’s a big benefit,” he says.

Plant quality also has improved significantly since the farm switched nutrients. He had particular improvements using Emerald Harvest Cal-Mag and Sturdy Stalk. The calcium in Cal-Mag regulates growth and encourages plant development, while magnesium is essential for chlorophyll production to ensure the plants get enough energy from light. Magnesium also activates enzymes the plants need to uptake nutrients.

Sturdy Stalk’s key ingredient—silica—fortifies the plants and enriches the internal structures needed to support top-heavy flowering plants. Because it strengthens cells, silica helps plants withstand environmental and other stressors, so they spend more of their energy creating blooms and buds. Also, the potassium in Sturdy Stalk optimizes photosynthesis.

The result for the farm is greener plants and larger flowers. The first plants to receive the Emerald Harvest treatments are producing record yields. The cultivation team applied the products to plants in another room, where even bigger results are expected

“I’ve seen the results with the greenness, where my nodes are growing exponentially faster in my veg, and my buds are growing bigger in my bloom,” he explains.

Work-Life Balance

More than two decades in the business has opened his eyes to realities that many growers may have overlooked in the past. Science-driven cultivation is taking hold, and that’s a good thing for the industry.

“Farming is a science, and as we move forward, people are going to come up with new and better things,” he says. “And from what I’ve seen using Emerald Harvest, trusting in that science lets me know they have it right.”

Plant quality isn’t the only improvement he has noticed. The use of reliable, easy-to-use nutrients has enhanced his quality of life.

“It has helped a lot,” he says. “It gives me weekends off once in a while.”