As the legal recreational use of cannabis quickly approaches for the entire country of Canada in July of 2018, there are a select group of growers putting their green thumbs to work into the fine art of craft cannabis cultivation in an area known as the Kootenays. This area, which is filled with pristine and snow-capped mountainous regions, is also home to small towns like Nelson, British Columbia which has been a key player since the early 70’s, in this nations billion dollar industry.
If you are not completely sure what craft cannabis is, don’t worry, because even the experts are still in debate. Very similar to how the alcohol industry labels small independent producers, cannabis seems to be following suit as David Robinson joined the Craft Cannabis Association Of British Columbia over a year and a half ago. He did this to ensure the growers in this area have a place amongst what most feel will be mega corporations cultivating for the rest of the country.
“We are here to fight for the small to medium growers… and the rights of the public to choose where they get their cannabis from” Says David. Who takes you on a tour of not one but two of these craft cannabis gardens explaining how they take no shortcuts as they produce small batches pouring the maximum amount of love over each plant.
First, we head into a highly insulated building which shelters the plants from an annual winter snowfall that averages 6 feet where we find a room full of colas that would dwarf any beer can.
David attests that it is the breeder to thank for all the varieties you have to choose from in this garden. David mentions during the episode, that when you purchase clones, you are also purchasing problems from other people. Often times when gardeners are buying cuttings from other gardeners they are also introducing unwanted guests such as disease, pathogens and pests.
“This grower who uses Green House Seeds, feels he allows his genetics to be guided by nature creating new strains, such as more potent cannabis for medicinal uses, hybrid strains, and phenotypes high in CBD,” David goes on to mention “there are so many possibilities at your disposal when you take genetics seriously.”
In this episode, we get a chance to sit along the grower as David explains cloning process. They begin by trimming a tiny shoot off the mother plant. The cuttings are then soaked in a rooting hormone to encourage rooting and are placed in a rockwool medium inside a clone tray. Once all clones are safely secure inside the cloning tray, the lid is placed over them, the vents closed, and they are put in a high-humidity environment where they will root for 7-14 days until they are ready for transplantation into the vegetating room where they grow until ready to flower.
Fast forward to the flower cycle and this is what you get, a sea of massive colas bigger than beer cans. Every plant will eat about 400 ppm each irrigation cycle. When you check your run-off, you really get to know your plants and take them to the next level. Unfortunately, not everyone does this. Instead of expecting your plants to conform to a feeding schedule, you are reading your plants and intelligently reacting. By just checking run-off, this grower takes his garden to a maximum level of performance.
Nelson is also home to a hydroponic retail store called Pacific Northwest Garden Supply. And this is a special store because when David Robinson is not in the garden, this is where you will find him. David opened PNW Garden Supply Nelson in 2003. David puts his passion for growing into every aspect of his life. He is a born teacher and his life’s work consists of helping others.
Shopping for grow equipment in a hydroponics store can be intimidating. Especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can end up spending a lot of money going in the wrong direction.
At PNW Garden Supply the staff’s knowledge of the inner workings of gardens and various systems, like electrical and HVAC are top-notch. So much, in fact, growers will bring leaf samples from their gardens to help diagnose problems they’re having, whether it be pests or nutrient deficiencies and seek advice on the direction they should take to combat these issues.
Forming this relationship with your local hydroponics retailer can make all the difference in the success of your garden.
Now that you have learned about the art of cultivation craft cannabis and what goes on behind the scenes in one of the busiest retail stores in the world make sure to turn each month to the Growing Exposed series to learn more about the industry of cannabis growing exclusively on HighTimes.com.