In this eighth episode of Growing Exposed, I’ll introduce you to Sugarleaf’s master grower Jayson Flynn. Considered a veteran in the industry, Jason has already had his taste of success as he was part of a team that won back-to-back High Times Cannabis Cups in Colorado for a strain called Presidential Kush in 2014 and White 99 in 2015.
“White 99 is one of my favorite strains,” said Jason, as he gives all the credit to world-renowned breeder Tierra Rojo, who carefully selected the phenotypes for one of Sugarleaf’s flagship products which is a cross between Cinderella 99 and Kromes The White. Jason further explained that The White is, in fact, a parent plant to a lot of the best strains on the market today.
What makes a great plant on the market today?
Well to start, you want those golf ball-sized, crystal covered buds that contain a high THC content in the 28-30 percent range. At Sugarleaf, only the best genetics make the cut and get a chance to be under one of their 380 lights.
“It really is an impressive facility,” said Justin Cooper, expert in the hydroponics world, as he is guided through the facility by Jason.
They begin their tour in the “mother room,” where they pack in these award-winning genetics. A lot of the ideas and designs were borrowed from Jason’s experience cultivating for one of the largest growers, not only in the state of Colorado but perhaps the country.
That experience has led them to implement some pretty cool space-saving techniques, such as tables on rollers, so they can make any row between plants wheelchair accessible.
You’ll see high-tech innovation everywhere as you walk upstairs into this massive grow room. Sugarleaf uses zone control, ensuring a perfect climate to grow cannabis anywhere you step.
Looking up to the ceiling, you’ll find a combination of LED and HPS lights that you can’t help but notice have been arranged in what is referred to as a checkerboard pattern. I’m seeing this more and more as I document indoor grow rooms. Growers tell me that although they may want to take advantage of the power savings, they don’t want to lose the punch of an HPS.
Jeff Bisberg, the CEO of Illumitex, an LED lighting manufacturer, was on location at Sugarleaf, where I asked him about the future of LED lights in the grow room.
“We have seen every single market tip when a certain value proposition hits… flashlights, home lighting and in the automotive industry,” said Jeff, who went on to explain that the reason horticultural lighting is one of the last to hit is because our industry is using the highest powered lights, which makes it a more difficult technology to emulate.
“But the shift is happening, and this grow (Sugarleaf) is an example of that,” Jeff added.
I wanted to know more, so I visited Spectrum King, which are a full-spectrum LED light manufacturer based out of Los Angeles, California. I started by learning that these lights are built by growers for growers.
I found out some cool technical stuff like why Spectrum King LEDs contain gold and copper. Turns out, these transition metals keep heat away from the diodes faster and conduct electricity better, resulting in longer-lasting, brighter lights.
When you look at a Spectrum King, you can’t help but notice they really mimic the sun. Full-spectrum light allows plants to behave like outdoor plants, so there is minimal variation in flower size comparing terminal and lateral buds.
Lastly, I was told that full spectrum allows plants to produce more secondary metabolites, which aids in higher terpene production, and as a result, plants grown under these lights have a higher THC content than standard spectrum LEDs.
The future of LEDs is brighter than ever, and so is Sugarleaf’s whose sugar-coated plants live up to the name of the facility. Under the name Sugarleaf, they have a slogan that says, “Cannabis Perfected.” I found it to be very fitting as I watched the process from beginning to end.
Sugarleaf shows how a commercial facility can still care for each plant individually every day and take pride all the way through harvest. This results in a final product that justifies their motto.
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