Saving Time & Money by Getting the Best Marijuana Grow Equipment
The cannabis cultivation industry has embraced certain products that are standard supplies and equipment for indoor grow operations, and even some particular brand names have won over most growers for various reasons. For example, all growers with open ventilation systems use carbon exhaust filters to control odors. Most of those filters are now obtained from the brand Phresh, but only recently did Phresh begin to dominate the market when the Canadian company CAN Filter was previously known as the industry standard. This is due to the combination of a competitive price and the longer lasting carbon filler that Phresh has, which saves money over time due to its reduced replacement rate.
All growers have TDS and pH meters, but only some brands last a long time, give accurate readings and don’t need frequent calibration. Bluelab is a great brand of pH and TDS measuring equipment. The higher buy-in price easily pays for itself with ease of maintenance and long operating life. I have a particular appreciation for the Bluelab Guardian.
Another big example of the importance of good equipment planning is with regard to lighting. Indoor plant lighting is a very rapidly advancing technology. Newer lights use less energy and are more tailored towards the ideal light spectrums for plants (sorry, I can't say "spectra" with a straight face). High end LED’s might not be worth the investment if your marijuana cultivation operation is in a region with electrical rates below $.10 kWh. Calculations must be done in advance to compare electrical draw and PAR output with investment cost and projected yield per watt.
Gavita Pros are currently the industry standard with regard to indoor cultivation because of the yield and extended footprint coverage that double-ended (DE) HPS bulbs have, but this advantage is offset by extra cooling costs, the hazards associated with having a bulb surface temperature nearing 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fact that you can't use them for multi-tier vertical cannabis growing.
Watt for watt, Ceramic Metal Halides are up and coming for "single point" bulbs (where you have one bright spot over the table). Check them out here. Light movers can be used with single-point lights to offset the shading problem, but this adds an extra $170 to the total cost of each lighting package. I never run a single-point light without a light mover, and the folks at Gualala who make them are very nice and accommodating people.
Also worth watching for new cannabis cultivation projects are the full-spectrum LED fixtures which are much nicer looking to the human eye and buy-in prices are getting more reasonable as well. Most marijuana industry pros agree that the future of indoor lighting is in favor of LED’s. The fact that they emit a light profile that is shaped like a spread out “panel” of diodes, rather than a high-intensity single-point light source, supports better plant growth simply due to the reduced amount of shading that the canopy and lower parts of the cannabis plants experience.
Check out the educational YouTube videos at the bottom of this page for some lighting comparisons. I'm a big fan of the Fluence SpyrdX Plus lights. One thing I really like about them is the fact that you can use DC extension cables to separate the light bars from the chassis, giving you an extra 4-5" of vertical space, and removing some heat from the canopy area. The other major benefit of this design is that you can turn one flowering light into 2 veg lights by taking the 8 light bars that come with a SpydrX Plus and separating them into two sets of 4 bars, give you about 340 watts per veg table, which is plenty when you are using LED. This saves quite a bit of money on the buy-in cost for LED veg lights.
I could go on for days about the pros and cons of various equipment and supplies, but for the sake of consulting, suffice it to say that having an expert tell you which equipment is the smartest to purchase and why can save you loads of time and money, rather than having to try out products by making good guesses, only to become aware of various shortcomings weeks or months later.
* Marijuana Business Documentation - Business Plans, SOPs, Tracking Systems, R&D
* Marijuana Cultivation Site Design - Floor plans, Room Subdivisions, Ease of Access and Use
* Marijuana Grow Site Security - Internal and External Controls to Minimize Theft
* Marijuana HVAC - Air Quality, Monitoring, Clearance, Temperate and Humidity Control, Co2, Ozone, Fumigation, Fire Safety
* Marijuana Electrical Management - Power Usage & Energy Efficiency
* Marijuana Water Management
* Marijuana Staffing Plans - Workflow Simplification & Error Minimization
* Marijuana Worker Safety and Health
* Marijuana Pest Management Plans - Quarantines, Visitor & Worker Restrictions, Protocols for Each Pest Type
* Marijuana Plant Material Disposal, Hazardous Waste Management
* Marijuana Site Sanitation
* Marijuana Nutrient Management- Standard Protocols, Lab Testing, Modification & Results Tracking
* Marijuana Grow Methods - Flowering, Cloning, Mother Plants, Veg Growth, Seed Production
* Marijuana Harvesting, Trimming, Curing, and Storage
* Marijuana Supply & Demand Production Management
* Marijuana Quality Control - Lab Testing Finished Materials and Standardizing Systems
* Marijuana Business ROI