Marijuana Business Magazine October 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | October 2019 114 Fahrenheit from the 80s. He believes the cooler temperatures help increase the trichome production and plant color. For example, if a strain has purple genetics, the violet hue will shine brighter at lower temperatures, which is more appealing on a retail shelf. Pollock of Theory Wellness said the color expression of strains is akin to how leaves of deciduous trees change colors in the fall. He also drops the temperature and humidity in his grow room a couple of weeks before harvest. The idea is to mimic the conditions a plant would experience in an outdoor environment at the end of its life cycle. Turning down the humidity helps to prevent the risk of any mold or mildew growth. “They’re at a vulnerable stage at that point,” Pollock said. Summs uses a similar strategy in his grow. He drops room temperatures to 75 degrees from a typical 85 degrees and lowers the humidity from 60% or more to about 50%. “You want to minimize your water content and increase your plant content,” he said. Prepping the Crop Area To keep his whole staff on the payroll full time, Summs uses the trimmer crew to help with the harvest, with two people in supervisory roles and up to nine in more manual-labor positions. Otis Gardens harvests every Monday, so Summs’ staff sets up the harvest room on Fridays with all the necessary tables and trash cans. If everything goes well, his crew will finish the hang-drying harvest of 192 plants in three to four hours. Part of the preparation process also involves pruning the plants before harvest. “We prune the room really hard, so when we harvest it, the plants are almost ready to go,” Holmes said. “We hang them and they can just dry and we don’t have to do any more prep.” At Theory Wellness, Pollock said it takes his team about eight hours to harvest 400-500 plants. Before harvest, his crew fully san- itizes the drying room to make sure they avoid potential contaminants such as mold and mildew. He also gives the trimmers work along with the harvest crew. “Everyone has a job, and it’s all hands on deck,” he added. How Flushing Can Seal the Deal Before cannabis can be harvested, a common practice is to flush out all the nutrients so the flower will smoke and taste free of additives such as premixed nutrients or fertilizers. At Theory Wellness in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, CEO Brandon Pollock runs water that’s been filtered via reverse osmosis through the plants for about two weeks before harvest. “We have pretty strict heavy- metal testing here,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re going to pass that.” Flushing also helps to push the plants to fully ripen as well as use up any nutrients they’re still carrying, according to Pollock. He’s looking for a clean, white ash when the flower is smoked. “No residuals,” Pollock added. At Los Angeles-based Clade9, founder David Holmes starts bringing down his nutrient concentration about three weeks before harvest. That’s partly because the plant might not even take up the nutrients at that late stage in the growing cycle. Holmes said the runoff will show that the plant isn’t absorbing any more nitrogen, for example. Growers also cautioned against giving cannabis too much nitrogen at the end of its life. That could change the structure of the flower to be excessively leafy, for instance. Otis Gardens in Hood River, Oregon, runs a thorough flush with clear water with the company’s Argus fertigation system beginning the ninth week of a 10-week cycle, according to Lead Grower Pieter Summs. “You get a nice, even finish,” he said. “Which makes for a well- rounded product.” – Bart Schaneman Best Practices In Cultivation | Bart Schaneman Otis Gardens heats the grow room to 85 degrees Fahrenheit until shortly before harvest, when the temperature is dropped to 75 degrees. Courtesy Photo