1. What is the most beneficial aspect of a custom cannabis greenhouse?
The ability to build a facility directly around a cultivator’s exact growing method is what makes custom greenhouse manufacturers like GrowSpan stand out. When you use a kit from a re-seller, your growing method must change to fit a mold. For instance, having the ability to go from 6-foot sidewalls all the way up to 16 feet gives our growers the ability to choose a sea of green (small plant size) cultivation method or, if they are growing larger plants due to a plant count limit in their state, they have all the height they need. Additionally, we can add elements to the structure to accommodate specialized hanging equipment, or we can include different claddings, such as insulated steel panels to create a “hybrid” style structure that’s configured for that site and grower.
2. How is customizing a greenhouse for cannabis grows different than other operations?
With the cannabis plant, the No. 1 question we usually get asked is about humidity control. We eliminate the worry through custom dehumidification-system sizing or designing for higher airflow to make the most economic facility. Additionally, we almost always get a higher plant count per square foot demand than other crops. This leads us to scrutinize our calculations and make sure that a successful crop can be grown under these more intense demands; this involves our irrigation, ventilation and even personnel movement plans.
3. How do laws and regulations affect the design and customization process?
For commercial cannabis facilities, we get ahead of regulatory agencies by staffing engineers and former greenhouse growers to go over all the details with the client before they are reviewed. Compared to the traditional agricultural greenhouse industry, we face much stricter control on security, engineering and even fire suppression. Beyond construction, the post-harvest lab testing of the product is stringent as well, so we help plan best management practices with clients to eliminate the introduction of pests, mold/mildew and even heavy metals from bad fertilizers.
4. What should growers consider when integrating custom environmental control systems?
All high-end systems now incorporate smartphone viewing and operation, so that is a must. Beyond that, you want a system that is user friendly and that has the level of precision necessary for you and your operators. For instance, if you just need something to open vents and turn on fans, do not opt for the higher-end systems; if you need to collect data for review, optimize air flow or control a wide array of devices, it is best to shop around. Tour a grow that uses a controller you are interested in and ask for a demo to play around with the controls. Most growers can quickly determine if it is something they want to interface with every day for years.
5. Why is customization important come harvest time?
By customizing the grow facility to the methods that work best for the operation, they’ll be able to pull product out and put in new transplants quicker, increasing turns per year. Having to work around a facility that is not built for each users’ needs will add time to each harvest and could end up costing more than the savings from going with a “cookie cutter” greenhouse in the first place.