1. Firstly, why is it important to install a curtain system in my greenhouse operation?
The main reason to install any curtain system is to control the environment and your growing efficiency. This applies to both light level and quality, and the growing conditions due to consistency of air temperature, humidity and movement. Curtain systems will provide savings in both the heating and cooling costs. In the summer, curtains reflect the heat away from the growing environment, and in the winter, they reflect the energy inward. Curtains also allow for an added air buffer layer between the growing environment and the exterior shell of the greenhouse. This limits the convective airflow created by the air-cooling against the exterior shell, resulting in even temperatures throughout the crop.
2. Why are some growers installing both blackout and shade curtain systems?
First of all, the blackout systems are required for length of day control to bring the plants to flower on schedule regardless of the external daylight hours. The cannabis plant is sensitive to light and requires 12 hours of complete darkness per day.
Shade fabrics will control the amount and quality of light entering the greenhouse with some shading fabrics specifically designed to diffuse the light. Diffused light allows for deep light penetration into the plant canopy, allowing the leaves to utilize more of the light, creating stronger plants and more consistent growth.
3. Why is it important for curtain systems to close completely?
Specifically for the cannabis plant, the day length control is essential to bring the plant to flower on schedule, without uncontrolled vegetative growth or developing hermaphrodite plants caused by light leaks.
Greenhouses always create a “chimney effect” when warm air naturally rises and cooler air falls. All small openings add up to a large amount of air movement between the growing environment and the buffer zone above. A system must be closed tightly at each leading-edge closure, along all perimeter walls and around posts or mechanical perforations. If the system leaks, efficiency will drop dramatically.
4. Can you explain the difference between sliding and suspended curtain systems?Sliding systems move the fabric on nylon wires with top wires above keeping the bundle small and flat.
Suspended systems hang the curtain from the wires with hooks that create a pleated bundle when opened. By suspending the fabric, it is not subject to abrasion on the wires caused by wind or daily operation. In quality suspended systems, your supplier will sew a loop tape aligned with each slide wire, into which the hooks are installed. This prevents tearing holes in the fabric at the hooks.
5. Can blackout curtain systems be installed in existing greenhouses?
In most cases, yes. Most light deprivation systems are installed as sliding systems. These can be installed in as little as 6 to 8 inches of travel space height in almost any profile of greenhouse. Careful design is required to ensure that the curtain will not catch on or be impeded by any structural or mechanical components, and to ensure that the curtains close tightly.
1. Why grow in a Smart Pot?
The container you choose has a huge impact on plant growth and yields. Smart Pots are specifically designed to maximize the healthy root mass of your plant. The equation is simple: bigger root mass, bigger yields.
2. How does it work, exactly?
It works through a process called “root pruning.” When roots make their way to the perimeter of the pot, they lock into the fiber. That’s where the magic happens. After roots lock in, they branch out explosively, creating a fine, dense network of fibers known as feeder roots. Feeder roots can absorb massive amounts of moisture and nutrients, so you want as many as possible. Furthermore, Smart Pots are constructed of porous fabric with millions of microscopic holes. They drain exceptionally well, while still holding in the mix and not falling apart in the middle of a grow. The pores also release damaging heat that can harm feeder roots and diminish your yields.
3. How is all this different from other containers?
Standard plastic containers have tons of disadvantages. In a plastic pot, roots grow in a long, unbroken line without branching. They circle the pot, creating a tangled root mass that lacks sufficient feeder roots. This type of root structure is incredibly inefficient at absorbing moisture and nutrients. Plastic retains excess water and is prone to overheating. Now, when it comes to fabric grow bags, we invented them. We’re the undisputed pioneers in the space. Many competitors make fabric bags that aren’t designed for root pruning. Some are too thick, retaining excess moisture. Others are so thin, they just fall apart. The right fabric makes the difference.
4. What about contaminants in the fabric?
This is a major issue in today’s cannabis industry. Smart Pots are made from “clean” fabric, meaning it is predominately a virgin material free of lead, BPA and excessive hazardous materials. Recycled fabrics can be loaded with heavy metals that accumulate in the recycling process. When scrap material is melted down to recycle, heavy metals remain. They cannot be melted. A build-up of lead, copper or other contaminants is very possible. That’s not a problem if you’re growing flowers. But if you are growing something that will be consumed—such as cannabis—clean fabric is an absolute must.
5. My garden is unique. Can Smart Pots make custom containers for my operation?
Yes. Our products are proudly made in the U.S., and it’s easy for us to make custom containers for specific needs. We have been serving the cannabis industry for well over a decade, and we work closely with some of the best cannabis growers in the world. We’ll find the perfect solution for you.
1. What is the biggest security issue in the cannabis industry?
When it comes to product, about 10 percent of theft is from external sources, but about 90 percent is from internal sources—employees, drivers, etc.
2. What reasons do cultivators give for not installing mobile video security systems?
It comes down to educating the client on what mobile video solutions are and what their capabilities are. After a clear understanding, most clients are likely to outfit their vehicles with mobile video solutions.
3. What are the most important features to look for in a mobile video security system?
Hands-free operation that is not dependent on a person to activate it. A turnkey, fully automated system alleviates the potential for human error. It is important to have live, real-time access to audio and video within the vehicle at anytime the vehicle is en route. Geofencing is also key. Geofencing is the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area. Being able to monitor idle time (how long a vehicle is sitting in one place) can be a major benefit as well. It’s important to have this access not only from your computer, but also from a tablet or cell phone.
4. How can I make transporting money or product safer for my business and my drivers?
Cameras have the tendency to induce the Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect is the alteration of behavior by a person due to his or her awareness of being observed. By having cameras on the vehicle, it’s likely that employee theft will reduce greatly. Also, when a potential robber may consider the attack on a vehicle, he is less likely to follow through after noticing video surveillance on that vehicle. Giving the driver access to a covert “Panic Button” that can notify the client immediately in a heist situation could result in a life saved.
5. Apart from catching and averting thieves, what can a mobile video security system bring to my business?
By installing mobile video surveillance, you are likely to receive an insurance credit, which will result in additional cost savings. In vehicular accidents, it will protect the client against false claims.
1. What makes PBH Nature’s Media Amendment a good addition in a cannabis soil mix?
PBH is a uniquely parboiled rice hull growing media amendment offering environmental, horticultural and economic advantages. Registered organic and processed under food-grade standards, it is a sustainable resource that offers a lower basic cost. PBH rice hulls offer a natural color that blends with other growing mix components. These hulls are biodegradable over time, but not during a typical cannabis plant production cycle. Packaged in highly compressed 50-pound bags or 30-cubic-foot bulk bales, PBH generates less waste and reduces storage, handling and freight. PBH rice hulls have been used successfully in commercial greenhouses since 2007.
2. What are some of the horticultural benefits of PBH?
The physical size, shape and bulking properties of PBH rice hulls produce optimum air-filled pore space, water-holding capacity and drainage. And when incorporated into coir- or peat-based substrates, PBH rice hulls do not negatively impact the chemical properties of the soil mix. A PBH mix may hold more water than a perlite mix, which can reduce irrigation requirements. In general, the recommended PBH use rate is 20 to 30 percent of the total growing media. The higher the PBH ratio, the lighter the growing media will be and the better it will drain. PBH has a 6.2 to 6.6 pH range. Rice hulls also contain amorphous silica. This can promote thicker, stronger plant stems, improved root mass, increased drought tolerance and better resistance to disease and insects. Always trial any material used in a new application for adaptability to your operation.
3. How are PBH rice hulls processed?
PBH rice hulls are soaked in hot water, steamed under pressure and then dried. This sterilizes the hulls and renders any residual rice kernels, weed seeds or disease pathogens non-viable.
4. Are there other uses for PBH in a cannabis growing operation?
Yes. PBH can also be used as a container topdress to help prevent airborne weed seeds—including liverwort—from reaching the soil surface and germinating. This grower-developed technique dramatically improves weed control and significantly reduces hand-weeding labor and expense. It is an economical, earth-friendly weed-management technique and costs only pennies per container.
5. How do I purchase PBH Nature’s Media Amendment?
PBH can be purchased as its own product or is available in premixes from leading soil blend manufacturers. Direct purchases can be made through Riceland Foods, Inc. and the company’s nationwide network of distributors.
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