Just as we thought winter was behind us, the weather turned cold and snow started to fall. As skiers and snowboarders geared up for spring skiing, the construction crew was bundling up to tackle our new greenhouse designed by Ceres Greenhouse of Colorado. It was a decision we didn’t take lightly and after a year of researching and visiting greenhouses, we decided on Ceres. Our company mission as a producer is to have the smallest energy footprint while growing the highest quality cannabis, and the greenhouse is designed to harness natural sunlight.
In the past, during the medical market years, we grew indoors under high-pressure sodium lights. We produced good results but the cost to grow cannabis was not sustainable after Oregon legalized retail cannabis.
Sunlight doesn’t cost anything, so why not use it? In addition, we will use supplemental LED lighting when the sun is not available. The dry and cool high desert climate during the winter months will be used to lower interior temperatures. Using outside air is not always an option for growers as outside humidity can wreak havoc on a grow, but our greenhouse is located in the high desert, so the humidity is very low in our region. The low humidity also allows us to use an evaporative cooling wall during the hotter months of the year to lower the interior temperature as well. This method eliminates the use of air conditioning for a lower cost of goods and a lower energy footprint.
One of the problems we encountered in the past was the lack of drainage in the building. We had a great place, and then one day the hose valve was left open. The pressure broke the hose and flooded the floor. It was quickly discovered and nothing was damaged, but water was everywhere, though at least everything was off the floor. We were left with hours of vacuuming and large fans out of fear of future mold issues.
After that scare, we started a wish list for a new greenhouse. The first on the list is that the building works for us — we don’t work for the building. Second on the list is drainage in all areas to allow water to exit the building if needed. Third, find out how the professionals farm indoors. So we started talking to non-cannabis greenhouse farmers and discovered some great techniques for a cost-efficient grow. Foundation plans included drains and environmental technology was integrated into the greenhouse to notify us how the building was running and if adjustments were needed.
We feel very confident about the new greenhouse, but I can’t over-emphasize the impact of research. We failed at first because we didn’t do enough research. We are hopeful we addressed the big mistakes with the new greenhouse. Unlike a few years ago, most vendors and the public are now open to discussions about growing cannabis. Don’t be afraid to ask; most likely someone has the answer.
The miracle is the greens.