Mastering the grow with Horticulturalist Shlomo Booklin: Part 2
You make it sound easy. What can go wrong in a situation where you are expecting a nine-week harvest and it isn’t happening on schedule. What could be going wrong?
For example, adequate CO2 levels are critical. Not having the right levels can slow down the process by at least three or four days or the plants don’t grow to their full potential. So if your planning to have 30 cm tall plants and on the third week you don’t have enough CO2, the plants will take another week until they reach the 30 cm height that you expected. Same goes for watering and amount of fertilizer, in terms of frequency of feedings. It all must be correlated to the stage of the plant.
Another example is about 60 to 70 percent of the plant’s growth occurs in the first hour of the day. So, if you don’t provide enough CO2 in that first hour of the day then you’ve lost a day or half of a day. Over a week it begins to accumulate and plants will be 60cm tall instead of 80cm tall. All these little things add up and become critical to the success of the operation.
How do you measure quality as a grower?
If you look at a variety, let’s say for argument’s sake, White Widow and we know that we should expect 19 to 22 percent THC, if you’re not a precise grower you may harvest in eight and a half weeks because it is an eight and a half week variety, however, you won’t get the full potential of the THC, so maybe only 13-15 percent. You have to provide the plants with the full complement of tools in order to get their full potential. Also, the yield might be lower if you don’t have the right environmental recipe.
How do you leverage data to optimize a grow?
Basically, it’s all about collecting data and implementing the accumulated knowledge from what you have collected.
I used to turn a plant over and look at the roots to give me a good indication of the health of the plant. If the roots are brown it will take another three days until I see the results on the leaves – meaning I would have lost 3 days in my harvest cycle. If I can determine, before I burn the roots, what caused them to burn, I can eliminate that loss. If I am collecting real-time pH levels, for example, I’ll be able to avoid that damage rather than to see the damage on the roots and two days later to see damage on the leaf. It’s important to use technology to keep an eye on the elements, and to prevent mistakes before they happen.
Only by collecting data and tracking all the elements whether it’s temperature fluctuation or whether it’s humidity fluctuation or the best time to give CO2, will you have a successful harvest?
I encourage each grower to do as much of trial and error as possible because you only learn from mistakes. But, if you don’t collect the data from your mistakes and begin to analyze that data – then you haven’t learned anything.
Leveraging more scientific approaches and new technologies will definitely help growers with the success of their operation. I’m excited to see more and more cultivators moving in this direction.