Indoor cannabis cultivation has moved out of the dimly-lit basements and garages operated by renegade activists, patients, and green thumbs. Nowadays, massive legal grows occupy sprawling warehouses and multi-million dollar agricultural facilities. As budgets and plant counts scale up, so do the technology and sophistication of these gardens.
To share a view of what the modern hydroponics facility looks like, Leafly visited Caliva, a premier cannabis dispensary and cultivation center in San Jose, California.Soft, dim lighting in the hallways helps keep balance between the high-intensity lighting in the veg and flower rooms. Shallow foot baths outside each room ensure that no microbes or other contaminants pass into the clean ecosystem maintained inside.The irrigation and fertigation systems deliver water and nutrient-rich solutions to the plants. They are the heart of any hydroponics system.These systems are sanitized continually to ease pH balancing, avoid nutrient buildup in the lines, and ensure accurate ratios within the nutrient mix. The continual cleaning ensures no buildup of pathogens in Caliva’s systems.Irrigation and fertigation are optimized for each strain in the garden and are adjusted during the various stages of the plant’s lifecycle to promote exceptional growth and vigor.Cal-Mag Plus, for example, is a plant supplement that is rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron. A precise balance of these nutrients as an ingredient in a larger feeding regime helps encourage cannabis to increase its uptake of other essential minerals. Caliva uses base nutrients where possible to provide complete fertigation.
If the reservoirs are the heart of the operation, the waterlines and pumps serve as the cardiovascular system.
In the flowering room, where the plants mature and bloom, the nutrient solutions are fed directly to each individual plant through feed lines.
Juicy Jay, one of Caliva’s in-house strains, swells with a thick coat of trichomes as it progresses through the flowering stage.
Chemdawg OG, nearing harvest, stands tall as it reaches for light.
Hydroponics growing is one of many methods used to cultivate large-scale cannabis for the legal industry. While the process may seem complicated, when executed properly, the system can run efficiently and harmoniously to grow the highest-quality cannabis for consumers and patients.