In this episode of Canna Cribs, Growers Network takes a trip to Grow Op Farms, the company behind the Phat Panda Brand.
Legend: Robert McKinley, Mojave Morelli, Sean Mooney
Tell me about the Grow Op Farms facilities.
Robert McKinley: Our indoor grow facility totals 85,000 square feet. We cover every step of the process, from the plants to concentrates and edibles.
Editor’s Note: 56,666 square feet is ⅔ of 85,000 square feet.
How do you like to grow?
Mojave Morelli: We have upwards of 170 strains with about 60 strains in full rotation.
When the plants enter veg, they’re hand-watered for the first 3-4 days and then we start automated watering. Our automated watering process starts with RO water getting dumped into giant holding tanks, where it’s pumped out to each room. Each room has 1 or 2 nutrient containers and we do the mixing right there. Once a plant really starts to grow, we go from one or two big feedings a day to lots of small feedings.
How do you handle pest management?
Robert McKinley: We focus on prevention and clean everything. We also use beneficial’s. A 5-person team inspects plants all day. Any time we find something, we quarantine it and aggressively target the threat.
Mojave Morelli: We’re strict on PPE: armbands, beard nets, hairnets, eye protection, booties, etc. We are proactive during veg because if you spray in bloom you’ll get a beat-up product. We prefer to use beneficial’s and biological sprays like Grandevo or PFR97. We’ll also follow up with liquid sulfur insecticide and a few organic pesticides.
What is your approach to maximizing yield per plant?
Robert McKinley: We light the whole room, not just the rows. We also over-clone by 25% so we can cull anything imperfect.
What media are you using?
Robert McKinley: For seeds, we use a dip and towel method. Once they pop roots they go into coco. We use rockwool for clones.
Mojave Morelli: For veg, clones go into a 5×5 square pot with coco. After three weeks they go into their final pot: a 7 or 10-meter outbed for stock plants or a 5-gallon fabric pot with coco for clones.
What lights do you use?
Robert McKinley: Our clones are all under T5’s. For veg, clones switch to Gavitas with metal halides. To prevent transition shock in bloom, we run metal halides for two weeks and we gradually switch to HPS. The last two weeks are 100% HPS.
What are your environmental controls the plants?
Mojave Morelli: CO2 in the propagation room is kept in the 1200 ppm range. Temperature is 77-78 degrees (F) and humidity is 60 to 55%.
When we shift into veg and flowering, the day temperature is kept around 78-79 degrees Fahrenheit. At night it’s 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. We gradually decrease CO2. About 10 days from harvest the CO2 is shut off and humidity is reduced to less than 50%.
Harvesting and Processing
How do you harvest?
Mojave Morelli: We start with two days of darkness. Before harvest, we chill the room to 65 degrees to slow the plant’s metabolism. When we move them into the drying room, we hang them by the branch from back to front and fill the room from top to bottom.
What is your curing process?
Robert McKinley: We cure at 65-70 degrees and 60% humidity for 10-14 days. The product goes into an oven bag with Boveda packs. This goes into a large, stackable plastic container. The flower is then packaged in a glass jar.
Do you use any automation for trimming?
Robert McKinley: We hand-trim everything, because:
The product looks better.
We save 10% of our weight.
What extracts do you make?
Sean Mooney: We extract using 100% ethanol. We homogenize our distillate across sugar, which we use to proof our edibles. This increases the extract’s absorption in the body.
I also produce crystalline CBD with a tiny amount of residual THC wax. The THC activates endocannabinoid receptors for better CBD absorption.
What makes your extracts unique?
Sean Mooney: I love butane-extracted products but worry about residual solvents. We use ethanol, which is historically safe.
We also ensure that our edibles are homogenized. You won’t get a different dose biting into one end versus another.
Robert McKinley: Other companies’ products are inconsistent. One candy may have 6 mg of THC and another may have 20 mg. Our dosing is near-perfect. Our products deviate by less than 0.2 mg in THC.
This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.
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