When setting up a cannabis operation, a grower is immediately confronted with a question: should I grow it outdoors, in a greenhouse, or in an indoor farm? And also, what kind of cultivation method should I deploy? The lack of commonly accepted standards within the cannabis industry can be understood as one of the major reasons why there are no easy answers to the aforementioned questions.
One of the used cultivation methods is hydroponics. Relash Lab is a producer based in Granada, Spain, that grows cannabis hydroponically. This choice was made for a specific reason, according to Davide Agostini, grower with Relash Lab. “Relash Lab is a company that was founded two years ago with the specific goal to produce the highest quality cannabis flowers,” Davide says. “It is precisely because of this that we decided to grow hydroponically. This allows us to have a clean and safe product. This is extremely important as people approach this product for therapeutic reasons, and therefore they ask for flowers without any residues.”
According to Davide, growing cannabis hydroponically allows the roots to be clean, thus ensuring healthy plants. “Another reason why we grow hydroponically is the possibility to clean the roots,” Davide explains. “In a hydroponic cultivation, this process is way easier to carry out than, say, outdoors.” Davide further explains that one major advantage of hydroponics is the possibility to clean the roots at the end of the cycle, just before the harvesting. “By growing hydroponics and using inert substrates, no connection is created between the fertilizers and the substrate,” Davide says. “In this way, no fertilizer residues affect the end-product when the roots get cleaned.”
“We have three indoor environments. We use Terra Aquatica solutions, which are exactly based on a flow/outflow concept.” This concept entails pools where water flows and outflows, wetting the root systems and then letting them dry. According to Davide, in this way, plants grow healthier and faster. “The flow and outflow system is completely automated,” Davide says. “The irrigation can be programmed with a simple timer. Therefore, it is possible to choose when and for how long to water the plants. The water gets into the basin, wetting the roots, and then outflows away, giving them the ‘dry moment’.” Additionally, Terra Aquatica has supported Relash Lab in optimizing their system and advised the grower with regards to different aspects of the hydroponic cultivation. “I particularly appreciated their support,” Davide remarks. “We are not the biggest cannabis company. Yet, Terra Aquatica helped and advised us, showing they care for their customers, regardless of the size of their operations.”
The advantage of indoor farms
Davide has a lot of experience in different types of grow operations. However, he thinks that nothing is better than indoor cultivation when it comes to growing the highest quality possible. “I have worked in semi-outdoor environments, in opened greenhouses. Now, I have been working in these indoor farms for quite some time, and I can say that nothing is better than this, for us.”
The most important lesson that Davide has learnt over his time within the cannabis industry is the work process and the constant attention to detail that growing medicinal-grade cannabis requires. “The degree of control over every single aspect of a cannabis operation makes indoor environments particularly suitable for growing high-quality cannabis,” Davide says. “Thanks to Terra Aquatica solutions and our attention to detail, we gather all sorts of data on a daily basis. This is extremely important in this industry,” Davide points out.
“There is no generally accepted standard when it comes to growing cannabis. One of our goals is exactly to lay out the standards for the production of the highest quality flowers.”