‘Garden’ suppliers see surge in DIY cannabis growers ahead of legalization

This post was originally published on this site

As big producers duke it out over the multi-billion dollar recreational and medical cannabis markets ahead of legalization, some small businesses are turning their attention to amateur green thumbs who are showing unprecedented interest in the art of homegrown bud.

The federal government’s proposed legal regime, expected to be implemented in July, will let adults grow up to four cannabis plants per home, regardless of how many people live there. Among the hundreds of exhibitors at the Lift Cannabis Expo on Saturday were vendors pitching the DIY approach to getting from seed to smoke.

“It’s not hard to grow at home,” said Daniel Ortega, retail coordinator for Pacific Northwest Garden Supply, which sells cannabis-growing equipment at eight locations in B.C. “Basically, what makes it hard is not having the proper advice.”

New home growers walk into Pacific Northwest’s stores eager to take up a hobby but unsure about where to start, so staff share knowledge passed down from small growers who have had years of successful crops, Ortega said. Many amateurs don’t know how crucial it is to ensure the proper pH balance and staff will help them find the right soil and nutrients for the job.

Ortega said a basic grow kit packed inside a tent and loaded with a high-wattage bulb, fan, pot and watering system can pay itself off within the first three months — a single harvest — if it yields just six ounces of bud, worth about $1,200 in a dispensary.

More and more people are coming to give it a try, though Ortega stressed that it’s important they do their research if they want to see healthy, resilient plants.

Daniel Ortega of Pacific Northwest Garden Supply, which is targeting the grow-your-own-pot market as legalization nears.

“You can brew beer at home, you can make wine at home,” he said. “(But) if you’re not good at it and you don’t like what you make, you’re going to stop doing it, and a lot of times people will stop doing it because they don’t have the right information.”

Clayton Grice and Robin Dodd, co-owners of CannGro Garden Supply in Aldergrove, said the bare essentials needed to grow a cannabis plant are grow lights, a good growing medium (soil) and nutrients. 

“Every day we get more and more people coming in to do home grows,” Dodd said.

Customers seek to produce heavy, aromatic buds loaded with terpenes and cannabinoids. That’s been made easier as the industry makes equipment and supplies more accessible to home growers, such as the nutrient manufacturers who are now supplying their professional-grade product in smaller bottles, Dodd said.

“If you wanted a plant on your back doorstep in the summer, it would probably cost you a pot and a little bag of dirt from the nursery,” Grice said. “But if you want to go into your basement and have something contained and clean … $1,000 and you’re going to be growing.”

neagland@postmedia.com

twitter.com/nickeagland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.