Vertically integrated company reduces training time while enhancing fragrance, appearance and cannabinoid profile of its plants.
Greenhouse Herbal Center
Average of 70% of all strains tested at about 30% total cannabinoids; reduced number of nutrients from 16 bottles to five; decreased training time for nutrient applications; improved consistency of IPM/organic growing program
Greenhouse Herbal Center occupies a historic building in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles called the Don Carlos. This distinctive space fits the uniqueness of Greenhouse Herbal, a vertically integrated grower that focuses on providing craft product to its dispensaries.
The building is one of the many ways the company differentiates itself from competitors, but it comes with challenges. It’s a tight space with limited square footage for cultivation, says Greenhouse Herbal cofounder Christopher Abkarian. It’s one of the reasons the company must maximize “every square inch” of the facility, Abkarian says.
“Because of our limitations on our size, we have to really curate a specific menu for customers so we don’t miss out on the newest trends out there,” Abkarian explains.
The space constraints mean that the Greenhouse Herbal team needs to focus on growing the highest-quality product in the most efficient manner possible. The introduction of an effective, easy-to-use nutrient program from Emerald Harvest has played a critical role in the company’s ability to meet its quality and production goals.
Greenhouse Herbal cultivation manager Johnny Evdjukian was always experimenting with different types of nutrients. About five years ago, he was also operating a hydroponics store in Hollywood, when a representative from Emerald Harvest handed him some bottles of nutrients to test.
Evdjukian followed the feed chart and realized immediate results.
“Whatever the feed chart said, to a ‘T’ I followed it,” he says. “And it was easy to use. It was cost-effective because I was using 16 different bottles at the time. And we shrunk that down to about five in bloom, including two supplemental, and the ease-of-use was just unbelievable to me.”
The feed chart was a game changer for Greenhouse Herbal. In the past, the cultivation team had to train employees on how to apply nutrients. “The training comes down to showing the cultivator how to read the plant instead of going off the feed chart,” Evdjukian says.
The feed chart eliminated this step, resulting in less training time and more precise applications, according to Evdjukian.
Contaminant-Free, Organic Growth
The use of Emerald Harvest’s plant-based nutrients also has helped Greenhouse Herbal optimize its organic growing and integrated pest management (IPM) program. The IPM program is a preventative treatment for plants at every stage of growth, including tissue cultures, mothers, clones, veg and flower. In addition, the entire IPM program is organic.
“We don’t bring any harsh chemicals or pesticides, and we make sure that we keep it an organic IPM program so everything tests clean in the end,” Evdjukian says.
Contaminant-free test results are important to ensure consumer trust in the products they’re buying, Evdjukian says. Greenhouse Herbal tests every strain for contaminants, including pathogens, mycotoxins, residuals and solvents.
“About 10 years ago, when no-one was doing testing, no one knew what was in the product,” he says. “And they were all just ingesting it, inhaling it, any which way they could. Now the consumer has become more vigilant and they know what’s going on. They ask for the testing to find out, ‘Did it pass the testing? Am I inhaling any pathogens or any types of mold or fungus that are in there?”
Emerald Harvest’s organic blend of nutrients has provided the consistency the company needs to achieve its quality goals.
“In my personal opinion, using other products will deteriorate in time and bring the quality of the plant down or make the plant less shelf-stable,” Evdjukian says. “Using [Emerald Harvest’s] organics helps the plant—helps the flowers last longer on the shelf or in bags or wherever they are.”
The use of high-quality organic nutrients, including Emerald Harvest’s Emerald Goddess plant tonic, has had considerable impact on the plants’ appearance, as well. Emerald Harvest helps with the plants develop a natural form as opposed to other nutrient brands that often force plants to take a particular shape or size, according to Evdjukian.
“There are no plant growth regulators in there, PGR’s or harsh chemicals to make the plant into a golf ball or a baseball,” he says. “So we expect these beautiful Christmas-tree-looking flowers that come out of using Emerald Harvest.”
Another significant benefit is an increase in the desired cannabinoid and THC percentages as well as more fragrant flowers, according to Evdjukian. On average, 70% of all strains tested at about 30% total cannabinoids.
“One of the biggest windfalls is ease of use,” he says. “The second-biggest windfall, I would say, is the end-product quality—the color, the level of cannabinoids in the product. … I have never experienced numbers this high.”