the sweetgrass method
The Kootenay region has long been a favoured locale for aficionados of fine BC bud. In a scene going back decades, the culture out here has gathered a vast reservoir of knowledge covering almost every imaginable technique for producing our area’s number one crop.
At Sweetgrass Cannabis, we’ve developed our methods of cultivation hand in hand with many people over the years and we owe our gratitude to them. In that time, we’ve continued to do our own research and have come up with a system of growing that we feel sets a new benchmark for what exceptional cannabis can be.
Our cannabis is organically grown and is certified by the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association (FVOPA). This certifying body is compliant with the Canadian Organic Standards in accordance with the BC Certified Organic Program (BCCOP). We follow a stringent list of requirements to ensure that everything we use – from soil components and composts to amendments and supplements – is 100% in line with their guidelines. We have worked hard to meet and even exceed these requirements because we believe that growing organically is healthier for the consumer, our employees and the planet as a whole. We’ve invested in this system because it reflects our inherent values as humans and as an organization.
Living soil can generally be thought of as a thriving biological system, not unlike what you would naturally find outside in the garden. It’s alive and involves all sorts of cooperative relationships between its respective members – small and large. Modelled after Mother nature herself, a living soil is created for indoor cultivation by taking a substrate like peat moss and mixing in a variety of certified organic composts, amendments and supplements. To this we add creatures like earthworms, nematodes, arthropods as well as a host of beneficial microbes and fungal cultures. Over time, with biological processes in full swing, the soil becomes a complex ecosystem that makes an ideal, nutrient-rich growing medium for plants like cannabis.
A well-balanced soil is one where all of the living elements work together to create a dynamic and healthy environment. We include ourselves in the equation as we interact with this system throughout the growth cycle of our plants, helping to ensure that optimal conditions are maintained on a daily basis. The ‘no till’ method we use between harvest and re-planting keeps the sub-surface zone intact and, in so doing, enhances its overall vitality crop after crop. Like wine, living soil keeps getting better with age and we believe that it produces some of the finest and tastiest cannabis around.
Good clean air and fresh water are the lifelines for our plants. It goes without saying that there’s an abundance of both out here – oxygen-rich, pure mountain air abounds and the naturally sweet water we draw from our 20 acre property is steeped with essential minerals and trace elements. These critical and very local ingredients are what give our soil and plants that extra special boost.
At Sweetgrass we’ve chosen to take a hands-on approach. Maybe it’s a bit of the old school shining through but we know that having regular contact with our plants leads to a finer product and, in turn, to a finer user experience. Every step of the way, from clone to harvest, our plants are tended by hand. Transplanting, watering, feeding, pruning, harvesting and trimming – all done by the diligent and loving hands of our crew. We take the time and pay careful attention to all aspects of the growing and processing stages and, in the end, we feel this up-close and interactive method shows its true value in the flowers we produce.
Once harvested, our flowers are slow cured at low temperatures for 10-14 days to preserve their terpenes and to retain the ideal amount of moisture. The art of the cold cure is the critical final step that yields a perfectly finished product that is resinous, fragrant and flavourful.
The future is here. All of our crops are grown indoors under a canopy of energy efficient LED horticultural lights. LED (or light emitting diode) technology has been advancing rapidly over the past 10 years and is clearly the way forward for our micro-cultivation facility. Steady and convincing results have shown us that this is the greener way to produce year-round indoor cannabis.
In terms of energy efficiency, LED lighting systems use up to 60% less electricity than conventional HPS (high pressure sodium) grow lights. They also generate considerably less heat which means an obvious reduction in the energy used for cooling the grow room. In addition, a cooler growing environment means we don’t require as much water to keep the plants hydrated. These savings are already significant without counting on the fact that LED lights have a longer life span than standard HPS bulbs – in some cases over twice as long. To top it off, LEDs are recyclable and, better yet, do not contain toxic substances like mercury. It is with these key energy and resource saving aspects in mind, that we chose to light up with the latest in LED technology in an attempt to reduce our environmental footprint.