Matt from Herbal House was able to have a closer look at some of the very impressive components at SKYMAN INDUSTRIES, a local NZ ‘licensed’ commercial cannabis grower. When looking at how plants grow, it sounds really simple on paper. Give the plant light, water and food and it will grow… While those are some key ingredients it certainly does not mean you will be growing plants to their utmost potential.Josiah and Yuri are the founders of SKYMAN and have put a huge effort into researching every aspect of growing these very specific plants. From Nutrients, Climate control, Water Systems to LED Lighting and Sensors that manage everything within the grow space. This is their first Flowering cycle, with the video being recorded at the start of the 5th week and the strain of plant they are currently growing is White Widow that is a Indica based strain.Hydroponic systemsWe kick the video off with Josiah covering the hydroponic system they have built. The chosen style of hydroponics they have gone with is referred to as NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). This system works with a flow of nutrients running from one end of a channel to the other and recirculating back around. The channel is on a very slight gradient to ensure optimal flow over the roots. Josiah and Yuri have chosen to have a specific amount of plants per channel to ensure there is minimal competition between plants for the roots and the canopy as they grow.Commercial grow lightsMoving on to the LED lighting for their grow space, they are running modified Helios600x’s provided by us here at Herbal House. By modified, we mean they have cut the panel into two, allowing them to stagger these LEDs to suit their hydroponic channels better. We do offer an off the shelf option (Helios300x) but, hindsight with the flexibility of these Helios series LEDs has allowed them to make these panels fit well. The LEDs have had their factory dimmers removed in place of some custom built and designed modules that allow these units to be controlled remotely and allow for total automation and integration with their system. They have tuned the intensity of the LEDs to sit around 900umol/s for this current stage of growth at the canopy level using an APOGEE Far-PAR sensor to ensure very accurate readings are taken. While it might sound better to have more intensity whenever possible, it certainly does not work that way. Getting the right amount of light intensity to work in combination with your environment is what matters most. This is all relative to the values of your humidity, temperature, C02, nutrients and surely a few other factors we have missed. after the initial installation we now have a new generation of the HELIOS series of lights with the 480x and 640x respectivelyHydroponic automationFrom there, we get a look at the “ground-up” automation and management system that was designed by SKYMAN INDUSTRIES to manage and automate their grow space. It has a certain amount of “geek” factor, that we absolutely love to see. They have added sensors for just about everything you could think of, meaning that if there is any change to the grow space (intentional or not) the system will have a record or graph showing these changes from climate (humidity, temp,c02, air quality) to water flow and lighting control. It really is impressive to see a system like this up and running, because data is EVERYTHING when it comes to making strategic adjustments to a grow space for growing bigger and better.Plant Growth methodologyUp close and personal with one of the plants, Yuri gives us some of the more specific training methods they apply to this particular strain of plant. The basis for these methods is to grow more efficient plants. This can be achieved with strategic pruning at the right time known as ‘HST’ (High stress training). Followed by selective defoliation across the entire growth cycle. The plants will have significantly less stretch, with more density and a broader canopy for more light adsorption. The end result is a much better grown plant for various reasons that suit the growing climate they have built.It was an absolute treat being able to get up close and personal with the plants at SKYMAN INDUSTRIES in the middle of their flowering cycle, we are hoping to get out there again for more updates on their plants and growing systems and hopefully get some close up action during the harvest!