The Mothership Connection – huge marijuana garden


Some might say, “Wow, 20 pounds every two months—how could anyone move that kind of weight?” Well, in California, 20 pounds can disappear in a single day. No kidding. I’ve talked to the owners of a dispensary that was mov­ing over 50 pounds a week. There are hundreds of medical clubs now, and more opening every day. Just think of the demand nationwide. When will our suit-wearing overlords finally wake up and see how obvious it is that the good folks in these here lands like to smoke their dope? I don’t care if they’re pot­smoking college kids or terminally ill patients: Marijuana is a miracle drug that helps millions of people worldwide.

It’s always interesting to see a new grow; I usually end up learning a thing or two. This time, I learned what it’s like to be truly humbled by a garden. This growroom is structurally the cleanest-looking and most environmentally perfect that I’ve ever seen. Typically, growers have to deal with existing struc­tures and make the best of them. In this case, the growers actually found a space and designed their own building. From architectural drawings through miniature models, this place was created from the ground up.

When it came time for construction, they called real contractors in—car­penters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC installers and finish guys. When con­structing a grow space as big and as complicated as this one, it’s best to use professionals to make sure you don’t burn the place down or worse. But how do you find contractors for a grow factory? There are guys out there. They know what’s going on, but they keep quiet and just do their job. And in the end, no live medicine shows up until the entire project is finished and things are running smoothly.


Walking into the garden, my first impression is: Nice.

There are three rows of lights, each outfitted with six 600-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs. Six 4′ x 8′ hydro trays are being used—two for each row. These trays seem to be a standard in the industry, and they’re perfect for hydro or soil. The trays are easy to clean and totally sterile; most folks end up building a wooden frame to support the trays, but these growers have found an even better solution. More on that later.

“What’s your secret?” I ask the garden’s proprietors, once the shock and awe have subsided from my face. They respond by laughing, and then they tell me that there isn’t any one thing they can point to for their success, but rather a whole combination of elements.

The list of equipment needed to outfit an endeavor of this sort is mind-bog­gling. First, the whole area was framed like any house would be. All power out­lets and cords were placed 8 feet or higher, which really makes the space easy to move around in. I notice the ceiling has stuff bolted all over the place. They tell me that when it came time to construct the ceiling, they framed it out, built it out of plywood, then covered it in sheetrock; this way, they can drill holes any­where. Global Green House digital ballasts dominate the ceiling. Like I said, the main flowering room has three rows of lights, and each row is lit with a half­dozen 600-watt Sylvania Lu Super Sodium bulbs. Each of the three rows con­tains two American Agra Tech 4′ x 8′ trays, which hold about 10 plants each.

That makes a total of six trays for all their plants. You might think there would be hundreds of plants in this garden, but the grand total is actually less than 60.1 noticed they have custom stands to support the large 4′ x 8′ trays. They ordered these from a company called West Coast Growers. The stands have metal frames that are powder-coated and really clean and sturdy. The whole thing shows up in a small box; turn a few screws and you’re in business. They also have a CO2 generator, which is air-cooled and runs on natural gas. This is connected to a fuzzy-logic “brain” that, in theory, is supposed to maintain and regulate the car­bon dioxide down to the parts per million (ppm). I’ve never really seen anything but problems with these “brains,” but these guys seem to have no complaints.

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