With any crop that is going to be ingested whether it be a food crop, or a cannabis crop it needs to have the appropriate microbial levels, no residual solvents, and zero heavy metals. Regardless of how you cultivate your crop, you must start clean and stay clean to make sure that your ‘medical-grade,” products are safe for market and your consumer.
This starts first with your system, then your soil, then your genetics (clones or seeds).
By ensuring that you have the appropriate integrated pest management plan in place and an organic farm system plan (or farm system plan in general with a scheduled cleaning log) you can make sure that crop is safe from seed to sale. The worse situation on farm is to have supply chain hiccups that may ruin all the time and hard work that went into your crop because of cross contamination, lake of cleanliness, and or a cooling issue.
Many indoor and greenhouse growers leave their systems filthy, tracking in debris, mud, dirt, and insects smaller than the human eye can detect into their room from their outdoor grow or other areas. Even inviting guests in to see their grow operation can be a point of contamination that can result in you wondering during late flower “Where did these red spider mites come from?!”
By at least doing the following you can significantly reduce the chances of a crop failure. Add these protocols to your farming system to ensure that you start clean and stay clean.
- Have coveralls for your greenhouse or indoor system that only stay in that area.
- Have a change of boots or shoes in the green house or indoor system that you change into that stay in that area.
- Use appropriate cleaners that does not leave a residue to keep equipment free from contamination or rust. Oxidate or isopropyl alcohol are great disinfectants while using a food grade lubricant on shears will keep your tools sharp and rust free.
- Sweep, vacuum with a shop vacuum, mop with 10-15% bleach or oxidate, and do not leave any plant debris in any area. This attracts pests and decay into your system that can spread quickly if not taken care of.
- Ensure debris does not touch the plant, bud, or flower during harvest.
- Do not bring in any plants until they have been quarantined and are free of any issues, diseases, or pests and fully inoculated to your specifications. (2-4 weeks).
We will dive into more specific routines, contaminations that are common, and what to do to start clean and stay clean for your growing system because