He may hide behind a black-and-weed-leaf mask, but no-last-name-Dan—whose many friends and industry colleagues know him as GhostGrow—is about as identifiable in the cannabis industry as it gets. With 15 years as a cultivator under his belt—and more than 35,000 square feet of cannabis grow space to his name—GhostGrow also boasts more than 32,000 Instagram followers who eagerly tune in to his posts that show a sneak peek into his facilities and unique strains. “I focus all my time on old-school genetics,” GhostGrow tells Cannabis Business Times, which include strains such as his DaVinci OG—a strain he’s cultivated for 15 years—and LemonCake OG, a 36.69-percent THC product, he says.
GhostGrow offers a full spectrum of products, from flower to concentrates, all of which carry the company’s organically grown plant material.
Across his multiple facilities, GhostGrow has 15 employees, all of whom he calls “all-stars.” That seems like an apt description. “I have just one worker [in] a 25,000-square-foot facility,” GhostGrow says. “And we are working 14 to 18 hours a day, focusing on quality.”
That quality seems to attract a lot of dedicated, passionate customers and followers, at least if GhostGrow’s Instagram is to be believed, where dozens comment on each post asking where they can purchase their favorites, such as Hellz OG, Larry OG, SFV OG and Tahoe OG.
“My entire life has been spent chasing cannabis plants with the most vigorous growth, high-yielding, high-THC content,” he says. GhostGrow credits some of that growth and high yield to using nutrients.
Here, he shares three tips for growing the best, most healthy cannabis.
1. Try to mimic mother nature
The fact that GhostGrow cultivates cannabis in an indoor environment doesn’t stop him from trying to mimic Mother Nature. “We cannot copy her,” GhostGrow admits, “but we can get very close.”
Take his soil choice, for example: “A lot of growers I know, including myself, prefer to stay organic with ‘soilless’ blends that we use, including compost teas—keeping it simple. Yet at the same time, we use micro-nutrients, different forms of kelp, calcium, B-vitamins, so on. You’re creating a small world for the root zone of your plants, which helps with growth and vigor of the plant.”
GhostGrow says his cannabis is grown pesticide free, fungicide free and plant-growth-regulator free, because, he notes, “I believe quality can be achieved in quantity if you stay dedicated to your goals.”
2. Choose the right nutrients
As nutrients have changed, GhostGrow says he has changed formulas in the last decade, but he has since selected and stuck with one. … He says he pays special attention to his OG cannabis plants, which can be “finicky.” The DaVinci OG, for example, loves nitrogen-based nutrients. “But she’s [also] always needed more-than-normal amounts of calcium. That goes for a lot of the finicky OGs out there—they always need a major boost in calcium to keep the plant in a healthy growing state.”
GhostGrow also sprinkles in supplements when needed, using different supplements for different plants. “I also use a few different enhancers for root development at the early vegetation stage,” GhostGrow says, while adding that he has a homemade formula he uses, too.
3. Keep it simple
GhostGrow ensures his processes are as streamlined as possible by keeping it simple—sort of. He’s perfected prep steps that work for him: He plans out his facilities, automates his irrigation and relies heavily on his grow knowledge to “achieve a fast-paced, efficient work environment and a simplified way to make every minute saved count,” he says. “When everything is automated, life is so much more simplistic. Everything is about saving time, so you can focus directly [on] the plants themselves. Instead of wasting time hand watering, you can automate your rooms with timers. Instead of mixing everything by hand, now you can use [premixed nutrients] and be able to deliver the nutrients to your reservoirs that are on timers based on your rooms. Times have changed for the cannabis world—everything now is about saving time, effort and being efficient.”
It’s this system that he credits with creating “beautiful turnaround times,” he says, but he quickly adds that others’ simplified systems may look different than his—and that’s OK. If you stay true to your goals, he believes you can be successful, too.
By Jillian Kramer, a New York City-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the online or print versions of Glamour, Food & Wine, SELF, The Wall Street Journal, and more.