Automated irrigation systems (fertigation) have been used in large-scale agriculture for decades, though the concept and use of the technology is relatively new to the cannabis industry. Irrigation is one of the main elements of day-to-day operation that can easily be automated, and the crop-improving results can be seen almost immediately.

Let’s be honest, hand-watering thousands of plants is a waste of time, water and resources. Relying on people to provide consistent dosage of a precisely mixed nutrient solution to each plant is highly ineffective.

Photos by Brian Kraft

Problems can arise with any automated system, so routine maintenance and monitoring can prevent and advert any disaster that may arise.

Our weekly checklist for our system is fairly simple. These tips can help you keep your fertigation system functioning at its best and ensure the highest-quality nutrition for your plants:

1. Check injection measurements.

Constant monitoring helps ensure you are delivering exactly what your plants need.

2. Monitor total dissolved solids (TDS) or turbidity levels.

Our system recycles 100 percent of our nutrient solution and dehumidification runoff, so we monitor TDS levels of our gray water as well.

3. Clean and calibrate pH and Electrical Conductivity (EC) probes.

This is one of the most common maintenance needs, and it is essential to keeping your system functioning at maximum capacity and consistency.

Plant health, yields and quality of your garden will improve drastically once you learn the system. Increased employee productivity and the employees’ ability to focus on the plants' needs should also be instantaneously noticeable.

Scott Reach is founder and COO of RD Industries, parent company for Rare Dankness, and the owner of a 54,000-square-foot cultivation facility/dispensary in Denver, called House of Dankness. Rare Dankness strains are grown and traded worldwide thanks to the company's international seed banks. Reach also has consulted on more than 300 grows over the past five years and countless more before that. His Denver facility is one of the most high-tech, automated cultivation sites in the world.