Solstice's "Strawberry Switchblade" strain
Photo courtesy of Solstice

Solstice—one of the first medical cannabis producers in Washington state—recently went through a growth spurt. Two years ago, the company entered the recreational market and purchased a warehouse in Seattle that nearly doubled its production space. With 30,000 square feet of canopy—and some 7,000 plants—Max Salinger, director of production, knew that he could no longer hand-water the crops.

“When we were at our medical facility, we had a plant population between 500 and 1,000 plants,” Salinger recalls. “We started looking into ways of automating our watering—automating our movement,” he says. “And one of the big steps we took is that we moved our production completely over to hydroponics. And that media lends itself to auto-injection and auto-fertilization.” For the first time, the company had to purchase injectors; they chose CropKing’s system, he says.

Having an injection system makes feeding and fertilizing the plants—each in their own growth cycles—seamless, Salinger says. “By using these [injectors], I can do batch irrigation, where I mix up a 55-gallon batch of fertilizer at a time, and I can program my computer system to integrate with the CropKing system and tell it [to] which area of that grow that the nutrients need to be delivered,” he explains. “This is really important because I am running crops that have different finish times or are in different stages of life. In my flower rooms, I can adjust the irrigation timing based on their fertility—all through my computer system.”

For those who may be looking to purchase their first injection system, Salinger encourages growers not to be wooed by fancy systems they may not need. “There are always times where—especially in cannabis—you can spend an enormous amount of money on intricate injection systems that do individual dosing and all kinds of specific things, but at the end of the day, you have to know what you actually need,” he says. “You need to look at: What is my plant count? How many zones am I irrigating? What does my source water look like? What kind of fertilizer am I mixing? Is everything in this whole facility going to get the exact same recipe? It really comes down to knowing your facility and picking out an injection system that actually fits—not force-fitting something because it is the newest, greatest thing or, on the opposite side, going with bare bones simply because you're used to it.”