1. Monitor your grow rooms off-site.
Many vendors provide monitoring services, allowing for 24/7 visibility into every aspect of the grow environment. Monitors can track temperature, humidity, air quality and more. Some systems enable users to set normal ranges for each environmental aspect. If any element falls below or exceeds the preset range, the system alerts the user via a text message. Other systems also empower users to remotely monitor the environment, adjust controls and turn equipment on and off.
At MariMed, we also use extensive security systems that alert us if a door is opened. If we receive an alert, we can leverage our video surveillance to determine if the person who opened the door is an employee or an intruder. Based on our findings, we can then implement the proper steps to ensure the rooms are re-secured and the proper climate is maintained.
2. Do an in-house check before you leave.
We require our team to check light and watering systems, environmental controls and security nightly to ensure they are set to operate at the proper times and levels. These are the high-level functions that impact all aspects of the grow environment and can be the difference between success and failure.
Ensuring that the light-timing equipment is set correctly and the photo periods are set for the plants’ specific growth stage is one of the most critical steps. It can be a catastrophe if someone temporarily changes a setting, for whatever reason, and the lights stay on through the night. This can send your plants into shock and set back their growth significantly.
3. Prepare your grow for a potential power outage.
I suggest having an automatic transfer switch (ATS) connected to a generator to ensure that there are no interruptions to the operation. The ATS will trigger the generator to immediately power the building when it senses a power outage; this is the foolproof method.
Should a whole-facility generator not be available, it is important to have the facility’s electrical system wired so that the most critical components-such as minimal lighting and a minimum level of heating, cooling and dehumidification-are wired on a single “emergency minimums” panel. Bring in a temporary generator to power up the emergency minimums panel to ensure consistent photo periods, and that there is enough heating, cooling and dehumidification to ensure the plants’ safety until power returns.
4. Set yourself up with backup components.
In addition to a generator, spare equipment is a necessity. We keep a few dehumidifiers, complete light setups, lamps and pumps on hand. If we receive an alert that one fails, we can swap it out quickly with a piece of equipment we know and trust.