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A Behind the Scenes Look at a Cannabis Business Startup – Genetics

(Ed. note – The following article is the second installment of a first-hand account of the progress of the development of Garden First, a cannabis startup beginning their operations with a 6,000 square foot indoor production facility in central Oregon. Every quarter an article will be published focusing on a specific topic, ranging from banking issues to cultivation tips and everything in between. Garden First has begun construction on their facility and anticipate completion and licensing by early 2018. The goal of these segments is to create a window view into the inner workings of a cannabusiness as it develops, highlighting common challenges faced in the industry, as a resource for new and existing businesses. See the previously published article here.)

Getting a quality supply of genetics in a newly licensed facility is essential. However, with so many strains out there, making a decision on what is best for your company can be difficult – not to mention actually getting those strains into your garden.

At Garden First, we have the luxury of being in a state with a large base of growers and breeders, and have the ability bring in strains from unlicensed facilities for a 90-day grace period after licensing. We have begun collecting strains and growing them in a small medically licensed space to prepare for propagation into our full facility.

Many were a unique seed stock coming from close friends who breed, or gifted out of personal collections from prominent breeders. However we are continuing to seek clones from local nurseries.

Our goal is to begin with at least twice the amount of strains we intend to scale with, allowing us to pick what works best in our system and in our marketplace. When selecting strains, there are several traits to take into account ranging from terpene and cannabinoid profile to overall vigor and yield. While we can select for these things based on other’s results, we wanted to have the flexibility to see what worked for us and let the market decide what we should keep.

Another important characteristic often overlooked is flowering time. Many indoor growers aim to keep their cycles to 8 weeks to maximize their annual production. Unfortunately most strains need more time than this. At Garden First we will be running our rooms for 10+ weeks harvesting strains intermittently as they are ready. While we get one less harvest per year, we will be able to grow a wider variety of strains, break up the harvest work, and guarantee all our bud achieves it’s full potential.

Whatever strains you decide on for your facility, always make sure to vet your source. A contaminated batch of clones could mean disaster for your company. Always inspect under a microscope and avoid taking in plants already in soil. And remember, give a strain what it wants and it will do the same for you.



Garrett LeonGarrett Leon

Garrett Leon

Garrett Leon is head of cultivation and co-founder of Garden First LLC, founded in March 2017 alongside Andreas Hero and Darren Cloud. He studied horticulture and soil science at Colorado State University while pursuing independent research into cannabis until such a time he was able to work in the industry. After apprenticing at Native Roots in Colorado, Leon spent a year as the manager of cultivation and warehouse operations for Tweedleaf prior to his exodus to found Garden First. Garden First LLC is based out of Corvallis, OR.

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. A quick suggestion … Don’t make it difficult to find the previous installments. A link somewhere in the article, even at the end would help.

    1. Great suggestion @biggercannabis:disqus.

      Really interesting article, Garrett. I learned quite a bit in such a short read and I really respect your open-source attitude. How are you keeping track of all those great insights that you and your team have?

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