Tampa Bay is home to a new revolution. Gardening without soil. Not even sand, gravel or liquid.
We’re talking about growing plants out of thin air.
It’s called Aeroponics. Yes, it been around for a long time, but a local company in St. Petersburg has mastered growing cannibals using the technique.
“Growing the plants 10 percent faster,” says Doug Fyvolent with Solaridy.
The company uses a 10-foot-tall “CropTower”, which allows you to grow up, not out.
They got the idea from NASA and made It better. Better to grow cannabis that is.
Doug Fyvolent is one of the masterminds of Solaridy. He's been researching the cannabis industry for a while and found that space was a big issue for growers.
“It allows you to maximize the square footage you already have, saving you the headaches, costs and time of looking for a bigger warehouse, ”says Fyvolent.
The Croptower has cups, so the plants don’t fall. The design for the waterfall system took two years.
“We will pump the water in and it will rain over the roots, then we recycle the water into a tank,” he says.
Let’s take one square foot for example:
A grower can grow about nine marijuana plants on the ground, which comes out to about 10 pounds.
Using the Croptower, a grower can grow 104 plants in the same space, which comes out to 30 pounds.
The secret is keeping the roots moist. The best part, you don’t have to worry about bugs or pesticides.
Medical marijuana is available in Florida but remains illegal under federal law.
For now, the Solaridy grow tower is being leased with cannabis growers in Denver, but Fyvolent hopes laws in the Sunshine State will change soon.
If they do, the company plans on installing their system and successfully growing marijuana in Florida.
They also plan on creating urban farms in the future with the same idea. Less space, more product.
“Where on a quarter of an acre of land, we can grow over 6,000 heads of lettuce a month. So, it's a lot of land. A lot of nutrition,” he says.
The Florida Department of Health is working to create the rules needed to implement Amendment 2, which permits medicinal marijuana. Legislators failed to pass a medical marijuana bill during the past session.
Florida legislators could not agree on a House amendment that capped the number of medical marijuana operators to 100 locations.
Lawmakers have now asked the Department of Health to write the guidelines by next month.
The department has already been criticized for a January draft of the rules that many felt limited the number of qualifying conditions and put tighter restrictions on how soon patients could receive treatment.
There are only seven dispensing organizations in Florida authorized to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana.