Preparing for Harvest
By Lauren Mooney
Each bottle of TONIC is created with intention. As the Cannabis industry grows rapidly, and huge corporations clamor for a piece of the pie, TONIC stays true to their roots literally and figuratively. Family owned - Brittany CEO/Founder, and Erik Carbone, Lead Grower translate their passion for the plant into helping people bring balance into their lives, by ultimately allowing healing to happen naturally and effectively.
The first harvest on the family farm happened in 2018 - seeing how large corporate entities with little to no love for the plant itself were getting involved in a very industrialized way. In the words of Erik, “We started our own hemp farm because we wanted to be able to control quality from seed to bottle. In the early days of this industry there was not a consistent source of great material so we decided to take it into our own hands.”
One of the many qualities that sets TONIC apart from all the other CBD brands popping up is the care and control from farm to dropper. In part 3 of this series we get down and dirty with Erik Carbone about all that goes into preparing for Harvest on Tricolla Farms in Upstate NY.
LAUREN MOONEY: What does harvest-prep entail around this time of year?
ERIK CARBONE: Harvest prep consists of mainly cleaning out our barns and hanging the pre form netting back up that I designed last year. We clean and disinfect all surfaces of our barns, then cover the floors with tarps. Once that is all set up and ready to go, we then bring in our fans and dehumidifiers. Last year was a bit of trial and error; but we have the whole process down pat this year.
LM: What challenges have you faced this year growing? Anything you've had to do differently than last year?
EC: We faced a few challenges this year. Our main issue was that our dry hopper on our plastic and drip tape layer broke. Because of this issue we were not able to get our dry fertilizer under the plastic, which helps feed the plants through the vegetative state (the first 4 or so weeks of the grow cycle). This wasn’t a huge problem for us because of our irrigation system, I was able to feed the plants liquid nutrients using a fertilizer injector through my water source. We also fixed this problem by top dressing our plants. We had to manually spread the dry fertilizer over the soil of every one of our plants. It was very time consuming, but necessary. We also faced a drought throughout most of June and July - which ended up being easily managed by my irrigation system.
LM: What strains are you growing? And are you noticing differences in strains?
EC: We are growing four strains: Hawaiian Haze, Special Sauce, Suver Haze, and Elektra. I grew Special Sauce and Elektra last year, and both are growing on par with how they did a year ago. The Hawaiian Haze and Suver Haze were new to me this year, and both are growing well. The biggest difference between strains is the fan leaves. The fan leaves have their own little differences - some being larger with a broader appearance, while others may have more leaves and a slender profile.
LM: Are you noticing any differences in phenotypes (~traits of the plants)?
EC: I’ve noticed a few phenotypes among the varieties. In all of the strains some of the plants seem to take on a more "autoflower" appearance. Those plants seemed to flower a bit earlier than most, while also staying a bit smaller in stature. They are still producing beautiful flowers, but not growing as large and bushy as I’d prefer.
LM: Is there any differences in the sturdiness of the crops related to planting locations?
EC: We planted half of our crop on slopes, and the other half on flat ground. I’ve noticed that they are thriving on the slopes. The higher ground seems to be best for them.
LM: Is there anything you felt more prepared for this time around vs. last year?
EC: I was much more prepared in every aspect of the grow this year. Last year we only had about a month to prepare our fields for planting, and had to basically learn what we were doing as the process unfolded. We made adjustments all across the board and were able to operate smoothly all year.
The biggest thing we prepared for was being protected from possible floods. We got hit hard last year in the middle of harvest and lost about 20% of our crop to a flood from the creek behind our property. This year I basically dug a moat around the field in the risk zone. I dug a series of diversion ditches in order to barricade the field from the water, and channel it away from that portion of our crop, and divert the water back into the creek.
LM: What's one interesting thing people remark on when visiting the farm?
EC: It is the first time most people have ever seen fully functioning multi acre cannabis farm. And it’s a lot of fun to see peoples reactions. Most people are blown away at the mere sight of 20,000 cannabis plants in the ground. Especially when we have visitors during the last half of the season - the smell of the plants puts a smile on everyone’s face. Watching people stick their noses right in the plant, and coming up with the biggest smile on their faces makes it all worth it.
Follow @tricollafarms on IG to learn more & witness every beautiful stage of Tricolla Farms' cultivation practice.