In this episode Joe and Nick talk about their experiences working in San Diego hydro store and shopping at Chicago Roots hydroponic store.
More about Joe Swartz:
More about Nick Greens:
Polygreens Podcast Episode 59
[00:00:00] Joe Swartz:
Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the poly greens podcast. I'm Joe Swartz from am hydro, along with Nick greens and the Nick greens grow team and had a lot of interests from people. You know, we've, we've talked a lot about commercial controlled environment, agriculture. We've talked about larger scale.
Um, one of the things that a lot of people are interested in is the hum growing. Nick obviously has done a lot of work, both as a hung grower, but as a consultant and an advisor to home growers and the hydroponic shops that we've seen in all of our towns. A lot of times in the industry are overlooked.
And Nick's going to talk a little bit about that. We're going to have a great guest on from one of the leading hydroponic stores in Chicago. And we're going to talk a little bit about that scale and that side of the business. So Nick, good morning. Um, we've got a lot of really interesting stuff, kind of underground if you will.
Um, you know, in the home retail and,
[00:00:54] Nick Greens:
and I think where this was born, Joe is. Loving home growers, uh, [00:01:00] for the fact is the passion level for, for, for your plants is, is it's easy and it's attainable because it's a small square space that you're using, right? So when you're using a smaller square paced space, you're allowed to put more passion and love into your, what you're doing.
And I think that's where a home growers are under. Um, they're actually good growers. They could be trained Joe to be a big growers, commercial growers easily because they understand it from, I mean, the whole podcast is about the plant's point of view, Rachel. I mean, so, yeah,
[00:01:36] Joe Swartz:
and we've got, I mean, you know, we've got so many expert growers who are not commercial farmers, but they've got an amazing garden out in their backyard or in their sideline.
[00:01:45] Nick Greens: And even the guys that are home growers. And during the right season, Joe, they have, you know, uh, 15 to 20 foot trees in the backyard of him.
[00:01:57] Joe Swartz:
Yeah. Yeah. So, so when we [00:02:00] have the, you know, we, we look at that a lot of times we, we, we fail to remit to see that, you know, these expert home gardeners, um, we also have these expert hydroponic growers, and, and again, because of the underground nature of a
[00:02:14] Nick Greens:
lot, there's the hybrid.
It's true. Right. I'm a hybrid, right? Like I learned soil first is what. Ma made me understand hydroponic better, you know? And, and what, what goes into hydroponics is when you understand soil and I'm pretty sure that's what you started to your, a traditional farmer. Rachel, you started off as a traditional
[00:02:33] Joe Swartz: farmer.
Absolutely. Fourth generation. And ultimately, what are we doing? We're growing high quality plants. We're growing them commercially or for our home use or combination thereof. But at the end of the day, we're focused on giving the plants, everything that they need. And so how you do that and where you do that, it's completely up to you.
And there's a lot of different, you know, avenues
[00:02:55] Nick Greens: flowering indoors for two months and you put a, a nice [00:03:00] size root ball into fresh. You probably don't even need to feed that soil, but towards the end, maybe the last two weeks, just a little bit more sugar, some molasses, or even, you know, something, something sweet for the plan at the end.
And I think you'll get away with a full, nice tasting tomatoes and stuff, you know?
[00:03:20] Joe Swartz: Oh, absolutely. Again, you know, you're, you're just focusing on making sure the plants have what they need. How did you get started? I know you, you started growing outdoors and you started growing in soil indoors too. And containers.
How did that kind of transition for you? Like how did you end up working back into, to control the environment ag from where you started?
[00:03:40] Nick Greens: It was about, uh, volunteering being in the right place. Uh, one of my best friends was working in a project in, uh, the south side of Chicago called the plant. Uh, and it was just a big hippy paradise Joe, or it was just, you know, I talk about it all the time.
Um, and, and that's, that's where I was able [00:04:00] to get a little, uh, uh, Trust from what I was, what I was able to do. I was at, you know, my ability to grow in doors is already high. I grew in basements, attics. I mean, you name it offices. We were growing in bathrooms, Joe women. We were, you know, the, the, the tub turned into where the nursery was, you know, like we just, we figured it out, Joe, you know, like you can grow wherever you want.
But, um, yeah, I think that's where it all started for me is just, you know, Learning and wanting to learn and keep learning. And volunteering is actually where really, really core was, is I went into Joe just wanting to help everybody in the whole building. Um, what's the hardest job I can do, um, because I wanted to not feel privileged no more, Joe.
I think I had a very privileged life and I kind of wanted to not feel privileged. I wanted the hardest.
[00:04:56] Joe Swartz: Hmm. So a lot of the equipment and tools that you [00:05:00] use, you made, or you, you, uh,
[00:05:03] Nick Greens: I had boots, no, because this building was like a paradise for hydroponic girl. Cause it was a food, it was a food grade building job.
It was a meat packing facility. So everything in there from the stainless steel to the trays to whatever was left in this building, the sinks that three basin sinks, the. It was already there, Joe, the FRP on the walls, which is fire retardant, uh, polymer for, for people that don't know, that's a food grade kind of material that's wipe wipeable and food inspectors like that a lot.
And this building had, it was just covered in it. Cause they were, most of the building was like a freezer.
[00:05:40] Joe Swartz: So the infrastructure was there. Of course, no hydroponic or floor
[00:05:43] Nick Greens: drains. Joel, you had Florida.
[00:05:46] Joe Swartz: So you had a lot
[00:05:47] Nick Greens: of the stuff that you really had everything that to work with there, you know, already to build there for me to be able to set up a nice grow room.
[00:05:54] Joe Swartz: Sure. But you had to bring in equipment, whether you manufactured it or you purchased that it's in terms of the [00:06:00] rolling equipment, is that.
[00:06:01] Nick Greens: Yeah. Yeah. And it all started off with, uh, you know, so I'm from the music industry, right? So limits, the best story to say is I'm from the music industry. And I guess people out there don't understand this and the music industry, if you want to be successful, you hung out at the, at the record stores.
You know, that was, that was my barber shop, you know, to, to whatever. Right. Is that a best way of describing it? Like that was my meetup spot, right? Like everybody met up there and then I started to just show up and spend a lot of money there and invest in my record collection and became friends with the owner.
Now the owner's giving me these records that nobody else got, cause he only got one or two in from Europe and he's like, Hey, this are for you. You know? So. That's how I started to do things is, you know, just kept on showing up and showing up. And I think when you're a grower, the best thing to do is go shop to your local hydroponic store.
That's the new record store for growers, you know,
[00:06:55] Joe Swartz: a lot of people, uh, you know, And a lot of people, especially from the [00:07:00] food aspect of it, they don't think of that because they, they do make the association with cannabis. And of course, you know, there's, there's definitely that, uh, as part of that, but the equipment, the methodology, all of the, the knowledge, it's a crossover thing.
So basically it applies regardless of what you're growing. It's about that. So because the
[00:07:21] Nick Greens: indoor growers, the little home growers, Joe are pretty, I bet you they're experiencing the same thing as a commercial, a greenhouse growers experiencing as far as pest disease processes.
[00:07:35] Joe Swartz: Right? All the management is the same.
How did you get, well, think back to when you first walked into a hydroponic store, what was that like?
[00:07:45] Nick Greens: Oh, I went in and I wanted to buy, honestly, my first time walking into hydro star bought $3,000 worth of equipment.
[00:07:54] Joe Swartz: What were you looking
[00:07:54] Nick Greens: to do? I nearly spend my whole check in his account on, on equipment and, uh, I wanted to [00:08:00] go home and grow, you know, I'm, I'm living in a different state at this time.
This, this day was California and at the time. Uh, you were allowed to grow a certain amount of plants indoors. Um, so I did that. I did the right amount of plants and I started off in doors and I kept showing up everyday to the, to the, to the hydro store. Joel, that's where it started.
[00:08:19] Joe Swartz: So that's, yeah, that's interesting.
I don't want to
[00:08:21] Nick Greens: tell him. And I kept working for him and I kept working for him do two months after me working there, Joe, I was selling equipment to people. I was a sales rep already two months into because that's how much knowledge this guy taught me because first off I was his second customer, this guy just opened the store.
I walked in on the second customer and the first customer spent, they think 20 bucks. His second customer comes in and spends three grand we're friends forever, Joe.
[00:08:50] Joe Swartz: Well, that's the thing. And I want to, I want to go into that a little bit more is that yeah. When you walk in and I know a lot of people, myself included, you walk into a hydroponic store and [00:09:00] you just see the shelves of bottles.
Bags and trays and growing supplies and the light display and all these different
[00:09:07] Nick Greens: things and all the little gadgets, right?
[00:09:10] Joe Swartz: Yeah, exactly. And that's where it gets dangerous, where you can blow your whole paycheck there for sure. But it's the people and the community that I think is one of the most undervalued things, you know, with social media today, we, you know, we're, we're putting out a lot of stuff about, you know, the commercial operations we've got going on or this.
But when you really start getting together, and the first time I walked in with hydroponics or I was already, you know, a commercial grower, I was already, you know, doing a lot of consulting. And I walked in and there's a guy behind the counter, doesn't know me from Adam. And he just thinks I'm some schmuck that wants to buy, you know, a few things and he wanted, so I started talking to him and I, you know, I told him what I did and he's kind of.
Oh, wow. Well, what do you think about, and he started talking about, uh, pH adjustment chemicals and nutrients and things like that. And we started doing what you did, just having these [00:10:00] conversations and, and sharing some ideas. And there's a whole other world out there of people because a lot of people aren't interested in being commercial growers.
They, they want to grow on a very small scale. They want to grow for themselves, their families, and, um, and that's a whole different ball game. But as you see. Th the growing challenges are the same. Um, but I do think that. A much higher quality level of information. And you know, that kind of, again, that sharing, I can only imagine you walking in there just like when you did with the record stores, is that it's one of those things where, you know, you're sitting down with the guy behind the.
And, you know, hours go by when you're in your you're just going deep. This is where for all of you, you plant geeks, you start meeting your people and you start, you start, you know, getting into these conversations about, you know, all aspects of growing. And I think that that's really underutilized. Yeah. So, um, I
[00:10:59] Nick Greens: [00:11:00] guess the message we're sending out to everybody is don't be scared to go into a hydroponic store and ask questions, you know?
[00:11:08] Joe Swartz: Yeah. Oh for sure. And most of the people that run the hydroponic stores there they're growers, they're, they're plant geeks. They're they're they're fans of the industry. And so they love sharing information and, and
[00:11:22] Nick Greens: they open at 10:00 AM show up at 10:00 AM. You'll you'll get a chance at the manager or the owner of you show up at 10:00 AM, especially on a Friday, the manager has to show up on a Friday or the owner, like that's just a must.
I really, I think that.
[00:11:39] Joe Swartz: Yeah. And you can bring, you can bring any of your problems, uh, because th there's nothing new. There's nothing new in this industry. Um, you could say, Hey, you know, I know most growers, you know, the first time they have an aphid infestation or they've got, um, maybe a, an insect or disease that can't even identify.
And they feel like, well, I'm the only one that's ever had that you can [00:12:00] walk in and be like, you know, Hey, I've got this problem. These, my plants are turning orange. Why is that? And you're going to find out all of a sudden, all these people who have. Uh, I have had that problem have seen it. You'll get a lot of great ideas.
You'll probably get you only
[00:12:14] Nick Greens: just wouldn't get one suggestion. Exactly. Three different suggestions, Joe, on what do you want to spend? Yeah, versus what really works. They'll be honest. There'll be honest with you.
[00:12:27] Joe Swartz: Yeah, I like that. I've seen that a lot. I've seen growers go. Okay. So here's our, you know, powdery, mildew, you're having problems.
Well, here's our, our, you know, potassium, bicarbonate product and blah, blah, blah. I said, well, listen, you know, between you and me, if, if you use a little baking soda and water and you can do this, or, you know, or you can put these things out or you can do it, they'll give you those little. You know, hints that, that, that people won't tell you and, or
[00:12:54] Nick Greens: just even using wedding agents, right?
Like who, what, like you don't, you don't, you don't [00:13:00] learn that kind of stuff. And like, you know, uh, basic, uh, uh, are even able to even like a basic, you know, somebody's here or come and learn hydroponics one-on-one no, they're not going to teach you about wedding agents, you know? At some advanced stuff,
[00:13:16] Joe Swartz: you know, the, the flip side of that coin is you walk in and say, Hey, my plants are turning orange and you might have three different people telling you three completely different things, you know?
No, no, no. The here's the problem. No, that's not the problem. Here's the problem. And then shells in it. Yeah, exactly. Well, the problem is that your groove covering doesn't have enough UV inhibitors
[00:13:39] Nick Greens: and which we put grandma's soup inside there. Exactly there was actually, there's a, there's a TV show. I think it's actually a, it's a foreign one.
Um, it's actually, I think it's on Netflix or something. It's called the family and it's about, it's about a family and they start a cannabis business out of their deli. [00:14:00] And, uh, the grandma's recipe is her soup. To grow the best.
[00:14:07] Joe Swartz: Exactly. Yeah. So, so, you know, this is, this is where a lot of people, you know, are missing a valuable resource.
So, um, when you walk into one of these stores, uh, obviously, uh, and I know commercial growers sometimes. They'll run short of a pH down and they'll place an order. And they know that they're, you know, 10 days out from getting the product and they'll go to a local store. So
[00:14:31] Nick Greens: local stories using, dude, have you ever heard someone using lemon juice to bring the pH down?
[00:14:37] Joe Swartz: Lotta, lotta different, uh, uh, assets. Hey,
[00:14:40] Nick Greens: a small level. That's great. Right? It was a small level. Great. Yeah. Use some of that. It's not.
[00:14:46] Joe Swartz: It is, but here here's a, here's a little point. Um, I had done that especially early on in my career. So we are using a phosphor to lower. The pH is a commercial greenhouse, [00:15:00] and, uh, I started to get some sulfuric acid and I got it from an auto parts store.
So, you know, sulfuric acid is used as an industrial. Acid. And so I was getting
[00:15:13] Nick Greens: it for people that don't know what that means is it's what's in your batteries.
[00:15:17] Joe Swartz: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Battery acid. Yeah. And, uh, and so I started getting that and it was about one fifth of the price. And so here, I'm thinking I'm smart and I'm saving some money.
And, um, and for quite a while it was working fine. And then one day, all of a sudden I started having problems with wilting and my Bazell and I started. And I, you know, what was going on. So, I mean, I went through everything and finally narrowed it down to, well, I started using, I bought a new container of acid and as soon as I started using that new container, that's when I started having problems.
So I started. Uh, I changed it out. Um, I changed out the nutrient solution. I [00:16:00] did all these different things. Nothing was working. I reordered some boss, formic acid, and now I damaged a decent amount of, of Bazell and there was nothing I could have done about that, but the new crops were all looking really good.
And so I started, I started talking to two people and what I had found out was that, so the phosphoric acid, um, in the hydroponics industry, it's a food grade product that's used in the restaurant industry. And it has a certain level of purity. Now, when you look at industrial chemicals, like the sulfuric acid that was sold, As per battery acid, there are no, there are less such requirements and they can have other materials in it.
And I talked with a guy at the auto parts store and tried to figure out because, you know, they have a guaranteed analysis, a certain level of acid, et cetera, but I was trying to figure out, is there anything else in this? And the guy said, oh yeah, he's. Th the acid comes in from overseas. He said, every batch is different.
We have no idea what else might be in it. It just has to have a [00:17:00] certain composition of asset and that's that. And so while I never figured out or understood exactly what was in that asset, I realized that using this industrial battery acid to save some money, certainly. Screwed me over because I ended up losing quite a bit of crop and Dan, I think
[00:17:16] Nick Greens: there's no regulations on acid car
[00:17:20] Joe Swartz: So, so on a smell on a small scale for, for a home hobby growers, certainly, you know? Yeah. I know people that still use vinegar or lemon juice, um, other types of acids, uh, using things like baking soda or potassium bicarbonate to raise the pH and certainly on a small level. It's very, it's very acceptable.
Again, it's one of those things where you can walk into your hydroponic stores and you can talk to people and get some, some good input. And everybody's got their own little tricks and tips to do that. Well. But certainly when you were, uh, when you started growing and you started talking to the [00:18:00] people, you went home with all of your, your equipment, but, um, probably had more questions than, than, uh, once you got started more questions and answers.
And, uh, and did they give you a lot of help kind of getting.
[00:18:12] Nick Greens: Oh, very, very much. No, this guy was this guy, actually, I don't want to say his name. I'm not going to say names or anything like that, but he was from east Oakland and he learned it from somebody who's been doing it since the seventies. So what I was taught is his way, the way I was taught from him, the steps and formula, the way I'd go about doing my things.
If I changed any little thing about it or added anything to that. It wasn't the way no more. And he, and he had hands on. He he'd be like, I don't know what you're doing. You're off-roading now I don't, I can't tell you. I never went down that route. I never, I only know what, I, I only know what I've been doing for the last, you know, 20 years, you know, like,
[00:18:59] Joe Swartz: I think that's somewhat of the [00:19:00] farm community when I, uh, you know, growing.
You know, in an agricultural community, you know, people shared information very freely. So I got to listen to all the old timers who wanted to, you know, tell me about how they used to do this or how they used to do that. And I think with the commercial industry, especially with a lot of the technologies, a lot of that is kind of gotten away.
And I, and I know people that either are having trouble getting good information or, uh, having a challenge. Ascertaining, what is actual valuable information? And what's not because we've talked about this sometimes getting good information is, is difficult or knowing what's good information is even more difficult.
And I think that with a hydroponic stores, with the, the local home growing community, there's a lot of that kind of that agricultural tradition. Where, I mean, these aren't necessarily traditional farmers, but they're, they're, they're men and women who have done it, who have had experience and challenges and [00:20:00] solutions that they, you know, they've learned from their own experience or from other people.
And that they they're pretty willing to kind of hand that off to other people as well. I've got to
[00:20:11] Nick Greens: remember when you walk into a store. It is still a store that you are walking into. Okay. It's like they still got to do business. Okay. Like, you know, they can't just give you everything for free. They, you know, like everything's going to work.
Yes. Everything's going to work in the store. It's a start. Just remember that.
[00:20:32] Joe Swartz: So Nick greens is saying, don't be a pest,
[00:20:36] Nick Greens: go wonder and be serious, you know, spit. And that's it. It's a hobby, Joel, you know, come on. It's like anything. It's like you're out there Gardner, you know, like you're going to spend the same amount you spend on an outdoor garden and an indoor garden.
You got to buy the seeds and have your soil grow. You gotta buy the soil and you, I can't just plant the earth. You know, I got to buy the soil and grow into the cups and grow into the pots. And, you know, [00:21:00]
[00:21:00] Joe Swartz: have you seen, and some groups, you know, either formal groups or informal groups that kind of form at some of these.
[00:21:08] Nick Greens: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I've seen it. I mean, there's still, there's still a lot of people who just like to just be private about what they're doing, you know, and, and we got to respect their privacy. So it's a, it's more of a privacy thing. And you know, like I said, you can ask the owners asked the, the managers things, but don't, don't go in there and start trying to be friends with everybody.
That's not a place. It's not like a clubhouse, you know, where other growers are talking to each other. Okay. You know, everybody's, you know, wants to be private, especially with COVID, you know, they want to stay distance and, you know, stuff like that,
[00:21:43] Joe Swartz: but it's still a great place to get local
[00:21:45] Nick Greens: info information.
Yes. Correct. People, people share information with the store owners and the store owners has stories and can relate your story with someone else's story, for sure.
[00:21:57] Joe Swartz: So when does a Nick Green's hydroponic store or. [00:22:00]
[00:22:00] Nick Greens: Nah, I never, that I'm not going to get into, uh, to that. Um, I mean, I want to do a button. I want to do a, you know, maybe a podcast or inside a hydroponic store and maybe, maybe tour and do the podcast live at the stars, you
[00:22:14] Joe Swartz: know?
Yeah. So w when, when Maurice joins us and talks about, um, Chicago roots, organic hydroponic store, now you've been there.
[00:22:24] Nick Greens: Uh, yes. I mean, that, that was the first store that I went to in Chicago. And then I went to another second store. Um, and you know, there were a little bit different there weren't, there weren't as welcoming or sharing, or maybe I didn't fit the circle.
Uh, a person that they wanted to teach, but I'm roots, organic. They taught, they, they, you know, they treated me well, you know, they had two locations and shout out to Tommy. Tommy is a, is, is the owner at, uh, as Chicago roots. So I just want to say shut out at the time.
[00:22:56] Joe Swartz: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of the, the [00:23:00] chains of the hydroponic stores, uh, have been bought out.
And of course we, you know, we know some of the big players in the industry have kind of consolidated a lot of that. But even with those, you know, you've got the local management, you've got local people. Working in there. So again, it's a, it's a valuable resource. It's a good community to Nick's point too, about, you know, remembering it's a store.
So obviously yes, they have to conduct business, but it's also important to, to try to bring something to the table. Even inexperienced growers can always, you know, bring something to the table to share. Um, you know, you're not always there just on a fact finding mission to get information, but, but rather to, to share some information and share conversations, you know, w again, within limits, but it's much better to go and have a quick conversation.
Leave come back another time and have another one instead of sitting there. And I've seen, I've seen that before, too. I see someone, uh, in the store is talking to the person behind the counter [00:24:00] and they're looking for a chair to pull up so they can sit down and have this long winded conversation. And that never really works out well.
[00:24:07] Nick Greens: when you're behind that person next in line.
[00:24:11] Joe Swartz: Yeah. Yeah. If there's, if there's another customer in the. Please stop talking, let them, uh,
[00:24:17] Nick Greens: and they're still having a conversation during your transaction.
[00:24:20] Joe Swartz: I've seen that. I've definitely seen that.
[00:24:23] Nick Greens: You're like, can you just keep going, like my transaction's going to get ruined here.
[00:24:28] Joe Swartz: I need to actually get back home and grow. So can you please get out of the way? So what else is going on right now? You've got, you've got a few projects, uh, in the, in the works that you can work on that you can talk about.
[00:24:38] Nick Greens: Yeah. I mean, I got a bunch of things going on, but yeah, I mean, just right now, when development is.
Doing a podcast, uh, more, uh, uh, comedy, educational podcasts. Uh, um, I don't want to mention who we're doing that with. Uh, but, uh,
[00:24:56] Joe Swartz: no, I'm
[00:24:56] Nick Greens: sure. Yeah. Yeah. And you're going to have involvement with that too, Joe, we [00:25:00] definitely, um, I think, you know, just, just, I think laughter's needed an education right now and, and that's where it's coming from.
And I just like to be myself and it's naturally funny and the people don't understand it, then they don't understand. Uh, John candy humor, you know, classic for sure. I'm, I'm definitely a John candy,
[00:25:20] Joe Swartz: uh, Sheboygan. I can see where the yes. He mentioned Sheboygan did any Bagley? Yeah. Yeah. So we w we've been talking, I've been talking, um, on social media.
We we've been involved with a charitable organization called new opportunities and they built a 12,000 square foot facility and they just started planting. So they started seeing the last day of 2021. And, um, they started transplanting a week ago and the greenhouse is filling up. And they'll have leafy greens in the Northeast market, um, in about two more weeks.
And so I [00:26:00] could not be more proud of, of the team. Uh, the farmers called CT food for thought, and it's in Torrington Connecticut, and they're doing an amazing job. We'll have some, some photos up on social media. I'd like to bring Sean Roberts, uh, lead grower on he'll be on a future podcast. They'll have a chance to talk about.
His work. He had visited
[00:26:20] Nick Greens: a crazy, all these projects just popping up everywhere. Like, I mean, I I've talked to Stephen Ritz and Steven Ritz is just like, it's bonkers right now, Nick. And I'm just like, I know.
[00:26:32] Joe Swartz: Well, you know, I mean the time was right anyway. And of course COVID just exacerbated that and COVID really exposed a lot of the challenges in our food system.
And I think just highlighted that need for smaller scale local actions, you've seen
[00:26:46] Nick Greens: the local. Do you seen the gyms? Are you still going, are you still able to park in your parking lot of the jail? Yep. Yeah, you got to park farther
[00:26:55] Joe Swartz: now away. A little farther away, actually, ours isn't too bad, [00:27:00] but you know, certainly that first of the year everyone's going to get in is, is certainly, you know, in effect right now I've been
[00:27:07] Nick Greens: hearing that all over the place.
Every, every region has been just like that, for sure.
[00:27:12] Joe Swartz: Yeah. So, um, Is Mario is going to be joining us. Uh, at this
[00:27:18] Nick Greens: point he says, sorry, duty as people in their life, like wait for the people leave, I guess. Yeah. He shouldn't have.
[00:27:24] Joe Swartz: So he's got people in the store talking to him.
[00:27:26] Nick Greens: I want that on. I want that to like,
[00:27:30] Joe Swartz: someone's listening to you and
[00:27:31] Nick Greens: going in, and he's doing the podcast and it's like, it's like, it's like having a mom on and the baby comes in and she becomes part of the podcast.
[00:27:38] Joe Swartz: There you go. Speaking of podcasts and some stuff coming up, we're going to be at the indoor ag con coming up, not that far in the future and the February, beginning of March and a live
[00:27:51] Nick Greens: recording. Yeah, it's going to be a live.
[00:27:54] Joe Swartz: Indoor icon in Las Vegas. If you haven't gone go, everyone go to indoor.ag [00:28:00] and check out the, I mean, they've got an amazing list
[00:28:02] Nick Greens: amazing lineup.
They got some of the big shots there, including yourself.
[00:28:07] Joe Swartz: I I'm really glad though that, you know, they, they had a lot of input from the public and a lot of input from people in the industry. Who really want to start dialing in on growing more and they want to start talking about the growing technologies, different growing
[00:28:20] Nick Greens: techniques.
I'm not sure. And I'll bring your journal, bring a pen and just write and just keep keeping it.
[00:28:27] Joe Swartz: Yeah, absolutely. But, uh, Nick and I will be there along with lots of our friends, like Stephen rents, uh, And we're going to be doing, uh, probably on Monday, we'll be doing a live podcast from the indoor icon and we'll be talking to a lot of us.
Um, I'm sure he will. Um, we'll, we'll talk to lots of great people in the industry. We'll get little snippets of,
[00:28:53] Nick Greens: uh, we're going to chase. We're going to chase a lot of people down from everyone. Yeah. Everybody. Please send them questions [00:29:00] right now. Uh, what you want us to ask to some of the. To some of the thought leaders in this industry.
I think, uh, hearing what they have to say. And some of your questions would be really cool.
[00:29:12] Joe Swartz: Yeah. Yeah. We've got upcoming podcasts and we're going to talk to, um, people in the industry, uh, from the commercial equipment and production end and we'll have a round table with them. People like Chris Higgins of board Americas, and Paul Brent linger of prop king.
And they'll be taking
[00:29:29] Nick Greens: questions. I can't wait for that interview, dude. Call Brett linger. Yes, dude. I. Did I admire the guy? I mean, come on. The, guy's been in this industry since he was, I mean, he was more into the industry
[00:29:43] Joe Swartz: and, uh, and so, so that's a really unique and a special set of experiences that a lot of people don't have.
So, so getting Paul and Chris's take on certain things going on in the industry, whether we're talking about some of the new [00:30:00] technologies, whether we're talking about the state of the industry, what COVID has had. Uh, what effect COVID has had? Um,
[00:30:06] Nick Greens: a couple of people asked me if we can get Alison on. Have you, have you reached out to Alison.
[00:30:11] Joe Swartz: I have not heard from Alison and spoke with her,
[00:30:13] Nick Greens: why she's a, she's a voice that I think that we definitely need on. Yup.
[00:30:20] Joe Swartz: Yeah. And, and w and we'll also be doing a round table with people in the, uh, informational and environmental control technologies. And so we will have, uh, Dr. Greenhouse Nadine Saba back with Kelly Nicholson of autograph.
So we'll have, we'll have people from that end of the industry as well. So one of the things that we're hoping people will will continue to do is send us questions and comments and with your questions, we're going to try to address them a little more specifically. So, so there are. All the time people will have a list of questions and a lot of them will relate to pest control or there relate to production issues and cost [00:31:00] management or the relate to marketing.
So we're going to try to do is bring in a couple of people with high levels of expertise in each of these areas. Yeah.
[00:31:08] Nick Greens: food safety too. I think a food safety session. We'll definitely need it to hear it from that side of the view. I mean, me and you do have an understanding of food safety, but. When it comes to writing a humongous commercial program, I mean, we need to bring the experts in to do that.
[00:31:24] Joe Swartz: Food safety is also going to be more important. Part of all of our growing, uh, you know, more and more, I mean, food safety really has been on everyone's radar for a few years now, of course, but that is only going to increase. And that's not only your production methodologies, you know, uh, having a food safety plan, incorporating food safety into everything you do, but there's also from the equipment and materials.
So looking at the materials you're using in your products, The materials that you're growing systems are manufactured from, [00:32:00] uh, anything that touches the plants or comes in contact with your growing operation. Those are all critically important. And again,
[00:32:08] Nick Greens: and how is that material, Joe nowadays? Isn't that a very crucial thing now?
Cause I'm pretty sure your. You're coming across some of your projects where you can't get certain material that you're used to.
[00:32:21] Joe Swartz: Yeah. One of the things that we've done for a very long time at M hydro is that we designed into our system. Um, we've looked at materials and the food safety aspect of it. So right now, regulations are not specific to saying, you know, You can use this type of plastic, but should not use that type of plastic, but that's coming.
So we we've been using a Virgin high-density polyethylene, which is FDA approved food safe. We've got food safety certification on the materials that go into our growing systems. And, um, that's one of the pieces of the industry that, that people have not looked at a lot because [00:33:00] there's been no real need to.
I mean, obviously people are interested, but there's been no regulatory. To do, to do so that's changing. So
[00:33:09] Nick Greens: education systems that you sell are even the same, um, the same materials used in all right.
[00:33:14] Joe Swartz: Yeah. People are, you know, they, they want to make sure that you're not, uh, growing with a lead based growing system or you're not using DDT in your system or, um, the plutonium into the growing systems and all that.
But in reality, and in all seriousness, the, you know, the, the materials of the growing systems, right. The materials that are going into the nutrients and nutrient solutions and the water treatment systems and all that. They're under a much higher level of scrutiny. And there, and there, you know, especially from, I guess, as I said, from a regulatory standpoint, they're looking at that.
So any growers, you know, who are forward thinking forward, thinking have to really look at some of those things and make sure that, you know, if you're [00:34:00] expanding or you're developing a business. That, that that's a consideration. You know, what you, what your systems are manufactured on it or where the materials were sourced from.
Those are all important. When, when we had Kyle Barnett on, uh, from carbon book and he was talking about the. Specifically from kind of a carbon footprint, uh, and of it, but there's a lot of other things. So all the materials that are in your growing systems, how are they sourced? Are these materials sustainable?
Long-term those are questions that five years ago, 10 years ago. No one really. I don't want to say no one cared about, but that was really not on many people's radar. Whereas now that's a much more important if you've
[00:34:43] Nick Greens: met these younger kids, these younger kids, I mean that. You know, that's
[00:34:47] Joe Swartz: what everyone's looking at and rightly so, but it's, it's certainly a new aspect to the industry.
And a lot of people haven't previously looked at
[00:34:58] Nick Greens: it's super fun and you know what it's, [00:35:00] it's not even just a girl in part, it's the knock growing. It's the messing up, Joe. You know, that's, I think that's the best parts of me learning through everything from starting off. And my first time walking into that hydro store to me successfully growing a plant.
Yeah. I definitely liked the goof ups that I had, even though I didn't, because I had an expert next to me, but when I went off roading and I started to do different formulas and trying to change it up, what I was taught. Yeah. I messed up plants, you know?
[00:35:29] Joe Swartz: Well, that's where, that's where the real learning.
[00:35:32] Nick Greens: Well, that taught me to just stick to the recipe dummy
[00:35:36] Joe Swartz: well, but, but you know, a lot of that going off script, if you will certainly leads to that's where a lot of the best innovation happens, uh, whether that's accidental or on purpose, but. It is through the mistakes that we learn. It is, you know, most of the valuable information when I go and consult for a client or I go and I help someone with their production.
Most of the valuable [00:36:00] information that I share with them is based on some mistakes or some, uh, problems that I've had, uh, or growers that I've worked with. So, you know, there, there, there is something to be said, obviously for doing things, right. But there's a lot of valuable information and input when you do something wrong or when something unexpected happens,
[00:36:23] Nick Greens: which, which is why, if you thinking of doing a big backyard, greenhouse start one in one of your spare bedrooms, you know, especially if you're an empty-nester now you got at least probably one or two spare bedrooms.
[00:36:38] Joe Swartz: Well, when people come to M hydro for guidance, whether they want to get in to the business, they want to build a, you know, looking at one of the get growing bundles or just to buy a system to get started. We always inevitably have to reel them back a little bit because people will come and want to start with a certain.
We always [00:37:00] try to, to back them up, start with a small system,
[00:37:04] Nick Greens: start happy greenhouse. Right. You've got a hobby. Greenhouses is packages. Right? So I mean,
[00:37:10] Joe Swartz: yeah. I mean, we, we don't manufacture greenhouses, so we are, we are. Guide people, um, to
[00:37:17] Nick Greens: partnerships with many builders and many manufacturers.
[00:37:22] Joe Swartz: Yeah. There are many, uh, greenhouse companies all over the world that we work with.
And so, you know, some are, are more suited for certain climates. Some are more suited for different budgets, but in, in any case, You know, selecting something that yes, you can grow with, you can expand with, you can develop, but that is still manageable on a small scale. That's one of the things that, that I have learned over and over again, I was just talking with someone this week.
I said, you know, if you could go back and do it all over again, what's the biggest, you know, what's the most important piece of advice you could give yourself and it would have been to start [00:38:00] smaller. So instead of building a bigger greenhouse that, you know, didn't have the best heating system or ventilation system, what would be much better to have started smaller?
Insects screened the vestibules on both ends of the greenhouse, maybe positive pressure, a higher level growing system, maybe a hydronic system or heating system putting the heat down on the ground and letting it,
[00:38:25] Nick Greens: or a wet wall on a
[00:38:26] Joe Swartz: certain climate. Well, absolutely. Yeah, for sure. Um, nutrient solution heating.
That's one of the big ones now that I'm seeing a lot more, any grower. From the middle of the United States north, um, nutrient solution heating has been one of those things that, that really is very, very valuable and keeping the nutrient solution from getting too cold. If you have a nutrient tanks underground and you're in new England or the upper Midwest, it's very easy in the winter time for your, you know, come in [00:39:00] and the greenhouse in the morning and your nutrient solution.
50 degrees or 55 degrees. And that is very detrimental to your plant growth. So looking at a smaller scale, smaller footprint with a little bit more infrastructure always seems to, to, to make the most sense and create the most success. And, and on that same note is. Having the manageability of not starting too big, you know, people always wanted to go, go with the biggest greenhouse that they can afford and the biggest operation that they can manage labor wise.
And one of the things that they kind of lose sight of is that, you know, things will happen. You may not be able to get all the tasks and the greenhouse done on time and, and starting smaller and more manageable just allows you that, that flexibility. We see a lot, a lot more growers now who are instead of quitting their jobs and going into [00:40:00] hydroponics rather are, um, you know, they're working, but they're operating a small scale greenhouse on the side and that educational experience is all to improve.
[00:40:11] Nick Greens: Hmm. Yeah. Like our last guest, Jake, Jake gambling, you know, shout out to Jake. Jake started off with one greenhouse in his front door. I mean, you drive up his driveway. The first thing you see is greenhouse, and now he's got a number two. So he's got two greenhouses, right? When you drive up to his driveway, then he's got a house somewhere, be somewhere in back of the greenhouses.
There's a house.
[00:40:36] Joe Swartz: Well, he spends more time in the greenhouses anyway, so, oh, I mean,
[00:40:40] Nick Greens: yeah. I mean, come on. He's he's the biggest plant nerd that I know for sure.
[00:40:44] Joe Swartz: So. We've got a lot of, uh, valuable resources that I think are under utilized and small-scale hydroponic stores, uh, the local gardening and growing community.
These are all really important in your [00:41:00] path if you're learning about the industry or getting into it. So, um, we're going to have Martinez come on from Chicago plant, uh, excuse me, Chicago roots, organic hydroponic store shortly. And, um, we've got a lot of. Events coming up to, to be attending. So we're, we're hoping to see you there, but in the meantime, we're going to ask you to continue to send questions, comments, uh, for Nick and I, but for also for our team of experts that are going to be joining us.
And, uh, we look forward to not only seeing you and hearing you again, but also to be sharing more information with you that's related to your particular interest in growing operations. So, so in the meantime, thanks very much everyone for joining us today. And we look forward to speaking with you all again.
Have a great day, everyone.