13 Apr Innovator spotlight: Biodiversity Gardening
Reducing Time-to-Harvest with Fluence LED Grow Lights and No-Till Living Soil
Nelson Lindsley is a dynamic kind of guy. He’s the kind of guy you’d be pleased to join for afternoon coffee, with the full knowledge that the conversation and the exchange of ideas would be so entertaining and illuminating that you’d still be sitting in the coffee shop when dinnertime rolled around.
As a controlled environment agriculture consultant for many years, Lindsley has a breadth of experience working with a variety of growing concerns — and with each one, you can be sure he’s taking careful notes and adding to his vast store of knowledge about indoor growing.
Lindsley used Fluence SPYDRx PLUS grow lights over 17 cannabis strains.
Over the course of his growing career, an accidental discovery led him to his current growing passion: biodiversity gardening.
Nematodes, earthworms, cover crops, companion plants — they all live in harmony with the cannabis plants, creating biodynamic system in an inside environment. “I synthesize the outdoor growing environment indoors,” says Lindsley. “I’ve got an army of microbes that are keeping the plants happy and healthy.”
Lindsley practices biodiversity gardening, using nematodes, worms,
cover crops and companion plants.
In the early days, he worked with high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights, because “that’s all that was available. I tried fluorescent for a while, but that wasn’t practical.”
Unhappy having to combat the heat produced by HPS lights, and under increasing pressure from California utilities to reduce electrical consumption, he tried some “cheap LEDs from China.”
By day 47F, most strains were already showing signs of accelerated flower development under Fluence SPYDRx PLUS.
These weren’t a solution, either. More research led to Fluence, and after a cold call to Fluence scientists that stretched to three hours, Lindsley was convinced enough to purchase a trial system.
For a gig he recently wrapped up in California, Lindsley put Fluence SPYDRx PLUS to work over 17 strains of cannabis.
He is thrilled with the results.
With several genetics, we saw cycle times that were 10-14 days shorter than what we used to.”
“Plants that would go 11-12 weeks under HPS were done in 7-8 weeks under the Fluence LEDs,” says Lindsley.
Other experts, too, have been surprised at Lindsley’s results. Looking for confirmation of what he was seeing, Lindsley brought in Ryley Leech, a Fluence photobiology consultant who specializes in cannabis evaluation. Leech was blown away by at the trichome development he saw. “What’s most striking is the uniformity. Usually you’ll see some stunted trichomes, or some with no heads,” he says. “These trichomes have nice structure, with no signs of weakness.”
Growers like to see uniform and plentiful trichome production because it’s an important marker of potency.
The new PhysioSpec spectrum helps produce dense capitate-stalked trichome development on Super Silver Haze under SPYDRx PLUS.
Leech was surprised to see orange heads on newly formed trichomes just 47 days into the growth cycle of Silver Haze cannabis plants. Growers often view orange trichomes as a sign of degradation but clearly these plants were still full-on growing, says Leech. “Because of the light intensity and the spectrum, the Super Silver Haze was able to express its genetic potential to the fullest.”
Lindsley agrees with Leech.
I haven't seen plants grow like this before.”
“I see consistent flower development from top to bottom. I see more flowering production sites than I saw under HPS — more flower in less space,” Lindsley says. He says he also saw tighter internodal spacing under the LED lights.
In terms of yield, Nelson has achieved surpassing a gram per watt on the strains that have been run and sees the achievable potential of exceeding 2 ounces per square foot of plant canopy.
Cannabis is just the tip of the iceberg, says Lindsley. “We’re working toward the future of sustainable agriculture — with all crops. Any research that can be done in cannabis can help us get there,” he says. “With all my clients, I ensure that any work I do, any knowledge I gain, can be applied to other agricultural endeavors.”
With smart, enthusiastic and effervescent growers such as Lindsley leading the charge, the future of indoor ag is surely luminous.