The Proving Ground is a unique cannabis cultivation facility one hour outside San Diego with a goal to educate growers on the most current and advanced technologies and growing strategies in cannabis cultivation through site tours, educational programs and video content.
The Proving Ground is a unique cannabis cultivation facility one hour outside San Diego with a goal to educate growers on the most current and advanced technologies and growing strategies in cannabis cultivation through site tours, educational programs and video content. Started in 2017 by industry experts Josh Connelly of Next Gen Greenhouses and Chris Holderbaum of Mills Nutrients, they partnered with leaders in the indoor horticultural technology industry including P.L. Lights Systems, RediRoot and Argus Controls to showcase products and educate customers through a working greenhouse. The reason for this was that they found many growers were either transitioning from indoor grows to greenhouse and lacked the expertise on how to do so, or they were traditional greenhouse growers moving into the cannabis industry with limited knowledge on best cultivation practices. Having a working greenhouse to demonstrate the best in cannabis cultivation would provide consumers with the tools needed to succeed in their own growing operations.
Supplemental lighting might not seem like an obvious choice in a hot sunny location like Southern California, but as co-owner Chris Holderbaum explained, it is extremely important in achieving a year round high-quality crop. Lights levels in a greenhouse can change every day and often many times within the same day. On an overcast day the DLI (daily light integral) can drop by 50%. Chris measured that on a cloudy day, PPFD in the greenhouse was around 400 µmol/m²/s, but when the HPS luminaires were turned on, it measured around 750 µmol/m²/s, almost doubling the amount of light being delivered to the plants. It should also be mentioned that every one percent increase in light equates to about a one percent increase in yield, so having lighting on during those cloudy days directly correlates to yield. Chris stated that without the supplemental lighting it would not even be feasible to grow cannabis in the winter because of the low light levels and it would be more financially sound to just shut down for a few months.
Initially, the Proving Ground installed P.L. Light Systems’ NXT2 luminares with HPS lamps and Alpha reflectors. What they really like about the NXT2, is that the reflector is designed to drive the light deeper into the canopy, even at higher mounting heights, along with delivering a uniformly wide field of illumination. They later also installed a hybrid lighting system, using a combination of NXT2 and HortiLED Top LED luminaires.
Through a future series of educational videos and online content, the Proving Ground aims to become the place to turn when looking for quality, professional advice on all aspect of cannabis greenhouse growing. Whether you are a seasoned greenhouse grower moving from traditional horticultural crops to cannabis or if you are a hobbyist turned professional, understanding how a greenhouse environment affects the growth of your plant is important. Learn more about the Proving Ground by checking out their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theprovingground/