At CANNA we’re excited to share passionate grower stories from across Canada that resonate with our community and inspire us to “grow big or grow home”.
From novice to maestro, how has your journey deepened your connection with the plant and the art of growing?
Matthew: I am the production manager and master grower at Palm Gardens. I've been with Palm Gardens for about a year now. I grew my first plant at 15 years old. I thought it was so clever keeping it in my closet in the bedroom. I found out many years later that my parents knew all about it, so that was fun. But yeah, I came to Cannabis pretty early. Some would say probably a little too early, but it's always been a part of my life and the aspect about cannabis that drew me to it was the medical aspect. It wasn't until about 12 years ago when I was interned on the job that I actually started growing cannabis full time. This started out as basically purchasing from LPs. I was sold a tainted batch of cannabis, which I wasn't informed that it was tainted until about six months later. And with that information, I was able to convince my doctor to give me a prescription for growing. From there, I just fell in love with it. As soon as you start growing cannabis, it's such a fulfilling product to grow. I got really into the growing, really into all of the science, actually went to the University of Alberta, got a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, focused on botany, biology, entomology, plant pathology, just every sort of aspect that you can, you know, bring into the cannabis sector, just trying to get that edge. Graduated about two years ago and have been in the cannabis industry since, just took me until very recently to become a master grower. But yeah, a ten year process to get here.
Which phase of the cultivation journey do you enjoy most?
Matthew: Honestly, the growing part. It's my happy place. When I walk into my grow room and I see those plants all with their leaves just reaching towards the sky, it just makes me happy. So that's really what draws me to it. That and I mean meeting people that have these similar passions and needs it's uh it's it's yeah it's what drives me to breed new
products to produce new cannabis
“When I walk into my grow room and I see those plants all with their leaves just reaching towards the sky, it just makes me happy.”
Which phase of the cultivation journey do you enjoy the least?
Matthew: Probably the cleanup. Yeah it's cleaning up . It's so important you have to have everything clean in order to avoid disease and pests. So being a little OCD about everything is a key part of the process
From nurturing the soil, conditioning the plant, to team collaboration & industry movements, how important is consistency in shaping success?
Matthew: I mean, consistency is, it's absolutely key. When you're looking at a plant, I like to analogize it as like a gas tank, right? Like the plant has a certain amount of gas per day. It can use that gas to fight off pathogens, it can use that gas to fight off pests, to adjust for a terrible environment, but at the end of the day all that energy is being taken away from producing what we like, that nice juicy bud at the top. In feed, in nutrition, every aspect of the growing process needs to bring you to a consistent product at the very end.
“Consistency is absolutely key. In feed, in nutrition, every aspect of the growing process needs to bring you to a consistent product at the very end.”
As the Lead grower at Palm Gardens, what's your next big green dream?
Matthew: So I'm extremely proud of our current breeding project that I started back in January. We're bringing out new proprietary strains for the market, something that nobody else has. And yeah, that's really my passion is breeding cannabis. So I'm just excited to get everything, all these strains out to people and see what they like.