Hello, and thank you for your interest in APT!
We are Rob and Danielle Smith, owners of Green Harvest Solutions Inc. and creators of Atlas Plant Trainer™. We live in Maine and have been medical cannabis caregivers for three years now. We have a young daughter (almost 3 years old) that seems to already be smarter than both her mother and her father, combined! We certainly believe we have our work cut out for us as she grows up, but look forward to every step of the journey.
To understand the essence of the Atlas Plant Trainer™, we think it’s important for you to understand why we created it, and why were so passionate about helping people grow bigger and better.
When we started growing for our medicinal purposes, we were not only limited by the number of plants we could grow by state law, but by the space that we could grow in. We knew that growing would be expensive, so it was important to us to maximize our yields with the limited plants we could grow, which was 6 at the time. Before we even had plants under lights, we had done extensive research on all the ways to increase yields, and it was apparent to us that the main thing that totally under our control was the size of the plant and how many flowers would form the top of the plant. We knew we wanted to use the many training techniques that we had read about to make my plant as wide as we could, resulting in as much plant matter as possible getting quality light – increasing yields. One thing we noticed through our research was that all the tools used to train one’s plant were either not intended for the purpose (4 foot tall bamboo stakes for a 4 inch tall plant), do it yourself (suspended ceiling wire cut to length, which isn’t easy or PVC piping), or – BOTH! Having extra time on our hands and eager to learn, we weren’t bothered by the lack of tools meant for the purpose, so we just jumped right in and started training our plants.
Fast forward a few months and we have trained the plants to be quite a bit wider than the plant pot, and they were looking great about 4 weeks into flower. But now we had a different problem. We had no clue that these tops were going to be so heavy that they were not going to be able to stay upright for the duration. They kept falling over onto one another, and even as novices, we knew that wouldn’t be good for the next 5 weeks. So, back to the interwebs we went to learn how to support the heavy flowers. Thankfully, there were more great columns to reference and even some items we could purchase to help the cause. However, we learned that to properly support your plant through the flowering process, it is best to prepare for this starting before the flowering starts. So, we bought a pile of bamboo stakes and more plant yo-yos than we could count and went to work propping, tying, and stringing up the plants just to keep them pointing towards the light. By the time we were done, it looked like Spiderman had just rolled through and made a mess – there were strings hanging from the lights in every spot possible. Furthermore, we couldn’t move the plants around, meaning that we couldn’t reach the very center of the canopy from anywhere but underneath it, which isn’t the easiest and always results in being a sticky mess.
Over the next year or so, Rob tried everything on the market to help the plants get bigger, and then support them when they got big. We still have hundreds of bamboo stakes, plant yo-yos and a 1000 feet of soft wire tie cut to a hundred different lengths. Along with hundreds of feet of ½ inch PVC pipe, mesh trellising (which we despise) and a weak attempt at SCROG (screen of green), we think we have tried every common choice for supporting your plants. Couple that with the lengths of wire with a hook formed at one end to assist in training, we’ve got a lot of junk lying around. Oh, and don’t forget about the tomato cages! Not only have all these things cost us money to use once or twice, just to learn that we didn’t like them, but they take up a lot of space and resulted in lots of frustration throughout the process.
Now that we’ve covered the why, let’s move onto the “how” of the Atlas Plant Trainer™. Rob had started drawing up sketches for a solution to the problems, shortly after getting stabbed in the cheek with a broken off end of a bamboo stake – and he had enough. He spent a few months doodling, and a few more months telling Danielle how awesome my idea was, and then a few more months wishing that someone else would solve my problems. And then, one Sunday night as Rob was sitting on the couch telling Danielle how he longed for something that came close to his solution – she sent an email to a product designer in Kennebunkport, Maine, Aiello Designs. She told Rob that he would be calling him on Monday to discuss my idea, so be ready.
Since that night, the Atlas Plant Trainer™ has just – happened. If you’d like, you can learn more about the journey to bring APT to market by reading our “Growth Blog“, where we cover our garden growth, our company growth, and our personal growth. Both of us will be writing to you sharing our successes and struggles as we bring this (and future) products to market that will help better everyday gardeners lives – including our own!
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