Greg Thiel

1. What is your overall opinion of the current state of indoor growing technology?
GT: The technology is excellent and continues to improve. Indoor growing operations are seeing results similar to, and in many cases even better than, outdoor gardens. The demand for indoor gardening products, especially grow lights, has been steadily increasing for over 20 years, and we are still seeing heavy growth in that market.

2. What do you think retailers should know about indoor growing technology before carrying the products?
GT: Retailers should educate themselves on the following lighting technologies: HPS, MH, ceramic metal halide, LED, T5 fluorescents, and double ended HPS. They should learn about the following hydroponics systems: ebb & flow, drip systems (recirculating and drain-to-waste), and deep water culture. Growing media include grow rocks (clay pebbles, perlite, recycled glass), coconut coir, coconut chips, rockwool and soilless mixes. Soil nutrients will not work in a hydroponics system, so retailers will need to learn about hydroponics nutrients and supplements as well. This may all sound complicated; however, keep in mind all plants need for success is water, light, good media and nutrients, plus some TLC!

3. Do you have any advice for how retailers can more effectively market and sell indoor growing supplies?
GT: Grow lights and hydroponics displays should be very visible to all customers. Staff should be educated to discuss these topics and new trends with customers. Passion and expertise sell the products. It is important to understand that a new category requires a little time for current and potential new customers to see the options being offered, while also feeling comfortable asking questions and getting recommendations from your staff. Your indoor growing section will quickly expand and provide year-round profits when customers provide feedback on products they are looking for that may not be in your offering … listen and bring in the regional products they are asking for.

4. Why do you think indoor growing technology is popular with modern gardeners?
GT: Indoor gardening is not limited to the time of day or time of year. Many of the struggles of outdoor gardening are eliminated in an indoor garden. Many gardeners are downsizing their homes, yet want to continue having gardens with flowers, herbs and vegetables that technology, energy efficient light, sustainable media and organic nutrients offer to today’s gardeners. Others are wanting to grow their own herbs, sprouts and food, knowing the health benefits, while also sharing their produce with friends and neighbors.

5. Are there any new developments in the field of indoor lighting or hydroponics you’re excited about?
GT: 315-watt ceramic metal halide lights are generating nearly twice the yield of older technologies (comparison based on watts). Basically, these 315-watt lights are almost as good as the old 600 watt lights, with half as much heat. That’s pretty exciting for an indoor grower! The new advances in LED and T-5 lighting offer energy-efficient options for individuals who want to begin to experiment with indoor growing year-round.