Pure Greens Head Grower Andrew Wise started gardening when he was 13 years old.

“I started growing different kinds of peppers and tomatoes,” he recalls. “I had the whole backyard of my mom’s house filled with tomato and pepper plants.”

He used to wake up early in the morning to stand in the yard and look at how everything had grown.

That admiration festered into a passion that he still has today.

“With that passion comes the green thumb,” Andrew explains. “You have to care about what you’re doing to really be successful at it.”

As our Head Grower at Pure Greens, he spends his days taking care of the plants in our container farms.

He says he enjoys working at Pure Greens because he gets to make his passion into a career.

“For years now growing has been my career and not just a hobby,” Andrew describes. “I see this as a great opportunity because I’m doing what I love.”

Each day, he monitors the pH and electrical conductivity levels of the nutrient solution to ensure it’s in the correct ranges and balance them, if needed. He also observes the plants’ health, looking for signs of problems.

He spends the rest of the day doing various maintenance, such as planting, flushing the system, transplanting baby plants from the nursery into a container farm, and cleaning.

“I’m a glorified janitor,” Andrew jokes. “Always cleaning.”

Aside from the cleaning, Andrew says hydroponic farming is exciting.

“I like it because it creates new challenges,” he explains. “Working with different systems gives me a new avenue to explore that I haven’t gotten to master yet.”

He’s also excited about the level of water conservation hydroponics achieves.

“From the years and years I’ve been growing, I’ve seen a lot of water be wasted. Thousands and thousands and thousands of gallons,” Andrew describes.

Hydroponic systems are at least 90% more efficient when it comes to water usage than field farming.

“I think there will be a time when water becomes scarcer, and it won’t be as readily available like it is today,” Andrew says. “I think the day that happens is the day everyone starts converting to hydroponics everywhere.”

Andrew’s advice for beginner hydroponic farmers is to keep the system clean.

He says to be sure to change the water frequently. Especially if you see algae, in which case, start changing it every week.

He also advises extensive research.

Learn all of the acronyms, like PPM (parts per million), VPD (vapor pressure deficit), and EC (electrical conductivity), and learn how to dissolve oxygen in nutrient solution.

“You won’t ever be successful until you learn those,” Andrew says.

Andrew was born in Mesa, Arizona, but he spent most of his childhood in Oregon.

His first official job was at a garden nursery when he was about 15 years old. On the side, he started his own indoor farm in a spare bedroom that he converted into a grow room.

He says during that time, he always wished he could grow plants in a controlled environment without it being in his house. He and his friends even talked about growing plants in a shipping container.

Today, he gets to live out that container farming dream.

Andrew still loves growing peppers like he did when he was a kid. Nothing is too spicy for him.

“I like hot stuff,” he says. “As hot as I can get it, is as hot as I want it.”

Another favorite of his are flowers.

“It’s different from everything I’m used to,” Andrew explains. “You grow a flower for the visual effect, and that’s one of things that first caught my attention with planting—watching plants, watching them grow.”

If you’re interested in learning more about our hydroponic container farms, visit our website or contact us at 602-753-3469.