Alright, I’m here at LA Garden Supply with Leonard Song. It is that magical place where people creating functional ingredients come for supplies. Yes, the largest hydroponic store in all of Los Angeles – Only providing premium products, proudly boasts the philosophy that “if it doesn’t work, we don’t carry it.”
Danielle: Hello Leonard, I’m looking forward to seeing your beautiful place today. Should we get started?
Leonard (owner of LA Garden Supply): Welcome, Danielle. We are a hydroponic store that mainly takes care of the indoor growers. We have a ton of substrates, cocoa core, living soils, compost, and your more traditional hydroponic medium, which is rock wool.
Down the first row, you’ll discover tools to control the environment indoors. If you want to control Mother Nature, you’ll need to control your humidity. We have the equipment to dehumidify and humidify, which can create the perfect relative humidity inside your room. Remember, it’s all about balance. You got to have that perfect balance. Different plants require different humidity levels to thrive.
So, it’s almost like you’re creating nature for your plants?
What factors do you consider for lighting?
Lighting is always key, especially when dealing with an indoor setting. Right now, LEDs are the craze and a little pricier. You get a light that lasts about four or five times longer than your traditional high-pressure sodium bulbs with LEDs. Ultimately, it ends up being more cost-efficient, especially if you’re thinking of longevity. If longevity isn’t a factor and you only need lighting for three months, LEDs would not be cost-effective. My marker is that if you need lighting for over a year, LEDs are super-efficient and last a long time.
Which lights specifically do you like to recommend?
We are a big distributor of Gavita LEDs. They are powerful and could take care of your bigger plants. We have stripped LEDs in a few different options for your microgreens or mushroom growers. If low lighting is needed that only takes 18 watts, you may only need a strip of two. Compared to the traditional, fluorescent bulbs are way more efficient and last significantly longer.
Is it going to be the same amount of time someone would have the lights on for your plants whether you’re using LED or not?
Yes, it would be the same length of time.
Will you tell me about your tent selection?
We have a wide variety of grow tent sizes and options to create a closed-off clean environment in your own home. They are really strong, and you can hang stuff on them. These tents could be in your closet, the corner of your bedroom, your garage, or an entire room.
What are the largest tents that you have?
The largest we have is a 10×20. Then it goes 8×16 and 10×10, which is one of the more popular sizes. But that’s as far as big ones, we still sell a ton of 2×4, 3×3, and 4×4 for the small growing spaces, and it is a nice way to kind of keep everything separate and clean.
For example, what is the typical average cost for setting up a grow tent if someone is growing herbs?
Well, we have different grades of tents. They can start anywhere from $500 to $1,200. Some tents are twice as thick and can hang heavier equipment. But I would say for most average growers, the standard tent that is $500 to $600 could be a really well-made tent.
Besides having an excellent environment, nutrients are one of our main sellers. No matter what plants are growing, what nutrients you are using directly dictates how fast or healthy your plants grow. We take great pride in this area of expertise because of the different organic and non-organic nutrient options we offer. There are some new kinds of tech out there for even larger scale growers for organic growing, and a few new brands are doing pretty cool things.
What in particular?
Well, Organics Alive they’re out in the San Diego County area, and they’ve come up with a very sustainable powder. It’s good for the earth because it’s not leaving some soft fertilizer in the ground. It’s like a carbon-based powder, which fully dissolves in water. So you can save money by purchasing in bulk, and it’s easier to transport. There’s no salt in it! It’s pretty cool.
What made you get into this business?
I’ve been in this business for over maybe 15 years now. Before then, I used to be a grower. So I still dabble in that at home. And, you know, plants have always been fascinating to me since I was young.
So that’s your passion?
Plants! It’s like a baby. However you treat it determines if it will thrive. It’s cool to see that many people enjoy gardening besides growing for crop or for money. There are a lot of health benefits to growing fresh fruits and vegetables or mushrooms!
Do you teach other people how to grow?
No, we don’t. I’ll do consulting and will sit down and talk to many different people as far as trying to help them with their growing practices. The challenge is there are so many different types of plants. I can’t be the expert in everything. So I’ll kind of lead them in the right direction. And with the internet these days, people like to do their own research too.
What else do we have going on here? How long has this warehouse been here?
We’ve been open for about five years. Okay. So, you know, and again, we have you go down the aisles, and we got different kinds of fabric pots, plastic pots, different sizes, fans we got our saucers.
It looks like you have a one-stop shop?
Yeah, pretty much ‘everything growing.’ If we don’t have it here, we can place special orders, like for nurseries and different kinds of trays and racking systems for your indoor grow, anything that may be custom-made to order.
I highly recommend doing business with this guy! We definitely will circle back with him when we are ready to start our farm. If you would like to schedule a 15-minute call with Leonard Song to discuss anything from strategy to partnerships, click here to book a call.