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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on June 6th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 14 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 14

Spotlight on: Kush Cottage

Mick Buzzwell, owner


A new Atascadero-based company says it has a solution to a lot of issues for small-scale vegetable and flower growing operations.

While not specifically designed for it, Kush Cottage's custom greenhouses seem to alleviate a lot of issues that come hand-in-hand with growing cannabis.

"What we do basically is kind of a newer genre in cultivation—what they call, 'mixed light,'" owner Mick Buzzwell told the Sun.

Atascadero-based Kush Cottage offers customizable and fully-automated light deprivation greenhouses for vegetables and flowers.

Buzzwell and his brother, John—Kush Cottage's two sole employees—build and design their mini-structures on a small plot of land a few miles east of Atascadero. It's a quiet location, surrounded by rolling fields and row upon row of grape vines. It's also the perfect setting to experiment on what they call their "fully automated light deprivation" greenhouses.

"We take the best of what outdoor [growing] has to offer and the best that indoor [growing] has to offer and mix 'em together," Mick said. "It is truly a state-of-the-art grow facility. I mean, it's got complete climate control, and all your lighting, fans, and filters. It is a true year-round grow vehicle."

John explained that the design and size of the structures—the largest units are only 120 square feet—was intended to appeal to those in an urban setting with limited space and restrictive zoning requirements.

"They've been using this technology in the commercial industry for a long time now, but nobody's making it for the average person in their backyard," John said, before Mick added that all three of their available models (ranging from 8 feet by 8-by-8 feet to 8-by-15 feet) are "backyard legal for just about every place in the U.S."

But it's not just the size that makes a Kush Cottage such an appealing deal for potentially small-time cultivators, according to the Buzzwells.

"You know, we've been growing [cannabis] for years—since the '80s," Mick said, "and inside growing, it's just unsustainable. It's bad for the environment. It's expensive. Then you go outside, and you got your problems there."

One issue that seems to keep popping up in city council and board of supervisors meetings across the Central Coast is smell, particularly with cannabis, which is why the carbon filters are a key selling point for cultivators trying to keep a low profile.

Mick reiterated that the houses weren't designed specifically for cannabis, and that the odor control could be applied to a variety of vegetables.

"You ever smell broccoli when it's about to be harvested? You recognize it instantly," he said.

Another feature to help keep prospective growers from upsetting neighbors is the automated blinds that slide down and cover the arched, half-cylindrical semi-translucent ceilings once the sun sets and the interior lights power up.

"We want to be considerate of light pollution while also providing an environment the individual can completely control," Mick said.

In terms of electricity, he added, the units are a no-brainer compared to a run-of-the-mill indoor growing operation.

"For a traditional indoor grow, basically for a three-month cycle, you are going to use 1,260 hours of artificial light at a 1,000 watts, with using the Kush Cottage you only use 540 hours of light at 400 watts," Mick said, adding he hoped their structures would provide not just a energy efficient and urban friendly alternative for business owners and new growers, but also help them navigate what can be a complicated environment.

"One of the issues in the cultivation arena is that if you want to build a grow room you gotta go to the grow store, buy yourself some lights, a fan—that type of thing—and you are completely at the mercy of that guy at the shop telling you what you need or you gotta do a lot of your own research, and that's why a lot of people fail at this," Mick said. "What we came up with is pre-engineered, it's preset—if you do what we say, it will work.

"It takes the thinking out it—there's just no school sweat involved." 

Staff Writer Spencer Cole wrote this week's Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at

Weekly Poll
How should the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District improve its A-G completion rates?

Align graduation requirements with university entrance requirements.
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