A new start up
Ryan Brophy and wife Amy Fogo hold their Vigradis marijuana fertilizer starter kits for sale from their business V6 Agronomy Inc. in North Augusta. Van Dusen photo
by Tom Van Dusen
AgriNews Staff Writer
NORTH AUGUSTA — As a grain farmer, agronomist and certified crop adviser based at North Augusta, Ryan Brophy’s main business is marketing bulk dry granular fertilizer through V6 Agronomy Inc., a company he launched six years ago.
But with legalization of recreational marijuana soon to be upon us, Brophy has come up with a clever way to value-add to his core business and at the same time set up wife Amy Fogo with on-farm work.
The couple has branched out with a budding new business called Vigradis which takes imported fertilizers designed for large-scale commercial hemp production and scales them down to a per-plant basis, also adjusting for size. They’re packed into baggies and wrapped up in lunchbox-sized containers, perfect for getting legal marijuana plants up and running when the time comes.
Fogo hand-mixes the fertilizers and packs the boxes along with handling marketing. After legalization kicks in, Brophy hopes Vigradis will grow to the point that his wife will be able to work full-time on the farm.
Already legal for medicinal purposes, marijuana needs as much tending and nutrient application as the next crop. Just because it’s nicknamed “weed”, it doesn’t necessarily grow like one, Brophy says.
That’s why Brophy and Fogo concocted the Vigradis fertilizer starter kit for home pot producers. Retailing at $19.99 plus tax, the gift-sized Vigradis package is available from Shopify or, directly from the Brophy/Fogo farm. Each kit contains three pouches of mixed fertilizers, measuring spoons and instructions on care and feeding of pet plants.
A guaranteed analysis is provided on the Vigradis website. As with any other plant, Brophy says, it’s all about agronomy, about achieving maximum yield from seed selection to drainage. “We had to look at the agronomy for properly administering the product and coming up with instructions that work for consumers.”
Each kit is intended to kick-start two plants; legalization will permit every Canadian to own four plants. The fertilizers in question are labelled Vitality – the starter, Vigour – the grower, and Victory – the finisher; the results, Brophy claims, are better roots, stronger stems, and the big payoff of more flowers and seeds. To date, one wholesale deal for 400 kits has been made and an assorted 40 or so other boxes have also been sold.
It’s Brophy’s first step into the home-grown home market, although he jokes: “Our friends from near and far have been using our fertilizer formulas for years with great success… and here I thought everyone was really into tomatoes.” Seriously though, the couple successfully field-tested Vigradis with several medical cannabis growers.
In the meantime, Brophy is developing another sideline as a consultant, advising a group of seniors in Cornwall on how best to groom their medicinal grass. An added benefit of the Vigradis initiative, Brophy jokes, is that his wife no longer thinks he’s a total square.