Traditionally, cannabis growers have grown their weed wherever they can get away with it. With pro growers cultivating their plants inside large, state of the art warehouses or in fields in the great outdoors. Inside, they have much more control over factors like light and heat, but it tends to be more costly than growing outside. On the other hand, outside lets you leverage natural light and is less expensive than indoor growing but exposes plants to diseases, pests, and the elements. Growing marijuana in a greenhouse is the happy medium.
Consider Growing Weed in a Greenhouse
Over the past couple of years, growing marijuana in a greenhouse has emerged as a viable means of producing high-grade cannabis. Some of the largest American cannabis producers have even incorporated greenhouses into their operations, proving that greenhouses can be scaled for both small and large.
Similar to warehouses, greenhouses give growers a greater amount of control over their plants as they grow. But since they are technically outside, greenhouses offer a variety of benefits for cannabis cultivators by combining the best of both worlds.
The Benefits of Cultivating Cannabis in a Greenhouse
One of the main reasons why greenhouse cannabis grows are gaining traction is that they allow you to leverage natural light. Marijuana plants grown in greenhouses receive more natural light than those cultivated in indoor grows, leading to healthier plants, faster growth rates, and higher yields.
Using a greenhouse to cultivate your marijuana will also result in significant energy savings. The lighting equipment used to provide light in an indoor setting, around 18-24 hours in the vegetative stage and 12 hours during the flowering stage, consumes a ton of electricity. Additionally, you will not need serious air conditioning to eliminate the excess heat generated by lighting equipment. (But, you may need appliances if your greenhouse gets too hot.)
Greenhouses are more efficient in general. They consume less energy, resulting in fewer costs and a reduced environmental impact. They also tend to produce healthy, robust plants. Plus, the heat generated when lighting equipment is used, particularly in regions that don’t receive enough hours of sunlight, can also be used to heat your plants.
Ultimately, you will spend less on lighting, heating, and cooling, reducing your expenses and impact on the environment. Your plants will receive more sunlight, grow faster, and produce larger, healthier yields.
Why Isn’t Everyone Growing Marijuana in a Greenhouse?
Despite the benefits cannabis cultivators stand to gain by using a greenhouse rather than a warehouse or outdoor grow, greenhouses still aren’t as common as they could be. One of the main reasons is the initial cost requirement. Growing cannabis in a greenhouse won’t be cheap.
On average, the capital expenditure for growing marijuana in a greenhouse tends to be around 20-40% higher than other options. This is likely because many greenhouses are, in fact, high-tech operations. You will have to keep sunlight out at certain hours, maintain the temperature and humidity levels, and ensure your plants get a steady supply of CO2.
You will also need to account for seasonal shifts in weather. That means increasing your heat and lighting and reducing humidity during the winter. It also means providing more light assistance and increasing humidity during the summer. All of these climate control requirements could call for costly high-tech systems.
Fortunately, you can expect a ‘profound’ return on your investment in around a year. That is, according to Matt Cohen, founder of TriQ Systems, an industrial greenhouse engineering company in Oregon that serves marijuana growers.
Note that you should also consider your energy costs while growing. Some climates call for more technological intervention to keep the plants in that optimal temperature and humidity range, while others provide the perfect temperatures year-round.
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How to Grow Marijuana in a Greenhouse
If you have decided to grow your cannabis plants in a greenhouse rather than indoors or outside, you stand to benefit a lot. However, this will only happen if you provide your plants with the right climate conditions and nutrients during every step of the growth cycle.
But first, you need to consider the following factors before you begin:
- Geographical location - The region or state where you grow cannabis will determine a significant portion of your operating expenses. The light levels, temperature, humidity levels, and wind speeds will determine the structure of the greenhouse and the equipment you buy.
- Expansion plans - Do you plan to scale your cannabis operation in the future? It is always great to plan with expansion in mind.
- Environmental impact - Cannabis cultivation can have a major impact on the environment. By making your systems as efficient as possible, you can reduce the amount of energy you draw from the grid for heating and cooling purposes.
Heating and Lighting for Greenhouse Growing
Despite its nickname (weed), high-grade cannabis requires much attention and care from seedling until it flowers. The cannabis plant is quite finicky. It needs a certain amount of light, darkness, and humidity as it grows. Messing up during a single stage will have cascading effects, affecting the health of your plants and ultimately impacting their yield and your harvest.
During the vegetative stage, your plants will need at least 13 hours of light every day. This stage will generally last for 3-16 weeks, depending on how big you want your plants to grow. Once they reach the flowering stage, they will need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to flower and develop full buds.
These cycles of light and darkness, particularly the dark cycles, must be consistent and uninterrupted. Introducing artificial light during dark cycles will stress your plants and could lead to hermaphroditism.
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Greenhouses offer many benefits for marijuana growers, including reduced energy costs, plenty of natural light, and more robust plants. a Pot for Pot’s weed grow kits come with nutrient-rich organic super soil and are optimized for outdoor growing in areas that receive more than 4 hours of sunlight. This makes our complete kit perfect for greenhouse growing, if that's how you decide to grow your crop!