Are you laser-focused on developing the perfect cannabis strain?
Greenhouse farming is considered the future of modern agriculture. With high-tech innovations, greenhouse production has become the ‘go-to’ method of choice for growing all manner of crops, including cannabis.
An agricultural greenhouse is very different from the original 13th-century incarnations, but the principle is the same: using natural sunlight to give crops what they need. So, what are the advantages of greenhouse production, and should you consider it for a cannabis-growing operation?
What is Greenhouse Farming?
The purpose of a greenhouse is to grow crops in a controlled environment to increase performance and grow yields while enhancing overall quality.
Greenhouse agriculture occurs within the conventional greenhouse, but methods of cultivation have changed to incorporate advanced technology, including automation.
Although the original purpose of a greenhouse was to satisfy the lavish culinary desires of royal families, centuries later, it has enabled non-native crops to thrive in harsh environments.
For example, tomato production in Norway primarily takes place in greenhouses to overcome low temperatures and heavy winds.
The breakthroughs in greenhouse cultivation research have also enabled cannabis growers to produce top-quality marijuana strains in areas where they typically struggle to survive, such as Maine or Minnesota.
How Does Greenhouse Technology Work?
The key to successful greenhouse production is controlling light, ventilation, humidity, and temperature. Traditional farming techniques suffer from a lack of control.
For example, an unnaturally hot spring could burn young plants. On the other hand, a rainy summer may drown otherwise thriving crops. Issues such as these have plagued farmers worldwide since the beginning of civilization.
The advantages of greenhouse growing processes aim to eliminate this problem by giving farmers unrivaled control over their crops.
State-of-the-art technology uses automation to ensure a constant temperature and humidity at all times. Furthermore, LED greenhouse lighting can cover for lack of sunlight on a cloudy day.
Water consumption is also carefully controlled via hydroponics systems. On average, a hydroponics system reduces water use by up to 90%, reducing farming emissions.
Finally, the isolated environments of the agricultural warehouse ensure that pests cannot quickly enter and destroy crops. Farmers do not need to use pesticides to protect their crops from harm, which preserves the purity of their harvests.
The Pros and Cons of Greenhouse Production
Greenhouse farming has given farmers more options than ever. In a changing and often unpredictable climate, the ability to control the growing environment has never been more essential.
Let’s weigh up the different advantages and drawbacks of moving your cannabis production into a greenhouse.
Advantages of Greenhouse Cannabis Production
- More Crop Cycles – The main advantage of greenhouse production is reducing the impact of natural seasonal cycles. Rather than a single harvest every year, growers can have multiple by changing the greenhouse’s settings based on the season.
- Reduce the Impact of Adverse Weather – To the traditional farmer, adverse weather conditions could cripple a perfectly good crop. Diminish the impact of adverse weather conditions by shutting off your crops within the confines of a greenhouse.
- Higher Profits – Producing crops in the winter leads to higher profits. Consistent market demand for crops plus fluctuating supply means greenhouse growers have a significant advantage over their outdoor farming counterparts.
- Pest Control – Keep natural pests and predators away from your crops with a greenhouse. It also eliminates the need to apply potentially harmful pesticides.
- More Efficiency – Detailed control over the conditions in which your marijuana plants grow leads to more production efficiency through less wastage, which will ultimately improve yields and profitability.
Disadvantages of Greenhouse Crop Growing
- More Expensive Running Costs – Experts estimate that it costs 260% more to produce greenhouse crops when compared to traditional outdoor farming.
- High Upfront Costs – The capital investment required to launch a greenhouse farming operation typically requires substantial savings or significant outside financing.
- Less Control – Although cannabis cultivation within a greenhouse offers more control than outdoor farming, it still provides significantly less control than a warehouse growing operation.
Take note; there’s nothing wrong with opting for hybrid growing techniques as part of your operations. Some greenhouse growers also utilize indoor vertical farming to produce other strains more suited to growing under artificial light.
Greenhouse Farming: Getting Started
What does it take to start your own greenhouse growing operation?
Any good-quality greenhouse is perfectly acceptable for getting started. The size largely depends on what you want to achieve. Many growers have a simple greenhouse for personal use and limited commercial operations in their backyards.
Let’s delve into what you need to begin growing weed in your greenhouse.
The equipment you need is universal. Every piece of equipment must provide your crop with what it needs and carefully control the environment.
Irrigation systems, exhaust fans, and climate-control systems are all things you need to add to your shopping list. Furthermore, your lighting system should have the minute adjustments necessary to account for the unique genetic profiles of different strains.
The best grow lights for marijuana, like The Raging Kush 2.0 or Dragon Alpha, will give you everything you need to produce top-quality crops with high yields within your greenhouse every time.
Invest in top-quality soil as the heart of the growing process. Your soil should be packed with nutrients and organic substances.
In particular, search for soils that contain worm castings and compost. It’s also worth taking the time to look at the pH levels of your soil. For growing cannabis, the pH level should rest between 5.8 and 6.3.
Other considerations for your soil should include:
- High oxygen levels
- Good drainage
- Strong water retention
Many experienced growers even cultivate their own soil over many generations of plants. While this is an investment for the future, it will pay off.
The Right Strain
Every cannabis strain is unique and needs different things to thrive. The best cannabis strains for a greenhouse depend on a wide variety of factors, such as space, the local climate, and the presence of artificial light.
For example, auto-flowering cannabis is perfect for growers who favor natural sunlight. These strains don’t require a consistent light schedule to graduate through the vegetation and flowering stages.
Feminized seeds are another example of cannabis strains that can grow using natural light. However, they can benefit from artificial light as they need minimal lighting hours to flower.
Artificial lights on timers can make the greenhouse cultivation of feminized seeds possible.
Greenhouse Agriculture Tips
Greenhouse production is like any other form of farming in that it’s all about planning and experience. There’s so much more to it than simply planting a seed and waiting for it to grow.
Here are our pro tips for getting greenhouse farming just right.
Plan Your Grow Window
Natural light is the main advantage of using a greenhouse to produce cannabis. Since you’re relying on natural light, you’ll need to plan a growing window.
You should be ready the moment daylight hours and temperatures start ramping up in spring. Before bringing your plants into the greenhouse, make sure the temperatures are high enough to ensure no risk of frost.
Give Your Plants a Head Start
Start germinating your seeds indoors and begin nurturing with low-powered lights to give your plants a head start. When they’ve germinated, bring them into the lighthouse.
This can give you more crop cycles when timed correctly during the primary growing season.
Don’t Be Afraid to Supplement Lighting
Nobody can predict the weather, but you can avoid unnecessary suffering by watching the forecasts in advance. If there’s a lack of natural light, supplement with an extra grow light.
Stretches of cloudy weather can ruin marijuana crops, but by installing a full LED grow lighting system within your greenhouse, you can overcome these hiccups.
Force Flowering with Light Deprivation
One of the remarkable techniques you can implement within the confines of a greenhouse is force flowering. By using light deprivation, you can force your weed to flower at any point with the help of carefully controlled lighting systems.
Blackout blinds can work for those on lower budgets, but if you’ve got the extra investment, you can utilize timed shutters.
Light deprivation is also helpful for urban farming, as it can be used to shut out light pollution.
Plan for a Perpetual Harvest
Your growing conditions will vary based on the season. While a conventional spring or summer may provide you with the ideal conditions for greenhouse cultivation, the same cannot be said for the winter seasons.
One primary difference consideration is the photoperiod manipulation needed to get a cannabis plant to flower. Conventional flowering may require 14 hours of light, but some strains could need a massive 18 hours of light.
Investing in a cutting-edge LED grow system can enable you to plan for a perpetual harvest throughout the year. By giving your plants the light hours necessary, you’ll be able to maintain a consistent quality of cannabis throughout the year.
Likewise, for cannabis strains requiring fewer lighting hours, you can simply block out the light during those long summer nights.
The benefits of a greenhouse on marijuana cultivation are clear. Yet to guarantee consistent, quality crop harvests, you need to invest in the right equipment. Marijuana growing is a science, and gut feeling will only take you so far.
Get the control you need to produce superior quality crops with Scynce LED. Our lighting, control, and application solutions give you everything you need to deliver unique buds indoors and outdoors.
To find out more about taking your cannabis yields to the next level, contact Scynce LED now.