Article by Mary Rosebrook, Cannabis Culture
As more and more states legalize the growing of marijuana, cannabis farmers are looking for ways to maximize their yield, increase profits, and stay competitive in this booming market.
Commercial growers have long grappled with whether to grow their cannabis crops indoors or outdoors.
Set up a warehouse, where you can have complete environmental control, but struggle with massive upfront infrastructure costs and ongoing overhead? Or choose to grow outdoors, keeping costs down but contending with environmental risks, limited harvests, and quality concerns?
Increasingly, marijuana growers are realizing that the answer to this question, and the solution to their goals, lies in the use of greenhouses equipped with light deprivation systems.
What is Light Deprivation?
In nature, marijuana responds to the changing daylight conditions that happen during the transition from summer to fall. The plants grow throughout the summer, and as the days get shorter, they take the shift as their signal to flower.
Light deprivation is a method of using blackout curtains on the walls and roof of a greenhouse to completely obscure daylight and deprive plants of light. By carefully imitating the natural changing of seasons, growers can force plants to flower regardless of what the calendar says and get several harvests in a single year.
Types of Light Deprivation Systems
In its simplest form, a light deprivation system can simply be a large tarp that a grower pulls over his plants at specified intervals. To force flowering, this is typically a cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
This is the least expensive way to use light deprivation, but it comes with a whole host of issues. Pulling tarps can be awkward, labor-intensive work that usually takes more than one person to accomplish. It’s also necessary to stick to a very tight schedule. If the timing of light and dark gets compromised, plants can suffer and flower too early or even not flower at all.