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As a cannabis grower, you must decide where to grow your plants. There are three production styles, including indoor cultivation, greenhouse, and outdoor cultivation. Each growing method should be approached uniquely in terms of environmental controls and lighting (1).
Outdoor plants are exposed to the natural environment and weather patterns, which allows them to grow at certain times of the year. Greenhouse cultivation is more mechanical and gives farmers more control over the environment, and the plants can easily be monitored throughout the year. Indoor cultivation also goes through some engineering and provides the grower with an advantage over the grow room, which can facilitate year-round output and quality.
With outdoor cultivation, most ecological factors needed by the plant are available for free. Outdoor cultivation comes with natural HVAC and high-intensity light that is regulated by the plant (2).
Many people consider outdoor growing as an old-fashioned way of growing marijuana because it was used by our ancestors centuries ago. This method deals with an intuitive and organic approach to plant seeds and watches them grow, but for this method to work, growers will have to locate the perfect climate for your crops to thrive; otherwise, you will have a bad harvest. Most outdoor growers find it difficult to choose the ideal environment for their plants, which sometimes can lead to low yields.
Outdoor crops can easily photosynthesize through direct sunlight, a natural source of energy that cannot be recreated by any scientific lab even the latest grow room engineering cannot match the power of the sun. Sometimes, cannabis plants grown under natural sunlight experience improved flavor profile due to quick terpene development resulting from the sun.
Nonetheless, outdoor cultivation has some drawbacks, which mainly concern crops that are targeted by pests, diseases, and even animals. Furthermore, some ecological needs to be regulated, for example, the presence of a source of water nearby that can hydrate scorched plants.
Advantages of Outdoor cultivation
- It usually requires less plumbing than other growing methods like indoor cultivation.
- It leads to higher yields due to the use of the natural environment, and the strains usually have a more pungent, potent flavor profile.
Disadvantages of outfield cultivation
- It takes a lot of effort to deal with pests, and the harvest can sometimes fluctuate due to external factors like heavy rains, drought.
- It becomes challenging to find the ideal weather conditions which can provide high yield cannabis.
Indoor grow room cultivation
This is practically a new mechanical method for cannabis cultivation that was highly used during the time of prohibition and it’s still being used in illegal countries. The indoor grow room is a safe way of generating high yielding marijuana even under unfavorable climates. It deals with designing the grow room, employing high mechanical engineering factors and use of HVAC. Indoor grow room cultivation has won the hearts of many people who live in areas where the climate won’t permit them to grow cannabis plants (3).
The Indoor grow room is commonly practiced by people of the Netherlands, cold parts of Canada, and other areas with extreme temperatures.
Additionally, an indoor grow room makes it impossible for pests, animals, and diseases to affect your plants due to its discrete nature. This cultivation method also protects your plants from larger animals like deers, raccoons which have a habit of eating cannabis leaves. Indoor grow room also removes the worry of having to choose the males from the bunch, especially when sprouting feminized seedlings.
Despite all the benefits of growing cannabis indoors, there are also some setbacks. It takes some severe financial backup to build an indoor grow room. Setting up a well-designed grow room, constant supply of electricity and maintenance makes it expensive. The grower needs to buy all the necessary equipment and do plumbing, which is usually expensive and scares. Those who plan on growing cannabis indoors might not see the need for investing in indoor grow rooms due to its high costs.
Advantages of Indoor grow room cultivation
- The grower can easily control the grow room, electricity, mechanical structures as well as other environmental forces, which leads to high yielding crops.
- Indoor grow room plants can easily be protected from cross-pollination from a male marijuana crop.
Disadvantages of Indoor grow room cultivation
Growers need to invest in elements including mechanical engineering, electricity, HVAC, plumbing which requires a lot of cost to operate. The cost of HVAC, electricity and other grow room equipment also rises over time, making it difficult for low-income earners to use this method. Indoor grow room also leads to smaller yields when compared to other growing methods.
Greenhouse cultivation has become the new medium for growing cannabis, slightly overtaking indoor and outdoor cultivation in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. If you are stuck between indoor and outdoor cultivation, then greenhouse cultivation will be a preferable choice. This method is beneficial for people who lack the perfect climate to grow cannabis but have the necessary resources or indoor space to grow inside. This method requires are well-designed glasshouse, HVAC, and other mechanical factors. Greenhouse cultivation can yield as much lettuce as ten outdoor acres and cuts the need for chemicals by 97% during optimal growing conditions (4).
Greenhouses are in the form of well-engineered glass boxes that attract sunlight and heat while regulating the temperature and humidity level inside to an amount that suits the grow room. Greenhouse yield continuously, but the cost of electricity also marginally reduces because it requires little or no supplemental lighting, except during periods of shorter days longer nights.
The greenhouse consists of a protective bubble-like barrier that restricts pests, molds, mildews, and diseases from eating your cannabis plants.
Advantages of greenhouse cultivation
- It removes the burden of electricity because all light comes from the sun
- Growers can harvest year-round due to engineered glass structures
- Greenhouses provide more HVAC, which maintains the temperature of the grow room, especially on humid days.
Disadvantages of greenhouse cultivation
- The temperature within the glass structure can be affected by external conditions. For instance, growers will need to regulate the temperature within the greenhouse during the summer and winter.
The choice between indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse will be based on the resources and the climate and legality. If your area has a suitable environment, then you can lower your cost by growing outdoors. If you want more control over your climate and have the money to do so, then grow indoors. If you want something that eliminates the cost of indoor grow room and keeps the consistency of outdoor cultivation, then use a greenhouse.