If you want to continue growing cannabis through the fall and winter, you will have to lean more heavily on supplemental lighting and heaters.
Greenhouses are a great, inexpensive way to cultivate cannabis. They harness the power of the sun, provide a warm climate, and protect gardens from harsh environmental conditions.
This greenhouse effect opens up the door to year-round cultivation, but cannabis still needs light from the sun in addition to the warmth that a greenhouse provides.
In turn, soil and plants release energy as infrared radiation, which can’t escape the greenhouse, so the trapped heat warms the air.
Manipulating Life Cycles
A common practice among greenhouse farmers is to run cycles of plants known as “light deps”—short for “light deprivation”—during the summer season. By cutting off the amount of light a cannabis plant gets before the end of the season, you can trick it into flowering early. This will allow you to pull a crop early, which is key if you live in a climate that gets cold and wet early in the fall—you’ll want to harvest before the rain sets in and causes your buds to get moldy.
Cannabis generally goes in the ground outside between April and July, when the sun is out for most of the day. This keeps plants in the vegetative stage.
Once cannabis starts getting 12 hours of light or less, it’ll start flowering and producing buds. This happens outdoors at the end of summer, when days start to get shorter.
How Does a Greenhouse Work?
Supplemental lighting allows the grower to extend the hours of daylight and to improve the quality of light on overcast days. This will give you more control over the vegetative state of your plants.
They also allow for year-round cultivation, climate control, and a controlled exposure to sunlight. What’s more, they’re cheaper than growing indoors and produce a more consistent product than fully outdoor grows.
You will want to be sure to give your cannabis plants adequate amounts of water and fertilizer to ensure steady, strong growth throughout the season. A drip irrigation system can supply these essentials reliably and economically. DripWorks.com has an entire section on the best irrigation products to grow cannabis.
Whether you’re raising cannabis as a cash crop or just for personal use, you have many options for where and how you grow it. It’s possible to grow pot outdoors, indoors or in a greenhouse or high tunnel.
Like greenhouses, high tunnels shelter plants from the elements. They differ from greenhouses, however, in that they are more passive. Generally, greenhouses provide heat and ventilation through electrical systems, while high tunnels rely on passive ventilation systems for moving air and on the sun for providing warmth.
First, let’s get some terminology issues out of the way. Greenhouses and high tunnels are similar but not exactly the same.
Growing Marijuana in a High Tunnel or Greenhouse
Many folks in northern latitudes start their seeds indoors in April under grow lights and transfer them to a greenhouse in May. Your own schedule will depend on your climate and growing season, of course.
Of course, that means high tunnels cost significantly less than greenhouses. How much less depends on the options you are looking for. A variety of high tunnel greenhouse kits and traditional greenhouse kits are available for purchase. If you are handy and looking to save, you can also assemble your own high tunnel or greenhouse with some basic materials.
Once you have purchased or built your greenhouse or high tunnel, you’ll need to decide where to put it. Generally, a spot with southern exposure is best. This will provide a steady source of growth-inducing sunlight to your plants. You may also want to locate your high tunnel or greenhouse in an inconspicuous spot to deter thieves, vandals and other troublemakers.
Greenhouse vs. High Tunnel
You can start with marijuana seeds or clones. Whichever you choose, pick the highest-quality stock you can find. This is no place to pinch pennies. Dealing with a reputable company and getting top-notch genetics will help ensure a bountiful crop that’s high in quality as well as quantity.
In many ways, growing marijuana in a greenhouse or high tunnel offers the best option. An outdoor marijuana greenhouse or high tunnel lets you take advantage of some of nature’s benefits, like abundant sun, without having to kneel to nature’s bad side, like frost, storms and deer, rabbits and other pests.
In this guide, you’ll learn why growing marijuana in a greenhouse can be effective and how to get started.
Benefits of growing marijuana plants in a greenhouse
The key word when it comes to cannabis growing in a greenhouse is control. Photo by: Damien Robertson/Weedmaps
Cannabis cultivation can take place indoors, outdoors, or in a combination of these two places: the greenhouse. A greenhouse can be as small as a tool shed or as large as an industrial building. If you have enough space to accommodate even a small greenhouse, this option may propel your cannabis cultivation to the next level.