To be able to harvest at least 2 times per year, you will have to start and end your growing cycles according to the following:
Put the second batch outside and let them flower naturally, by now the light cycle should be the appropriate one for cannabis to flower so you won’t need to use the blackout tent unless it gets too cold or humid and you want to protect your plants from the harsh conditions.
This allows growers to flower when they need to and reduce the time necessary for plants to fully mature, also making it possible to have multiple harvests per year like you would when growing indoors.
Before even talking about how to use light deprivation, you need to have the appropriate structure and materials.
Now that you have your blackout tent (or at least know how to build one) it’s time to learn how to do it properly.
Not only is it some early money for farmers, the price for light dep cannabis is often higher. “People will always want the freshest stuff,” said Turiel, “So if someone is still selling last fall’s harvest and you come along with light dep, you’re definitely going to get a higher price.”
If he had his druthers, he’d farm completely outdoors, sans light dep. “I’m convinced a completely outdoor run makes for a better high.”
The benefits of growing light deprivation cannabis
In Humboldt—ground zero for craft cannabis—the technique showed up in the late 1980s and took off in the 1990s and early 2000s. The reason? Farmers realized they could squeeze out not one harvest, but two, increasing productivity and profit.
Farmers typically grow seedlings or clones under supplemental light to get a strong start, and then put them under light dep conditions to finish within two months. So long as they’ve got another batch of clones or seedlings ready to go into the ground, they can do it all again in time for fall.
Example of a light dep greenhouse from Advancing Alternatives.
A less-crowded market might not be the only reason light dep commands a better price. Jason Gellman of Ridgeline Farms in Southern Humboldt believes light dep blends the benefits of outdoor cannabis—“better terpenes and a lower carbon footprint,” he said—with what the market demands.