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vertical growing systems weed

Vertical growing systems weed

Arthur Brownsey, cannabis cultivation consultant at Four Trees, thinks most strains can grow vertically. “If you have a tight production schedule, group like-cultivars together, and plan accordingly, there are no restrictions to what you can grow.”

Maintaining optimum temperature, humidity, and air circulation is tough for all cannabis grows. But in vertical growing there is even more variability in macro and micro environmental conditions because there are more plants, making control more difficult.

With true vertical growing, plants grow out the side of a column, and water and nutrients drip down from the top—see these examples from ZipGrow and Tower Garden.

Stacked vertical (left) and true vertical (right) cannabis grows with LEDs. (Sean Walling/Leafly)

Dangerous Conditions

In contrast, STEM Cultivation uses one temperature sensor per 100 cubic feet. STEM collects data on: temperature, humidity, air pressure, CO2 levels, lighting levels, lighting power (kW) and energy (kWh), system air circulation rates, localized air circulation, VOC (volatile organic compounds), and HVAC power and energy, to name a few.

Zartarian says: “It’s by no means impossible, but the jury is very much out on whether it’s cost effective long-term. If veggie growers prove it to be a dominant technique, I would expect to see more experimentation on the cannabis side.”

Although vertical growing of any kind will increase yield by maximizing space, when you add up the increased energy usage from more artificial lighting, an upgraded climate control system, the extra infrastructure required (ladders, racks, sensors, and more), and paying high-skilled agro-technicians, it is very costly for many.

Pros and Cons of Vertical Growing

To allow for vertical growing with a diversity of strains, she and her partner Andres Chamorro invented a grow unit, TrellaGro LST, that trains plants to grow horizontally. Each unit is vertically stackable and equipped with LED lights that follow it as it grows sideways, allowing for taller strains and less energy use.

Indoor cannabis grows are expensive operations. Given the real estate costs, massive energy bills, and significant staffing requirements, it’s crucial to find a way to increase profits. Maximizing your grow space is one way to do this and that could mean vertical growing—the practice of producing plants in vertically stacked layers or vertically inclined surfaces.

Vertical growing systems weed

For both home and commercial growers alike, managing garden space while maximizing yields can be a difficult task. This is especially true in urban areas, where the demand for marijuana is high—but so are the costs associated with renting, buying or building indoor space for cannabis cultivation.

System Types

While the most compelling argument for vertical grow systems is the increased efficiency in vertically integrated, 360-degree lighting, as well as the smart use of growroom space, some of today’s more modern vertical grow systems have inexplicably abandoned the vertical lighting element. Whereas cylindrical and wall-based systems continue to utilize vertical lights with the surrounding garden, some rack systems in use at large-format, commercial-grow facilities utilize vertical space simply by using racks to stack trays and lights, one on top of another, with several layers of trays and lights in each vertical column.

Growing Up

For decades, the indoor horticulture industry has looked for ways to best utilize indoor garden space to maximize yields. Whether it be the giant flower farms of Holland, the sprawling vegetable greenhouses of Canada or the massive indoor commercial cannabis operations in the United States, many indoor growers are using vertical grow formats, whose popularity has been on the rise over the past few years with a new demographic: home growers.

Vertical growing systems weed

Commercial growers using a vertical rack system can also deliver nutrients and water more rapidly.

Finally, keeping reservoirs clean of salt, algae, and other buildups is vital for avoiding plant damage. Install flexible tubing to facilitate the replacement of plumbing every few crop cycles.

True Vertical

Pay special attention to wastewater. Floor drains are a cheap and easy option to dispose of nutrient water. If your locality requires it, you may be required to invest in pumps and holding tanks.

Step Four – Set Up Your Grow Room Before Planting

Always invest in LED lighting systems to support your marijuana cultivation. While more expensive than HPS lighting, LED lighting burns cooler, and there’s a much lower risk of light burns.