Greenhouses offer many advantages to growers of cannabis. They allow for more environmental control than an outdoor grow, enable you to grow crops year-round and can be run more efficiently than a commercial grow room. Also, greenhouses ensure cannabis crops do not get contaminated from male outdoor plant pollen. Greenhouses can also be used by breeders who wish to produce seed but need to contain pollen.
There are different environmental factors that need to be controlled:
- Ventilation / Air circulation
Humidity is an environmental factor that needs to be controlled for optimized cannabis growth. Humidity can exceed optimal levels for plant growth. At nights plants release gas through pores, when they do some water also escapes – causing humidity to rise. Moisture also comes from soil and irrigation. As such you want to make sure you do not create puddles because of over-watering. Using automated environmental controls and cultivation software can help maintain optimal levels of humidity for plant growth.
The greenhouse effect takes place when trapped solar radiation causes temperatures to increase within that enclosed environment. In some locations temperatures can fluctuate to levels outside acceptable bounds for cannabis. Overheating can be prevented by optimal ventilation placement and using the right kind of glazing. Often monitoring and controlling the temperatures must be handled manually. This is why it is so important that you plan your automatic controls and cannabis cultivation software in advance.
Ventilation / Air circulation
Plants consume carbon dioxide (CO2) through photosynthesis. During this process the plant creates sugars and starches from the carbon of CO2. Oxygen from CO2 is a waste product that must be released at night when pores open in the leaves of the plants. As you can imagine, CO2 becomes depleted in the air directly around a plant’s leaves. Cannabis greenhouse ventilation ensures that fresh air is always available. Greenhouse management systems can monitor levels of CO2, this reduces resource waste and encourages plant growth. Air circulation needs to be optimal for growth of the plants, as a strong breeze can cause energy from the plants to go towards producing a stronger stem. This diversion of plant energy is not desirable for most cannabis growers.
Cannabis greenhouse lighting
One method of maintaining cannabis plants in their vegetative growth state is the following routine:
- Lights on for 12 hours
- Lights off for 5.5 hours
- Lights turn on for 1 hour
- Lights turn off for 5.5 hours again
By repeating this cycle, the plant is maintaining his vegetative state as a result of tricking it into thinking it has had more time in light. This method can be used in greenhouses and commercial grow rooms to reduce energy costs.
Cannabis cultivation software and greenhouses
To reiterate, cultivation software can help achieve optimal growth for your plants. A greenhouse management system is essential for maintaining your greenhouse and helping your plants thrive.
Cannabis greenhouses greatly benefit from the use of cultivation software and ERP systems, like GrowerIQ. Cultivation software is basically the control station from which you monitor all variable you need to stay on top of. Cultivation software makes it easy to control irrigation, ventilation and other connected systems. By controlling temperature, irrigation and ventilation you ensure your cannabis plants can thrive all year round. Automating temperature control will also help financially to optimize energy and reduce labour costs.