Nearly every weed connoisseur would agree that they’d love to grow their own favorite cannabis strains at home and basically have a never-ending stash for a long, long time. The reality is, though, that even though it’s highly rewarding, cannabis growing requires commitment and not everyone can do that. Hence, the existence of dispensaries where you can buy your favorite cannabis products.
That being said, cultivating marijuana plants is actually becoming really popular nowadays. Many weed lovers decide to give it a try, and to be fair – why not? Our knowledge of cannabis cultivation has expanded so much, especially in the last decade, and the growing methods are being perfected as we speak.
Growing marijuana nowadays is very attainable, and the most common methods by far have been outdoor and indoor growing. However, an increasing number of not only commercial growers, but also casual cannabis growers are resorting to trying greenhouse growing.
If you’ve been curious about it, keep reading because in this article we talk about the basics of cannabis greenhouses to help you prepare if you decide to grow cannabis in a greenhouse.
Why Everyone Is Growing Cannabis in a Greenhouse
It may seem like another fad, but in reality, greenhouse growing offers the best of indoor and outdoor grow spaces. In fact, marijuana that’s been cultivated in a greenhouse is known to be more potent if it’s grown from high-quality cannabis seeds.
For one, greenhouses protect the plants from natural elements as well as pests and insects, while still providing natural sunlight and heat. Therefore, it gives you the advantage of not having to use complicated setups like you would in an indoor grow room, like grow lights, heaters, air conditioners, etc.
While nature offers direct sunlight, which is an essential part of growing cannabis, the outdoors is not always the ideal environment for this, especially in northern areas where the weather is unpredictable. Greenhouses offer some control of the growing environment – you can plant the seeds earlier and extend the growing season. Additionally, greenhouse growers also use the light deprivation technique to induce earlier flowering, which sometimes allows for two harvests in a season instead of one.
Simply said, it’s the combination of utilizing nature’s gifts by interfering just a little – your plants will still get the benefits of nature while you’ll retain some control of their growing cycle. It’s like having predictability – something outdoor cultivators don’t get.
How to Grow Cannabis Plants in a Greenhouse – The Basics
Cultivating cannabis in a greenhouse may turn out to be the breath of fresh air you needed. Let’s see what you need to do to prepare your greenhouse grow space.
Investing In Quality Soil and Seeds Is Half the Job
It’s common knowledge that the single most basic thing that can determine the quality of your harvest is the quality of the soil and the quality of the seeds. Sure, it’s an investment at first, but spending some extra to get high-quality nutritious soil and some nice cannabis seeds that will yield buds with high levels of THC is actually half the job.
Remember, no matter how great of a job you do, if the seeds and soil are not that great, there’s no making up for it.
When it comes to the soil, we recommend you look for soil that contains organic compounds with a pH between 5.8 to 6.3. It should be able to retain water and have a solid drainage ability, and its oxygen levels should be high.
When it comes to the seeds, there are two types you can grow:
Autoflowers usually give big yields. This is mostly because they aren’t photoperiod plants, like the plants that grow from feminized seeds, so they don’t need dedicated hours of light and darkness to boost their vegetative growth and flowering. They grow independently, which means that as long as you meet the standard growing conditions, you can plant them whenever you want throughout the year. They’re also convenient for small greenhouses as most autoflower varieties are also smaller in size.
When the growing conditions are properly optimized, photoperiod feminized seeds grow very successfully in greenhouses. However, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind if you’re planning on relying solely on natural sunlight. The growth of these marijuana plants largely depends on how many hours of light and darkness they get to stimulate vegetative growth and induce flowering.
When needed, you can use supplemental lighting for better control of the growth cycle of your plants and devise your own lighting schedule, similar to indoor growing. Of course, this would mean you would have to shield your plants from the natural sunlight to prevent it from interfering with your artificial light schedule.
Planting in Pots or Planting Directly in the Ground
When you’re planting the seeds, you can choose to plant them either in pots or directly in the ground. Some greenhouse growers also use hydroponics, and even though it’s a little more demanding, it can contribute to the success of your yield. All have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on what would work better for you.
Planting in Pots
Plants in pots are movable and you can easily transfer them from one place to another in different situations, like during extreme weather conditions or for discretion when you have visitors. Another advantage is that planting in separate containers gives you better control of the soil and the addition of nutrients.
The downside of this method is that plants in containers will need to be watered more frequently, especially when the weather gets hot. This could be a problem if you live away from your greenhouse. Some growers even use automatic watering systems for their crops, so that could be one solution.
Planting in Soil
While plants in soil stay where they are, they will easily survive if not watered or fed for two weeks while you’re away. If you’ve chosen high-quality soil with an ample amount of moisture, then the roots will find a way to get to the nutrients and water to support the plants. This is why choosing good soil is important before you plant the seeds.
Experienced greenhouse growers will often work in plenty of compost and manure into the soil at the end of each growing season to prep it for the next. You can also use automatic systems for feeding the plants.
Basic Tips for Greenhouse Cannabis Cultivation
- If you plan to grow greenhouse cannabis throughout the year, supplemental lighting and blackout screens will be necessary. When not relying on natural light, you will need to follow a strict lighting schedule between 16 to 18 hours of light during the vegging stage and 12 hours of light during the flowering stage. This is important as even the smallest interference of the sun can ruin your harvest because your plants will get mixed signals.
- Greenhouses can harbor a lot of heat which can put your plants at risk of getting heat exhaustion, especially in the summer. Additionally, it can raise the humidity levels, significantly raising the risk of mold formation. Therefore, having proper airflow at all times is essential. Installing exhaust fans will help to prevent the heat and extra humidity from damaging plants. Maintaining a temperature between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity between 50-70% is recommended for keeping a good balance.
- When you grow a bigger batch of plants, once they’ve developed their foliage and started flowering, they will develop a very pungent smell. So, with your discretion, you can do something to minimize the smell. If you want, you can use an in-line ozone generator to control the cannabis smell.
The Takeaway – To Get the Best of Both Worlds, Try Greenhouse Growing
There are several reasons why a lot of outdoor growers are switching to greenhouse growing, and why a lot of novice growers want to try it too. It really offers the best of both indoor and outdoor growing, while also allowing you to make use of nature (while still giving you enough room for environmental control). Finally, there is no limit – your greenhouse can be as big or as small as you want it to, so it works for both lowkey and larger-scale growers.