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growing weed in a small greenhouse

Growing weed in a small greenhouse

If you want to continue growing cannabis through the fall and winter, you will have to lean more heavily on supplemental lighting and heaters.

Controlling your greenhouse climate is essential to producing a quality product. Some greenhouses have windows or paneling that can be opened or removed to either allow for wind circulation and to cool plants, or to trap in heat.

During the winter solstice in Seattle, for example, there’s less than nine hours of daylight, and the light that is available is low in the sky and poor for growing. This light and energy will still help heat the greenhouse, but you would need to use supplemental lighting to extend the hours of light in the day in order to get a quality product.

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.

Manipulating Life Cycles

Greenhouses also provide cover for your plants, as heavy rains will damaged them and cause them to rot if too much moisture is trapped inside the buds. Some can also have dehumidifiers, heaters, air conditioners, and fans, all of which will also regulate the climate.

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.

Solar radiation (energy from the sun) passes through the transparent walls of a greenhouse and heats up soil and plants, keeping a greenhouse warm even when the outside air temperature is cold.

Lighting Control

On a hot day, you experience the science behind a greenhouse when getting into a parked car that has been left in the sun.

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.

Growing weed in a small greenhouse

Cold frames: Cold frames are another affordable choice, though they are small and temporary. While it’s possible to construct a cold frame yourself, you can purchase a solid one for between $80 and $200, depending on the size. Cold frames are generally small boxes that sit on the ground. They are constructed out of wood or plastic frames with plastic or glass panels. Cold frames are normally used as is, with only heat from the sun, especially in warm, dry climates like Southern California. In areas with colder temperatures, consider installing a heating system, also known as a hotbed.

The key word when it comes to growing cannabis in a greenhouse is control. Greenhouse cultivation provides the natural sunlight, fresh air, and other benefits of growing outdoors while eliminating the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Periods of rain and wind can wreak havoc on your weed garden, but a greenhouse protects plants from the elements. Likewise, pests, bacteria, and diseases are less likely to invade your plants in the shelter of a greenhouse.

When planning to build your own marijuana greenhouse, consider which material will create the ideal environment for happy plants. While glass is the traditional material, you can also use fiberglass or plastic. The latter two will be equally effective but not as fragile or expensive. Whichever material you choose, make sure you install proper ventilation to release trapped heat and let your plants breathe.

Growing marijuana in a greenhouse

A marijuana greenhouse also puts you in control of two primary factors in successfully growing marijuana plants.

Once you have the best greenhouse for you, it’s time to put your cannabis cultivation skills to the test. Here are the most important aspects of growing top-quality weed in a greenhouse.

Climate: In addition to protection from rain and wind, marijuana greenhouses can contain climate control equipment like dehumidifiers, exhaust fans, and heating and cooling systems. With the help of these tools, greenhouses can extend the growing season and allow for year-round cultivation.

Benefits of growing marijuana plants in a greenhouse

Invest in top-quality soil as this will impact the entire growing process. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Soil: First and foremost, invest in top-quality soil as this will impact the entire growing process. Pick a nutrient-packed soil that contains organic substances like compost and worm castings. Pay attention to the pH levels of the soil as well — aim for a range of 5.8 to 6.3. Other qualities to look for in soil include good drainage ability, high oxygen levels, and effective water retention. You could also make your own super soil.