The debate on whether it’s better to grow cannabis indoors or outdoors has always been a hot topic in marijuana discussions. Both methods come with their own long list of pros and cons; in most cases, the location of the grower dictates the technique that should be implemented to increase the likelihood of a successful harvest.
Getting Help from Mother Nature
Before the rise of high-powered LEDs and synthetic fertilizer, there was outdoor growing. Traditionally, marijuana is grown in open fields- like how most industrial hemp operations are conducted today. Outdoor strains usually flourish during the spring and summer with early-flowering tendencies showing evidence in a short, cool summer. Most people who prefer this method are limited to one harvest per year, unless one lives close to the equator. Direct light exposure must be maximized to the fullest by positioning the plant towards the pattern of the sun’s natural movement during the day. A reliable water source is also needed, depending on the number of plants in the field.
If you live in a region that experiences extreme cold or hot climates that leak into other seasons throughout the year, growing cannabis outdoors will never be an option. Additionally, one has to take other unpredictable factors into account, such as storms, floods, animals and bugs. However, natural growing elements have a reputation for contributing to the complexity and exquisiteness of marijuana- a level of robustness that cannot be replicated in indoor facilities. In the cannabis community, this is known as Terroire (all the environmental factors that affect the final outcome of a crop).
“For me, when I smoke Ins (industry lingo for indoor herb), all I taste is chemicals. People are failing to understand the concept that cannabis, like wine, is rooted in Terroire. Ask any true cannabis connoisseur and they will tell you it’s true. Outdoor ganja when done right kicks the ass of indoor up and down the I-5 corridor,” said Ganja Girl Scout from The Ganjier. Individuals who are on a tight budget may want to consider that growing on Mother Nature’s turf is a great way to reduce operational costs. You don’t have to pay for lights, vents and expensive nutrients. With unlimited space at the plant’s disposal, outdoor weed typically produces larger (but inconsistent) yields. If you’re growing to supplement your personal stash, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Growing Discreetly Indoors
Growing cannabis indoors is how most weed available in medical dispensaries are cultivated. This is because artificial environments are easier to control, allowing the grower to manipulate the quality of the soil, humidity levels and exposure to light. If you live in the city, growing inside a closet or a rented space is probably your only option. The positive aspects of indoor cultivation include year-round harvests and security. It’s difficult to hide large marijuana plants that are out in the open, often forcing cultivators to harvest their buds early.
Growing weed indoors can be costly, with most of the funds going into equipment and electricity. Ultimately, what you’re investing in when cultivating in a confined space is consistency. Getting one’s plants wiped out by an unforeseen flood (for example) is risky, and if you have several retailers relying on your product, it could hurt your business. For legal cannabis suppliers, yield is priority- not necessarily ginormous amounts is needed; but the ability to know how much each plant is capable of producing throughout the year is crucial.
Individuals who are experimenting with the creation of new strains could increase the chances of a successful harvest by taking their projects indoors. But after the strain has been flawlessly reproduced, it is common practice to shift to outdoor growing, in order to further develop the fine characteristics of the plant via the introduction of Terroire. Growing in the same incubator- like environment over and over again won’t generate breakthroughs, unless the grower makes adjustments to the plant’s surroundings. This is where outdoor growing excels, and if executed properly, the herb’s phenotypes will generate superior ratios of intricate cannabinoids.
“Flowers from indoor plants are usually very dense, extra shiny/crsytally, and have a more astringent smell. Outdoor plants, on the other hand, smell mustier. Indoor flowers have a higher THC content on average and usually feel much more potent. These higher potencies don’t necessarily translate to better highs,” said Zachary Moldof from Vice.
Greenhouses are a hybrid of indoor and outdoor systems that allow plants to get the best of both growing environments. For example, cultivators can use natural sunlight for growing, and also use lamps when the days are short, or when the weather isn’t cooperating. You could also introduce outdoor air by opening windows, panels and doors for ventilation, and close it when predatory insects are on the prowl, or predictions of frost and strong winds are on the horizon.
There are three types of greenhouses that are used for growing weed: attached, detached and connected. Attached simply refers to a facility that is connected to a building. With at least one wall to rely on, individuals can build the other components of the greenhouse without a steep investment. Detached greenhouses are separate growing areas that are not attached to a building. They are more costly to build, but offer more flexibility in design. Connected greenhouses are mainly used for industrial growing operations, because they make use of multiple facilities that are cohesively joined together. This allows cultivators to treat various sections of the greenhouse as one whole, united growing facility.
“Greenhouses can be heated if needed and with a little bit of thought and planning growing cannabis in a greenhouse can be a safe, secure and pleasurable way for the home-grower to be self-sufficient in recreational or medical ganja. Greenhouse-grown cannabis is incredibly potent when grown from good seed stock and more people than ever are growing in greenhouses and enjoying the benefits,” said Dutch Passion, a premium cannabis seed company based in Amsterdam.