Both greenhouse and indoor cannabis production has its own slew of advantages and disadvantages. The choice between the two depends on several factors such as the location, available resources, and the goals of the producer. However, that’s the basic answer, and at 4trees we’re far from basic. Lets dig into some other very important factors between the two. Starting with some of the pros and cons of greenhouse, versus indoor cannabis production:
Greenhouse Cannabis Production:
- Natural light: Greenhouses allow for the use of natural sunlight, which can help with your light requirements.
- Build on agricultural land: Greenhouses can easily be constructed on ALR, or agricultural land due to the lack of concrete pads needed in the building process.
- Cost effective: The initial construction of your flowering or vegetative area with greenhouses will be cheaper opposed to indoor facility construction.
- Climate control: Greenhouses can be much more difficult to regulate in terms of temperature and humidity, especially in more extreme weather conditions such as tropical areas, or colder climates, resulting in higher electrical bills. With what you think you will save on lighting; you generally end up spending on HVAC etc.
- Pests and diseases: Greenhouses are far more susceptible to pests and diseases, which can spread quickly and affect the entire crop if not managed properly, which often leads to the use of harsh chemicals.
- Limited control: Greenhouses can rely on environmental conditions which can be difficult to control and can impact your flowering time, or harvests.
Indoor Cannabis Production:
- Climate control: Indoor facilities allow for easy, precise control of temperature, humidity, and lighting schedules.
- Year-round production: Indoor facilities can produce cannabis year-round, regardless of the weather conditions or time of day.
- Increased plant control: With more attention to the growing system through indoor automation you can guarantee faster, healthier growth.
- Higher quality flower: You can expect higher quality flower production with more density and terpene production. This is mostly due to the control, increased C02 and light intensity.
- More hygienic: By keeping a clean, sterile indoor grow environment you almost entirely reduce the risks of bugs and molds when compared to greenhouse growing.
- Environmental impact: Indoor facilities can have a higher carbon footprint, requiring air conditioning and dehumidification to manage the growing environment.
- Higher upfront costs: Indoor facilities can require more upfront investment in infrastructure, which can be costly.
Both greenhouse and indoor cannabis production have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two depends on several factors. If you are just getting into growing, growing medically and not for commercial or recreational production, then greenhouses are a fine choice. Meanwhile, if you are a commercial grower and you are thinking that starting greenhouses is going to save you lots of money, you should consider digging into this article a bit more.
Many people getting into this industry assume that because a greenhouse is cheaper to build then a fully indoor, insulated structure and it offers some added light that you will save huge amounts of money. However, this is one of the most common mistakes in cultivation facility development. You need to factor in the following 7 reasons to understand why:
- Heat Loss: Greenhouses lose significantly more heat than an insulated indoor space. This is because they are designed to let heat and light in easily, but you must consider the expense in heating these areas.
- Additional Grow Lights: While the sunlight does help with greenhouse growing in the vegetative phase, it can be trickier for the end ripening phases of cannabis. The amount and intensity of light can vary widely depending on the weather and season. Its very beneficial to have lots of additional grow lights added in your greenhouse for good cannabis production since cannabis is one of the most light hungry plants on earth.
- Air Conditioning: Due to the above-mentioned insulation issues with greenhouses that are inevitable, your cooling works the same way. When its too warm outside and you have all your indoor grow lights on because you want big yields and the sun is over the mountain or trees across the farm, your AC unit will be struggling to keep up because of all that warm air creeping its way into the area.
- Humidity: Much like the heating and cooling, if your grow space is more exposed to the environments then you will be battling the humid or dry air that comes with it too.
- C02 Absorption: We all know that added c02 saturation in the growing environment increases growth of upwards of 30%, But did you know that the only professional, proper way to saturate a growing environment with c02 is in a fully sealed, indoor environment? This is because greenhouse or passive air indoor grow spaces just steal your c02 out the vents, making it pointless.
- Bugs & Molds: Critters and molds are creeping around every crevasse in a greenhouse, making the need for additional IPM practices higher and often leading to crop loss. Where, sterile indoor facilities with good production practices, and a proper workflow will dramatically reduce these risks.
- Electrical Consumption: At a glance, greenhouses seem more energy efficient. However, the HVAC run time, size of units required as well as other environmental factors or equipment such as shutter systems all add up to much more then you may initially realize. This is largely due to the lack of ability to insulate, and the need for more grow lights then may you think.
Professional Grow Facility Plans
In today’s recreational cannabis market, there isn’t much room for cutting corners if you want to be ahead of the curve. while greenhouse cultivation provides a more cost-effective building option for cannabis production, indoor cultivation offers complete control over the growing environment, higher yields, and higher quality cannabis. However, it does require more of an initial investment in infrastructure. Its essential to evaluate the pros and cons of each method and choose the best option based on your specific needs and resources, and we hope our article can help you decide!