Know Your Grow: Environmentals
There are so many options when it comes to growing cannabis today, and the amount of information can make it overwhelming to decide. Just how do you want to grow?
People often get lost in having the coolest strains, the best nutrients, and the dopest lights ever, but they forget the key fundamentals. Making sure your environment is dialed in is actually more important than what strains, nutrients, lights, and mediums you are using. That’s right, If your grow environment, i.e., temperature, humidity, airflow, and CO2 levels, aren’t dialed in, even the best genetics and grow products on the market will leave you flailing.
Now let’s go ahead and break down the fundamentals of where you need to spend some money in your commercial grow build out so that it doesn’t bite you later on.
Temperature is one of the most overlooked factors of all. Let’s just pop a window unit A/C in there and use space heaters if the lights aren’t enough heat in winter. Wrong. You need to do the research and calculate how many tonnes of A/C power you need to cool the square footage of your room. Don’t forget to include roughly how much heat those lights and CO2 burners (if you plan to use them) will put off when it’s peak summer heat. You don’t want to have the compressor blow on your central air mid-summer because it’s working too hard. But, you also don’t want too big an A/C that cools room temps rapidly, causing plant-stressing rapid temperature fluctuations. Keeping your room between 67-75 degrees Fahrenheit ensures maximum plant health and pounds.
Heat is the other important factor. While many people think that lights and CO2 burners may be enough to maintain temps in January, prolonged low temps can drastically reduce yields. Do it right and get a forced hot air furnace. You’ll spend much less time messing around with space heaters and a lot more time growing dank.
This variable is so often not dialed in, inviting mold and bugs to come build a playground inside your grow. You always want to keep your grow in flower between 30-45% RH (relative humidity). Too many people don’t want to spend the money. Not only do your plants fail to reach weight because they don’t breathe as well when humidity is off, but you’re opening the floodgates for bugs and molds. Powdery Mildew LOVES high humidity. As does Botrytis (bud rot). So do many types of insects.
It is worth the money to get a quality industrial dehumidifier rather than eat it on every crop because of not having humidity dialed in. High humidity can and will destroy your crop. Portable dehumidifiers can be useful in certain situations, but don’t ever use them as your primary dehumidification tool. Most can be hooked up to a hose with a drain, so you don’t have to empty them every 4-8 hours, but they often kick off due to water build up in the hose or other variables. This is assuming you have a drain in your grow room floor. It is so much easier to have an electronically controlled industrial dehumidifier. Worth every penny.
Airflow is another critical factor in any grow. It is less often overlooked but equally if not more important than the rest. If your heat, air conditioning, or CO2 isn’t being spread evenly around the room, then your plants are going to be a lot less healthy. You need wall-mounted fans oscillating around the entire room at all times to keep heat, A/C, and CO2 well circulated. Additionally, constant air movement makes it much harder for pests and molds to develop in your canopy.
For this reason, pruning is also very important so that air flow can work its way through your entire canopy. Additionally, many grows choose to use air exchangers to periodically recirculate fresh, filtered air from outdoors to prevent stagnation. This is also recommended.
CO2 is the fourth and likely most commonly overlooked variable in a grow. Proper CO2 PPM (around 1300PPM) can almost double yields in some situations. It’s very important to ensure that you are not exchanging your air too frequently and that you are adequately supplying the room with CO2 to ensure maximum yields. If legally allowed in your area, a CO2 burner is always recommended. Even if you’ve spent money and are only hitting 700PPM, and think that it’s good enough because you’ve spent a lot already, spend the extra to hit 1200-1300ppm, and your crops will pay for your improvements in just a couple runs. The rest is profit after that.
So do yourself a favor, and spend the extra time and money in your build-out to get that extra flavor. Cutting corners on environmentals will always come back to bite you later on. Choose quality lights, get your room’s environment dialed in, and then worry about genetics, nutrients, and mediums. It’s easy to change what you grow with, but hard to change what you grow in once it’s built out. Stay informed and stay on top.