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Growing hemp in a greenhouse may be beneficial for certain types of crops, though not without additional supplies and modifications. Before we discuss how to set up greenhouses for growing hemp, let’s decide if growing hemp in a greenhouse is right for you.
Should You Grow Hemp in a Greenhouse?
Some hemp crops do better indoors, while others do not. For example, CBD hemp farmers may find more luck in greenhouse settings where they have better control of the environment. Conversely, fiber hemp crops fair better outdoors where they can stretch toward the sun without needing to extend much effort toward flower production.
Additionally, though growing hemp in a greenhouse may offer improved yields, it is not without its cost. In addition to all of the other necessary hemp farming equipment required to cultivate CBD hemp successfully, farmers must also invest in the proper greenhouse modifications to make flower hemp production feasible. These mods increase the cost of operations regarding both up-keep and electrical expenses. Those with limited start-up funds may want to wait until they have more income – and experience growing hemp – to invest in a hemp-friendly greenhouse setup.
Benefits of Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse
There are many benefits to growing hemp in a greenhouse. First is an increased yield by lengthening the growing season. Though extending the growing season requires greenhouse modifications like light deprivation curtains, it allows farmers to grow and harvest CBD hemp throughout the year continually. This also affords them the ability to gain a jumpstart with hemp biomass buyers and brokers in their area. After all, it’s much easier to sell a product in an unsaturated market.
Another benefit to growing hemp in a greenhouse is the protection it offers from pests and intruders. Though a greenhouse likely will not provide a completely pest-free environment, it can help reduce infestations significantly, especially when decontamination measures are in place. Greenhouses also help protect against larger animals, including deer, rabbits, and yes, even people who may mistake hemp for marijuana.
Additionally, growing hemp in greenhouses can protect the plants from potential pollination. This is especially important for CBD hemp farmers who will witness an extreme drop in product potency – potentially rendering it unsellable – should their female plants come in contact with male pollen. Note that a single male can fertilize thousands of female hemp plants within a seven-mile radius. Even those who only use feminized CBD hemp seeds may fall victim to a sneaky male plant if a neighboring crop has them.
Finally, greenhouses help protect hemp crops from harsh or unpredictable weather. Some studies suggest that hemp may be more prone to THC spikes under extreme weather conditions like high elevations or extreme temperature fluctuations. Therefore, growing hemp in greenhouses may help maintain federal compliance and prevent potential (and costly) “hot crops” from developing.
Modifications Necessary for Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse
Growing hemp in a greenhouse is much more involved than setting them up in a bright, enclosed building. CBD hemp requires precise lighting conditions to maintain vegetative growth or to induce flowering at an appropriate time.
Hemp’s photoperiodic qualities are great for those wanting to control the size of plants, and the timing of harvest. However, the timing and duration of light and dark hours must follow a very specific schedule. Failure to enforce a strict lighting schedule can cause the crop to stress. Hemp plant stress can lead to THC spikes, seed production, and diminished product quality.
Hemp Lighting Schedules
Though a natural outdoor light schedule can produce beautiful CBD hemp flowers, extending the growing season requires special greenhouse modifications. The most common greenhouse modifications for growing hemp include timed blackout curtains and supplemental lighting. For example, additional lighting allows farmers to start seedlings early by ensuring they have more than 14 hours of light each day. Without additional lighting, seedlings could flower prematurely, thus dropping the final output considerably.
Supplemental lighting can also extend a hemp plant’s vegetative growth season. This allows plants to grow even larger before they begin producing flowers, thus increasing the final harvest weight. However, this method also requires blackout curtains to induce flowering at the appropriate time, as well. Furthermore, blackout curtains must be used on a precise schedule.
Though farmers can use blackout curtains manually, due to hemp’s exact lighting schedule, extensive growing facilities should consider automated systems. These systems use timers to control lights and add or remove curtains on a strict schedule, thus reducing the chance of very likely human error.
Concluding Growing Hemp in a Greenhouse
There are many great advantages to growing hemp in a greenhouse. However, doing so requires careful planning, a deep understanding of hemp photoperiods, and precise lighting control at all times.
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