Why grow indoors?

Photo credit: Revista Cañamo Chile

When thinking of growing plants, most people visualize either growing in a field, in a garden or in a balcony. All these options depend on having good sunlight and climate in order to give the plants the best chance at reaching their potential (both in yield and in quality). This is the way plants have been grown since, well, the beginning of time. For a couple of decades now, growers have discovered the many advantages of growing indoors in a closed environment with artificial lights.

Sunlight vs Artificial lights

Watching plants grow under the sun, from lawn grass to tall trees, is a truly remarkable example of nature at its best. By using photosynthesis, plants transform light into energy and use it for their growth. The sun has plenty of very attractive attributes when it comes down to using sunlight for plant growth. For starters it’s free, and depending on the location and season, it can grow the biggest plants you’ll ever see.

So why go through the trouble of growing indoors with artificial lights?

Although the sun has it’s advantages, there are also many advantages to using artificial light that has caught the interest of many growers. Not everyone has a garden or a space where they can grow in the sunlight.

Depending on your location and season, chances are that you don’t have a California summer year round so your plants won’t have all the sun’s potential all the time.

Another important factor is how many hours of direct sunlight your plants will have (more exposure, more energy, more growth). But light intensity is only half the story, and this is where using artificial lights really has a major advantage over using sunlight. When growing plants that have a vegetative (growing) and flowering (budding) stages, plants start their flowering period when the days start to shorten towards the end of the summer. Medicinal plants are a very curious variety that in normal circumstances have a life cycle of under 1 year. If you plant your seeds in spring, the plant will grow through the spring, will flower in summer and by fall, will be ripe and ready for reproduction before it dies naturally and spreads the seeds that will start their own 1 year life cycle during the next spring. This has a major disadvantage that restricts the grower to one harvest per year and always has to be the same time of the year. That’s why October is harvest month in the northern hemisphere and April is in the southern hemisphere.

When using artificial grow lights, growers can “trick” the plant into believing that the fall is coming and that it needs to flower before winter arrives. This is done by using the lights 12 hours on and 12 hours off each day. By doing so, growers can have 4 back to back harvests per year with one grow room. Flowering periods depend on the strain, stretching from 2 to 3 months usually.

So, although the sun has it’s appeal to growers who have the space outside and are lucky enough to live in a location where there’s plenty of sunlight, many growers don’t have this option, or would just rather grow indoors in the safety of their homes without attracting unsolicited attention from their neighbours.

Open Field vs Controlled Environment

Having a nice breeze of fresh air rich with CO2 (plants use CO2 like we use O2) that keeps the plants cool on a hot summer day is a fantastic way to supplement the perfect California summer situation with plenty of sunlight. Hence that´s why so much medicine comes from that state. But not everyone has a house with a garden in California.

By controlling light, temperature, humidity and CO2 in an indoor grow, you can give the plants an optimal ambient where they will thrive. From the plant’s perspective, every day is a cloud free, rain free, nice lightly warm day with the sun right on top of them.

Another very important advantage of containing where the plants are grown is to put a barrier against insects, fungus, and a variety of deseases out there that can ruin your plants. So by growing indoors, you don’t need to use pesticides, which ironically makes it more organic than plants grown out in the open where pesticides are being used (yes, probably in your medicine just like in your food).

Finally, one of the most frustrating experiences an outdoor growers can face is having one of their female plants being pollinated and developing seeds. This may happen because some clueless grower is growing a male plant (male plants have little medicinal value) and the wind has done the miraculous work of mother nature by carrying the males polen right to the female’s pistils, and the magic of life has created a seed. The only problem is we don’t want this particular miraculous and beautiful act to happen, since a plant with seeds immediately drops its medicinal value to a low grade. Only people interested in breeding strains have an interest in male plants.

Controlling a contained space where so much is going on is a technical challenge, but when done right, it’s like giving your plants a day at the spa, every day.

The secret to why the Cloudponics technology successfully helps growers achieve the best results time and time again is that it controls every aspect of the plant’s growing environment, giving the plants the best chance at reaching their full potential.