Damn, it’s hot. Hot early, and hot too much, hotter than ever, making this year’s summer growing season even more a hassle for marijuana growers than usual.
Lots of us just give up on indoor growing during summer months.
We max our hydroponics indoor garden productivity during cooler months, and then shut down after harvest in April or May. We only start growing again when the outside temperatures fall below 80F.
Sales of hydroponics nutrients and gear go into a seasonal summer slump, and the price of high-grade indoor marijuana rises as production falls.
Courageous outdoor growers use the summer months for natural grow ops, braving the heat, droughts, winds, rip-offs, pests, animals, hunters and other crazy stuff that happens when you do a crop outside rather than in.
As autumn outdoor marijuana harvests come in, marijuana prices drop. Outdoor growers channel their profits into new hydroponics nutrients and equipment, and start up their indoor grow rooms in September and October.
If you’ve been savvy enough to jump on the autoflowering marijuana train, you could have harvested 2-3 crops from April to October.
Or even if you planted just one crop this summer outdoors, if it was autoflowering, you harvested in 50-70 days from the time your seeds germinated.
With some autoflowering strains getting 300 grams per plant, that’s nothing to scoff at.
But using autoflowering marijuana is just one of the suggestions I have for lowering your exposure to summer’s marijuana growing problems and making the most of summer growing.
The simple fact is that summer is a lousy time to run HID lights indoors, and you want to do everything possible to keep the heat down and the costs low, while keeping your harvest weight and THC up.
The cost of removing all that heat to keep your grow room between 72-75F and chilling your reservoir water to keep your root zone water at 68F is a big burden, especially if you live where electricity consumption is clandestinely monitored.
Autoflowering reduces summer costs by reducing summer grow time. You can grow smaller plants that only take 50-70 days to be harvest-ready from seed, and some of them can yield 300 grams per plant. That saves you a couple of months of growing time, meaning a couple of months of air conditioning and lighting costs.
You can try other heat-reduction tricks. Although it’s dumb if anybody tells you that you can get your heaviest harvests using high-output florescent or LED lighting from start to finish, you can substitute high output florescent for HID to relieve the heat for the first few weeks of veg phase.
Be sure to switch to HID or Chameleon plasma for the last couple of weeks of grow phase and for all of bloom phase.
Instead of removing heat to reduce your ambient grow room temperature to 72-75F, you could let the ambient lights-on temperature get to 80-82F, but only if you continue to apply root water chilling to keep the root water at 68F, and only also if you add C02 to 1000-1200 ppm in your ambient grow room atmosphere during lights-on cycle, and adjust your venting accordingly so you don’t waste the C02 you just added.
Make sure that your indoor grow room night (lights-off) temperatures are at least ten degrees cooler than your day temperatures. Ideal night temperatures are 64-68F.
The extra expense of adding C02 usually is less than the cost of air conditioning the room down from 80-82F to 72-75F, and C02 augmentation gives you the added benefit of faster growth and bigger yields.
You cut crop time by one to two weeks, and you get heavier harvests.
Other summer growing tips are common sense that you can come up with on your own, such as: changing your lights-on cycle to coincide with the lowest outdoor temperatures you experience every 24-hour day, planting shade trees to shield your grow home, installing an 18 SEER or higher SEER industrial-strength house air conditioning unit, or a hydroponics-specific indoor grow room AC unit (ask about that at your hydro store), installing a back-up generator so electrical grid failures don’t toast your plants, installing extra venting/cooled lights/aeration fans, blowing in extra wall and attic insulation, turning your water heater down, growing equatorial and other marijuana varieties that can handle high heat, and armoring your plants with B-52 and Rhino Skin.
The good news is that if you plan your summer crops properly, you can be harvesting kind bud when few people are, which means your medical marijuana is worth more.
You’ll be air conditioning your home anyway, so the cost of removing that extra marijuana grow room heat is unlikely to push your electricity bill sky high…because just keeping your home comfortable is going to already be pushing it sky high.
As climate change comes in hard and fast, we’ll see warmer weather year-round, as it was for the spring of 2012, with temperatures that were 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than usual in many regions.
Marijuana growers have to brave the heat indoors and out, to keep on producing the kind medicine we all love and need.