The wave of cannabis legalization that has swept over the US has made it easier for the majority of Americans to legally get their hands on better, cleaner, and safer products than at any time in history. Long gone is the time when cannabis aficionados were quite happy smoking “brick weed” smuggled from Mexico. Now the direction of illegal trafficking is often reversed: premium buds, like those grown from Bruce Banner seeds, for example, go from California and other legal states to the discerning cannabis enthusiasts south of the border.
But it’s not only the quality of marijuana genetics that has changed dramatically over recent decades. There’s also been explosive growth in innovations that allow commercial producers to grow weed cheaper and more efficiently and get a better product. The same goes for amateur cultivation for personal use at home. Here you have many exciting new technologies and gadgets that make your life easier and allow you to grow top-shelf bud.
LED Grow Lights
Most amateur grow-ops are indoor ones which makes lighting the single most important aspect of weed cultivation. The sector used to be dominated by cheap but inefficient HPS bulbs. They draw a lot of power but produce a spectrum that is not ideal for photosynthesis. Besides, they generate so much heat that it makes them impractical for use in summer or requires serious ventilation or even air-conditioning.
Luckily, the situation has changed since there was a dramatic drop in prices for the LED technology and full-spectrum LED quantum boards became affordable for the average weed grower.
While the first LED grow lights had only red and blue light-emitting diodes, the more advanced models now have a spectrum that resembles natural sunlight. So, with the same power consumption as HPS, LEDs are much more efficient. And they don’t produce much heat which allows you to save both on the cost of the ventilation equipment and on the electricity bills.
These were borrowed from other agricultural sectors growing other cash crops, and hydroponic cultivation became quite popular both in huge commercial facilities and small home gardens. Domestic cultivation has spurred a lot of innovations in smart hydroponic setups.
One of them is Aquapot. In contrast to most other pump-driven solutions, Aquapot uses gravity and a smart system of valves to feed the nutrient solution to the plant’s roots without the use of electricity. And for those who want to bring things to the next level, there is the AirDome extension kit that does require electricity and saturates the solution in the root zone with bubbles. This gives roots an extra boost of oxygen and facilitates plant growth.
AC + CO2
We have already mentioned air conditioning as one of the ways to extract excessive heat from the grow space. But most growers simply use an extractor fan for that. However, there’s one application where the use of AC is unavoidable. It’s when you artificially raise the level of CO2 in your grow tent—whether with a CO2 tank, or CO2 bags or by any other means.
The normal levels of CO2 indoors are usually high enough for cannabis plants to flourish, but advanced growers achieve great results by using higher concentrations of CO2. The reason is that carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis and is in fact plant food. And if you supply extra CO2 to your garden, you should use an AC unit instead of an extractor fan to keep everything in a closed loop.
Naturally, not all hobbyist growers cultivate their weed indoors. No less popular option is using a greenhouse. And here is where another advanced cultivation technique comes in handy—light deprivation. You don’t need it if you grow autoflower feminised seeds, but with normal photoperiod varieties, you can only induce flowering if you deprive your garden of any light for 12 hours straight each day. Hence the name light deprivation. Of course, instead of “drawing the curtain” each night manually, you can use one of many mechanized timer-operated solutions that todays’ market has to offer.
In a short post, we cannot possibly describe all the new techniques and gadgets that appear every year. But the trend is clearly to make cannabis cultivation a very high-tech affair. Soon, those who prefer to grow their own bud will be able to buy affordable and fail-safe turnkey solutions where they plant a seed and forget about it till harvest.